A New Kind of SuperMom

#MommaMonday

A New Kind of SuperMom

You’ve seen her…

The perfect mom.

The one who appears to walk right off the pages of Southern Living with pearls softly draped around her neck and a freshly baked batch of homemade mini muffins in her designer tote that are still warm for God’s sake.

She would never have spaghetti stains on her ankle jeans.

She couldn’t possibly know what it’s like to scrub poop off a crib at 2 am.

And we kinda don’t like her, do we?

Even though we have NO CLUE what goes on in her home.  Her head.  Or her heart.

Have we gotten to know her?

Do we really know what goes on in her Pinterest Perfect life?

I’m guessing if we are honest, the answer is a resounding, yet sheepish, “No…”

But we sure are judging her, aren’t we?

And if we’re being honest, it’s because we’re chillin’ in our sweatpants during carpool jammin’ to the latest rap watching her strut across the parking lot in her stilettos … and we just feel….well, inadequate.  Less than.  Not totally up to this crazy intense challenge also known as Mommyhood.

What if we stopped creating mental standards?

What if we committed to stop using the phrase, “there goes that mom again.”

And we just loved each other.

And supported one another.

And (gasp) what if we took the time to actually get to know one another?

Because every single Mom is incredible in her own way.  And the real beauty behind the whole “Mommyhood” thing is that we have our own unique strengths…and weaknesses.

We can celebrate both.  Together.

It is in our darkest spots, that God can come in to shine the Light.

In a world where kindness is sadly a rarity, let’s be the Moms that love one another unconditionally.  No matter how Pinterest Perfect…or lack thereof… 😉 each one of us truly are.

There is a new #SuperMom in town.  And girlfriend, allow me to share a little secret …it’s YOU!

Have you ever struggled with being labeled or maybe labeling other Moms? 

Please share your experiences in the comments to encourage others!

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Erase It and Start Over

#MommaMonday

Erase It and Start Over

This week, my toddler took me to church.

And school.

And just…well, schooled me on all things life in general.

Back story comin’ at ya right now…

It was a Monday. That simple fact is foreshadowing enough for the events to follow…

The time was 11:42. Carpool line was about to get really cranked up. All of us had been either idling in our cars for an hour up to this point or stealing that awesome carpool cat nap. (Side note: Praise Jesus for carpool catnaps)

Thinking I was being super responsible, I arrived 30 minutes early, turned my car off, paid some bills, checked some emails, scarfed down a BLT and wait….hold up, #realtalk I was catching that nap, girrrrrl…

So, when I heard the sudden whirring of engines cranking up, I jolted to attention. As the teachers started spilling out of the school, I put my car in drive only to hear silence when I turned the key.

Important note: Apparently, it is universally well-known that you cannot crank a vehicle while it is in drive…

Um.  That little ditty sure wasn’t on my permit exam. UGH!

Jesus Be A Driving Manual…

SO, after 15 minutes of sheer embarrassment, forced awkward conversations with school personnel and face palm moments times a million, my ignorance was eventually remedied, my child was finally released into her crazy mother’s care and life went on.

The second my little one got in the car she could sense my angst.

It was palpable, to say the least.

And kids just have a sixth sense about those kinda things, don’t they?

I began the pleasantries, “How was your day?” “Who were your friends?” “What did you learn today?”

She reached into her bag and retrieved her artwork (which let’s be real, folks, is always museum worthy 😉 ) and informed me that I was viewing her self portrait.

I complimented her on the beautiful smile she had drawn.

That’s when she chose to lower the boom of truth on her frazzled Momma…

She said, “Thanks Mommy. Smiles are really important. One of my friends drew a frowny face on her picture. I just told her to get out her eraser, erase that thing and start over. And Mommy you need to erase your frowny face and start over, too.”

WHOA.

Hold up, kid.

Now I’m not saying I’m raising the next (faith-filled version) of Oprah…

But, what I’m saying is: I’m raising the next (faith-filled version) Oprah.

