For the record, I’m not of the school of thought that life is in need of hacking. It is what it is – some days more bonkers than others – moment after moment knocking around together to create some semblance of order (or lack thereof). Life is life is life, and I’ve yet to witness a defective one.
But I do find that there are a handful of things that bring more vibrancy to my day, that offer joy or ease or simplicity amidst the humdrum of it all. And I suppose that’s worth sharing, if for no other reason than to heave that same momentary happiness over to your side of the screen…
Here, then, is the list!
A kid-friendly set of podcasts
We’ve entered the toddler red zone where all napping bets are off, so my usual reading-with-Bee window is shuttered, temporarily. While it was once possible to cozy up on the couch and enjoy old Roald Dahl favorites, we’ve taken to the next best thing: story-based podcasts. The Kids Listen app has a slew of recommendations for a variety of subjects, ages and interests (Circle Round is a big hit around here). Each have been a perfect stand-in for when it’s impossible to sit down and read aloud unless I want to find Scout swinging from the chandelier one room over (again).
A healthy alternative to take-out
It’s no secret how boring I am in the kitchen, cooking the same recipes over and over (and over) until the rest of the family throws up their hands in protest and I find a new rotation to belabor. This used to mean fairly frequent take-out treats to spice up the menu, but lately we’ve kicked the habit in favor of meal delivery service Sun Basket (head’s up – it’s $40 off your first order right now). The 30-minute dinners arrive prepped and pre-measured with organic, sustainable ingredients (the Paleo line-up is amazing), offering both a cooking lesson and an incredible meal in one fell swoop. This week, for less than a night of take-out costs, I made Turkish lamb kofte, Manila chicken adobo and the best chipotle turkey chili ever. (Sure beats sushi in styrofoam.)
A simple journal to track our days
I just started my second 5-year diary last month and, before I cracked the new spine, took some time reviewing the last five years in my former one. From the small happenings (what we ate for breakfast) to the big milestones (births, weddings, funerals), they’re all inside. It’s been my favorite practice for a long time, and this year, I’ve started a set for the kids. I’ve never really succeeded at a legitimate baby book, but taking 30 seconds at night to document a few daily memories for them is totally do-able. I get giddy thinking about handing it over to them when they’re older so they can carry on the tradition if they choose. (New update: I’ve been coupling this practice with my Design for Mankind Daily Jotter — you can grab your own right here!)
A quick mid-day pampering
The winter months can be unforgiving to sensitive skin, and while a girlfriend recommended dry brushing a few years ago, I never gave the idea much thought until now (short story short: always listen to your girlfriends). While I can’t attest to the long-term benefits, I love how invigorating the increased circulation feels, even for a few short minutes. My shower feels more ritualistic and relaxing, and when paired with a favorite body oil, the whole experience is downright indulgent.
A brighter dining room table
While there’s something lovely about the taking-down-of-the-Christmas-tree in early January, it sometimes leaves the home feeling sparse and forlorn. This year, I added a simple strand of eucalyptus garland and a few LED tea lights to our dining room table and the small glow has made a world of difference. They’re just realistic enough to pass for actual candles, but won’t require the fire department on standby when the littles decide to “borrow” them for their latest fort. Plus: dinner guests with babies won’t have to spend their entire night batting tiny fingers away from tiny flames. Win/win!
Tell me: what’s bringing you small bits of joy, light and ease these days? I’d love love love to hear!