We have a TV with a VHS player (we have a PRECIOUS stash of VHS tapes, all the old school "good" movies we can't wait for DD to watch) but no cable...we're not "toy" people, either. DD gets a kick out of chasing newts around the yard and giggling and squealing with our doggies...most of her favorite toys are cups and bowls and wooden spoons stolen from my kitchen...pots and pans are a big deal too, pots and pans and a cup full of water and she's GOLDEN! We have TONS of books for her and even at just 16 mos, she'll sit and look at them for ages, babbling to herself, switching books around, etc. She likes sticks...when we moved and got all new appliances, the hobo tent she made out of the refrigerator box was a huge hit. Thats just kids though...there are a few toys I want her to have eventually...a leaf press and some good nets and jars, maybe a science kit...she TOTALLY wants a baby doll right now, she's nuts about them...so we'll find a good one and give it to her around the time this baby in me is due to come out. I want her to have a bike for sure and maybe a really great doll house if she's into it...dress up stuff is a must, etc...all in it's time I suppose...she'll grow bigger and tell us what she likes...but we'll never have piles of toys hanging around in the house, no plastic junk piles. I think that's valid, that choice. Children with fewer things tend to treat their things better, IMO..that's how it was for me growing up.
As for food...when we go some place where kids eat more "kiddie style" food, DD GOBBLES it down. She gobbles at home, too, she just likes to eat....but man, there is something about a hot dog and some chips that kids just love, eh? I let her get her fill because we just don't have stuff like that around the house and I remember as a kid loving to go places where people had junk food, etc...
It sounds like these people have made the decision to live simply...we do too. We don't buy "stuff"....instead, we scrimped and saved and now have bought our dream house in the country. In our opinion, this beautiful acreage, millions of trees, animals everywhere and awesome lake are the best gift we can give our kids...there is PEACE here and quiet, safe places for her to make believe outside...I don't think Fisher Price makes peace yet, or huge yards with no cars going past!
In OUR opinion, TV is a terrible waste of time, most toys are really just cheap thrills and people *really don't* need as much food as most Americans eat these days.
I don't know...maybe another poster is right, maybe their lifestyle choice feels like a judgement on YOUR lifestyle choices...but then, maybe YOUR lifestyle choices are a judgement against THEIRS? Why do your kids have more stuff than theirs? Because you think they SHOULD...right? It's all in the way you look at it.
It's okay for people to live differently...if you are worried about an actual nutritional issue, that's one thing....but really, the true test of whether their parenting style is okay or not, lies in whether or not these kids are really happy or not...and frankly, from where you're standing, I just don't see how you're the best judge of that, ykwim?