Helicopter Moms and Backseat Drivers

#MommaMonday

Helicopter Moms and Backseat Drivers

Confession: I started out as a helicopter mom.

Wait, I still am one.

Strike all of that.  I am a recovering / still kinda-sorta helicopter mom.

Allow me to explain…

This will shock most of you.  But, my three year old (youngest of my two girls) has never been to Publix…

I know.  Pick your jaw up off the floor.  It’s insane.  I get it.

Well, she went for the first time two weeks ago…and things did NOT go well.

And, let me just say, I really began to think that maybe I was correct in keeping her tucked away at home, shielded from all of the dangers of the world in that moment.

Ok, ok, ok.  Here’s what happened.

We only had 5 minutes to grab three items.  You know the drill…whip ’em out of those car seats and dart in and out of the grocery store faster than the Flash…

Except for when that doesn’t work out.

We get inside and I get a buggy.  Kids say: “NO BUGGY, MOMMY!”

They wanna walk like big girls (imagine an eyeroll emoji here)… This would end up being our demise, people!!!

So, my little ones start meandering alongside me.  As we head down an empty aisle, my youngest decides to bolt for it.

She got up to top speed, turned her head to look at something on the shelves and NAILED that silly buggy I grabbed (FOR THREE ITEMS…I mean if only I could’ve just ditched that thing) and blood started gushing everywhere.

We’re talking crime scene blood.

I mean, paramedics should be required in the future to study this case.

We’re talking NEED LOTS OF MOPS ON AISLE SEVEN, PEOPLE!!

Ironically, we were on the paper towel aisle, and I couldn’t even grab one because I had to get this kid outta there and to the hospital.

Instead of doing the smart thing and dabbing her with a paper towel to assess the bleeding, I buried her head in my chest and bolted for the door.

After the three minute drive to our house, a soak in the tub, more hydrogen peroxide than is probably pediatrician approved, a bandaid or two and gobs of TLC, my baby returned to normal.

She survived.

Heck.  We ALL survived.

And this crazy story  led me to several epiphanies.  But only one that I’m sharing today:

Being a helicopter mom doesn’t always pay off…

In fact, it’s like being a backseat driver.  Those folks mean well, I’m sure.  But, doesn’t it really just annoy the driver?  Like, to the point that they just want to slam their foot on the gas pedal and drive off an embankment somewhere?

Well, I think that’s what my little one may have been trying to subconsciously tell me that day.

All those years of stowing her away like Rapunzel were silly.

All those incessant talks about how to walk in a grocery store, where to walk, when to walk, what to do while walking were all in vain until I let her experience it on her own.

As Mommas, it is so tempting to wrap our babies in bubble wrap and play with them like fragile little dolls.

But just like a back seat driver, we are really just exerting that extra ounce of control that we are so desperately clinging on to…

Ouch.  I said it.

That’s me to a tee.

This “Let Go and Let God” thing is coming slowly for me when it comes to my kids…anyone else?

I’m not suggesting that we throw our kids in the street and wait to see what happens.

But, I am suggesting that after we’ve given them instruction, let’s do our best to stand back and let them be.

They are going to make mistakes.

They may even run into buggies going 100 miles per hour, nail their forehead and gush blood everywhere.

But, that’s all a part of learning.

For them.

And for us, too…

 Do you have an epic helicopter mom moment?  Please share in the comments!

Please subscribe to our Monday newsletter for weekly tips, recipes and encouragement! 🙂

Target Time with Tots

#MommaMonday

Target Time with Tots

Who else is counting down the days ’til school starts?

Anyone…?

[Insert awkward smile face emoji here…]

Well, we are pretty pumped about it over at our house.  But, so far this summer we haven’t been prepping much for the big day…

I mean, if you count all the motor skills we’ve been improving upon at the splash pads, every playground in town, the zoo, and playdates with friends…well, then we’re rocking out.

All joking aside, we are so excited to start school.  I have fond memories of my favorite past time ever: back to school supply shopping.  I used to spend hours in the aisles at Wal-Mart selecting the perfect binders.  Oh!  And pencil cases were super fun to pick out, too.

Sorry.  Daydreaming about ball point pens and notepads

Ok.  I’m back.

As a mom to toddlers, we aren’t really into the school supply obsession yet.  But, as we were sauntering through the dollar spot, as we do weekly, we discovered some super fun (and educational…SCORE!) school supplies to pass the time until we’re required to remain seated in our chairs all day…

I decided to share my top 5 faves with you today!

Each item you see here is under $ 5 and most of them only $ 1!!!

Check these out and head to your local Target to snag them for yourself today!

These workbooks are only $ 1 each!!!  They have workbooks for every age range and are color coordinated so you don’t get the wrong age range!

Alphabet Magnets!  I bought these just because my girls loved the bright colors.  But once we got home, we came up with a game.  I scattered the letter magnets all over a blanket in front of my girls.  Then, on our easel, I would write a letter from the alphabet.  The girls took turns finding the matching letter in their magnets and then bringing it to stick on the easel!  SO fun!

HOW CUTE are these $ 3 chore charts?!?  I love that they are dry erase, so that chores can change over time.  AND, there are magnetic stars to place as rewards for each day rather than messy stickers!!  These are a must for young children to start learning responsibility.  I may even get one for myself…and my husband …. honey-do lists have never been cuter.  Am I right, ladies?!?  😉

My girls are just now asking about money, tithing and all things expenses.  We have read our Berenstain Bears allowance book one too many times, I think…

Anyways, when I found these felt money purses, I threw it in the buggy without hesitation!  I LOVE that these are made of felt rather than that flimsy paper that inevitably gets lost, torn or discarded within 4 minutes of you opening it up!

Plus, this little set includes coins as well!  It’s only $ 3, and the fun, bright colors just sends it over the edge of being a must have.

This little game has quickly become a fave at our house.

All you need is some clothespins to make this a 30 minute time saver.  Yes, please!!

Ask your children to clasp each clothespin on the lowercase letter of the larger one printed at the top of each card. OR you could totally DIY this in no time at home.  Love this!!

So, like us, if you are bored of the rainy days and the constant schedule filling, head to Target and spend an afternoon walking up and down the dollar spot aisles.  I promise you will have a ball and you never know what you might find…

With a month left, what are you doing to “fill the time” for your kids?  Please share in the comments!

Please subscribe to our Monday newsletter for weekly tips, recipes and encouragement! 🙂

Parties and Rent to Princess Tents

#MommaMonday

Parties and Rent to Princess Tents

Over the weekend, my hubby and I chatted as I trimmed sun-dress shapes out of a piece of watermelon for my kids’ lunches.

