Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread - Proverbs 30:8

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How to Make Memories Without a lot of Stuff

When looking back on my childhood, quite a few of my memories revolve around the stuff in our house. For example, I remember the space behind our basement bar which was jam packed with every kind of puzzle and game you could imagine. You could hardly pull one out without making a big mess.

I also remember the hundreds (not exaggerating here) of bear figurines my mom collected. She would create seasonal scenes in our kitchen (on the counter and on the shelves) with them. As a child, it was really fun to look at all of them, but it was not fun to dust around them.

There were other things, too, but there isn't enough time to mention them all. Over the past 6 years (my tenure as a mother), I have often found myself buying (or almost buying) stuff so that my girls will have certain memories. I want to be a fun mom, and for some reason I sometimes equate that with having certain things.

A couple years ago I realized I didn't have any Easter decorations, and I set off to find some. I was looking for an egg tree - a metal or wire tree form from which we could hang egg (and other Easter) ornaments. We had one growing up, and I naturally thought my girls needed one.

I never did find one I liked, but I did come home with several bird nests and egg sets. One was even a salt and pepper shaker. When I bought it I remember thinking the great memories my girls would have of Easter because of this salt and pepper shaker! ( mom had, still has, salt and pepper shakers for all seasons and holidays).

Thankfully, I have come to my senses and gotten rid of all the afore mentioned nest and egg collections. I've begun thinking of what I want my girls to remember about their childhood and realized it isn't our stuff I want them to remember, rather how we spent our time.

Here's a quick list of memories I hope they will have:
  • eating meals together every night
  • reading together ~ several times a day, but especially before bed
  • hiking almost every weekend
  • sailing in the summer
  • camping
  • planting, tending and harvesting a garden
  • walks around our neighborhood
  • sharing our music at the local nursing home
  • learning together at home
This is the stuff I hope our family is made of and the source of our memories...not knick knacks and seasonal decorations.


  1. I LOVE this, Jill! I am going to think of my own list for our family.

  2. I found your blog a few months ago while searching for minimalist families. This is a great post! I loved it.

  3. this is a lovely list. I'm transferring it right o my own summer to do list.

    also, your family hikes have totally inspired me to learn how to hike, I say "learn" because I know there is a lot more to it than putting on some sneakers and hitting a trail. I want to start slowly but workup to more difficult stuff. We live petty close to some amazing looking trails, so I figure it is time to stat looking into it.

  4. Jaime, when it comes to hiking, just get out there and do it. Carter is at a great age to start and it's such a wonderful way to introduce your kids to the natural world. We do some rigorous hikes with our girls (ages 4 and 6), but we also do some relatively easy hikes. We have a couple hiking guides to the area we live in and each week we pick a new one to do...then we write the date we did it in the book. If we can't finish a trail, we try again the next year. One of my great inspirations is the Tougas family ( and