Wednesday, December 10, 2014

But I Will ALWAYS Be Your Mom

The past week this sweet, yet sometimes sassy, 3 year old has turned into a full-fledged 13 year old!  The attitude and the sass are about to KILL me!  But I know she is three and I know she will (hopefully) grown out of it.

But I read this article today and loved it!  It's titled "9 Things We Should Get Rid of To Help Our Kids."  Number 5 got me!

I, in general nature, love for everyone around me to be happy.  I find myself often giving into my kids because I want them to be happy.  I want them to enjoy life and be in good spirits, especially during the Christmas season (mostly because it is my very favorite season and I don't want scrooges living in my house!) But the truth is that it's not my job to make my little dears happy; it's my job to be there mom.  

Last night's drama brought this whole truth to light. The scene played out like this.

All Emmalee wanted was to get down and play.  She hadn't eaten much dinner (literally A chicken nugget) but claimed she was full.  Being the wise mom that I am, I knew she was not in fact full, and that if she got down from that table, she would come to me in 30 minutes asking for a snack.   The compromise:  eat 2 more chicken nuggets and you may get down.  For over 20 minutes, we battled with her to eat these chicken nuggets.

Then it happened.

"Emmalee, I know you are not happy, but your tears will not help you in this situation.  If you want to get down from this table you MUST eat the other chicken nuggets on your plate."

With the tears falling down her cheeks, the saddest little eyes looked up at me to say "Mom, you're not my best friend anymore and I thought you would be my best friend forever."

And there it was.  A knife the size of Texas pierced my heart.  All I wanted to do was bend down and promise this precious little child that I would always be her best friend.  But that's not the truth.

The truth is that I will not always be her best friend, but I will always be her mom.  And sometimes being the mom isn't fun.  Being the mom means keeping my children healthy and protected.  Being the mom means making the not-so-fun decisions.  Being the mom means teaching and worrying and praying.  Being the mom means not always making her happy, but she will always be loved, and cherished, and prayed over.  And these are the things that I told her...

"My sweet girl, I know that I may not be your best friend right now, but I will ALWAYS be your momma.  And being your momma means that I want to keep your healthy and I want your tummy to be full so that you can keep growing to be big and strong.  No matter what, I will always love you and I will always want the very best for you...."

When it was all over, the chicken nuggets were eaten and we snuggled up together on the couch to read books with baby sister.  No, it didn't make her happy but I guess being a mom is not about always making our kids happy. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Faithful Finish Line

Life...Life has been insanely busy lately that I don't think I've had to even post about my exciting adventure in the Faithful Finish Line! 

If you've read my blog lately then you know how excited I was when I completed my first duathlon in October.  It was a huge ordeal for me to even do something so crazy because I am the "Couch Queen".  I actually don't lay on the often because I have two children to look after, but I certainly wasn't fit and certainly wasn't doing anything about it.  But then things seemed to change in June as I watched my husband dwindle away and lose 60 lbs because he decided he was tired of weighing over 300 lbs. 

As I admired him, I also hated him because I would love to shed 60 lbs too...but it wasn't a priority.  So, I made it one.  For me, the #1 best thing to do to make exercise and eating right a priority...set a goal!  My goal:  to run/cycle a 2:9:2 duathlon.  And I did it!   The problem after I finished...I didn't have another goal.  So for 2 weeks I sat on my rear, stayed off my bike, and ate whatever the heck I felt like eating.  And today, I've gained back 5 lbs and feel awful! 

But I'm in luck because I've signed up for the Faithful Finish Lines program with Sara Borgstede and my new goal is right in front of me:  to run the Cowtown half-marathon on March 1, 2015...and to lose 20lbs before then too!

I honestly cannot tell you how thrilled I am 1) to be a part of this group, and 2) to actually have a goal of this magnitude.  I am NOT a runner; I am NOT a fit person; I am NOT in shape...but I AM ready to make my body the temple the Lord created it to be!

So bear with me the next few months because you'll be seeing a lot more FFL posts, but posting here is part of my accountability!  If I say it publicly, I'll be so much more motivated to finish! 

I cannot do this alone, so I also asking for your help:  what are some of the best tips you would give a beginner runner or someone trying to lose 20 lbs?  Favorite recipes, tips for drinking enough water, those cannot-live-without fitness gadgets?  I want to hear ALL of your suggestions!!!  Help me make this goal a reality! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Day 26: 31 Days of Mom Prayers

Have you ever had those moments as a mom and as a wife that you just feel, well...inadequate and completely exhausted?  I feel it...ALL.THE.TIME (at least it seems like all the time).

