Being a mom is the hardest thing I've ever done, but it has brought me so much joy! I want to encourage other moms on their journey, I'll share motherhood tricks, spotlight tips I've learned from friends, and I hope you will share your ideas. I will focus on secrets that help families stay balanced, healthy, frugal, creative, and closely knit. I will also share favorite fiction and nonfiction books that I have enjoyed. Many blessings to you on your mothering journey!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Marriage Challenge

With Valentine's Day only a few weeks away, here's a great marriage buildling activity.  Check out Courtney's 25 Day Praise Plan - Marriage Challenge at the Women Living Well Blog.  You will be inspired to love your sweetheart and practice showing him how much you care about him.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dads and Daughters - Free Copy of the Book by James Dobson

Get a free copy of James Dobson's new book, Dads and Daughters Thanks to Faithful Provisions for the heads up!

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Sibling Rivalry - a repost from Generation Cedar

We all desire (or should!) to help our children tie heart strings with each other. ”Sibling rivalry” is so common in our day that many parents just accept it. I suggest to you that though sibling strife is common, and some would say normal, it should not be accepted in a Christian home as such.

It is possible and appropriate that siblings should share some of the tenderest, sweetest and most protective relationships of all. But unless we, as parents, understand this and are willing to do the hard work to cultivate it, we can expect nothing less than what comes naturally.

Read the rest of her practical post on Generation Cedar's website.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Be Firm Without Being Harsh - Parenting Tip from

Some parents believe that the only way to be firm is to be harsh. Firmness says that a boundary is secure and won't be crossed without a consequence. Harshness uses angry words and increased volume to make children believe that parents mean what they say. Some parents have assumed that firmness and harshness must go together. One mom said, "The thought of separating the two is like listening to a foreign language—it sounds nice but doesn't make any sense."
How do you make the change? Two things will help you remove harshness from your interaction with your children: Dialogue less and show less emotion. In an attempt to build relationship, some parents spend too much time dialoguing about instructions. They try to defend their words, persuade their children to do what they're told, or logically explain the value of obeying. This is often counterproductive. Parents then resort to anger to end the discussion, complicating matters further.

"But," one mom said, "I thought talking and showing emotion are signs of a healthy family, leading to closeness in family life." And that is true when they are used in the right way. Unfortunately, when added to the instruction process, these two ingredients confuse children and don't give them the clear boundaries they need. These are two good things, just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Firmness requires action, not anger. Having a toolbox of consequences is important to help move children along in life. It's not optional. Some parents use anger as their consequence. These parents need more tools that will help their children make lasting changes.

If you find yourself being harsh, take time to reevaluate your response. More action, less yelling can go a long way to bring about significant change.
What are some ways you've been able to remove harshness from your parenting? Click here to tell us about it.

This tip comes from the book, Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes In You and Your Kids, by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN. In chapter 6 you'll find more honor-based parenting skills.

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Following this concept has been HUGE in our household.  Following the advice of friends, we read Michael Pearl's book, To Train Up A Child.  Like Turansky & Miller, they focus on the parent staying calm, quiet, and very focused on first time obedience.  And if you don't follow through, you get consequences.  They also focus a lot on training children to do the right thing, so they are absolutely sure about the actions you expect from them.  It's a great read for a small group focused on parenting!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Good Toys for Young Children

I really like NAEYC's list about Good Toys for Young Children.  It doesn't name specific toys that children ages 0-6 should have.  Instead, it describes the types of toys children of various ages enjoy.  It's a great platform for assessing your toy chest and thinking out-of-the-box about other household objects that could be the perfect toys for your children.

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Friday, January 07, 2011

Love Languages - How They Impact Marriages

Our marriage has greatly benefitted from the simply study of Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  His work talks about the primary way that we like to give and receive love.  I would recommend reading his book or exploring his website, but here is a simple reflection tool to ponder which of the 5 love languages is your primary language.  (The italicized words are copied from Chapman's website)

Words of Affirmation
Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.
§ Likes praise, encouragement, and compliments
§ Dislikes hurtful words and deceit
Quality Time
In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.
§ Dislikes distractions or attempting to multitask while listening
Receiving Gifts
Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.
§ Dislikes thoughtless actions and forgotten moments will hurt this person.
Acts of Service
Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.
§ Dislikes irresponsibility and laziness
Physical Touch
This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.
§ Dislikes isolation and inaccessibility 

After you consider your primary language, consider how it impacts your marriage relationship. 
How do you and your spouse express your love for one another? 
Are you communicating in ways that your spouse really hears?  
What can you learn from this to strengthen your marriage? 
Likes hugs, holding hands, kisses and physical intimacy 
Likes helpfulness - doing the laundry or getting a cup of coffee or running errands
Likes to give and receive gifts – whether it’s a flower or a gift certificate or an extravagant gift
Likes to give and receive undivided attention in conversation and activities