February 19, 2020
The truth is, parenthood rarely turns out how we expect. Today, I'm happy to introduce you to my friend Jen. I met Jen over twelve years ago--long before my motherhood journey began. She's the mother of a son with special needs and twin daughters. Jen's love and tenacity have always inspired me. I'm thankful she is sharing an intimate look into her parenthood journey with us today. Show Notes/Links: Get in touch with Jen by emailing me:
February 18, 2020
We often feel a great responsibility to keep our kids occupied and happy. That can be a heavy burden to carry. In today's episode, we are talking about understanding this need and setting boundaries to benefit the whole family. Show Notes/Links: * Visual Timer on Amazon* Visual Timer App
February 12, 2020
We are not perfect environmentalists, nor are we trying to be. We are just a regular family trying to do a little better all the time. We eat meat, use zip-loc bags, and drive...a lot. David, my husband, joins me today as we discuss moving toward a more sustainable home. In order to be more sustainable at home, change has to be...well sustainable. The changes we make need to be sustainable from a financial perspective but also an effort-perspective. We want to be able to make lasting, lifestyle changes and to do that we take baby steps. Show Notes/Links * Target Kid's Jeans + Boden Kids Shirts (Boy/Girl)* Pyrex Set* Soda Stream Sparkling Water Maker* EPA carbon calculator * Google project sunroof* How to recycle * US energy information administration* Tips for recycling 
February 11, 2020
What if your kid says "yuck" at the dinner table. Cooking a meal for your family is hard work and when your kids express distaste, it can really get under your skin. The truth is that most kids think in black and white: they either love a food or they hate it. Not only do they think in black and white, but they also speak in simplistic terms as well. Today we are talking about letting go of the need to constantly instruct and correct our kids, and instead, giving our kids new (more socially-appropriate) language to communicate their needs and feelings. Show Notes/Links * Scooter Boards* Gonge Hilltops * The Target version of Hilltops * Bozo's Grand Prize Game* Ellyn Satter
February 5, 2020
What is executive functioning? As parents, it is important to understand that executive function is one of many components that is in-development in the early years of life. As our children grow, they slowly develop the ability to make plans, organize their ideas, follow directions, and manage time. This process can feel slow and arduous. However, it's important to know that executive functioning is still developing throughout the teenage years and into the early 20s. Today on the podcast I am joined by Dr. Mark Bertin, a development pediatrician and executive functioning expert. He's sharing more about this topic , his work with patients, and his books for parents. Show Notes/Links * How Children Thrive: The Practical Science of Raising Independent, Resilient, and Happy Kids* Mindful Parenting for ADHD: A Guide to Cultivating Calm, Reducing Stress, and Helping Children Thrive * Dr. Mark Bertin's website: Developmental Doctor* Research Article Discussed: Less-structured time in children's daily lives predicts self-directed executive functioning
February 4, 2020
Do my kids fight? YES. Today I'm sharing some of my favorite tools and thoughts around sibling relationships. I'll be honest, this is one of my biggest challenges in parenthood. But with time, I've been able to develop empathy that gives me the ability to stay calm in times of crisis with my kids--and that has made a huge difference. How do you handle sibling conflicts?
January 29, 2020
I am wrapping up a treat-free month with my kids. Back in December, the cookies, candy, and treats got more than a little out of hand. This month has been a learning process for my kids, but more importantly for me. I've been able to let go of some of my longtime beliefs about the role that sugar needs to play in childhood. Have you ever tried to go treat-free with your kids? Show Notes/Links * Babies Eat Real Food Workshop* Clara Davis Study
January 23, 2020
Anyone parenting with a busy schedule will tell you that the quality of food you are feeding yourself may be lacking. It can take time, thought, and effort to feed ourselves well. On the podcast today, I'm chatting with my wellness guru, Megan Lyons. We are chatting about mindful eating, managing cravings, embracing hunger, meal prep, intermittent fasting, and much more. Show Notes/Links: * Find Megan on Instagram* The Lyon's Share Wellness Website* Mel Robbins 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Adaptogens * Organic India Tulsi Tea* Rishi Hot Chocolate* Four Sigmatic* Ashwagandha * Rhodiola
January 21, 2020
Do you have a kid who struggles to take "no" for an answer? That's the question we are covering today. The truth is, somtimes we need to firm up our "no" when talking to our kids--I'm giving you a few examples of what this sounds like. I'm also giving you an example of how I use my job description. "As your Mom, it's my job to help keep your brain and body healthy. To do that, I have to be sure you eat good food and get plenty of movement" Time Stamps: * 1:01 Something Simple I’m Loving: Coop Eden Pillows * 2:53 Other things for the bed: Saatva Mattress (We have the classic, Luxury-Firm)* 4:05 Today’s sponsor: Simple Contacts * 5:05 Leave your questions here! * 5:29 Today’s Question: What about a kid who won't take "no" for an answer?
January 15, 2020
In today's episode, I'm sharing a journey to simplicity. Marie, a Simple Families community member is giving us a closer look inside her day-to-day life. She's been working towards simplicity for over a year and has found that a simpler life improves her well-being and the overall harmony of her family. Marie and I discuss her adventure in decluttering the physical "stuff" in the home, as well as scaling back on the calendar to find more peace and quiet in the way they spend their time together. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Marie!
January 14, 2020
Should we insist that our kids apologize or say "I'm sorry"? I actually don't. However, both my kids have come to apologize and express authentic empathy in their early years (without my demanding it). They have learned to do so naturally through their environment. When it comes to teaching manners and empathy, we can cue our kids to use certain expressions. But often it's not about teaching. It's about exposing them to things like manners and empathy in their influential relationships with adults. Children learn better through exposure in their natural environment. So instead of direct teaching, we can show them how it's done ourselves. Timestamps: * 1:18 // Something Simple I'm Loving: Knowledge Encyclopedia* 2:51 // About our big book overhaul: Reading Aloud + Our Book Overhaul* 5:45 // Today's Sponsor: Care/Of* 7:04 // Today's Question: Should you make kids apologize?
January 8, 2020
In three years of podcasting, I've never shared my own views on sleep. This is not an accident. The reality is that I'm afraid to approach this divisive topic. I do have a lot of opinions on the topic, but today--I'm sharing the 7 most important things I've learned about sleep and parenthood in my own life. Time Stamp: * 1:01 // Episode disclaimer* 1:53 // Episode sponsor: Native * 2:50 // Simplify Food + Family Live Workshop* 4:10 // Listener spotlight with Renee* 5:40 // Let's talk sleep 7 Tips on Improving Sleep in Parenthood * 7:58 // Setting goals and expectations * 10:28 // Martyrdom * 13:03 // Calm Confidence* 16:05 // Limit setting* 18:40 // Thinking outside the box* 21:32 // Accepting help* 25:04 // The extinction burst* 25:32 // Recap Full Episode Transcription Hi there. Welcome back. Today, we're talking all about sleep. You might be thinking this seems like a pretty basic topic, but I've been podcasting now for almost three years, it'll be three years in February, and I have never really shared my own feelings and insights about sleep, and that's not an accident. I'm actually terrified to talk about sleep. Sleep and parenthood is such a polarizing topic. We all need it, but there are a lot of differing viewpoints on it. Up until this point I've kind of felt like it's better to keep my mouth shut. We're not talking about infant sleep today. We're going to be talking about toddlerhood and beyond. I want to invite you to disagree with me. Simple Families is a community. It's not a cult. So, I expect that all you out there listening are going to have different viewpoints than me, and I hope that you do. I hope that you're not blindly following any one person, place, or thing. As always, with any of these episodes or any of my content, I invite you to take what works for you and leave what doesn't. Before we get into today's episode, I am going to share a quick word from our sponsor and a little bit about what's going on in Simple Families right now. The sponsor for today's episode is Native. My husband and I have both been using Native long before they even started sponsoring the podcast. Native is a natural deodorant. Now, if you're anything like me, you didn't come to natural deodorant very quickly. I tried a lot of options, a lot of things that didn't work, and went back and forth between natural and conventional for a long time, particularly when we lived in Texas and it was like 100 degrees half the year. Ultimately, my husband introduced me to Native, and I figured if it worked for him, it would probably work for me. Yes, it in fact does, all seasons of the year, not just in the winter, but even in the summer when it's especially hot. So, I invite you to try it out. For 20% off your first purchase go to and use the promo code, simple, during checkout. Again, go to and use the promo code, simple, during checkout for 20% off your first purchase. So, what's going on on Simple Families right now? This week I am launching a live workshop called Simplifying Food + Family, and we are focused on lightening the load around feeding your kids. I don't know about you all, but food can be a really heavy burdensome thing in a home with kids, from the grocery shopping, to the meal planning, to the cooking, to the cleaning, to the actually getting the food into your kids' mouths. It can create a lot of stress and a lot of frustrations. So, in this live workshop, we're going to break it down into three main parts. So,
January 7, 2020
