Spending less at Christmas yields more joy

Spending less at Christmas yields more joy

What do you really want to experience this year for Christmas?   Less stress? More joy? If that is true for you, here is one way to get there: giving fewer gifts. I’m referring to reducing the number and scale of presents, which is not to be confused with your charitable giving. This can be […]

“I saw the lake first!”
and other treasured family traditions

Shadow Lake Dock-day copy

“I see the lake, I see the lake!” Every year, my six siblings and I would crowd and elbow one another as we jockeyed for the coveted spot in the Volkswagon bus so we would be the first to see Shadow Lake as we drove the final stretch of narrow, winding road to my grandparent’s summer […]

Small tradition, big joy: Your unique story ornaments

FPU Ornament- © Alexis Helmrath

  Christmas is coming and you’d like to add a little something else under the tree for your children. Something to commemorate an important moment from this past year, a milestone, perhaps, or a humorous story. An item that will surprise and delight for years to come, that can be created from scratch or purchased, […]

A symphony, a tradition, and a Dixie cup of memories

As parents, we love it when we see our best attributes, beloved pastimes and favorite foods embraced by our children, to be remembered with great fondness through the years as revered traditions. It’s validation that we are good, that our decisions are right, and that we are doing a wonderful job rearing them. Well, maybe […]

Family Traditions-Small is the new big

SL camp autumn

One of the best kept secrets, unfortunately, is that very often the opportunities to develop the most treasured traditions are those we may overlook, as we view them solely as run-of-the-mill, smaller, inexpensive, less memorable moments. Often times, instead, I think we all lean towards the “bigger is better” theory of life, and apply that […]

Monkeypants girl and a Christmas ornament tradition

Ornament-Monkey pants Christmas Cindy 2008

Welcome dear readers to the beginnings of discussions about traditions, Christmas, meaningful gifts, and frugality! I wrote about Gifts from the Heart in March when I introduced the Memory Album, and today we continue the conversation with ornaments that are treasured, not because they are innately valuable, but because of what they represent. A few […]

7 Day Stamina Challenge: Baring your soul on Day 6

Here we go again, on the roller coaster of growth and change: This isn’t bad. Ok, it’s a little disconcerting. Oh. My. Gosh. I’M GOING TO DIE!!! Whew! Guess not. Let’s do it again! Chug, chug, chug…Where are we? Oh, yes, Day 6: Go public – Tell at least two people about your big, hairy, […]

Gifts from the heart: Memory album

Graphic design by daughter Alexis Today is March 31. We are officially well into spring, and yet are on a winter storm warning, looking at the very real  possibility of 6-10” of heavy wet snow by tomorrow night. **Sigh.** Rather than retreating to the attic to gaze wistfully at my warmer weather clothes, I will […]

Somewhere over the train wreck

Maui Wowie!

When I was a youngster, my dad played the guitar and banjo, and was sometimes joined by a friend who played as well. I always enjoyed listening to them, and was inspired enough to pick up the guitar. Occasionally, when I was a bit older, I would even sing out at public venues with a […]

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