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Saturday, September 13, 2008

No More Stuff!!

Today was a productive day. We had more help through the early afternoon, and with all of the drywall going up yesterday, we were able to start mudding and taping the walls today. We also got some more dinky work done like cleaning the floors and filling in cracks with expanding foam. (Sorry, I forgot the camera at home with all of the hustle.)

We got home around 3:00, just in time to fit some naps in. (Any later and it would have messed up bed time.) I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening packing. Which leads me to this post.

Our new house MAYBE will have an equal amount of storage in it as where we are at now. We have a basement here where we don't in our new house, but we will have above closet storage with our 10 ft ceilings. Also, the outdoor access storage area and attic can hold some overflow, but I don't want to put just anything in those areas. Where we are at is full now - and I frequently declutter and move unneeded things out. So the concern now is that with our kids being young and with a family that is still growing, there is a lot more stuff that will most likely come into the house.

When I thought about the size of families years ago and the size of houses they used to live in, it occurred to me that it isn't the size of the family that outgrows the house, it is the amount of stuff the family has. And I don't want to outgrow our house because of stuff.

So with birthdays and Christmas soon approaching (and many more years of them to come), I need your help! I am looking for gift ideas for the kids (4, 2, and on the way) that are not stuff. Here are some things that I have come up with:

*Postage stamps for the kids to send letters to grandparents (they love it when they get to help me send letters)
*Labor and/or materials for a sand box, rock box, or swing set (okay, that's outdoor stuff - but we have 40 acres that we are starting fresh with)
*Gift certificates or passes to something fun like the zoo, science center, botanical center, etc and a meal out for our family and the gift giver
*Gift certificates for a personal pan pizza or desert at Dairy Queen (the kids LOVE getting these!)
*Money, bonds, or CDs for college funding
*A pair of swim trunks or swim suit and money towards swimming lessons
*A music book and money for music lessons (this might not be for a couple years I guess)

And that's about as far as I've gotten.

With our gift giving culture and seeing other fun gifts that others get, it is hard to think of non-stuff gifts that would be fun to receive as well as open. I'm hoping that if the kids learn what getting some of these non stuff gifts means, waiting for the actual gift won't be that big of a deal. The key is to find things they will enjoy doing more than things they will enjoy having.

I hope no one hears me wrong, since we are thankful for the generosity of so many people - it's just we don't want to outgrow our house due to stuff. (A little stuff is okay, but a little stuff from a lot of people sure adds up quickly!) So if anyone has fun ideas of non-stuff gifts to put on lists, I would love to hear them!

7 comments:

Becky said...

We've even exchanged homemade "gift certificate booklets" - filled with things like - "Good for one batch of chicken noodle soup when your sick", "An afternoon of sewing with Aunt Becky", "Baking with Aunt Becky", "Good for a walk at the Riverfront", "Baby sitting for 4 to 5 hours so parents could go shopping in "peace". Just some more ideas for you to mull over.

Nicci (mclain458) said...

We have such similiar philosphies (sp?) it is scary! LOL! We decided a few years ago that our birthday invitations would come with the note "please, no gifts!" It is so hard to teach respect and value when our kids have EVERYTHING! When you have everything, nothing has value. Some ideas of "non-material" stuff we do for our kids - coupons for staying up an hour pass bedtime with mommy and daddy (by themselves), A date with Mommy/Daddy, a campout (either inside or outside), a savanger hunt through the house or through "town" to find a bundle of their favorite cookies or snacks. Things that they actually use up are great ideas too - like paints and painting paper. My son (who is 5) LOVES lamination paper. When he wants something we find a photo of it on the google image search, print it out, laminate it, cut it out and he is in hog heaven - my daughter loves printing out new paper dolls and clothes. Also things such as vouchers for "video time" or "your choice for dinner - where they get to pick the menu one night. Kids dig these things and I think most parents would be surprised that they actually enjoy them more than store bought items! Hope some of these things work for your little ones! P.S. how are you feeling with your pregnancy?

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Thanks for the great ideas! Keep them coming everyone!

As for how I'm feeling - really quite well. My only "issues" really are being VERY tired right now, and then I sometimes get a sore back from working at the house or packing/carrying boxes. Most of the time I behave myself, but sometimes I feel things just have to get done now. Other than that, I think I feel better with this baby than I did with Caleb and Hannah.

QuiltedSimple said...

Good luck - with 2 sets of families - we are frequently burried in stuff. Garage sales twice a year, more clothes than the kids can wear....the sad thing is, the kids are happy with a bunch of boxes - not all this stuff. You've got some great ideas going though....
Kris

~*~ Jennifer ~*~ said...

Yeah right... then multiply it times 5!!! We've got so much junk, it's not even funny. Sad thing is 5 kids play with something it's not worth selling or giving away after they are done with it. :sigh: So that means we've got a BUNCH of junk. LOL

Sometimes I put christmas stuff away and they forget about it. This summer we opened up a set of outside toys they got for Christmas... it was like having something new. I think I might do that more this next season. I do have one sister that will get us "family" gifts. I LOVE that idea. One year zoo passes, another year a s'more machine. then there is that MIL... junk, junk, junk. I always tell the kids -- 'DON'T TAKE THE TAGS OFF'... then I take it to plush pony after a few weeks. LOL I'm terrible... I know. Just don't tell her... she'll never know.

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

I would be thrilled if our family reached 5 kids some day! :) Which is exactly why I am concerned with the size of our house and the amount of stuff I'm pulling out of closets with just 2 kids not even 5 yet!

We also have a lot of gift givers, and we are so thankful for their generosity. When I was growing up though, we had a two story house with a rather large basement too - 3 kids and my parent's house is still packed.

We really only got gifts from my parents too, with the addition of a name exchange on each side of the family. My grandparents gave a little bit of money, and that's about it.

Contrast that with a smaller house than what I grew up in, presents loaded under the tree from 3 sets of grandparents and a good friend of one, our presents, presents from church friends (Ethan's a youth pastor), presents from great grandparents, aunts and uncles, great aunts and uncles, old neighborhood friends, and I'm sure I'm forgetting someone. Birthdays are a little slower, but not too much.

Again - I am so thankful for everyone's generosity, but I don't want to end up having to take things back or garage sale gifts because we just don't have room anymore. I feel the thought and finances of the gift giver is "wasted" then.

I'm sure you guys feel the same. There should be a book or internet site or something out there with ideas of "non-stuff" gifts for different age levels and interests! I think the ideas that have been tossed out are great ones, and I'm excited to hear more!

Jean said...

It can be as simple as replacing broken / wore-out well-played-with toy. Once my girls are more into arts, I'd then encourage to replish their art supply such as paints, papers, markers, etc. We are now getting to the point of saying "no more toys!". We are starting to WAIT until girls show a lot more than little interest in whatever it be. In meanwhile, there are enough household stuffs to encourage their creativity. Now to contain my own creativity.... particularily in sewing and photography.

For boys... could it be a pocket knife? Books/DVD showing how to sharpen their outdoor skills? Let them have their own projects on the farms? More paperwork for parents I know, but what kids will learn likely will stick for life. You cannot put a price on THAT!

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