Yes, you read that right…

And since we found that activity weird, too, we decided to list all the ways life changes after giving birth to little ones…

Mornings of sleeping in and enjoying a casual breakfast have turned into fire-alarm-esque warning bells that the day has begun and you’re already 20 minutes late to the party.

Breakfast does not consist of healthy yogurt parfaits accompanied by those delicious Starbucks lattes anymore.  HA!  Yeah right.  Now, we’re lucky if we manage to cram a Nutri Gran bar down our throats while driving 15 miles over the speed limit to make it to carpool line on time.

Laundry has become a game of “where did she find this?”; “how did she manage to come back with the entire playground in her shorts?!?” and my all-time favorite: “poop or chocolate?!?”

My closet has become my safe zone rather than my land of pretty things.  I’m safe … and alone… in there, right?!

Speaking of being alone, my restroom rituals have turned into a one woman stage show…with all eyes on me.  It’s almost like my little ones expect a singing, acting and dance show worthy of a short stint on Broadway.  Anyone else like to potty alone?  Could someone share this concept with my kids…?!?

Forget about hosting a Southern Living approved get together unless you block out childcare for three days prior. Let’s get real, they probably need to be gone for the whole week to make it doable…

What about those fun nights out with hubby and friends?  Drinks til 10 or 11…which now sounds like an out of control college rave…have turned into hot toddies and zonked out by 9:30.

And you know what?

 I would not change one thing.

Because now my mornings consist of extra snuggles and slobbery kisses.

My breakfasts contain roaring laughter and frequent giggle fits.

The surprises in the laundry basket aren’t always horrifying and mystifying…sometimes I find tiny hidden stuffed animals reminding me of what a precious stage my babies are in.

One day I’ll miss all those snuggle bunnies in the bathroom.  Well, “miss” is a strong word…I will reflect on those moments fondly as I revel in my return to freedom.

Southern Living can save my cover spread for another day.  I’d much rather be reading those bedtime stories than polishing that silly silver anyway…

As far as a night out, I sneak one of those in as often as I can.  But, nights at home suit me just fine these days.

And I bet you’d agree…after 8 pm, of course 😉

Friends, there are going to be moments when we pull our hair out and scream into pillows.

But, those moments won’t last.

Because joy comes in the morning.

Bright and early, accompanied by those precious smiling faces.

And I know that because God tells me so:

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

So, if y’all don’t mind, I’m gonna get back to the real party…

Yep, the one happenin’ all up in that Princess Tent over there.

What…or whom… can you pause from pulling your hair out this morning and thank God for bringing into your life?

Please share in the comments!

Please subscribe to our Monday newsletter for weekly tips, recipes and encouragement! 🙂

Mom Hacks

#MommaMonday

Mom Hacks

With summer in full swing, this Momma needed some help organizin’ the chaos…

Anybody in the same boat?

I thought I would come up with a few fresh ideas that may help us slow down the pandemonium…or at least keep it at bay for a while…. 😉

(1) Use a Bath Caddy to Store Medicine and First Aid Supplies – Summer time means bumps, scrapes, and sore noggins.  All this exploring and “seeing the world” means that the little ones may take a tumble every now and then.  If that’s not frustrating enough, how about when you’re having to hunt all over the house just to find your first aid supplies…womp womp.

Idea: Use a bath caddy for a medicine holder!  That way it is open, so you can see everything all at once, rather than having to dig through drawers or cabinets.  You can simply pull the whole caddy off the shelf and find what you are looking for in no time.  Plus, this is an excellent way to store all of these items way up high so tiny fingers can’t reach them 😉

(2) Organized Bow Drawer – Calling all girl moms!  Hey friends.  Welcome.  How many of you spend at least 30 total minutes each week of your life searching for hairbows?

All hands in the air?  Good, we’re being honest this morning.  I like it.

Well, ladies, I think we can all agree that hunting for hairbows is an inordinate waste of our time.  And most likely generates an occasional tiff here and there.

After weeks of testing this new trick out, I am here to tell you: I have found the solution!

Simply take a large piece of ribbon, and cut it to the width of the drawer you intend to use for hairbows.  Using a hot glue gun, fold the ribbon in half and glue it down:

Once the glue is dry, you will have sturdy bow holders.  Simply clip the bows onto the ribbon…

Now, the fun part is organizing them by color (if you prefer hyper-rainbow-organization like me 😉 )

And now, your bow drawer will look like this:

(3) Use dollar store shoe boxes for arts and crafts supplies – I follow several organizing gurus on Instagram and boy are they inspiring!  They produce the most incredible results and showcase gorgeous photos.  Swoon

After stalking their feeds for quite some time, I have realized that all we really need is about 20 clear shoe boxes from the Dollar Tree, a Sharpie and an afternoon (or two) of uninterrupted organization.

Heads up, my photos are not pretty.  But, they will show you the real-life magic that can be achieved with a simple plan and a blocked out afternoon…

You know that game that happens every single day when you pick your child up from school…it goes a little something like this:

Mom: “Oh!  A new craft! How beautiful!”

Child: Yeah.  It’s a giraffe.

Mom: Thinks in her brain “these scribbles are a giraffe…looks more like a cloud to me….” What the heck am I gonna do with this?!?

Check it out, friends:

For $ 10 I now have labeled drawers just ready and waiting for all my children’s masterpieces!  No more paperwork laying around on the dining room table for weeks!  SCORE!

This organization game was a process.  Not gonna lie.  It took me about 3 weeks (off and on, of course) to get all this together.  But, I only spent $35 and now, my kiddos can head straight to the items they want to use.  No more mass hysteria in the play room.  Thank you organizing gurus for your inspiration!!

Also, who doesn’t love to watch a tiny hand digging in a perfectly organized (and labeled 😉 ) box of Legos?!?

(4) Use a shoe holder for cleaning supplies – This is just genius.  Can’t take credit for this one, though.  Found it online.  But, just couldn’t resist sharing.  How easy and incredible is this?!?

Photo: PopSugar; Also check out their post for even more Mom Hacks HERE

For more ideas on getting organized and cleaning, check out my earlier post by clicking on the following image:

blogorganizing

(5) Label your child’s medicine bottle with an AM / PM chart so you never forget their dosage!  I don’t know about y’all, but when my children are sick, I’m busy snuggling and rocking and cleaning and coddling…so, half the time I have no clue who’s taken what and where the dang medicine bottle even is!

When I discovered this genius trick, it was a game-changer for us!