How do you get your kids to sleep in later? That's the question for the day. Although there is no magic bullet, I have a few tips to help you move in the right direction. Including some strategies around using an "Okay to wake clock". I'm also sharing something simple that I'm loving this week. Time Stamps * 1:27 Introducing live workshops this month: Simplify Food + Family * 2:30 'Something Simple' I’m loving this week: Hoopla* 4:57 Question for the week * 5:30 Message from the sponsor: ButcherBox * 6:30 Response for the question for the week * Link to Hatch Rest Lamp
January 2, 2020
Happy New Year! Today we are talking about the Simple Families “word for the year”: Community. Building a community in parenthood can feel like “one more thing” we have to do. But it’s invaluable to you and your family as you grow, change, and face the rollercoaster of life with kids. In this episode, I’m joined by my friends Erica Layne from The Life on Purpose Movement, Zoë Kim from Raising Simple, and Rachelle Crawford from Abundant Life with Less. We are sharing more about our own experiences with community throughout parenthood.  Find Erica online: * Instagram* Facebook* Website* Book Find Zoë online: * Instagram* Facebook* Website* Book Find Rachelle online: * Instagram* Facebook* Website
December 18, 2019
Back in January, I joined the sober curious movement as I gave up alcohol for the year as a New Year’s Resolution. It was an amazing year and I learned so much about myself. Today I’m sharing my month-by-month experience and Brooke Conley joins me for moral support. Show Notes/Links: * SFP 128: Living Coffee ’til Cocktails [with Brooke Conley]* SFP 141: Q&A – Can you tell us more about your 2019 resolution?* Recommended book to give up drinking: Annie Grace’s The Naked Mind* Reach Brooke Conley on Instagram + Her website
December 11, 2019
Stepping into new spaces can make anyone uncomfortable. For many of us, developing a relationship with an individual with special needs might be new territory. In today’s episode, we have Mama/Author/Advocate Heather Avis sharing her ideas about raising kids with kindness and moving towards inclusion. “When we walk into the world with our children we know we are different. What we want is for people to embrace us, not turn away from us.” Heather Avis * Learn more about Heather* Find Heather on Instagram* Heather’s Book: Scoot Over and Make Some Room
December 10, 2019
Are you wondering how to talk to your kids about Santa? That’s what we are chatting about today. Actually, I’m introducing something brand new today! Starting in 2020, I’ll be adding a second weekly episode to the Simple Families Podcast. In addition to the regular weekly episode, I’ll be adding a shorter form episode. Today, I’m sharing an example of how exactly this will look. The new episode will be in two main parts: We’ll start the episode off with a Q&A segment where I answer a question from an audience member. Then, we’ll move on and discuss “Something Simple” that I am loving each week–which may be a concept, a book, a product or anything else. I invite you to send me your contributions for the show! Show Notes/List * Submit ‘Something Simple’ that you are loving* Submit a question for the Q&A Segment* 2019 Simple Families Holiday Gift Guide* 2019 “A Few of My Favorite Things” Full Episode Transcription You can listen to this episode of the Simple Families podcast in the player above or in your favorite podcast app. Or you can read the full transcript. How to Talk to Kids about Santa Are you wondering how to talk to your kids about Santa? This week’s question from an audience member comes from Amy, who has some questions about how we handle Santa Claus in our house. Here’s what she asked: “I’m the mother of two young children in Seattle and a big fan of the podcast. I also read your book and loved it. I also love your occasional emails where you list your favorite things and some of those things have become our favorite things too. I write today because I’m wondering how you approach the topic of Santa with your kids. I value your opinion and I’ve found that I agree with your parenting style and advice so I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this. You mentioned that your kids see Santa and get one gift from him each year (correct me if I’m wrong), and that sounds like something I’d be onboard with.My oldest daughter is three and doesn’t know of Santa or anything about him, so I’m unsure of how to approach this topic with her. I don’t mind her believing in Santa but don’t really want to encourage it and I don’t feel comfortable with flat out lying with her either. I’m planning on letting her ask questions as they come, but do I even bring her to sit on Santa’s lap this year? How do I explain this very odd tradition in our culture or even start the conversation?”Amy, Seattle, WA Amy, thanks for your email and your kind words. I’ll tell you how we do it. Now, of course this is going to be different for every single family. I felt a lot like Amy when we first started talking about Santa Claus. I didn’t feel like I needed to shut down the topic altogether or tell my kids straight out there’s no such thing, but I also didn’t feel entirely comfortable lying to them either. At this point, with my kids being three and six, I do feel like we’ve found a middle ground,
December 4, 2019
Photo by Alison Sheehy In today’s episode, I’m bringing you a Journey to Simplicity. I’m chatting with Dr. Gillian Goddard, a physician living outside of New York City with her husband and four kids. Although Gillian’s life may feel anything but simple, she and her family have made strides towards finding the balance and rhythm that works for their family. Show Notes/Links: * 2019: Holiday Guide (NEW)* 2019: These Are a Few of MY Favorite Things (NEW)* Simple Families Toy Gift List 2018* Simple Families Toy Gift List 2017
November 20, 2019
Ready for a mindset shift around gifts this holiday season? In today’s episode, we are discussing how to gift with intention. This includes shifting the conversation around gift-giving with your kids and choosing gifts that will keep-on-giving. I’m also sharing the 10 items on the Simple Families 2019 Holiday Gift Guide. Show Notes/Links * Shifting the conversation about gifts * Buying more intentionally this holiday season * The problem with experience gifts * Front-loaded vs. back-loaded gifts * My Holiday Prep chat with Erica, Rachelle, and Zoë * How to Get Your Kid to Play Independently Podcast Episode* How to talk with extended family about intentional gift-giving: “Our kids love spending time with you and I’ve enjoyed seeing your relationship grow. I fear that too many packages may distract them from appreciating all the wonderful gifts that you bring as a person. I want them to look forward to special time with you more than they do the gifts. How can we work together to keep them focused on the important stuff?” [Quote from Denaye’s Book Simple Happy Parenting] * Simple Families Toy Gift List 2018* Simple Families Toy Gift List 2017 2019 Holiday Gift List Links * Ocean Bingo + Sea Life Book * Library Book System: Book Bin + Book Tote * Green Kids Crafts (Code EARLY70/GIFT40)* Storyworth * Family Collage: Large Canvas + Paint + Decoupage * Sprout-Kids: Table + Stools +
November 13, 2019
If you are striving to simplify the holidays this year, take a listen to my chat with three of my favorite minimalist mamas, Erica Layne from The Life on Purpose Movement, Zoë Kim from Raising Simple, and Rachelle Crawford from Abundant Life with Less. Between the four of us, we have 12 kids under age 14. But we carved time out to grab a virtual coffee (or tea) as we talked about simplifying all things holiday prep: decorations, traditions, gifts, the calendar, and holiday cards. You can listen to our chat on the podcast or watch the video of our conversation. Show Notes/Links: Find Erica online: * Instagram* Facebook* Website* Book Find Zoë online: * Instagram* Facebook* Website* Book Find Rachelle online: * Instagram* Facebook* Website Full Episode Transcription Coming soon.
November 6, 2019
Some days I feel like every mother I know is ridden with stress and overwhelm. This type of parenthood seems to be slowly becoming the norm. In today’s episode (episode 178) we are talking about what happens when your cup overflows. When your cup overflows the contents spill out and splash on the people who are nearest and dearest to you. What’s splashing out of your cup? Happiness? Gratitude? Stress? Overwhelm? What sort of helping hand do you need to get your emotional well-being on a path to balance and health? Show Notes/Links: * The Mental Unload Where to go if you need mental health support: * Get Immediate Help* Suicide Helpline* Mental Health Challenges – What to Look For
October 30, 2019
I really don’t know much about art, but I’m learning. One thing I know for sure is that art is important, for kids and adults alike. Today I’m chatting with author Meri Cherry about art + kids. The tagline on her book “Creative Activities and Projects that Inspire Confidence, Creativity, and Connection” got me thinking. Giving our children opportunities for art isn’t just about encouraging a future career as an artist. Instead, art instills foundational elements such as confidence, creativity, and connection that will last a lifetime. Meri is an advocate for process art, which is the type of art that is focused on making/doing rather than the final product. As Meri says, “the focus is on process over product”. Art truly is for everyone, even the kids who seem uninterested or hard to engage–and we are exploring that more today. Show Notes/Links: * The Mental Unload starts November 7th* Meri’s Website* Meri on Instagram* Meri’s Book: Play Make Create Play, A Process-Art Handbook: With Over 40 Art Invitations for Kids View this post on Instagram Looking for something to do this weekend with the kids? How about a family collage? . It doesn’t have to be gigantic like this. Any size will do. Cut out some images from your favorite mags or catalogs. Grab some stickers. Or my fave, go thru an old sketch book or coloring book of your kids and cut out some drawings to glue together. See the mermaids Gigi made on the top of this one? . We also added fabric, felt circles, and colored with markers on top of different areas. There’s no right or wrong way to do it and a cardboard box is as good a surface as a canvas. Just have fun with it. . I could cut out pics from mags or old books for hours. Who else finds cutting super relaxing? A post shared by Meri Cherry | Art Studio (@mericherryla) on Oct 12, 2019 at 11:02am PDT
October 23, 2019
In honor of my birthday week, I’m bringing you a casual conversation with my husband David. It’s his first appearance on the podcast and we are talking all things love, marriage, and parenting.
