October Holidays, Celebrations, and Observances

October Holidays, Celebrations, and Observances

I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. - Anne Shirley

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October Celebrations

Not only do celebrations give us something to look forward to, but they provide opportunities to make space for special moments of connection with children. Decorate your space, or create a special craft, or prepare gifts for friends. Whatever you do, do it together, and you're guaranteed to make some memories.

Non-traditional celebrations in October:

Have you checked out my October celebration printables yet?

  • National Black Dog Day, October 1st
  • National Homemade Cookies Day, October 1st
  • National Custodial Worker’s Recognition Day, October 2nd
  • National Body Language Day, October 2nd (1st Friday in October)
  • National Cinnamon Buns Day, October 4th
  • World Smile Day, October 4th
  • National Get Funky Day, October 5th
  • National Do Something Nice Day, October 5th
  • National Consignment Day, October 5th, (1st Monday in October)
  • National Mad Hatter Day, October 6th
  • National Noodle Day, October 6th
  • National Chocolate-Covered Pretzel Day, October 7th
  • National Inner Beauty Day, October 7th
  • National Pumpkin Seed Day, October 7th (1st Wednesday in October)
  • National Fluffernutter Day, October 8th
  • American Touch Tag Day, October 8th
  • National Leif Erikson Day, October 9th
  • National Moldy Cheese Day, October 9th
  • National Cake Decorating Day, October 10th
  • World Mental Health Day, October 10th
  • National Chess Day, October 10th (2nd Saturday in October)
  • National Costume Swap Day, October 10th (2nd Saturday in October)
  • National I Love Yarn Day, October 10th (2nd Saturday in October)
  • International Day of the Girl Child, October 11th
  • National Sausage Pizza Day, October 11th
  • National Coming Out Day, October 11th
  • Clergy Appreciation Day, October 11th (2nd Sunday in October)
  • National Freethought Day, October 12th
  • National Farmer’s Day, October 12th
  • National Gumbo Day, October 12th
  • National Train Your Brain Day, October 13th
  • National Yorkshire pudding Day, October 13th
  • National Dessert Day, October 14th
  • Be Bald and Be Free Day, October 14th
  • National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work or School Day, October 14th (Second Wednesday in October)
  • National Fossil Day, October 14th (Wednesday of the 2nd full week in October)
  • National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day, October 14th
  • National Cheese Curd Day, October 15th
  • National I Love Lucy Day, October 15th
  • National Grouch Day, October 15th
  • National Sports Day, October 16th
  • National Dictionary Day, October 16h
  • Global Cat Day, October 16th
  • National Mulligan Day, October 17th
  • National Pasta Day, October 17th
  • Black Poetry Day, October 17th
  • National Sweetest Day, October 17th (3rd Saturday in October)
  • National Exascale Day, October 18th
  • International Legging Day, October 18th
  • National Chocolate Cupcake Day, October 18th
  • National Seafood Bisque Day, October 19th
  • National LGBT Center Awareness Day, October 19th
  • National Youth Confidence Day, October 20th
  • National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day, October 21st
  • National Reptile Awareness Day, October 21st
  • National Hagfish Day, October 21st (3rd Wednesday in October)
  • National Make a Dog’s Day, October 22nd
  • National Nut Day, October 22nd
  • National Color Day, October 22nd
  • National Boston Cream Pie Day, October 23rd
  • National Mole Day, October 23rd
  • National Food Day, October 24th
  • National Make a Difference Day, October 24th (4th Saturday in October)
  • United Nations Day, October 24th
  • National Greasy Food Day, October 25th
  • Sourest Day, October 25th
  • National Mule Day, October 26th
  • National Pumpkin Day, October 26th
  • National Mincemeat Day, October 26th
  • National Black Cat Day, October 27th
  • National Chocolate Day, October 28th
  • National Cat Day, October 29th
  • National Oatmeal Day, October 29th
  • National Hermit Day, October 29th
  • National Candy Corn Day, October 30th
  • National Frankenstein Day, October 30th (last Friday in October)
  • National Breadstick Day, October 30th (last Friday in October)
  • National Trick or Treat Day, October 31st (last Saturday in October)
  • National Caramel Apple Day, October 31st
  • National Knock-Knock Jokes Day, October 31st
  • National Magic Day, October 31st

Famous October birthdays:

