5 Tips for Minimalism with kids

Hi there! If you haven’t seen part one STOP and click here to get caught up.

Like always I’m going to start by saying this post isn’t about bashing moms. Parenting is hard enough without all the added drama social media can bring. I’m a supportive person, and I try my hardest not to judge others on their parenting choices. Please keep that in mind while reading this post. If we want our children to grow up in a kinder world, we need to start being kinder to each other. ❤

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Now I know some of you are thinking I’m full of it. I only have a 7 month old, I don’t understand how difficult older children can be. Well, you’re right, I have no idea what that’s like. I’m not here to tell you to throw all your kid’s stuff away and move on. I know these kinds of transitions take time, so below you’ll find a few tips that I hope will make things a little easier.

  1. Speak openly to family members 

I want to give you my most valuable piece of information first. The biggest problem parents can face when they choose to do anything outside of the norm is their family. I hear all too often ” oh I can’t get rid of that, ____ got that for her.” Well, the easiest way to combat this problem is to let family members know your policy on gifts ahead of time. When doing this always be respectful, but firm. You’ll encounter some family members who don’t agree with your choice, and that okay. Try your hardest to explain what brought you to your decision. If you find that doesn’t help, just move on. You’re no required to argue with anyone.

To try and avoid hurt feelings as much a possible, my partner and I have decided to have a families and friends follow a few simple rules when getting gifts for our son.

  • We limit gift giving to special occasions ( I’ll touch more on this later)
  • The gift much be something he needs, something he wants, something he can read, or something he can wear
  • We prefer sustainable materials. This basically means no/ very little plastic

 

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2. Activities over possessions 

I know this one can seem kind of like a splurge but just stick with me. What’s more logical, buying a toy that will sit in box or room unused like the 4,000 other toys your kid has or buying an annual pass to a theme park you can use over and over again. Honestly, the choices are endless hear, find an activity your child is interested and do that instead of buying another toy.

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3. TEACH THEM TO GIVE 

I put this one is all caps because I wanted it to really stand out. This is something that I believe is incredibly important. It doesn’t matter how old your children are, it’s never too early to teach them to be generous. Something my partner and I plan on doing with our son when he’s older is allow him to go through his toys and decide what he wants to keep, and what he wants to give to another child. I personally don’t see the point in hanging on to things that aren’t being used.

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4. Only keep what they’re interested in

We all know kids go through phases. I’m sure all of you reading this could walk into your kid’s room and find something that hasn’t been played with in months. Why are you holding on to it? Find a few things that they’re loving at the moment, and donate everything else.

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5. Limit new possessions to special occasions 

How many times have you walked into a store and allowed your child to grab something off the shelf just to avoid a meltdown? Don’t be embarrassed everyone does it. The only problem with this is, it creates a habit. To avoid this try limiting getting new items to special occasions like birthdays.

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I can not stress this enough, this post is not able shaming parents who don’t follow this lifestyle. This is only a guide to help those who feel like they can’t rise above the chaos. My goal with this blog is to create a safe space for like-minded people, and show people it possible to live a life that’s focused on the things that matter.

xoxo

Destiny

Minimalism with kids

I’m positive this post will ruffle so feathers because there’s something about kids and their toys that always gets someone’s undies in a bunch. I want to start by saying I’m not making this post to shame anyone. I’m sharing this for the mom out there that are feeling overwhelmed with all the clutter. And for the moms that are just like me, and what their child to appreciate the things they have.

I hate that I have to say this but, again this is not to shame anyone! Do what you think is best for your family. Whether that means your kid has two toys, or two thousand!

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I’m not going to lie, guys I am by not means the perfect minimalist. I’m not even sure if I should call myself that. Before I had my son I was like so many people, and thought that the more things I had the happier I would be. So as you can imagine I had a TON of crap, and I was miserable. I was constantly feeling overwhelmed and would find myself having panic attacks if things weren’t where I thought they should be. While I was pregnant I stumbled across the minimalist documentary. This is kind of embarrassing but I think I watched twenty times. It was eye opening! After watching I started to pair down my things. Again, I’m not perfect and to be honest I still have a ton of stuff but I try not to beat myself up about it ( and neither should you). It’s a work in progress, and I’m okay with that.

Now for those of you who read the title, I’m sure you’re wondering what the hell any of this has to do with children. Well don’t worry, this is where I talk about that 😉

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Anyone who has ever had children knows you end up with a bunch of stuff and most of it you never even use! For example, my partner and I still have boxes filled with baby stuff up in the attic and for some reason, we felt the need to hang on to it. Even though we never plan on using it! We’re constantly being told to hang on to things for the “what ifs” well my advice to you is just get rid of it! If you don’t absolutely love it, or use it on a regular basis there’s no point in hanging on to it.

