Let’s all take a deep breath.

If you've ever looked around and wondered: HOW does everyone else DO IT ALL? -- I have great news for you.
You don't have to do it all. You don't have to do more or be more or buy more. And this book is for you.
DO YOUR THING: How to Find Time to Do What Matters is about being yourself, and living your values. It's about who you were made to be, and who you are meant to be. It's about living our imperfect lives, with purpose. Get your FREE copy now.

A day in the life

Do you ever wish you could peek into someone else’s life, to see how they really do things?

Who does what chores, and how does breakfast get made? Do they really get up before sunrise? Do they really exercise every afternoon? (No and no, at this house.)

I always wonder.

A homeschool day in the life

I think right in the middle of the dailiness is where find out who we really are. We see the choices we make, we see where our time goes, we see what we make room for and when we’re willing to drop everything.

This is where our kids learn how to be, too. It’s not in the instruction, it’s in the details.

That’s where our kids learn about our heart’s priorities, because they see where we devote our time and energy and resources. They learn what matters, they learn what we trust and what we value, by seeing what we include in our daily routines and what we edit out. And they watch what we do when our ideals bump up against reality.

They absorb it all, and they develop character through the living.

So do we.

I think the details matter, even if they seem kind of everyday and boring as they’re happening.

Plus, you know, I’m just curious about everyone else’s.

We’re talking about the details of our daily routines over at Simple Homeschool this month.

I think of myself as the curator of our home and our schedule — I bring in inspiring materials, I make sure our home is set up to encourage kids’ learning, and I leave plenty of free time for them to pursue their interests.

Read the whole story at Simple Homeschool.

My simple-but-full day is part of the annual A Homeschool Day in the Life series. Every year, this collection of posts reminds me that there are a million good ways to create a day that works for your family. Yours doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. (And you don’t have to do everything.)

You can find all of this year’s posts here. I’m reading and taking notes!

10 Thoughts on blessings for the new year

10 Thoughts on blessings for the new year.


There’s being blessed with and there’s being blessed by, and they’re not the same. You won’t be blessed with everything, but you can be blessed by anything.


The sun rose this morning: blessing.

There was dinner, or something like dinner, or maybe it was just rice and beans with extra salt: blessing.

The succulent is still alive on the windowsill: blessing.

The loud and raucous children were loud and raucous: blessing.

You found someone to commiserate with about the loud and also about the raucous: blessing.

A square of chocolate in your pocket: blessing.

A cup of hot tea: blessing.

One minute of quiet (maybe outside, or maybe in the bathroom, or maybe in the garage where you are definitely “looking for a roll of paper towels” not “hiding out”): blessing.

Seeing the blessings for what they are: that is a blessing, too.


Blessings come in all sorts of packages, but not every package is something you can hold in your hands, and not every package is one you were waiting for. You won’t get a delivery schedule. There are no tracking numbers.

10 Thoughts on blessings for the new year.


Blessing doesn’t always mean easy. Blessing doesn’t always arrive unblemished and foil-wrapped. It doesn’t always come with twinkle lights, or background music, or an engraved gift tag.

Sometimes you have to dig for it, to unearth it, to uncover it. Sometimes you have to look at it out of the corner of your eye until you see what it really is.

If it brings peace to your soul: blessing. If it brings joy to your heart: blessing. If it brings life to your days: blessing. If it shines light in dark corners: blessing. If it brings growth or change or truth or understanding: blessing.


Being blessed is not a competitive sport, and it’s not a zero-sum game.

We don’t need to compare our blessings. Ours aren’t better or worse than others. High score does not win. Low score does not win. There is no win.


Sharing your blessings is a good idea, though.

10 Thoughts on blessings for the new year.


If you expect to find blessings — in your days, in your relationships, in your circumstances — if you’re watching for gifts — you’re more likely to spot them.


You don’t need to get more, have more, do more, before you will arrive at “blessed.” You’re blessed now. There may be some great reward at the peak of the mountain, but most of your day is spent climbing, and there is blessing all along the way.


Sometimes, from the middle of our mess and our stress and our daily-ness, our blessings don’t look like blessings. Sometimes they look like work. Sometimes they look like trials. And sometimes they look remarkably like routine.

When we get to the other side and look back we can see it, sparkling and shimmering or hard-won and solid: blessing.

In our everyday, we might have to squint to find it. But it’s there, when we look back. We can see the blessing in the work, the comfort in the routine, the growth that came from change, the compassion that grew out of difficulty, the inspiration that would not have appeared without the interruption.


