Natural Light, Fika & the #weekoflagom


So, I’m still torturing all my Instagram followers with #weekoflagom. And again, I’m not really sorry because I’m sure there are some kindred spirits out there!

There are 2 things that I naturally do which I have found to be a Swedish characteristic and practice. One is a love of natural light and the other is the midmorning and/or afternoon snack.

I’ll confess to you that I really don’t care for the winter. Even though my heritage is Scottish and from what I understand it’s really rainy and cloudy there and one would think that cloudiness wouldn’t be a problem for me, I am actually really affected by lack of sunlight. It makes me depressed and it’s hard to get started when there’s a cloudy day which makes it feel like the morning all day.

So, when you come to my house, you’ll find that if I have curtains at all, they are thrown open all day. My walls are painted light colors in an effort to brighten up my house. And according to the book, the Swedes are all about natural light.

The second thing I have in common with the Swedes is the need for a snack or fika. Fika is actually, “taking a break for coffee and enjoying a small treat.” And most importantly, “It’s a moment to relax and “umgas” – hang out together and catch up with family and friends.” All you need is a snack (usually a cinnamon roll), a hot drink (usually coffee) and take some time to stop, relax and enjoy the small moments in life. What a wonderful idea!

I am having a fikasugen (a strong desire or craving for a fika)!

I need a fika right now!

I am going to have a fikapaus (to stop what you are doing and enjoy a fika)!

Have a great weekend everyone!




Insomnia, Swedes and the #week of lagom

I’ve been posting on Instagram using the hastag #weekoflagom. People are probably getting sick of it by now. But, I’m finding the book and the idea of lagom (the Swedish idea of “not too little, not too much”) to be inline with minimalism and my personal vibe. So, I’ve been throwing up some ideas that I’ve come across on Instagram. And I want to share some ideas here with you.

Swedes are obviously very serious about their sleep. I am finding that sleep eludes me. Some say it’s my age, some say it’s menopause, whatever it is I just can’t get enough sleep. So, I’m reading this book hoping that something will help me. Here are some things according to the book that the Swedes do to help them sleep:

  • Go au naturel – sleep in only underwear or in the nude (Yeah, probably not going to be something I do. I’m a prudish Southerner by birth).
  • Use 2 duvets or comforters instead of one. That way you won’t have to fight if you sleep with a blanket hog. You can be in control of your temperature and comfort. (I kinda like this idea.)
  • Make sure your bedroom is clutter free and clean. Avoid busy patterns. Use calm, comforting colors. (I have already done this in my bedroom and it REALLY helps!)
  • Create darkness – (Not something that I try to do, but probably should.)
  • Prepare yourself for physically and mentally for sleep. Don’t expect to just jump into the bed and fall asleep in seconds. (Well, my husband does that, why can’t I?) Here are some things to do to prepare yourself for bed:
  • Read (Ok, I can do that.)
  • Listen to calm music (Alright, that’s possible.)
  • Knit (Haha! That would make me stress out! It frustrates me that I can’t knit!)
  • Paint (No. I would have to clean up after and I’m trying to relax not create more work for myself.)
  • Cuddle up with family or pets (Yeah, that’s kinda nice.)
  • Take a walk (Maybe, but I find that kinda gets me wound up.)
  • Take a warm bath (Now, that’s my kind of relaxation!)


Well, no life-changing ideas are jumping out of the pages of the book. Do you have any drug-free cures for insomnia that you can share?

Peace & Sleep,


Review of Lagom: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life

In my journey toward minimalism, I came across this sweet, little book, “Lagom, The Swedish Art of Living A Balanced, Happy Life.”

(Click on the image to be taken to Amazon.)

It’s a cute book and I would recommend that you read it if you’re interested in minimalism.

The author draws on her experience living in Sweden among the Swedish people and explains the concept of Lagom as being the idea that something is “just right.”

She extends this idea that is ingrained in the Swedish psyche into everyday living to relationships to how to interact in the wider world.

It’s filled with drawings and photographs, recipes and craft ideas. It’s a great, little book.

I keep saying, “little” and “cute” because it is. It’s a small and pretty book.

Niki talks about decluttering and decorating your home, the Lagom way. “Not too little, not too much.” And she doesn’t limit the decluttered and balanced life to just the home. She gives ideas on how to bring simplicity and “Lagom” to holidays and events.

She even brings in other Swedish ideas, such as Fredagsmys or “Cozy Friday” where the family gets together after a long week doing something like watching TV and relaxing.

There’s a large part of the book devoted to following the Swedes example of getting outside and enjoying nature. Something I think we could all do more of.

So, yeah, I really recommend this book if you’re needing more balance, moderation and simplicity in your life. If you’ve made that a New Year’s resolution, then get this book to inspire you!



“Letters To My Younger Self”

A few years ago I was asked to contribute to a book about motherless daughters. I wrote an article then changed my mind.

For years I have swung back and forth about writing about losing my mother and my sister and being raised by an emotionally absent father and his dysfunctional 2nd wife. I don’t like to appear like a whiner or a victim or use my loss as a way to manipulate or get attention.

But the truth is that all that loss, tears, grief and pain left a hole. A hole that probably can never be filled. But it has also made me who I am today.

I have to function without the advantages a mother and an older sister can bring to one’s life. There’s a lot of wisdom, wisdom that could have been personally tailored to me, that is lost to eternity. So, I’m forever searching, listening and watching.

