Give thanks for the simple pleasures of life... it's not all that difficult.
(Yep... affiliate links are included which means, if you buy through me, I get some coffee money ... though not enough for the raisin toast as well. Full disclosure listed below.)
These days, everywhere we go it seems we're plugged in, turned on, and firing on all 8 cylinders.. all the time. This is a sure recipe for burnout, and perhaps we know it in our hearts. Never before in history has a craving for simple pleasures been so strong, or so important. You might have noticed it in the renewed interest in retro or vintage fashion, cars, interior design and home-life.
Some have suggested different reasons for this, but it seems to represent an acknowledgement of the quality and unique nature of retro products, a sharp contrast to today's technology and mass-produced items in our lives. Some also believe that this fascination highlights the need we feel to escape to a simpler style of life, almost a time-travel back in history.
But escape isn't easy. Are you looking for a simple lifestyle? Do you find that simplicity manages to elude you, even on those days when you swear you're going to indulge your senses in a relaxing activity?
Do cherished pastimes such as crafting, getting out in nature, or spending time talking face to face with those who mean most to you, end up taking a backseat to the Call of the Computer, and your frantic life?
Maybe you decide you're going to do a hands-on project. So you log onto the internet in search of instructions. Instead of revelling in the task at hand, you find yourself hopping from one link to the next, and before you know it, you're overwhelmed and distracted yet again.
How do we manage to pry ourselves away from technology, so we can once again indulge in the simple tasks that offer us relaxation and enjoyment while helping us focus?
One way to keep it simple in our everyday dealings is to lower the bar of our own expectations.
No, maybe you're not going to be the next Martha Stewart or Pinterest Mom of the Year. Or, are you? Does it really matter is the full scheme of things?
If you do tend to be an overachiever, maybe "keeping it simple" really has to do with just allowing yourself some time to think and ponder.
For some people, simplicity might be about calming that urge to out-perform yourself, or to be and do everything to everyone. Maybe you need to say 'no' more frequently.
Sounds unattainable? Well, no. There are some practical ways to achieve it. You'll discover that you can give thanks each day for the simple pleasures of life. Here's how...
Well sure, we can all dream. It's fine to reflect on the reasons that all of us feel overwhelmed, especially at this time of year, and dream of the joy of simple moments in our lives. But we need to do more. It's even more important to act, to take some simple, practical steps to introduce simple joy in your life. And yes, you can do it!
After all, a well-known quote reminds us that 'Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.'
If you don't initiate practical steps with a definite plan for simplifying your life, then your life will take control and continue to overwhelm. It's really not all that difficult.
Think about it. What types of activities do you relish in the name of keeping it simple? Take a couple of moments to write down the simple things that you could do, one small thing each day, that will ground your spirit and bring you joy. Make a list of possibilities.
What about some of these suggestions?
1. It could be writing personal musing in a diary. A gratitude journal is a great option.
2.Maybe it's creating a beautiful painting of an outdoor scene.
3. Or how about something even more simple, like just taking a slow walk around a quiet pond on your lunch hour? Take some photos. The birds are singing in the trees above, branches softly rustling in the wind. Relax...
4. Do you have a pet that you enjoy spending time with? Give yourself permission to take a technology time-out so you can offer your dear dog, beloved cat or other cherished pet a nice belly rub, scratch behind the ears, an afternoon walk and a treat.
5. Love to read? Reading is a simple thing you can do each day. Just a few pages will do, or aim to complete a chapter a night if that makes you happy and satisfied.
6. What about a craft? Some enjoy knitting and crocheting. Try creating a family photobook. Others do needlepoint or latch hook. Perhaps you find pleasure in penning calligraphy letters on a clean white page in bold, black ink. What about an online craft class?
7. If you can't think of any task you'd be good at immersing yourself in, why not return to childhood? What did you enjoy in your youth? No shame in revisiting old talents to see where they take you.
Today, write down the simple things that gave you a few moments of pure, unadulterated joy. Give thanks for these meaningful, simple moments of fun and enjoyment. Make it a priority to enjoy them again, tomorrow. And encourage your whole family to do the same. Maybe you can do it together.
Disclosure: At Grandma's Place is committed to high standards of integrity and quality. I do not promote any brand I do not believe meets these standards, and I only promote brands I would purchase myself. If I don't love it, and don't think you'll love it, it won't appear on my blog.
(Yep... affiliate links are included which means, if you buy through me, I get some coffee money ... though not enough for the raisin toast as well. Full disclosure listed below.)
