Weekend Getaway: Why You Need One ASAP and How to Make It Happen

A weekend getaway can be a great way to reset
I've been in a pretty good mental space over the last couple of months but when the opportunity to go on a weekend getaway with my mom came up, I jumped at it.

We flew to Arizona to help my grandma celebrate her 75th birthday. It was really great to spend the weekend with them, but I had to leave my kids and husband behind. Three days without my kids. Three days of contact only through a pixelated screen. Seriously, thank goodness for technology! I was delightfully surprised to find that I didn't miss my kids nearly as much as I expected to.

The mom life is hard work
Taking care of your children, while fulfilling and important, is really hard work! You're on call around the clock and your needs usually fall somewhere behind everyone else's. Self-doubt, mom guilt, loneliness, and depression are just a few of the things you may begin to feel when you aren't making time for you.
Taking time off can sometimes be harder than not
I often take time away from the house for writing or meeting up with a friend, but when I first started doing that, it wasn't easy. I would spend hours debating whether I should call a friend or spend the time alone, whether I should go sit at a coffee shop or go for a walk or try to get a pedicure. I'd build up so many expectations that I would often return from my alone time feeling like I had wasted it or, else, find myself wandering around the grocery store rationalizing it as me-time.

When you give yourself a whole weekend away, you can get over those tendencies to use your alone time on errands without kids (lame!) and start using that time to rejuvenate your spirit, remember what you love to do, and do it!

How To Plan The Perfect Weekend Getaway:
Step 1: Stop planning for it to be perfect
Let it be what it is. Keep your expectations low, but plan to have a good time. Give yourself the freedom to nap (I almost always crash when I have a couple hours of downtime) or to eat what you want when you want or to do nothing at all. Leaving margin in your travel plans allows you to relax and go with the flow, which is exactly what you need, Mama!
Step 2: Be true to where you're at
If you can't spend a ton of money on a big getaway, find a way to do it on the cheap so you don't waste time feeling guilty about it (or worse, pay for it plus interest afterwards!) If you need time away from people, plan a solo or partner trip with someone who fills you up, like your spouse or best friend. There are times to plan around other people and there are times you may need to be totally selfish in order to really relax. Learn to distinguish between the two and be okay with putting yourself first for once.
Step 3: Put the to-do list away!
Plan and prepare for your trip and then put that expectation-inducing-list away for good. Let the weekend roll by. Let yourself relax, agenda-less, for at least a whole day. This time is about decompressing, letting go of responsibilities, and taking care of you and only you, Mama. Just chill.

[caption id="attachment_312" align="aligncenter" width="450"] Don't mind the blurriness #selfiefail[/caption]
Take care of you
Wherever you end up going and whatever you end up doing, make sure it's something that makes you happy and fulfilled and doesn't cause you a ton of stress. Some stress is normal when you're traveling, but don't let yourself get caught up in the little things. Only you know what makes you most relaxed so, while I can share some ideas, only you can decide what's best for you.

What's your ideal getaway weekend?
Need Rest?
Try relaxing at the beach, soaking in the sun. Head to a snowy mountain cabin with a book and lots of firewood. Drive into the city and spend the whole day chilling in a coffee shop or browsing a museum.
Need Purpose?
Join a short-term missions group; see another place and give a little of yourself. Volunteer at an event or ministry where you feel needed and valuable. Visit an elderly family member and spend the weekend doing what they do.
Need A Change of Scenery?
Go camping or hiking. Visit a state or national park (and take loads of pictures to share!). Visit a nature preserve.
Need People?
Visit family far away. Head into a big city, like LA, New York, or Vegas, and get lost in the hustle and bustle of humanity. Take along your best friends and/or your spouse.
Self-care is others-care in disguise
Whatever you do, do it knowing that a little break will make you a better mom. A happy mom can give so much more of herself to her kids and hubby because she has so much more of herself available. Your self-care is directly linked to your ability to care for others, so don't neglect you, Mama!

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The Surprising Effects of Screen-Free Kids on Mommy’s Mental Health

The Surprising Effects of Screen-Free Kids on Mommy's Mental Health | Learn how taking away their tablets and shows helped me be a happier, more fulfilled Mama.

Kids and Media
We all know it's better to talk to our kids than to plunk them down in front of a television. We all know that reading aloud to our kids is better than having a read-aloud book or robot voiced ebook read to them. But when we're tired and lonely or battling depression or anxiety, it's really hard to fight the urge to occupy them.

