Thursday, March 29, 2012

Free Book for Easter Ideas

We only have about a week left before Easter, so you just have a few days to win this free book - Creating Family Traditions by Shirley Dobson and Gloria Gaither that just happens to include my very favorite simple Easter Tradition – Resurrection Rolls! Yummy! For a chance to win, all you have to do is leave a comment. I would love to hear how you teach your children about the joy of Christ's Resurrection at Easter.
Resurrection Rolls 
Ingredients -
1 package of frozen dinner rolls (My favorites are Rhoades Rolls)
1 package of large marshmallows (24)
1/2 stick of melted butter
1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions -
1. Thaw Rolls.
2. Flatten roll and wrap it around one marshmallow pinching dough to seal it inside.
3. Dip in melted butter, and then roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture.
4. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
4. Let rolls rise until they double in size (30-60 minutes).
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until golden.

Your family will devour these rolls Easter morning. The hollow center will remind them of the empty tomb. Talk to them about how empty your lives would be without Christ.

I am looking forward to hearing about your meaningful Easter ideas.

Monday, March 26, 2012

"Tell your Face"

My husband doesn't ask much from me, but he does like for me to be happy. On a much needed lunch date we had recently, he asked me, "Are you having a good time?" I responded, "Yes!" To this he replied, "Well, you need to tell your face!"

My husband is wonderful at using humor and candor to help me realize my blindspots and overcome bad habits. I did not realize that my face was in a bad habit of looking stressed, tired, and worried.  The root problem here, of course, is that if I do not have a habit of true joy and contentment in my heart than it is hard to show that emotion on my face consistently.

Play a game of face charades with your kids where you take turns acting out with your faces different feelings or emotions. Talk to them about how our faces reflect our heart feelings. Ask yourself and your kids, "What is usually reflected on your face?" How can we improve our heart feelings?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Simple Pleasures - Fun Friday

Yesterday, I was surprised to hear my daughter say, "I had the best day ever!"  From her excitement, you would have thought she had just returned from a day at Disneyland.  Yet truthfully her day just included some quality time with the family in the morning, and then an afternoon with my thoughtful father-in-law who is an expert at enjoying the simple things in life. He took them to Sonic, the park, and the candystore. This was a good reminder to me to enjoy the simple pleasures in life with my kids. We have been to the beach, the lake, the mountains and more, but still my kids favorite "vacation" of all time is when we spent the night in a nice hotel downtown. I am always trying to come up with grand plans to entertain my kids when really they would be just as happy enjoying simple time with me playing soccer outside, going to the park, eating icecream, blowing bubbles, or playing board games.

What are some simple pleasures that you and your children share? If you are not sure, just ask them what they want to do today.  While you are enjoying your time together, remember to thank God for all the simple pleasures in your life!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"I'm Bored!"

When you give your kids some down time during this spring break, let me challenge you to face those dreaded words, "Mom, I'm bored" with boldness. My mom used to always say to me, "Only boring people get bored." I have to admit that I did not want to be a boring person, but I think I like the below options better.

1. "Let's think of something fun to do." - Direct them to the game closet, new craft supplies, the water hose, the outdoors, blankets for a fort, new books from the library, etc.
2. "If you can't find something to do, I can think of lots of things you can help me with." Give them some examples of jobs such as organizing, dishes, etc. You may be surprised that sometimes that actually do want to help you. 
3. "If you are bored, then serve the Lord." Be ready with some good ideas for serving others like helping an elderly neighbor, making a card or cookies for a friend, talking to a lonely relative on the telephone. Let them think of those that they know that may have a need.

Share with other moms how do you respond to those dreaded words, "Mom, I'm bored?"

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Take a Break from Busyness - Mom Mondays

Happy Spring Break!  I know this is a crazy idea, but have you thought of actually taking a break this week by staying home, relaxing, and doing as little as possible. Our regular busy schedule of dragging kids from school to gymnastics, to soccer, to piano, to church, etc. is so tiring. I don't know why we are tempted to try to schedule outings everyday during our spring break as well, instead of taking a break from the busyness. Are we scared of what might happen if our children have a little "down time"? We continuously entertain our children and then we wonder why they lack creativity and why they don't know how to entertain themselves. I know it will be hard, but try to stay home and do nothing at least for a couple days this week. You will be surprised at how much you and your kids will actually enjoy it, once they learn to relax.

How do you encourage creativity in your children? Do you have any good suggestions about fun activities your family likes to do while relaxing at home?

Don't miss my next blog about what to do when you hear those dreaded words 'Mom, I'm bored'?

