Enough is as Good as a Feast

We watched a bit of Mary Poppins yesterday, and the kids cannot get enough of the scenes of tidying up the nursery and dancing on rooftops. Plus, it’s just one more reason for me to sing extra loudly in my faux-British accent. Favorite lines I’m going to start saying all the time: “Enough is as good as a feast,” and “Don’t be all day about it, please.”

Speaking of enough, here are a few links: (Look, a segue! Classy.)

Researchers have found that cluttered houses cause measurable stress hormones in women. (Well, obviously.) Also, we should all go clean off the fridge because apparently there is a correlation between the amount of stuff on your fridge and the total amount of stuff in your house. – From the book Life at Home in the Twenty-first Century: 32 Families Open their Doors documenting the houses of 32 middle-class families in Los Angeles. You can read a summary of it at the WSJ. The images in the book of the shelves full of Barbies and stuffed animals are totally creepy. Thanks to everyone who sent me this link.

Advice on Creating a Well-Loved and Well-Used Toy Collection – from Minimalist Mom (relief from the article above).

Beating the Statistics: Tree Detective Activities – from Sit a Spell. “Sociologists point out that American kids today can identify a thousand corporate logos but less than ten native plants and animals that live around their homes.” 

Outsmart your own brain and spend less money – from Simple Mom. “How to focus on your money’s future, and not on your money’s past.”

My recent parenting-related articles at Alpha Mom:

My Kids Are Amazing (I Want Them To Think So Too)

Easy Fruit Art to Make With Your Kids

Coming up next:

I’ve been getting a lot of questions in my inbox about baby stuff lately, so I’m going to answer the most frequently-asked questions this week.

Stay tuned for Baby Week. If you’re not interested in talking about baby stuff, then let me make up for it with a video of this worldwide dance party:

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Great blog! I just got your Simple Blogging ebook and I am getting many ideas so far. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Anna at Mama Writes´s last post…‘Six Weeks to OMG: Get Skinnier Than All Your Friends’ Book Review and Giveaway

  2. I’m loving the image of you walking around saying, “Don’t be all day about it, please” to your kids while they giggle their heads off.

    I just barely saw Mary Poppins for the first time a few weeks ago. Boy, was I missing out as a kid! My kids are definitely going to know the joy of a spoonful of sugar!

    Thanks for the links.
    Jennie´s last post…The Pain of Infertility

  3. What a great bunch of links! I would surely have to agree with feeling stressed out when there is a bunch of clutter.
    Heidi @Adventures of a Thrifty Mom´s last post…Cooking With the Kids and Life Lessons

  4. “Don’t be all day about it” is a fairly common refrain around ours (British grandparents, though).

    I’d have to disagree about the fridge thing – we both have mothers who are not happy unless they have a FULL fridge ALL the time. We prefer feast or famine – it’s full, then it’s empty so I go fill it again! The state of the house doesn’t fluctuate as dramatically!
    Harriet Archer´s last post…50 shades of books…

    • I think they were talking about having a bunch of magnets and notices on the fridge that make it look cluttered on the outside.

  5. My Mary-ism is “Well begun is half-done!”
    Lori @ In My Kitchen, In My Life´s last post…{pretty, happy, funny, real}: Ordinary-Extraordinary

  6. I loathe clutter (I am the black sheep in a family of quasi hoarders) and when I visit a cluttered house, my stress level increases significantly and I can’t stay too long. The visual noise is like a buzzing noise in my head. Funny how one can have such a physical reaction to, well, stuff. I guess I will have to read the book to see if any of the people in the book are near bankruptcy from all their stuff. The idea of someone paying credit card interest on a long forgotten, broken, filling up the landfill toy makes me sad, but does not surprise me.

    I read a lot of historical fiction and one of the universal themes (except for the uber rich) is how grateful people are about their minimal possessions. Little Sally has one doll but she cherishes it (and keeps it in good condition) and later passes that same doll onto her daughter. Young Billy is thrilled to get a hand me down pair of boots that, despite belonging to his older cousin and a little worn, with a little bit of newspaper jammed in the toe, the boots fit just fine. Billy keeps the boots in good condition so he can pass them on to another relative.

    As someone without children, my entire parenting knowledge is:
    a) apparently it is illegal to rub whiskey on their gums when teething
    b) you cannot lock them in a dog crate like a misbehaving puppy

    Obviously I have very little street cred when it comes to children and toys, but I do believe this one:
    Children are resilient.

    Fewer toys, clothes, credit card busting experiences will not scar them for life. What will affect them is watching mom and dad struggle with debt, stress and overwork to pay for every indulgence. If anything, that lifestyle just teaches another generation that happiness equates stuff.

    Since I live in a 1 bedroom 500 square foot apartment, I have a CRAZY rule. My crazy rule is that 90% of my possessions must be on display (exception – things that naturally go in drawers, ie kitchen items, clothing) Except for a few seasonal items (window airvconditioner, humidifier for dry winter air) everything is on display. This helps control clutter and keeps me from overspending. It may not be the best solution but it works for me. There is no point of having something interesting if it’s tucked in a box somewhere.

  7. Wow, the stuff of families article is kind of crazy. And my daughter saw Mary Poppins for the first time a little while ago when we were all sick. She loved it.
    Steph´s last post…Rotating Toys: Benefits and Tips

  8. Mary Poppins. I want to be her. Such interesting links. I love the fruit art. Thanks for sending friends my way, Rachel.