For my family, this also applies to my sons toys. My partner and I are very selective when it comes to the toys we buy for our son. If we don’t think he’ll absolutely love it  we don’t buy it. If he has fourteen other toys just like it, we leave it at the store. I’ll be honest ,right now it’s pretty easy because he’s only 6 months old and can’t have a melt down in the middle of Target. If you’re a parent to older children just take one step at a time, and remember it’s not about being perfect. Minimalism is what you make it. It’s not about who has the least amount of things, or never buying anything ever again.

I’m sure some of you are thinking I’m cruel. I’m sure some of you are thinking my son will grow up feeling deprived, and thinking I don’t love him. I can assure you that is not the case. I want to raise my son to appreciate the things he has,and to understand that monetary things don’t bring happiness. I want to show him that its possible to live a life that’s in line with your values. If you’re one of those people who think I’m crazy I’d like to share with you some of the things I hope my son gains from minimalism.

  • Creativity and Innovation 

Fewer toys will enable him to be more creative and imaginative with the toys he has available to him.

  • The ability to share with others

By having fewer toys, he’ll be able to develop good communication skills by practicing sharing with other children

  • Less stress 

Clutter creates stress in humans of all ages. I’m sure you’ve all heard someone say “all these toys and my baby only wants to play with ___.” When given too many choices children can become overwhelmed and stressed.

  • Independent play

By having fewer toys around he’ll be able to stay engaged longer. It will be easier for him to locate toys, as well as clean up after himself.

  • Conscious Consumerism 

By helping him to be selective with his toys I’ll be able to teach him the importance of spending your money carefully.

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Above all I want my son to value our time together as a family. I want to teach him that moments are more important than material things.Again I’d like to state that this post ( none of my post actually) isn’t about shaming someone. Parenthood is difficult enough. My goal here is to build a community of like-minded people, however I don’t intend on doing that by tearing others down.

If you found today’s post helpful, make sure you check in later this week because I’ll be continuing my series on minimalism. Make sure you subscribe to get notifications every time I post! If you’d like to see more of my day to day life follow me on Instagram . I make new post there daily!

xoxo

Destiny

 

Essential Oils 101

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Essential oils are a big deal in the natural community right now. I’m sure you’ve all heard someone talking about them recently. I know most of us crunchy mamas have a set at home. And for good reason. They are a fantastic tool to have in your arsenal.

I couldn’t go a day without my oils! I never leave the house without them in my bag. I use them for supporting my immune system, calming my anxiety and much more! They’re an amazing, natural way to manage your family’s health. If you’re interested in taking charge of your health as well as your family’s this post is for you!

I AM NOT AN AROMATHERAPIST OF DOCTOR. I’M JUST A MOM WHO HAS DONE HER OWN RESEARCH. PLEASE DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH OR CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE USING OILS ESPECIALLY ON CHILDREN!

WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS?

Essential oils are often called the “life blood” of a plant. They are aromatic, volatile liquids that are found in most shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, seeds, and bushes. They have been used for thousands of years, some say they date back to 3,500 B.C.

Today people use essential oils in three main ways

  1. Aromatically
  2. Topically
  3. Ingestion

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HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS: AROMATICALLY 

Recently there have been a number of studies published linking the benefits of essential oils both physically, and emotionally. You’ve probably noticed the link between scent and emotions. When we smell something When we smell something, we first process the input via the olfactory bulb, which is at the base of our brain and connected to the amygdala and hippocampus, the parts of our brain associated with emotion and memory.

Aromatherapy is basically inhaling essential oils. The easiest way to do this is with a diffuser. You can find links to the ones I use here and here. The diffuser works by breaking the oil into tiny molecules dispersing them throughout the air. An essential oil diffuser is a much healthier option compared to toxic air fresheners and candles.

HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS: TOPICALLY 

Applying essential oils topically is another way to get all the amazing benefits essential oils have to offer. Because of their molecular structure, essential oils are rapidly absorbed by the skin. When applied topically, it takes about 20 minutes for an oil to affect every cell in the body. The oil is then metabolized within a few hours.

The safest place to apply essential oils is the bottom of the feet because they contain thicker less sensitive skin. Most essential oils are too strong to be applied to the skin neat. Make sure you are always dilute them with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, or sweet almond oil. Dilution doesn’t make them less effective it just helps them spread over a larger surface area. I can not stress this enough! Always make sure you are following essential oil safety guidelines, especially when it comes to children.