TIP: I usually add the first letter of each day of the week to the lines just so I will know FOR SURE when I’ve given what 😉

(6) Label spice jars on the lids – This trick is just easy.  And effective.  Especially when you are in a pinch during meal prep time!

Also, consider using old baby food jars for spice storage so they are all the same.  I am going to do that next!

One more kitchen tip:  When you go to the grocery store, organize your buggy based off the aisles in the grocery store.  AKA keep dry goods together, cold and dairy together, etc.  Organize your pantry based off the aisles in the grocery store.  That way, when you get home, un-bagging your loot is a piece of cake!  Everything has its place!  HIGH FIVE, Mommas!

(7) Stock a closet with crafts, games and last minute busy ideas – You never know when you will need a time-filler (what most moms call the 2 hour black hole before nap time…).

Check out my Momma Survival Guide: 7 Tips for Surviving Summer With Sanity Here:

I have a feeling that this is going to be the first installment of a multi-part series because I’ve got a lot more to share!  I feel so empowered by these little tricks.  I’m off to do some more Momma-hack organization right now!  Have a great day!

Do you know of any Mom Hacks?  Please share in the comments!!

Please subscribe to our Monday newsletter for weekly tips, recipes and encouragement! 🙂

Eenie Meenie Minie Moe

#MommaMonday

Eenie Meenie Minie Moe

My dear Momma tribe – we have commiserated about dinner time with kiddos s-e-v-e-r-a-l times in the past.

It seems like that struggle bus ain’t pullin’ over any time soon…

Well, that was until I found us a detour so that we can all disembark our dinner time hot mess expresses and maybe even take a bite of our own food for a change!! [Insert virtual high fives and champagne bottle emojis here… 😉 ]

Allow me to share a quick story which will reveal to you my super about to be not-so-secret dinner time weapon…

The other night, I was stirrin’ those spaghetti noodles like all of the rest of my kindred-spirit-love-you-long-time Momma friends around the world when I heard my toddlers repeating the phrase “eenie meenie minie moe.”

Normally, I wouldn’t think anything about this precious faint semblance of two siblings getting along.

But, the fact that it was dinner time and my kids were actually INSIDE the kitchen and AT the dinner table honestly alarmed me a little bit.

When I went over to scout out their activity, I discovered them huddled at the table selecting fruits and veggies to put on their dinner plates.

WHHHHAATTT???

FRUITS?

AND

VEGGIES?!?

I almost ruined this scrapbook-worthy, future rehearsal dinner video montage moment by screaming “HALLELUJAH!!”  But, instead stood there in euphoric shock.

Yep.  My super picky-eating kids were enjoying “selecting” their healthy food for the evening.

I know.  I couldn’t believe it either.  My chicken nugget and fluorescent mac-n-cheese lovers were actually becoming little foodies right before my eyes.

Ok.  Baby steps.  I know, I know.  I can’t refer to them as foodies just yet.  And, no, I won’t speed dial the Barefoot Contessa to order her organic / over-the-top Hamptons-ish foodie cookbooks just yet…

But I will tell you how / why my kiddos even cared about their food…and a trick to try with your kiddos, too 😉

A few months ago, I was introduced to this incredible Mom, who like so many of us, is raising some pretty picky eaters.  She was sick of spending hours in the kitchen making majestic meals only to be rejected by her little ones time after time.

Over time, she developed a solution.  And boy is this solution about the cutest thing I have ever seen..blogadylbug

DYLBUG PLATES!!!

Mommas.  I am telling you…THESE THINGS WORK!

There is something about being allowed to play in their food that will make any little kid jump for joy.

Not only can you get the plates, but you can get sandwich cutters to make food clothing for their plates and even an Eat the Rainbow game for family fun!

blogadylbug7

blogadylbug3

I mean, just look at these faces…

blogadylbug6

blogadylbug5

MOMMAS: Do NOT feel pressure to get it perfect and make some ridiculously magazine worthy creation!  Anything will do, TRUST ME.

Y’all know that you can count on me for keepin’ it totally real so, in the interest of full disclosure, I would like to share with you one of my earliest attempts at the Dylbug game…

Prep yourself, because it’s awesome…

blogadylbug10

You know what?

That one was probably their favorite.

Because children do NOT care about perfection.  And in reality hate it.

That plate was made with love and that’s all my daughter wanted / needed.

So, if you are like me, and you have some precious little picky eaters, Dylbug may be your saving grace.

I know it has been ours.

I am head over heels for this company, and I hope you will check them out.

Heads up: I do NOT receive any kind of affiliate commission for sending you their way, but this is how much I love Dylbug!!  I just want to be a friend and help you Mommas out!  Leslie Mingo, the owner of Dylbug is even offering a 15% off special right now for new customers.  If you like the looks of these plates and think your kiddos would, too, use the code: FRIENDSANDFAMILY15 to get a fun deal!

Do you have any secret weapons for meal time?!? Please share in the comments!

Please subscribe to our Monday newsletter for weekly tips, recipes and encouragement! 🙂

Chugga Chugga Choo Choo

#ForMommas

Chugga Chugga Choo Choo

Friends, last week my girls and I took our weekly trek to the local Chic-Fil-A.  Business was good because the lines were long and the “It’s My Pleasures” were flowing faster than salutations at a bustling southern mall.

The people were nice and the smells were heavenly.  I could almost taste the Polynesian-laced chicken swirling on my tastebuds until a tiny terror rocked the once-peaceful establishment with a bomb-went-off type disruption…

I looked in horror as a child, probably 3 years of age, laid prostrate on the floor, kicking his legs and thrashing as if he was enduring a medical episode.  He screamed at the top of his tiny, yet boisterous, lungs without a care in the world.  It became quite clear to us onlookers that this was not Junior’s first time to star in a production of Terrible Toddler: the Musical.

We all just stared at this kid like we were viewing a car accident and couldn’t look away.  Honestly, I started having uncomfortable flashbacks of all the times I’ve been the Momma of the irritatable tot that needed a to have a quick violent-fingernails-digging-into-the-thighs chat…

I assumed a harried mother would soon swoop in and end this unnecessary disruption, or at least a DHR worker in the crowd would step up to the plate.  But, to my chargrin, this little tantrum lasted for what felt like hours.

Eventually, other patrons began inquiring about the whereabouts of the child’s parents.  Soon, they discovered a disheveled mom seated at a table adjacent to the toddler tizzy.  Once approached, we couldn’t help but notice the tears streaming down her face and the obvious signs of sleepless nights.

This woman was crying out for help almost as much as her little boy.

And it broke my Momma heart.

There were customers pointing, staring and exerting intense judgment on this little boy.  And all I could think was what if it was YOUR kid, people!?? How would you feel if people were judging you for his behavior?

