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Kitchen Scale from TMart {Giveaway!}

This post is written in partnership with TMart. All opinions are my own. 

Today's giveaway is for a digital kitchen scale, as seen here: from TMart.

What do people use kitchen scales for? Many bakers spout the number one benefit being that you can accurately measure flour. Measuring a cup of flour is not the same for everyone--my cup of flour will be a different weight than your cup of flour. It is impacted by your strength, angle, and scooping method. So some recipes have ounces rather than cups for things like flour. If you have recipes that don't use flour, some chefs recommend you weigh as you make the recipe one time and take notes.

That all sounds tedious to me. For me, it is nice to be able to weigh fruits and vegetables. It is also nice to be able to weigh meats if I am calorie counting since my app likes meat in ounces (and my eyeballs don't happen to be calibrated). This scale is battery operated and simple to use:

Would you like to try it out? Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • You must enter the giveaway to have an entry.
  • You must fulfill the rules of each entry for each entry to count. If I see the entry is not valid (did not meet entry requirements), I will disqualify your entry. Trust me, I check.
  • Entries will be accepted until 12:00 midnight February 7, 2014 (so that means you will not be able to enter on the 31 at all--entries through Thursday).
  • The winner will be randomly selected through Rafflecopter.
  • The winner will be announced sometime after the winner is chosen. I will email the winner.
  • Once the winner is announced, you will have one week to contact me or another winner will be chosen. Be sure to check back and/or check your email. The only thing worse than not winning is to win but not realize it in time.
  • I will not use your email address for any purpose other than contacting you if you are the winner (and FYI, I don't have access to the email addresses except for the winner).

Making Laundry Easier (and more tolerable!) {5 Tips}

If you have been reading my blog for an extended time, or if you have read back through a few of my posts on cleaning, then you have probably picked up on how I feel about laundry. Let's just say--not good. I wasn't sure why, but I have pondered and come to a conclusion. I hate laundry because it takes FOREVER to be able to cross it off my to-do list. I like to do mine all in one day, but even if you are a one-load-a-day type, it isn't that you spend a good 20-30 minutes and it is done. No. You spend your time to sort, then start a load. Then you wait. Then you move it to the dryer. Then you wait. Then you can fold and put away. I like to get my chores done and over with first thing, so to drag it out is pretty much torturous for me.

And THAT is why I hate laundry so.

But, as I shared last year, I have been working on improving my attitude toward laundry. And in my efforts to do so, I have found some things that work to make it a bit more tolerable. (for previous tips, see Quick Cleaning: Laundry Day.

I found some smaller hampers to use and replace my older ones that took up more space. This way, I can have more hampers in the same area--which means laundry can be automatically sorted as it is put in hampers. This means less sorting on laundry day. Follow me? Easier.

This is linked to Amazon, but I am pretty sure if Walmart still carries them, you can get them cheaper there. So if you are interested in this, you might want to shop around first. 

2-Laundry Garment Bags
A huge annoyance with laundry is folding socks. You have to sort out the matches, and them match them, and then the most annoying aspect of all is when you have that stray sock that apparently was "eaten" in the laundry process of the day.

If you find this annoying, also, try this out. Get a garment laundry bag. Give one to each person in the family. As that person takes socks off each day, that person puts the socks in the bag. Then on laundry day, you zip it up (important step here--zip it up. If you don't, it negates the whole process. We have learned through sad experience). Put it in the washer. Then move the bag to the dryer, then that person gets the bag back and can fold the socks and put them away.

It isn't a perfect solution, and it takes cooperation from the kids, but it can work if you can get the family on board!

Side note: If you ever need to wash a stuffed animal (because puke happens!), put it in one of these bags. 

3-Start Loads the Night Before
I have found a magical solution to make my process the next day shorter. My washing machine has a setting where I can delay the start of my load. So the night before laundry day, I put the first load in the washer. I put my detergent in the detergent spot. Then I turn it on and choose "delay wash." I set it to start so that the load finishes right before I wake up in the morning. The next morning, I wake up and the first thing I do is move that load to the dryer and start the next load. This is my favorite tip! (so why put it at number 3? I don't know, that is where it landed). It shortens the day of laundry, which I like, so it is a huge bonus for me.

So a side-tip to this one is to figure out what it is about laundry you don't like so much and figure out a way to solve or relieve that problem.

4-Use the Kids!
My kids help a lot with laundry. They sort their hamper (they only have space for their one so theirs needs to be sorted). Then they are in charge of folding all socks (ha ha!). Then they put away what they are able to put away. Brayden (8) and Kaitlyn (6) put 100% of their own laundry away. McKenna (4) does everything that is not hung up. 