I don't know about you, but I grew up reading fairy tales- stories of adventure, daring exploits and impossible quests. Einstein once wrote, 'If you want your children to be intelligent read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, the nread them more fairy tales.'
How much better for your kids or grandkids to create their own fairytale adventures than if they had their own fairy garden.
Now, I've seen a lot of wonderful fairy gardens that others have created. They look great! There are even fairy garden kits you can buy to make a beautiful garden that would be a perfect setting for a fairy tale adventure.
But I'm not great with gardening. So I wanted a garden that would be easy to create, easy to maintain.. and one that I could keep indoors. So... when I saw a listed Workshop with Botancials by Bella about making a terrarium in an afternoon, I thought this would be great for my indoor garden. The course was a lot of fun. and yes, I was happy with the results. So I'm sharing the technique with you so that you can have much fun making your own fairy garden as I did and sharing it with your kids or grandkids. (I hope my workshop expert thinks with my tutorial adequately explains the process!) If you want to do a workshop yourself, I can certainly recommend Botanicals by Bella- she runs a lot of different and interesting project workshops. ;)
Here's how to make your own indoor fairy garden
1. Create layers in your fairy garden using the different types of materials- sand, pebbles, sphagnum moss. Not only does this look great in your terrarium, it has a practical purpose in draining the soil while providing the nutrients for growth.
Begin with the clean river sand. Don't use sand from the beach as this will contain salt.
Add handfuls of sand to your container and press firmly into place. Build up the sand more around the edge of the container and up the side a little. Try and keep a circular hollow area in the base of the container as this is where you will add some handfuls of potting mix. Add extra sand and potting mix until this layer is level. Just ensure that the potting mix remains in the centre. You don't want to see it from the sides.
Now, add some more sand on top of the potting mix and continue to press down firmly.
Now.. add a wide ring of pebbles around the edge. Bring the thickness up to about 5cm depending on the size of your container. Fill the centre of this layer with dampened sphagnum moss.
2. Add some height and landscaping to your garden.
Add more handfuls of sand to the centre of your gardening bring it up a bit in height towards the back of your garden. Choose 2or 3 large smooth rocks and place them towards the back of the garden, too. Use your green moss and push gently into place behind the rocks and down and sides a little.
3. Plant some foliage- green moss and mini ferns are good choices
Use your finger to push a hole into the sand behind the rocks. Gently push a mini fern into the hole. Add some extra sand around the fern if needed. Add a couple more terrarium plants to your garden. Think about the size of these plants and place the bigger ones towards the back and low growing plants at the front.
4. Include foreground features- pebbles and green moss
Think about the front of your garden. Choose 2 different types of pebbles and add them in the garden to create areas of interest. You maight like to use some to make a garden path or another area. Extra green moss can be placed in the foreground too for more interest.
5. Add your fairy garden accessories
You'll find plenty of options and choices to include in your inddor fairy garden. There are cute little stools and chairs, bright coloured toadstools even fairy cottages. But you can even make these little accents. I've include a number of links on my Pinterest board to help you make your own, if you wish.
creating Keep extra fairy garden accents and replace them regularly especially if your grandkids are visiting. They will love looking for the changes and new accessories in this mini fairy garden and I'm sure they will create special stories and fairy garden adventures.
This terrarium fairy garden is relatively easy to care for. First, find a position indoors that is bright and airy but will not be in full sunshine. Although the terrarium needs to be kept moist, too much water is as damaging as not enough. If you think there may be too much moisture, hold the container above your head and check the condition of the sand/potting mix in the base.
When it needs more moisture, use a spray bottle. I find the garden is happier if I spray the garden every 2-3 days with a fine misting.
If you run into trouble or need some more maintenance tips, check out the Terrarium Survival Guide from Botanicals by Bella.
Give it a try yourself. I think you'll enjoy making your garden and creating family fun with your kids or grandkids. I know they will love to play with your fairy garden and create exciting adventures.
Disclosure: At Grandma's Place is committed to high standards of integrity and quality. I do not promote any brand I do not believe meets these standards, and I only promote brands I would purchase myself.
If I don't love it, or I don't think you'll love it, it won't appear on my blog.
You are probably looking for various ways to keep your children busy but at the same time, you want these activities not to cause a gigantic mess? Say no more.
(Guest post-- Alex Farley)
Most parents are feeling worried whether they would be able to clean the mess after a craft project, for example. I know out of a personal experience that there are many fun activities which often turn into an apocalypse.
No matter how many times you tell your kids to be careful, your words go in at one ear, out at the other. Kids will be kids. I am here to share with you a number of tips which I hope to come in handy. Roll up your sleeves.