  • Julie Andrews, October 1, 1935. Actress, singer. Mary Poppins & The Sound of Music
  • Groucho Marx, October 2, 1890. Comedian.
  • Don McLean, October 2, 1945. Singer, songwriter, "American Pie"
  • Ray Kroc, October 5, 1902. Founder of McDonald's
  • George Westinghouse, October 6, 1846. Engineer, inventor, developed AC electric power.
  • Desmond Tutu, October 7, 1931. Archbishop, Nobel Peace Prize winner.
  • R. L. Stine, October 8, 1943. Children's book author.
  • Henry John Heinz, October 11, 1844. Founder of the Heinz ketchup company.
  • Eleanor Roosevelt, October 11, 1844. First Lady.
  • E. E. Cummings, October 14, 1894. Poet.
  • Noah Webster, October 16, 1758. Compiled first American English dictionary.
  • Oscar Wilde, October 16, 1854. Poet, playwright.
  • Evel Knievel, October 17, 1938. Motorcycle daredevil.
  • Mike Ditka. October 18, 1939. DA BEARS.
  • Alfred Nobel, October 21, 1833. Chemist, engineer, established Nobel prize.
  • Gertrude Ederle, October 23, 1906. First woman to swim the English channel.
  • Pablo Picasso, October 25, 1881. Artist.
  • Emily Post, October 27, 1872. Etiquette maven.
  • Dylan Thomas, October 27, 1914. Poet.
  • Ezra Pound, October 30, 1855. Poet.
  • John Keats, October 31, 1795. Poet.
  • Juliette Gordon Low, October 31, 1860. Founder of Girl Scouts of America.
  • Vanilla Ice, October 31, 1967. Ice, Ice, Baby.

October 2020 holidays of the more standard-fare:

  • Full Harvest moon, Thursday, October 1st
  • Sukkot begins, Friday, October 2nd
  • Shemini Atzeret & Simchat Torah, Friday, October 9th
  • Indigenous People's Day, Monday, October 12th
  • Halloween, Saturday, October 31st
October 05, 2020 — Lori Oster
How To Create Circle Time Routines the Children Will Love

How To Create Circle Time Routines the Children Will Love

The best daily routines help kids feel safe, secure, and comfortable.

Create a beautiful circle time gathering space, infuse your meetings with predictable routines, and get moving and get silly!

Whether you're doing circle time at home, or in the classroom, these are some things you can do to make sure it's a fun and engaging experience for everyone.

September Holidays, Celebrations, and Observances

September Holidays, Celebrations, and Observances

Oh, September! Originally the seventh month of the year, September is just packed with holidays, celebrations, and observations. If you're looking to break up the monotony and add some extra joy into your days this September, look no further.

Follow me on IG for celebration updates and ideas!

Join my new Facebook group for people who want to find joy in the simple things!

September Celebrations

Not only do celebrations give us something to look forward to, but they provide opportunities to make space for special moments of connection with children. Decorate your space, or create a special craft, or prepare gifts for friends. Whatever you do, do it together, and you're guaranteed to make some memories.

Non-traditional celebrations in September:

Have you downloaded your free September Celebrations Calendar for 2020 yet? What are you waiting for?!

  • World Coconut Day, September 2nd
  • National Skyscraper Day, September 3rd
  • National Lazy Mom’s Day, September 4th
  • National Wildlife Day, September 4th
  • International Day of Charity, September 5th
  • National Cheese Pizza Day, September 5th. Grab my printable celebration pack for this holiday here!
  • National Read a Book Day, September 6th
  • International Sudoku Day, September 9th
  • National Wiener Schnitzel Day, September 9th
  • National Make Your Bed Day, September 11th
  • National Chocolate Milkshake Day, September 12th
  • National Video Games Day, September 12th
  • Grandparents Day, September 13th
  • National Blame Someone Else Day, September 13th
  • National Peanut Day, September 13th
  • National Coloring Day, September 14th
  • International Hot Dog Day, September 15th
  • National Linguine Day, September 15th
  • National Online Learning Day, September 15th
  • Mexican Independence Day, September 16th
  • National Guacamole Day, September 16th
  • National Cheeseburger Day, September 18th
  • National Dance Day, September 19th
  • National Gymnastics Day, September 19th
  • National Talk Like a Pirate Day, September 19th
  • National Pepperoni Pizza Day, September 20th
  • National Punch Day, September 20th
  • National Queso Day, September 20th
  • National Elephant Appreciation Day, September 22nd
  • National Ice Cream Cone Day, September 22nd
  • National White Chocolate Day, September 22nd
  • National Cooking Day September, 25th
  • National Daughters Day September, 25th
  • National Lobster Day September, 25th
  • Better Breakfast Day September, 26th
  • Johnny Appleseed Day September, 26th
  • National Bunny Day September, 26th
  • National Dumpling Day September, 26th
  • National Family Day September, 26th
  • National Pancake Day September, 26th
  • National No Excuses Day September, 27th
  • National Neighbor Day September, 28th
  • National Coffee Day September, 29th
  • World Heart Day September, 29th
  • National Love People Day September, 30th
  • National Waffle Week, September 6th through 12th