5-Find the routine that works for you
I find doing all loads in one day the best option for me. I also find most moms agree with that, so if you haven't tried it, give it a try. Some moms prefer one load a day. We all have different tolerances and preferences, so figure out what works for you and do it.

I have lots of laundry tips pinned on my Cleaning board on Pinterest!

I surveyed my friends and got some more good tips. Most came from my friend Laura, mom to 8. She obviously needs to have her laundry streamlined to maintain some measure of sanity.

1-Don't Fold--Pile
Laura doesn't fold, she piles her laundry. Each person has a pile to put away. She also doesn't fold for her younger ones--she says that way when her kids pull their clothes out of the dresser drawers, she can still like them :)

2-Don't even fold socks--just group them
Laura buys one style and color of sock and everyone just shares those. Then there is no need to sort or match socks. And another friend mentioned that mis-matched socks are in style right now, so if you ever want to try this out, now is the time to do so!

3-Don't sort baby loads
Another friend, Brooke, said she washes each child's clothes in their own load on cold and doesn't bother with sorting them into different loads.

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Have the Courage to Be a Parent

In our modern day, most if not all parents find themselves faced with the decision of being a friend vs. parent to your child. More and more parents are choosing friend. Childwise talks about this choice and points out that friend can come at some point, but not until the child is much older. Your child has one set of parents, but many opportunities for friends, so it makes sense to be a parent to your child and let the friends be friends.

Being a parent takes courage.

"Parents must have the courage to filter or monitor Internet access, television, movies, and music. Parents must have the courage to say no, defend truth, and bear powerful testimony." Elder Quentin L. Cook

If we don't have the courage to do these things for our children, who will? If we aren't willing to step up and provide this parenting authority figure over our children, who will?

Is it frightening? Absolutely! That is why it takes courage. I frequently find myself puzzled over the fact that I am supposedly old enough and "wise" enough to be raising children. How can I possibly be enough to lead them as they should go? How can I be given that responsibility? I can't really! I need to rely on the Lord. But I need to have the courage to take those frightening steps that are necessary to raise my children. Having courage means you do it even though it is frightening.

Having the courage to be a parent will mean we will find ourselves needing to make decisions for our children that will leave them angry at us. Children do not know what is best for them. Children might want to play a certain game that "everyone" is talking about at school--a game you know isn't age appropriate (or maybe even just appropriate) for your child. "But when everyone talks about it, I feel left out." This is a real conversation I have had with one of my children. 

And my heart goes out! No one wants to feel left out. No parent wants their child to be or feel left out. That is a painful feeling. The trick is to keep in mind what you want more than for your child to not feel left out. I care more for my child's overall character and moral development than if he/she feels left out during conversations at school.

It is helpful to be friends with parents of your children's parents. I have a friend whose children complain about how "everyone" has a cell phone but them. She points out the children she knows for a fact who do not have cell phones (and it happens to far out number the children who do). This helps you assure your children (and yourself!) that "everyone" is a bit of an exaggeration. 

I loved a story I recently heard that illustrated this concept of being a parent before a friend--and being a parent of your child's soul rather than just the mortal body. I will summarize the story, but you can read the original here

A family in the 1800s left Scottland and came to the United States seeking religious freedom. The father died shortly after they arrived, and the mother was left with 8 children. The 12 year old daughter was able to find employment with a family who was not religious. 

This girl worked as a nanny for this wealthy family. She spent four years with them, and over the years she became like a member of the family. They bought fine clothing for her and paid for her to have things like dance lessons and to take her to the theatre. 

When this girl was 16, the family was being transferred out of the state for work. They wanted to take her along and adopt her. They promised to take great care of her, educate her, and to make sure she married well. The girl desperately wanted to go! And who could blame her? And what would you expect from a 16 year old? 

Her mother, however, did not hesitate to say no. Her love of her daughter prevented her from allowing monetary comfort to overtake spiritual salvation. This mother had sacrificed much for her religion and she was not going to allow her daughter to give up on something so vital for comfort and riches. 

I can imagine the pain this mother faced as her 16 year old begged to go. I can imagine the scoffs she got from others as she "denied" this opportunity of her daughter. She was probably not very popular for a while! But this girl grew to be a woman, and she recognized the love of her mother and the reasons she did what she did--and the girl was glad. And her posterity is glad.

Have you ever felt like you should cut back or cut off TV? Computer? Video games? Ever had to administer a consequence that you knew would be upsetting to your child? It isn't easy! We want our children to be happy, content, and comfortable. But we need to have the courage needed to limit, ban, and take things away when necessary. Because if we don't, who will? Who can? This is our job.

You can be a friend someday. Today your first title is parent. Friend only comes if it doesn't interfere with parent. 