I've been studying the Proverbs 31 woman lately, and I found myself wondering the other day if that woman ever rested? I mean AMEN, or AMEN?  Did she ever get a break?  Did she ever want a break?  I cannot tell you how many times during the day that I just call out to the Lord and ask Him to simply breath energy into my being; to bring a spirit of humility and patience to my soul; to bring clarity and organization into the never-ending chaos.

So praise be the King of Kings that He hears us!

These are the simple reasons why today's 31 favorite is from Girl with Blog:  31 Days of Mom Prayers. 

This series is so dear to my heart because it seems like I'm so often praying these exact words.  And I say "forget 31 days", we need these prayers every day! 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Day 25: 31 Days Love Where You Live

Y'all, I love traveling! I love going to new place and discovering new things.  But we don't always have to travel far to find these discoveries because sometime, they are in our backyard.  

Whether you live in a big city or a little town, every community has a story and has history.  But how often do we take the time to actually hear the story or see the history?  Are there historical sites in your city; did someone famous grow up there; is there a big defining moment for your little dot on the map? 

I fell in love with Kailey's 31 Day series almost as soon as I found it. 
Maybe it's because we both live in North Texas, but I loved this series from Living In The Rain.  This series is exactly what the title says: its loving the place where you live.  This series makes me want to try new places and new foods, and truly DISCOVER the place where I life. 

So I hope you'll browse through this series.  Find your favorite little shopping boutique in the middle of your city square; discover a new little coffee shop; learn how your city got its start...just love the place your live!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Day 24: 31 Days to DIY Wall Art

As you might have guessed from some of my posts at the beginning of the month, I LOVE DIY ideas and finding ways to decorate on a budget.  This series is one that I found a while back and I love going back to it every time I have an empty space that I need to fill:  31 25 Days of DIY Wall Art!

Not only is this a great series, this is a great blog that I PROMISE you want to follow!  I love so many of her ideas and tutorials!

I think one of my favorite posts is the DIY scrapbook wall art.  I have a TON of scrapbook paper from my days of paper-scrapping.  Now that I'm a digital scrapper, its all just sitting in a box.  So this was a perfect idea for me to put some of it to use!  As soon as I've finished posting my 31 Day series, I'll take some pictures of a few of the projects that I've done from several of the series that I've highlighted. 

Have you discovered some great DIY wall-art ideas?  If so, then let me know!  I love finding new ideas and seeing all of your fantastic pictures!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Day 23: 31 Days of Wisdom for Moms

Well, its October 31st, and I know most of y'all are breathing a sigh of relief that you actually finished your 31 days.  But I haven't!  I'm still a week behind, but the beauty of it is that I have save most of my current 31 days favorites for last, so all of these are just wrapping up! 

Today's series is one that has been dear to my heart this past month.  I just love it:  31 Days of Wisdom for Moms.
I cannot encourage you enough to go read through this series.  Charlie, at MississippiMom, has written given us some great wisdom based on her readings through Proverbs:  1 chapter each day.  These aren't super-deep, scholarly, truths that you have to think hours about; these are the simple truths that the Lord has given us.  They are the truths that we can apply in our lives: to be peacemakers, to be humble, to guard our hearts.  These are the words that we should store up in our hearts and allow them to resonate inside of us every day. 

And let's discuss her incredible artwork!  I just want to print all of her amazing chalkboard verses, put them on a ring, and carry them with me every day...or just print them out and put them all over my house as a reminder on how we are to live. 

So hope on over and read through this series.  It's not long; its not boring; its perfect! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Day 22: 31 Days of Weird Faithful Fitness


It seems to be the one things that I have not done much of, until now.  Well, until June to be exact.

June is when it all started, and there really doesn't seem to be an end in sight.  I have another 40 lbs of baby weight that I want GONE.  But, If there is one thing that I have been a little disappointed in is simply the fact that the pounds are not coming off like I thought they would.  I went from a very sedimentary lifestyle, to a much more active on and I began to shave off quite a few calories from my diet.  The first 20 lbs came of fairly quickly, but I've been stuck in a rut for the past 6 weeks! 

So I've been doing a lot of reading about weightloss and eating and how to fit all of these things into a busy lifestyle. 