Because the girl’s got this world figured out, friends.

In all seriousness, if I would take a moment each time I find myself down, to just stop and reboot, I might find happiness is far less elusive.

Erasing and starting over seems all too easy, doesn’t it?

But the second we realize that happiness is a choice, it gets a little easier.

We cannot control what happens to us.

But, we can control how we react to it.

We must choose to be happy.

And when the dreary days come (and they will…) and those frowny faces pop up, let’s erase ’em … and start over 😉

What lesson(s) has your child(ren) taught you this week? Please share in the comments!

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Crises to Convictions

#ThoughtfulThursday

Crises to Convictions

Hey, friends.

I sure have missed y’all.  I wanted to apologize and offer up an explanation of why the past few weeks have been pretty quiet on the blog.

Y’all have become my family…can you believe we’ve been hangin’ out each week for almost 2 years now?!?!

And I love every minute of “doin’ life” with y’all!

So, I want to thank you for your patience.  Some of you reached out, and I felt the need to extend my hand back with some extra inside info 😉

Bare with me, this is still a bit raw…

Last week my youngest (3.5 years old) woke up one morning and was unable to use her legs.  She could barely stand and when she did, she screamed in pain, fell to the floor and writhed as if her little insides were being internally attacked.

Just as any Momma would be, I was shocked, scared out of my mind and in tears.

After a loooong appointment at her pediatrician’s office, the doctor stared at us and shared that he thought she had early onset arthritis.

No.

Nope.

Wait.  WHAT?!

My overly bubbly, in your face amazing, gigantic smile-creating sunshine of a child was now suffering from something that Mommy couldn’t wipe away with a tissue, or kiss away like a scrape…

My little one just stared into the doctor’s eyes unaware of what her future might hold in those moments.

Over the next few days we were able to secure an appointment with a rheumatologist.  We went to bed the night before the appointment having no idea whether or not our daughter was destined to years of therapy, medication and whatever else was required to return her to her “new normal.”

The morning before her appointment with the specialist, I heard a familiar lilty voice peep on the video monitor.  I think I fell out of bed jolting to look at my little one!!

SHE HAD CRAWLED OUT OF HER BED AND WAS WALKING AS IF NOTHING HAD EVER HAPPENED, PEOPLE!

I kid you not.

Miracles are real.  God is real.  He is with you.  He never forsakes you.  And He goes before you to pave the way on which you will walk.

We are each going to face trials in our lives.  That is promised.

But, God can use those moments to shape us into an even better, stronger tool to be used by Him.

Even in those 3 am, crying moments when we don’t have any of the answers, God is there.

And He is the only one who does have those answers…

Just gonna leave this little gem right here:

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

I’ll tell you what, though.

That is not the only lesson that God was teaching me that day.

When we arrived at the rheumatologist’s office I began to gaze around the waiting room.

I saw a mother carrying a child in her arms who was unable to walk.

I witnessed a child attempting to hold her sippy cup and it falling from her hands because she could not grasp it.

I watched as a little boy cried into his mother’s shirt in pain.

And I stopped and asked God for forgiveness.

How many times do we take everything for granted?

How often do we yell at God for the tiniest of storms that pop up in our lives when others are going through nightmarish ordeals?

And do we truly thank Him for the calm moments He so graciously provides?

God used this hiccup in my child’s life to teach all of us so many lessons.

The one I cling to every day going forward is to be grateful.

When we wake up and we have breath in our lungs, let’s thank God.

When we walk to our kitchen to fix a meal (even when it’s just cereal and water before a grocery run), let’s praise God for providing.

When we look at our families, let’s exalt the Lord for His goodness.

Life goes a million miles a minute at times.

And it can seem overwhelming, like we don’t have a second to spare.

How about we take a few moments each day this week to reflect on God’s goodness…

And about how we can address the needs of others…

The world is hurting.  The world so desperately needs Jesus.

