A modern family’s journey of simplicity in the 21st century

So often as kids we were challenged to ask “what did they do back in the old days?” This practical exercise got us thinking – what do we really need, how can we do this in a simpler more back to basics way.

Since this blog is a reference to one of our favorite book series ‘Little House on the Prairie,” I thought it would be beneficial to ask: What would the Ingalls do? What would the Ingalls family think of today’s society? How would these pioneers teach us to be more practical.

How are you/your family pioneering a path backwards to a simpler, back to basics life?

Then of course, curious of the poised question, I Googled “Ingalls” and stumbled across a few fellow pioneers who’ve are/were contemplating the same thing!

There’s Lisa of Wordy Diva, “What Would Ma Ingalls Do” site (now defunk — which sadly hasn’t been updated in over three years) and Robbyn, of ‘The Back Forty‘ posing a series of post with a running “down home” pictorial dialog between Ma and Pa Ingalls.

Practical Solutions for Modern Times

It is easier, for a time, to go with the current; but how much more can be accomplished if we would all be honest in our talk. We all despise a coward, but we sometimes forget there is a moral as well as a physical cowardice…It is weakness to one’s personality and moral fiber to deny one’s opinions or falsify one’s self, while it throws broadcast into the world just that much more cowardice and untruth.

~Laura Ingalls Wilder

Care to join in this online discussion? Are you taking steps to reduce your impact by living a simpler more fulfilling life?

What practical “Ingallisms” do you practice or live by in this modern age? If you post your online conversation about this topic, don’t forget link to your post via the comment box below.

Oh, and feel free to use the WWTID image (but remember to “save as” so as to not steal any of our bandwidth – thanks)

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  1. TJ Ferreira says:

    I love LHOTP. Had them in video and sold those and have them all on DVD now. For a man at 41, you probably don’t find many guys watching these shows. I am also into Anne of Avonlea and the Sarah Plain & Tall shows. Love these old time shows. Wishing for days I could live in that time. Funny how some of the Little House episodes are so good, you may see me shed some tears during the emotional parts.

    Here here for LHOTP. tj

  2. N. & J. says:

    I catch it a couple times on couple if I’m home during the day. I don’t think we are being good pioneers in the sense that they were although we are starting to grow our own food, bake our own bread, make our own cleaning materials and in general trying to do more with less.

  3. Robbyn says:

    LOL! Imagine my surprise at finding the topic of this post! (Thank you for posting my link, btw…) I love the Little House books even more than the TV series, though that was good, too. I grew up reading and re-reading the books, and what I usually came away with was a head full of more and more questions of how things were done back then, or wanting details of things mentioned in the books, even though many of those were amazing detailed. What always amazed me was the Ingalls’ ability to keep on trying things, even when the unexpected hit, or they made mistakes and had to adjust to accordingly. They never packed it all up and headed back where they came from, even after that winter where they were down to cooking over twists of hay. I loved how the girls saw assuming more and more responsibility not as a chore, but as a mark of maturity. I enjoyed reading about the differences in the Ingalls and other families, too, and the towns they lived nearby. Another thing struck me, as well…there were times community, even one or two other people, made a huge difference in their lives…and yet it seems the settlers were quite varied and really appreciated the independence to live their own sorts of lives.

    As an adult, I still go back and read the Little House books at times…and still enjoy them! One of the biggest lessons I carry with me from those writings is that a very rich life can be crafted from resourcefulness rather than simply resources 🙂

  4. Anais says:

    Hello Robbyn

    I was absolutely thrilled to pieces to see your Little Conversations on the Prarie (hey readers, you just got to check them out – seriously!).

    My oh my! Some of those conversations are just classic and insanely hilarious! Keep those LCOTP gems coming!

    Leaves one smiling through the day!