October 16, 2019
Parenting an early bloomer comes with its own set of challenges. Those of us who have precocious children know this well. Today, we are discussing the ins and outs of early blooming from a child development perspective. And I’m sharing more about my personal experience parenting an early bloomer and being an early bloomer myself. Early Bloomers – Episode Transcription Hi there. It’s Episode 175 and we’re talking about Early Bloomers. Back in Episode 164 on the podcast, I interviewed Rich Karlgaard, the author of the book, Late Bloomers, and we talked at length about just that, late bloomers. As a mom myself, I have a late bloomer and an early bloomer and I think that early bloomers come with their own sets of challenges. I recently had a request to do a podcast episode on early bloomers, which was kind of a no brainer since I’m parenting one and I was one/I’m one myself. In Episode 164, my guest Rich Karlgaard and I, discussed late blooming and what that means and how society views kids that bloom a little bit later. We all know that society pushes us to be better, faster, stronger, sooner. In many ways kids who reach their milestones later, and when I say milestones, I’m talking about anything from walking, talking, reading, finding their way in their career. Our kids that do this on a later, possibly slower timeline, they can sometimes end up feeling like they’re not enough. Kids Develop on Their Own Timelines The truth is that we’ve known for quite some time from the research and from clinical observations that children develop on different timelines, and we can all nod and appreciate that but I’ll tell you that when you’re the parent of an early bloomer, it’s easier to accept this fact than when you’re the parent of a late bloomer. Now you might kick food that parents of early bloomers have nothing to worry about, they can rest easy. And if you’re the parent of a late bloomer, you might feel a little bit envious of these parents who have kids who are reaching their milestones earlier. First let’s talk about how we measure early blooming. Now, for the purposes of this podcast, we’re talking about recognizing early blooming from a parent perspective. We’re not talking about any kind of physical or psychological assessments, we’re just talking about parental observations. And if you have come to the conclusion or maybe your pediatrician has hinted, or someone around you tells you that you have an early bloomer, a kid that’s doing things ahead of the typical timeline, it’s probably in some way, shape or form based on comparisons. Your kid is being compared to another child of a similar age and their abilities are being ranked. Comparison is the Thief of Joy And we all say we shouldn’t compare our kids of course, but it happens. We compare our kids to each other if we have more than one. We compare our kids to the neighbors, to their cousins, to the other kids at school. Although it’s not ideal, it’s almost impossible to avoid. If you think you have an early bloomer, it’s probably because you’ve read the books of when kids are supposed to do things and your kid is exceeding the expectations. You’re probably comparing your child to other children that they’re around, and drawing your conclusions informally through that. As parents who are sort of ranking our kids with a naked eye, we’re attracted to certain things at cer...
October 9, 2019
Right now, I’m tired. We just returned from a two-week international trip with our family. Today I’m sharing all the details: the plans, the obstacles, dealing with jet lag, letting go of expectations, and why we keep doing it. Show Notes/Links: * Packing videos on Instagram* Saccharomyces Boulardii (to prevent travel’s diarrhea)
October 1, 2019
*This episode is not sponsored and does not contain affiliate links* When it comes to kids, buying more sustainably can feel intimidating. If you are unsure of where to start or how to prioritize, we are chatting more about this today. Our guest is Brendan Synnott, the CEO of Pact, and he’s bringing us insight on the sustainable fashion industry, organic cotton, and what he’s doing with his own family. SHOW LINKS: Pact [use coupon SIMPLE to get 40% off your first order]
September 25, 2019
Life with young children is always evolving. The way we spend our time changes too. Finding the right balance that works for each of us is incredibly important. The way I spend my time is going to look very different from the way that you spend yours. In today’s episode, I am sharing what a typical day looks like in our house–right now. It could change next week, next month, or next year. Life is dynamic, and that’s what keeps it interesting!
September 18, 2019
Have you started talking to your kids about money? Money can be a taboo topic, even within families. In today’s episode I’m chatting with Liz Frazier Peck author of Piggy Banks and Lemonade Stands: How to Teach Young Kids About Finance (and They’re Never Too Young). SHOW NOTES/LINKS: * Piggy Banks and Lemonade Stands: How to Teach Young Kids About Finance (and They’re Never Too Young). * How to Talk to Kids about the Birds and Bees* Liz’s Website* Liz on Twitter Denaye Barahona:         Hi, it’s Denaye here. Episode 171. And today, the topic is “How to Talk to Kids about Money.” Thanks so much for tuning in. It is episode of 171, and today we’re taking out a topic I admittedly know nothing about. And that’s teaching kids about money. So thankfully since I’m clueless on this, I have a guest for today. So I’m talking with Liz Frazier. Liz is the author of the brand new book Beyond Piggy Banks and Lemonade Stands: How to Teach Young Kids About Finance (and They’re Never Too Young). So in this conversation, I’m picking Liz’s brain about how we can teach our kids more intentionally about money without adding too much to our plate. Because of course we always like to keep it simple. A little bit about Liz, our guests for today. She’s a certified financial planner and she’s also a mom of two young kids. After working in financial planning, Liz came to understand that money was a taboo topic for people even within families. And as a result, many of us myself included, just really aren’t talking to our kids about money that much. And it’s a pretty well known fact that our kids are reaching the high school and university age with very little exposure about practical money management. So how do we start now in small doses teaching our kids little bits and pieces so that they’re ready when they get older, they’re ready by the time they had their first jobs to manage that money? They know what it means to save and to budget. So I’m excited to introduce you to Liz and everything that we’re talking about today. I know that I learned so much, and I hope to continue this conversation with her because I think it’s a really important topic for all parents out there. So thanks again for tuning in and hope you enjoy this episode. If you have questions or comments, you can go to You can also take a screenshot while you’re listening to this and send me a message on Instagram. I’m always available to chatting with you over there too. Without further ado, here’s today’s episode. Hi Liz. How are you? Liz Frazier Peck:         &n...
September 11, 2019
Is there such a thing as overly-responsive parenting? I believe so. Early in parenthood I found myself being a mindreader. It is important to be in tune with our kids’ needs, but we also need to give them the opportunity to step up and advocate for themselves. Join the Masterclass! It starts Monday and this is the last opportunity to join. Full Episode Transcription: Hello, it’s Denaye. Thank you so much for tuning in. This is episode number 170. Today, we’re talking about a less is more approach to parenting. In our family and on Simple Families, I talk a lot about responsive parenting. I don’t always call it that, but responsive parenting is more or less being in tuned with our kids’ emotional and physical and social needs. In many ways, that’s what ‘good’ parents do. They know their kids, they know what their kids need, they’re in tune with them, but today we’re talking about taking responsive parenting a little bit too far. I know that this has happened to me before. Last week on the podcast, we talked about too many toys. This is a real problem, at least here in America, and I know what I’ve heard from all of you from different parts of the world that you also experience this problem, that problem of too much stuff. But not only do so many of us have a problem with too much stuff, but we also have a problem with, more or less, too much parenting, parenting, a little bit too intensely or maybe a lot bit depending on the family. That’s what we’re talking about in today’s episode, the idea that we do truly want to be responsive parents. We want to be in tuned with the emotional and physical and social needs of our kids. However, we can take it a little bit too far sometimes. We need to start recognizing when our kids are actually better off with us stepping back a little bit and putting a little bit more of the responsibility into their hands. But first I have a little bit of an announcement to make. Last week I talked about the fact that we are in the middle of the launch for the Masterclass, which starts on September 16th which is Monday. Enrollment is currently open, and I have actually just decided that this is going to be the very last round of the Masterclass. It has been such an amazing experience to work with hundreds of families throughout this process and I am so excited to bring in a new group this month. However, it does really take a lot out of me. It’s an eight-week course and it’s really important to me to be heavily involved and present throughout the process, to be there to support you and to really get to know the families who are involved in this program with me. Many of you know that I have started to homeschool our kindergartner, so I’m going to be reallocating some of that time and energy back into our home. Now, nothing else is changing. The Mental Unload is staying, I’ll still be offering that a couple of times of the year. The podcast is still going to be weekly. The only thing that’s changing right now is the Masterclass is ending. This is the last time that we’re launching it. This is going to be our last hurrah, and I think it’s going to be a great one.