I follow an actor on Instagram, Matthias Schoenaerts


and surprisingly he posted a photo of a book he’s reading, called “What I Know Now: Letters To My Younger Self.” It’s a collection of letters that women have written to their younger selves. Why Matthias is reading it, I don’t know, but I’m impressed, almost as much as some of the roles he’s played. Being curious, I looked it up and bought the kindle version.

The impressive contributors to the book include such women as, Madeleine Albright, Nora Roberts, Macy Gray, and many other successful and influential women.

It is a very interesting read and includes some very wise counsel like…

“You´re going to have to learn how to pat yourself on the back eventually. Start now. It´s not gloating.It´s taking pleasure in life´s goodness” 

I would recommend it for your late summer reading.



My New Book Coming August 1!

Raising Adults - Book Cover

I’m excited to announce that my new book will be available on August 1st!

Having been a teacher for 17 years I wanted to share some insights I have in the educational process. I wanted to take some pressure off of parents and students and help them see there is more to school than grades.

There are skills that students learn that are more important and more valuable than the subjects they study.

I describe 6 skills that not only successful students possess but successful adults.

I wanted to encourage parents to raise adults not children!

I hope you will share my book with anyone who has a child from Kindergarten to 12th grade!

Share it with teachers. I give away a few teacher’s secrets in my book which they will be glad that I shared!

Look for it August 1st!





Great Book List from Minimalist Souls!

If you’d like to read more about simplicity and minimalism, check out these books suggested by Minimalists Souls. She did a great job compiling some great reads. Check our her blog, too!

My wife and I always love to looks for things that inspire us and now especially as we have begun our journey as minimalist. Our faith has to do a lot with our inspiration and using the tool of minimalism has given that journey a better and more profound meaning. Below is a list of […]

via 7 Books that will inspire you — minimalistSOULS

Review of Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”


I know I’m about 2-3 years behind trend. That’s typical for me when it comes to anything cultural. But I just discovered Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”  and devoured it in a couple of hours and I now see what all the hoopla was/is about.

If you’re like me and you missed it when it came out, Marie Kondo, a Japanese cleaning consultant shares her KonMari method of clearing out and cleaning up.  She explains  the transforming affect that tidying up your home can have on your life. She explains her system and shares stories of how her client’s lives have been impacted by her method.

Her Japanese respect for all things blends with her childlike heart and to hear her share about thanking her belongings for serving her and describing how she greets her house and thanks it for sheltering her just makes me want to hug her. It’s a precious book.

I read it with an open mind and with a desire to find a better method for ridding myself of all the stuff that’s weighing me down. And that is part of what she presents, that if you rid yourself of excess stuff you can find out who you truly are, what you truly love and what your purpose is.

She has many ideas that I agree with. I agree with her philosophy behind discarding and cleaning up for the most part. I do believe it can be transformative, that it is a dialog with oneself and that the things we keep and throw away can be very telling. I also  agree that when discarding things it could be helpful to ask one’s self, “Does this spark joy?” I think that is a reasonable approach to making the difficult decision whether to throw something out or not. I agree wholeheartedly with a point I also said, “Your family doesn’t want your stuff” so don’t try to unload it on them.

However, there is one major part of her plan that I don’t agree with, and that is doing it all at once. Kondo proposes that a person go through their whole house all at once and that is the key to the transformation and the ability to keep your house tidy.

I agree with her that it is a benefit to do the big clear out while one has the momentum and excitement about it. I also agree that it can be a positive shock to one’s system to see their home suddenly all neat and tidy thereby propelling them to keep it that way.

However, for a person my age (though Kondo says she has clients in their 50’s) I think it would be too overwhelming. I think it would be too much pressure not to mention physical work. By the time you’re in your 50’s and your kids are adults and gone and you’ve retired or changed careers, you have a LOT of stuff (that is emotionally charged, I might add) to sort through. I just don’t see how it can be done in one fell swoop.

I consider myself a “thrower-outer” therefore I don’t think I have a ton of stuff, but it would have been impossible for me to go through my whole house in one or two days. My plan of making “sweeps” through my house has been a great help to me because I have been able to do an initial throw out session, then make 2 or 3 more sweeps after removing a little at a time. I can take an hour (or less) here and there to discard more. I will admit it does take mental effort to maintain a minimalist mindset at the beginning. You can take a break, but you have to make yourself get back to task.

For example, I did an initial sweep to my book collection. In the following days, I walked by my shelves and as I did I’d see a book that I thought could also be discarded. I’d think some more and then when I had the time I made a second sweep. I removed more books. I didn’t feel the pressure to have to decide in one day. And then just today, probably months after the initial sweep and a week after a secondary sweep,  I walked by my shelf again and I pulled a book out and put it in the box by the door to be donated.

I feel by giving myself time, making my “sweeps” I am actually developing a minimalist mindset and subsequent lifestyle.

I think the “all-at-once” method is really the only thing that I had a problem with. I think she has some great ideas on the order in which one should approach discarding. Starting with easier items such as clothes and saving the emotionally charged items after you’ve gotten used to throwing things out is brilliant. Going through your things by category instead of room is great (I address that in my plan when I tell you to take everything to the place where it will be stored. That way you get everything all in one place before you go through it.) I think she has some great ideas for storage. I think she has some beautiful thoughts on gratitude and ways of thinking about living our lives in the present.

Don’t get fooled by her sweet voice, she’s a tough cookie. She’s pretty brutal about throwing some things out!

I have a few places in my home that I’m still working on, but when I make another sweep of my clothing, I’m going to try her method for discarding and storing clothes. I love the idea of NOT having seasonal wear! Can it be done? I’ll let you know when I get there.