  9. As both a Disney fan and someone in the process of simplifying (turns out it’s possible to be both :) ), one of my other favorite reminders of the beauty of a simple life comes from “Bare Necessities” from “The Jungle Book”:

    DDon’t spend your time lookin’ around
    For something you want that can’t be found
    When you find out you can live without it
    And go along not thinkin’ about it
    I’ll tell you something true
    The bare necessities of life will come to you”

    I love reading Small Notebook, but this is my first comment :). Thanks so much for your thoughtful and helpful posts!

  10. Mary Poppins is the best! I may or may not know all the words to all the songs…

    Also – whenever people have that “what superpower would you like best? flying? invisibility?” conversation; I always say that I want Mary Poppins’s powers. She can fly via umbrella, she can pack limitless amounts of things into one bag, and she can clean by snapping her fingers! My kind of super powers. :)

    P.S. That ‘stuff’ article is crazy. I especially was interested by the timestamp of where people were in the house. Just shows that most American houses are TOO BIG.
    Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm´s last post…Quirky Bookworm Reader Survey

  11. I’ve seen this guys videos in the past and usually just laugh and get a kick out of them. This one made me cry! I’m not quite sure why, but I loved it. Thanks for sharing.

  12. This makes me feel good about my refrigerator door with nothing on it! :-) Returned from a week away to a clean, tidy house and it felt so good walking in the door. That was a feast for me, for sure.
    Rita@thissortaoldlife.com´s last post…Happy Anniversary!Looking back at our first year in our new home

  13. My kids have loved Mary Poppins ever since they were very little. I got a free copy at our local used book store, since they were switching over to all DVD’s. They will sit and rewind it over and over again (even my 12 year old!), especially in the scenes with dancing or cleaning up. We all sing along. Such a great family movie! We recently rewatched Night at the Museum – and the kids couldn’t believe that one of the bad guys was the same actor that was in Mary Poppins. Also, whenever we are going on a long car trip, we get strapped in and then I say ,”And off we go!” – and they we all start singing a spoon full of sugar! Good times! :)

  14. Mary Poppins is my favorite! Great quote!
    Paige´s last post…i shine

  15. I’ll classily segue into a different topic altogether…

    Remember your post about washing your garage door with your sponge mop? And I commented how I use it to clean the outside of our tall windows…

    Anyway, I figured out another good use for it – our bathroom ceiling. We live in a 1926 house with no extractor fan in the bathroom and the ceiling gets mold and mildew. Voila! The sponge mop with some natural cleaner sprayed on it. Works great.

    And another segue…

    I really understand the frustration you feel when you can’t make a sandwich for your child. We’re not eating wheat and dairy anymore and makes lunches challenging. We eat a lot of chemical-free ham, natural hot dogs, green smoothies, and salmon burgers! It’s most difficult when we have to pack a lunch, though. What does your daughter eat for lunches at school?

    • The easiest lunch is cutting chicken or deli ham into cubes instead of putting it on a sandwich, and then we add other stuff like fruit and gluten-free pretzels.

  16. Great set of links today! Thank you.

    A note thought… the clutter — stress hormone cant’ be declared a cause — effect relationship. First, they do go together, but whether stress causes clutter, or clutter causes stress isn’t indicated. Second, the correlation was ‘Mothers who used words indicating that their homes were messy or cluttered” — its about perception, not reality. If you would describe your home as cluttered, there is higher amounts of stress hormones. I’m guessing that if you don’t see your home as cluttered, there won’t be the higher amounts of stress hormone — but then that would be a good test for cause-effect.
    Rachael´s last post…New Household Additions

  17. I love that quote! I don’t think I’m familiar enough with Mary Poppins. . . I was thinking of watching it with my kids, so this is added impetus. Thanks.
    Margo, Thrift at Home´s last post…Muslin Bloomers for Genevieve

  18. The “Stuff of Families” article was interesting – but scary. I can’t believe so many families had 300-650 boxes in their garage! Anywho, I do agree with the fridge-door thing: I bought a big magnetic board from Ikea to put all my magnets on in my study so I could get all the magnets off my fridge (for practical purposes, too – it’s like a cork board and holds pictures, invitations, etc). It made a world of difference in making my kitchen look and feel clean. Amazing how something so simple can change your mood.
    Kristin´s last post…The Magnificent Seven & the Fab Five

  19. “Enough is a s good as a feast” is the unofficial slogan of Sweden. Lagom ar bast.

  20. Spit Spot! Get on with it! Hee hee, we adore Mary Poppins! Have you read the book series, yet?
    Jolene (Homespun Heritage)´s last post…~*Day 5 of Bless Your Child Everyday!*~

  21. Ahh, thanks for the shout out. I loved seeing how different families dealt with toy clutter.
    PS. I found Pancakes & French Fries via your blog. Thank you.
    Rachel´s last post…How to Take Your Family to the Olympics on the Cheap

  22. Oh good post! Let me give you another view on the cluttered house. Dave would say, “Oh, clean later and come talk to me now.” He and I were both folks who like a certain amount of clutter, he more than I. When given the choice to clean or to spend time with Dave…naturally Dave won -smile-. He died last November and now I’ve all the time in the world to clean and de-clutter. My family and his family talk about me and my lack of housekeeping skills. You know what? That’s okay, it keeps them from tearing someone else apart and that time with Dave can NEVER be re-captured. I’m SO glad I made the right choice…it’s filled the memory bank and that’s help me through some very rough patches.
    Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm´s last post…"A Sacred Journey"

  23. That WSJ piece makes me want to give away half of my belongings. Or at least my kids’ belongings.
    Katherine@YeOldCollegeTry´s last post…Spanx Alot.

  24. I use “spit spot” and “that’s a piecrust promise.” In a British accent, of course.