I'll be honest about my battle here: At our worst, my toddlers spent as many as 7 hours a day in front of a screen, be it television or interactive media in the form of a tablet or phone. While trudging along through two infants, 16 months apart, and battling postpartum depression, the sanity provided by the iPad probably saved my life. It certainly helped me get by. But it also left me feeling guilty... Really guilty. It took me three years to figure out how to battle my depression successfully. That was three years of tablet babysitters. Three years worth of interactive media from which to break free.

Setting Boundaries
When I finally got treatment and found myself in a healthy place, my husband and I decided to purchase the Amazon Kindle for our kids because it has a built-in timer and excellent parental controls. Rather than sending my girls upstairs with their tablets and calling them down at some arbitrary time hours later, I could set a 2-hour daily timer so that they, and I, wouldn't lose track of time. It helped me stay accountable. And it worked for the season I needed it to work.

Then my oldest daughter started having nightmares. I did everything I could think of to help her with her nightmares, but nothing seemed to work. Shows as educational and innocuous as Octonauts were giving her wake-up-screaming nightmares every single night. My husband and I were desperate for change.

The answer we landed on made me more nervous than I thought it would.

We decided to take away their tablets.
Just for one week. One week of screen-free play time. One week to purge their little brains of the media they had been consuming constantly since they could barely even talk. It was a one-week hail mary to clear my little girl's brain of all her scary thoughts.
And you know what? It totally worked!
By the very next night, my little gal slept through the night without a single scary dream. And the next night, and the next, and the one after that. But it didn't stop there. We saw even more benefits in the form of their behavior and sociability and creativity. And it wasn't nearly as life-changing for me as I expected it to be.
The Benefits of Screen-Free Kids

They became more socially adept:
They play together better. There is way less fighting and way more cooperative play. My girls are close enough in age that they've always played together pretty nicely, so I was honestly surprised to find that, in the absence of screens, they formed an even closer bond.

Longer attention spans:
Together or separate, they play with one toy longer, stick to one storyline longer, and rarely ask me for a new thing to do. They're more independent and it actually worked out that I'm able to get more housework and more writing done while they play on their own.

Increased creativity:
This may actually just be due to the developmental stage they're at, but they make up and act out new (non-movie) storylines every day. Artwork and writing have become primary activities which they can happily spend hours doing. Rather than tracing a letter on a screen, they are writing words with actual paper and pencil.

Nightmares banished:
It has been a month since we've ditched the tablets and my eldest has only experienced one night with a scary dream. Compared to the 2-3 nightly wake-ups before, this has been amazing!

Decrease in the "Gimmies":
They don't see any commercials or mainstream cartoons, so they don't even know about the latest and greatest, let alone ask for them. When we walk past a store's toy section, they like to look and admire the pretty dolls and animals, but they don't have the influence of the media telling them they need all those new things. It's pretty darn fantastic.

Decrease in Mom Guilt:
I used to spend hours agonizing over the feeling that I was failing my kids. Or else, I'd feel so guilty I would have to force myself to stop feeling in order to cope. I totally understand the whispers of depression that say you don't have a choice, you can't survive without it, or even that it's better than what you, Mama, can offer. But it's not true! You can do this and you can survive the transition!

For more help, get in touch with a therapist or call a helpline 1-800-273-TALK. 

The Costs:

Decrease in built-in "Me Time":
Without those two hours of silence, I've had to get more creative with my days. When I need time to myself now, I ask my husband to take care of bedtime so I can meet a friend for coffee or do one of these self-care activities. I also set out special activities for times when I need to get work done. Quiet time boxes can be super helpful for little ones, as well as monthly craft boxes like Koala Crate.

Messier House:
My kids are living and playing more, which means they leave more of a mess in their wake. For me, it's a small price to pay for all those benefits and I remind myself of that every time I trip over a toy. And if the mess becomes a deal breaker, you can institute a toy storage system like we did to help control the chaos.

We won't go back
Sometimes things as simple as arranging a quiet time box for the afternoons can be enough to shift your whole perspective. I know I always feel ten times better waking up to a clean kitchen than a dirty one. It's the same with screen free kids. When I see them playing together or building a fort with every pillow and blanket in the whole house, there's this deep-seated mom happiness that shines through all the other gunk I might be feeling.