Full disclosure: long before I had babies (especially those awkward high school years), I most definitely was one of those snarky adolescents lurking in the corner reigning down righteous condemnation on any child that even dared make a peep in public.  But you know what?  That was completely unacceptable.  While I was ignorant to the whole concept of parenting at the time, there was no excuse for such judgy-wudgy behavior and I’m thankful God changed my heart the second I heard that first little heartbeat…

As I Momma, I totally get it now.  This time, in this little Chic-Fil-A, I was in possession of real-life experience and a backpack full of Momma-empathy.

So, I embraced this Momma and began to tear up with her.  Parenting is tough.  As we’ve learned so many times before, it is NOT for the faint of heart.

The last thing we need is judgment from others.  Judgment in our darkest hours, when there doesn’t seem to be any escape.

I don’t know that Momma’s story.  I don’t know what she and her son are experiencing right now.

And I don’t have to…

Even though we spend hours and hours teaching our little ones how to behave, there is no guarantee that what we say will affect the little actions that come out.  I should inform you that my child (the youngest in particular) has without a doubt been the star of a toddler tyranny more than once.  In fact, we went through a phase in which we experienced one of these ditties on the daily.  I got all the disdaining stares from the nosy onlookers.  I endured all the utter humiliation that one Momma can endure.  So, I feel you Mommas.  And I see you.

I see you sitting there pulling your hair out.

I see you crying out to God begging Him for answers.

I can only imagine the frustration that you, too, are experiencing when the little ones take a turn for terror town.

Parenting, true training-focused parenting, is a marathon requiring us to put our noses to the grind, and sip on that Gatorade all the way to the finish line.  It means late nights.  Frustrating, but necessary deep discussions.  It means sacrifices and occasional struggles.  It means curling up in a fetal position at times and screaming out for divine intervention.  It means putting everything aside to focus on our top priorities (under God, of course ;))   It is our most difficult role, but our most entrusted responsibility.  Most importantly, it means never giving up.

Rest assured that no matter how hard we work and no matter how much we pour into our children, what comes out is totally up to them.  So, take a deep breath and relax.  We aren’t expected to be the puppet masters of our childrens’ lives.  But, we are expected to train them up as they should go.  And when they grow old, they will not depart from it…  At least that’s what my Bible says….

I wrote this to remind myself that I have got to be the conductor of my own train.  But, I also wrote this to remind myself to give grace to all Mommas, no matter the situation.  We have no clue what is going on in someone else’s home.  Our mission is never to judge.  But, rather to give a whole lot of grace and understanding.

So, today I encourage you as my friend and fellow Momma Warrior, to keep driving your train.   Train ’em up!  Chugga Chugga Choo Choo!

But, always remember to give yourself, those precious babies and all the other families in this world a big dose of God’s grace.

Because that’s the best gift we can give our children… and our fellow patrons in the Chic-fil-a line, too 😉

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

What are some ways we could extend grace this week, particularly to other Mommas?  Please share in the comments!

Please subscribe to our Monday newsletter for weekly tips, recipes and encouragement! 🙂

Real Talk Motherhood: A New Meaning for #Blessed

#MommaMonday

Real Talk Motherhood: A New Meaning for #Blessed

I tend to cringe when I see a hashtag followed by the word “blessed” these days…

Not sure why.

Maybe it’s overused?

Maybe it seems like a humble brag at times?

Maybe it’s just become like the phrase, “Wassssuuuuupppp?!?!?!” and you see it…or hear it…..everywhere you go…

Either way, I totally understand the sentiment.  And I can respect it.  Even when it causes me to cringe just a tad.

But the other day I realized that the phrase “blessed” is most often used to accompany perfectly posed photos of children blissfully running through tulip-filled meadows…

or sunset views…

or Friday afternoon glasses of wine (not mad about that one bit 😉 )

And that’s awesome.

But, it caused me to think about other things that might could conjure the uber-popular sentiment, too.

We don’t often think of all the stressful, frustrating and sometimes anger-inducing parts of motherhood as blessings, but I think we may need to re-think that…

See I think the crazy stack of dirty dishes in our sinks should warrant a little #blessed action.

Allow me to elaborate…

When we gaze over at our pots and pans crusted with macaroni and cheese and last night’s dinner fare, we should realize that those dishes mean that we’ve got a house full of tiny (and big 😉 ) mouths anxious to fill their hungry bellies.  As families, we work hard and have the ability to meet those needs by paying for groceries and preparing meals…

When we catch a glance of piles of laundry resting on the couch in the living room (or in my case on the dining room table… 🙁 ), we should remember the healthy bodies that have worn those clothes.  The ones who ran through the yard laughing in the evening sun.  The ones who stayed up late working to provide.  The ones who jumped in giant puddles of water learning to dance in the rain…

When we stare in the mirror for excruciating moments at those stretch marks or scars, we should instead see tiny reminders that we are capable.  That we unselfishly embraced this Mommy thing and held nothing back.  That we gave everything we had to provide safe and healthy homes for our little ones.  Instead of seeing those little marks as blemishes, we should see them as blessed memories of the strength and power found on the journey to motherhood…

When we reach down to pick up that same dang toy for the zillionth time (the one we’ve nagged and hollered about for weeks…), we should take a minute and thank the Lord that (1) God blessed us with child(ren) who can play with said toy; and (2) that those little ones are livin’, learnin’ and laughin’ along this crazy journey we call life…

When we look at the pile of bills looming in the kitchen, we should see each one as an opportunity from God.  We have been blessed with power.  We have been blessed with water.  And food.  And phones.  These are gifts and privileges we have earned, not expected delicacies that we so often consider them…

When we see those tiny fingerprints e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. we should remind ourselves that those tiny fingertips belong to tiny souls who are exploring, learning and experiencing new things…

When we lay awake at night listening to the whir of the baby monitor, we should thank God for those gorgeous noises because it means life is here.  Breaths are being taken.  Children are growing…

When we consult our daily to do lists and get that lump-in-our-throat dose of overwhelm, we should see avenues of possibility and opportunities to make memories…

Blessings are not one size fit all.  And they may not all consist of unicorns and fairy dust.

Sometimes it’s all about how we choose to look at them…

So, next time we scroll through all our various social media channels, or hear someone shout about their level of #blessed-ness to the rooftops, let’s remind ourselves of all the incredible ways we are #blessed, too.

