Simplify in 2015

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The good thing about those All-Good-Plans-For-The-New-Year type of post is that it is always interesting to see at the end of the year how much we accomplished. The New Year is already well on its way but still young enough to make big and hopeful plans and define a motto for this year: Simplify!

Since we moved to a new home and with three young energetic boys around laundry keeps piling up, the fridge gets emptied too fast, somebody needs to clean and cook, and boys need to be brought to and from school and extra-curricular activities. We have still boxes unpacked, still trying to find the right place for everything. We have many ideas for wonderful projects and excursions and want to invite our new friends. It all feels like a blessed chaos, but I would like everything to be a bit more organized, thought through, planed and simplified.

Thus, it is my aim for this year to get everything a bit straitened out. Just a bit more organization and simplification might bring some calm into out life so that we have more time to enjoy each other and the things we do. And I hope that by the end of the year we have found our way of dealing with chores, projects and things.

And here are the four big things we want to simplify:

  1. Simplify the house: declutter and organize. Although we tried to get rid of many things before we moved, we still have way too much stuff (does our nine month old baby really need 18 bodies and 15 pairs of socks?). So there is no question that things can and have to go. This will be a real challenge and I am realistic enough to know that this process will need many rounds. Furthermore, many things still need to find good practical permanent places. Thus, my plan is to tackle one area a month and be done with one round within a year. This month I organize and declutter the office.
  2. Simplify housework: getting the kids involved into cleaning and cooking. This is probably no simplification yet, because kids are kids and many things are done much faster by myself than involving the kids. But I consider this an important educational effort. My boys should learn that a nice and clean home is a communal effort (no, we don’t have elves coming in at night to do the laundry). This year I will teach  the kids how to clean the house and let them take over some duties. We will also develop chore charts and schedules together (we started on this already – see pictures – but it still needs to be improved).
  3. Simplify daily life: developing daily and weekly routines. This goes hand in hand with the previous point. It is much easier to get everyone to help, when the demand is part of a schedule or routine. This year we will develop a (semi-) fixed weekly and daily schedule so that everyone knows when it is pick-up time, reading time, chore time, etc.
  4. Simplify our family life: planning our weekends and time together. And of course we want to have fun!  49 weeks are still ahead of us, plenty of time for wonderful projects. Each month we want to try at least one new recipe, plan at least one trip to a new location, have at least on big crafting project and invite friends over as often as possible.

Well, these are our plans to simplify and I am curious to see how we’ll manage!

 

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This post appeared first on tamtamtiger.wordpress.com.

Christmas tree decoration

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I needed very quickly a small last minute Christmas gift for my son’s educator. I wanted it to be somewhat personalized so I decided to make a small pendant for the Christmas tree to add to a small gift we bought at the Christmas market. A quick Internet search led me to this nice little birdie. Using some scrap fabrics I made a simplified form of this bird, closed it and stuffed it with wool. I enjoyed sewing it and if I have time (haha!) I will sew a couple more to give as a personal note to dear family members and friends.

It has been very quiet on this blog lately. Having a school kid and work to do and some serious sleep deprivation left me with almost no time and energy to do anything extra. My to-do list of crafting, sewing and mending is growing faster that I can pick up a needle. And if I do manage to finish something and even manage to write something about it then I still need to take somewhat acceptable photos, which is in this dark and gray weather almost impossible.

There has been a nice discussion of some German sewing blogs about (im-)perfect blogging and the the somewhat implied do-it-all-yourself perfect Christmas preparation (for example here and here and here). I admit that I also would love to present on my blog the most beautiful photos and most inspirational text, and I would really like my home to be clean and orderly and prettily decorated.  But I simply can’t. The day has only so many hours and “pretty” just doesn’t make it very often to the top of my priority list. And I agree – being imperfect is human, and that is what I am.

Happy 4th Advent!

Summer vacation

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This year I did only a little planting on the balcony. I mainly planted herbs, lettuce and flowers. My most favorite this year is the Blaue Winde (morning glory). It has this lush green leaves and greets us every morning with several of those very beautiful flowers.  It gives me such a joy.

We are off now for our summer vacation – finally holidays started here in the south of Germany, too. We will visit my mom who has a nice big garden, great for the kids, and I hope we will have plenty of time for crafting and sewing. I will be back in about three weeks.

Spring?

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It is way too cold! We spend this beautiful time of the year indoors, packed in woollen sweaters, hiding from the rain, sipping hot tea, instead of soaking in the fresh green and joyous colors….

This has been a busy month so far. With family visiting and A. being gone on business trips there was not much time to do anything else but work and kids and trying to keep the domestic chaos at bay. Thus, not much sewing, knitting or crafting has happened, although I did get stared on a pair of socks and a summer skirt, but nothing is in the condition of being shown here. Plus, I am still in the process (a very long one) of cleaning up my working/crafting/sewing space, which prevents me from getting down on serious projects.

Nebelhoehle

So, instead of any new garment, here is a glimpse into the Nebelhöhle, a large and beautiful flowstone cave on the Schwäbische Alb, which we visited together with our guests. Doesn’t the stalagmite on the picture on the bottom right look like a mother with a child…?

One year old

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My baby, you are one year old today. Ten things I love about you:

I love

  1. your loud and hearty laughter.
  2. your five little teeth with which you bite me into my shoulder.
  3. how you disassemble Matryoshka and try to put it back together.
  4. how you smile and come to me when I pick you up from daycare.
  5. when I carry you and you put your little arms around my neck and your head on my shoulder.
  6. how you come to cuddle.
  7. how you wind yourself out of my hands when you have other plans, that’s when we call you our little gusenica (caterpillar).
  8. how you happily and proudly toddle, still a bit shaky on your little legs, around the living room, swinging the little rattle.
  9. when you look at me with your mischievous smile when you do something you know you are not supposed to.
  10. And I love that I have the privilege to spend this precious time with you.