Let’s take a meal to a neighbor,

offer to love on someone’s child for a bit while they take a much-needed break,

send an uplifting word of encouragement,

donate clothing and food to a local shelter,

volunteer at a local hospital, or

offer to help a loved one in a time of need.

Let’s actively live in gratitude.

Let’s give back to God’s world.

And let’s remind them that He is there in crises and in miracles.

And He is always good…  All the time.

What lessons have you learned this week?  Have they come in surprising forms? Please share in the comments!

Welcome to our tribe!  We are so thankful you are here 🙂 Please subscribe to our Monday newsletter for weekly recipes, fashion inspo, tips and encouragement!

 

5 Tips for Organizing and Storing Children’s Artwork

#MommaMonday

5 Tips for Organizing and Storing Children’s Artwork

One of my favorite things about my kiddos being back in school is all the incredible artwork they bring home.

But, you know what one of my least favorite things is about my kiddos being back in school?

All the incredible artwork they keep bringing home…

This is what one of the corners of my house currently looks likeBRACE YOURSELVES:

Because, of course, I’m that Mom that legit keeps a toothpick if it even remotely appears that my kid engaged it with some kind of creativeness.

Each one of those long storage containers represents a year of school for one of my children…

Quick Embarrassing Fact: When my oldest child was about 8 months old, she accidentally hit my brother’s printer and caused it to print a blank piece of paper.  I kid you not, I swiped up that piece of paper and wrote: “Bellalise’s first time to print / June 7, 2013.”  Devastatingly, I am not joking.  Are you crying for my sanity, yet?!?

Jesus. Be. A. Trashcan.

It’s like our little Picassos are busy from the second we drop them off ’til the second we return to pick them up.

And, I LOVE IT.  We sure are gettin’ our money’s worth, folks!

But, the cleanliness (or lack thereof …) of my house…not so much.

After giving myself a mini therapy session the other day, I am officially here to help.

Do you need to dump 75 rolling carts worth of childlike creativeness?  Got you, girl.

Wanna clear your head and your closets of clunky, glue-dripping insanity?  Track with me today, sister.

Feeling like you just need to build a storage shed out back and call it a day?!?  Love you long time.  #SoulMate.

Whatever your choice may be, today I am sharing 5 Ideas for Organizing and Storing ALL our babies’ beautiful artwork.  Take this journey towards sanity with me, will you?

Here goes…

(1) BE SELECTIVE

For a recovering pat-rack-aholic, I can tell you that this will be the toughest thing to conquer.  What does selective even mean when it comes to your child’s artwork?!?

Some people follow the handprint / footprint only philosophy, but I think that’s a little too restrictive.

SO, here are some guidelines:

– Is there a handprint / footprint?  Yes = definitely save; No = Proceed to next questions…

– Is there any of your child’s handwriting? Yes = definitely save; No = Toss OR proceed to next questions…

– Is there any identifying info about your child (i.e. the teacher has answered questions on your child’s behalf after asking them the questions; developmental info like hair color, eye color, height, weight; graded project, etc.?  Yes = definitely save; No = Toss OR proceed to next questions…

– Is it a coloring page that does not go with anything else and appears to be ripped out of a standard coloring book or a free teacher printable? If the coloring is extra spectacular = I would save; If not = toss.

– Is it a craft that required your child to use a special skill such as cutting, gluing, measuring, etc.?  I would save, but it’s up to you.

Hopefully, you are able to begin answering more “No’s” and tossing some things.  If not, I’ve got you covered on some organizational / storage ideas…

(2) DOWNLOAD ONE OF THE APPS MADE TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM!!

Who else is screaming for joy right now?  Yours truly has tracked down a mega list of all the apps to help you with this very issue.  Each one of these apps will take photos of your child(ren)’s artwork and turn them into beautiful coffee-table quality books for you to cherish for years to come.  So, now you don’t have to join the television show Hoarders…like I’m destined to do….

