What Has Been Worth The Time {What Has Been Worth The Money}

Tonight Kelly and I had a sitter so we could get some Christmas shopping done.

We have been so busy with the shop that this was the first opportunity we had to pick a few special things out for the children.

I love blessing our kids with things that they will love and use.

Over the years we have gotten so much better about quality over quantity.

Those first years were so crazy, scary overload.

Poor kid…..he didn’t know what hit him.

Next, next, next.

Please tell me that someone else out there did the same with their first kid!

We have learned and they appreciate every little thing they get now too.

As we were driving around Kelly and I started talking about the things that we have done with our kids that were really worth it.

Β  Things that really have made a difference.

Different things work for different people.

People that I knew raved about Baby Wise.

For the love of all that is good…I HATED that book and it was NOT for me.

My husband probably wished it had been for me…but alas…it was not.


Other people I knew made all of their baby food from scratch but I bought organic baby food and that worked for me.

I did make my kids play dough from scratch and that should count for something.

For the record I believe that a few of them even tried to eat the play dough a few times…see…I made their food from scratch.


What DID work for us and what I would list as one of the first things we did right…was to teach our little ones sign language.

They were able to communicate with us so early one and Kelly and I never regretted the time and energy that went into it.


We have also read, read, read, read, read to our kids.

Poor Benny doesn’t get what the first (or even second) got but we still read a lot.

We have a little room in our home that is our “library”.Β  Kelly built all of the bookshelves one year for my birthday.

Books are all over our house and that has helped all of our children to be avid readers.

I hope that never changes.


Growing up I played the piano, clarinet and cello.

When each of them got too hard…I quit.

To this day I can not play an instrument well and I regret that.

It has been worth all of the time and money for my children to take piano lessons.

Jack and Maddy both started when they were in first grade (Benjamin will begin next year).

Jack has been playing for 5 1/2 years and Maddy for 3 1/2 years.

They play so beautifully and believe it or not because it is just part of our day…they have never complained about practice.

They will never be mad at me some day that they can read or do multiplication tables in their head…and they will never be mad that as an adult they can sit down at the piano and play.


I have also loved the time that I have had with each of my children by homeschooling them.

I don’t know how long we will be blessed with this life.

I don’t know when or where they will go to school.

I do know that each year I feel like the luckiest mom that gets to spend this time with them.

Trust me…we have THOSE days…but they are the exception not the norm.

I taught my children to read.

I have read some of the most beautiful literature to my children.

I have passed on to my children my love of history.

I have watched them struggle and then succeed.

Our life is slower because of this choice and I am not ready for it to end anytime soon.


What has been worth it for YOU?

What are you so grateful that you took the time {or money} to do?

I always love hearing the little things that have made a huge difference in families lives.

I know we would all love to hear.

Β {Obviously, these photos have nothing to do with the post ….but that has never stopped me before:-)}



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  1. Meredith

    I can’t tell you how happy I am that you also hated Baby Wise…..I thought I was the only one! So many of my friends swear by it, but it just bound me up in knots and shredded my self-confidence. We have six children ranging from 3 – 15, so we have run the full gamut of fad toys, “essentials” and “must haves”. Funny how it always comes back to the same things….books, bikes, outdoor play equipment. I read once that when you look back on your own life, you probably can’t remember too many of the presents your received other than a special doll or bike etc. What you are most likely to remember are the holidays and time spent together celebrating occasions.

  2. Michelle

    You know, it is unconventional, but our little guy (3) sleeps with us at night time. We never planned it that way…. I think Baby Wise backfired on us as well πŸ™‚ But, I enjoy sleepy snuggles with my little boy. It is really the only time he is still!

  3. Melinda

    Hi Jeanne,
    What a great post!! I was the same way with my first baby. That first Christmas I went nuts buying tons of gifts for him, but I guess that’s what happens with your first child! I never read Baby Wise but I did read other books that just seemed a bit goofy to me. I think that’s great that your kids can play the piano, I have been wanting my boys to start as well. I think this New Year will be the perfect time for them to learn something new!
    Hope you have a beautiful week.