And that doesn't mean you can't be close with your child. We explain to our children that our job as parents is to do what we believe to be best for them. I have rules of what they can and can't eat for breakfast on school days. I explain the rule is there for their benefit--I don't want them hungry at school before lunch. They don't either! When they understand that my motivations are out of love, they are more accepting of rules even if they don't love them. 

Have courage to be a parent. Doing that is being the best friend your child can ever hope to have. 

Brinley Pre-Toddler Summary {17.5 Months Old}

Bowling with the family
This is a summary for Brinley from 17-17.5 months old. Do you realize there are two weeks until she moves from pre-toddler to toddler?!?!? I am so glad Pre-Toddlerwise came out so I could have a six month buffer before my baby jumped to toddler. With Brayden and Kaitlyn, the book was not out so they went from "baby" to "toddler" overnight.

Sleep was great!

Eating was great and normal. She still will drop food when she is done if you don't respond to her fast enough, however, she will attempt to get your attention and even attempt to hand you the food before she moves to dropping food, so improvement is slowly but surely being made.

The first week of this period, Brinley was so super clingy. She was not interested in playing with her siblings; she wanted to be with her parents at all times. She would be fine in independent play, but if she was out, she was attached to us.

She also came to love the art of removing everything from cupboards. And then removing contents from whatever she removed from the cupboard (including tampons...). This has been super helpful while I have had a hurt foot (and I mean that as sarcastically as I can manage). I have never had a child so intent on emptying every cupboard in the house. We don't have dangerous things down low, so my plan is to verbally redirect and teach her to stay out. That has proven to be more difficult to enforce while I am walking at about a quarter of her speed (IF I walk at all). So doors are being closed to a lot of rooms right now. 

The second week of this period, she got quite independent and wanted to play with siblings again. I don't know if she outgrew a wonder week, got over sickness or teething pain, or what, but she moved on. I am sure it helped that I have been hurt (for those reading this in future months and years, I tore ligaments in my foot and have been quite incapacitated for a while). As a recap, the first day that it was just Brinley and me, she cried and was so offended that I wouldn't carry her everywhere. Then the next day I got her up and told her she had to walk and I couldn't carry her and she responded, "kay" and went on like a champ! She has obviously felt proud of acting like a big girl and being a good helper. 

She has had longer independent play--about 1.5 hours instead of 1 hour. She is perfectly happy and it is very helpful for me right now to have an extra 30 minutes of her being physically contained in one room. 

I forgot to share last time that over Christmas break, my husband really worked to teach Brinley to safely go down the stairs alone. I am so glad! She can do stairs by herself, which is good since I can't carry her right now. 

I love this age. I know a lot about my babies from birth, but there is a point (about this age) that they really start to show a lot about who they are. I love seeing the personality emerging. Brinley is a happy girl, a helpful girl, a girl who loves to laugh, an obedient girl, and a girl who is a little crazy. She can be wild.

Brinley has been such a good helper to me the last couple of weeks. She throws stuff away for me. She cleans stuff up for me. Most importantly, she has been a gem in the obedience department. She goes where I tell her to and when I tell her to. It is so nice she isn't taking advantage of my hurt foot and running wherever she wants to go.

No new teeth during this two weeks.

At church, I am the choir director. I have also been teaching a youth Sunday School class with my husband. My husband was recently asked to teach the adult Sunday school and I was asked to help in the nursery (18 months to age 3). Because I am in there, Brinley is in there early. She has done great! My only worry is how will she respond when I am not there if she gets used to me always being there. I will not be in there every week, so we will see how she is on days I am out.

Brinley says words, but I was feeling worried about how much she was (or wasn't) talking. I know what she is saying is perfectly in the range of normal for her age, but I still worried because moms worry. I decided I should make a list of words she says. I believe the average for an 18 month old is 20 words. I didn't think she said that many. But as I made my list, I soon found she has well over 50 words. So my point here is if you are worried about your child's verbal skills, write down your child's word list so you know if things are okay or if you need to bring up concerns with the pediatrician. 

Surviving Diaper Rash

image source
The entire time Brayden was in diapers, he never had a diaper rash. I figured I was pretty hot stuff and an amazing preventor of the rashes. Kaitlyn came along and only ever had a rash from yeast. Again, more evidence to support my amazing abilities in avoiding diaper rashes. And come on, it was so easy. I really couldn't see how a diaper rash was even possible.

Then along came McKenna. And she got diaper rashes! I was doing the same things I had done with my first two children. Despite that, the rashes would come. And they were bad! I did some research and significantly upped my game, and they would still come sometimes! McKenna has eczema, and I am sure that contributes to her propensity for rashes. Brinley has a milder form of eczema, and she also will get rashes at times, though not as often as McKenna did.