Famous September birthdays:

  • John Dalton, September 6, 1766. The chemist and physicist who formulated atomic theory.
  • Barry White, September 12, 1944.
  • Judith Martin, September 13, 1938. "Miss Manners"
  • Roald Dahl, September 13, 1916. Writer of some of the most delightful children's books.
  • Agatha Christie, September 15, 1890. Mystery writer.
  • Jim Henson, September 24, 1936
  • Shel Silverstein, September 25, 1930
  • Will Smith, September 25, 1968
  • Enrico Fermi, September 29, 1901. Nuclear physicist.

September 2020 holidays of the more standard-fare:

  • Full moon, Wednesday, September 2nd
  • Labor Day/Labour Day (US & Canada), Monday, September 7th
  • Patriot Day (US), Friday, September 11th
  • The month of Elul ends, Friday, September 18th (Elul began on Friday, August 21st)
  • New moon, Thursday, September 17th
  • Rosh Hashanah begins, Friday, September 18th
  • International Day of Peace, Monday, September 21st
  • Autumnal Equinox, Tuesday, September 22nd
  • Yom Kippur, Sunday, September 27th
  • Michaelmas, Tuesday, September 29th
August 30, 2020 — Lori Oster
How to Help Your Kids Feel Safe in an Uncertain Time

How to Help Your Kids Feel Safe in an Uncertain Time

One thing is certain: our children rely on us to provide them with a sense of safety and security, especially during scary times. As if you needed any more pressure, right? That's okay, we can do this together.

Here‘s how: routines, rituals, and celebrations. Who has time for THAT? you say. You do, because I've got your back. Read on.

Check out all my learning-from-home printables here

Create Simple Daily Routines

Routines are so comforting to children. They create the structure children crave, and their predictability helps us all feel anchored and secure. All it takes is a couple simple daily habits to create moments of connection with your little ones. Some ideas:

Morning calendar time. Hang up a calendar, ideally a beautiful one that the children will want to touch and admire. Spend a few minutes every morning moving the today marker to the new day, and recognizing all the details about where you are: Today is Tuesday. It is the fourth day of the month of August. The year is 2020. What is the weather like today? Let's go see!

There's a reason classrooms are filled with calendary materials. We derive a deep sense of comfort in knowing where we are now. I mean, have you seen the sheer amount of adults who bullet journal? There's something to to this, my friends. Every morning, go to the calendar with your kids, look to the day or week ahead and discuss any exciting holidays or small adventures you have planned, and add them to your calendar. Easy peasy, yet powerful. Find your perfect wall calendar here.

Other morning routines that help children feel secure and foster community:

Attendance boards. Oh do I love me an attendance board--as children arrive to the classroom, they simply add their name to the board on the wall. This small routine says: we are so glad you're here, you belong to this community, and we miss you when you're absent. You can use a printed board for your attendance board, or decorate rocks with children's names, or anything! Get creative with it. It's the habit that matters. Check out my super cute attendance board here.

Morning jobs. So, as adults we hear the word "jobs" and groan, but children love having jobs! Capitalize on this while you can, friends. Identify ways the children can care for their learning environment, and create teams so the children can do the work together, or maybe now that we're living in this new normal just have them do the work solo for a bit. Either way--the jobs can be simple things: watering the plants, dust the shelves, organize the colored pencils, fill the printer paper. I have a really sweet and simple morning jobs chart here.

When we involve children in the care of their environment, we foster their sense of ownership and community. And we offload a bit of the grudge work which, hey, who doesn't want in on that?