All you have to do is upload photos of your child(ren)’s art projects into the app and it takes it from there.

Each one of these apps has different capabilities and products.  Plus, they have different price ranges as well.  So, check each of them out and find the best fit for your needs.

Without further ado I present them to you… and happy hunting for the perfect one for your family! * Just click on any of the links below to head straight to the sites to pick the best one for your family!

ArtKive

Art My Kid Made App

Canvsly

Keepy.me

As a quick bonus, here are some photo organizing / storing solutions:

Google Photos – upload your photos to this app and then you can delete off your phone to make room for more memories!

Shutterfly App – Upload directly to Shutterfly to order prints, photo books, gifts and more!

Sandisk Smart Phone Disk Drive – This is so genius, I am thankful one finally exists!  Sync your phone and computer = voila!  Photos are ready to organize / store / print!

(3) Take Photos of Your Children’s Artwork, Upload to Chatbooks and Print a Keepsake Book

– A little trick I have is a secret Instagram account.  Nobody knows the username of my super-Top-secret Instagram account except for my Mom and Dad.  Predominantly because who else wants to see 100 photos of my kids every single day…?

It’s really neat because I can upload ALL our photos for the day and not send all of my friends / “followers” into rage induced oblivion when 45 of MY photos clog their newsfeeds.  As a heads up, all of us love each other, but NOBODY wants to see 45 pics in a row of any of our kids except for us and maybe our Moms…trust me on this.

Once you’ve uploaded the pictures to Instagram and synced with the Chatbooks app, simply select the size book and send to print.  Within a week, you will have a beautiful photo book keepsake and none of the clutter!

P.S. While you’re in there, go ahead and print some photo books for the whole year.  You’ll be so glad you took the extra 10 minutes now rather than waiting for 5 years once ALL the kids are finally in school…I see you, girl.

(4) Create a gallery art wall in the children’s Playroom / Bedrooms

Not all art is created equal…I think we could all agree on that statement 😉

But, there are some really great pieces of art that deserve a place on the wall.   Meaning, of course, that there is a free space in your storage box for yet another piece of memorabilia.

For example, here are some watercolors that my daughters painted a few weekends ago.  I plan to have them framed and hung in either the playroom or my bedroom for a splash of color.

SO, Mommas, don’t always look at artwork as a waste.  SOME of those millions of pieces might just be wall-worthy!

(5) Old School Scrapbook Session

Takin’ it all the way back to eighth grade when rather than packing the latest cold brew to chill with our homegirls, we packed up all the silly edged scissors and decorative stickers we could find…And don’t forget the Cricut!

Scrapbooking now feels like a chore.  But, it doesn’t have to be!  Get the kids involved for a weekend of fun!  Give them some kid safety scissors and let them go to town while you scrapbook to your heart’s content!

Phew!  Ok, Mommas.  This post gives us lots of solutions to our artwork / photo storage concerns.  Let’s hop off the stress-mobile and onto the happiness wagon!  WE CAN DO THIS!

How do you store your child(ren)’s artwork?  Please share in the comments!

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Marble Masterpiece Mini Pumpkins

#MommaMonday

Marble Masterpiece Mini Pumpkins

Fall is in full swing and the pumpkin patches are gettin’ picked over.

Turns out, there is a certain little pumpkin that often gets looked over…the little white ones!

Confession: those have always been my faves!  They are just so petite and fun!

Head back out to your pumpkin patch and / or Trader Joe’s, etc. and grab 5-10 for this craft.  Most places (including pumpkin patches) sell these little pumpkins for $ 1 or less, each so grab as many as you wish.