I share that with you to let those of you with rash-less children know that a baby with a diaper rash is not being neglected and you do not have super-mom powers. And I also share it so those of you with children with rashes know that you are still a great mom! 

Now, there are many ways people treat a diaper rash. I asked my readers on Facebook how they survive the diaper rash, and I have included a list of their answers below. You will see many answers! Why are there so many answers? Probably in large part because babies have different skin types, so different things will work for different babies. Another reason is that there are so many things on the market to help with rashes, and when you find something that works for that baby, you hold fast to it! 

How I Survive a Diaper Rash
First, let me share my method with you for a diaper rash. This is a diaper rash, not a yeast rash (caused by thrush). As soon as you see a sign of a rash, start trying to get rid of it. If you fix it fast, you won't get to the point of extreme pain for your baby. You can fix a rash before it starts in a few hours. Once you have a full-blown rash, it can take days to fix. 

First, I change diapers at least twice as often as I do on a normal basis. I don't want the baby sitting in a soiled diaper at all

I rinse with water. Water is amazing. I don't typically give my babies with eczema a bath daily, but I find a daily bath (or more) during a diaper rash is very helpful in speeding up the healing process. I also will use a peri bottle (like you get at the hospital after you give birth) and spray the baby off during diaper changes. 

I love Baking soda for a diaper rash. A diaper rash is acidic and baking soda is a base, so it helps neutralize the acid. It helps heal very quickly. During baths, I will dump some baking soda in the water. I will also add some to the peri bottle if things are getting bad. But note here, the baking soda can potentially sting your baby. So I spray it on, then I wipe it off with a wet wipe (we use Huggies Natural Care Fragrance Free Baby Wipes). If you spray it and leave it, it might really sting your baby, so wipe it off well. Then let it air dry.

Once we have the area clean and dry, I put some Aquaphor in the palm of my hand and add a drop or two of Lavender oil. I mix that up and then put it on the rash. Lavender oil helps heal broken skin. I then follow that up with some Desitin Maximum Strength Paste in the purple tube. 

For prevention, we use Desitin Maximum Strength Paste in the purple tube. With McKenna, I used it at every diaper change. With Brinley, I only need to use it at night. If her skin gets a little bit red at all, I use the Desitin until it is back to normal color.

For Brayden and Kaitlyn, I used Boudreaux's Butt Paste at night. I think you need something on each night to prevent diaper rash. 

How You Survive Diaper Rash
Here is the list of your ideas. Try different things until you find what works, and once you know what works for your child, stick to it!

Diaper Change Care
  • No Wipes--wet wash cloth
  • Air drying
  • Water. Wash with water and air dry
  • Frequent diaper changes
  • Bare bottom time
  • Organic Diapers
Home Remedies
  • Breastmilk on cotton ball
  • Coconut oil for yeast (or for all!)--great for prevention, too
  • Lavender
  • Corn Starch
  • Baking soda
  • Oatmeal bath: plain oatmeal in a towel and tie it up. Put in the bath with baby and squeeze it often to get liquid out.

If you have anything to add, please do so! Comment and share what you do to survive a diaper rash.

If you liked this post, you might also like:

12 Weeks to Greater Peace, Joy & Love in Your Family {Giveaway!}

Today's giveaway is for the book 12 Weeks to Greater Peace, Joy & Love in Your Family. This is a self-help book that takes you through a 12 week process that helps you remove emotional baggage from your past and live happily in your present. 

We all have ups and downs in life. Many of us might even have baggage from our past we are unwittingly carrying around with us, impacting our daily lives. Inside the family we find our most exquisite joys, but also our most poignant moments of pain and ongoing frustration. It’s so easy to mess up these relationships! 

12 Weeks to Greater Peace, Joy and Love is the ultimate family guidebook to transform challenging relationships into loving ones. With over twenty-seven years’ experience in marriage, parenting and child development, energy healing practitioner and parent consultant Jennifer Jones Smith offers simple, yet profound wisdom on these essential topics:

* Empower yourself with greater self-love, self-compassion and confidence.
   (Remember peace on earth and in the family begins with “me.”)
* Infuse love, joy and respect into your marriage and family relationships.
* Increase harmony among your children and success with chores and homework.
* Transform the feeling in your home by building unity with an uplifting environment.

This empowering self-help book is written in a clearly outlined form. Jennifer and parent contributors share heart-felt stories that apply to us all. Mantras and specific assignments help readers connect with their own affirmative life force. This is an indispensable resource for every family library. Let this book infuse your family with greater peace, joy and love in as little as 12 weeks!