Create Weekly Rituals

The rituals of our childhood become the treasured memories of our adulthood. It's true.

Simple, celebratory rituals. Weekly calendars are my favorite for organizing this. Fill your calendar with your weekly rituals, whatever they may be: Special treats on Fridays, Wild Wednesday dance parties, Time Out Tuesdays where you take an hour to do something non-academic. The possibilities are endless. Remember show-and-tell from your own childhood? This is the kind of thing we're going for--fun, simple, child-centered, low-prep for us overworked adults.

Even if--no, especially if your children are e-learning, work to create some space for the children to come together throughout the week.

Celebrate the Small Stuff

Children are pros as delighting in the simple things. Have you ever tried to take a quick walk with a toddler? Not a chance, right? Bring more simple delights into your learning space to bolster everyone's sense of security and wonder.

Celebrate birthdays. Sweet, simple, child-focused birthday celebrations not only bring joy, but they work to foster a sense of community and connection, which in turn nurtures their sense of security. You don't need store-bought decorations or huge displays to make a birthday special. Hang up a classroom birthday chart. Decorate paper bunting with the children, make birthday crowns, present a birthday poster to the child of honor, and spend a few minutes singing and celebrating the day together. Check out my rad birthday printables here, you're going to love them.

Celebrate student achievements. Help the children set goals, and celebrate when they reach them. No victory is too small. Have fun with this--put a small bell in the classroom for children to ring when they're proud of an achievement, or create a ritual of doing a silent happy dance. The goofier the better, in my opinion. Whatever works for your group, create a habit of celebrating small victories. Need help getting your ish together? I have planner printables.

Celebrate Everything

This is basically my own personal life motto. Life is short and uncertain, and nothing is too small to celebrate. Celebrations can be big and loud, or simple and quiet. They can be with friends, or my personal favorite--enjoyed alone hiding in the laundry room with a pastry and a hot coffee while the kids bang on the locked door. You do you, friends. Whatever you do, a habit of celebrating the little things will create a joyful environment for your, and the children around you, and what feels safer than that?

We want to hear from you! What are your favorite, most meaningful routines, rituals, and celebrations? Please share in the comments!
When we say every child deserves to grow in a beautiful environment, we mean it. Luftmensch Designs donates printables to BIPOC parents and teachers who would like to use them, but are concerned about the costs. Please email material requests, or offers to sponsor materials for others, to Lori@luftmenschdesigns.com.
August 02, 2020 — Lori Oster
How to Figure Out What Day It Is

How to Figure Out What Day It Is

My 3 1/2 year old daughter woke up the other day and said, "Is today yesterday? Tomorrow is today. Yesterday is tomorrow. Every day is the same now!"

All I could think was, Indeed, darling. Indeed.

When we were first quarantined, we set up a home learning environment with beautifully organized trays of materials. I had grand visions of finally being the homeschooler I've always wanted to be. Hahahahahahahahaha!

That lasted for about a week. Turns out, I was not prepared to create a good rhythm in my home when we were all stuck there together, every damn day. Yes, me, the calendar lady. I couldn't hack it.

Here we are four months later, still at home together, still struggling. Turns out, it's hard to create a good rhythm when you don't really leave the house. Pre-pandemic we went to school and work every day. Sundays we met family for breakfast. Chess on Mondays. Gymnastics on Wednesdays. Our weeks were dotted with so many small experiences that helped define one day from the next.

If anything, I've learned that all of this stuff I've been saying for so long about the importance of rhythm and routine--well, I didn't know how right I was! ;) It remains true that rhythm, ritual, and routine give children (and apparently their parents) a deep sense of security. We thrive with rhythm, it guides us gently from one sunrise to the next. And when we're out of rhythm, well, things don't go so smoothly, do they? Not around here, they don't.

So how do we figure out what day it is in a global pandemic? How do we create rhythm when so many of us aren't even leaving the house much?

We're still working on it, but here's what we've figured out so far:

It's time to create some new rituals and routines.

In our house, we've adopted Friday night pizza and movie nights. So basic, I know. But it's basic because it's fun and easy for overtired parents to pull off. (By the way, are you even more exhausted lately? Me, too!) We've designated Wednesday as Ice Cream Truck days. On Mondays we grill. Taco Tuesday is a non-negotiable. Weekend mornings we let the kids watch cartoons when they wake up so we can sleep in. (Whyyyy haven't I been doing this one all along?)