    Love from all,
    wannabe Laura Ingalls (a.k.a ‘Half Pint’)

  5. TJ Ferreira says:

    My wife just purchased from eBay some pictures of the Ingalls family. One of ma and pa and the other of the whole family. Was interesting to compare what they looked like to what the TV series showed. I think my wife is going to add them to a future scrapbook.


  6. Lisa B-K says:

    I still ask myself, almost every day, WWMID? (and I’m still thinking there’s a T-shirt in there somewhere), but with work (I’m now running a big farmers’ market) and my own garden and yard and food processing taking up a lot of time, not to mention kids growing up and their interests not necessarily dovetailing with mine/ours, and… well…

    But, like Ma and Laura, I strive to never complain, to just get it done.

    Hope all is well with you guys, and thanks for the nod!

  7. Eric says:

    It’s good to see another man who watched and enjoyed LHOTP! Things I learned from LHOTP:
    Pa was always dirty except for dinner time and at church and that was OK.
    Everyone was expected to work hard, and did and that was OK.
    The house was small (even after they expanded it) and that was OK.
    Bad things happened; and the Ingalls dug in and overcame.
    The Olsens always had more money but certainly weren’t happier.
    Happiness was a simple meal with family and Pa playing his fiddle.

  8. Laura says:

    Ahhhh… my heart warmed when I saw that pic of the family that was mine for so long. I grew up in a totally granola household and was really encouraged to use the Ingalls family as my role model. I am a worker by nature, so adding the extra “chores” of making our own bread, crackers, etc. isn’t a big deal. I am now in education and I did marry my “farmer boy”, but we aren’t in the blessed fields daily.

    What amazes me is that while I have been living this way for years, suddenly people notice. And suddenly, I am no longer a freak, I am “thrifty”! Oh, and ambitious. We expanded the garden by 39 feet this past week out of necessity. People have complained of rising costs, but it is hard to notice when you make your own bread.

    As a child, I dreampt of having my own farm and living off the land much as those in these wonderful books did. I was the kid on the “pioneer villiage field trips” that no one wanted to stand next to, because I volunteered to try it ALL. These stories from my childhood were truely a part of my life because every time I kneeded bread, I thought of the line in Sarah, Plain and Tall where the daughter says that her baby brother looked like the ball of dough she was kneeding when he was born. My journals are full of comparisons between myself and LIW… brown hair: check. Name: check. Personality: check!

    And one other thing: trade skills with those around you! Goodness! We traded banana bread for blackberry bushes this past week, next up… rhubarb. We are slowly gathering together people who all have different skills and working together as our own little community. It’s not weird, it’s a rather pleasant way of life… if I do say so myself!

  9. Jennifer says:

    First, I want to say how fortunate I am to have found your website and blog. Your site and your message is truly an inspiration, especially to other suburbanites. Sure, it is nice to think of homesteading if you have a few acres, but for those of us in suburbia it always seemed to be a wild dream.

    I love the Little House series, both because of its simple, wholesome messages and because it depicts an era that we need to cherish and learn from. I have some of the series on DVD that I watch with my children regularly. Not only do they live the good life with less, they impart the old fashioned values that are lacking in our modern, commercial society.

    A few of my girlfriends and I often fondly call our passions about canning, knitting, sewing, gardening, cooking (from scratch), etc. “old fashioned” and we have even been told we “should become Amish” because not only do we do these things for our environment and to save money, WE ENJOY THEM!!!

    WWLD–what would Laura do? I am going to try that one with my kids…..

  10. Amanda says:

    I was just looking around on line for small farms and your blog came up. I have enjoyed finding other christian stay-at-home moms who home school their children. But finding your site is encouraging for me as well.

    I absolutly love Little House on the Prarie DVDs and have only read the first three of the actual books. I found them both encouraging and informative. My son, who is only three, knows all of the charactors in the movies and will even watch some of the episodes with me.