September 4, 2019
Do your kids have too many toys? When it comes to toys, there is no perfect number. But in today’s episode we are talking about why children don’t need a lot of toys. Having an abundance of toys is not only unnecessary but could be harmful. We are talking about all that and more. Also, Simple Families: The Masterclass is now open for enrollment! Show Notes/Links: Simple Families: The Masterclass
August 21, 2019
Life gets busy. Sometimes it gets hard to make time for the simple things–like taking your kids for a walk in nature. But the value of the free and simple things should never be underestimated. Today, I’m sharing my favorite strategies for hiking with kids and the immense (yet not-so-obvious) benefits for the whole family. Show Notes/Links: * Episode 90, There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather with Linda Åkeson McGurk.* Tula Toddler Carrier Full Episode Transcription: Today we’re talking about hiking, and this seems like such a simple thing, and I’m going to give you some practical tools and strategies for hiking, ways that we have found hiking is more or less successful, but also some of the benefits. I think we underestimate the benefits of simple unstructured activities like this. Last year on the podcast in episode 90, we talked about the idea that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. In that episode we had Linda Åkeson McGurk who is Rain or Shine Mamma, which is the name of her online platform, but also the author of There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather. After that episode, I really felt this huge shift in the Simple Families audience towards understanding the importance of getting our kids outside. Now, even though many of us know, yeah, sure, kids need to play outside, they need nature, it can be really easy to let that unstructured outdoor time take a back seat to the structured stuff. So maybe there’s no time to get outside and play in the woods today, or even just get outside and play in the park because you have to go to soccer, and you have to go to swimming, and you have to go to all these other activities that seem to become the priority, and really there’s a few reasons that these type of activities become a priority. Number one is we’re paying money for it, and if we’re paying money for it, we want to make sure our kids are doing it. We want to make sure that they’re benefiting from it. So the fact that we’re investing our money there, it means that we’re going to invest our time in these activities. So something like hiking that’s free, we’re not going to be as invested at spending our time because we haven’t sunk the money into it. Now, another big reason that we tend to lean towards structured activities is that we feel like that’s what our kids need, and we sort of feel this pressure, keeping up with the Joneses, to do what all the other kids are doing, and we’re afraid if we don’t get our kids into a certain class or activity when they’re young, that they’re not going to thrive and then they’re not going to have the abilities as they get older. Now, I’m definitely not slamming structured activities by any means. My son does karate and both my kids do swimming lessons right now and it’s a great fit for us, mainly because it doesn’t feel like too much. That’s always my word of wisdom for people who are enrolling their kids in structured activities, is there is no perfect number, there’s no secret number. You have to pay attention to what feels right for your family. When those types of activities become a burden, or they become exhausting, or you start to dread them, or your kids start to dread them, then you might be doing too much. Another important red flag to keep in mind if you might be doing too many structured activities is if you don’t have an opportunity to make time for things like going for a hike.
August 7, 2019
In today’s episode, we are discussing the 5 Love Languages as they pertain to children. I am joined by Diane Debrover, the Deputy Editor of Parents Magazine where we talk through each of the Love Languages and explore how they show up in children. Spoiler alert: I’ve got my reservations about the Love Language of gifts. Show Notes/Links: * Article on* The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively* Parents IRL Transcription of Full Episode Denaye:            Hi Diane. Thanks for joining me today. Diane:              Hi Denaye. So nice to be with you. Denaye:            It’s good to chat. Tell me a little bit about yourself personally, professionally. Diane:              My name is Diane Debrovner. I am the deputy editor of Parents Magazine and I’ve actually been here for many, many years. I started out as a senior editor and then I was the health and psychology editor and I’ve been a deputy editor for many years. I oversee our coverage of articles related to children’s health, and development, and behavior, and relationships, and books, and a bunch of other things. I am the mother of two daughters who are now 14 and 25 but I very clearly remember when they were very young and I was a young mother myself. So I am absolutely in the mindset of your audience and our audience and it’s been a real privilege to be at Parents all this time and see how things have changed and stayed the same at the same time. Denaye:            Right. So your kids pretty much grew up with the magazine. Your first daughter was born shortly before you started working there? Diane:              She was, she was 18 months old when I started working at Parents. And then my daughters are 11 years apart. I was divorced and I got remarried and when I had a second baby, it was really great for my career. There aren’t a lot of people who can say that. So I threw myself back into the content in a very hands on way. Denaye:            How long has Parents been around? Diane:              Parents was founded in 1926, believe it or not. Denaye:            Oh my goodness. I had no idea. Wow. Diane:           &n...
July 23, 2019
Summer is supposed to be relaxing, yet I have found that this summer we’ve had a lot of transition, a lot of change, and my brain has been very busy. Therefore, today’s episode is dedicated to just that: We’re talking about the “Tip of the Iceberg” and brain busyness. [FULL TRANSCRIPTION] This week we’re getting ready to launch The Mental Unload and it feels like a perfect time for me to go back through this program with you all again because of all the mental clutter going on in my brain. On the podcast and in the Simple Families community, we talk a lot about simplicity and minimalism being a journey. And not only is it a journey in your house with your physical stuff, but it’s also a journey in your mind with what’s cluttering up your brain. Before we dive into today’s episode I want to bring you a quick listener’s spotlight, and this is coming from Lauren, who recently participated in The Mental Unload. I run it three times a year and she participated in the March edition. So her words really stuck with me because they resonated with me personally. Her story feels somewhat similar to mine, so I’ll go ahead and read what she had to say. Lauren wrote: “After my second child, I was feeling really burnt out, struggling to do it all and resentful of my partner. I felt guilty that I had the family I always dreamed of but I was feeling less happy. I thought maybe I needed to make a big life change like move close to family, or go back to school or work, and then I saw your Instagram post about The Mental Unload and it stopped me in my tracks. I went into this process hopeful, but it really exceeded my expectations. Being more aware of when I’m being tipped towards my tendency of anxiety has helped me so much. I recently had a tough day that would’ve usually left me feeling pretty resentful towards my partner. This time though, I was able to recognize it creeping up, communicate with my partner, and talk through it together. I started with thanking my partner with what he had done for the day, even though I was feeling a little bit unsupported. He responded by doing something nice for me to make me feel better. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think my relationship with my in-laws has even been improved.” I love these insightful words from Lauren because I think she touches on so many of the key issues that we cover in The Mental Unload. We’re starting this Thursday, July 25th, and if you want to join us I would love to have you.. The Mental Unload is a seven day program, but I know that some people like to take their time with it and move through it a little bit more slowly. So while you’ll receive the core content over the first seven days, I’ll hang with you for the next three weeks so you have a month altogether to work through, reflect, and process the information. If you have questions, send me an email
July 10, 2019
Today I’m chatting with Jane Monnier about her journey towards reducing mental and physical clutter. Jane is a longtime member of the Simple Families Community. She’s also is a rocket-scientist-turned-military-wife-and-mother who has lived around the world with her family. I think you will enjoy Jane’s wisdom in this episode! (Full episode transcription below). Show Notes/Links: * The Mental Unload* Jane’s Website* Jane on Facebook* Jane on Instagram Jane Monnier Full Transcript: Denaye:            For those of you have been listening to the podcast for a while, you’ll know that occasionally I do these journey to simplicity stories where I follow members of the Simple Families audience, and they share with us more about what their journey towards a simpler life has looked like. Today I am chatting with Jane Monnier. Jane has been a part of Simple Families pretty much since I have since the very beginning. And it’s been a pleasure getting to know her through the Facebook community and through the programs that she’s done. She’s a veteran of The Mental Unload. She’s actually done it with me three times now and she joined me this last round as the community manager. Which was so great to see her be able to take the tools that she’s used and support other women. So she’s joining me today, and we’re talking more about what her journey to simplicity looked like. Jane is a rocket scientist turned military mother and wife, and her family has moved all over the world. And they’ve definitely faced obstacles and their own share of stress and overwhelm, and the accumulation of stuff. So Jane is going to share a little bit about how she’s been letting go of the physical and mental clutter. I hope you enjoy this episode. Conversation Begins: Denaye: Hi Jane, how are you? Jane:                I’m wonderful Denaye. How are you? Denaye:            I’m good. Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me. Jane:                Of course. My pleasure. Denaye:            So Jane, I’ll first say how I’ve gotten to know you over the past couple of years. You have been a part of the Simple Families community for how long has it been, do you know? Jane:                I can’t remember exactly, but I think it was before you even had your actual blog website up.