And, because there's always someone, let me say: I'm not at all what you'd call tech-phobic. I'm a blogger married to a web developer, after all. Our livelihood depends on the internet and constant connection with the world. Because of that, I understand that my kids will need to know how to use things like tablets and computers. I have no intention of keeping them away forever but, for now, I'm happy to limit screen usage to the occasional car trip or family movie night. I have awesome kids and giving them the gift of a screen-free childhood is worth the extra effort required on my part.

Blessing upon blessing,



Other parents on the subject of Screen-Free Kids:
"This was the wildest thing: They played together so much better...It seemed like they were more friendly, more sociable with each other. It's not a scientific study, but they came alive, if you will, for those months." Chicago Tribune

"And their approach to relaxation was so different from mine. When we finished exams, I would plunk down in front of the TV and just zone out—whereas they would make art, read, go for a run, call friends…. it just didn’t occur to them to relax in front of the television." Commercial Free Childhood
How much do you depend on tablets or television? Would you ever consider a screen-free week with your kids? Let us know in the comments.

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How to Diffuse Essential Oils: The Newbie’s Guide

Learn how to diffuse essential oils and protect your family from the trending virus, block allergens, or increase your focus and joy.

Diffusing Essential Oils Is Super Easy
Have you heard great things about essential oils but no one's taught you how to use them? Confused by all the information or jargon? Perfect! This post is just for you! Learning how to diffuse essential oils is the first step into natural health care for your family. And it's easy peasy!

We're still in the throes of cold and flu season and, maybe it's just us here in the pacific northwest, it always seems like the changing of the seasons brings more viruses around then the coldest days of winter. As spring takes its sweet time springing, I'm relying heavily on my oils to keep my family healthy.

How to Diffuse Essential Oils
I get asked all the time how to use essential oils. I know it can be overwhelming, but it's really not. It can be quite simple. There are three options for using oils: inhalation or breathing them in, topical application meaning rubbing them on your skin, and internal consumption meaning you eat/drink them. The easiest, and safest, method is inhalation.

While you can always just twist open your favorite oil and give it a sniff, using a diffuser can spread the benefits of that oil over your whole family, classroom, office, etc. Diffusing is easy peasy, but make sure you have permission from those who will be sharing the air with you. We've got some relatives who are allergic to cloves, so I always make sure I'm not diffusing an oil containing cloves when they come over.
I've rounded up my favorite ways to spread the love with those beneficial oils.

5 Ways to Diffuse Essential Oils
1) Traditional Diffuser
A small, semi-portable electric diffuser is my go to. It acts as a diffuser, humidifier, and optional night light. I have two of these which I fill up anytime I hear the least bit of a sniffle. One lives in my daughters' room and the other travels around the rest of the house as needed. With a 150 ml capacity and 4+ hour run time with auto shut-off, this diffuser works great for a bedroom or living area up to 250 square feet.

How to use it: Add cold water to fill line, plus 4-6 drops of oils or oil blends, replace lid and turn on. When diffusing in a child's room, place diffuser out of reach and make sure directional spray doesn't mist over the top of your sleeping baby.

More options:

(left to right) Slightly Cheaper, Prettier, Larger Capacity, Made from Bamboo, Travel/Car Version
2) Mini Diffuser
These little guys pack a big punch. With versions you plug into an outlet and those you can plug into your car's cigarette lighter, you can take your oils with you wherever you go. Some of these little units do not have auto shut-off settings, so do be careful not to run them overnight or you risk overheating.

How to use it: Add a few drops of oil or oil blend to the filter (or the water reservoir in select models), plug in and position in the upright position. Add more oil as scent dissipates. Unplug when not in use.

3) Aromatherapy Necklace
This is my second favorite way to diffuse. Not only are these necklaces beautiful, they can wrap you up in an oil safety bubble. I never go to a substitute job without fighting five on my necklace diffuser.

How to use it: Place 1-2 drops of oil or an oil blend on the felt or pumice insert, close up the necklace and enjoy your good health.

4) Wax Burner
If you have one of those scentsy style flame-free candle warmers, you can repurpose it into an oil diffuser. There is some debate about the efficacy of this method, as heating oils can reduce their potency and, in some cases, change their composition. Therefore, this option, as well as the wall unit option above, is best when the scent is what you want. For battling a cold or flu, allergies, or other medicinal uses, it's best to use a water filled diffuser.