Well I found Sara's blog the other day and now I am HOOKED!  Sara has been writing a series:  31 Days of Weird Faithful Fitness.
Her story is amazing!  Sara lost 100 lbs and has kept it off for 10 years!  In this series she shares some of the best tips and secrets for her success, and provides DAILY encouragement for us (well, those of us battling our own weight issues).

If you're struggling with your weight or wanting to achieve new fitness goals, then you MUST go visit Sara's website.  I promise that this will become one of your new favorite 31-Day favorites!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Day 21: 31 Days to An Adventure-Filled Life


Its one of those things that we all want to go on, but are all afraid of the unknown that lies ahead.  Lately, my adventures have been exercise related, and Sunday was my first BIG adventure.  It was my first race - EVER!  And I did it!!!!

It was one of the BEST adventures I have ever been on.  It was so great that I'm ready for another one!  But I won't lie to you - I was so nervous and scared of signing up for this race in the beginning.  I had no idea what would lie ahead.  I had no idea if I could even do it, but I was willing to try.  And this adventure did not disappoint! 

So today, my 31 Day favorite is all about living a life of adventure!  The series 31 Days to An Adventure Filled Life is such a fantastic series written by Christy Lane of Lane Letters. 

I think one of my most favorite days in this is day 6:  Being Interruptible.  I guess I never thought about "allowing" people to interrupt me.  Let's get real:  with children the ages 3 and 1, the last thing I want to deal with when I'm cleaning the house or doing the dishes is interruptions.  But what if those little "inconveniences" lead us on a great journey together? I just love that thought, that maybe life's little "bothers" are the best things that ever happen to us? 

So I STRONGLY encourage you to go read this series.  I KNOW that I want an adventure filled life.  What about you? 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Day 20 - 31 Days to Motivational Running

I absolutely cannot believe it but my first duathlon is in 2 days! 

2 Days!!!!!

Sometimes I'm still in complete shock that I'm actually about to do this.  I've trained, I've prepared, I've researched...I am ready!  If you want to know more about what I'm rambling about, click here!

Granted, I can only run continuously for a little over a mile because then my calves feel like they are about to jump off the back of my legs and run away screaming in fear because they are so afraid over being overworked! 

But I keep going.  I keep running.  And if I have to walk for 3-4 minutes, then I walk...but then I get back to running.  But one of the best blogs that I have read about running is this:

Discovering Breadcrumbs is on the current 31-day writing list, and has really outdone herself.  This fantastic series starts by reminding us that in order to run, you have to start small and build slow.  Running isn't something you can just do.  You have to strengthen those muscles and build your endurance before you can just go run a few miles. 

I simply cannot explain to you how beneficial this blog has been to me.  If you're starting your exercise or weight-loss journey, this blog will be instrumental in your success.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Day 19: Hope for a Messed Up Marriage

I love my husband. 

We have a very good marriage. 

We are happy.

But I also know that we committed to our marriage for a lifetime, and that is a very long time.  And I would be kidding myself if I didn't face the fact that there might be a very dark place in our marriage before this lifetime is over.  I am almost certain that there will come a day when I want to throw my hands in the air and give up.

I saw it happen before my very own eyes recently.  Unfortunately, it was to my very own parents.  I saw a marriage that I knew to be made of steal come crashing to the ground.  Being raise in a Christian home I thought that their marriage might bend, and sway back and forth, but it was made of steal and would NOT be broken. 

But I was wrong. 

Since that day, December 17, 2012 to be exact, I have done everything in my power to strengthen my marriage because if I'm completely honest, I am scared to death of it being broken thirty years from now.  If it happened to them, it can happen to me. 

So that is why my 31 Day favorite is 31 Days of Hope for a Messed Up Marriage.

Caiobhe ( pronounced Keeva) is nothing short of completely transparent in her series about allowing the Lord to bring light in the darkness of a shattered marriage.  Her story is sad, encouraging, hopeful, and beautiful.  It gives me hope to know that if one day my marriage is falling apart, our God is a God of restoration.  He alone can breathe live into death.  He makes all things new. 

So if you are struggling in your marriage today, or if you know someone who it, remind them that there is hope.  Send them to Ciaobhe's story. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Day 18: 31 Days to an Eclectic Home

So I have this friend.  Her name is Jalah and I am in LOVE with how she decorates her home.  Its eclectic.  She takes old wooden doors and it becomes a gorgeous headboard; she has a bookcase made out of old shutters, and perfect bow holders from chicken wire. 

