How to Have a Simple Christmas with Kids

Inside: Are you longing for a slow, simple Christmas with your kids? Get 6 tips to simplify your Christmas traditions, so you can actually enjoy the Christmas season (instead of collapse at the end)!

I remember vividly the day I sat in a circle with a big group of moms discussing the importance of creating traditions for your kids, starting when they are little. As the holiday with the most traditions, Christmas was the central topic of discussion, a discussion that led far, far away from the slow, simple Christmas I craved.

I remember it so well because of the crushing pressure I felt.

What everyone in the room seemed to be saying was, “More, more, more! Without a million Christmas traditions, your kids will be ruined for life!”

When your kids are small and you are barely treading water as a mom, the last thing you need is additional expectations and pressure, especially during Christmas.

And it’s not just you that needs slow and simple: your kids need simple, too.

Read More»

100 Things to Do in the Fall with Your Kids (to make SURE they love it!)

things to do with kids in the fall

Inside: The ultimate list of things to do in the fall with kids. Bake, read, play, learn, create, decorate and more!

I’m from New England. At least, that’s where I spent the majority of my adult life. When I first set foot on my college campus fourteen years ago, I had no idea that part of living in Boston would mean falling head over heels in love with fall!

It’s almost like a religion.

In New England, people love fall almost as much as Christmas (o.k., maybe as much?). September 1st rolls around, and the scarves, boots, and vests come out – regardless of the temperature. We count down the days until the Pumpkin Spice Latte returns to Starbucks, and if you haven’t gone apple picking you haven’t lived!

Read More»

Timeless Christmas Gifts for Kids Under 8 Years Old

what to get kids Christmas

Inside: Wondering what to get kids for Christmas? These are quality gift ideas from a minimalist mom of 4 who knows what presents will actually last.

Christmas is coming! Unfortunately, Target and Walmart and all the rest remind us of this fact earlier and earlier every year. I don’t know about you, but when I see LEGO advent calendars in the toy aisle on October 1st, I want to stop and throw up right there.

It makes we want to forgo thinking about what to get kids for Christmas until at least Thanksgiving in protest!

But that probably isn’t the wise thing to do…holiday shopping in December is pure insanity.

Whether we like it or not, Christmas is shoved in our faces everywhere we go, and that means it’s time to suck it up and join the ranks of people who have gift ideas on the brain.

Read More»

Spanish Lessons for Kids from the Comfort of Home

online language lessons

Inside: How to give your child a second language with online Spanish lessons (no travel required)!

I love the idea of my kids learning another language. Except it’s been just that – a nice idea.

Oh, we’ve tried several free online language learning programs. They provide basic exposure, and my kids do retain some of what they’ve learned.

But nothing can compare to having a fluent and/or native speaker to talk with. Native and fluent speakers confirm when your accent is off, when you’re mispronouncing a word, when you’re using a phrase incorrectly (even though it might technically be correct).

Read More»

20 More Unexpectedly Awesome Books for Young Boys

great books for boys

Inside: Have a hard time finding great books for boys? Use this list to grab already vetted books that your boys are sure to love!

I use reading to teach pretty much everything in our homeschool: history, math, science, vocabulary, and just about everything else. Picture book reading usually happens before bed every night (after rambunctious, pull the book right out of my hand toddler is asleep).

My target picture book audience is currently my middle boys, ages five and three, although my daughter still loves to listen in, too. Maybe it’s just me, but I have a much harder time choosing great books for boys – books that truly delight and engage them – than I ever had choosing books for my daughter.

Read More»

Yep, Your Kids Watch Too Much TV, and That’s O.K.

Inside: Why your kids watch too much T.V., and why you need to stop feeling guilty.

Your human alarm clock tiptoes into your room just after six o’clock (in the morning). Bleary-eyed, you try to pull it together, but the baby woke up five times last night.

Not going to happen.

You mumble something unintelligible. The only word that gets through is “TV”. She runs out of the room excitedly, and you roll over.

You’re dead to the world until the baby next to your stirs and starts to cry. The sound of PBS hits your ears, and your eyes fly open.

Glancing at the clock, you realize to your horror that the kids watched far more TV than you intended. You planned on using a show later that day to take a shower and maybe read for ten minutes in peace and quiet.

The day has barely even started, and you already feel like a failure.  

Read More»

The Easiest Way to Introduce Woodworking to Kids

how to teach kids woodworking
Inside: Woodworking for kids doesn’t have to be intimidating! Easy project ideas and tips for the parent who is a woodworking novice.

This is a guest post from Paul Moore at Woodwork Boss.

Woodworking is an art that is not as common as it once was. Many of us parents are novice woodworkers at best. Heck, some of us have never even used a power tool!

But that shouldn’t stop us from introducing woodworking to our kids, especially when they are itching to learn. With the right guidance, even a parent with no woodworking experience can teach his kids basic woodworking skills.

How, then, do parents who have no experience with woodworking teach their kids? And why should they?

What is so special about woodworking for parents to go out of their way to teach something they know little to nothing about?

Read More»

The Question We Need to Ask Our Daughters (and why we’re afraid to)

question to ask our daughters

Like many other stay at home moms today, I went to college. I went to college, and I’m still paying for those degrees I’m not really using (and I’m not sure I ever will).

As I watch that loan payment deduct from our bank account month after month, I sometimes question my choices. I wonder how I might have chosen differently had I known that I wanted to be a mom, and a stay at home, homeschooling mom at that.

You see, that wasn’t the plan.

In high school, when I was touring colleges and picking degrees, I wasn’t planning on getting married at 21 or having a baby at 23 or having four kids by now. If you have told me then that this is where I would be fifteen years later, I would have laughed in your face! Motherhood was not even a thought. In fact, I shunned the idea altogether and imagined having kids later in life.

And now I have a daughter.

Read More»

The Extraordinary Power of a Gift (when you can’t afford an experience)

experiences versus gifts in minimalism

Inside: Minimalism encourages giving experience gifts, many of which are more expensive than a physical gift. But we forget that physical gifts can be an experience, too, one that lasts for a very long time. 

As we stood in line at the local Children’s Museum with four excited kids, I got that anxious feeling. It was the same feeling I used to have when I wondered whether my carefully plotted coupon deals would work out: would the cashier look at me with that mixture of pity and annoyance as I scrambled to figure out what went wrong and why I owed $5 when it was supposed to be free?

As the line inched forward, I braced myself for disappointment. This supposedly free excursion (a fun, memory-making, ideal minimalist experience) might not work out, after all.

Read More»

How to Raise Kids Who Change the World

Once upon a time, we planned on moving to Indonesia. We dreamed of raising kids who learned about the world from being in the world.

Even though I hate change, and I hate travel (it’s hard to believe that I wanted to live in another country), I got so excited about my kids moving easily across cultures, speaking second and third languages easily and being at home in the world.

God had different plans, and apparently, Indonesia was not a part of those plans – at least not right now. Traveling the world is not logistically or financially feasible at the moment, and I’ve already traveled to Indonesia with a three year-old and a one year-old. Believe you me, it is not something I’d like to repeat until all our kids are older.

I was forced to find other ways to raise globally-minded kids. 

Read More»
© Copyright This Simple Balance - Theme by Pexeto