Although diluting ratios vary depending on age and medical conditions the general rule of thumb is as follows:

  • Add 1-2 drops of essential oil per 1 teaspoon of carrier oil for adult
  • Add 1-2 drops of essential oil per 1 tablespoon of carrier oil for children over 2 years of age.( Never apply a “hot” oil such are oregano, cinnamon bark, or wintergreen to children. I also recommend to keep peppermint oil away from anyone under the age of 10)

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HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS: INGESTING

 This should only be done with a health care professional with experience and essential oil education! Please remember essential oils are VERY potent. One drop of peppermint essential oil is equal to twenty-six cups of tea! You should educate yourself, and do what you’re comfortable with. Always make sure you are working with someone who is knowledgeable in using essential oils internally before you ingest them. DO NOT GIVE ESSENTIAL OILS INTERNALLY TO CHILDREN!

With all that being said I have used essential oils in my water from time to time, just to give it a little bit of flavor.

WHAT BRAND TO USE

There are hundreds of brands out there, I won’t go into too much detail but I will tell you to stay way from the oils sold in places like Wal-mart or even some health food stores. Do your research and compare different brands until you find the one you like. I personally use Doterra oils and LOVE them! You can purchase them here.

If you’d like more information on essential oils, check out the book modern essentials. It’s a fantastic source of information and can answer any question you have regarding essential oils. You can find it here.

xoxo

Destiny

 

 

SCREEN TIME

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It’s safe to say We all know screen time in excess can be harmful to infants and toddlers. And I’m sure we all know it’s not great for older kids either. So, why is it that so many young kids are getting so much screen time? Well, because parents are tired and it’s often easier to plant your kid in front of a TV.

Quality caregiving requires so much of our time and energy. It’s understandable why you would want a few minutes to yourself.

I’m not here to tell you how much screen time your kids should be getting, ultimately that’s up to you. I’m also not trying to make you believe a few minutes of TV is going to damage your kid forever. I’m simply sharing the reasons my partner and I have decided to limit our little guys time in front of the TV.

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The AAP suggest TV for children under two, and no more that 1-2 hours a day for older children. For my family these recommendations ably to anything with a screen, not just TV. We don’t allow our son to play with phones, tablets, or watch television right now (he’s six months), and when he’s older his screen time will be limited. If you’d like some information about how to break your family’s TV habit, this article is extremely helpful.

So at this point, I’m sure you’re all wondering why we don’t let our little man have screen time.  Well, if I’m perfectly honest we weren’t always this way. In the beginning, we were like most parents and believed it was perfectly fine for out newborn to watch TV with us. It wasn’t until a few month in that we changed our minds. I started to notice how focused Walter was when we would watch TV together. He was always perfectly still, and quiet. At first, I thought this was great because I was able to do the things I wanted while Walter was watching TV. However, the more I observed him, the more worried I became. Whenever he was in front of the TV he became a zombie. It was almost like he was in a trance, and that really freaked me out.

Once I started doing more research about the effects of screen time on little ones, we just swore it off. Don’t get me wrong here, there are times Walter catches a glimpse of a screen every now and then. Media is everywhere, it’s impossible to keep him away from screens completely and I’m okay with that. I don’t see any harm in a few seconds ( or minutes) of screen time once in a while. The problems start when young kids spend hours in front of a screen.

Recent studies have shown excessive screen time can lead to delayed language development, connotative issues, and some have even linked it to ADHD. In fact, Dr. Ari Brown, the lead author on the American Academy of Pediatrics said, “The concern for risk is that some kids who watch a lot of media actually have poor language skills, so there’s a deficit in their language development. We also have concerns about other developmental issues because they’re basically missing out on other developmentally appropriate activities,”. Countless other studies have show that children don’t understand what they’re watching on TV until around age two.

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I do want to take a moment to touch on the difference between passive and active screen time. Passive screen time is just plopping your kid in front of a screen and expecting it to babysit them. Whereas active screen time is something like a Skype call or face-timing with a relative. There is a HUGE difference between the two! Georgene Troseth, a Vanderbilt University developmental psychologist conducts some of the country’s leading research on children and screens. She says, “We’re finding pretty consistently — in fact, two recent studies with actual Skype [calls] — that children do seem to learn better when there is social interaction from a person on video. So it’s kind of encouraging with FaceTime or Skype for parents and grandparents to know that [with] that interaction, the children might actually be willing to learn from a person on a screen because of the social interaction showing them what’s on the screen is connected to their lives,”.

If you’d like more information about raising a child without screen time, Mama natural has a fantastic blog post discussing the topic. You can find that here.