How to use it: Place a tablespoon or two of water or coconut oil in the wax reservoir along with 4-6 drops of oil or an oil blend and turn on. Be careful not to leave it on after the oils/water have dissipated.
5) Sniff from hands
This last method is our go to when we're dealing with congestion, but it's also great when you need a little pick me up. First, make sure the oil or blend you want to use is not hot, meaning it won't cause skin irritation. When in doubt, sniff straight from the bottle (feel free to ask about certain oils in the comments and I can let you know).

How to use it: Place 1-2 drops of oil or an oil blend (safe for topical use) on your hands, rub together, and cup hands around nose. Breathe deeply 3-4 times.

What Oils to Diffuse
The only thing to decide now is what oils you should be diffusing! I'll be adding more posts about our experiences with essential oils and our awesome health victories in the weeks to come but, for now, I'll leave you with some of my quick favorites.
Why I Recommend Eden's Garden Essential Oils
One last note about why I recommend the oils I do: I use Eden's Garden essential oils almost exclusively unless my MIL gifts me some DoTerra goodies. I did a ton of research when I first started using EO's. What I discovered was that there is a whole spectrum of oils, both in cost and in quality. My mission was to find the highest quality oil at the most affordable price, from a company with a wide enough selection to serve my families needs. Everyone seems to have an opinion when it comes to oil brands, so that decision is best left to you and your family.

I chose Eden's Garden because of their dedication to quality, the fact that their oils pass all the same tests as those of the big 2, and for their lower price tag. Same quality oils, way less money invested! And for the record, I don't sell their oils or get a kick back in any way from EG. If you purchase any of the oils or diffusers that I've linked to on Amazon, I receive a small commission from Amazon through their affiliate program which doesn't cost you a dime extra and allows me to keep putting my time and effort into this blog.

Now, on to the oils! These recipes are all for a standard size diffuser, requiring 5-6 drops of oil in total.

Cold And Flu Buster
2 drops Fighting Five
2 drops Oregano
2 drops Tea Tree

Allergy Block
2 drops Lavender
2 drops Peppermint
2 drops Lemon

Congestion Relief
3 drops Fighting Five
3 drops Breathe Easier

Depression Kicker
3 drops Bergamot
2 drops Purify
1 drop Lavender

Pre-Made Blends
6 drops Anxiety Ease
6 drops Energy Boost
6 drops Good Night
6 drops Stay Alert

To save even more money, you can piece together a custom 6, 12, or 32 oil set on their website at edensgarden.com. (For which I receive no kickback, but I want to make sure you, Mama, are getting the best deal possible! I would never recommend something I didn't fully trust myself.)

Let me know what other questions I can answer in the comments and don't forget to subscribe for more helpful posts!

Blessing upon blessing,


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Taming the Toys (and 5 Benefits of Doing So)

Taming the Toys | How to gain control over the chaos in 6 easy steps!
If you haven't already read about why and how I took my kids' toys away, you should start here, just so you know I'm not some crazy, domineering mom type! (Not all the time, anyway...)

When I took my kids' toys away, it was a moment of desperation, a time when something had to give. I'm so glad I did and I'll never look back.

So here's what we did.
1.Pack it all up!
I used big plastic storage totes left over from our move so I could keep things in the garage and go through them slowly, but boxes or garbage bags would work just as well. Collect all the toys, all the odds and ends, all the lost pieces hiding under the couch, and put them somewhere together where your kids can't come in and dig through it without you.
2. Implement your system.
Ours works like this: 5 cards per child. If you hit someone, you lose a card. If you throw a fit, you lose a card. If you disobey, you lose a card. You get the idea. At the end of the day, how many cards each child has left is how many toys they get to choose from storage the next morning. So if my daughter has a really good day, she'll get to choose 5 toys (or toy sets) to bring out and play with tomorrow morning. If she has a bad day and loses 3 cards, she'll only have 2 left and get to choose 2 toys for the next day.
3. Sort and categorize the toys.
Throw out any that are broken or store them in a memory box if you just can't let them go. Donate or sell any that don't get played with anymore or are too young for your growing child. Then categorize the rest and put them in their own easily storing bins, baskets, totes, or boxes. We use these and these because they're clear (easy to see what's inside for your pre-readers), stackable, and won't break open easily if knocked off a shelf, which sometimes happens.
4. Find a good location for Toy Storage.
Ours is a closet under the stairs, but you could use a tall bookcase with a curtain across the front or a cube organizer or a portion of your utility room. Anywhere the kids won't get into without your permission. Adjustable shelves make the storage space even more effective because you know your kids are almost always going to ask for the toy at the bottom of the stack....
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The Best Money Saving Tip Ever

The Best Money Saving Tip Ever | If you've ever felt like you can't get ahead, no matter what you do, you might just be failing at this one simple thing. Do you have what it takes to gain control again?
Are you ready for this?

