Monday, February 18, 2013

Day 18: Really, Mom? Paints?

Today we spent 5.50 on our bread run and I got a coupon for fifty free photo prints, today only. I ordered them and shipping cost me 3.68. So a pricey day, but thankfully we had fun money to spend. 

So here's what we did for the kiddos for Valentines. I know this is super helpful to you, with my timing and sorry! If your kids aren't aware of the date, you can still do it this year...I celebrated whenever I wanted back then and loved taking advantage of clearance sales. Also, Valentine's won't be over at our house til Brian and I have a proper date - Wednesday evening! I can't wait. 

The kids were excited about what they'd get for Valentines since they remembered getting fun things last year. As a minimalist, I think harder about gifts I give them. I don't want to add junky stuff to the mix, so I try to replace something that's broken or used up, or find something that's high quality even if it's small. As Valentine's neared, I noticed their watercolor paints were out of several colors and thought of picking some up. Then I decided to get something slightly different (washable paints, but not water colors) and save them for Valentines. 

I also gave them Tupperware. A month ago, there was a women's expo in our town with a booth. When I thought about sending the kids to school and the lunches that'll be involved, I realized I don't have any nifty containers that won't leak. Since we pack lunches only occasionally now, I buy snack size canned fruits, but that's not cheap or green (which I've noticed is often the same thing.) So I got them each two containers, hers pink, his orange and tucked them away to use as a gift. After all, we didn't really need them til August. I did know these would fall short of thrilling their souls, so I put gummy bears inside. 

I got some kids' movies second-hand a while ago and gradually introduce each one, since too many at a time means arguments over which one we'll view. Only one new one means they're both interested. I know...sneaky does it. I gave them a version of Jungle book with real people and animals. I also put in a book from my childhood that I'd saved "for my kids."

These items were put in a gift bag along with the card I made Brian and chocolate for me. The kids were each given clues that led them around the house. Daddy helped them read things like, "A place where there's a whale and a fish," which led to their bathtub where they'd find another clue. Eventually, they found the bag and brought it to me. I pulled things out and had them guess who each item was for. 

In case you're thinking my kids are unusual and semi-saintly to be into these gifts, they're not. Chandler let me know right away that he was hoping for toys, "not candy or paints or books or movies." I explained that toys are usually a birthday or Christmas thing. However, when they tried the paints, they loved them. The colors are much brighter and they've been painting furiously ever since. Which thrills my soul. 

It reminds me that if I push past their natural tendency toward the easier route, like screen-time, they'll discover more ways to experience joy. It's a lot like helping our kids, who'd always opt for sweets, discover a variety of flavors. The more activities they acquire a taste for the fuller their lives will be, and all it costs us parents is an uncomfortable moment. A moment when you're kid is disappointed. A moment of uncertainty, when we don't know how this will turn out. Will they like it? Will they have fun? These questions can hold you back from trying minimalism, but from a little way in, I'm starting to believe in my kids ability to bounce back from disappointment and make the most of a situation. And I have to say, watching skills like these grow is downright satisfying. 

Total spent: 9.18
Fun money: 4.90

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