June 26, 2019
In today’s episode, I am chatting with Rich Karlgaard, Publisher of Forbes Magazine, about his new book Late Bloomers. Rich is a self-proclaimed late bloomer. He’s sharing more of his story along with some research that will give fellow parents of late bloomers some piece of mind. Show Notes/Links * The Book: Late Bloomers* Rich’s Website* Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset
June 19, 2019
It happens. All kids will use less-than-desirable language as they are growing up. Whether its potty words or outright profanity, we all deal with this as parents. Today I’m reflecting on how we’ve been managing it in our house–including what is working and what is not working.
June 12, 2019
I recently went through and did a huge book overhaul. I got rid of all the “twaddle” in favor of prioritizing high quality, well-written children’s books. To quote today’s guest Emily Cook, “well-read children will grow into well-read adults”. In this episode, Emily and I talk about reading aloud and choosing great books for our children. Show Notes/Links: * (Our new fairytale books) Atlas of Classic Tales/Atlas of Fairy Tales* My Father’s Dragon* Good Omen* Emily’s Website: Build Your Library* Emily on YouTube: Arrrgh Schooling* Emily on Instagram: bylibrarycurriculum* Emily on Twitter* Emily’s Book: A Literary Education
June 4, 2019
It’s officially book launch week! In today’s episode I am sharing more about the publishing process behind Simple Happy Parenting, along with my goals and hopes for the book and what exactly I am afraid of. Thank you for all your support! You can still claim the pre-order bonus during launch week!
May 29, 2019
There is a fine line between selfishness and selflessness in parenthood. In today’s episode, I’m chatting with Hunter Clarke-Fields of Mindful Mama Mentor. We talking about martyrdom in motherhood and how trying to be-it-all and do-it-all is not actually the best thing for kids. This is an important message for every parent. SHOW NOTES/SHOW LINKS: * Facebook: Hunter Clarke-Fields, Mindful Mama Mentor* Instagram: Mindful Mama Mentor* Twitter: HClarkeFields* Denaye’s Book: Simple Happy Parenting* Image that Denaye referenced in the episode:
May 22, 2019
Slow living with kids…what does that look like? Frankly, the days can feel painfully slow. But sometimes they can be delightful. What gives? Today we are talking about shifting toward a slower lifestyle and what that looks like with family life. Finding a balance between structured and unstructured family time can help us find more happiness in parenthood. Show Notes/Links: * Preorder Simple Happy Parenting* Claim the Preorder Bonus
May 15, 2019
I get to be on the other side of the table today! In today’s episode, I am being interviewed by the host of Minimalish, Desirae Endrees. I had the pleasure of being a guest on Minimalish last week and I loved our chat so much that I wanted to re-air this episode for you on Simple Families. In this episode, I’m talking about how Simple Families got started (and about the other blog I had before Simple Families was born). Thanks to Desirae for having me on and letting me share this with you all. Show Notes/Links: * The Original Episode on Minimalish* Minimalish on Instagram* Minimalish Facebook Group* PREORDER SIMPLE HAPPY PARENTING + CLAIM BONUS COACHING* Why I Got Rid of My Wardrobe* Why I Got Rid of the Toys* Un-Fancy (Caroline Rector)* Courtney Carver – Be More with Less – Project 333* Care/of – plus use coupon code coupon SIMPLE25 for 25% off
May 8, 2019
In today’s episode I am sharing more about our decision to homeschool. Homeschool was never in the plans for our family, so I will tell you more about our decision to go down this path. I’m also sharing some of the vital pieces in making this process successful for our family. Hint: It doesn’t involve me doing-it-all and being-it-all. Show Notes/Links: * Oak Meadow* All About Reading* Wild + Free
May 1, 2019
Changing your mindset and finding joy usually doesn’t happen overnight. Baby steps, right? In today’s episode, I am chatting with authors and happiness experts Marc and Angel Chernoff. We’ll explore the small ways we can increase happiness and life a more intentional life. Show Notes/Links: * Marc and Angel’s Website: Marc & Angel Hack Life* Find them on Instagram + Facebook* New Book: 1000+ Little Things Happy Successful People Do Differently* First Book: Getting Back to Happy: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Reality, and Turn Your Trials into Triumphs
April 24, 2019
On the podcast today I am reading the first chapter of my new book, Simple Happy Parenting: The Secret of Less for Calmer Parents and Happier Kids. Show Notes/Links: * Preorder the book: Simple Happy Parenting* Grab your spot in The Masterclass
April 17, 2019
Simplifying parenthood may sound like a lofty goal. But in today’s episode, I am chatting with Nicole Smith, a mother who has made huge strides. Nicole is sharing her ‘Journey to Simplicity’ that has happened over the past few months. Nicole is a wife, mother of three children, and a former participant in the Simple Families: The Masterclass. She’s sharing her story about letting go of fear and watching her family flourish in simplicity. Show Notes/Links: * Simple Families: The Masterclass Nicole Smith Before and After of Nicole’s Kitchen: Nicole’s Kitchen Before the Masterclass Nicole’s Kitchen After (#1) Nicole Kitchen After (#2)
April 10, 2019
In today’s episode, Tsh Oxenreider is sharing more about her “Journey to Simplicity”. Tsh is a wife and mother of three who has been on the path towards a simpler, more intentional life for over a decade. Tsh is an author and the voice behind The Art of Simple and the podcast ‘Simple’. She’s sharing more about her story and reflections on simplicity and parenting as her children have grown. Show Notes/Links: * Last Child in The Woods by Richard Louv* Video of Adventure Parks* Get in touch with Tsh: Her Books, The Art of Simple,, The Simple Show, and Instagram.
March 27, 2019
Overparenting is a phenomenon that happens for many parents who have the best of intentions. We want the best for our children and as a result, we want to do everything and be everything for them. This happens because we are fearful of not doing enough. We fear underparenting. This often spills over into discipline. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to dole out rewards and consequences for all the minor and major behavior infractions as children grow. But in today’s episode, I am explaining why we don’t need to fear underparenting. And in fact, often less is more.
March 20, 2019
In the age of social media, it’s impossible to avoid “the comparison game”. In this episode, I am chatting with my friend Erica Layne from The Life on Purpose Movement. We are exploring the tendency to compare our family to others and how the comparison game and emotional clutter has impacted us personally. SHOW NOTES/LINKS: * Erica’s Book: The Minimalist Way: Minimalism Strategies to Declutter Your Life and Make Room for Joy* Erica Website: The Life on Purpose Movement* Erica on Instagram: The Life on Purpose Movement* Erica on Facebook: The Life on Purpose Movement* How to Declutter Your Life and Make Room for Joy (which gives backstory on the book) * 10 Clutter Clearing Strategies that Will Gradually Make Your Life 100 Times Easier
March 13, 2019
Recent Family Photo (Au Pair Included) Since we brought our first au pair last summer I have received nearly constant questions about the experience. So today, I am sharing my thoughts on all types of childcare arrangements (including daycare, family care, nannies, nanny share, etc.) and how we came to our decision to use an au pair. In this episode, I’ll also speak more about my experience with the au pair program. What questions do you have? Show Notes/Links: * Cultural Care * Coupon code for free registration: PCREGWAIVER
March 6, 2019
Last week, we had a primer on the importance of outdoor play with Linda Åkeson McGurk. This week, I am re-airing an important follow up piece on the scientific perspective on this topic. In today’s episode, I speak with Carla Hannaford, world-renowned biologist and outdoor advocate, about her studies on the connection between movement and brain development. If you are brand new to learning about brain development, tune into Episode 92 for a simple, quick overview before diving into this one. The Mental UN-load is coming March 14th! The Mental Unload is launching next week! This program will lighten the load of parenthood, reserve your spot here.
February 27, 2019
Today I have one of the top Simple Families episodes! I am re-sharing my chat with Linda Åkeson McGurk about the importance of getting kids outside in all sorts of weather–even in the heart of winter. There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. Linda, a Swedish mother, joins us to talk about raising our kids to be more connected with nature. Linda’s book is one of my favorites–and her blog, Rain or Shine Mamma, is a worth-while resource as well. I hope you enjoy this episode!
February 20, 2019
The journey into motherhood isn’t easy for any woman. But after giving birth here in the U.S., there is societal pressure to return to a “normal life” almost overnight. In other cultures, this transition comes more gently. Women are given more time, more support, and more grace. In today’s episode I am chatting with my friend Lora Amigo. Lora is a Mexican woman raising her children in Chicago–far away from her support network. She shares her story of learning how to mother here in America and the pressure she felt in the process. We are talking about postpartum depression, helicopter parenting, and finding joy in returning to work.