This is the biggest money saving thing we have ever learned and implemented in our financial lives. Since we started following Financial Peace University almost seven years ago, we learned to tell ourselves...


I know!!!

Too lazy to cook dinner? Want to spend too much on dinner out or pizza in?

Just say no.

Tired after a long day and want nothing more than to hit the salon for a mani-pedi?

Just say no.

Blow through your spending money but now there's a new movie coming out that you just can't wait to see?

Say no.

Car having a rough time and thinking about trading it up for a newer model with a newer price tag?


Sounds easy, you say.

I know it sounds easy, but have you tried it?

It's anything but.

When we first started telling ourselves no, the half-grown woman-child inside me started throwing a hissy fit like you wouldn't believe. She'd whine about how much she needed that book or those new curtains. She'd glance sidelong in the mirror and remind me how hard we worked to lose those five pounds so, of course, we needed to spend money on new clothes. She cajoled, she threatened, she cried. She tried everything she knew to try.

But my dear husband and I were united. And over time, with a lot of self-control, his inner selfish child and mine were squashed. We learned to say no. We learned to wait, to assess what was really important, to give ourselves time to realize whether it was an impulse or a real desire.


And the most incredible part?

Once we learned to tell ourselves no to spending, it became easier to tell ourselves no for that extra helping of dessert or that next episode on Netflix. Waking up earlier wasn't as difficult. Selflessness came just a tiny bit more naturally. And shopping stopped being something we did for fun and became something we did out of necessity.

We learned to actually do things for fun. Walks. Bike rides. Puzzles. Games with our kids. Reading together. Our first thought on a free Saturday wasn't 'Let's go shopping.' It was 'Let's go play outside!'

Ready for a major life change? Then say yes to saying no!

Blessing upon blessing,


Tell me in the comments: What's one of the most difficult things for you personally to say no to? For me, it's the dinner thing. I'm not much of a cook already, so when I'm tired and the meal plan isn't done or groceries are running low, all I can think about is how easy it would be to order in....


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Why I Took My Kids’ Toys Away

Why I took my kids' toys away and how it helped my kids learn to be content, happy, generous people (and saved me an insane amount of nagging and discipline!)
It has been nearly a year since I took my kids' toys away.

No, they won't ever get them all back.

But it's not entirely what you think...

The Beginning

Well over a year ago, I read Ruth's amazing post over on her blog, Living Well, Spending Less, about why and how she took away her kids' toys. I was in awe and, as a mother of two toddlers, totally into the idea. But we had just moved and the girls had a whole room, separate from their bedroom, designated as the playroom. I wanted it to be full of beautiful things and as well organized as those perfect pins I had been collecting for so long.

The problem was that this playroom is open to the rest of the house (meaning there are no doors to close in the mess) and, on top of that, it's the first room you see when you walk into our home. Despite my best efforts, the toys rarely made it back to their labeled boxes and baskets unless I put them there. The girls, at two and three, had very little interest in returning an item to its proper place on the shelf. By the end of most days, I just wanted to bathe them and get their whining selves to bed rather than battle over the cleanup duties. Now, if clean up time could be around 10 am when they're at their happiest, maybe we'd have had a better shot....

Needless to say, this left me feeling stressed out, constantly worried about the prospect of anyone dropping by unannounced, and grumbling about tripping over things. There were days I would simply drag all the roaming toys back to the playroom, make a big pile in the middle of the room, and call it good.

When It Changed

I was growing more and more frustrated by the chaos in our otherwise tranquil home. The toys and the mess and the daily battles to keep it in order were wearing. Me. Down.

And then, my oldest started throwing tantrums.

Oh, these were big ones; screaming at the top of her lungs, dropping her weight so it was almost impossible to carry her to her room for time out, kicking the walls and door once she was safely delivered to baby jail. We tried letting her cry it out, putting her to bed earlier, cutting out refined sugar and artificial food dyes and taking away the tablet. We even resorted to spanking (never angry and always pre-warned). Nothing worked.


Then one night, she threw herself down because she didn't want to wear the pair of pajamas I had laid out for her.