Did you find a little #blessed action in your laundry pile today?  If not, go give it another look… 😉

Please subscribe to our Monday newsletter for weekly tips, recipes and encouragement! 🙂

Handprints on Their Hearts

#MommaMonday

Handprints on Their Hearts:

What I Want My Children to Know

blogbeauty1

Mother’s Day is fast approaching.  And it’s one of my favorite days of the whole year.

Not just because I am a Mom now, but because now more than ever I appreciate my precious Momma for all she has done, is doing and will do.

She (and my Daddy 😉 ) taught me all I know.  And for that, I am in an eternal state of Mother’s-Day-ish gratitude.

I came down with a bad bug this past week, and you know at 32 years old the only thing I wanted / needed…

Was My Momma

[SO Sorry for all those incessant Facetime calls last Thursday, Mom.…]

Even though life gets busy at times, motherhood is an aspect of our souls that never gets pushed to the wayside and one that never loses its significance.

It often occurs to me that my role as a parent is much more significant than a chauffer or PTO attender or babysitter or bathie-giver or boo-boo kisser or personal chef.

My greatest role as a parent is to impart the teachings and promises of God by leaving daily handprints on my children’s’ hearts.

Life moves at such a stressfully rapid pace.  It seems as if we are laying on the birthing table one minute and standing at graduation the next.  I want to soak up every moment and ensure that I am pouring into my babies the love and promises that God provides.

But Heaven knows I’m forgetful.  And scattered.  And overwhelmed.  And at times ill-equipped for this awesome responsibility, if I’m brutally honest.

So, I recently sat down one afternoon and penned an open letter to my babies.  A checklist of sorts containing all the things I want them to know.  All the little tidbits of wisdom that I wish to impart that I pray don’t get lost in the daily grind.  I won’t bore you with the whole letter (it’s more like a book… 😉 ), but thought I would share some of the handprints I am praying to leave on my girls’ hearts.

My prayer is that if you, too, are a busy Momma, this list might help you on days when you can’t get your shoes tied correctly much less win the award for “Wisdom Imparter of the Year.”  Here goes…

Dear B and A –

bloghandprints1

More important than anything I can ever teach, impart or share with you, I want you to know that you are Loved.  Beyond understanding.  Unconditionally and unimaginably loved.  There is nothing you can ever do or say that will take away even an ounce of my love for you.  In fact, each day my love for you grows deeper and deeper, which never fails to shock me because just the day before I am convinced I could not love you an iota more if I tried.

I long for snuggles with you.  I crave those quiet moments of reflection when we are just reading together or talking.  Our sinks have never been dirtier and our floors more filled with crumbs.  But you know what?  That doesn’t matter to me.  Because what matters to me is that you have my full attention and you know that without a doubt in your brilliant mind, that your Momma loves you to God and back a bajillion times.

I am happiest with you in my arms.  You are the apple of my eye, the spring in my step and my divine purpose in this world.  I treasure you with all that I am.

“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world.  It knows no law, no pity; it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.” Agatha Christie 

“No language can express the power, and beauty, and heroism, and majesty of a mother’s love.” Edwin Hubbell Chapin

Oh and by the way, our God loves you, too.  Like a whole lot.  More than you can imagine.  I probably should have led off with this humbling and life-changing fact.  God’s love is the purest most transformational love you can possess.  God gave His only Son so that you may live and have an eternal home with Him one day.  See, baby?  You are just indescribably loved!

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13

bloghandprints2

“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.” Psalm 127:3

When I first embarked upon the journey to mommyhood, I prayed for you.  I asked God to bless me with a gift so precious only He could provide. That gift was you, my love.  You are more precious than any material possession I could ever dream of earning and more endeared to me than any relationship I possess on this earth.  You are my hardest work and my greatest blessing.  You are truly the gift that keeps on giving, every second of every day.  The glimmers of hope and joy I see in your beautiful eyes remind me daily of what an undeserved bountiful blessing you are.

You were not created by accident.  You were not designed by default.  God divinely chose every feature about you and placed you in my arms as a gift to love and cherish for eternity.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13

Never forget how precious you truly are.  God designed you as a gift to me and Daddy and we take that entrustment most seriously.  It is our greatest honor to serve as the recipients of such an incredible treasure: YOU!

bloghandprints3

Before you were even a twinkle in my eye, I prayed for you.

The second I discovered you were growing inside me, I prayed for you.

From the moment you entered this earth, I have prayed for you.

And I will pray for you every single breath I take on this earth.

No matter what emotion you are feeling, no matter what mountain you are facing, no matter what joy you are experiencing, and no matter what decision you are making…please know that someone (your Momma and many others) have gone before you and bathed your whole life in prayer.  You are cared for and you are thought about constantly.  Never feel alone.  God is with you and I am with you, holding your hand during the fun stuff and the rough.

“And this is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15

bloghandprints4

“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” Song of Songs 4:7

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

You are absolutely perfect just the way you are.  God’s paintbrush makes no errors.  His canvases are carefully planned and He designed you just as He intended.

Dr. Seuss once said, “Today you are you, that is truer than true.  There is no one alive who is Youer than you.”

There is no one on earth who has your unique set of skills.  Your ability.  Your talent.  Your passion.  Your perspective.  The world needs what YOU have to offer.  Embracing your individuality is empowering and necessary.

The world may try to tell you that a certain weight is ideal.  Or that a certain hair color is preferable. Or that indulgent enhancements can help you achieve some desired appearance outcome.  I caution you to stand firm in your knowledge that God has designed you beautifully just as you are.  He had a plan when He created you.  God carefully selected each hair on your head.  Each freckle on your skin.  And even the twinkles in your beautiful eyes.  You are flawless in God’s eyes.  And His eyes are the only ones that matter.  Side note: You are flawless in my eyes as well.

The next time you are bombarded with the social “norms” or what the world has defined as perfection, remember – they haven’t met YOU!  They haven’t seen the incredible creation that you are with all of your abilities, ambitions and possibilities.

Never lose sight of the fact that you are special just as you are.  Be incredibly proud of who you are from the inside out.  It does not matter where you live, what car you drive, the color of your skin / hair, the clothes you wear.  None of that matters.  The only thing that matters is that God created you and He loves YOU.  You are beautiful to Him at all times, every single day.

God has not designed you for perfection.  He has designed you for a purpose.

Always remember you are perfectly be(you)tiful just the way you are.

bloghandprints5

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at.  People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b

In a world full of selfies, sun-tans and social media, the definition of “beautiful” is becoming more and more blurry these days.

But don’t be distracted by society’s version of “pretty.”  Because you know that what is inside your heart, is your true beauty.

While it is super fun to get glammed up and have spa days, it’s more important to keep our mouths in check and our hearts focused on Him.