Keep those calendars on the wall!

Believe it or not, we took our big calendar down in May, and thus commenced a period that is nothing more than a blur in my mind. I had no idea what day it was. I was constantly asking my husband the same questions my little one asked me--What day is it? Is it yesterday? Where am I? We recently put our calendar back up and restarted our little morning ritual of setting the current day, date, and weather, and it really helps anchor our days. Which, of course, I knew it would.

Make the small things, big things.

Pre-pandemic, we spent a lot of time visiting museums, and trampoline parks, and local waterpark hotels. Now? We turn the smallest events into EVENTS. We made Rice Krispies treats yesterday, and you would have thought we'd been sculpting gold. It was a to do. We turn family game days into tournaments, and dance parties now require costumes, a pre-planned music list, and invites. And you know what? We're having a lot of fun.

Like you, I never expected to live through a global pandemic. I never thought I'd get months upon months (or has it been years?) to spend long days at home with my husband and children. And it has not been all unicorns and rainbows. Nope nope nope. I've had days where I found myself yelling at the kids, and even as it was happening and I was telling myself to stop, I just couldn't. Those were bad days, and I think we all have those, too.

But we're well, and we're together, and we're carving out new rituals each week to mark one day from the next, to add some structure to our time at home. I still can't always tell you exactly what day it is, but I'm feeling more grounded with each passing week. We're pushing through, and making moments of joy, and truly testing out all these ideas I've been yammering on about all along--the simple life, and slow living, and protecting our time.

So, my friends, here's to more good days than bad. Here's to new rituals, and finding simple joy at home during this unprecedented time.

How are you? What's working for you at home? Have you established any new rituals? Please share in the comments. (Did I mention my favorite new ritual? It's when the kids are asleep and my husband and I gorge on Netflix, popcorn and diet root beer. Seriously, try it.)
July 22, 2020 — Lori Oster
How To Be Okay Not Being Okay

How To Be Okay Not Being Okay

I'm laughing at my former self, who sent out a newsletter with Slow Living Tips.

Here we are, a month into the stay-at-home order in Illinois, and I have a whole new perspective on this slow living thing. Turns out slow living feels much better when it exists in a world that continues to move quickly outside my front door. So, my slow living tip for this month of forced, global shutdown is this:

It's okay to not be okay with the slow life you're currently forced to live.

You don't need me to tell you this, of course. But maybe it helps to hear it from someone outside of your own head? If it does, I have some more messages for you during this global pandemic:

It's okay to struggle right now.

Even if you are enjoying privileges like sheltering safely at home, keeping your fridge stocked, and getting items delivered so you don't have to venture out. It is still okay to not be okay.

It's okay to feel guilty about struggling right now.

Maybe you aren't risking your life as an essential worker. Maybe you're home and healthy with your children, binge watching movies and eating snacks. Yet maybe you're still having a really hard time. It's okay. There is no minimum hardship required to legitimize your struggle during a global pandemic. It's okay to feel desolate as you eat popcorn and rewatch your favorite shows. This is hard for everyone, and that includes you.

It's okay to be hyper-productive right now. And it's also okay to go into sloth-mode.

I can't eye roll hard enough at all the productivity articles circulating, because this is not the time to tell anyone what they should be doing. Your job is to survive the pandemic. Period. But we all cope in our own ways. Maybe it helps you to take on a huge product and share it with the world. Renovate away, my friend. But maybe you feel paralyzed and it takes everything you've got to change out of your morning pjs and into your daytime pjs before noon, and that's okay, too.

It's okay to drop all of your standards right now.

Screen-time limits. Personal hygiene. Diet. Attitude. Tone of voice. All bets are off. If your house is filled with greasy-haired, pajama-wearing, potato chip-eating yellers who spend most of their waking hours transfixed by the glow of various screens, it's all good. This season won't last forever, and you are doing great

There will be a return to normal.

It will be a new normal, but we will make plans again. Maybe we'll dance longer at weddings, and write more heartfelt birthday cards. Maybe we'll let our conversations with friends linger a bit longer. Maybe we'll smile at strangers, and be more patient with everyone, including ourselves.

