Category Archives: Simplicity Parenting


Christmas is a wonderful/stressful Time

Christmas is a wonderful time.

Christmas is a stressful time.

Christmas is a wonderful time…

I could go on and on. Because both statements are certainly true and both statements certainly take their turns.

The truth is, however, that Christmas isn’t that stressful for me. Our celebration is low key. Our food is fun but doesn’t take days to prepare. We don’t have a strict schedule around here, so come on over and have a glass of champagne with us. (Hey, I’m German, so if there’s a celebration, there has to be Champagne).

But then there are the presents and I find those stressful.

We tried for years to go minimalist and even that was stressful. For one, you’re constantly explaining yourself. And on top of that, if you only give e.g., three little presents, those three had better be wonderful.

And then there’s the clutter…. Which is why I’m currently in a major decluttering process so that after the wrapping paper is torn off, our house doesn’t explode.

And least but not last, there’s my own gift…. perfectionism.

I LOVE to find the perfect present for the right person. And it took me some grief to understand that that’s only possible (in most cases) when I see people frequently. Otherwise, the gift search is fun for me but doesn’t really match their desires, and so I had to give in and wrap up gift cards for older nieces and nephews.

But for my own kids, I like to think big picture. Can there be a theme? And adventure? An experiment?

So last year, I had great ideas.

I built a vet clinic for my older daughter.

I built a coffee shop for my younger daughter.

Both were huge hits.


This year, however, I don’t have ideas like this. The girls are more into “ordinary” things and I honor this. But I still expected more from my own creativity. And that caused me to stress.

Until I let it go. Because grand ideas come and go. But more importantly, my own expectations are purely my own. And my kids will very likely not realize that this Christmas eve I’m not staying up to build.

But instead, I might just have a celebratory glass of champagne.

Here’s to ease, relaxation, and happy holidays.


You Have A Story To Tell

story1I love stories. So naturally, I subscribe to Facebook pages and blogs that talk about Story. And these people come up with the most amazing story props you can imagine. No kidding, I’m tempted at least once a day to buy some new storytelling gadget, subscribe to some storytelling subscription service, listen to some new audio CD. And I have to say, 90% of these products are not only beautiful, but powerful, too. They do help you to tell stories.

But the truth is that you don’t need any of them. Your kids don’t either. The most powerful stories are not the flashy ones, the engine powered ones, the surround-sound puppet ones.

The best stories for your kids and your family are YOUR stories. About how you made that cake and put salt in instead of sugar. About how you are pretty sure you saw a fairy once in the flower pot. About that one vacation to the dude ranch. About the space in the back of your kids’ closet that if somebody doesn’t clean it soon will turn into an obstacle course for spiders.

Those are the stories that stick. Those are the stories that make a difference. Those are the stories that get passed on.

And on the flipside, not everything needs to be passed on. It’s about living in the moment. Yes, you’ll want to scrapbook some. But mostly, just enjoy them.  Some things are just for fun. Some things get you started. And sometimes, they help you find your own stories.

So no matter how you tell your stories… enjoy the ride!


Parenting Temptations

moveWe’re moving. 

And it’s exciting. It’s stressful. It’s a lot of feelings at once.

And it challenges my parenting. Big time.

The first worry – always – is that if I have so many feelings flooding through me, how bad does it have to be for my kids? How are they holding up? What does it REALLY look like inside their little heads?

And here’s the problem.

I know what I should offer them and how I should respond to them. Warmth, closeness, simplicity.

But the temptations look so different:


Shouldn’t I constantly offer them something entertaining? Shouldn’t I make sure they don’t have time to really see what’s going on with all the boxes stacking up in our house?


We don’t do screens with our children, unless we are on a long, long road trip and they get to play with our phone for a little bit here and there. But right now, it sure feels like we’re on a trip… Shouldn’t I let them?


Comfort food gives comfort, right? Isn’t that what they need in times of discomfort?


Maybe I should just let some house rules slide a little… Give them a break, right?


Well, why not let them pick something from the gift store?

 I’d say 95% of the time I catch myself just in time to realize what I’m about to do and that I would really be doing everybody a huge disservice. Because what my kids need more than anything in times of change, is predictability.

Our regular routine. Our regular food. Our regular rules.

Everything beyond that creates more confusion and destroys the simplicity we worked so hard to create.

But I do give in to one thing. REALLY LOUD SINGING in the car is allowed when you have to follow a moving truck…