A PARENT FRIENDLY, CHILDREN'S PLAYLIST

February 28, 2017

Music is a huge part of our family's life and there's usually something playing in the background at any given moment of every day. Ruthie, our oldest daughter, loves music and is always requesting 'kiddie music.' One can grow tired of The Wheels On The Bus pretty quickly, so I started searching for children's artists that we could all listen to and love. Below is my playlist filled with favorite songs from our favorite 'kiddie' artists that we have playing throughout our days at home. They're all artists that create a sense of calm with thoughtful and whimsical lyrics, some more silly than others which we love. I would encourage you to listen to the full albums of each artist too. So good! We just love them!

Enjoy our playlist!  (*note, this playlist is available through spotify)

A MINIMAL HOME

February 22, 2017

I recently read an article from Becoming Minimalist called Why Kids Need Minimalism and it really struck a chord with me. I would definitely say we are not true minimalists (whatever that means) but we are pretty close and are always striving to keep a home filled with less stuff and more connection. For me, peaceful days at home are what feels inspiring to me and for our days to feel peaceful we need to keep a clutter free, peaceful home. 
When Nick and I bought our first home 7 years ago, we were lovers of found and collected objects, old vintage knick knacks and filling every surface we had with 'stuff'. I can't pinpoint exactly when our home mentality started to shift but as we slowly began to purge our belongings the freer and more peaceful we felt. Several years ago I wrote a post about how to start the process of purging if you have no idea where to begin. It can be really overwhelming but once you start, it really is hard to stop! A lot of people interested in adjusting their lifestyle in this way ask me how we manage all the toys. If you have kids you know this struggle is so so real and it is unbelievable how much we acquire by having children. Here's what works for us and how we have managed to keep this pretty much under control:

1. We have designated spaces for toys and play things. This means we don't have kids stuff in every room of the house, all over the place. In our living room we have one natural colored basket with a few things in it for the girls to play with and a small natural colored basket for books. Do not underestimate the power and use of the basket! We use them for EVERYTHING. These ones from target in both this shape and the round shape are my absolute favorite. All other toys are in their playroom on the second floor. We have two sets of shelves, a dresser and 4 baskets in this space and if there is not room for something in one of the three spaces, we do not keep it. I go through their play things about once a month and am shocked each month that I am able to fill a box for donation. In their bedrooms I keep only books and stuffed animals as to try to create a really calming sleep and rest environment.  I also know everyone does not have a playroom and I totally get that. I would then encourage you to purge as much as you can from your children's bedrooms and designate a book shelf and a couple baskets for toys and some organized storage for games and puzzles in their closets. If you have not heard of the book Simplicity Parenting, I highly highly recommend it. It talks a lot about the positive mental shift you'll see in your children when you de-clutter their space. Another great book that blends parenting with intentional space is You Are Your Child's First Teacher. And one last book recommendation for getting your belongings organized and in order is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. 

2. We are very intentional with the types of toys we buy for our kids. If it is loud and obnoxious we tend to stay away from it. There are so many amazing toy brands that we love that align well with our preferred toy aesthetic. A few of our favorites are Hape, Plan Toys, IKEA toys and Melissa and Doug. 

3. Art supplies. In our house this is a huge and daily struggle to keep under control. Our oldest daughter makes art ALL day long, every day which means we needed an easy organization system she could use independently. We got a 3 drawer, clear tupperware bin she can see her supplies in and open and close by herself and we keep it in the playroom near her art table. The top of one of our toy selfs (which is chest high for our 4 year old) has a basket for work she would like to keep (which I sort and recycle every few days), an art bin with her colored pencils, glue sticks, scissors, tape, hold punch and pencil sharpener. She can grab what she needs or bring the entire bin to her table. 

In our home we also only have one big closet for storage - no basement, no garage, so when we moved in we really needed to think about this. Most of what we own is visible which is another reason we didn't want to have a bunch of stuff everywhere. I operate best when my mind doesn't feel too cluttered and it definitely does if my environment is cluttered. We keep things like camping gear, holiday decorations, old baby gear, etc in the storage closet and again, if we don't have room for something we donate it. Have you ever heard of the idea, only keep what is either functional or beautiful? We try to keep this in mind and keep our home functioning with this principle in mind. This also applies to our clothing. Nick and I both have a pretty simple daily uniform. Jeans, and for me either a sweater or tucked in tee with a sweater over top. For nick, a button up shirt or flannel, and t-shirts. (He doesn't need to wear a suit to work so that helps.) We have gotten rid of most of our cheap, 'trendy' clothing and have been sticking to better made stuff that lasts us much longer. Some brands we really like are Noble Denim (for both jeans, sweatshirts and tee's) and Madewell. I'd say almost everything we own comes from these two outfitters. Everlane is another good basics shop made high in quality if you are a jeans and tee kind of person like I am. 

Another important thing to note is that minimalism can look like a lot of different things depending on your family and your goals. Minimalism doesn't mean that you have to get rid of all your stuff- I think it's more of a mindset. If you feel calm and content in your space and have a lot of time for slowness and connection with your family, I'd say you're a minimalist. It doesn't mean you need to have white walls and neutral colors throughout your entire home. Define what minimalism is to you and then run with that. It is a constant struggle to live slowly in our hurry up, do more culture. I'm hoping that by choosing to do and have less our family will continue to grow in closeness. What are some of your peaceful home tricks and tips!? I LOVE hearing what works for other's and getting new idea's on how to continue to keep a minimal home. 
 

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