February 13, 2019
As a parent raising children in the United States, I realize that I have a lot to learn from other cultures around the world. In today’s episode, I am exploring an international perspective with Indian mother Devishobha Chandramouli. Devishobha is raising her children in India, but is also involved and informed with Western parenting practices. In fact, she has even created an online conference to bring these perspectives together. Devishobha shares more about her experience merging the Eastern and Western worlds of parenting. She tells us about the expectations for kids to learn self-control, busyness, the influence of ancient mindfulness practices, co-sleeping, the postpartum experience, and much more. Despite her calm and gentle voice, Devishobha shares that even she is inclined to lose her cool with her kids sometime, because parenting in any part of the world comes with challenge. Show Notes/Show Links: * Conference Details: Kidskintha Online Summit * Kidskintha
February 6, 2019
Why is it that some kids turn into zombies in front of a screen? Then they get angry and act crazy when we turn it off? That’s what we are talking about in today’s episode. I’m going to be skimming the surface on some brain research and share how I use this to manage and understand the screen “zombies” in my own house. (Names in this episode were changed to protect privacy) SHOW NOTES/SHOW LINKS: * Beautiful Boy Movie Trailer* Beautiful Boy Book* Free Solo Movie Trailer* Alex Hannold Brain Analysis* Beautiful Boy Movie Trailer* Beautiful Boy Book* Free Solo Movie Trailer* Alex Hannold Brain Analysis* Neurodiversity* The Highly Sensitive Kid
January 30, 2019
In today’s episode, I’m chatting with Amy Lang about sex. She’s sharing her best tips on how to talk to kids about sex, the human body, teaching consent, and the sexualization of childhood. This is a conversation that needs to be on the radar of all parents with young children. SHOW NOTES/LINKS: * Amy’s Podcast: Just Say This* Amy’s Website: Birds+Bees+Kids* Birds & Bees Made Easy Online Resource Center: Use coupon code SEXTALK for 50% off your first quarterly payment* Amy’s Book Recommendations* Amy’s Internet Monitoring Software Choice: Qustodio
January 23, 2019
The way that you parent will look very differently from that of your close friends and family members. Today I am answering a listener’s question. We are discussing how to manage these relationships when you have very different expectations for your own children. Show Notes/Links: * Cooperation: the Mini-Course (FREE)* Overview of Diana Baumrind’s Research on Parenting Styles* Denaye’s Simplifying Child Behavior Program* Episode 130: Letting Go of Unrealistic Expectations
January 16, 2019
In today’s episode I am chatting with professional organizer Rachel Rosenthal. If you are anything like me, you might struggle with complex organizational systems. Rachel is bringing her best tips to keep it simple and approachable–and maybe make 2019 your most organized year yet. Show Notes/Links: * Rachel’s Online Program (use the code NEW YEAR for 10% off)* Rachel’s Website* Rachel on FB + IG
January 9, 2019
If you’ve ever wanted to drink less alcohol, then you might want to tune into this episode. I’ve had a lot of questions about my 2019 resolution to give up alcohol–even though I wouldn’t classify myself as a heavy drinker. Today on the podcast I am sharing more about my “why” and some of the recent personal revelations I have had in the process. Show Notes/Links: * Episode 128 with Brooke Conley* How to Quit Overdrinking Podcast Series by Brooke Castillo* This Naked Mind by Annie Grace* Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol by Ann Dowsett Johnston
January 2, 2019
In today’s episode I am chatting with Erin Loechner. Erin is an author, blogger, designer, and mother of two. She shares her journey towards simple living along with her best tips for making slower New Year’s Resolutions–including arm circles, waking up before the kids, and finding your own definition of self-care. Show Notes/Links: * Find Erin on Instagram* Design for Mankind (Erin’s website)* Chasing Slow (Erin’s book). Erin Loechner
December 27, 2018
Independent play doesn’t come easily to all children. In today’s episode we are discussing what to expect from independent play as well as how to support our children to do it more often. When it comes to independent play, it’s important that we do three things: gauge our expectations as parents; assess the individual personality types of our children; and set them up for success. Show Notes/Links: * Visual Timer* Story Starters
December 18, 2018
About 95% of everything I put on the internet is real life, not staged. The other 5% includes things like the photo in this post, because I generally don’t frolic in fields in pretty dresses. Today I am answering a question from a reader about how much of what I share with you is representative of my real life: my home, my parenting, and the activities I do with my children.
December 12, 2018
I don’t know about you–but my kids have the tendency to move slowly. They function on their own timeline. The result is that as parents, we often find ourselves “hurrying” them to speed up and get on our agenda. In today’s episode I am chatting with Janet Lansbury about hurrying our kids through their days and through their lives. Show Notes/Links: * Simple Families: The Masterclass (30% off this week!) * Janet’s Website/Blog * Janet’s Podcast: Unruffled * Janet’s Books: No Bad Kids + Elevating Child Care * Book mentioned: The Hurried Child by David Elkind
December 4, 2018
Taking the road less traveled is not always simple. During the holiday season the list of obligations grow rapidly and saying “no” can seem out of reach. Today I am chatting with Rachel Rainbolt from Sage Parenting. Rachel and I are talking about the idea of “doing life differently”. Many of us are raising our own families in ways that are different from the way that we ourselves were raised–and it can lead to conflict. Show Notes/Links: * More on parenting approaches: Authoritarian vs. Authoritative * “Discomfort is the price of admission for a meaningful life” -Susan David * Rachel’s Website: Sage Parenting * Rachel on Instagram * Rachel’s Podcast: Sage Family
November 28, 2018
Buying new toys for our children can be exciting–but it can also be overwhelming. There are so many options out there and our children are inundated with marketing materials. Today I am chatting with Lizzie Assa from the Workspace for Children. She and her family buy toys outside of the mainstream options–that means they lean towards simple, open-ended toys made of more natural, non-plastic materials. We are chatting about buying toys that are durable and will hold the interest of children across different ages, genders, and interests. Show Links: Lizzie’s Instagram: The Workspace For Children Lizzie’s Toy Guide Website Simple Families Holiday Guide
November 19, 2018
We all believe that the holiday season is the happiest time of the year. But is it really? Today I am chatting with Happiness Guru Gretchen Rubin about finding happiness in the holiday season. You may know Gretchen from one of her New York Times bestselling books, her top ranked podcast, or perhaps most importantly her legendary quote, “The days are long, but the years are short”. In our conversation today Gretchen and I are talking about seeking happiness in the midst of a complex season of expectations, that includes: balancing how we spend our time, gift giving, traveling to visit family/friends, managing “toxic” relationships, and staying connected to the people we love the most. Show Links from Gretchen: * The Days are Long But the Years are Short Video Sign up for Gretchen’s newsletters The Four Tendencies quiz Gretchen’s site Listen to the podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin The books: The Four Tendencies—New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project—#1 New York Times bestseller Follow her on social media: Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook
November 14, 2018
Welcome back to Part II of the Holiday Q&A (If you missed Part I, catch it here!). Rachelle Crawford from Abundant Life with Less and Zoë Kim from Raising Simple are joining me to answer the rest of your holiday questions. Today we will chat about minimal decorating, envy amongst children, simple holiday meals, and more. We will bring examples from our own lives and little bits of wisdom that I hope will carry you through the season.
