Reader Question: How do we put a stop to the overwhelming amount of toys that enter our house for birthdays, Christmas (& everything in between!)?

Question:  I’m a mom of 4 and we are far from minimalists, though it would be a dream to make a move in that direction.  We have a ton of family, and they all love to lavish my children with gifts: Christmas, birthdays, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving they find any reason to buy my kids MORE.  I’ve politely asked them not to, I’ve moaned and groaned behind their backs and even tossed and donated much of it.  But I feel guilty, because family comes over a lot and my children tell on me, and family notices some how in our sea of toys that their most recent gift cannot be located.  How can I put a stop to this?  I need a creative idea here.


I totally get it. We have four kids age 7 and under and they are the only kids on my side. Their grandparents and aunts and uncles LOVE to spoil them and seem to bring them something almost every time we see them.

Something from the Dollar Store, another thing from a garage sale, this thing they couldn’t pass up at Target, a souvenir from the trip they took and oh look! We just found this when we were cleaning the basement! ;)

It is overwhelming for my husband and I at times, but it can be overwhelming to the kids, too.


How I Store & Organize Kid’s Clothes

It still strikes me at times, that our problem is excess when the majority of the world lives with so much less. Even my mom never had this problem of WAY too many kid’s clothes.

So let’s not be too hard on ourselves if our kids grow before they have a chance to wear things we bought  or if we sometimes go overboard at the Target clearance rack or garage sales. And lets also extend grace to our well meaning friends and family who contribute to this “problem.”

We’re all working to figure this out.

How much clothing do kids really need anyway?

How I’ve Simplified Dinner with an Instant Pot + My Favorite Weeknight Recipes

Since I simplified our kitchen a few years ago, I’ve noticed I cook at home more and find it more enjoyable. But, life is still busy and unpredictable at times, so having quick and easy go-to dinners is always helpful.

I first noticed the Instant Pot on Pinterest. Posts about quick dinners and making healthy eating easier caused me to take a second look, but it really looked like a glorified crock pot. I don’t have a great history with small appliances, I used a rice cooker once and then gave it away and store my crock pot in the basement because I just don’t use it that often.

But as I read more about it, I realized that it was actually quite a few notches up from a crock pot and started to think that maybe it could make cooking quicker and easier.

Our New House: Kitchen Update

“Welcome” to our home! You’ll quickly see that what drew us to this little oasis just south of the Twin Cities was not the condition of the home, but all of the space! Room to garden, grow sweet corn and hay, to have a few animals and to let the kids roam and explore.

The quarter mile long driveway brings you to a classic little barn that we hope to use for chickens next summer.

My First Stitch Fix Experience

(This ISN’T a sponsored post!) Early on in my minimalist journey I pared down my wardrobe to the essentials. I created a “capsule wardrobe” intuitively before it became a fad ;) A few basic bottoms and a handful of versatile tops and I was content mixing and matching.

Now, as I’ve entered the professional world once again, this approach still works, although I’ve found myself desiring a slightly more trendy wardrobe. I’ve often thought that it would be nice to mix in a few current pieces each season.

Should I even bother making a New Year’s resolution this year? 3 resolutions worth making

I’m guessing when it comes to making and keeping New Year’s resolutions, we’re in the same boat: we’ve failed at more than we’ve achieved…and at the moment, I can’t actually think of any that I’ve actually kept…for more than one week.

And most often I would say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So let’s not set ourselves up for failure yet again and just skip over this silly resolution tradition.

Except for this: If you’re also like me, there are things in your life that need to change, and if not now, then when?

Our summer: We laughed, we celebrated, we swam, we camp-fired, we vacationed, we gardened, we LIVED.

I knew this summer would go fast, they always do. And with my twin sister’s wedding mid-June, a new house to settle into, a garden to tend to, and a much anticipated vacation without kids (our first ever!)…my heart is full as I reflect on it.

And I can truly say without hesitation, having our home pared down to just the necessities made the summer months feel

Today we bought our dream home.

It still feels a little surreal actually.

Being a farm girl from Minnesota, my dream home is probably slightly different than most, but when we were handed the keys to this little white farm house on 11 acres, I was overjoyed.

You see, I’ve driven by this property my whole life. Located just down the road from my parent’s farm, I always admired the tidy yard and red barns.

But, with the price of farm land soaring in our area, we didn’t think we’d actually be able to buy a farm.

I’ve decided not to tell people what to get our kids this year.

I’ve decided not to tell people what to get our kids for Christmas this year.

This comes after a few year stretch of asking and hinting to our family to get the kids “experiences” or things that they can do, you know, something practical. It is a common topic right now around gift giving, and it definitely isn’t wrong or bad.

How we save time & money with wholesale chicken (& you can, too!)

**Note: Chicken is currently on sale for $1.69/lb., this generally happens once or twice per year, but if you are interested, you may need to order soon, it can sell out!**

Our littlest guy has been sick since Thursday night. You know the kind where every hour you’re debating if you should take him in or not?

No, he’s getting better…oh good, he’s sitting on the floor playing…now he’s back in my lap…oh good, he wants to eat again…nope, it just came back up.