Posted by Sara Carlson on

Are you a resolver? Do you come up with a list of projects for the coming New Year, color-coded by person, categorized by type, hung on the refrigerator for a solid week, before you give in to those old habits? Just me? New Year's Resolutions don't really work for me, I prefer to set and reach goals constantly, challenging myself on a regular basis, particularly when it comes to my family and community. So, what does 2014 have in store for you? Are you looking for some kid-friendly New Year's Resolutions? Look no further.ย 

Shop Local!ย With so many locally owned shops and restaurants around town, State College and Centre County make this goal very attainable. After combing through my budget from 2013, I realized that I could do a lot more local shopping. From an expense standpoint, shopping local isn't a luxury, it's a smart decision. Purchasing from a local store puts the community in charge of what happens in the community, instead of lining corporate pockets. Local shops provide jobs, charity, and diversity to our area. Tell them you appreciate their help by supporting them through purchases. You can find a list of some locally owned and operated businesses here:ย http://www.downtownstatecollege.comย and here:ย http://www.buylocalpa.org/source/view/state-college-downtown-farmers-market

Less Stuff/More Fun!ย 2013 reminded me that my children don't need more things, they need more me. With that in mind, I stopped buying junk and started listening. Gifts can be special, but not when they're tossed on top of a pile of other presents and added to the fodder of toys I'm tripping over. When the kids are ready to buy the latest and greatest, we have a rule around here. Basically, an eye for an eye. Donate or consign a toy and save your money to get the new thing. Fewer things on the floor and in piles means less time spent cleaning up and more time spent playing together. And isn't that the point? The time we have with our children is precious. Of course, as I'm typing this, my 7 year old refuses to put down Super Mario Brothers to have lunch. Grains of salt, my friends, many grains of salt.ย 

Play More!ย Speaking of Super Mario Brothers, why not put down your book, your phone, or your hot glue gun, grab a controller, and challenge the kids to a Wii-Throw-down? Grab all the Green Toys in the house and play Planes, Trains, and Automobiles until nap time. Pull out that box of dress-up gear and be the best Buffalo Princess your house has every seen. Just be silly. The kids will love it. And you might, too! I plan to be the silliest me in 2014.ย 





Do you have any resolutions? How are they going? Check in with me to see how silly things are getting in our house.ย 

Sara Spock Carlson is a mom of two amazing boys, wife, Penn State graduate, researcher, and freelance writer. When sheโ€™s not finding and wearing silly hats, she can be found laying the smack down on Super Mario with her boys or shopping for adorable deals at the Animal Kingdom.

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