Take the fun activities outside
If the weather allows it, there is no better place to play than outdoors. My kids can spend hours playing in the sandbox, for an example. I love this option because when they are done playing, it is so much easier to clean after them. Even if it is a craft project, it takes me a couple of minutes to clean up. Of course, it depends on the activity but can you imagine what it could be if the kids play with sand or water inside?
Make sure to cover the play area
Trust me, the best way to accomplish mess-free crafting is to cover the entire area where your kids play. For instance, you can cover it with a blanket or a shower curtain. There is another plus- you can easily toss the blanket in the washing machine, or wipe down the shower curtain when the play is over.
Take advantage of the bathtub
If the weather does not allow outdoor activities, my children are used to be playing… in the bath. No, I am not kidding. Initially, I thought it was ridiculous but I got sick and tired of the mess so I had to take action. Because I am the only one who deals with the housework, I took matters into my own hands.
Since that moment, my kids use the bath as a vessel. To be honest, it is the ideal playground for messy kids because the bathtub contains all the mess. Once they are done crafting or playing, I just run the water till the mess is gone. You should definitely try it!
Washable art supplies
Have you thought about replacing the art supplies with washable ones? If you want to keep your children’s clothes from getting stained, you should take my advice. Since my kids use only washable art supplies, I can easily wash their clothes without me having to worry whether the stains would come out or not.
Limit the materials for a mess free crafting
In the very beginning, I did not think that this trick could actually turn out to be efficient. But still, I decided to try it out. I gave my children materials in small amounts. They love drawing and crafting a lot. So I provide them with a small amount of paint, and I do not add more till the first supply is completely gone. This trick does minimise the mess because kids do no romp about.
The ugly truth is that no matter how many times you tell your kids to be more careful, no matter what kinds of measures you take, there will be always a mess in the presence of kids. Anyway, if you are concerned about the mess you have to clean instead of enjoying your time with your kids, you deprive yourselves of the fun. :)
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Originally posted June 2014 and updated July 2017
Sunshine, warmth, blue skies... beautiful weather for fun in the outdoors. Enjoying the outdoors with kids doesn't have to be a daunting all-day activity. But sometimes it's difficult to encourage the kids outside and away from the screens. Or maybe you're looking for inspiration for handling those "I'm bored!" complaints.
What you need is something that will turn outdoor activities into an adventure.
Encourage even the most reticent nature walker outdoors with the thrill of a nature scavenger hunt.
It won't take much preparation time for you but will definitely provide loads of fun for your grandkids.
Start with a scavenger hunt list. You can always create your own but why reinvent the wheel when there are great ideas already done for you?
Make a list
Take this list from Chrissy Taylor, for example. Print the list, laminate it for durability and so that you can reuse it. If you have small children, your list might have to be in picture-form.
Ideas for pre-readers
If you do have pre-readers, there are plenty of options and ideas readily available. It's a wonderful way to explore the senses and encourage them to locate things that feel or smell. Check out this scavenger hunt for little ones- it includes a simple printable list to download and use.
Teams or individuals
Decide whether to run your scavenger hunt as a team contest or individuals. This will probably be determined by the number of kids you have and whether they've included their friends.
Don't forget the prizes
These don't need to be difficult or costly but, since most kids are fiercely competitive, it will add another level of excitement if they're striving for the prize at the end of the hunt. Don't forget consolation prizes for those who miss out.. especially with little ones.
It's also a good finish to any scavenger hunt if you conclude with a special snack or treat. Something as simple as an ice-cream for everyone to conclude the scavenger hunt can turn a fun adventure into a memory-making event, a simple moment that matters.
Leaf shape scavenger hunt
A simple option for younger ones, is something like a leaf shape hunt. Give each child a list of leaf shapes to look for and a bag to collect the leaves in once they find them. Design your own checklist of leaf shapes or download a ready-made one.
Try a photo scavenger hunt
If your kids are older and complain, "Oh, we've done this," be ready for them. Hand out a photo adventure scavenger hunt. Not only do they have to find the item on the list but take a photo. It's amazing how the addition of a camera or smartphone can change the interest level from ho-hum to extreme.
Alphabet Photo Scavenger Hunt
How about an Alphabet Photo Scavenger hunt? It's nice and easy. The kids will need to find and photograph items for all the letters of the alphabet, or as many as they can find.
Backyard, beach or bush
Your scavenger hunt can be held in your own backyard, at the beach, at a park or, if you're very adventurous, you could take them all for a bushwalk.
Hand each child: a bag to collect the found items, the laminated list, a whiteboard marker (use on the laminated list) and a rations pack. (They're always hungry and a trail mix should keep them happy. Don't forget some water.)