Get sneak peeks about this book, download 4 Empower Your Family surveys, learn about the $160 in bonuses available on launch day, and be the first to know when "12 Weeks to Greater Peace, Joy & Love in Your Family" is available by visiting

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • You must enter the giveaway to have an entry.
  • You must fulfill the rules of each entry for each entry to count. If I see the entry is not valid (did not meet entry requirements), I will disqualify your entry. Trust me, I check.
  • Entries will be accepted until 12:00 midnight January 31, 2013 (so that means you will not be able to enter on the 31 at all--entries through Thursday).
  • The winner will be randomly selected through Rafflecopter.
  • The winner will be announced sometime after the winner is chosen. I will email the winner.
  • Once the winner is announced, you will have one week to contact me or another winner will be chosen. Be sure to check back and/or check your email. The only thing worse than not winning is to win but not realize it in time.
  • I will not use your email address for any purpose other than contacting you if you are the winner (and FYI, I don't have access to the email addresses except for the winner).

Reader Waking Early from Naps Questions

  • Kristen said...
    Hi!!Thank you so much for your website! I'm new to the BW method, having heard about it from friends. Our son is almost 8 weeks old (tomorrow!!) and we're wanting to start getting him on a schedule. I have a question that may be silly. Does the feeding time count as part of the "wake" period? For instance, if it takes 10 min to feed or say even a half hour sometimes, should that be deducted from the overall wake time? I have so many questions, but have been going through your site a ton to see if I can find the answer myself before bugging you! One other one, that I think I saw from December [2007] - If the baby nly sleeps for say 25-45 minutes, should we get them up and do the next feeding early? Or start the awake time then and then just try to wait till the next feeding? I think the way I understand it is if they are happy, then just wait, but if they are starting to cry, like they are hungry, then to go ahead and do it early. Is that right? Thanks for all the helpful tips!
    February 13, 2008 9:33 AM 
    Plowmanators said...
    A lot of people ask that question about waketime. The answer is yes, feeding counts as waketime. See this post: The method you choose for early waking is up to you. There are so many possibilities, and I think the solution lies in the baby's personality. For a baby the age of yours, I would first feed him when he wakes. That way you are sure it isn't a hunger problem. BW says if you get them up and they take a full feeding, then you know he was hungry. If not, you know it was something else. Also, if you know he isn't waking out of hunger, I would always feed by 2.5 hours if he is up. The schedule can be 2.5-3 hours, so if he is awake anyway, I would feed him at 2.5. But yes, always feed if baby is hungry. Welcome to the site and please feel free to ask questions!
    February 13, 2008 10:21 AM

Torn Ligaments and Motherhood

image source
There I was. First night of basketball season. I love playing basketball. I am no professional, but I love to play. It is my favorite sport to play. I love January-March when I get to get out once a week and go play basketball with other moms in my town. We have so much fun and get a good workout in.

My whole life, I have played basketball in my basketball shoes. That is what my dad taught me to do so I have done it. This night, however, I decided to go in my running shoes. My running shoes are significantly more comfortable and broken in than my basketball shoes and I have noticed many of the moms go in their running shoes. No biggie. 

Until I went up for a shot and in the scuffle got knocked so I came down wrong on my foot.

Very wrong.

And I didn't even make my shot.

I felt a pop and then shooting pain and a rushing sound in my ears. My first thought was "oh great. Nate (my husband) is going out of town (for business) in a couple of days. This will make things harder." My friends helped me off the court (including my 9 month pregnant friend--she was just watching--yes we are that fun). They got some snow from outside in a garbage back and I left my shoe on and put my foot on a chair and continued watching. 

Things weren't getting any more painful and I could hobble along out to my car pretty much unassisted, so I assured everyone I would be back next week. Give me a couple of days to heal.

Then I got home and checked things out. 

Not looking so good. But I was sure I would be fine in a couple of days. I decided I had better take the next week off of basketball. I ended up being in so much pain I only got a couple of interrupted hours of sleep that night.

The next morning, I couldn't walk on it. My mom came over to help out and declared I was going to the doctor. Since my husband was going out of town, she slept over to help with kids. I couldn't pick Brinley up--I couldn't handle her weight. My mom once did something similar and did not go to the doctor and after years, she ended up with surgery.

I got in to the doctor quickly. I apparently tore some ligaments. They put a temporary cast on and I am not supposed to move it for several weeks. I need to stay off of it. Oh, and no more basketball for the season (seriously?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?). 

So people, this is me. For the last two weeks, I have not cooked nor cleaned a single thing in my house. I do my best to sit on my bed with my foot up (though that is hard to do with a 17 month old). Am I going crazy? You bet! But not as crazy as I should be. I am doing my best to be looking through rose-colored glasses. Big ones that even cover my peripheral vision. I am trying to do what I can from my bed. I am writing this post from my bed. Being confined to your bed is fun for a couple of hours--some might even like it for a day--but then it just plain sucks. 