I’d like to stress how important it is to do what works best for your family. If you choose to use interactive media with your child make sure you find a healthy balance. Actually take the time to sit down with them, and get involved, that’s going to be more valuable than anything else.

xoxo

Destiny

Self care Sunday

 

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Hello my sweet sweet friends! I hope all is well in your world.

If you couldn’t tell from last weeks post I’m pretty big on self-love. For those of you who don’t know me personally, I’ll go ahead and let you know this is a relatively new idea for me. I’ve spent most of my life putting myself on the back burner, but not anymore my friends!

Basically, I started with the idea of taking a little time for myself. I usually do this on Sunday when I make a new post, but you can choose any day that works for you. In the future, I’d like to take a little time every day, but for now, Sundays are working just fine 😉

I can’t stress how important it is to create a routine of self-care for yourself, especially for us mothers. We spend so much time taking care of other people we forget about ourselves. Take some tips from my self-care routine below, and make sure you’re giving yourself some love on a daily basis!

Sleep in

You’ll be surprised when you see what sleeping in just one day a week can do for your health. Both physically as well as mentally. Sleep is when our body heals and recuperates from our stressful lives. If you have small children pass them off on Dad for a little bit, so you can sleep in.

Meditate 

Meditation is something I feel very strongly about, and it’s a huge part of my life. Take a least 10 minutes to just sit, and be present. Make sure you ditch your phone, and any negative thoughts.

You’ll walk away much more relaxed, and ready to take on your day.

Pamper yourself 

I want to start by saying that I’m not talking about “retail therapy” here. I personally believe that kind of “papering” is just a distraction, and incredibly self-destructive.

What I mean is run yourself a hot bath, diffuse some essential oils and drift away.

Get outside 

This is so important to me! If I spend to much time indoors, I feel stressed and overwhelmed with life.

Take a walk, ride a bike, just get outside and breathe the fresh air. I find this incredibly grounding, it connects back to life and just makes my day that much better.

Spend time doing something you love 

For me, this means watching my son. Literally, I just sit there and watch him sleep sometimes. I know this probably sounds really weird, but it’s the truth. I find myself becoming preoccupied with so many things that I often forget just how fast my son is growing. Whenever I find that happening, I stop what I’m doing and focus on being present in his life. Whether that means watching him sleep, or sitting on the floor and playing with him. It’s important to me to take that time for him, no matter what because I know in twenty years I’m never going to look back and wish I would have spent more time putting the dishes away.

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Life is busy, and I’m sure a lot of you are thinking there is no way you have time to find one of these activities into your day. If you don’t have time for self-care what does that say about the relationship you have with yourself?

Life is about love and joy, not negativity and judgment. Just breathe and embrace life!

xoxo

Destiny

Zero Waste Lifestyle

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I’ve gotten so many questions about my zero waste lifestyle, I figured I write a post about it. The most common question I get asked is why do I do it? Well, I do it because I’m a tree-hugging hippie of course. Well at least that what everyone things when I tell them I try (Try being a key work here) to life a life without producing trash. Honestly, I do it because I want to create a better world for my son. I want to inspire him as well as others to live a more sustainable life. Wow, I guess they’re right, I am a tree -hugging hippie.

So what is zero waste?

There are a ton of different ways to interpret what a “zero waste lifestyle” is. To make it easy I’m going to define it as living a sustainable lifestyle, as well as being conscious of the impact you have on the environment.

I want to stress that it’s impossible to live completely zero waste. This lifestyle isn’t all of nothing. If you’re interested in transitioning to a zero waste lifestyle it’s important to take baby steps and to not be too hard on yourself. I’m including a list of a few things you can do to start transitioning to a more sustainable life.

Is zero waste difficult?

People are constantly telling me they couldn’t possibly be zero waste simply because it’s too hard. The truth is that this lifestyle is incredibly easy and simple. It just requires a little more planning ahead. I’ve found that living this was really helped minimize my stress, as well as save me money. Since I try to avoid things in packaging, I save a ton of money because I’m not paying the markups companies charge. I encourage everyone to try living zero waste of five days. I’m sure you’ll be surprised by how easy it is.

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5 Things you can do right now towards zero waste

If you’re ready to dive deeper into the rabbit hole here are a few more things you can do 😉

I’ve including links to all of my favorite zero waste products! If you’re interested in this lifestyle and would like to learn more check out trash is for tossers. This site is run my Lauren Singer. She’s absolutely amazing, and one of my biggest inspirations.

If you haven’t already please make sure you subscribe. When you enter your email you’ll be notified every time I make a new post!

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Also, shoot me an email or leave a comment below letting me know a way you’ve tried cutting down your waste!

xoxo

Destiny