Date Night In: Puzzlemania

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One of my goals for this year is to be intentional about spending time with Jake. A big way we do this is by setting aside Friday nights for Date Night In.

We’ve done a variety of things for Date Night In, but if we’re not intentional about thinking up something creative to do, we end up on the couch snuggling and watching Netflix. While this is not a horrible way to spend a Friday evening after a long week of work and school, it’s always a good idea to change things up.

Date Night In Idea #1: Puzzlemania

This may sound lame to some, but listen– it’s NOT. (more…)

New Graham Blanchard Book: Jesus Helps Me

For those of you who have been around the blog, you already know how much I love Graham Blanchard Publishing. Not only is Callie and the team FANTASTIC, the books they publish are really one of a kind.

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This past week they’ve published a new one in their Learning series: Jesus Helps Me.

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Using the passage from John 12:44-47 coupled with examples from nature, kids learn how they can relate to Jesus through staying close to Him, using our special sense called faith (love this!), and noticing what kind of life makes our heart glad. The book ends with a few reflection questions that you can use to talk with your child.

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For those who are following along, get excited for a Jesus Knows Me Coloring and Activity book coming out in May. Our house of colorers is especially looking forward to that one!

As always, thanks to Graham Blanchard and my friends at Sheldon Interaction for the review copy! 

February Positive Parenting Challenge: No Yelling

No Yelling

I have a teensy bit of a confession.

When pushed towards familial chaos, my instinct is to start hollering.

And while I know why my first reaction is to do this, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I figure out ways to take a deep breath, count to 10, and with respect and firmness, speak calmly to my children.

Always.

And while I know we won’t be batting 100% on this one, that’s the goal. Because it really, truly matters that our home is a place of love and respect. And yelling quickly drains a home of those two things.

Does this mean we’ll never fight? No.

Does it mean we won’t have to ask forgiveness, sometimes multiple times a day? Nope.

Does it mean we’ll be all rainbows and roses and laughter? Ha!

It just means that we’re all aiming towards kindness and respect and love.  (more…)

Planner Stickers: Read. Pray. Scripture.

EC Planner Stickers

As I mentioned a couple months ago, I’m trying out the Erin Condren planner this year.

So far I’ve been bumbling around in it. I added a bit of washi tape this month to the bottom. I printed out some stickers for Feb and March to add for decoration. I made some of my own quote stickers with some of my favorite passages of Scripture and quotes from authors I love (Sarah Bessey quotes will be rocking my planner for the next 3 months!). Since the images aren’t mine, I can’t very well put them on here for the whole world to download, but if you wanna copy, message me on Facebook and I’m happy to email an unofficial copy your way!

In my search for what-fits-me, I decided I’d like some stickers that I can plop on my weekly pages that remind me what I can be praying for that week, what Scripture passages I’m on as I’m reading through the Bible, as well as some books that I’m wanting to read/needing to read that week. Especially when I’m using the kindle to read, I need the titles of the books staring at me or I find myself forgetting that I had even started them.

I couldn’t find stickers like these. None for free. One on Etsy but I didn’t really like the style. And while I’m no graphic designer, I decided to give sticker-making a try. And I love them! And because I made these, I can offer them for free to whomever my little heart desires… and I want to give them to YOU.

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DOWNLOAD STICKERS HERE

You can print them off on regular paper and glue them into your planner OR you can print them off on sticker paper, which is what I did. [Hint: I used this sticker paper and found it to be the most economical!]

What kinds of stickers are you looking for for your planner??

This post contains some affiliate links! :) 

Never Miss a Birthday Again {My Birthday Card Experiment}

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I really love celebrating birthdays- friends. family. neighbors, my kids. Jake’s. Mine. Whoever. Birthdays are days of unfettered love and spoiling, a yearly reminder that for one day, your little world stops to celebrate the sheer wonderfulness of your presence on earth.

Case in point. I’ve try to throw great birthday parties for the kids each year. Ice Cream. Chess/Royalty. Monster Princess. Art. Woodland Creatures. It’s so much fun for me, mostly because I love seeing how exciting and celebrated my kids feel.

I was lucky to land a hottie that understands my love of birthdays. Jake has been known to plan some fantastic, over-the-top parties for me over the years. One year he threw me a Sixteen and Pregnant Birthday Party/Baby Shower (I was actually 30 and pregnant, thank you very much. :)). And another year he planned a whole day of birthday party celebration that was supported by some awesome friends who watched our kids. Another year he made a 2 month long adventure (from my birthday to our anniversary) that included cracking codes and solving riddles. It was EPIC. And then there was the “Another World is Possible” party which started out as a scavenger hunt with some of my besties and ended up with a party in which people were dressed in other-world costumes. And of course, my Link (Legend of Zelda) mini-party.