I ADORE her home. 

I WANT her home.

But the problem is that I look at my house and I don't have that eclectic feel, nor do I have the decorating sense to make it happen.  So that is why I fell in love with this series!

Y'all this is such a great 31 day series.  If there is one thing that I learned from Lindsay over at Makely Home it is that there are different styles of eclectic, and the great thing about eclectic decorating is that it doesn't have to fit into a box!  You can have things old and new, borrowed or blue...its completely up to, well, YOU! 

So I hope you'll stop on over and see if you can find the "inner" eclectic decorator you've always wanted to be!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Day 17: 31 Days of Rest

Have you ever had one of those weeks that just never seems to stop?  Heck, forget weeks, I'm going through an entire phase of life when I feel like nothing ever stops.  Get up and get dressed, get the kids up, go to work, come home, make dinner, bath time, put kids to bed, clean up the kitchen, pick up the toys, go to bed, and do it all over the next day, and the day after, and the day get the picture. 

"But you have the weekends..."  you might say to me.  Well, not exactly because weekends are for actually cleaning not just the picking up I do during the week, and for laundry, and for birthday parties, and grocery shopping, and running errands, and everything else that didn't get done during the week. 

I feel like I never get to rest.  This weekend I found myself simply exhausted, a place that I feel like I've been for quite some time now, but there really isn't an end in sight.  But this is life. This is where the Lord has me.  This is exactly where I'm supposed to be.  So I suck it up, and do the very best that I can. 

So when I came across this series in my search for my 31 favorites, I knew instantly that it was for me.

Ashley, from One Ordinary Day, wrote this series back in 2011.  Day 5 has to be one of my favorites because it actually  made me stop and think "Am I not resting because it's not a priority?  And if that's true, then what are my priorities?"  We are reminded in day 6 that the Lord created a day specifically for rest.  Rest gives up strength, it reminds us to be still, and it clears our heads, hearts and souls.  Rest is important!  

I guess this series reminded me that life doesn't have to be perfect.  My house doesn't have to always be spic and's ok for things to be out place.  My home is lived in by four people, two of those are tiny little people who love to explore and play and its ok that my home represents that.  I need some rest.  It gives my mothering heart the patience my children need and deserve; it gives my soul strength to be the wife my husband longs for; it gives my head the mind clarity to prioritize my life the way it needs to be.

So maybe I should take a few days off this week and just rest

Want to join me?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Day 16: 31 Days to a Better Marriage

Sorry about taking a few days off, my friends.  I had a sick baby at home with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.  Poor baby was a tad bit in she wouldn't let me put her down, ugh.  So sorry to say, blogging just fell to the back seat.  But I'm trying at least get back on the bandwagon.

So my last post was tips for marriage, but today's post is specifically for wives and how to love your husband through difficult situations:  Jolene Engle had an incredible series in 2013 that addresses how to have a better marriage:  31 Days to a Better Marriage
I tried to sum it all up but it just wasn't possible, so I stole borrowed the summary Jolene has up on her introduction page:

"You’ll learn about wives who have gone through hardships such as:  
Years of a messy marriage, financial turmoil, Adultery, Pornography, The death of a child, Living with cancer.
We are real wives with real issues and we’ll be sharing from our place of pain, how we overcame, what God has taught us, how He changed us, and what we do to keep our marriage thriving."
Jolene's series address some of the most difficult situations that can arise in our marriage and how to get through them:  sex, in-laws, differences in expectations, and the list goes on and on.
I  love day 17: His Wife First.  It applies greatly in my life because although I ADORE my children, I also LOVE my husband.  Remember the other day when I said one of my mottos is that the best thing I can do for my children is to love their father?  This day is all about that mission - being a wife, first. Another post I really enjoyed was day 22:  Being Intentionally Intentional.  Its making sure that we embrace very day we have together.  

If you don't read through this whole series, because it can definitely pull on the heartstrings, book mark it!  Go back when you're struggling in your marriage.  Go back to this when you've hit a rough patch (because yes, we ALL will have those times) and be encouraged, be strengthened, and be challenged. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Day 15: 31 Days of This Sweet Love

If you're new to my blog, then know this:  I'm a 33 year old working (outside of the home) wife and mother to two precious girls.  I am a Christian and believer in Jesus Christ.  My priorities: bringing glory and honor to my Savior, and being the best wife and mom I can be to my family.  So naturally, many of my favorite 31 day series have been about parenting, raising children, and keeping a home because that is exactly the phase of life that I am in. 