November 7, 2018
The holidays are upon us. I am here to tell you that you don’t need to do or buy all.the.things. Today is the first of a two-part series focused on answering your questions about living a more intentional holiday season. I am joined by Rachelle Crawford from Abundant Life with Less and Zoë Kim from Raising Simple. Together we are moving through your questions and bringing examples from our own lives and small pieces of wisdom to take forth into the holiday season. Cheers! Show Notes/Links * Shutterfly Calendar * National Geographic Little Kids * The Other Question to Ask Kids this Holiday Season * The Spirit Post * Ann Voskamp, Underwrapping the Greatest Gifts * Compassion International * Preschool Fudge Recipe
October 31, 2018
Dare I say that developing a gratitude practice is actually easy? I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly small acts of gratitude have changed my life. In today’s interview I am chatting with mother and gratitude expert Josie Robinson about her unlikely, yet transformative journey. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNES Show Links/Notes: The Gratitude Jar book Give Thanks Gratitude Journal Josie’s Site Facebook page Instagram Pinterest
October 24, 2018
Starting in the early days of pregnancy we set expectations for ourselves. Perhaps your kids won’t have screen time. You will breastfeed for one year or more. Your kids will only eat organic. In today’s episode Natalie Telyatnikov [from Better Postpartum] and I are sharing some of the unrealistic expectations of which we have let go and how we are taking better care of ourselves as a result. SUBSCRIBE AND LISTEN ON ITUNES Show Notes/Links * Visit Better Postpartum * Follow Natalie on Instagram * Learn more about the Better Postpartum Course
October 17, 2018
Most of us feel like there’s no way we could add one more thing to our plate. But the truth is that starting a side-hustle (or part-time passion-driven work) can actually be a form of self-care. I know that for me, working helps to fill up my cup so I can be more calm and present in the time that I am with my kids. Today I am chatting with Meghan Fitzgerald, the founder of Tinkergarten. Meghan and I are chatting about balancing work with motherhood + the value of adding a side-hustle. Show Notes/Links Reference to Episode 125 with Rahima Dancy Become a Tinkergarten Leader – Find a Tinkergarten class near you – Facebook: Instagram: Tinkergarten Twitter: @tinkergarten Site:
October 10, 2018
Sometimes there is so much to be done that we find ourselves needing coffee to wake up in the morning and wine to take the edge off and calm down in the evening. In today’s episode I am talking with Brooke Conley about alcohol + motherhood. If you have ever thought about cutting back on alcohol or felt like you wanted to give it up–tune in as Brooke and I talk more about our relationships with alcohol. Show Links/Notes Stay in touch with Brooke and see her recommended resources: Her website Instagram Online * Hip Sobriety * Laura McKowen Books * This Naked Mind — Annie Grace * Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol — Ann Dowsett Johnston * Drinking: A Love Story — Caroline Knapp Podcast on overdrinking that Denaye mentioned (books contain affiliate links)
October 3, 2018
Today on the podcast I am sharing a Q&A episode. That means I am taking your questions and giving you my honest, unfiltered answers. In this episode we are talking about how many gifts to give, how to manage sibling squabbles, minimalism in different regions, and mealtime struggles.
September 26, 2018
As parents, we just want to give our kids the best. We want to give them opportunities and send them to the best colleges. Sometimes that means signing them up for all the classes and starting the resumé in the earliest years. In today’s episode I am chatting with author Bill Deresiewicz. We are discussing the disconnection between the pursuit of success and happiness. Show Notes/Links: * The Book: Excellent Sheep * Revisiting the Value of Elite Colleges * How to Raise an Adult * How to Raise Successful Kids Without Overparenting [Ted Talks]    
September 18, 2018
In today’s society we often feel like we need to be out and about, entertaining our children and staying busy. In this episode I am joined by author Rahima Dancy. We are discussing the educational value of just staying home with our children–because their most important learning experiences start right at home with us. Show Notes/Links: * You are Your Child’s First Teacher [Rahima’s book] * LifeWays North America * Inspired Homemaking Course * Celebrate the Rhythm of Life
September 12, 2018
[Heads up–there’s a wee bit of audio issues in the first part of the interview, but hang it there–it gets better!] This month we are going to be rethinking education. For anyone that has followed the podcast for sometime, you will know that I am an advocate for progressive forms of education. Namely child-led learning styles. In today’s episode, I am chatting with author and educator Aubrey Hargis of Child of the Redwoods. Aubrey is sharing her insight into the earliest of years of education–infancy and toddlerhood. What do babies really need as far as education in those first years of life? Show Notes/Links About Aubrey: * New Book: Baby’s First Year Milestones * Website * Courses * Instagram * Facebook * Facebook Group
September 5, 2018
Back by popular demand, today’s episode is a Q&A format. I am answering a variety of your questions about positive parenting, minimalism, moving, homeschooling, and childcare [all rather unapologetically–because remember this is opinion and what works for my family]. Show Notes/Links * Follow Simple Families on Instagram * Simplify Child Behavior Program * Preview App * Oak Meadow * Cultural Care Au Pair Program * Coffee + Chat Meet up in Columbus, Ohio.
August 29, 2018
Today is the first ever male guest on the podcast. While it’s long overdue, I am happy to welcome my friend Clark Davis. Clark is the final interview in the series ‘Journey to Simplicity’ this month. In today’s episode, Clark shares his insight on living small, intentional fatherhood, and minimalism. Not only is Clark on a journey to simplicity in his family life, but he’s also the founder of Sprout-Kids, a furniture company with a likeminded mission: To create sustainable and functional furniture for kids. Show Notes: * Sprout-Kids * Instagram * Facebook * The Board * The Floor Bed * Kitchen Helper [coming this Fall]
August 22, 2018
This is my favorite podcast episode yet. This month we are exploring the journey to simplicity in four real-life families. Because minimalism just makes good sense for families. Today I am chatting with Kristen Puzzo. Kristen is an active member of the Simple Families Community. I have been following her journey as she has been lightening the heavy load of motherhood for over a year. In this episode she shares an incredible amount of wisdom and insight for aspiring minimalists everywhere. Show Links: How to Pack a Minimalist Beach Bag
August 15, 2018
Some people make big life changes in search of simplicity–Lilly Neubauer is one of them. When the busyness in her life spiraled out of control, Lilly quit her job to get her family back on track. I look forward to sharing her story with you today. Show Links: * Trading my Job for Minimalism (Lilly’s Guest Post on SF) * Keep in touch with Lilly * Find Lilly on Instagram
August 8, 2018
We are launching off a new 4-part series:  Journey to Simplicity. I am interviewing four real families about moving towards minimalism and how it has impacted their lives.  Today I am chatting with Rachelle Crawford. Rachelle and her family of 5 live in Michigan. She felt a sudden call to minimalism 18 months ago and hasn’t looked back. In this episode we chat about her journey and the positive impact it has had on her own well-being along with the well-being of her family. Show Notes/Links: Stay in touch with Rachelle via: * Blog: Abundant Life with Less * Instagram * Facebook * Download: The Declutter Like a Minimalist Guidebook
August 1, 2018
We know the environment in which we live and the food we eat have an impact on the development of our children. In today’s episode I am speaking with author + science writer Jena Pincott about all-natural biohacks for parents. Biohacks involve making changes to diet and lifestyle that transform biological tendencies that exist in our bodies. I learned so much from Jena’s book, and I hope you enjoy our chat today! Jena’s Book: Wits Guts Grit: All-Natural Biohacks for Raising Smart, Resilient Kids
July 26, 2018
The value of play in childhood is often underestimated. Our children need to play and when pushed into academics at a young age they miss vital opportunities to develop and grow. In today’s episode we are discussing the balance between work and play. I am chatting with Jeanne-Marie Paynel of Voila Montessori about understanding the connection between these concepts. Show Notes/Links * Jeanne-Marie’s website * About Jeanne-Marie * The “Be the Best Parent You Can Be” Summit
July 18, 2018
Children benefit from the opportunity to play in open-ended, unstructured environments. Today I am talking with Nicole Roccaro from Naturally Curious Children. We talk about finding a balance in play, leaning towards unstructured activities, and following our children’s lead. Nicole’s home and approach are inspired by something called Reggio-Emilia. In this episode, we are discussing more about what this means and how parents can nurture this type of play in our families. Show Notes/Links * Nicole on Instagram: Naturally Curious Children * Nicole on Facebook: Naturally Curious Children * Grimms (toy referenced)
July 11, 2018
Horseplay is developmentally beneficial for our growing children. If you have a kid who plays rowdy, then you need to hear this. We need to find a way to encourage this behavior rather than discourage it. In today’s episode, I am chatting with Frances Carlson, the author of the book Big Body Play. I found Frances’ work to be eye opening and I think you will too. For some children, the need to move is just too much. They just have to let that energy out. And unfortunately they get labeled as misbehaving children, when what they are doing is what they need to develop. It’s like saying “if you get up and eat, you are misbehaving” – Frances Carlson Show Links/Notes: * Big Body Play [the book] * Big Body Play [the website]
July 3, 2018
Never underestimate what your children are learning through play. In the early years, play is the main vehicle for learning and education. In today’s episode, I will be introducing you to the importance of play. We chat about stages of play, types of play, and what role that adults may have in play. Show Notes/Links * The Play’s the Thing
June 27, 2018
Child behavior is anything but straightforward. My children are well-behaved, but as humans–they have their “moments”. As parents, we can feel powerless when our kids aren’t cooperating or being respectful. Today on the podcast I am explaining how we blend positive parenting methods with some strategies and techniques. One technique in particular that we are discussing is “time-out”. Time-out is often overused and misused. I give you 5 tips for using it successfully, as well as 4 shame-free ways to execute it (you might be surprised, none of these involve sticking your kids nose in the corner). Do you ever use time-out? Have you found it to be successful? Want to join us for a month of Simplifying Behavior? It starts July 1st!