This moment might be one for dreaming and planning and goal-setting, for thinking ahead and leaning forward. But we do our best planning and dreaming from a place of gratitude, and gratitude comes from blessing.

We have to see them to count them.

Look back, and let the looking shift your perspective. Look back, and see that you are standing on the solid ground of blessing upon blessing.

Look back. And then look ahead, in hopeful anticipation of what is to come.

10 Thoughts on blessings for the new year.

Inspiration for every day

Finding inspiration for your day-to-day.

I’ve been thinking about inspiration and motivation lately — reflecting and recalibrating as the year comes to a close.

One of my favorite things about homeschooling is that we’re free to build a lifestyle that fits our family. From the ways we homeschool to the whys behind our homeschool, we get to choose.

But sometimes I kind of forget. I forget that I’m not required to homeschool in any certain way. I forget that our days are not just a series of events to trudge through, on the way from breakfast to bedtime.

Read the whole story for ideas on staying inspired in your day-to-day, at Simple Homeschool.

The Whole Family Gift Guide 2014

Shop links in this post are affiliate links, because that’s how we keep our kids stocked up on warm mittens. (Or flip-flops. We live in Southern California. Mittens would be overkill.) Learn more.

The Whole Family Gift Guide for 2014

A gift for the whole family to enjoy

The Whole Family Gift Guide returns!

Looking to buy one gift for an entire family? It makes sense to us: more economical, more togetherness, less hassle, less clutter. It’s one way we simplify Christmas giving.

Here are a few new ideas. For last year’s guide, scroll down to the bottom of the post.

Family puzzles

Puzzles are always fun, but these Cobble Hill Family Puzzles are really clever. They’re 400 pieces, and each puzzle is cut into small, medium, and large pieces.

Puzzles for the whole family.

Tall members of the family can put together the small jigsaw pieces, while littler hands work on the bigger, easier pieces at the same time.

Classics in hardback

Build their library with a copy of your favorite classic book from childhood, along with a note about why you loved it.

Build a library with hardback classic books. Great family gift!

There are lots of beautiful hardback editions of children’s classics — check out Puffin Classics, Puffin in Bloom, or Penguin Threads Deluxe Classics.

With so many little readers around, we wear our most-beloved books right out. I bet we’re not the only ones.

Cooking together

For a foodie family, fun wooden spoons (try guitars or drumsticks), a fancy cutting board, or mixing bowls. This one says “Good things come to those who wait.”

Gifts for the foodie family

My toddlers think salad spinners are cool, too. Is that weird? That might be weird.

Make stuff

Pair a craft book with craft supplies. Try Kid Made Modern + duct tape, or Hand-stitched Felt + wool felt, or Let’s Make Great Art + colored pencils.

(More craft book suggestions here.)

Beeswax candle rolling kit, for making together.

Or go all-in-one with a craft kit. Beeswax candle rolling is easy enough for small kids, but still cool for grown-ups, too. I made some with my four-year-old this week, and we both had fun.

More ideas

One gift for the whole fam — it’s one way to keep things simple, but meaningful.

Need more ideas? Find last year’s Whole Family Gift Guides here:

Fun mail | Places to go | Games to play | Have a picnic | Audiobooks for all

P.S. – Are you trying to simplify, this Christmas?

1-1-IMG_76632-011My new ebook can help you figure out your priorities, through the holidays and beyond.

Focus on what matters this Christmas, and launch your new year right.

Get your free copy now. xo!

The fine line between “magical” and “exhausting.”

Crafting true Christmas magic. It's not what you'd think.

I love Christmas magic. The smell of pine needles, the glow of candles, the hot cocoa and gingerbread and secret gift planning. Snowflakes and twinkle lights? Yes please!

But there’s a fine line between “magical” and “exhausting.”

In this season and always, I think our kids learn more from how we live than from the lessons we teach.

It would be easy for our kids to absorb the idea that Christmas means being overburdened, rushed, busy, and stressed. They could easily pick up on the suggestion that to “do Christmas right,” they need to try harder, to do more, to push themselves. That message is everywhere.

But that’s not what Christmas is about…

Read the whole story here: Crafting True Christmas Magic.

1-12-Days-of-Christmas-Teachable-Moments-WEBI’m at Vibrant Homeschooling this week! Join us for 12 Days of Teachable Moments, won’t you?

There are a ton of great ideas over there for parenting through the holidays. xo.