When the twin burdens of fear and uncertainty are lifted, when we have come through to the other side, things will be different, of course. But life will resume. We will mourn those we've lost. We will mourn the milestones we didn't get to celebrate, and the goals we abandoned. We will process our grief, and that in itself will be hard. But this season will end, and normal life will resume one day.

Until then, it's okay to not be okay.

April 18, 2020 — Lori Oster
What Do You Do When You Get Everything You Want?

What Do You Do When You Get Everything You Want?

So, it looks like I'm getting everything I've always wanted: time, space, slow unscheduled days with the people I love most, free from external pressure to go go go.

So what's the issue?

Besides the fact that we are facing a pandemic and I fear for everyone's well-being, this unfettered time at home with my family is all just a bit . . . sudden. Overwhelming. Indefinite.

I've long been a homeschooler wannabe. My Instagram feed is filled with stunning images of homeschooling family life. Little legs draped over squashy reading chairs. Walls covered with stunning Cavallini Paper Co. illustrations. Library shelves artfully arranged with a small frame here, a finger loop candle there. This is what my homeschooling dreams are made of.

My impending homeschool reality? It's gonna look just a tad different.

There will be no dedicated homeschooling space, it's going to happen at our dining table, which we'll have to clear three times a day in order to eat meals. There will be frustration, and confusion, and moments when I'm tempted to just let them turn on Netflix so I can have a cup of coffee while it's still warm.

So maybe we aren't so different from homeschooling families after all. Except, of course, we have not prepared for this.

So what to do, what to do?

Here's what we're doing:

  • Manage expectations and simplify. I know we won't manage to stick to a rigid schedule, so we've set up a rhythm for ourselves, instead. Structure will be key to thriving, here, but of course impossible schedules will be your enemy. You can download our daily rhythm for free here.
  • Bring some focus to your work with a theme. I see the schedules going around that allot an hour for mathematics, another for reading, science, etc. Here's the thing about learning: it's interdisciplinary. Instead of segmenting your day by subject, bring some clarity to your work with a theme, instead. Maybe your child loves dinosaurs, or the moon, or market day at school. Pick one and do a day- or week-long deep dive into this theme. 
  • Set some weekly goals. In addition to a theme, choose some skills you want to develop or goals you want to achieve together, and work on those. This will bring some purpose to your work together. Learn to play a song on the guitar, or to say I love you in ten different languages, or set the goal to do 20 pushups. I have this beautiful Field Guide for Long Days at Home that can help, here.
  • Do practical work together. Preparing and cleaning after meals, caring for your house, baking, laundry, all of these things should become part of your daily routine with children. Children want to be a part of the life of the home. Include them.
  • Don't expect to replicate their school experiences at home. I'm a trained educator, but not in early childhood. There's no way I can expect to give my children the same experience at home as they get in school with their incredible teachers and classroom community. That's okay. This will be a different sort of education.
  • Make space to connect. Take advantage of this time. Play board games with your children. Tell stories in the dark with a candle. Write down your favorite family memories together as you make some new ones. This is a hard time, but it's also giving us what we say we want--time, together, with our people. Make it count.
  • Give yourself grace. Maybe you're going to be trying to work from home like me. I can't even imagine how I'm going to do it, but I will. Maybe you have moments of crippling anxiety. Maybe you are spending extra time on your phone reading the news. It's okay. Give yourself some grace. This is hard, and nobody expects you to be perfect. You're doing a great job, keep going.

I'm going to use this space to share resources as I create them. I'm excited and nervous and scared, and I take comfort in knowing that I'm not alone in any of this.

Please share any ideas, support, resources you have in the comments. We need community now more than ever.

March 15, 2020 — Lori Oster
How To Choose Connection Over Productivity

How To Choose Connection Over Productivity

I've been reading a lot of articles about lonely motherhood lately. None of them are surprising, because I've been there.

We pay a price for our privilege today. All of us do, not just mothers. And that price is isolation.

My slow living tip for this month is this:

Resist the pressure to do it all, and choose connection over productivity.

Easier said than done, right? Absolutely. I'm not going to pretend that I'm making this happen for myself on the regular. I'm not.

