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How much is necessary?

For the past year, David and I have been house hunting. We love our little home, but we desire a different layout, a different town, and c...

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Around Our Home

A glimpse as to what is being said and learned around our home...

"Leia milked her first cow!" - Inspired by Lego mini figures and listening to On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder. This was also accompanied by a duel between a black dragon and a green dragon and observed by ostriches with very good hearing, a taun-taun, a snow monster, and other assorted Lego characters. Oh, and a pair of oxen named Star and Bright- thanks again Laura.

"NO! I want Isabelle!! She's mine!" - An argument between two sisters regarding who could play with the puppies Isabelle and Stocking. Both girls wanted both puppies. Both girls were yelling and screetching at the top of their lungs. The kicker is that "Isabelle" and "Stocking" are imaginary. Yes, this does happen more often than one might expect. Yes, it is awkward. Yes, I am quite amazed at the vividness of their collective imaginations. No, we are not getting puppies or any other living animal for that matter!

"Gemini. I need Gemini time." - While my daughters enjoy learning about space, this is not an indication that they are advanced learners. We have a baby carrier called a "Gemini". Pickle has ridden in it since she was quite small. She also quite enjoys putting her baby doll in the kid sized version.

"No. Dat not right." - Pickle will say this for everything. You can say something "please put your shoes away." Or she'll ask you to draw a picture of Luke Skywalker and disagree with the shape of circle you've drawn for his head. Sometimes she mutters it as she's changing her Baby Dear's outfit. Regardless of when it is said, she expresses it with such confidence and decisiveness one is sometimes left floundering at being told off by such a small sprite!

During a recent nap time, Pickle would not settle down. Eventually, I went up to see if my presence could help her fall asleep. I found this:

Out of her blanket, she had constructed a baby carrier for her teddy bear all by herself. Maybe she will be our little engineer?

Meanwhile, Sweet Potato snagged a McGuffey Reader that I had brought home from my parents for planning school next year. She was upstairs reading away. Next thing I know, she's standing by me saying, "Mama, I can read the Roman numerals." By golly she could! I asked how she had learned that "X" equals ten and "I" equals one and "V" equals five, etc. "Oh Mama," came the reply, "there is a table in the front that shows you. I used it to learn them, silly." She is the daughter of two librarians no doubt about it!

Never a dull moment in our home and I wouldn't change it for the world! 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Give Your Child the World!

As a book lover, there is nothing like receiving a book right after it is published! It is with a full heart that I awaited the arrival of Jamie Martin's Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time. I've followed her for several years on Simple Homeschool and SteadyMom. She has been a quiet, practical, yet strong and consistent voice for me in moments of overwhelm, doubt in mothering and homeschooling, and a fellow encourager of good books. If I ever have the pleasure of meeting her, I'm sure we would hit if off- even if we just sat next to each other reading.

Earlier this week, her book was born. Five years in the making and dreaming and it's here in my hands! However, this isn't just a book to grace my shelves. No, way! This book is going to help me bring the world to my daughters. It's home will likely be the library bag so I can grab great stories while visiting our fantastically amazing library! It's absolutely going to provide hours of discovery and inspire countless conversations and trips (real and imaginary).

If you want to travel but can only afford an armchair...
If you want to enrich your family with understanding various cultures...
If you desire to raise children who view others as precious people not stereotypes...
If you love literature and need recommendations for your kiddos...

Grab your pin money and get this book. You will be so very glad you did. Equally as important, you and your children will have their worldview enlarged and nurtured. Happy travels!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Minimalism: Uncluttered Course Weeks 2-4

Over the past three weeks in the Uncluttered Course with Joshua Becker, we have started to actually declutter. Despite my regularity at maintaining our minimalistic home, we were still able to create a pile of items to go. In fact, we have officially surpassed our tax deductible donation total from 2015 and we aren't even half way through 2016!! I'm sure that as we continue to work through various rooms in our home we will find even more items to pass along.

One of the neatest outcomes of taking this course is that so many of you are also participating! Receiving texts with piles of garbage bags or emails listing all that was just dropped at the donation center both spur me on to de-own and thrill my heart that you, reader, are journeying into a world of immense benefit. Regardless of your why, I hope you continue to be ruthless and courageous as you tackle your possessions. 

Since so many of you are working through your homes, I've been reflecting on minimalistic life with fresh eyes. The idea of consumerism continues to nag me. I've been thinking about how I'll take 6 pictures instead of just 1. Or I go to the library and bring home 12 books more than I actually need. Or I rush through reading a book just to say it is done and move on to the next.

When will I learn to slow down, savor, indulge? When will I be content with finishing something and resting? To enjoy the afterglow of a project well done before racing to consume the next item on my to do list? For me, consumerism- being one who consumes solely for self-gratification or pleasure- is another aspect of selfishness, perhaps even a societal excuse to be selfish. 

Critics say that minimalism is only for the wealthy as they can afford to replace something that they've given away. I've heard minimalism is a generational phenomenon as I've never known rationing or the inability to acquire what I desired. But the more I study history at large and participate in minimalism, I'm finding that many of these claims are rationalizations for why normal people would check out of the consumerism game.

Of all the items we've removed from our home, we haven't replaced one of them that I can recall. We haven't known what it is to be in want, but we are attempting to discipline ourselves to make do and be content with what we have. For me, this also extends to intangibles like knowledge acquisition. I am experimenting with using up my pantry, not letting food spoil. My husband is pushing himself to honestly evaluate his hobbies and what he needs to participate in them. Our children are starting to use craft and toys they haven't touched in a while because we've thinned their options. I'm also finding, I have less I need to clean up. It's a win all the way around!