Minimalism

Toys that encourage free play for kids

magnatiles

Early childhood is such a critical period. And it seems everybody who sells toys wants to tell you how their product will help your child learn. So what should you choose?

Toys billed as educational, like those that say letters and numbers, initially seem to be a great choice. After all, they’re teaching your kids to read!

Or is there something potentially dangerous going on with these talking toys? Learn more about the roll of toys in a child’s life, and how interactive toys affect early childhood development! (more…)

5 things you’ll learn when you declutter your closet

decluttered closet

How would you feel if someone looked inside your closet right now? Does just the thought give you sweaty palms? If so, decluttering your closet might be a good place to start your minimalism journey!

In fact, just the other evening I decluttered my own closet. It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be! I want to share the five things I learned through the process, plus my system for decluttering.

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The only three family rules you need

With children, you never know what they’re going to do on any given day. No wonder you need some great family rules!

Case in point: A few days ago, my husband and I came home from a trip with some chocolates that I’m really looking forward to. Even though we don’t do a lot of sweets for the kids, we also got them a few chocolate covered pretzels and let them have a piece the night we got back into town. So my kids knew there was chocolate on the counter.

I came to the kitchen yesterday to see that Bella Bean, my three year old (and scrounger), was about to get into the candy. I moved it to the top of the fridge (where they couldn’t reach even with a stool) and then put all three kids to bed.

The next morning, we got up and I started getting dressed. I noticed a suspicious quiet (you know what I’m talking about, parents of toddlers). (more…)

Elderberries during cold and flu season

elderberry syrup


 

Despite us all being immunized, we had the flu run rampant through our house for the first time earlier this year.  I even missed my first day of class because all I could do was sleep, shuffle to the couch to take my temperature, drink a little chicken stock, shuffle back to bed, and repeat. It was especially scary when my kids got it since at the time my youngest was under a year old, but thank God the symptoms were nothing more serious than the general suckiness that is fever, achiness, and fatigue caused by flu.

When our family first started getting hit with the flu, we took a kid (whichever was sick first; it’s all a blur now) to a clinic (because of course she got sick on a weekend).  They did a test to tell us that yep, she had the flu and asked if we were interested in Tamiflu.

I’m not averse to medicine.  I’m a chemist, and I know that there are so many new drugs that can save lives.  But we asked the doctor how Tamiflu would benefit our child before we agreed.  We were told that the treatment would shave about 12-24 hours off the course of illness, and that there were side effects associated with the drug such as nausea and vomiting or (very rarely) even mental and behavioral effects.  The risks didn’t seem worth it to only take a day off of the illness, so we decided to forgo that route.

I started researching natural remedies and preventative measures we could take to avoid getting sick and to shorten illnesses with fewer side effects.  And by research, I mean I asked Dr. Google.  I found a lot of people recommending elderberries to boost the immune system.

What I read sounded promising, but I couldn’t help but wonder,  Is this legit, or is it just hype? After all, “natural” doesn’t always mean “effective” and sometimes is actually dangerous.  So I decided to deepen my search and see what I could find in the scientific literature about elderberry use. (more…)

How to incorporate minimalism with your kids’ toys

clean play room


You know those days when your kid whines, “I’m sooooo boooooored!  There’s nothing to do!” and you think to yourself, You little ingrate, there’s toys all over the place.  Just pick one!

Oh wait, is that just me?

What if I told you that this kind of problem can be at least partially solved without having to go buy a bunch of new toys?

What about those days when you walk into the house and are like, “Oh em gee, there is stuff everywhere.  All these toys are gonna drive me insane!”

Oh wait, is that just me?

What if I told you that this kind of problem can be at least partially solved without getting rid of everything your kid owns?

In fact, what if I told you that these two issues have the exact same solution?

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