There are some things I have been so glad for having established in our home and in my life. I have always been one who likes to be prepared and I believe fully in putting work in on the front end to avoid more work on the back end. Here are some things I am so glad for:
  1. Glad I exercise regularly. This is hard for me--I can't exercise my lower body until the end of January. But I am so glad for the exercise I have done before now. I do Jillian Michaels workouts, and you might be suprised how many of her moves have come in useful as I try to get around the house. Tricep dips as I slide down the stairs. One legged squats as I pick things up. Walkout pushups as I need to get down on the floor for all comes in handy. My legs were burning the first couple of days from the weird ways I have had to move, but they quickly adapted. I am glad I have some upper body strength because I am using a lot of it right now!
  2. Glad my kids have a regular routine. For my three older kids, I can completely run the house from sitting on my bed with no problem. My kids have a normal routine and they know what to do next. When they need instruction, I can give it from my bed. 
  3. Glad I had things clean. I often each week as I cleaned bathrooms would think, "I should just skip the kids bathroom this week." But I always ended up cleaning all of them. And I was glad. That way, things could go a little longer because they had been cleaned regularly.
  4. Glad my kids do chores. Did I mention I haven't cleaned for two weeks? Some how the house is still standing and in pretty good shape. Things aren't perfect--I have more attention to detail than the kids--but the laundry is folded and put away, things are vacuumed, bathrooms are cleaned as best they can, things are dusted...and my kids do it! My husband does a ton--I don't want to take away from him, but he does significantly less than he would need to if the kids weren't chore-doers.
  5. Glad for Independent Playtime. I am SO glad Brinley has independent playtime each day. It gives me some time to be able to just sit with my foot up each morning. It makes a huge difference in my healing.
  6. Glad for naps. Oh yes! Even better--I have all afternoon without a 17 month old running around.
  7. Glad for obedience training. I am so very glad I have worked with Brinley to obey and even to help out as she can. I can have her put things away, throw things in the garbage...she listens pretty well. I can sit on my bed and tell her what to do and most of the time she listens. She has her moments of running off laughing, but most of the time she listens well. There is no way I could ever catch up to her, so I am so glad for it. 
  8. Glad we have food storage. We have been scrounging what meals we can from what we have and just sending my husband for the bare necessities. 
  9. Glad for help. I am so thankful for the people who have helped us out. We have had meals (which helps with the grocery shopping also) and help from my parents. 
  10. Glad there are things I can do from my bed. So I don't go insane. 
shortly after removing my temporary cast--
good thing I had painted my toes recently right?!?
Another thing to be glad for. I would have for you
to all see me with scrubby toes ;)
So there is my update. It has definitely been a situation when I have been so glad that I have put in effort in different areas of my life so when I needed to, I could "slack off" or I could do some nice "couch parenting" from my bed. 

It isn't to say it has been a picnic. As I said, it pretty much sucks. Yesterday I must have taken my glasses off because I looked at my house with a more critical eye and thought of the work that was ahead of me when I was better and I literally had to fight back the tears.

I told my husband the other day I feel like a leech on society and our family (which was followed up by the lecture on how I need to let people help me and it is okay if people help me). It isn't easy emotionally as a mom to be incapable of so much.

The first day that it was just Brinley and me, she stood with her hands over her face crying because I couldn't carry her around the house (I guess I have babied her too much in that department). While amusing, it is also sad to see your baby so upset over it all. The next morning, however, I got her up and said, "Brinley, I can't carry you so you have to walk on your own okay?" And she cheerfully replied, "Kay!" and she did it! So I am glad children are so resilient and adaptable. She has been walking on her own with no troubles. When she wants to cuddle, we do it on my bed or with me sitting down with her.

What is my point...I guess it is to hang in there doing your day-to-day because you never know when you will be glad for all of that effort.

Another point I have is to encourage you to take it easy when you need to. It is good to keep up on your day-to-day, but sometimes things are hectic and you need to let it go.

I also have the point of expressing gratitude for the good things I have.

And I have the point of needing to vent out some of the frustrations that are associated with it all.

So I guess with those four points in mind, this post is square. But it could be rectangular. Or a trapezoid.

I should go now...

PS--we are getting old now. Make sure you wear the correct shoes for your actives,

That is all.

Teaching Children to Speak Nicely and Honestly {THINK}

Children are naturally honest people when they first enter this world. As parents, we have to figure out how to keep our child from doing things like walking up to that guy in the restaurant and asking him why his tummy is so fat (real experience here). It is a difficult thing to teach a child about tact while still requiring honesty in life.