Friday, March 16, 2012

OOC - Fun Friday

Do you ever feel like your kids or your life are totally Out Of Control!?! Christ wants us to have self-control, but he does not want us to be control freaks.  We are supposed to put Christ at the control center of our lives, not ourselves. I have to admit. I have trouble giving things over to Christ instead of holding them tightly in my hot little hand, worrying and trying to make everything work out exactly as I have planned. I am officially a control freak. I like to always have a plan and follow the plan. Order, rules, and a schedules make me feel secure and in control. However, as you know, life is unpredictable and kids always throw a wrench in perfectly made plans. Are you going to wait until the meltdown when you feel like you are about to be overwhelmed and OOC before you trust Christ and let him take control? As moms, we have to learn to trust Christ more and be flexible otherwise we will reach our braking point very quickly. 

This weekend do something Out Of Control with your kids.
  1. Make a mud hole in your back yard and let them get completely dirty.
  2. It is supposed to be nice out. Go crazy with a water fight using hoses, water guns, or wet sponges.
  3. Let them make art on baking sheets or right on the table with non-menthol shaving creme.
  Talk to them about how when we give our worries over to Christ, and trust Him for guidance to work out all our plans for His glory, we are much more flexible and fun. Things work out so much better when Christ is in control.  "Oh, the joys of those who trust in the Lord." - Psalm 40:4

Monday, March 12, 2012

Everyone Agrees - Seize the Day! - Teaching Tuesdays

All the experts -secular and Christian- agree that we need to seize the days when our children are young.  "Children's lifelong morals and values are determined at an early age." (Most say before the age of 6.) This quote is the main focus on the homepage of a secular site for online stories that teaches morals. The stories are great for entertaining little ones and teaching very basic morals at the same time. Go to for more info.

The older your kids get, the less influence you have over them. Quit making excuses! Make the moments count! Mold your wet cement! These moments are fleeting! I think you get the point. You don't have to make some grand detailed curriculumn to teach your kids character. It can be as simple as explaining to them why you do what you do while you are doing it, celebrating the holidays from a Christian perspective, or reading them a story with a Christian message or moral before bedtime.
Now, let us all go and seize the day! 

Mini Me - Mom Mondays

       The wonderful and frustrating thing about our children is that they are mini versions of ourselves. If you find yourself "butting heads" with one of your children more than the others, it may be because they are the most like you. From my conflicts and observations of my most spirited and particular child, I have learned things about myself that I had never realized before - good and bad.
           My exhortation to you and myself today is to use these realizations as positive learning and growing experiences instead of fuel for irritation or self-loath. Think upon the blessing that similarities create great bonding opportunities whether it is enjoying similar fun activities or working together to become better at common flaws. Also, you can be grateful that you understand their feelings and their perspective on life; therefore, are able to respond to and help them deal with situations better. Lastly, it is self-affirming to see in their endearing personalities, that you do have many positive characteristics that you have passed onto them as well.
P.S. On a funny side note, I found this unique website called, where you can actually send them a photo, and they will make a personalized bobblehead doll from it for about $65.00.  I am content with having my daughter be my mini me.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Focus - Fun Fridays

     God developed us girls with the great ability to multi-task knowing that this is a key survival skill for moms.  However, if we are always flitting from one thing to the next, many things get worked on, but not much gets completely finished. When I continually go day to day surviving, but not getting anything completely checked off my list, I start to feel overwhelmed and frustrated. My natural inclination is to make grand plans and lists of all the things I am going to complete the next day, which only leads to more frustration. Before I totally freak out, my wise and loving husband steps in to encourage me with his amazing ability to focus. His advice is, "Just handle all the things that come at you daily (such as daily care of the children, mail, phone calls, etc.), then try to get one additional thing done - just one."  This doesn't sound like much, but you will be surprised at how fast your 'to do' list shrinks if you consistently stay on top of the daily tasks and just add one extra thing everyday. The 'one thing' could be big or small - talk to your seven year old about responsibility while you do daily chores side by side, clean out the refrigerator, visit with your great grandmother on the phone, organize your closet, make sure you connect on a deep level with your preteen, finish one conversation with your husband, etc.
       What are you going to focus on this weekend?  Since there are three days counting today, I am planning three things this weekend - 1. for fun and relationship building- let them pick one fun activity for me to do with them 2. for learning - give the person who can go the longest without complaining or whining a prize, and 3. for household maintenance - try to find the surface on my desk.  I would love to hear what 'one thing' you are going to focus on soon, or any methods that you use to help you be more effective in your home. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Don't Judge Me - Wise Wednesdays

    My sweet, sweet friend Paula Hand posted the above quote on facebook yesterday.  A new column entitled "Don't Judge Me" in a popular parenting magazine is a huge success, because so many of us are feeling a bit convicted by this quote. I have always felt completely comfortable and accepted by Paula, and now I know why.  Unlike the average female, she is never judging me, or focusing on my faults. She is only loving me for who I am.  Father, please help me to focus on loving the positives in others - encouraging them to be the best that they can be- and leave the judging to You. Only You know the whole heart story behind every person and the struggles and blessings they are currently distracted by.  I want to be an example to my children of one who unconditionally loves, assumes the best, and overlooks shortfalls in others.  Yet I also want to continually search my own life for weaknesses and strongholds that need to be removed.  Father, please help me overcome my giant blindspots ('the beam in my eye') in order to see more clearly to help others.  (Luke 6: 41 & 42)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Giving Up - Guest Blogger Tara Hicks

See how happy we
can be when we give up on
keeping things perfectly clean?
We are now 2 months into the new year and if you are like me, your New Year's resolutions have now been packed neatly away with the last box of Christmas decorations that were in a heap in your garage.