    I enjoy gardening, but the weeds really drag me down. My first garden had a lot of morning glory that seemed to thrive when I pulled it out. And now our ground is so hard that I can pull only the tops of the weeds out (different climate now). So, I tend to just do a few rose bushes but would love to have some tomatoes, onions, corn, sun flowers…you know the starter things. With my two little ones I find myself getting overwhelmed just being a mom sometimes so haven’t gotten a garden set up as of yet. Lord willing, I would love to get my hands in the dirt again. I miss watching things grow that I have planted. Like in For Richer or Pooer (Tim Allan & Kristy Alley) and he says, “I can’t believe I grew that.” (I think that’s the line.) It’s fun to watch something grow and know that you played a role in its life.

    Thank you again for your blog and ideas on using the land you have.

    Blessings (:

  11. Christine says:

    I wanted to let you know how exciting I find your whole endeavor. I saw the spot on TV last week and was so pleased to find your website and videos that you posted links to yesterday.

    Having said that, growing up I read all of the Little House books until they were threadbare and credit a lot of who I am and what I’m interested in today to those books.

    I’ve gardened since I became an adult. (flowers, herbs and veggies) Your endeavor takes it to an entirely different level. It’s exciting and inspiring. This week, instead of putting more flowers in the flower beds I planted peppers, turnips, broccoli rabe, and eggplant in there instead. My husband and I have decided to take our own garden to a new level this year. (new to us anyway!)

  12. David says:

    Little house on the Prarie brings back some memories. My childhood babysittler Mrs. Ledger from Samsula Fl used to watch it everyday. Reminds me, I need to go see her, its been a long time.

  13. cynthia says:

    Hello to all and peace to all who enter here… My children all grew up with “Little House” and I have always aspired to a simpler life, an inspired life, close to the natural cycle of things. I have always worked with my hands, sewing, quilting, baking and such, and have never found it to be a burden or a chore. Gardening and canning just go together! I have found here lately that it is my desire to teach the young adults in my sphere of influence the art of being resourceful. Your work is a gift to many. Thank you.

  14. Jennifer says:

    Hi Anais (Laura wannabee),

    I feel like an Ingall when it comes to disposables like cling film (saran wrap), kleenex, plastic bags etc. because I know in the old days they didn’t have them and yet managed to live just fine.

    I am always trying to find a way to get them out of my life not only for saving money but also for the environment (landfills etc).

    Keeping the Ingall spirit alive in England…..


  15. Kory says:

    I must have read the entire LHOT…series 4 times over as a child. We even visited the Wilder homestead in malone when we were traveling though there…Met Almonzo’s second cousing twice removed. And I practically gave the tour.

    Great books and great inspiration.

  16. Anais says:

    Thanks for all the great comments and sharing Ingallisms.

    It’s wonderful to see how many folks were touch and influenced by LHOTP. These classics never get old, we can learn a lot from those who have come before us.
    As modern day pioneers we look back at these role models of old hoping to keep alive (and put into practice) their sense of values and praticality into the 21st century.

  17. Scott Ingalls says:

    Well, as a member of the Ingalls family, I watched the show and read the books as a child, and never thought much about it… until I met my wife who has converted me to a vegetarian and recently introduced me to your website. We are both now trying to incorporate Ingallisms into our household, and plan on raising a family along an Ingalls-lifestyle. Thanks for all your family’s hardwork and outreach.

  18. lavonne says:

    Wow. Homesteading royalty has left a comment on your blog!

  19. lavonne says:

    Forgot to add that I never read the LHOTP books, and I was an adult by the time the TV show began. Saw a few episodes, but it didn’t affect me the way it did for the younger generation. I was too caught up in trying to make–and spend–as much money as possible. Now, you all have really piqued my curiosity. I’m going to read those books!

  20. Anais says:

    Hello Folks

    Once again – great to see such readership input.

    And even better was to see a descendant of the pioneering family comment on our site. What an honor indeed.

    Thank you Scott! A warm welcome to you and all our new readers. We hope we are making the Ingalls proud!

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