  4. Mikal

    Love, love, love this post!

    Dinner together every night is my rule. We couldn’t always do it when the kids had away sporting events, but that was only once or twice a week on occasion. The best conversations have been around the dinner table. Or when I trapped them in the car on a long road trip! πŸ™‚

  5. Maureen

    Vacations together as a family, especially out west to Yellowstone. These trips (the good, the bad and the ugly) have been the highlights of being a family!!!

  6. nadia

    (everyone that commented before me name’s start with M:))
    this post was lovely to read, at a time were what we do with children
    tends to be whatever the trend is at the time. the fact that you and your husband had this conversation
    is a great way to not let the wrong direction go to far and also time to recognize the good decisions
    and they all sound great to me. my mum has been my biggest teacher, even when she was looking, i was learning from her.

  7. cathy

    Oh what a lovely post…I have a 15 year old and 18 year old and like you I read to them lots…Too me the greatest thing I gave them was time…. Time to play with mamma, time to listen about their adventures at school, sometimes good, sometimes bad…I was always the first mum to volunteer to drive my kids and there friends places…I also tried from when they were tiny to let them be themselves to shine in their own way and be kind and loving to world we live in…Travel has always been a gift that we give, time to experience our country and the world around us….and it is funny you should say that about learning an instrument, that is the one thing my 18 year daughter says she feels like she has missed out on is learning the piano or guitar….Thank you for sharing your beautiful stories…take care xo

  8. sharon from farm and fru fru

    so interesting to read this coming from the other end of childhood now. two boys, 18 and 21. we are lucky to live on a pretty big farm near a very small town. we gave the boys the gift of independence and work. i know that’s not always possible in today’s society, but it worked well for us….they spent the majority of their time either in school, working on the farm or roaming the woods and fields…on their own. we had to “ship” friends in as we are out in the sticks…again, a good thing. they learned to entertain themselves…we did not entertain them. we said “no” very little, but as a result, they again, learned to decide things for themselves. they could have video games and did, but they played with them rarely….and lastly, i stayed home with them. i know that is not always a popular choice, and is not possible for everyone, but for us, it was a good decision….hard work, and often meant “living simply’ (on the cheap!) but a good decision.

  9. Jill

    I am proud to admit I was a Baby Wise momma and it worked for me, I have two happy girls who at 13 and 9 are still good sleepers and nursing each of them that first full year, I needed the schedule! Despite lots of activities and our society’s wave of ‘more is better’ I am proud of our commitment to family dinners, no tv during the school week, lots of reading, crafts and baking. Most recently, the best decision we made was to take them out of public school and enroll them in Catholic school {even we are not Catholic!}. I feel blessed that I have been a stay-at-home mom, a choice we made and involves sacrafices.
    Merry Christmas – I love this post!

  10. KandiRae

    As a MoM of a 29 year old I am so thankful for the hours of story time. “Please mom, just one more.” Favorite books for all seasons and holidays.
    I have a Man who can think for himself, follow his passion; he is a Master Glass Blower & Musician.
    Special Mom time & stories have always kept us together.

  11. Jane Thomas

    Being educators, we read, read, read to our children knowing that they learn like this. We have also been good examples for them because we usually have a book our nose is buried in.

    My husband had taken the time to teach both children, and the grandchildren how to cook. Now we have two little great granddaughters and when they are old enough, they will learn to cook too.

    We did our best to model the need to have God in our lives and to go to church, to set the example.

    Probably something we did for our children that they have passed along to their children is to NEVER lie, cheat, or steal. There is nothing in this world worth lying for. They were taught if they told the truth, regardless of what they had done, they wouldn’t be spanked – maybe punished, but not a severely as they would have been had they been caught in a lie. They have passed this along to their children as well. Children will rise to the occasion!