The fun needn't end once you're home again. Create a beautiful nature light with the kids as a colourful reminder of your day out in the great outdoors.
Create a nature light
* glass jar or container
* small battery operated tea light
* items collected from your scavenger hunt and walk
* small stickers
1. Carefully arrange all the items from your adventures outdoors in the glass jar.
2. Nestle the tea light amongst the items in the jar.
3. Add some small stickers or decorative tape to the outside of the glass container... and you're done.
The nature light jar looks equally attractive whether it's filled with leaves, pebbles, sticks and flowers or with items from the beach- shells, sand, seaweed and driftwood.
Use the day's activities to generate some discussion and to talk about God's creation, made for us to enjoy.
And, every time you or the kids look at the nature light, they'll remember the fun adventure you all had together as a family.
Seriously.... it helps a lot with the growth of this blog.
I know most people don't share because they feel that we bloggers don't need their 'tiny' share. But believe me... you matter! Each and every reader is important and appreciated.
I've built this blog piece by piece, one small share at a time. So thank you so much for your support.
Halloween - I have a love/hate relationship with this holiday. It’s the beginning of the ‘sweet’ season and that means trick or treat and a growing number of sugar-highs. Those of you desperately trying to stick to a diet will be worried how you’ll cope with all those tempting treats. Don’t panic. There are plenty of ways to have lots of fun this Halloween so try some of these spooky yet delicious ways to scare your diet woes away:
Party At Home
Having the Halloween party at your place means you can control the food on the table. If you have children, it will also mean they’re not out trick or treating for shop-bought sweets. Throwing a party may sound like an expensive prospect. But if you’re making all the treats, you can save a fortune. Love baking, then this could definitely be the right option for you. You could try my Pete the Pumpkin recipe, or one of your own for a cool presentation delight.
You could use low fat alternatives for your cakes and sponges. Vegetables like courgette can provide all the moisture you need. And it means the kids are getting one of their five a day in too! Use a natural sweetener like miracle berry tablets to reduce the sugar content too. Then you can use cookie cutters or rough knife some scary ghost, cat, and witch shapes.
Games And Prizes
Kids are just as happy doing fun things as they are eating cakes and sweets. Give them all plenty of games to play, like a spooky treasure hunt. Why not offer prizes that can be fun at this time of year, like mini glow wands? Setting up your home with decorations can be done quite easily. There are plenty on offer in the stores right now. But you can also make your own if you’re quite arty.
You can also stream or download some spooky music tracks to set the atmosphere. A ball pool can become a scary way to hunt for prizes. Add a couple of toy skulls and slime in there, and you’re in for some screams. When they’re finished, opt for some savoury treats if you prefer to keep the sugar to a minimum. Sausage rolls and cheesy crackers can be just as popular. Why not use spooky shape cutters on some sandwiches to keep the theme going?
Knock At The Door
Of course, there will be plenty of trick or treaters to keep satisfied at your door this year. Parents appreciate smaller quantities of treats if you are going to hand them out. Fun bags are OK, but why not break down a bigger bag into smaller quantities and wrap them up in a spooky paper? There are sugar-free sweets in the stores, but they can prove more expensive. Perhaps you can make enough of your home-made treats to share?
Halloween can be lots of fun without too much sugar. Treats have become customary, but you don’t have to join in if you don’t feel it is appropriate. Have fun, and take care of those teeth.
Where are you now? Reading this in front of the TV? Enjoying your first cup of coffee for the day? Glancing through the sub-headings before flicking over to Facebook?
Wherever you are and whatever you're doing right now, it's important for you to know that, starting today, your tomorrow can be better.
In ten easy ways your days can grow into a life full of possibilities, meaning and purpose.... not just backward glances and memories of the past.
Don't believe me? Check out the following list of actions you can take right now to leave the past behind and look ahead to enriching your life and building in lasting satisfaction and enjoyment.
(Yep... affiliate links are included which means, if you buy through me, I get some coffee money ...though not enough for the raisin toast, as well.) Full disclosure listed below.
So... are you ready to accept the challenge? Choose one of the above options today to get started. Extract, develop and use your hidden strengths. Let go of the past and look ahead.
'We only get one life, and the urgency of getting on with what we are meant to do increases every day. The clock is ticking.' -Bob Buford
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Plus, when you order thought my links, it helps me to continue to offer you lots of free stuff.
Thank you, in advance, for your support.
Life as a grandma.. it's no 'quiet, restful days in the rocking-chair'. It's filled with activity, excitement and lots of family fun. Please share it with me.