Capturing Contentment: My Closet

posted in: journal 2

This week was closet week for Simple Mom’s Project Simplify. I took before pictures of 3 different closets, but only managed to tackle my own. Real This is the shelf area where I keep my sweaters. It’s seen better days. My main closet space is in our master bathroom, so the shelves hold our hygiene supplies. My closet area is one of the areas most prone to entropy in the entire house. Old habits do die hard. This is, however, … Read More

Making a Convivial Home: Dinner Helper

posted in: mother 4

Sometimes “purposeful” and “intentional” can turn into “taking oneself too seriously.” Anything that doesn’t go as planned (and isn’t that usually most things?) is a temptation to discouragement or at least to the laser-eye of analysis. Instead, it might just be a reminder that God is in charge and we are not, and we need to be willing to laugh at ourselves. Here is one way I have tried to introduce quality, relationship-building time into our days. Dinner Helper My … Read More

Capturing Contentment: Pantry Organization

posted in: journal 6

This was pantry week for Simple Mom‘s Project Simplify, and Auntie Leila asked us to post something about making dinnertime smoother or nicer. A nice dovetail. Real The state of my pantry. The result of my clumsiness during “organization”: Funny I thought I had a fairly purged pantry, after all my efforts toward simplification in this area. Yet I found this bottle lurking in my pantry: It must be at least 5-6 years old, and I’ve only ever used about … Read More

Making a Convivial Home: Lighten Up

posted in: homemaker, mother, podcast 1

I don’t know if this has ever happened to you, but it has to me often. A parent relates a disobedient or otherwise disciplinable antic of their child, and comments, “I had to leave the room because I couldn’t help laughing.” Nine times out of ten I simply can’t relate; I find myself giving a blank stare or a forced “Heh, heh, yeah.” I almost never have that problem. With a small toddler who is cute but testing defiance, perhaps … Read More

Capturing Contentment: Declutter Toys

posted in: journal 1

Spring decluttering time! We’ll do our pretty–happy–funny–real backwards this month for a before & after effect. Real — Before This week Simple Mom’s Project Simplify area was children’s toys, an area that can always use attention at our house! My first step was to grab some empty buckets and tell the kids to simply find as many toys hidden in nooks and crannies (and not) and fill the buckets. They didn’t have to put them all away in the right … Read More

Making a Convivial Home: The Need

posted in: mother 6

Whether it be Chinese-Are-Superior Mothers or French-Are-Superior Mothers, these foreign parenting-commentators point out that American mothers are afraid to be in charge, and that’s why they raise hellions. That is a particular side of the ditch, but it is not my temptation. My husband and I are both rather authoritarian parents, and happy and comfortable being so. My mom was a “mean mom,” not afraid to make unpopular decisions or enforce them. She told me (and I needed to be … Read More

Capturing Contentment

posted in: journal 3

Pretty Birthday cupcakes! Mr. Knox Sir turned two on Saturday, with much fanfare. I love two-year-olds. Happy My four-year-old volunteered to wash the silicone muffin cups! She thought it was play, and I thought it was a bargain — she washed them and they occupied her. Funny My six-year-old was staring blankly out the window while doing his math fact sheet. I called him back to the present by reminding him that he could go get the blocks if he … Read More

Little Mirrors – Simply Convivial

posted in: mother 0

Originally written and posted in 2007. Actually, I think little children are more like magnifying glasses than mirrors. I have been truly amazed, startled, and ashamed as it has become more and more clear to me that the attitude and behavior problems my children display is only a childish mimicry of my own attitude and behavior problems, which, because I am a skilled and practiced sinner, are more concealed than the blatant sins of a small child. Now, I do … Read More

Order, The First Need of All

posted in: mother 2

“This book emphasizes certain institutions and customs and certain ideas and beliefs which continue to nurture order in the person and order in the republic, down to our time.” Ok, I was just going to participate in Cindy’s latest book club on Russell Kirk’s Roots of American Order by reading along as best I could and commenting on other people’s posts, but the first chapter of the book sparked my writing itch. There is no way I can write summary-style … Read More

Capturing Contentment

posted in: journal 1

Pretty Children playing together: Happy The best $5 birthday present: a game of Cooties. Ilse calls them cuties. I tell her she’s the cutie. Knox is the silly. Yes, the cootie is supposed to be kissing his cheek. Funny Sometimes, our house needs an industrial clean. Sometimes, this is the right tool for our floors. Real One of my tricks for occupying my toddler during school hours: A dice tower. It’s kinda noisy, but less noisy than a free-range toddler. … Read More

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