    Be a parent and don’t try to be a best friend. Be their advocate, but if you try to be a best friend, it is hard to mold then in the right way. They have their friends, but they need a parent who will be there to guide them.

    When your children have children and you see them pushing for what you held dearly, you know you made a difference in that child’s life.

    Have a blessed Christmas and a New Year filled with an abundance of joy and happiness.

  12. mary beth

    I loved this post! {And you’re newest collection!}

    We’ve never been able to afford huge Christmases for our kiddos {ages 3, 2, and 10 months} but I am honestly glad. πŸ™‚ I am a stickler with the idea that Christmas should not get clouded by all the gifts. This year we bought lots of books and classic wodden toys that will last for a long time.

    One of the best things we have spent money and time on with our family are zoo and aquarium memberships. During the warmer months we hit the zoo and then when it gets cold we pack up and head to the indoor aquarium. Since I am a stay-at-home mom we try to go frequently! They get so excited every time we go and I love seeing them learn while we are making memories together.

    Thank you for blogging…I know it takes time out of you busy schedule. πŸ™‚ I hope your family has a very merry Christmas!

  13. Bethany Staats

    This whole post sounds so much like myself and our life. It sounds like you have done an awesome job raising your children and what a blessing to be able to also homeschool them. We have 4 children and homeschool them as well. It is a true blessing, especially to share in their successes. Thanks so much for your inspiration and ability to verbalize your thoughts like you do. I would love to know more about how you successfully run a business and homeschool. I haven’t branched out into a business yet but have several ideas and interests to do so. Yet, I have not been able to find time to do both. Do you have any tips or suggestions on how to get started? Thank you and Merry, Merry Christmas!

  14. Joanna

    I love this post! I have four children and while I haven’t been able to do all the things I wanted to I am proud of a few things I have accomplished. All four of my kids LOVE books…I have always read to them and we have bookshelves full of books in almost every room in the house. My 12 year old daughter and I were reading some statistics the other day about how little families sit down and eat a meal together. When I asked her how many times she has eaten a meal without her family she answered “never” and was surprised to learn that this was not the norm. One day last month I picked up my 6 year old from school and tacked on the bulletin board were pictures his class had drawn with the title “Peace is”, he drew a picture of his family and wrote “road trips with my family”. We love road trips and have driven across Canada twice…I love that he finds travelling in a car with six people peaceful. I hope these are the memories that will stay with my kids forever.

  15. Jen Osborn

    Definitely reading!
    My husband came from a family that hardly ever read, and he tells people all the time what a HUGE difference reading to your children makes because he saw it firsthand with ours. It makes me so proud when he tells people this πŸ™‚

  16. Elaine

    Love your writing Jeanne you are so eloquent, I never read Baby wise coming from the UK originally I didn’t follow any of the books I did what I thought was best for my baby & myself (Always called my mum if I felt I needed advise) all baby’s & family’s have different needs. We are a family of readers especially my husband he can have 3 books on the go sometimes πŸ™‚ having a little library in a home one day would be wonderful as we have books every where.

  17. Lisa Cook

    Back in 1976 my husband and I bought a run down old farmstead with another couple who had a 3 year old boy at the time. It was the only way we could afford the property. It was a wonderful decision to make despite the skepticism of our own parents at the time. We each built our own small houses on the land and gardened together. Our friends had a daughter 2 years later and we had a girl and a boy following that. Our children grew up together and they each got to have another sister and brother in the deal. We shared meals and work and play. Hanging out at each others homes was constant and there was always a playmate available. Today we still get together to celebrate every birthday and holiday. Three of the kids live out of state, so it isn’t always the whole gang, but we really celebrate when they are all here together with spouses and girlfriends. Our friends’ daughter lives nearby and teaches in the same school she attended. She and her husband have a 2 and 1/2 year old who stays with Gramma and Grandpa one day every week and my husband and I get to be surrogate grandparents as well. This intended family circle continues to grow and every one of us would not have it any other way!

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