Meet Tsh of Simple Mom

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Name: Tsh Oxenreider
Location: Currently the Mediterranean area, but originally from Austin, Texas
Website: Simple Mom
Kids: Tate, age 4 1/2; and Reed, age 20 months

If you're looking for more than just pretty pics, and you want to get down to the nitty gritty of managing your home and family- you'll love the rich content over at Simple Mom. We pointed out her Cloth Diapering 101 series in the past, and there is so much more on frugal, simple, balanced living at home over at Simple Mom...

How long have you been blogging and why did you start?

I've written my personal family blog since 2005, when our daughter was born. But Simple Mom started in February 2008, mostly out of a need for a space to write about the tips I was learning on simplifying my home life. I learn and digest by writing, and I didn't want to bog down the readers of our family blog with these thoughts (seeing as it's mostly a space for grandparents to see photos of their grandkids).

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That's Tsh at the Farmer's Market with her sling on the right!

We had been living overseas for about a year, and I really needed a creative outlet. I was feeling rather stifled living cross-culturally, still trying to find my sea legs in the middle of the ocean, so to speak. I was aching for a place to feel like myself, where I felt like I could contribute something as I was learning how to make life work within my four walls. My husband and another wise person in my life suggested starting a blog apart from our family update blog -- so lo and behold, Simple Mom was born.

Tell us about the blog and your favorite things to post on?

Simple Mom's tagline is "Live simply, stay sane. Life hacks for home managers." Its mission is to help simplify and streamline the chaotic job of MOM. I am passionate about simplicity and balanced living, and I want to encourage other moms to strive for this so that they're taking care of themselves. Ultimately, they'll be a much better mom.

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I enjoy writing about productivity and organizing, money management, and a lot of the practical stuff behind home management -- how to menu plan, how to choose quality toys (over quantity), the importance of family rituals. I also love writing about frugality and green living, such as 40 ways to go greener at home.

What are some of your favorite blogs?

Oh, where to start! There are many, many blogs I adore, so these are just a few. Small Notebook is written by a friend of mine, and her writing and advice is wonderful. I'm so inspired by Amanda Soule at Soule Mama, and she's got a great book she just released. I also love Money Saving Mom (it's so practical), Nesting Place, The Inspired Room, Mom Advice, and Make and Takes.

I'd also be amiss if I didn't mention the other blogs in the company I started this year, Simple Living Media. Simple Kids has just taken off this year, and Megan, the editor, has done a fabulous job. In 2010 we're adding three new blogs. I'm excited about this network and seeing where it goes.

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What are some of the projects in your home you're currently working on?

Well, I have a book deadline in January 2010, so I haven't been doing as much around the house as I'd like lately because I've been swamped getting chapters in to my editor. But crafting and creating is a non-negotiable creative outlet for me, so I make a point to just do something at least once a week. A few weeks ago I finished a random, kitchy quilt made out of cloth napkins, and we're hanging it in the kids' bedroom. We recently scored some more orange crates from a vendor at the farmer's market, and I'm using these to organize everything -- fabric waiting for future projects, shelving for our tiny master medroom, board games. I'm all about repurposing and using found things. I'm also in the midst of creating an Olive doll from Wee Wonderfuls for a friend's daughter's first birthday this weekend (the cloth for her skin comes from an old pair of my khaki pants). When my book is finished, I plan to repaint the kids' bedroom and the living room, and to get back to work on the huge wood artwork we're creating as a family (inspired by this from Pottery Barn), made from wooden crates cast aside in our neighborhood.

You focus on home management. What is some advice you would give to parents who are struggling to bring order and beauty to their busy homes?

You eat an elephant one bite at a time. I vehemently believe that when you're doing well internally, external things like home management is much easier. Get enough sleep. Drink enough water. And then, when you feel better, you'll be more able to add order and beauty to a busy home. The biggest piece of practical advice behind an ordered and beautiful home is to declutter. Don't have too much stuff -- you only have the space you have, and when you try to stuff your space with more room than you have, you're trying to defy the laws of physics. My favorite quote about home management is from the 19th century architect William Morris -- "Don't have anything in your house that you don't know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." This is my criteria for everything that enters our home.

Thank you Tsh! Visit Simple Mom for much more!

Since our inception, we have loved hearing from all of our readers as well as reaching out to several in the blog community. You are mothers, fathers, wives, husbands all writing about your families, style and what makes you tick. To continue fostering this great blogging community, we'll be featuring close-ups of our favorite family and design blogs as part of our "Big Blog Family".

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