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As some of you already know, I’ve been on a mission this year to simplify my family’s life and rid ourselves of excess.Over the course of the past nine months I have probably given away about 75 percent of my girls’ toys, keeping only the items that I felt encouraged their imagination and that they actually played with. Even so, there were warning signs that my kids still had too much stuff.Every time I came back to check on them, they had not only NOT picked up, they had made an even bigger mess. All their dress-up clothes, baby dolls, Polly Pockets, & stuffed animals, all their Barbies, building blocks, and toy trains, right down to the the furniture from their dollhouse and play food from their kitchen.I even took the pretty Pottery Barn Kids comforter from their bed.When I first became a mom I was so happy to have a chance to start over, to undo through my children all the wrong that was done to me, to give them everything I felt I had missed out on.I wanted our lives to be perfect, and my vision of perfection included a perfectly decorated bedroom filled with beautiful things, a life where they would want for nothing.I equated giving them stuff with making them happy, a message that our consumer driven culture hammers into our psyches from the time we our born. I started this blog because I am a shopaholic, and there are so many times where I buy things when I am bored or unhappy, just to fill the void.

Not once did we have to tell them not to ask, or explain that being together was what mattered.

Stuff isn’t evil in and of itself, but in a world where we are constantly told that what we have isn’t quite good enough, the love of things can so very easily consume us.

It is the pursuit of it all–more toys, cuter clothes, a prettier house, a nicer car, a bigger computer, a fancier phone–that makes us forget all the things that actually matter.

While we were waiting to be seated my oldest daughter Maggie spotted the in the gift shop and although we immediately said “no way,” from that moment on she could think of nothing else.

All through our delicious dinner, surrounded by dramatic (fake) meteor showers and animatronic dinosaurs, she fixated on the one thing she couldn’t have rather than the cool sights we were actually experiencing.

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