But here are some ideas from an imperfect soul just trying to find some meaning amidst the chaos:

  • Make a NOT TO DO list. This one is my favorite. We live in an age of invasive technology, and it's wildly distracting. Check out Warren Buffett's 5/25 rule, do the exercise, and then make a NOT TO DO list based on what you've uncovered. And really do not do them. The things we say no to are sometimes more important than the things we do.
  • Foster hyperlocal community. This one is powerful, and there are a lot of ways to connect with your neighbors: Start a book club. Start a local Buy Nothing group. Do Flamingo Fridays in your neighborhood. Social connections to those around you are absolutely vital to your health and well being. I know these particular efforts pay off, because I've tried them all. If you want to start any of these things in your neighborhood, please feel free to contact me for help.
  • Nurture existing connections. I'm so guilty of neglecting my friendships in these years of early motherhood. Commit to reaching out to your friends just once a week, maybe. Or get really old-fashioned and write a letter. Liking a Facebook post will never be as satisfying as sharing a coffee with someone you love.
  • Stay home more. Do you live with other people? Consider clearing your schedule just a tiny bit, and committing to spending some real quality time with the folks who share your address. This isn't so easy when you need to shove piles of laundry off your dining room table just to make some space for game night, but it's worth it. Resist the urge to take care of some thing during this time, and take care of yourselves, instead. Some things to try: screen-free week, a weekly game night ritual, 20 set minutes every day of presence, a yes day with the kids, a family date night, the list goes on.

What about you? What are you doing to connect with the people you love? How are you resisting the pressure to do it all? Please share your tips here, I sure could use them.

Read January 2020's Slow Living Entry: How to Practice Radical Self-Acceptance

February 21, 2020 — Lori Oster
How to Practice Radical Self-Acceptance

How to Practice Radical Self-Acceptance

Maybe the promise of the New Year has already lost its shine for you. Maybe you're like me, already back in the daily grind facing the same old struggles you faced in 2019.

But you know what? That's okay. Because 2019 you was enough, and so is 2020 you.
My first slow living tip for the year is this:

Shed the weight of the misguided expectations you have for yourself, and practice radical self-acceptance, instead.

We may be stuck in a totally backwards cultural moment, where invasive capitalism conditions us to believe that what we have and what we are is never enough, and that we are just a purchase away from real happiness. But you know better.

There is so much to gain by letting go of misguided expectations. You'll discover it's easier to say no to things that don't truly serve you. It's easier to focus and see what's actually important. And once you're free from pursuing mirages, you can pursue meaning, instead.

Here's how. Start small by simply observing the way you spend your time. When your To Do list is three items longer than your time, what item do you focus on, first? When you have some free time, how do you spend it? When you're with the ones you love, what are you doing together?

Are you spending any of your time pursuing things that don't truly serve you? (And I mean the real you, not the you you feel pressured to be because of some external expectation.) Stop. Just let those things go, and don't fill that space with new things. Spend that time with yourself, or with the ones you love, and just be.

Time, after all, is our most precious commodity. Spend your time on what matters, and everything else will fall into place.

Welcome to life in the slow lane.

January 17, 2020 — Lori Oster
How to Slow Time Down

How to Slow Time Down

My favorite things to create are visual reminders of the passage of time,

calendars, trackers, seasonal bucket lists, holiday printables and decorations. If I can't stop time, I can at least track its movement. Oh that's right, I can't stop time. Sorry for the misleading title. ;)

Do you love free printables? Sign up for my newsletter to receive a monthly email from me with a free printable, tips, and resources for living an unhurried life.

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We have fallen hard for Calico Critters/Sylvanian Families in our house, so I've created a fun Calico Critters 2020 printable calendar. This is strictly free fan art, for personal use only--the photos in the calendar are not my own, you can find credits for each photo in the calendar.

If you're a Calico Critters fan like us, please enjoy this free gift from me to you.

Did you download my free calendar? Please tell me if you do!

About Luftmensch Designs. At Luftmensch Designs, we live with our head in the clouds, creating whimsical, artful delights that empower you to live in the moment. Transform your family’s morning routine from crazed to celebratory with unique time trackers. Connect to life’s natural rhythms—and teach little ones to do the same—with hands-on calendars to mark the passage of days, moons, and seasons. Join a community of families embracing a more mindful pace. Some of us are Jewish. (Sleepover camp, anyone?). Some are Montessorians. (Mats and rods and pink towers, oh my!) All are quirky, intentional, and brave enough to savor beauty and slow. things. down.

Discover something that makes your heart happy. Take a breath and a browse.

January 01, 2020 — Lori Oster