But today's series is about something more important than raising my children, at least to me.  Have you ever heard the saying that the best thing you can do for your children is to love their father?  Well I'm a firm believer that statement is true.  One of the best things I could ever do for my children is to take delicate care of my marriage. 

So today's series is from Natalie at Little Things & Big Stuff 31 Days of This Sweet Love

I love this series because it is exactly what the blog button says - its little tips and ideas to help learn how to make marriages work.  Its joining your Google calendar so that you know you aren't double-scheduling yourselves; its setting limits on what you believe to be ok and not ok to discuss on social media; its meal planning; date ideas and everything in between.  

Your marriage is important.  It is the most important earthly relationship that I have.  If I don't take care of my marriage and it falls apart, how is that any good for my children?  So I choose to make my marriage a great one.  No, it is not perfect; heck, it is far from perfect.  But I absolutely love and adore my husband, and have made a commitment to be his wife and helpmate for the remainder of my life. 

Granted, I know that there will be hard days when I'm ready to give up, but there are also the greatest days that have made a home in my heart.  Marriage is work.  So I hope you enjoy Natalie's series as much as I do. And there will be a few more series that I post relating to marriage, although many of them are current series so I'll be recommending them toward the month.  So stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Day 14: 31 Days Inspired for the Holiday


It is my absolute favorite time of the year!  Fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years...its "THE" Holiday season and I LOVE it!  

Which is why I just had to pick today's 31 day favorite:  31 Days of Inspired for the Holidays! 
Melissa, over at The Inspired Room, has done an amazing job at putting this series together and providing tons of holiday inspiration from decorations to recipes to savoring the moments.  One of my favorite posts is about decorating naturally, and Melissa's K.I.S.S. motto (go read the blog to find out what it stands for). 

And be careful - DON'T click on Day 8 if you have a sweet tooth because I promise you'll want to go make these mouth-water goodies this instant! 

So, are you ready to start this quickly-approaching holiday season?  I hope so because it is just around the corner. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Day 13: 31 Days of Less & More

Oh my friends, today's series is such a great one.  Ruth and Edie over at Living Well, Spending Less wrote a compelling series about what its like to live with less of the "evils" in our life, and more joys!  31 Days of Less & More is a powerful reminder that we needs less of some things, and more of others.

I love the fact that Ruth and Edie broke this series down into three different parts:  "
Part One—days 2-11—will focus on filling our lives with less heartache and more joy.  Next, Part Two—days 12-21—will focus on creating less stress but more peace.  Finally, Part Three—days 22-31—will hone in on our physical spaces and focus on having less stuff but more contentment."

I think one of my favorites on this series is day 2: Less Fear, More Courage.  Ruth talks about bravery and what it means to be brave.  Having a 3 year old I often fine myself trying to coax her into doing something because she is scared and doesn't want to do it.  I love how Ruth describes bravery; its doing something even when we're afraid. 

How often are we too afraid to do something?  I'm so afraid at failure, that I often don't even attempt new things.  But a few months ago I decided to be brave and pick up a bicycle.  Now I'm training for a duathlon!  If I had let my fear take hold of me, the pants I have on would never have fit, and man its a good feeling to have them really "fit"!  How an I ever supposed to help my child be brave if I'm too afraid to do it myself.

And let's get really honest here:  how often are we afraid to trust the Lord?  I can tell you that I would much rather know the outcome of every situation than be let Him handle it.  That's the control freak in me.  But I have FAITH!  I have COURAGE!  I KNOW that my God will never let me down, so I CHOOSE less fear, and MORE courage because HE IS ABLE! 

So please go and enjoy this series.  I promise you will NOT be disappointed! 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Day 12: 31 Days of Calm the Chaos

I'm sure that any parent completely understand how your house can go from nice and pretty to completely destroyed in a matter of seconds. When life is busy and work is busy, adding our little darlings just adds to the business.  It seems that children, no matter what their age, can always bring a little (welcomed) chaos into our lives. 