Side note: White pumpkins make gorgeous placeholders for your Fall / Thanksgiving dinner tables…just a heads up 😉

Back to the craft…

You will need:

5-10 small white pumpkins

4-5 different colored nail polish (preferably fast drying polish)

Large Plastic Bowl or Tupperware container

TIP: The container you use will most likely have paint stains on it afterwards that will not be easily cleaned.  Consider using a container that you do not mind turning into a crafting container later on 😉

Room Temperature Water

Directions:

(1) Pour room temperature water into the container.

(2) Quickly drip several drops of each nail polish into the water in rapid succession.  Use a toothpick to swish around in the water and mix the colors.

(3) Holding your pumpkin by the stem, carefully dip into the water and allow the nail polish colors to adhere to the pumpkin.

VOILA!  Marble Masterpiece!

This craft could not have been any easier and was perfect for a Sunday afternoon with my girls!

My girls are 3 and 5 and they loved every minute!

This will definitely become a new tradition in our house 🙂

So what do you think –  Will you try marbling with your family?

And do you have any fun October traditions with your kids? Please share in the comments!

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Dill Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans

#TipTuesday

Dill Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans

This is one of my FAVE H ello F resh recipes I have received to date, so I am going to share it with you here.

Added a few of my own tricks ;), but this is mainly just their rendition of Dill Chicken.  Enjoy and Bon Appetit!

You will need:

2 Chicken Breasts

Yukon Gold Potatoes (enough to serve 2 adults)

Green Beans (enough to serve 2 adults)

2 Tablespoons of sour cream

1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard

Chicken Stock Concentrate

Balsamic Vinegar (my addition) 😉

Dry Ranch Dressing Packet (my addition) 😉

Olive Oil

Dill for garnish

Salt and Pepper

Dish Deets:

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25-35 minutes

Feeds: 2 adults

Directions:

(1) Preheat oven to 450.

(2) Dice potatoes into small 1/2 inch cubes.  Pick the dill from the stems and finely chop.

(3) Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Place potatoes on the pan.  Douse them in an even mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dry ranch dressing and salt / pepper.  Toss until all potatoes are evenly coated.  Roast potatoes in oven for 25-30 minutes or until browned and crisp.  TIP: Toss the potatoes half way through cooking to ensure even cooking.

(4) Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper.  Sear chicken on each side until no longer pink.  Add chicken to the potatoes pan for the last 7-10 minutes of cooking to finish baking completely throughout.

(5) Line another baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Place green beans on top.  Toss green beans in olive oil and salt / pepper to taste.  Add some balsamic vinegar and dry ranch dressing if desired.  Roast in oven until tender (10-15 minutes).  TIP: We like our green beans almost burned because they have an incredible flavor then.  That requires almost 20 -25 minutes cooking time…heads up 😉 )

(6) For the dill sauce: stir together the following ingredients in a pan over medium heat: 1 teaspoon dill, sour cream, stock concentrate, 1 teaspoon mustard, 2 tablespoons water.  * Use the pan that you cooked the chicken in to make the sauce.  Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

(7) To serve: Arrange the green beans and potatoes evenly on the plate.  Place a chicken breast on top.  Drizzle the dill sauce on top.  Serve and enjoy!

What are you fixin’ in your kitchen this week? Please share in the comments!

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Friendly Word to the Wise

#MommaMonday

Friendly Word to the Wise

You know what I want everyone to get out of reading this post?

You.

Do.

You.

That’s it.  That’s all I’m interested in communicating today.  I just want my Momma Tribe to unite and love one another.

For our similarities and our differences…

Here lately, I have seen some pretty divisive stuff on social media and I feel obligated to address it.

To stand up for those who can’t or won’t stand up for themselves.

And, honestly to stand up for every Momma out there!

Allow me to explain…

Has anyone noticed how all of a sudden Google has decided to make every single day of the year a national day of recognition.

Like, there’s a National Taco Day.

A National Siblings Day.

And even a National Give a Hug Day…

Well, the first week of August was apparently “National Breastfeeding Week.”

And I’m wholeheartedly cool with that.  I support all you breastfeeding Mommas out there!  You go, girls!

