What I’ve been up to lately…

It’s gotten a little quiet here, hasn’t it? Yes, it has. We have had some major changes in our family and we are still adjusting so I have to set priorities. Don’t worry, everything is fine!

And I just want to let you know what I’m thinking about.

In the past I have been focusing on unschooling mainly. However, unschooling is something that just doesn’t work for us. Not because of us – we sure love it! But because of the country we’re living in. Unschooling is illegal over here. We have to either public or private school our kids. There is no alternative whatsoever.

I hate that thought and I will ponder about unschooling and homeschooling and home education and educational freedom some more, I promise. But I feel I want to focus more on Catholic Attachment Parenting in the future.

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How does that sound?

There are some great Catholic Attachment Parenting blogs out there and I think this blog can be part of this community. How do you feel?

So what am I planning to do?

I want to share some thoughts about why Attachment Parenting is Catholic – for me. What that means. What we can learn from our faith for our parenting journey. How we can parent our kids in gentle and loving way – not just infants, but also toddlers, kids and even teens.

I want to share some thoughts on how we can build strong families and why that is important. I want to share so many thoughts!

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Are you excited? I know I am!

But let’s take it slow, because I need to focus on my family right now. But what about you? Are there topics, questions, ideas you want to read about here at Living a Catholic Fairy Tale? What’s on your mind? Just let me know!

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A Weekend in Pictures – July 16th/17th 2016

We have had an eventful beautiful weekend – family trips, playground time, Holy Mass and great food. Is there anything more you can possibly dream of? Our weekend started on a very early Saturday morning when we were headed to the railroad station. What an adventure for the kids!

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Going on a family trip by train is something we enjoy as a family – we love trains and everything that goes with it! The kids had fun time looking out of the window, snacking, reading and running around.

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Since we had mostly sunny and warm weather we spent most time outside – on the playground, in the park, taking a walk. And also in the zoo. Although I really hate zoos…

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I think the kids enjoyed our trip to the zoo, though – and I don’t blame them. However, I really can’t help it, I always get so sad watching those beautiful creatures caged for our pleasure. Catching a glimpse of this baby zebra made me feel very ambivalent. Somehow I was happy to watch the two of them, but at the same time it made me so unhappy to realize that this cute baby zebra will never know what freedom is…

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Those two rhinos seemed to be very relaxed and didn’t bother being stared at by the crowd outside the compound. But I don’t like to see them caged. Aren’t they majestic creatures? It breaks my heart that they are critically endangered animals.

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Oh yeah, and I love this llama.

It has been a long weekend – which doesn’t necessarily mean that our kids are tired and need to sleep, though…

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Well, never mind. It has been exciting for our kids, so I do understand they can’t sleep. I wouldn’t mind your prayers, though, maybe they can sleep at least through the night?

Anyways. How was your weekend?

Living a minimalist life as a family – and why that is something worth considering

This is a very special day for me because I want to share some ideas with you  that I’m very excited about: Minimalism.

Have you heard about Minimalism?

In case you haven’t I’m more than glad to give you a short introduction. Minimalism is a highly idealistic philosophy and a way of life that focuses on living a kind of essentialistic life.

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I know, that is very theoretical and I’m going to show what it means to live a minimalist life in practice and why that might be something worth considering in just a minute. But first I want to tell you why minimalism sparks me so much and why I think it is a deeply Christian way of living.

Do you know the saying “less is more”? I guess you do and if you do you also know Minimalism – because that is what minimalism is all about: owning less, consuming less, polluting less, harming less. Minimalism is all about focusing on what really matters and not getting bogged down in details.

So what does really matter to you?

Growing into a Minimalist lifestyle actually requires two things in the first place: Finding our what really matters and reducing things. Minimalists often refer to the “5 R’s”:

  • refuse
  • reduce
  • reuse (+repair)
  • recycle
  • rot

Those are actually not only the 5 R’s of Minimalism but also the principles of Zero Waste – but I will come to that later. So what am I trying to tell you here?

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We often get bogged down in details – simply because we own too much, we consume too much and we want too much. We kind of lose track of what really matters, what really is important and essential because we are so distracted. Other than that we cause pollution and harm others with these kinds of lifestyle choices.

Do you remember what Jesus says in Matthew 6?

No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

~ Matthew 6:24

This is Minimalism. Consumerism doesn’t only cause pollution and harm other people due to awful labor conditions in many countries – it also distracts us from what really matters: God and his message to us – the Good News.

Minimalism can do so much for us, for our neighbors and the entire planet. It can help us grow as a person, it can help us grow in faith, compassion, responsibility and love and it can help cure the planet.

I’m very excited about these ideas and how Minimalism can look like in practice. So be prepared for a whole bunch of articles about Minimalism and its benefits! How do you feel about that?

Why idealism and perfectionism are just not the same

Just last week I told you about my idealistic values and how that affects my life and the life of the people around me. This week I want to talk about perfectionism. And I want you to understand something very important: Idealism is not perfectionism!

