Less is more, right?

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“We need a bigger house, the boys have no room to run inside.” “We need a SUV, its packed in here.” These are frequent statements Ive made to my husband in the last year.  Then I think on it a bit and I realize … No, we actually don’t NEED it.  Our car has enough seating for us all to ride together.  Our house has 4 bedrooms and we don’t even need 4 bedrooms right now.  But its easy to get carried away with the mindset of wanting more, more, more and finding more value in material items than quality time and memories.

Ive made a lot of progress in this arena, mostly since becoming a mom, but its still really easy to slip back into that mainframe if I am not careful.  If you haven’t watched the documentary about Minimalism on Netflix, I HIGHLY recommend it.

I found myself a month ago standing in our living room amongst 7 different plastic toys all singing annoying songs and sounds and my kids were nowhere to be found.  It was completely a breaking point for me.  Why do we accumulate so much stuff?  They always go back to the same few toys regardless of what we add.  So, I waited until the boys were asleep that night and I boxed up every singing toy and item that I hadn’t seen them touch and put them in the attic.  Two weeks went by and they hadn’t inquired as to where the items went.

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So I took it a step further and packed up all of the toys that didn’t fit into the following categories: (No-one has said a peep!)

  1. Nurturing Toys: Doll family, doll house, animal hospital, baby bottle, puppets, animal families, cars, money, cash, register, kitchen, grocery store, play food, medical kit, phone, etc.
  2. Creative Toys: Sand, water, paints, craft materials, clay/play dough, musical instruments, magic wand, dress-up clothes, etc.
  3. Building Toys – Legos, Lego Duplos, Lincoln Logs, Wooden Blocks, Marble Run, Potato head, etc.
  4. Books
  5. Puzzles
  6. Animals
  7. Sports items – golf clubs, football, soccer ball, frisbee, basketball, etc.
  8. People – dolls, superheroes, villains, etc.
  9. Modes of transportation – Cars, Trucks, Buses, Ambulances, Fire trucks, airplanes, military vehicles, trains, etc.
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These are some of our favorite blocks from Melissa and Doug and Little Tykes!

My new rule of thumb is: if it isn’t a toy that I would save for my future grandchildren, why am I buying it?  This has been really helpful at our house for more focused toys and less clutter.   Lets be real, they’d both be happiest outside naked, using sticks as swords and digging in the mud.  So why do we spend our hard earned money on toys that will end up at Goodwill in a month or two? The problematic part of having a minimalist lifestyle with kids is parties and gifts.  Family members love your kids and want to spoil them, so how do you strike a good balance between gifts and not compromising your lifestyle? (Don’t worry more to come on how we deal with this soon!)

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How do you manage the stuff? Do you enjoy material items or experiences more or a balance of the two?  How do you strike a balance? Would love to hear you all weigh in.

Gotta go build a castle with my demanding 3 year old. Baby bro aka Monster is knocking down the prince’s tower and its about to go WWE in here if I don’t intervene.

Xoxo,

 

Erin and the rest of the Smith Potato head crew

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Palmer created our family today in Potato Heads: From left to right – Daddy, Grayson, Mommy and Palmer.

Cheers to the dad’s!

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This morning we spent time crafting our homemade Fathers Day Gifts for the 3 most special men in our life; daddy, Pawpaw, and Poppa! It was fun, easy, and we think much more special than any store bought gift!

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Energy Bites

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Tis the season of children home from school and a never ending trail of hungry children to feed all day long. Instead of endless fruit snacks, candy, and chips try to exchange the processed foods for fresh and natural items that will leave those hungry hungry hippos full and energized for longer.

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Grouper A la Greece

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I am really excited to partner with another local establishment, Bon Air Seafood, and bring you a delicious and healthy seafood dish once a month!  Bon Air Seafood isn’t just any locally owned Richmond business though, its extra special to our family because the oh so cool Uncle Joey owns it. We all think Joey is pretty amazing, but my older son Palmer thinks he walks on water.  Refers to him as “da cool uncle Joey” and says his “Seafood shop has all da good stuff”  “You know, all da fishes and crabs from da sea mama.”  Bon Air Seafood has been family owned since it opened in 1977 and it is tucked into the cutest corner in between Goodstuff Consignment and The Butcher Shop at Bon Air on Tinsley Drive.

For our first monthly collaboration I am bringing you one of Joey’s faves – Grouper A la Greece.  Its now more than just Joey’s fave though – it won us over too!

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No Time?

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Number 1 excuse – “I don’t have time right now.” TIME.

24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour = 1,440 minutes in a day.

60 seconds in minute and 86,400 seconds in a day. We all get the very same time each day.  From our trash collector, teacher, engineer, scientist, nurse, banker, doctor, work at home mama to our Governor and President. We all have the very same 86,400 seconds a day to use.

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I dip, you dip, we dip

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I am about to BLOW your mind with a delicious dip that you will be taking to every social function for the foreseeable future. But before I do, if the title of this post did not make you think of this song then we are no longer friends.  Go ahead and watch this video and jam out for a moment and remember how much you loved this song.  Don’t even pretend you didn’t.  Its a classic.

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Saks Summer Beauty for moms on the GO!

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I was invited to partner with Saks Fifth Avenue at Stony Point Fashion Park in Richmond, Virginia to help kick off Summer Beauty Week June 1 – 4! I had such an ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhmazzzzing time and I am honored the Marketing Manager asked me to feature their kick off!

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Sweet Potato Bowl

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I’m never a fan of eating a meal that requires you to unbutton pants or feel so full after that you need a nap (I will give you a free pass on Thanksgiving though!) This meal is filling but light and perfect for a warm summer night. I just finished this as leftovers for the third meal and enjoyed it just as much for lunch today as I did that first dinner.  Set yourself up for success by making something for dinner that will produce leftovers so you aren’t tempted to buy lunch out or grab fast food.  Easy and cost effective is a huge hit in our house.

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Right place at the right time

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Sometimes the stars align and you are in the right place at the right time with the right person.  I decided tonight on a whim after working out that I would quickly stop and get my eyebrows waxed and my hair trimmed.  I have been putting it off for weeks and weeks avoiding the menial task because I cant seem to find the time to shower much less leave the boys with their dad to escape and get a hair trim.  2 hours later I returned home with red rimmed eyes, a sniffling nose, a full heart, and a cute new haircut.  There is no doubt in my mind that people cross paths for a reason and I know without a doubt tonight my mom led me to that chair and my new hairdresser and friend, Priscilla. Continue Reading