But, this subject creates a little soapbox moment for me as well…heads up: things are about to get real.

** Eases up on the good ‘ole soapbox **

Mommas – I love every single one of you.  Imagine me reaching my arms out and hugging each of you.

I am so thankful to be a Mom.  And I am SO thankful that you are in this tribe with me.

You are a rockstar.  Did you know that? 

I don’t even have to know anything about you and I can tell you that if you are a mom, you are amazing.

I think whatever method you choose to feed your child is incredible (so long as it’s FDA approved, and you know, not toxic… 😉 )

I think you are ALL SuperMoms and I am confident of that fact because God divinely selected you to be a Mom and gave you children as gifts and blessings.

But when some of you hashtag your breastfeeding posts with #BreastIsBest, #BreastfeedingSuperstars and #BoobsOrYouLose I kinda wanna cut ‘ya a bit.

WHOA.  That took a serious turn real fast, huh?

I know.  I warned you this was a soapbox moment…which is not my norm….

Real Talk: There’s a whole lot of Mommas in this world that would give our left arm to breastfeed our little ones.

In fact, some of us…errr…(I) almost did offer to cut it off to do so.

But, for one reason or another we were unable to join the ranks of the #BreastfeedingSuperstars.

My oldest daughter was born early and spent the first week of her life on a bili bed due to severe jaundice.

I had to sit down with in-home nurses, physicians and pediatricians to discuss the prognosis of my daughter’s condition within hours of her birth.

During that time, as anyone would imagine, I was not focused on pumping, and keeping my milk supply 100%…I was a little preoccupied with keeping my daughter alive.

So, when I discovered weeks later that breastfeeding wasn’t in the cards for us, I was devastated.

I had read all the books.

I saved up and bought the dang $250 breast pump.

I even spent three weekends attending breastfeeding prep classes on Saturdays leading up to her birth.

And none of it mattered because that was not the plan God had for me and my child.

My story is VERY small potatoes compared to the journeys that some of my friends have faced: we’re talking NICU for months!

With my second child, I was able to breastfeed for 9 months, which is still not a significant amount of time, but I was proud nonetheless.

I was so proud that I documented the entire journey because to me it was a huge accomplishment.

But, I never tried to shame other mothers for their journeys.

Each mother’s journey is unique and special in its own way and all of them deserve to be celebrated: both bottle and breast!

My guess is that these hashtags and constant photo postings do not have any malice behind them.  I am assuming that like me, you are proud of your accomplishment and want to share it with the world.

But, my plea to you today is to be careful how you share that journey.   Make every effort to be the change towards positivity between these two camps.  Let’s put a stop to the wedge being driven between formula feeders and breastfeeders.

Both sides of that playing field are equally amazing and equally worthy of praise!

Friendly Word to the Wise: There’s quite enough Mommy shaming to go around in this world these days.  I think we can all agree on that!  So, let’s be the Momma Tribe that welcomes all, loves all and celebrates all.

That’s right, Momma.  I welcome YOU, love YOU and celebrate YOU for exactly who you are in all your awesome Momma glory!

Love you all SO much and blessed we are doing life together!

If you feel led, please share in the comments a moment where you have been able to encourage another Mom in her journey!

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More Precious Than Jewels

#MommaMonday

More Precious than Jewels

This weekend my little girls and I were getting ready to head out for the day.

My oldest glanced at my youngest and said, “You look lovely, Princess.”

Normally, I would write this down in my little black book of “HECK YEAHS OF PARENTING.”

But, this time, God hit me with a major lightbulb moment.

Our little girls become body conscious at birth.

We are born with the ability / inherent desire to check out all the mirrors.  Sometimes all too frequently…

Society has all kinds of definitions for “pretty,” “skinny,” and “fabulous” these days.

Which causes us to have an innate urge to care more about appearances than souls.

About looks rather than insides.

About actions rather than motives.

And I started thinking about all the times my girls follow me around the house like little ducklings.