Some children are naturally more black and white than others. Some have a natural ability to hone in on the feelings of others. Some are far more naturally socially aware than others. Some are able to think things without needing to express them at high volume. In other words, some seem to have better social skills than their parents while others need a fair amount of coaching.

So how do you teach a child to speak honestly but also with kindness? How do you teach the concept of tact? How do you get a child to read a social situation and understand that not all things NEED to be said?

An important step is to teach your child to love others and how to show love. Another is to teach your child to think about how they would feel if the situation were reversed. That can work for a lot of kids.

But there is still a category of people out there who are basically like defenders of truth, and truth is truth no matter the consequences. I fall into this category, and my son Brayden (age 8) does, also. If he is aware of something being spouted off as truth when he knows it is not true, it is basically impossible for him to stop himself from saying so. He is a frank person and always has been. And I so get it. It is still hard for me to hear someone say something that isn't true and not correct them. I have to have internal dialogue to stop myself from saying things that don't need to be said. And those moments I have to talk myself down are basically seared in my brain for years. It is very difficult for me to let untrue things be documented--no matter how trivial.

I have tried explaining to Brayden about understanding when to say something and when not to. But here is the thing. This is a gender stereotype, but we all are aware that men and women are different. We see things differently, and men have a very different perception of feelings than women do. There are some tactless women and some sensitive men, but by and large, females are naturally better at figuring out what does and does not hurt feelings than males are. I naturally have always had more understanding of how others are feeling than Brayden does. So my efforts in helping Brayden learn to read when to say something and when not weren't really a fast solution. I totally believe he can improve his ability to read people and with life experience realize what you should and should not say to people, but until then, he needs a mechanism that helps him NOW.

Then I found this fabulous acronym. THINK.

Before you speak, THINK. Is it:

This has been so, so helpful. Almost everything Brayden wants to say to people is true. That isn't an issue. Some might find this acronym helpful if they have a child who likes to toy with the honesty line.

The helpful question is one that can be debated. To someone who is a black and white person, the truth is always helpful.

Inspiring is a great question. Does it help the person to be better in some way? This can be debated also with the black and white person, but it will cut back some comments.

Is it necessary. This is a the most helpful one for us. Does it need to be said? Naturally, to the black and white thinker, there is some level of need there because the truth needs to be known. But a black and white thinker can also analyze and decide rather honestly if what they are about to say is necessary in the moment. They can remove themselves from it being "necessary because it is true" and look at it as "necessary in the context of the situation."

Another great one is the kind. How will it make the person feel. Usually you won't make it to kind if the comment wasn't necessary. Brayden is a kind person and he does not want to hurt feelings. Just focusing on the kindness wasn't enough, but having those other four steps before the kind makes him analyze it more accurately.

I love this acronym for several reasons. One is a comment has a rigorous five-step qualification process it must pass before it gets said. Another is when he forgets to check his comments, I can simply say, "Think" to him and he immediately knows what I mean. I don't have to give him a lecture, embarrass him in front of people, or pull him aside for a talk. I can say, "think" and he knows what I mean and he can change.

Finally, I love it because sometimes hard things do need to be said. Sometimes we really need to say things even if it isn't what another person wants to hear. We can form what we need to say into being phrased in a kind way. We can stand firmly on our moral ground and position. And maybe some people would find this acronym helpful for a people-pleasing child who is prone to say whatever the person wants to hear rather than what the person needs to hear.

This has been a very handy tool for us. Give it a try!

Kaitlyn Child Summary: 6.75 Years Old

This is a summary for Kaitlyn from 6.5-6.75 years old.

Kaitlyn lost two teeth in this period! It is on the later side of life for when kids usually lose teeth. She is my latest teether. Typically, a child loses their baby teeth in relation to when they get them in.

Ugh eating is a big annoyance for me again. She seems to go in waves and we are currently at a low point of extreme pickiness in eating. I wonder if there is any correlation with the time of year and her pickiness? I cook different foods at different times of year. But she is getting picky about things she has always loved, or getting picky about the age of food. For example, she LOVES my rolls when they are fresh baked, but she will no longer eat them the next day. She will only eat them fresh out of the oven. So she is definitely taking it up a notch.

Sleeping is great.

School is also great. She hasn't had any concerns over tests in the last three months since the last summary. Brayden's teacher told me kids are tested so much these days they typically get over anxiety pretty quickly. She is having fun with friends at school and doing well with school work and school rules. 