When your inner beauty is “on fleek,” (#Mommy’sSorryForTheHipsterSlang; #TryingToBeCool) you outer beauty will have no other option than to shine, too…

Always remember one of Mommy’s favorite quotes:

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others.

For beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness.

And for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”

bloghandprints6

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” Jeremiah 29:11

There may be moments in your life when you question your path or your plan.  That’s totally normal.  But, I can assure you that God has something so incredible in store for you life if only you seek Him first.

They say that if you do what you love, you’ll love what you do.

Discover your “Why.”  Follow your passion.  Chase your dreams.  And NEVER give up.

And I can assure you, Mommy will be there cheering you on the whole way.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

bloghandprints7

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3

“[You] can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.” Philippians 4:13

Every goal ever achieved required dedication, commitment, blood, sweat and / or tears.

Embrace hard work and enjoy it.  Thrive in it.  Understand that the world is not designed to “hand” you things easily.

You are not a victim.

You are not a moocher.

You are a fighter and you have capabilities unlike any other.

There is nothing in this world that you cannot achieve.  So, give it your all and shoot for the moon, not the falling stars…

bloghandprints8

At one point in time, every item we possess today, every land that is inhabited, and every goal that was set was the dream of one person.

And those individuals determined to achieve their goal, committed to the hard work it took and achieved it.

Those same people will tell you that they didn’t get there by “wishin'” or “hopin,'” but instead by “actin'” and “doin.'”

There is no replacement for hard work.  You can achieve anything that you can dream, but don’t let idleness or laziness rear their ugly heads and impede the pathway to your passion.

Rise above the noise, and put your heart in the work.  Because there you will find the yellow brick road to God’s blessings.

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Colossians 3:23

bloghandprints9

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamaties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Even though Mommy tells you all the time that you are the best at everything (and I stand by that fact, by the way… 😉 ), there is going to be a moment or moments in life when you just can’t seem to get it right.  You might feel helpless and alone during those times.

But, you don’t need to feel that way at all.  Because knowledge is power.  Now you know that failure will come.  And now you know that it is in those moments when Christ’s power is made perfect in your weakness.

If I could prevent you from ever feeling one iota of pain, rejection or failure, trust me, I would do it in a heartbeat.

But, then you wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn and grow from those moments.  And to become the best that you can be.  And the “best” does not mean perfect.  Thank the good Lord!

So, don’t worry about chasing perfection.  That’s for the birds.

Instead, rest easy by abiding in the sweet arms of Jesus and soaking up all of His unconditional grace.

bloghandprints10

There are gonna be days when you just don’t feel like draggin’ yourself out of bed.  Trust me.  There will be moments when you cannot find your “happy.”  Someone will steal your toy in school.  Somebody might tease you or create rumors about you.  Someone might even hurt your feelings, on purpose.

And believe me, things only get more intense once you enter “the real world.”  But I tell you this out of love.  Because the worst thing I could do for you is to create a utopian environment where everything is unicorns and rainbows and then push you out into the oncoming, honking traffic that is reality…

So today, I want you to know something: life can be brutal.  But with God in our hearts, we don’t have to bow down to that brutality.  We can rise above it triumphantly, actually.

One of the best defenses against the world’s weapons, is thankfulness.  Here’s a list of 10 never-changing gifts from God.  Promise me that you’ll store these promises away in your heart and protect them.  Protect them just like you would freshly baked cookies stored in Mommy’s big cookie jar.

And whenever you feel down, you’ll be ready.  You’ll be ready to look life square in the eyes and show it all the things that make you happy and grateful:

(1) God breathed air into your lungs this morning and gave you the precious gift of another day.  (Genesis 2:7)

(2) God gave you the ability to call on His name at any moment, in any location and communicate with Him directly.  (Ephesians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

(3) God gave you His Word to guide your paths and serve as everything you need for instruction on this earth.  (Psalm 119:105)

(4) God has embedded dreams and aspirations within your being and provides you the tools necessary to achieve them.  (Jeremiah 29:11)

(5) God places people in your life who will invest in you which affords you the opportunity to invest in their lives as well.  (Proverbs 17:17)

(6) God offers you unconditional, unfailing, unadulterated, unfathomable love. (1 John 4:7-8)

(7) God extends you immeasurable grace even in your darkest hours during which you feel so undeserving.  (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 12:9)

(8) God gave you a spiritual gift / talent to use for His glory. Even if you ever feel inept, rest assured that God has prepared you for something so much greater. (Romans 12:4-8)

(9) God gave His only Son so that you may be forgiven of your sins and have eternal life.  (John 3:16)

(10) God is currently preparing a place for you that is so incredible. More beautiful and majestic than anything you have ever seen.  (John 14:1-4)

NOTE: None of the items on the list are tangible, material items. You cannot buy any item on this list. You also cannot replace or substitute any item on the list. Meaning, no matter the condition of life you are in; no matter your relationship status; no matter your job; no matter the amount on your bank statement – you still have 10 reasons to be perfectly happy each and every day.

bloghandprints11

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Once we get past the monsters-under-your-bed phase, there will be other things that keep you up at night.  And that’s totally normal.

And we will face each one of those with prayer, strength and hope.

First, pray for God to take away whatever is causing you anxiety.  Just scream it out to Him and make sure He knows exactly what to tackle for you!

Second, stand boldly against your fears.  Claim Philippians 4:6 and Deuteronomy 31:6 every single time you feel fear creeping up.  Say them out loud if you need to.  God is with you always.

Finally, rejoice in the hope and salvation we have in Christ.  He is the answer to every question you will ever have and the boogie-man defeater to every boogie-man out there…

And if all else fails, again, I’m just a phone call or text away… 😉

bloghandprints12

“Instead we will be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as Christ has forgiven us.” Ephesians 4:32

Kindness doesn’t cost a thing.  So sprinkle it like confetti everywhere you go…

People are going to be unkind.  Be kind anyway…

People are going to attack you.  Pray for them anyway…

People will try to hurt you.  Extend grace anyway.

People will attempt to rob you of your joy.  Love them anyway.

You know why?  Because that is what Jesus would do.

Devote yourself to Christ’s work and remember you are HIS.  HIS is an acronym that you should live by: Honesty, Integrity and Service.

Honor you family.  Honor your friends.  Honor all those around you.  Tell the truth and spread joy to all you encounter.