What are they seeing me do?

Are they watching me read my Bible?

Or observing me thumbing through the latest beauty mag…

Are they hearing me point out the supposed flaws I view in the mirror?

Or listening to me thank God for making me just the way I am…

Do they overhear judgy conversations about others between myself and my husband?

Or will they remember us edifying our friends and discussing uplifting things…

Every single thing that comes out of our mouths goes directly in the ears of our little ones.

Every second we spend fussing in front a mirror gets logged in their minds forever.

All those moments of frustration in the dressing rooms while we tug at this lump here and pull at this crease there…yep.  They’re watching.

When we lament about fine lines and wrinkles, all they are hearing is “imperfect here” and “ugly there.”

Sometimes we don’t even realize these little instances are happening…

And whether we realize it or not, our little ones are internalizing each of these moments as the very measuring sticks against which they will judge themselves one day.

Wow.

This is gettin’ deep, friends.

I don’t know about you, but I want to take every opportunity to remind my babies that they are perfect just the way God made them.

That time spent frou-frouing in the mirror is far less important than time spent primping their hearts.

That their bodies are temples rather than trend setters.

That those little “imperfections” are God’s divine design.

That their minds are the organs of true value to society, rather than their moxie.

That their walk with Christ is the one to focus on rather than their strut.

We won’t be able to remove all of those crazy pubescent angst years.

But, we sure can raise them up to believe in the Savior rather than Sephora, friends.

Next time you think about criticizing your appearance, think about those little ears.

Put a hand over your mouth if you have to, and allow God to remind you of your outer and most importantly inner, beauty.

And, if you can’t say anything nice about yourself, remember this: “You are far more precious than jewels.” (Proverbs 31:10)

Love you, beauties!  And, I love you for exactly who YOU are!

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Add Teacher to Your Momma Resume

#MommaMonday

Add Teacher to Your Momma Resume

One of my dearest friends has four kids.  That’s a lot of kids, friends… 😉

The children are all school age now and the littlest one is just settling in to the nitty gritty of Kindergarten.   Kindergarten Katie (as I’m calling her for purposes of anonymity) came home two weeks ago and when asked what she learned, Katie claimed she just couldn’t remember.

No big deal.  Kid’s attention spans are short, thought the mom…

The next week, Kindergarten Katie came home and the same scenario played out:

Mom: “What’d you learn at school, love?”

Child: “I don’t know…”

This time the Mom grew concerned.  When she asked the little girl’s teacher, she was happy to share with her that the class was learning to write the first 5 letters of the alphabet and that Katie seemed to be struggling remembering what she learned each day.

Defeated, my friend didn’t know what to do.  After a little research, she discovered some excellent home-help workbooks and teaching tools.

After a few days of brushing up on the basics at home, Kindergarten Katie was politely shovin’ her way right to the head of the class!

I was reminded of a valuable truth by observing Katie’s little story: Education is an investment.  An investment of time, energy and dedication.

Not just for the child.  But for the parents, too.

It can seem daunting at times.  I totally get it.  I often think to myself: I fed them, I bathed them, I protected them, I played with them and most importantly I loved all over them…that’s awesome, right?!?

Exactly right.

But, as parents, we play a big role our children’s educational journeys, too.  It turns out that how we interact with them, what we say to them and the things we teach them are some of the most vital building blocks for their future…

When we sit down and read each night, we are not just knockin’ off the minutes ’til bedtime, we are expanding our sweet ones’ vocabulary.

When we sing and dance, we are not just entertaining our kids with our prowess for silliness, we are encouraging movement and healthy living.

When we take a moment each day to interact with our children on a higher conversation level than “do you want chicken nuggets or grilled cheese,” we are showing our kids that they are important, tiny people of value.  That their opinions matter, too.

When we carve out hours each week to take our kids to try new adventures, we are showing them the importance of exploration, learning new things and “experiencing” life rather than simply “observing” it.