There is one resolution that I am still feeling good about though. I'm holding to it...

2012 is my year of giving up...

By the end of 2011, I found I was tired...REALLY tired.  Now, some of that was due to the three children - 5, 2, and infant living in my house; however, I realized I brought much of that exhaustion on myself with a large spoonful of guilt.  I had been killing myself to keep the house and laundry perfectly cleaned and dinners perfectly cooked. I was getting so caught up in the never-ending-ness of my jobs as house manager that I was miserable.  I was constantly barking at my family to pick up and clean up.  I stopped inviting people over because I was too tired to do a complete cleaning, only to have to clean up again after they ate a high preparation meal that broke our grocery budget.

So my solution for 2012 was to resolutely give up - okay, it is more of a letting go of my idea of perfection.  I still try to keep the toilet relatively clean and my house straightened, but with the understanding that I have 3 young kids that are constantly getting into something. My friends understand this reality. I have found that if they are greeted with a warm smile, warm cup of coffee, and a simple coffee cake, they don't even notice the dirty dishes in the sink, or a few crumbs on the floor.

Letting myself off the hook of perfection, has helped me realize that managing my home properly is more of a heart issue than a physical issue.  My heart is now more geared to grace and mercy (for myself and others) and less on control and perfection.  My family is happier. I am happier and more rested. And really, I think I might be getting almost as much done as before.  Whew... who knew giving up could look and feel so good?

- Tara Hicks is a military wife,  stay-at-home mother of three, colossal crafter, cooking genius, and friend extraordinaire.  Thanks for sharing Tara!

On Tara's suggestion, I am going to give up my perfect record of blogging every weekday since the beginning of the year. From here on out, I will blog 2 to 3 times a week! What are you going to give up that is not necessary, but that you are holding onto just for the picture of perfection? Seek God's direction in what He thinks you should let go of. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Free Book! and Fun with Scriptures - Fun Friday

      Pick one of the 'one-another' verses we talked about on Wednesday and take some time this weekend to have fun with your kids and the Scriptures. There are whole books on the idea of teaching your children the Scriptures in fun ways, my favorite one is Hide It in Your Heart by Gloria Gaither and Shirley Dobson.  Here are some basic ideas you can run with:
   1. Word Games - Write out Scripture verses and then make a puzzle out of it - crossword puzzle, word find, etc. There are computer programs for all of these online.
   2. Hide and Seek Game - Hide each word of the verse in a different location, making the children repeat the verse every time someone finds a word.
   3. Acting - Have your kids write and act out a play that demonstrates a verse.
   4. Crafts - Illustrating a verse helps them understand it better. Make any kind of framed art, markers on a pillowcase, playdo sculpture, etc.  Or you can just write the words to a verse in a decorative way - stencil project, cross-stitch, bubble letters, etc.
   5. Music - make up your own song, find one on itunes, or download a Christian artist. Steve Green and the Hide 'Em in Your Heart series are my favorites.

******Important Announcement! On that note;) Congratulations Julie Wenning! You are the winner of the drawing for the Steve Green CD/DVD combo!  Contact me to claim your prize! There will be another drawing this month.  All you have to do is comment on my blog anytime in the month of March to be entered in the drawing that will be announced on the first of April!)

    I would love to hear about any of your fun ideas for Hiding God's Word in Your Child's Heart.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Friendtentional- Guest Blogger Kristin Cook

Diane, Saradee, Whitney, and Kristin
 I am so thankful that I have such wonderful friendships at this stage in my life. I can’t imagine going through ‘mommy-hood’ without them. My friends bless my life through shared  stories, encouragement, help and prayer. However, in the busyness of life, sometimes those friendships can go unattended. Friendships need maintaining, time and effort, in order to grow. Often with all the social media available, we see posts or recent happenings with friends and feel like we are up to speed with what’s going on in their lives and therefore don’t invest in face-to-face time. I have been challenged this year to be more intentional in building closer relationships. Less Facebook time and more face-to-face time. More scheduling fun, girly lunches and/or hosting girls' nights. More good conversations during playdates and coffee dates after the kids are in bed. Friendships are such a blessing and I want to make sure I’m making an intentional effort to give support and encouragement to my friends!

Do you have any great ideas about how to be more friendtentional (intentional about supporting and encouraging your friends)?  We would love to hear about them.

- Kristin Cook owns her own amazing photography business (, and is a mother of three young children. She is also a wonderful example of someone who is friendtentional!Thanks for sharing, Kristin.