What taking our son to the beach taught me.

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A NO toys birthday & it was the best birthday EVER!

No toys Birthday was the best birthday EVER

As I stand in our sons’ room I see toys EVERYWHERE!

This bedroom has become my nemesis. I feel like I am always nagging and complaining about it never being picked up. A good thought in my mind. Because it’s the truth!

I realize though that the reason why this room is always messy is because I haven’t done my part. I usually try to organize and purge our kids toys a few times a year. (especially before Christmas) Well, it’s April and I still haven’t done it.

Come on…say it with me…Procrastinator!

Needless to say, their isn’t enough “homes” for all their toys. So, it’s always a mess!

Shame on me for trying to leave it to a 7 & 8 year old to organize and clean their room when there isn’t a place for all their toys.

BUT… (enter a big but) …they weren’t putting away the toys that did have a home and that frustrated me a bit.
My husband and I decided that we would not be bringing any more toys into our house until our kids rooms (including our daughter’s) were more manageable.

By now, you must be wondering what in the world this has to do with taking our son to the beach!

It was Mr. Funny Pants’ birthday.  We have a birthday tradition with our kids. Instead of us buying and surprising them with gifts toys, we take them to ToysRUs on their birthday and let them shop for their birthday gift. They LOVE this and would much rather pick out their own gifts.

They make it so easy for us! We are so blessed!


Of course, we wanted to celebrate his birthday but didn’t want more toys to contend with. But what about the tradition? Family Traditions are what make memories.

My husband made the suggestion of going to the beach. We explained to Mr. Funny Pants what we wanted to do and I have to say, he was the most understanding 7 year old. He was all for it. We asked him if he understood that he wouldn’t be getting his shopping trip and he said that was fine with him.

Time is the most precious gift

Our little guy taught me that even though kids love and sometimes expect toys for special events, such as their birthday, what really counts is that you show them love by giving them your time.

Our kids are with me ALL THE TIME. You would think that the last thing that would make a 7 year old happy for his birthday would be to be around his family all day at the beach. But it’s the time we spent exploring the water, catching crabs, identifying sea weed, and enjoying his favorite ham and cheese sandwiches while shooing away brave loud birds, that counted.

Even to him!


Even though we live in a self-absorbed, self-entitled world, it’s our responsibility to teach and show our children the importance of gratitude and not rely on the self-gratifying ways we are used to.

I’m not sure why we put our value in ‘things’. My goal is to stop this cycle with our kids and to teach them that their value is measured by their integrity and uniqueness. My wish is that they spend their time and money on important things, not needless things such as items that only fill us with joy for a moment.

Memories will fill us with joy for a lifetime.

When it was all said and done, he didn’t miss the toys. We made memories. Something that CAN NOT be bought at any toy store.

Being a homeschool mom, it is my job to teach our children. It’s always an amazing blessing when they are the ones that teach us adults the lesson.

In my post “Less is More” I talk about gaining more by having less. We could have spent more money by having a birthday party and a shopping trip. Instead we spent less and gained more by our family time together and the memories we made.

>Update: We have since gone through our boys room and eliminated the clutter. Every toy has a home now and they will be selling their unwantedunneeded toys and saving their money for something special. Something creative and meaningful.

Does your Family have a Birthday Tradition?
Do you think you could skip the birthday gifts and create a memory instead?







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