Kids, Mom Life, parenting

I’m a Yeller and I’m ready to Change!

According to my boys I’m a yeller, I tend to think I speak in a voice that they can actually hear me in over their shenaniganz. Last night though was a turning point for me, I decided that I might just be a yeller, even though I don’t want to be one!

It all started when Ty decided that we should have hot chocolate before bed. The kids of course went crazy as I was trying to get Tony ready for bed. They ran into the kitchen to make hot chocolate… Followed by the whip cream getting squirted into each other’s mouths, followed by Talie spilling her hot chocolate all over the table and me having to clean it up one handed. Then Colby brings out an Australian accent followed by talking about “Baby Jesus” from Talladega nights…  I lost it… I admit it… I yelled at them and sent them to bed…

 

Confession Time

I felt horrible for yelling, I felt sad for the night ending like that…  Were they doing anything wrong? Not really, they are just typical 13 and 11 year old boys having fun, right? And because of me the peace was gone in our home. My yelling was the one who made it go away… Me, the one who learned about all the different parenting techniques in school, but yet can’t implement any of them when they are most needed.

I confess I have always blamed them for me yelling or raising my voice (I mean if they would have listened to begin with 🙂 …), but really, it’s not them, it’s me… I am the one who needs to change. I am the one who needs to get better. I am the one that needs to have more control over my feelings. I am the one who needs to strive to have more peace in the home. I decided right then and there it was time for a change!

Commit-to-no-yelling-for-one-year

What’s the Plan?

Last night I decided to not yell for one solid year! (except when appropriate: sporting events, playing outside having fun with the kids, if crisis is happening and it will save someone’s life… you know those moments.) Lao Tzu says, “A Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” So I knew that the first step would be the hardest, which is why I am telling you all that I  am making the commitment to not yell for one year! There it is a step in the right direction! To being a more patient and loving mom. A step towards using those parenting techniques when I need them most!

A Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Now you might be thinking, “Holy cow! What is her house like? Do they just yell all the time?” Of course we don’t. There is lots of love, lots of peace and lots of harmony, but there are those moments when we are plagued with loud voices that drive all this away. It’s at those times when I fall into Mom Funk, especially since our house has been plagued with sickness for the last 22 days and I have been sick with the flu or a double ear infection for two weeks now. It’s on those days that are too cold and windy to go outside and play so those dang little screens occupy the kids, until bedtime when they decide it is now time to get some energy out.

 

Who’s With Me?

I’ll be honest… This journey is going to be hard… I’m going to fail a few times, okay probably many many times, but I do so much better when I am surrounded by others doing things with me, so with that being said, Who wants to join me? Who wants to change? Who wants more peace in their home? Who wants to share this journey with me? You certainly don’t have to do a year, like me, but I challenge you to set a certain amount of time to make your home a No Yelling Zone and see just what happens. Will you join me on this journey?NO YELLING ZONE!.png
Together we can share stories, encourage one another, and just support one another in being better parents and bring more peace into our homes! Join the challenge today and comment on this post: “I’m in!” Let’s all offer each other encouragement and share stories along the way on our journeys to have more peaceful loving homes, so who’s with me?

With Love~

Michele Signature.png

 

 

 

 

I'm a Yeller and

Kids, parenting

What I Wish I’d Known as a Teenager about Dating

WHAT I WISH I'D KNOWN AS A TEENAGER-2

It’s the start of a new year! Most of us have probably made New Year’s resolutions and goals that we’d like to accomplish in 2018. But have we made any goals that involve what we plan on teaching our children?

Oftentimes we as parents get so caught up teaching our children the day to day life lessons that we forget to teach one of the bigger lessons, such as understanding what dating is and why it’s important.

When I was in High School one of the main things on my mind was if I would have any opportunities to date. Going on a date at the time meant that someone found me attractive, wanted to date me all the time, and that we would end up being boyfriend and girlfriend.

If I got asked out even once, I almost automatically assumed the boy liked me as more than “just friends”.  Isn’t this a typical mindset of High School students?! I hope so at least!

Jumping forward 10 years and going out on a date has a completely different meaning to me.

It now means spending time with someone in order to get to know them better, and to see if this is someone I would enjoy spending more time with. The guy doesn’t necessarily have to like me as more than friends or an acquaintance. What a drastic change! How did this happen?

 

5 Lessons I Wish I Knew and How we as Parents Can Teach Them

There are 5 main lessons teenagers and young adults need to understand as they start the process of maturing and interacting with people who they would like to eventually be committed to.