Which is the exact reason I love Cara's 31 day series over at Red House Dry Goods:

Cara begins her series discussing the "why" she decided on this topic.  She address issues such as to-do- lists, knowing your limits, adjusting your expectations, and just how to simply get a little more organization for your life.  One of favorites new quotes came out of day 11: 
I LOVED this!  Let's be honest, how often do we, especially as moms, say "Yes" to too many things?  I do it all the time!  "Yes" to hosting baby showers, "yes" to baking for the school bake sale, "yes" to being a room mom, "yes" to sewing an outfit for a friend, "yes" to volunteering at the church event... I can admit is, I am a "YES" girl!  But it adds so much added stress, and often makes me run around like a chicken with my head cut off.  Its ok to not participate in everything!  It's OK to set limits!

So I hope that you enjoy Cara's series as much as I did, and learn a bit too about how to calm some of the chaos that surrounds your life.  Just think, the less chaotic, the more we can to truly ENJOY our everyday surroundings!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Day 11: 31 Days of Better Home Photos

Day 11:  Today's series is about photography:  something that I love, but I'm not very good at (that's why I have a sister who is a professional - I leave the photography up to her) BUT I do love having good photos for my blog and for my scrapbooks.

Do you ever get envious of other bloggers' photos and all the homes you see on Instagram because there is this gorgeous stream of sunlight perfectly highlighting the object of the photo?  Or do you ever notice how every object is in it's perfect place?  I get so jealous of some of the homes I see and I always find myself wondering if their home really is "that" picture perfect, or if they just know how to take perfect photo (or just spend an hour or two cleaning up before their little "impromptu" photo session, lol). 

Well today's series touches on all the ways we can take better photos of our home, and I love all of Jen's tips in this series!  In this series, Jen covers everything from photographing different rooms of your home (including your dreadful bathroom) to prepping for photos, and even how to make good tutorial photos. So I hope you enjoy 31 Days of Better Home Photos! Days

Friday, October 10, 2014

Day 10: 31 Days of Toddler Chores

So this may be a touchy subject for some, but I think its a great one!  Any momma (whether a SAHM or working mom) knows that keep a clean and tidy house can be a daunting, and some might say impossible, task.  If you're anything like me, from the time you get home to the time you go to bed, you find yourself making dinner, cleaning up, bathing kids, cleaning up after kids, picking up toys, putting children to bed, picking up all the other "stuff", then you get to go to bed only to wake up and do it all over again.  It's hard, it's exhausting, but we do it because we love our kids, our husbands, and a clean home. 

So when I found today's series, I was really excited.  Nikki over at Intentional Homeschool did a great 31 day series back in 2013:  31 Days of Toddler Chores.

I love the fact that Nikki starts this series by first addressing why toddlers should do chores, then proceeds to give us 25 days of chores that toddlers can do.  Now let's be realistic, a toddler may not do the best job at it, but it's something! 

Just this past weekend, Sunday evening to be exact, I looked at my sweet dear husband sitting on the sofa as I was trying to pick up every item in my house that was out of place.  I decided that I was only going to pick up for 10 minutes, then I would be done...just done!  I WAS going to relax and enjoy just a few minutes snuggling beside him on that comfortable while my girls played.  And the thought occurred to me that I could get a lot more picked up if I had 4 hands versus 2, so I ever-so-sweetly asked my husband for a "10-Minute Pick Up."  Then, Emmalee came in the room and I decided 6 hands would be even better than 4.  So we deiced to establish the Williams Family 10-Minute Pick-up!

It was GREAT.  Emmalee at first at me like I was insane, probably because my eyes were about to pop out of my head from sheer joy at the whole family's (minus the infant) participation in cleaning the house, but she quickly bounced into action picking up her shoes, toys, clothes, and anything else we asked her to do.  It was fantastic!  After 10 minutes, we all felt a huge sense of accomplishment, and this momma was beyond thrilled!  The next night after bath time it was daddy who said "Okay, time for 10-minute pick-up" and again we all helped get the house before we all went to bed. 

It was during all of this that I think I realized that my 3- year old is quite capable of chores.  She needs to learn responsibility and a hard work ethic, and now is the best time to begin instilling these principles in her. 

So I hope you enjoy Nikki's series as much as I did!  If you have any other chores that your child does, or that have been helpful in your home, PLEASE let me know!  I'd love to know how your toddler helps you!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Day 9: 31 Days of Kids and Money

Oh my word today's favorite 31 day series is so close to my heart.  As a family who strives to make smart financial decisions, it is definitely something that my husband and I want to instill in our children.  So today's series is one written by Kimberly over at Living in the Sweet Spot.  Today's 31 Days of favorites is:  31 Days of Kids and Money.

