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Less is Absolutely More

I’ve always tried to rotate toys and only keep a reasonable amount of activites out at a time. Somehow between being really pregnant and then having a second child I lost my focus on activities and managing the toys. X’s interests had broadened and I was worried about packing something up that he may want to play with. 

Then I felt overwhelmed. I felt overwhelmed by the boxes that never got unpacked when me moved, because I was too pregnant. I was overwhelmed by the baby clothes Q had already outgrown. I was overwhelmed by the tornado of mess that follows my husband around in our small home. I was overwhelmed with the fact that I was constantly cleaning but there was still clutter everywhere. I was overwhelmed by the fact that soon my husband wouldn’t be here to watch the kids all weekend while I cleaned the house.

Then I read Marie Kondo’s infamous book. I wanted my house to spark joy and be easier to clean.

So I started my “KMing” journey. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’ve certainly made progress.

I’ve sorted through closets, unpacked lost boxes. I’ve sent bags and bags of stuff to charity. With each bag that leaves I feel a little lighter. With each finished organizational project I am better able to utilize our crafting and sensory supplies-because I know where they are. I got rid of toys I hated or toys that don’t align with my parenting goals. I kept less out on the shelves. 

Then Christmas happened. While the volume of gifts was reasonable and I’d packed away old toys to make room for the new- X wasn’t motivated to play independently. Plus playing with his brother involved dumping every toy in the house in the middle of the livingroom and walking away. It wasn’t working.

I realized that most of the toys out were amazing, but required adult help. Plus there was still too much. 

So I packed things away. I pulled out a few things that would spark independent and creative play. I rearranged to bring fresh inspiration. And I did something I’ve never done before, I cleaned out our play kitchen. X loves his kitchen and uses it regularly. But it’s always the same pot and same felt vegetables that get used. So why do I keep so much stuff in there? Dishes, felt food, pots, pans, a sandwhich making kit…I took it all out. I put our Melissa and Doug ice cream set and cookie set inside, closed the door. I anticipated a mad (almost) 3 year old and pulling it all back out.

  
What happened, was magic. He played with it for hours. Using each piece as intended, going through all of the steps and then starting over to do it again.

Then this morning after breakfast he asked to watch a movie. I agreed because there had been no whining or crying or tantrums (mornings have been a little rough around here lately). Then he said “never mind Mama, I want to make cookies.”

And so he did.

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Tissue Paper Window Stars

This winter has been unseasonably warm, but also immensely gloomy. Our weeks have been filled with grey days and rain. When you add that to the shortened daylight hours it can be a little much. 

Our livingroom has four floor to ceiling walls, but with neighbors all around our floor to ceiling windows stay covered with floor to ceiling blinds. I’ve mourned the natural light I could have (but don’t) especially during these gloomy seasons. 

Finally I’ve thought of a way to block people’s view into my home while enjoying the natural light. As a bonus it adds color and interest to the room as well!

You often see these stars associated with Waldorf schools. They use kite paper, which is a beautiful, thick, colored wax paper. I didn’t have any kite paper on hand, but I did have some tissue paper from the dollar store, which worked surprisingly well. The only other tools you need are a glue stick and scissor or a rotar cutter.

Start by folding your tissue in half and cutting along the fold. Do this until you have 8 pieces that are all the same size. I prefer the way the star looks if your pieces are rectangles, but it will work if they’re squares as well.

Next fold a piece in half the long way.  

 
Then fold all of the corners towards the center. 

 
At the top, fold both sides in towards the center again (the picture is of one side done). 

 
Do that to all 8 pieces.

I attached mine with the folds against the window so they would stay nice and flat. I applied a small amount of glue to both points to adhere it to the window. I placed my first one with the top pointing towards the ceiling. Then I line up the bottom folded edge of the next piece with the center fold on the first. I do that all the way around, making sure the bottom points all meet in the center. 

 
Ta da! So bright and cheery! This would be really fun to do with kids elementary age or older and would be a great introduction to origami!

You can use any color tissue you like and experiment with using more then one color within a star. You can also change the size of the star by using different sized paper. 

Let me know what combinations you come up with! I’ll post more pictures once I get my windows done.