June 20, 2018
In today’s episode I am chatting with Hunter Clarke-Fields of Mindful Mama Mentor. Hunter specializes in mindful parenting and in this episode we are talking about control in parenting. As parents, we feel like we should have control over our children. But children have their own agendas and ideas about this. How much control do we really have—or is it all an illusion? Show Notes/Links: * Mindful Mama Mentor * Free Course/Resources
June 13, 2018
The words that we speak to our children become their inner voice. And the average woman speaks 20,000 words per day. While we can’t always be intentional in the way we speak to our children, we can do better. In today’s episode, author Tracy Cutchlow and I are discussing how to speak to our children. We talk about the impact that our words have and strategies for improving our language to encourage a “growth mindset” (+all about what that means). Show Links: * Zero to Five: 70 Essential Parenting Tips Based on Science (the book) * Zero to Five (Tracy’s website) * Word-for-Word Examples Using Language of Listening * Growth Mindset Workshop
June 7, 2018
What does it mean to “raise successful kids”? Today I am chatting with Krista from A Life in Progress. I knew I could rely on Krista to bring some excellent perspective to this topic and she comes through in this episode. When it comes to life, Krista thinks outside the box and walks off the beaten path. She has raised three young adults and considers her kids to be her greatest teachers. Krista and I are diving deeper into the idea that there is more than one path to successful parenting and perhaps raising “mediocre” kids might not be so bad after all. Show Notes/Links * A Life in Progress * What if All I Want is a Mediocre Life * What to Do When You Live with Messy People
May 30, 2018
Parents spend a great deal of time and money baby-proofing the home. But how does this process impact our kids? Today, I am chatting with Nicole from The Kavanaugh Report. Nicole and I are both passionate about creating a home that is child-friendly rather than child-proof. That means that we are thoughtful to design our homes with both the children and adults in mind. How have you created a home that is child-friendly? Show Links: * Case Against Childproofing (Article) * The Kavanaugh Report (Nicole’s Blog)
May 23, 2018
Zoë Kim has lived in 24 homes in 13 different states. She’s an expert at moving and has a healthy dose of wanderlust, but she also manages to connect to the communities in which she lives. In today’s episode, Zoë and I are discussing moving, finding minimalism, and how to build a happy home (make that plural, in her case). Show Links: Zoë’s Blog: Raising Simple Zoë’s Book: Minimalism for Families (Affiliate)
May 14, 2018
I haven’t always lived in places that I love. But I have found gratitude and contentment in some surprising places. Today on the podcast, I am sharing how I created a home that I love along with how I engage in my community to increase a sense of attachment and rootedness. Want to talk more about this topic? Join us this month in the “Love Where You Live Experiment”. [button url=””]JOIN HERE[/button]
May 8, 2018
In today’s episode we are exploring the idea of “putting down roots” and becoming attached to the places that we live. Melody Warnick shares her own personal experience and the research on this concept called place psychology. If you ever spend time linger on Zillow or perusing the “Best Cities to Live” lists, then you will love to hear what Melody has to say. For the month of May, we will be falling in love with our less-than-perfect homes and connecting to our communities. Join Denaye from Simple Families, Zoe from Raising Simple, and Melody, Author of “This is Where You Belong” as we explore this exciting (and much needed) topic. JOIN US HERE  Show Links: * This is Where You Belong by Melody Warnick * Walk Score
April 30, 2018
Have you ever dreamt of starting an organic garden? Today on the podcast I am chatting with my friend and homesteader Beth Brettell from High Sierra Permaculture. She’s a former designer turned homesteader, and along with her partner Bret they have created a beautiful and productive garden in Northern California. Beth answers all of my beginner questions + gives us all a quick lesson in Organic Gardening 101. Be sure to follow Beth and Bret on Instagram to see what life looks like on a homestead and learn more about organic gardening. Want to learn more? Get their free crash course to get started. In this episode, Beth and I chat about: * When to plant. * What to plant. * Is it better to start with seeds? * How to prepare soil. * An introduction to composting. * How to attract pollinators. * +much more SHOW LINKS: * Farmers Almanac * Master Gardeners * Permaculture Homestead Crash Course * Pinterest: Beginning Gardening 101 * Instagram: High Sierra Permaculture
April 24, 2018
As mothers, we often carry the heavy responsibility of feeding our families. Despite what Pinterest leads us to believe, cooking for a family doesn’t have to be fancy. In today’s podcast episode I am chatting with Erin Odom of The Humbled Homemaker. Erin and I are discussing our favorite methods for simplifying meal planning and cooking for family. We both know firsthand that this season of life with young children can be difficult to prep and cook healthy meals–so we are scaling it back to the simplest ways that we know and sharing them with you. Show Links: * The Humbled Homemaker * More Than Just Making It (Erin’s first book/aff link) * You Can Stay Home With Your Kids (Erin’s brand new book) * Eating Well on a Budget (Free E-Course) * Field To Plate (Seasonal food guide) * Trim Healthy Mama (Erin’s favorite health/recipe guides)
April 17, 2018
We know that the kitchen is the most used room in the house–yet simplifying the kitchen is anything but easy. On the podcast today I am chatting with Melissa Coleman of The Faux Martha. Melissa is a food blogger and she is sharing her story about how the kitchen “broke” for her. She decided she either needed to make big changes or call it quits. Fortunately, she stuck with it and now she’s sharing the art of creating a minimal kitchen. Inspired by Melissa’s ways, I will be sharing a tour of my kitchen and pantry in the Simplify Food + Family group this week. Join us there! Show Links: The Minimalist Kitchen (Melissa’s book) The Faux Martha (Melissa’s blog)
April 10, 2018
Every parent wants to feed their children nutritious food. That probably means a heaping dose of vegetables, ample proteins, and a well-rounded source of vitamin-rich foods. Even if we know what we should be feeding our children, we don’t always know the magic tricks to actually get our kids to eat those super foods. In today’s episode, sociologist and author Dina Rose Ph.D. explains to us why feeding children really isn’t all about nutrition. Dina is changing the conversation from nutrition to establishing positive habits–her wisdom will have you thinking bigger than just broccoli. Want to join in this discussion for the month of April as we talk all things food + family?  [button url=””]SIGN UP HERE[/button] Show Notes * About Dina * Her Website: It’s Not About Nutrition * Her Book: It’s Not About the Broccoli * Her Super Food Explorer Kit
April 3, 2018
In our house, mealtimes are pleasant. My kids eat well and we enjoy each others company. I don’t have it all figured out, but I do have a Ph.D. in Child Development with a research background in child wellness. That means I use a combination of both research-based ideas and intuitive planning to help develop my kids into good-eaters. Not all these things are going to resonate with you and work for your family–but they have surely worked for mine. Want to join in this discussion for the month of April as we talk all things food + family? SIGN UP HERE.  SHOW NOTES * We started out this way from Day 1 * The Cardinal Rule of Feeding Children * The dinner table is enjoyable * We keep “meal windows” * Snacks are used carefully * We don’t talk about “likes and dislikes” * Food preferences are considered dynamic rather than static * There are no assumptions, other than that our children will eat well * I use backwards meal planning * We keep the food-prep and recipes simple * There’s no sugar SHOW LINKS * Exactly How I Feed My Kids (a blog post) * Your Questions Answered (a podcast episode answering all your questions on this topic) * Getting Started with Baby Led Weaning * Martha Stewart’s One Pot Meals * The Minimalist Kitchen by Melissa Coleman
March 27, 2018
I don’t have a regular yoga or meditation practice, although I wish I did. Yet each day I find moments of mindfulness and presence in regular activities. In today’s podcast episode I am speaking with Shawn Fink from The Abundant Mama Project. We are chatting all about how to meditate without meditating–and by that I mean how to find moments of calm within the chaos that can overwhelm motherhood. What unconventional, yet very ordinary ways do you catch moments of mindfulness in motherhood? Show Notes/Links: * A Busy Mom’s Guide to Meditating without Meditating * Achieve Balance with a Mindful Motherhood Philosophy * Rise and Shine Challenge * Savoring Slow Book + Kit
March 20, 2018
She’s skinny, ​crafty, active, accomplished in her career, family-focused, and well-dressed (all the time, even at drop off). She’s the perfect mom. She’s the mom that we are secretly striving to be–the one that does it all and has it all. In fact, many of the things we spend our time and energy striving towards are because of her. It’s because we feel like we don’t measure up. Because we feel like we aren’t enough. Today on the podcast I am chatting with Catia Holm, author and inspirational speaker. We are talking about the striving that we do as mothers. What if we could let go of that perfect mother and embrace the very person we are today? I never knew how much magic could be found in the ordinary -Catia Holm Show Notes/Links in this episode: * The Courage to Become by Catia Holm * The Six Stages of Parenthood by Ellen Galinsky * The Robcast
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