Live your life in a way that you can be proud to know Jesus is watching.  Integrity is not just about what goes on in the light, but also behind closed doors.  Remember who you came from and where you came from…

Finally, serve others.  Make your life a testimony of God’s love.  Extend your hand as often as you can and do so with the sole mission of pointing those individuals to Christ.

bloghandprints14

“[L]et your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Some of the stuff in this big, crazy world is going to trouble you at times.  At least it should…

Heads up, if you wouldn’t watch it / eat it / listen to it / talk about it / write about it / and / or think about it when Mommy and Jesus are in the room, then run away from it as fast as you can.

Mommy is always a phone call or a text away.  You can simply text “need u” and I will be there in no time.  Because remember: “It is never wrong to do the right thing.”

And when those occasions arise, I hope you will remember to “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

You do not have to conform to what the world is saying is “cool” or “popular.”  Instead, always strive to do what is right by God’s standards.

You will most likely be the only Bible that some people may ever read.  Make sure you give them enough content to make a difference in their lives.

When all is said and done, the only things we do on earth that will matter are the ones we do for God’s Kingdom.  I pray that you will always keep that in the back of your mind as you navigate through life.  You are a beacon of God’s grace.  Share His love with everyone you meet.

I could go on, but I will leave just these thoughts here today…

blogbeauty3

What about you, friend…What do you want your children to know?  Please share in the comments!

Please subscribe to our Monday newsletter for weekly tips, recipes and encouragement! 🙂

When Messes Turn Into Messages

#MommaMonday

When Messes Turn Into Messages

I had some big plans for Saturday, y’all.

We’re talkin’ deep cleaning, closet ransacking, pantry purging, and even some yard sprucing…

Well, I probably don’t need to tell you that those grand intentions got dashed real quick once the little ones involved themselves in my mom mission.

At one point, I stepped out of the playroom to grab a load of laundry and returned to this…

blogaao

In the interest of being perfectly honest with you precious ladies, I had a temporary meltdown.  Not verbally.  It was more of an internal hellish shock moment.

In an attempt not to explode, I stepped outside the room and quickly sorted out my options:

(1) I could burst back in there belting “Clean up time! Clean up time! CLEAN UP TIIIMMMEEE!”

OR

(2) I could breathe.  And remind myself that while I’m making all kinds of grand plans, God is smirking just a bit.  And it was in that moment that He reminded me to peek in at those little ones.  To give them a big dose of grace and stop and savor the moment.

My little ones were having the time of their lives.  And, yes, at the expense of paint on the walls and their Momma’s level of sanity…  BUT, nevertheless they were building memories.

And I thought about how that transferred over to my life, too.  Sometimes, some of my biggest messes (both literally and figuratively) in life created some of the greatest memories.

Why is it that we kill ourselves to perfect the façade?

Why do we struggle and juggle and attempt to balance every single thing at the expense of the most important things…

I do value a (somewhat) clean home.

But, I value well-rounded, content, God-loving, adventurous, happy family members more.

Kids are young.  And innocent.  And playful.

They make messes.

Life goes on.

Namaste…

But in all seriousness, I learned that God’s plans are always bigger and better than ours.  Rather than dominating my to do list this weekend, I spent extra time making memories with my little ones in a heap of Barbies and pretend play food.

And if I’m being honest, those moments were way cooler than anything I had on my silly agenda.

I did, of course, use this opportunity to reinforce proper clean up techniques ;), BUT I reminded myself to never discourage the mess…

Because often times, it’s there…deep in life’s messes, that God speaks to us in the most profound ways.

How many messes messages have you run into this week…? Please share in the comments!

Please sign up for our Monday newsletter for weekly tips, recipes and encouragement! 🙂

7 Tips for Mommas to Survive Summer with Sanity

#MommaMonday

7 Tips for Mommas to Survive Summer With Sanity

SHOUT OUT to all you gorgeous, wonderful, amazing Mommas!!!

The time is near, friends.

That’s right.  The day is coming when school is over for 3 months, toddlers are running amuck and we won’t give a care about the new Unicorn drink at Starbucks anymore because we will all be driving our Hot Mess Expresses all over town to the [insert anywhere in the world that will entertain children] and back 1,478 times a week…

And if you’re anything like me, you’re kinda, not so secretly freaking out about it.

Our babies are our whole entire world.  They are, promise.  But, there’s something about spending 24/7/365 staring into one another’s eyes that would make even sweet baby Jesus a little unnerved.  Who’s gonna holler AMEN for me this mornin’?!?

So, I have decided (on behalf of all of us) that we will not take this invasion of toddler tyranny sitting down.  We refuse to be unprepared.  We will get up off the couch, shed our mermaid blankets, toss our coffee mugs in the sink and take back our homes.  One. Momma. At. A. Time.

In my weekly love letter to you beautiful ladies, here are 7 Tips for Surviving Summer with Sanity…

blogao1

(1) Get a Nanny.  KIDDING!!!  (Although I have all the respect in the world for you precious people…God love your souls).  But seriously, TEAM UP!  Find a fellow Momma (preferably one that you get along with and / or that your children adore one another) and set up some standing playdates.  Kids crave interaction.  They need it socially and honestly, they’ve gotta have it to get the silly billies out.  And Heavens knows we want those dang silly billies out…

Get a head start.  Draft your team.  Heck, get 4 or 5 Mommas together and agree to trade off hosting once a week OR designate a kid-friendly location in town to meet up.  (Side note: if this location also serves adult beverages, you’re the winner in my book… #JustSayin…)

blogao2

(2) Be Prepared! : Prep Yourself With Some Creative Activities – Girl, listen.  I love Pinterest like the rest of you.  But ain’t nobody got time to stalk the whole dang thing and come up with umpteen activities for each day.  Because let’s get real…we’re normal and runny noses don’t wipe themselves….

SO, I came up with some ideas that we can do without overworking our creativity and / or maxxing out our credit cards at Hobby Lobby (Side note: All the feels for Hobby Lobby all day, erry day)…enjoy:

* Put Together a Family Time Capsule – We are loving this idea at our house!  Fill a shoe box with a few toys, photos, and other memorabilia of whatever is going on currently with your family.  We have decided to write little notes about what is going on with our family as we are making each capsule.  Then, we hide it in our basement closet and will return to it years down the road, peek inside and relive the memories.  This is such a great sentimental craft but it is also an awesome way to eat through 4 hours of a day without even realizing it!  Cabin fever be gone!

* Go on a Scavenger Hunt – Turns out you can set up a scavenger hunt in under 10 minutes.  Simply select 5-10 items to hide, jot down quick clues and set out on the adventure to find them!  Pro Tip: Utilize your elf-on-the-shelf knowledge to help make your hunt even more fun!

* Put on a Family Talent Show – get the family together in the den, turn off the TV and let each family member have their own 15 minutes of fame!