You read that right. She was coming up on her fourth birthday and had all the words she needed to ask me for another pair, but instead, she took one look at the bed and let out a monstrous scream. I couldn't even get her calm enough to talk to her. It was a nightmare.

And I lost it.

I turned away from her, stomped downstairs, grabbed a big garbage bag, and then paused to take a deep breath... Once I was back in my head, I walked calmly upstairs and began to pack all of her stuffed animals and books (the only toys allowed in their shared bedroom) into the garbage bag. I stripped her bed of the Frozen comforter and pillow case and replaced them with plain ones from the linen closet. All of her sister's special things stayed in place because my youngest wasn't the one throwing the fits. My oldest didn't even stop screaming long enough for me to explain what I was doing. I took the bedroom things to my room where they would stay until she earned them back.

Then I went downstairs to the playroom.

My husband put the girls to bed and my oldest cried until she fell asleep that night (which didn't take long). By the time he got downstairs, I had all the empty totes from the garage spread out in the playroom and I was tossing everything into them. In went the dolls, the plastic animals and dinosaurs, the instruments, the play food, the dishes. In went the felt play scenes, blocks, little people sets, dress up clothes, puzzles, books... everything.

It took me two hours. Once each tote filled up, my husband took it out to the garage. The only exceptions were my younger daughter's three favorite things: two dresses and a cape. The playroom shelves were empty, the art table clean for the first time in a long time, the floor uncovered and trip hazard free! My husband and I talked it out and then we came up with a plan.

The Solution

We decided on a reward system. This is how it works: Each morning, my girls start with 5 cards each. My oldest helped me make and decorate the construction paper cards and we hung them on the fridge where we'd all see them. Grace is new every morning, so are my kids' chances to have a good day.

If they throw a fit, or fight with each other, or disobey, or act in an unkind way, or hit/bite/kick, or anything else they know is not an okay behavior, they lose a card. At the end of the day, if they have 2 cards left, they get to choose 2 toys to play with for the next day. If they have all 5 left, they get to choose 5 toys the next day.

We talked about it all together, at 10 am when everyone was happy, and the girls agreed that it was okay. I spent the next two weeks organizing the toys in the garage and we created the toy closet, a utility closet under the stairs, with what toys were left after we donated or sold about a quarter of what they'd had.

The Results

Within one week, my daughter's tantrums disappeared. She spent the first three days using the 1-2 cards she had left to 'buy' back her comforter, pillowcase, and room things. The next three days, she used the 2-4 cards she had left to 'buy' back some stuffed animals and choose a toy or two to play with the next day. On day seven, she finished the day with all 5 cards and all four of us did a happy dance in the kitchen with her. She was even more proud of herself than I was, which is saying something, and we've never looked back.

Within two weeks of removing all the toys, I found myself way less stressed, clean up times were surprisingly easy and battle-less (they have to put their toys away each night or they lose a card and get one less toy the next day), and we were all happier. The most surprising side effect of the whole deal though came in the form of lasting change.

One day while I was cleaning up after breakfast and the girls were in the playroom, I heard them playing bakery. They'd played this game before, but only if they had the right toys, meaning the plastic dishes and proper dress up clothes. We had just picked toys for the day and I knew they hadn't chosen either of those things. Instead, they had a wooden food cutting set and they were pretending the food pieces were the bakery, standing in for everything from the mixing bowls to the baked goods to the spatulas. Later in the day, that same food cutting set became a box of moon rocks, a stencil set, and a collection of special gifts for the queen.

Our consumerist culture tells us we have to have exactly the right tool or utensil to do a job. How else do you think we get inventions like this and this and this? Instead of having one high-quality tool which we use for a multitude of jobs, consumerism tells us we have to have a dozen specialty tools for one specific job each. It's the same with our kids. If you give them a Cinderella themed castle, chances are they are going to want to only reenact the Cinderella storyline with that castle, especially if they have the right dolls and dresses to go along with it. Give them only a few, preferably generic, things to play with and, surprise!, they'll engage their creativity and imagination to use that one toy for a multitude of activities.

I don't know about you, but creativity is a major value which I want to cultivate in my future adults!

Would I Do It Again?

You bet I would!

Taking away their toys made them appreciate what they had, lifted significant stress from my shoulders, and encouraged them to play together nicer and work together to invent new ideas. I'll never go back to a room full of toys!

Blessing upon blessing,



How about you, do you have any similar systems and how does it work for your kids? Anything you would add? Share with us in the comments!

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