Saturday, March 2, 2019

Minimalist Must Haves: Toddler Edition

Knowing what to have for a toddler can be just as overwhelming as for a baby. The idea that you need a lot to keep a toddler well kept and happy is just as prevalent - and just as wrong - as the idea that you need a lot to have a baby. I have found that my toddlers are happier with much less than even I expected as a minimalist. So what to you need to keep your toddler happy, healthy, and wise?

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Minimalist Christmas Traditions

I would say I come from a tradition-loving family. Every year, a big hoopla was made over watching our extensive list of favorite Christmas movies, putting up a lot of Christmas decorations, eating lots of sweet, and the list goes on. As I've begun building my own family traditions, I have found that our lifestyle doesn't mesh too well with the traditions I grew up with.

At first, I found this a little disheartening. What traditions makes sense for a family that tries to be frugal, not create a lot of waste or take up space, and keep things simple? Here are the traditions we have chosen as fitting with our family lifestyle:

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Minimalist Must Haves: Baby Edition

You are about to welcome a new baby into your world. Congratulations! It's an exciting and incredibly overwhelming time. I remember trying to figure out, with my first, what I would need to survive, and it honestly was a lot less than I had. Here, I'll outline the things I found I needed and mention a few things you only might need. 

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Best Marriage Advice I Was Given

When I was taking pre-marital counseling with my soon-to-be-husband, we did the "Love and Respect" series with my parents. We would watch a session and discuss. One comment in particular struck me: let your husband dream.

Probably this isn't all that crazy to some people. Probably it partly depends upon your marriage, but my husband is definitely a dreamer. He will come to me on a regular basis with a new scheme for how to expand his business, make a bigger impact with his work, etc. And every time he does, I listen, try not to say much, and just accept his dream for what it is.


Eggerichs basically explains the idea in this way: men need to dream. They need to think of ways to influence the world and stand out among other men. Women are not really dreamers. They like stability and for things to be consistent and trustworthy, so when a husband approaches his wife with a major dream that sounds like it could change their lives forever, that really makes the wife uncomfortable. What if everything goes wrong? What if everything changes? Every possible problem is immediately present in her mind, and she opens her mouth to explain why the dream is ridiculous. But that is the last thing she should do. The husband isn't crazy. He's not going to uproot the family and change everything without careful consideration (and discussion). The wife should quietly listen, accept the dream, and let things unfold.

This scenario, as I have said, occurs regularly in my marriage. My husband comes to me with a dream. I listen. I accept the dream. Sometimes, the dream is pretty tame, and at other times it seems impossible. No matter what, I let it be. And guess what? Nothing horrible has happened. Ever. Despite always letting my husband suggest and try for what seems unfeasible, he has never put me in a position of insecurity or danger. It always feels like I'm tempting danger, but I trust my husband to do what is best for our family while still conquering the world in the ways he can. And guess what else? Those things that seems impossible... he completely vanquishes them 85% of the time.

We've been married for six years, now, and I've learned a lot about my husband during that time. He is a major dreamer. He's also incredibly good at making his dreams a reality in a way that respects my needs and desires. He has proven himself to me as I have trusted him to do his best, and we are both the better for it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Cleaving and Becoming An Adult

There is an awkward stage that every young adult goes through where he goes from being a child to being an adult. It's awkward for both the parents and the child, because there is a combination of still wanting to parent/be parented and yet wanting to make decisions that will impact the future you wish to have.

I knew from an incredibly young age (around 8) that I wanted to be a wife and mother. I never wanted to be anything else. I planned on getting married the day I turned 18 and popping out babies every year or so while my husband worked and I stayed at home. To me, this described the ideal life. My parents were supportive. They knew how important a wife and mother who stays at home can be, and they believed I was following the natural path for the majority of women.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Giving Up Meat

That's one big kohlrabi!

I have this really great husband to whom I can suggest anything reversible, and he's always willing to try. Early fall, I made a rather scary life change suggestion: "What would you think about trying Veganism for awhile?"

We weren't even avoiding meat (not at ALL. We love our local meat), but something had happened that really had changed how I felt about eating it all the time: my father had suffered a heart attack. After doing a lot of reading and research, I started a new running routine and thought that some diet changes could really be helpful in keeping our bodies working well. The diet change was approved, and we went from eating meat nearly every meal to no meat, dairy, or eggs. We were already sugar free and mostly oil and pasta free, so we knew it would be an adventure!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Why I Prioritize A Clean Home Over Playing with My Kids

Before kids, it was easy to keep house. I had way more time to accomplish everything than I needed, most of the time, and even with chronic health issues, I managed to get dishes done, the bed made, and the living room vacuumed. After my first child came, it got a little harder. When the second came along, it got a little more difficult. Then we embraced minimalism, and although that didn't eliminate the need to clean up, it did make things easy again.

But there were times when I noticed my husband seemed a little less relaxed when he got home. He didn't complain, but I could tell that when he came home and things were messy, it added stress to his life. Coming home wasn't a time to let loose and relax - he felt a need to clean up!

I tried to excuse the messy house by saying: "at least I was spending time with the kids. They're pretty important, right?" But even as I said it, it didn't feel right. I was home all day with the kids. And when my husband came home from work, the last thing I should expect from him was to jump right back into work by cleaning house. Everyone tells you that cleaning up isn't as important as spending time with your kids, because life is short. They won't always be this age... Right?

As much as the idea appealed to me, I still didn't feel it was the correct response. The basic problem was that although my children wouldn't be this age forever, they didn't need to be "enjoyed" 24-7. They also would not be the person I would live with the rest of my life - that was their daddy, and he was a priority above them.

So I had to make an attitude adjustment and a few life adjustments. Yes, I still spend time with my children. Yes, I still enjoy them and take pleasure in seeing the stages of life as they go through them. But around 5PM, I focus on supper and preparing the home for my husband to arrive. To see him walk in the door to a clean home and warm supper, watch the weariness of the day being left at the door, that is a wonderful blessing. And my kids don't mind when he's in a better mood, either.