Releasing Books

In Simple Mama group on Monday we talked about going through our homes and clearing to open space. And then the inevitable, but how can you get rid of books comes up!

I've been on a journey for the last year to capture the ability to keep an organized home like that of my type A friends without becoming type A. I thought perhaps I could channel some of my OCD and flip it on its head. I studied. I read. I watched these friends of mine. I felt trapped in my physical space because my mind could not communicate with my desires.

Somewhere along my journey I realized that what I needed was space. I was using my stuff as a way of keeping myself stuck and safe. The reality of living in a small space, though it has come to be one of my best teachers, was that I needed less. Not only did I need less stuff, but it was time to learn how to break this strong attachment to things and open up room for the joy of simplicity. And this journey has been wild and I learn about the layers of myself with each purge or release of stuff.

I have a genetic need for collecting and keeping. As I've been going through the stuff releasing, books have been the hardest to let go of. This is my third or fourth time going through our kid books in about a year. The Harvest Moon felt like the right time to release a little bit deeper.

We started by making piles.

  • Books that are never looked at/mama doesn't really like to read
  • Books that are torn or broken or that we have more than one of
  • Special books for each child
  • Seasonal books
  • Whatever is left

The books go to their special places. Eli has a little shelf in his room, you may notice it is spiderman, pokemon and dragon related. Makes sense. All the Christmas and winter books that were forgotten from the hidden pile in the basement go back to their home. Oh the day those get to come out, we love that day! The Autumn books full of witches and leaves and pumpkins go upstairs into a special seasonal basket.

Lucas has his own basket next to his bed with his current favorites. If you don't know Gossie and Gertie and Ollie, you will fall in love with these little ones! And the Pokemon book just makes him happy for hours looking at each little character and dreaming up what they are about.

Chloe's chapter books get moved back to her room, and her books are for sorting through another day, when she feels in the mood for some releasing of her own. Lucas and I went through the last piles and took out all the books that were about moons, night time, monsters in the dark, good night words and sweet dreams. We gave them a special home in the boys room just for fun night time reading.

One big pile goes to the thrift store. The last two piles just needed a big box for storage and they will go rest away for a bit. I'll go through them again when the season changes from Winter to Spring.

What starts to emerge is a defined collection of memories, joys and interests. Not allowing all books to be out at the same time creates rhythm and excitement for the seasons. When you go through and clear space, you see everything again. Things open up and become special and inviting.

Releasing books. Making space.

How do you find your attachment to books keeps you holding on to them even after you may no longer look at or need them?

Mango Meets Chocolate

One of my favorite cookbooks for family meals is Feeding The Whole Family, by Cynthia Lair. I use some of the recipes exactly as they are written and others as a jumping off point for creations of my own. Imagine my happiness that Cynthia is sending a signed copy of her book which will be kicking off monthly give aways on my blog. More on that to come. Mangoes are ripe and really affordable at the store this week. I was dreaming of a creamy, rich pudding using these mangoes, and the idea of pairing it with chocolate kept dancing it's way into my thoughts. I have eaten my fair share of this one, so please...your turn!

Mango Pudding with Chocolate Sauce

4 mangoes, flesh diced

1 1/2 cups soaked (8 hours) cashews

Juice of 1 lemon

1 Tb raw honey

1 Tb vanilla

In a high speed blender place mango, nuts, lemon, honey and vanilla in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. You may need to add just a splash of water to get things moving, though nice ripe mangoes should be juicy enough.

1 can coconut milk (not low fat)

1 cup 70-80% dark chocolate

1/4 cup raw honey

2 Tb vanilla

In a small saucepan, heat coconut milk to a simmer. Reduce heat, add chocolate and honey and stir on low for about 15 minutes. Turn off heat, stir in vanilla and allow to cool.

Place pudding in small bowls or cups, leaving room at top for chocolate sauce. Pour the cooled sauce over top, refrigerate for about 5 hours until smooth and cold. Enjoy in the sun with your feet up!