I recently found some lovely books that feed my desire for a simple, soul-nurturing lifestyle. They make up the stack by my bedside and I read them before dozing off at night. Check them out, and prepare to be inspired...
The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections by Amanda Blake Soule. Amanda is the author of the blog "Soulemama," where she writes about crafting, parenting, and homeschooling. I love her blog! The book is just as great. She talks about having fun with fewer toys, great art projects for fun and gifts, exploring nature with your children, and establishing celebrations throughout the year (that go beyond a present-fest of Christmas). This book is inspirational and contains lots of good suggestions for crafts, even if you are the anti-Martha Stewart.
Too Many Cooks: Kitchen Adventures with 1 Mom, 4 Kids, and 102 Recipes by Emily Franklin. Part recipe book and part memoir, this book reminds me of a fabulous book I read a few years ago by Amanda Hesser called Cooking For Mr. Lattee (and if you like that book, try Hesser's first book, The Cook and the Gardner about her life cooking in France). Too Many Cooks is completely lovable for its charm and for the way it opens you to the possibility of how well your family could eat. Read this book and you'll be in awe of Emily, a stay-at-home mom of four and author of a dozen novels in addition to this gem.
The Gentle Art of Domesticity: Stitching, Baking, Nature, Art & the Comforts of Home by Jane Brocket. This is my favorite book of the three. Jane distinguishes "domesticity" from "domesticated" -- domesticity being the pleasures and joys of the gentle domestic arts of knitting, crochet, baking, stitching, quilting, gardening, and homemaking and domestication being the repetitive, endless rounds of cleaning, washing, ironing, shopping and house maintenance. I love this books for its beautiful pictures, its recipes and DIY projects, and its expression of the value of homemaking.