* Build a Fort and Watch Movies From Inside – this is an all-time favorite for me.  My brother and I used to build forts as kids and I still remember those times as some of my most favorite memories of childhood.  Sometimes it’s the simplest things that will stick in your kids’ minds forever!

* Host a Cookie / Cake Decorating Party – The kiddos don’t have to wait til Christmas to get creative in the dessert decoration game…turns out they love smothering confections with icing and sprinkles all. year. long…

* Recreational Bath Time – if you can’t get in an actual pool, let the kids splash around in the tub.  Since bathtime is focused on cleanliness, let this time be all about the fun!  Consider pouring in just a bit of bubble bath to take the fun factor up even more notches!  Plus, don’t forget to capture all those shampoo mohawk hair moments on the camera to laugh at for years to come!

* Storytelling Session – Encourage your kiddos to explore their imagination!  Consider giving them a character, a scene and a plot.  Then, let them fill in the rest of the story.

To get their creative juices flowing, the little Story Starter below is very inexpensive and is such a handy tool to have around the house.  It says grades 4-8 but I even use these with my toddlers…it’s always so much fun – you will be shocked with what they can come up with!!

blogstoryreal

* Make a Homemade Pizza – if you have time to plan ahead, make sure to stock your fridge with pizza ingredients for a super fun treat with your kids.  Allow them to pick their toppings, assemble them and watch as you pop it in the oven!  Fun fact: my kids are much more likely to eat all of their meal if they took part in the prep.  Just like with adults, there is something “cool” about feeling like you cooked a great meal!

* Have a Dance Party – There is nothing that relieves stress faster and more effectively for me than turning up some music and just bustin’ a move …. or 10   Get the kids involved.  Let them pick the music and consider even throwing together a quick routine!  P.S. Our family fave is “Some Nights” by Fun. (don’t forget the period… 😉 )

* Put on a Fashion Show – Encourage the kids to dig in their dress up baskets and strut their stuff!  Make it fun by giving out prizes for “best smile,” “best outfit,” “best walk,” etc.

* Host a Family Room Camp Out – Gather sleeping bags, pillows and lots of blankets to form a campsite in your den.  Snuggle up and tell stories until time to go to sleep.

* Have a Puzzle / Game Championship – Put out a bunch of puzzles and games for the children to select from.  For extra fun, keep score as you compete as a family!

blogao3

(3) Raid the Target Dollar Bins – Heck, make this a sport that you attempt to win the gold medal in finding the greatest items.  If you follow this blog at all, you are aware that I am in a relationship with the Target dollar bins.  It’s borderline unhealthy.  Moving on…

Heads up, you can walk in Target any day of the week and find a fun activity (or 10) for you and your little one(s) to do for under $10.  Seriously.  Locate your dollar bin section and have a ball.

blogao4

(4) Stock up on fun educational crafts / activities –  Listen, I know that none of us are going to be laser-focused on generating tiny Einsteins 24/7.  I mean we’ve got too much to worry about whether or not our sunscreen has the appropriate SPF / doesn’t contain kid-killing toxins…(#JesusTakeTheWheel).  BUT, our kids actually crave schedules.  So, my thought is why not add a fun little minute or two each day to the schedule that consists of educational-ish fun?!?  Here are some ideas…

Get exact info on the activities pictured below HERE.

blogboop24                                            blogboop26

Speaking of the Target Dollar Bins, I just found these incredible activities for $ 3 each.  THREE DOLLARS, PEOPLE!

They are great activities that require NO advance planning…SCORE!

blogbeanbundles11

blogbeanbundles10blogbeanbundles9blogbeanbundles8

blogbeanbundles14 blogbeanbundles7

blogao5

(5) Plan Some Inexpensive Day Trips – No matter where you live, there is bound to be a park, museum, attraction, zoo, aquarium, etc. that would provide hours of enjoyment!  Pack a picnic lunch and set out on a family adventure.

You don’t have to spend a bunch of money.  If you live in a bigger city, you could even pack two attractions in for one day.  OR spread them out over the summer.

The key to remember: Summer is a marathon, not a sprint!  Don’t feel like you have to wear the hat of a Professional Cruise Director day in and day out.  Spread the activities out over the summer and give yourself a break.  I typically plan one day trip, one in-house family activity and several crafts / activities for each week.  It makes me so much less stressed and there’s something about an agenda that makes this Momma giddy with glee…

blogao6

(6) Look into Classes and Camps Offered in Your Area – Did you know that churches, local colleges, zoos, museums and schools offer day camps / classes for children?!?  In fact, gyms, dance studios and theaters offer classes as well!  You would be amazed how many different organizations make an effort to give kids fun activities for the summer!

Here are some ideas of what’s available:

Dance / Gymnastics Classes / Camps

Music Classes / Camps

Art Classes / Camps

Swim Lessons

Science Camps (at Children’s Museums and schools)

Photography Classes / Camps for older kiddos

Theater Classes / Camps

Ice Skating Classes / Camps (this is an interesting one that most people don’t think about…)

Gardening Classes / Camps

Horseback Riding Lessons (for older kiddos)

Bonus Idea: There is no shame in the “attending-more-than-one-VBS-game.”  It’s a win / win actually.  Your child is socializing and entertained while learning about Jesus at the same time.  What could be better?!?  I don’t suggest signing them up every week of the summer ;), but if they’ve got a friend who attends another church…why not check their VBS out, too?   A few weeks here and there ain’t gonna hurt anybody!

blogao7

(7) Give Yourself (and those sweet babies) Grace – Grace is my fave 5 letter word.  In fact, you can read more about that HERE if you want…

But more than anything, please remember this: When the goin’ gets tough, remind yourself of three things:

(1) You are enough.  You are doing the best you can.  And that’s enough.  Heck, it’s better than enough.  It’s awesome.

(2) You’re the ONE.  God picked YOU to be the Momma to your little ones.  Out of the entire universe, God picked YOU.  Wow.  You are a star!

(3) You are SO loved.  God loves you.  Those babies love you.  I love you.

You’ve got this.  Chin up, Momma!  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Don’t get down about the things you can’t control and focus on the ones you can.  Junior is not gonna go on and on about his mother’s perfectly ironed duvet covers one day.  But, he will brag about all those super fun, late night dance parties before bedtime…

Let’s love those babies like it’s goin’ out of style.  And, most importantly, let’s give ourselves (and each other) grace…lots of it 😉

Whew.  This was a long one. HA! What are your tips for surviving summer…? Please share in the comments!

Please subscribe to our Monday newsletter for weekly tips, recipes, and encouragement! 🙂