Notes from my Minivan: Worth the Extra Effort


I spend a lot of time in my minivan driving four kids here and there, there and here. It’s one of the few places where I can actually think, sometimes. These are my thoughts, scribbled on napkins and receipts—a look into raising kids and living in Lake County.

Note: all opinions belong to me and only me and do not reflect those of our advertisers, partners, or other writers.

notes from my minivan

Life seems busier by the day; work, homes, four kids, two schools. It’s understood, no expected, that we would take the easiest, shortest, fastest way. I’m here today to remind you that no matter how busy you are, sometimes it’s worth the extra time, money, distance to make an effort to be intentional and thoughtful with how and where you spend your money.

Photo via Small Business Saturday

We had a full day. School drop-offs, groceries, chores, children that needed naps, deadlines etc., etc., etc.  As we did our grocery shopping, I could have easily swung through the toy aisle, dropped two toys and wrappings in my cart, and saved time, a trip, and possibly a little money. Oh, I seriously considered it as I spilled my coffee in the cart, and the toddler rubbed his eyes. As I approach just the outskirts of the toy aisle, however, the pleas start,

Oh! Can we get this?

Let’s get that!

Oh Mommy, I love this!

We needed two gifts, a 5-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy. I knew I wanted a particular Melissa and Doug Truck that, despite saying ages 3+, my almost 2-year-old has, uses, and loves. The five-year-old wanted princess anything. I could have settled. I could have gotten a different truck. I looked at the princess stuff, while lots of it, the variety was limited…how would I know what she had?

I left the store with my groceries and no gift. I knew it was adding to my day to drive the 20 minutes to Learning Express Toys in Lake Zurich, but as a bonus, the kids could play while I shopped. They love trying out the toys they have on display and playing on their train table. I was able to get the exact truck I wanted, and a doll and activity set that, while in a princess theme, I was sure she wouldn’t have.  The best part is they wrapped them for me while my kids played, FOR FREE.

I didn’t have to buy paper and wrappings (which honestly can sometimes run as much as a gift!). I didn’t have to lock up my cat so he would leave me alone and stop trying to pounce on my paper.  And best of all I didn’t have to say “ no you can’t play with that” a million times before I wrapped it. AS far as my three-year-old is concerned we went to the toy store and bought a present, it’s not for her to open.  It was worth the extra time, driving and making a second trip because it saved me time and frustration later (no wrapping!) I can feel better about my purchase because my money is being used locally.

It may not seem like much, $20 here, $50 there, but spending your money locally does make a difference!

Photo Credit: Small business Saturday

This week you will be inundated with reasons to get out and shop! Save! Spend! Buy! remember that you can talk with your dollars; you can impact your community in whatever small way. If everyone tries just a little, vows to make one purchase monthly, locally, we can start to see our communities grow and thrive.

Notes from my Minivan: Worth the Extra Effort
About Melissa Haak 626 Articles
Melissa is mom to 4. She used to dream of traveling the world, now she dreams of a clean kitchen. She can be found on most social media sites as @PBinmyHair because with this much hair and four kids, you're bound to find something in it.

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