Decluttering Toys: Our Moderately Minimalist Toy Collection

Decluttering toys is a hot topic among moms today. Minimalism seems to be a lasting trend as so many are seeing and wanting the benefits of owning less stuff, especially families with young children.

When left with a limited selection of the best toys for them, children will play for hours without you needing to push and prod them.

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Why we don’t use “school” to teach hard work

Driving to the grocery store one evening, I tried to explain to my kids why daddy is so tired all the time. You see, my husband recently reentered the field of engineering after a six year hiatus.

For him, every day comes with a new set of challenges. He is re-learning constantly. It’s not re-learning the same things either. Each day, he encounters new programs, new problems, new state regulations, and he’s been at this for three months straight.

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Why moms should quit doing what they don’t absolutely love

“Make cookies, please, mama?” pleaded my two year old for the second time that week.

The horrible scraping sound of kids pushing stools across the kitchen floor.  The awful anticipation of kids surrounding me on all sides.

The stress of keeping three kids from dumping ingredients into the bowl unbidden, trying to remember whose turn was last so each kid got a chance to help.

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What if my child never changes the world?

I sit next to the tub, bathing my toddler. I gently lather soap over his baby belly and his chubby arms and legs.

My mind wanders to all the children in the world who know touch not as loving, kind and helpful, but as evil, greedy and rough.

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Want to clear those counters in record time? Here’s my secret.

Half a small ziploc bag of goldfish crackers. That was all.

I stood there staring at the bag, paralyzed, for more than two minutes. What to do with it? I wasn’t sure how long it had been sitting there, or which of my four kids picked at it earlier that day.

But it was just one thing. One. On a counter covered with stuff.

If I took this long with every item, I would spend all day just clearing the kitchen counter.

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5 Baby Registry Essentials (from a mom of 4)

Making a baby registry for your first child can be like making a Christmas wish list as a kid…almost identical, in fact.

Baby Registries & Christmas Wish Lists

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Do you remember being given a Toys’R’Us catalog as a kid? “Go through and circle what you like,” our parents said.

Oh my goodness, THE BLISS.

Page after page filled with tantalizing, colorful toys. Fifty circles later, I handed it back to my parents, completely clueless about what I really wanted for Christmas.

Now, when my kids make Christmas lists, I take them with a smile and a nod. I secretly know that more than half the items will break or lose their appeal two weeks later.

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On Quitting Babywise: Parenting Reflections Four Kids Later

babywise parenting, does babywise work, should I use babywise

I like steps. I love plans. And I really love control. And sleep, did I mention sleep?

Babywise parenting seemed to fit my personality like a glove. I bought the book On Becoming Babywise, prepared to follow its advice with precision.  What could go wrong?

Only that babies could care less what book you read about feeding and sleep training.  

They just want you to figure out what they need and give it to them.

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How to Encourage Pretend Play (A story of kids needing less than we think)

how to get kids to play pretend, encouraging pretend play, should i buy a play kitchen, playkitchen

Creating an environment that encourages pretend play can feel daunting in our screen-filled world.  Many parents who want to foster their child’s imagination think a play kitchen is an essential toy for encouraging creative play.  In fact, play kitchens are now commonplace, found in most homes with young children.

I fell for it too – believing a play kitchen (and other props) to be absolutely necessary for my kids to play pretend.  

As my daughter approached three years old, I started looking for the perfect play kitchen.  Home aesthetics are important to me, so I prioritized the ones I could handle looking at every day in our small apartment.  

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Developing Your Philosophy of Education (Before You Homeschool)

homeschool philosophy of education, what to do before you start homeschooling

“Why do we do this anyways?” Her brows furrowed with confusion.

I felt for my new friend who had been homeschooling for over a year now. I never stopped to ask the question myself until four months into homeschooling…when all the methods I thought would work just didn’t.

And without a good answer to that question, many people quit.

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Dear Parent: You’re Not “Failing”; You’re Learning.

am i failing as a parent, what to do when I feel like a failure parenting

I open my inbox to find an e-mail from another blogger.

The subject line: “Am I failing my kids??” 

This Sunday, our pastor described a recent personal conversation he had with God about how he was doing as a father. “Am I failing my kids?” he desperately asked.

Yesterday, at the end of a particularly stressful day, I found those exact same thoughts running through my head.

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