Being idealistic means to stick to a certain value orientation, to believe in certain values and to be willing to always learn and become better at things. It’s actually an optimistic worldview – and it’s really not about being perfect. It’s just about getting better and better.

Perfectionism means to always strive for the best result possible. And that’s basically all, it’s not about learning and growing – it’s just about never being good enough, because no one of us is perfect. Perfectionism is a very pessimistic worldview.

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Do you know perfectionists?

I do. Almost every mother I know is to some extent a perfectionist. Moms tend to always feel they could do more and what they are doing is just not good enough. So many Moms always feel bad because of that. And that’s horrible.

So what is my goal with this article?

Actually I want to encourage you and tell you that you perform a whole lot better than you might think. You can’t do it all. I can’t do it all – nobody can. And that’s OK, you know? Just think about it: Do your children really mind when the house is messy? Do they mind eating pasta for the third day in a row? They don’t.

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And you shouldn’t either, because taking care of your kids is the most important thing you do. And as long as they are happy with you – no matter how imperfect you are – you’re doing a pretty good job.

So what am I doing here?

I’m striking a blow for imperfectionism. Be imperfect! You are imperfect anyway, so let’s celebrate it.

Idealism and parenting

I’ve always been an idealist. I’ve always been called a do-gooder and a goody two-shoes. And you know what? I agree.

I think being idealistic is a wonderful virtue. And I think there is a dramatic lack of idealism in our society. Being idealistic doesn’t mean to be naive. I know my ideals will never come true – but that doesn’t stop me from striving for them.

The way is the goal – remember?

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When I first became a mother people laughed at me because of my idealistic parenting values. But I still stick to them. I know I will never be a perfect mother, or a perfect wife or a perfect Catholic – that’s not the point. The point is that I’m confident that I will learn and grow so much along the way that I will benefit from that. More than that: Others will benefit from my ideals, too.

I am pretty confident that my children will not only benefit but also learn from my idealism. I strive to teach them that it’s a good thing to treat others well, to act responsibly, to be eco-conscious and to honor God. I want to teach them that it is worth striving for ideals.

How do you feel about idealism?

A Weekend in pictures – May 28th/29th 2016

We spent a lovely and lazy weekend at home – which was very nice. Lots of drawing, singing, playing and doing nothing at all. That maybe is why I hardly took any pictures – but at least there are some snapshots that I’d love to share.

Let’s see:

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Breakfast time! We just love our homemade bread, that really is better than any bread we tried before. And it’s so simple and cheap, too!

Besides: “Flour” was one of our toddler’s first words…

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I have been watching these buds for days – yearning for the first blossoms.

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So this morning I was so thrilled to see the first one of them! And don’t you just love those?

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Our home-grown parsley, however, doesn’t look so good after all…

Anyways, what else have we done on this lovely lazy weekend?

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Of course we had very simple yet delicious meals that we enjoyed together…

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… somehow this goat appeared to be our special guest. I think I know who invited her…

IMG_20160529_200252… and we shared some beautiful creative moments. Our toddler loves bears.

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The most precious moment, however, (that I don’t have a picture of, though) was in church when our toddler insisted on blessing the whole family with holy water…

How was your weekend?

 

Why it is so important to avoid plastics

In 2009 Werner Boote, an Austrian Filmmaker, released his movie “Plastic Planet” – so far there seems to be no English translation, but “Addicted to Plastic” by Ian Connacher is a similar movie released in English. Both Filmmakers investigate plastics as a global environmental burden and strongly appeal to the public to start to avoid plastics.

Why is that?

 

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Actually there are several reasons why you should avoid plastics – mainly health and environmental reasons.

Plastics contain lots of different components, that can threaten your health. The most known health threatening component in plastics is Bisphenol A (BPA), widely used e.g. in baby bottles. Now certain manufacturers start to produce baby bottles and other products without BPA. That’s a good thing. But unfortunately there are still lots of other components in plastics that can be health threatening, e.g. phthalates and toxic additives.

Scientists assume that lots of additives contained in plastics can have different harmful effects especially on your child’s health, such as allergies, hormonal and metabolic disorders. Some scientists even suspect not only BPA but also phthalates and other components to even cause cancer.

But health issues is not all there is to it.

 

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A lot of environmental problems are also caused by plastics. Unlike other materials such as paper, glass, wood or steel plastics can’t easily be reused or recycled. Plastics are not made-to-last, so they cause a lot of garbage which pollutes not only our cities, but also rivers and especially the oceans.

This is frightening but it is not unchangeable. You can make a difference! You can help to protect God’s wonderful creation.

So stay tuned!

In course of the following weeks and months we want to share lots of tips and tricks about how you can avoid plastics and how you can establish a sustainable family life.

You want to read more? Here are a few more interesting links:

One World one Ocean

Ecowatch

My plastic-free life

Smallfootprintfamily

Treehugger

Plastic Planet (German)