When we make learning fun, it will be fun for them, too.

Education is only as effective and valuable as we make it.

So, when the kiddos come home each day, let’s start asking those important questions.  Let’s embrace them and carve out moments to learn about their day, what they are learning and how we can help in the process!

The more active and involved we are now, the more receptive they will be to our assistance later on.

So, pat yourself on the back today, Momma.  Because you just remembered yet another hat you wear each day: TEACHER!  😉

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

Praying God gives each of us the peace and patience to be the best teachers for our little ones today!

Quick Tips: If you would like a recommendation for a place to find some great parent / teacher tools, check out this amazing website.  They have stores as well.  But, if there is not one close to you, they offer online ordering, too 🙂

Also, if you are looking for some free printables, these are some great resource sites for those: Jumpstart and ABCTeach!

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Making Your Way in the Mommy Margins

#MommaMonday

Making Your Way in the Mommy Margins

A few weeks ago I was talking with some Momma friends about their careers (before Mommyhood).

I loved listening to them talk about all their achievements and their dreams for the future.

What struck me was how many times I heard the phrase: “But I just had to give all that up for now with kids…”

That stung a little bit because I had experienced those same emotions several years back…

With two babies under the age of 2, I started to feel like the “go-getter” side of me was slipping away.

And I was totally fine with that because loving my sweet babies is my deepest passion in life.

But, that drive deep inside to achieve my dreams was burning brighter than ever.

Have you been there, too?

Do you find yourself longing to achieve a certain goal, or live a certain dream, but you feel stuck by your circumstances?

Well, I’m here to tell you that no matter your current circumstances, you CAN achieve anything you put your mind to achieving!

The margins of our Mommy lives are some of our greatest gifts.  Because it is in those moments that we are free to pursue our deepest passions.

It is in those free moments in which the world seems to stand still and we can breathe a sigh of relief from the craziness of the daily grind.

The margins in my life happen to be 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm in the afternoon (AKA my kids’ “nap” time) and 8:00 pm to midnight each night (AKA kids sleeping!!).

It’s in those moments that I wind down, dedicate myself to my work and recharge.

It’s when I write these little love notes to all of you each week.

It’s when I spend a few moments in God’s Word.

It’s when I check myself out of insanity and into personal rejuvenation.

Real talk: It’s when I curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and tune the rest of the world completely out…

As it turns out, we all have margin moments.  However rare they may be, they do exist and it’s up to us to scout them out and make the most of each one!

If you are currently using your margin moments binging the Bachelorette (like me sometimes…) or scrolling endlessly through your social media threads, let me ask you a few questions:

What are you really passionate about?

What motivates you?  Gets you up in the morning?  Keeps your heart racing with excitement?

Are you pursuing those things?  Are you making them a priority?

I asked myself these questions about two and a half years ago and it really motivated me to do something about it.

As mothers, we don’t have to give up on the other aspects of our lives that drive us and give us joy.

We don’t have to feel guilty for carving out time to devote to these things!

But, maybe you feel trapped by your daily responsibilities.  I feel you 100%, friend!

After playing, feeding, cleaning up, cooking, bathing and rocking all day, it can feel like we have nothing left to give when it’s all said and done.

These margin moments are our time.  These are the opportunities to really plug in and reach for the moon, not the falling stars.

I promise you that you won’t regret taking the extra effort to pursue your dreams one day.

But, you will regret not doing so.

It’s ok for us to own our dreams.  And to embrace them full-on.

It’s ok for us to put down the remote and retreat to our quiet places to unwind after a long day.

It’s ok for us to admit that we have a calling outside of Mommyhood.

And it’s ok to give it everything we’ve got.

Let’s commit to each other that we will find moments this week to explore. To dream.  And to discover.

And turn those Mommy margin moments into the masterpiece-makers of our lives!

How will you spend your “margin moments” this week? Please share in the comments!

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