I have realized something about my kids in the last few months. Brayden really dislikes being very busy with things outside the home. He likes to do some things, but not too many. He is good at recognizing what is too much for him and letting me know when he doesn't want to do something. Kaitlyn is very different in that she loves having lots of things to do and she is always asking for more. I used to think we would have some policy for how many things the kids can be involved in as a general policy for the family. I know families who have policies like that and it sounds like a great idea. I am thinking now, though, that we will have a minimum (I want them in a music lesson and in something that involves physical exertion) and we will have a limit just because time and money are both limited resources, but it won't be a hard and fast rule for all kids as a whole. People are different. Some like being busier and some like having very few commitments. I am okay with my kids being their own person when it comes to these things. We will take it child by child and year by year as to what can be done so far as time and money go. 

Anyway, with that tangent done...Kaitlyn is doing piano, dance, gymnastics, and then we do swimming as as family every other week. Her dance teacher this year is not the best with kids--she says things in an effort to motivate that really does the opposite (like telling them they only have 8 more weeks until the revue and they will not be ready--not a motivator). She likes dancing but not the teacher. 

The best word to describe Kaitlyn is sweet. She is so great at recognizing when people need help. She is so amazing with Brinley. She plays with her and knows just how to keep her happy and engaged. She will be such a great babysitter! She also recognizes when I need help and jumps right in. 

Kaitlyn loves art things. She is also obsessed with stuffed animals.

Her favorite books lately have been the Little House books.

This is what Kaitlyn wanted to be for Halloween--Bowser
Here is our typical school day schedule.

7:00--wake up. Eat breakfast. Get Ready. Practice piano. Chores.
Go to school.
Come home from school.
4:00--Homework. Free play until dinner.
5-5:30--dinner. Family time
7:00--start getting ready for bed 
8:30--in bed


  • child summary 

Teaching About Martin Luther King Jr.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! I wanted to share this resource with you that I saw on Pinterest for teaching your children about Martin Luther King Jr. It looks like a great resource so go check it out!

Jamberry Nails {Giveaway}

This post is written in partnership with Meaghan from Jamberry Nails. All opinions are my own. 

Today's giveaway is really, really fun. It is from Meaghan at Jamberry Nails. What is Jamberry Nails? It is a DIY at-home nail application company. My simple explanation is that it is like stickers you apply to your nails yourself. They are super easy to apply and last about 2 weeks. Two weeks! And they have TONS of cute designs.

When I was in 9th grade, I had early morning seminary. We started a little over an hour before school each morning and learned about the gospel. I was the type who wanted my nails to be painted each day. I was also the type to pick off my nail polish at the first sign of a chip (still am!!!). And so I painted my nails every single day during early morning seminary. Kind of embarrassing right? But I did. 

And I still to this day cannot stand chips in my nails. I have also never had fake nails done because I don't want to damage my natural nails. And as a mom I would love to paint my nails often, but I find that somehow, each time I do it, someone needs something while my nails are still wet and I have them messed up before the paint even dries. 

So I am really excited about Jamberry nails! Meaghan sent me some free wraps to try. It was easy to apply following their simple video tutorial and it turned out so cute! I love the look and the ease of it all. I tried to take a good picture of my nails, but apparently there is some trick to doing so that I can't master. So here is the best I have (taken with my phone):

I tried. 

Anyway, I love it, my girls love it, and we will definitely be buying these in the future (they have them for kids, too). I am planning on Easter gifts (though Kaitlyn said, "Mom, can you not wait for Easter. Can you just buy them, wrap them up, and then say, 'Look, Kaitlyn, I got you a present!'?" Each pack will do all of your finger nails two times with a few left over. So it is a great price!

fire and ice design
Meghean has an AWESOME prize pack for the winner today. The winner will get:

1 nail wrap set in Fire and Ice design (pictured just above)

So...let's get you entering! And note, one of the entries is requesting a free sample. You can Request a Jamberry Nails Sample from Meaghan Vandeloo through Facebook or via Email. Pretty awesome right? Here are your sample options:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • You must enter the giveaway to have an entry.
  • You must fulfill the rules of each entry for each entry to count. If I see the entry is not valid (did not meet entry requirements), I will disqualify your entry. Trust me, I check.
  • Entries will be accepted until 12:00 midnight January 24, 2013 (so that means you will not be able to enter on the 24 at all--entries through Thursday).
  • The winner will be randomly selected through Rafflecopter.
  • The winner will be announced sometime after the winner is chosen. I will email the winner.
  • Once the winner is announced, you will have one week to contact me or another winner will be chosen. Be sure to check back and/or check your email. The only thing worse than not winning is to win but not realize it in time.
  • I will not use your email address for any purpose other than contacting you if you are the winner (and FYI, I don't have access to the email addresses except for the winner).
  • US shipping addresses only.