If you are raising children, then this is a MUST read.  This is series is all about teach children the value of a dollar, and the biblical principals about financial stewardship, giving, saving, and wise spending.  It starts out by the parents sitting down to address their own debt, and developing a family financial mission statement.   Quite a few of the posts contain free printables and resources that parents can use in their teaching. 

Its actually kind of funny because Brant and I were discussing giving Emmalee money just the other day.  If you read my first 31 day post, then you might remember the behavior chart at Emmalee's school.  I am a big believer in praising and rewarding children for going above and beyond...especially if its for great behavior.  With the number of pink and purple days that have been rewarded for, I'm afraid that keeping ice cream in my freezer may make me gain back the 20 lbs that I've lost, so we started discussing a new "system."  I said that I thought we should reward her with $1 for each pink day, $0.50 for each purple day, then $0.25 for each blue day.  Brant thought that might get a little expensive if she starts getting pink a lot - that could potentially be $5 a week just for good behavior.  However, my thought process is that it was a perfect opportunity for us to reward her for good behavior, but also teach her important lessons in money management.

So needless to say, I'm so very excited to put many of these posts into practice, and I hope you can too!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Day 8: 31 Days of Unforgetable Recipes

Well today is day 8 of my 31 day favorites, and today is such a helpful series:  31 Days of Unforgettable Recipes.

The great thing about this series is not that it gives you 31 recipes - it gives you hundreds of recipes!  This series breaks down 31 different recipe categories ranging from grilling recipes to recipes for the cinnamon lover - like me!

The first time I went through all of these recipes, I found so many favorites:  Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake, apple cinnamon rolls, turkey pot pie, chicken and dumplings, and so many more!

I hope you enjoy this site as much as I have!! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Day 7: 31 Days to a Clean & Organized Kitchen

One of my favorite places in my house is my kitchen!  I love it!  If you've been a long-time reader of  my blog then you may remember my kitchen remodel a little over the year ago and I am in still loving the results!
But one thing that I can't stand is a messy, unorganized kitchen.  Which is why I have chosen today's 31 Day Favorite:  31 Days to a Clean and Organized Kitchen!

Y'all, this series is fantastic for everyone! It goes over everything from having different kitchen stations, money saving tips, time saving tips and recipes - just a little bit of everything!  So if you love your kitchen just like I do, or if you hate your kitchen and just want to start to like it, then this series is for you!!! 

And do you have any additional tips to keep your kitchen organized?  If so, then PLEASE share them! 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Day 6: 31 Days of Homemade Gifts for Everyone On Your List

If your anything like me, then you might LOVE the holiday season.

Not just love as in I heart...but LOVE as in cannot wait for it to get here and you're already planning new decorations for the tree, you're starting to get the decorations down from the attic, you already have your Christmas cards designed, and of course you've completed the gift list and you've already started Christmas shopping!!!!!!

So that's why I love today's series:  31 Days of Homemade Gifts for Everyone On Your List

Gifts are completely my love language!  I love giving and receiving.  But the best part (for me) about receiving is that knowing that someone thought about me.  And having a homemade gift means not just that I was thought about, but someone actually put their own talents to work to put their blood, sweat and tears (maybe some exaggeration) into something for me. But I also love making things for other people!  So this series is definitely a personal favorite of mine! 

This series covers everything from gifts for babies, to mommies, children of all ages, dad's, the book-lover, the writer, and even the foodie!  Its GREAT!  One of my favorites posts in the series is the hot chocolate mix. This is the perfect kind of gift that I love giving to co-workers.  It's simple, yet unique, I can make a dozen of them inexpensively, and they can even keep it at the office to use on the next cold or rainy day.  It's a win-win all around!

So hop on over to this series and tell me what you'll be making for the special one on your list!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Day 5: 31 Days of Blog to Biz

Have you ever wondered what it took to actually have your blog become a source of financial gain for your family?  I certainly have, but I've never quite known what to do; and even more often I like I never really could make my blog into a financial gain because I'm "behind the curve."  And that's why day 5 of my 31 Day favorites is a series that addresses this exact subject:  31 Days of Blog to Biz. 

Donna over at Funky Junky Interiors address the "how-to" of how to turn your blog into a money-making source.  It may not be a ton of money, maybe....just maybe...we haven't completely missed the curve yet.  So hop on over to Donna's series and see if you find it as helpful as I have!!