All of this to say- birthdays rock!

BUT, dun dun dun. I stink at celebrating birthdays of people who are not in my zip code or city.  We have a lot of friends and family that fall into this category.

Typically I remember the day before that it’s so-and-so’s birthday tomorrow and I SHOULD have sent a card last week in order for it to get there on time.

Oh no! What’s their address?

I need to go buy a birthday card!

And, ugh I’m out of stamps! 

Sometimes I send the card late (sorry! here I am, belated again- yay!) or I send a nice email or e-gift card instead (thank you internet!).

This year (okay, just 2 days ago, sorry friends and family who have birthdays in January!) I’ve decided to do something different. I’m going to write out birthday cards for EVERYONE in the next 2 weeks. Like, for the entire year.  I’ll spend a little time thinking and praying over what to write and then get them signed, sealed, addressed and stamped, READY TO BE MAILED at a moment’s notice.

Why birthday cards that people will just throw away? Well, I think that it’s pretty fantastic to be showered with personal fun mail that can then sit around days after said birthday to remind you of your fantastic self. I rarely re-read emails, but special birthday cards are tucked in a special place that I revisit from time-to-time.

Anyway, I’ll give my experiment a whirl and see how it goes. Perhaps this will be the year that I get cards to my beloveds on their special day!

Anyone else have trouble mailing birthday cards? Or perhaps you do something different! How do you celebrate friends and family who are living far from you?

 

 

How to Slow Down in a Busy World {a Book Review}

I’m busy. You’re busy. We’re all just really busy.

It was predicted that our society would now be at the point where we would be working 20 hour work weeks and enjoying the extra time with our family and friends.

Turns out we’re working more hours than ever. And even for those who don’t work outside the home, they not only take care of their children all day, but are putting in long hours of work after kids are in bed to supplement the family income. See ya later free time- it was nice to know you!

Alli Worthingto feels the crunch. She’s an author, speaker, blogger, and Executive Director of Propel Women. She’s also a mom of 5 boys. *Gulp* (more…)

The Perfect Chore Checklist (for us)

perfect chore checklist

We finally found a chore checklist that works for us.

Historically, Jake and I haven’t been into charts and checklists and chores for our kids. We have the view that our kids are a part of our family and families work best when everyone is lending a hand. Chores aren’t done for money. They’re simply done because that’s what families gotta do.

While we’re still maintaining that general viewpoint, I knew that with going back to work soon we needed something to help us communicate effectively to them about what they needed to get done. I also needed something that would remind them even when I wasn’t here.

(more…)

Making a Yearly Family Soundtrack

Make your own family soundtrack

Music is powerful, especially when it comes to memories and emotions.

Prime Examples:

Whenever I hear Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road” I think about couple skating with Kyle in 4th grade. I was SO HAPPY that he finally asked me to skate with him, but equally as disappointed because in just a few short weeks I was moving to a new town.

Or Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic” — roller skating in 6th grade. I was very much in the middle of a teenage angst and this song sang right into my poor adolescent heart.  Middle school is hard, y’all.

Truly Madly Deeply by Savage Garden brings me back to high school– I listened to this song on repeat for an entire school year as I was going to sleep.  I’ll spare you the details of my emotions about this one ;).

So there’s that :). (more…)

2016: The Year of Positive Parenting

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We’ve had a rough year or two with parenting.

Jake and I started out parenting with a whole lot of energy. Sure we were stressed at different points and made poor choices at others, but overall, we had more than enough patience, compassion, and stamina to parent our kids well.

We were committed to spending a lot of quality time with them, listening, asking good questions, looking behind the behavior into the heart, calmly redirecting and being generally playful.

Somewhere along the way things began to shift.

We got tired.

We got distracted.

We got tired some more.

Our patience grew thin and our words got lazy.

(more…)

Review: Longing for Paris

 

Sarah Mae is a mom that many of us can relate to.

She loves her hubby and her kids like mad. But sometimes being around them all day, day in and day out, makes her feel like she’s GOING MAD! These are the times she dreams of heading to Paris and drink deep of all of the wonderful art, food, history and overall culture.

I think many of us have our “Paris” — a place or situation that has captured our curiosity, even maybe as early as our childhood– that we “go to” when life feels mundane. Australia. Disney World. The Mountains. The Beach. Some of us are super lucky that we get to GO to those places, but others of us are stuck only dreaming.

longing for paris (more…)

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