“A date is a planned activity that allows a young man and young woman to get to know each other. In cultures where dating is acceptable, it can help them learn and practice social skills, develop friendships, have fun, and eventually help them find a future companion.”

1.     Do I Need Someone to Complete Me/Make Me Happy?

 

The fundamental answer to this question is an absolute NO!

 

When I was a teenager I would have thoughts like, “When I get married, I will finally be happy”, or “When I get married, I will become better at organizing, be more outgoing, I’ll know how to cook better,” and the list goes on and on.

These, and other similar thoughts, are thoughts that many young people have. They look to the future for better things to come, and think once they finally happen then they will be happy. They will wait for a partner to start being the best they can be, to learn certain things, and they don’t think that they can possibly be happy now without it .

 

This thought process is perpetual, and the grass will always be greener on the other side.

 

What we need to help our children realize is that you don’t need a boyfriend/girlfriend in your life to be happy. You don’t need a boyfriend/girlfriend to be in your life to accomplish your goals and dreams. You can be happy now and you don’t have to hold back to be your best self.

 

2.     Love vs. Attraction

 

We hear so often young people (teens/ young adults) say, “But mom I love him! You just don’t understand!” But honestly, do they really understand what love is?

When we hear the word “love” we usually think of the love between a male and female. There’s the kissing, the cuddling, hand holding, and eventually sex, right? However, this kind of love is not applied to everything. I mean when we say “I love you dad,” we don’t also mean that we ever have the desire to make out with him right?

Mental picture…………………………………………ewww no!

 

So what does love actually mean if it’s not applied to both situations?

The difference is that attraction is involved with someone around our age and not towards our parents, siblings, most friends, grandparents, etc.

Love is the deep emotional connection we have with those people who are close to us. It comes from time, hardships, patience, and service.

Attraction is what makes us crave the physical pleasure. It comes from hormones, how pretty or good looking the other person is, fun times you have with this person, kissing, cuddling, hand holding, and eventually sex.

 

Some teenagers might dispute this difference, saying love and attraction are basically the same thing. But again, when we say we love our mom or dad that doesn’t mean we want to make out with them. There IS a difference.

 

The attraction, or “twitterpation” stage, is what most of us feel in the beginning of relationships, but we should not confuse this feeling with love. Love will come with time and experience.

 

3.      “Soul Mates”

 

Many people, including teenagers, have probably thought at least once that they want to find their “soul mate.”

First of all, there is no such thing as ONE person you are supposed to marry. It’s simply a ridiculous idea that there is only one person in the entire world that you are meant to find, and thanks to Hollywood chick-flicks we ALL have this thought process (though they are fun to watch!).

There can be, however, a certain type of person you are meant to marry. But how do we teach our children what type of person they like? We teach them that they need to go on many dates to see what kind of person they are attracted to both physically and personality wise.

It’s not a bad thing to date a lot of people; in fact it is a very good thing! There is a strange notion that if you “date around” you are a player. We need to help young adults understand that going on lots of dates is a good thing. Of course in a committed relationship, dating around is wrong.

We need to help young adults understand that going on lots of dates is a good thing

It is also important to teach our children what type of person they should become starting at a young age.

Raising boys to become gentlemen is something that isn’t as popular as it used to be, but boys who know how to treat a girl with respect, and know how to be chivalrous, is something everyone is looking for, I promise.

Raising girls to become more feminine. Being feminine does not mean being someone that others can walk over, or someone who is helpless. Being feminine is a strength that not many women have in today’s society.

I know you might be thinking, “I want my daughter to be strong and independent!” but this video explains my point perfectly!

 

4.     What is a good date?

 

Dating has become more serious than it used to be.

As I described earlier, as a teenager I assumed going out on a date, even once, meant there was something more serious involved. If dating was meant to be casual and fun, then how did it become something so serious?

Dallin Oaks gives a seminar in which he describes the differences between dating and hanging out, and what a good date should look like.

Helping our children follow these guidelines to good dating can help with the confusion some feel about what to do. A good date should include these three things:

 

  1.     Planned Ahead: Making sure there is actually a plan, and letting the young woman know what it is well in advance so she can prepare. Avoid showing up to pick up your date and asking “so what do you want to do?”

By making sure a plan is made before the actual date helps teach young men how to be leaders and organizers. This is helping them practice for not only a future marriage, but also in life and future careers.

It also shows young women what kinds of men they should look for. Men who will take the initiative to plan something and take charge, and to be responsible.  

  1.     Paid For: As a general rule (at least for me) if a guy asks me out and we end up going somewhere that requires money, I’m expecting him to pay for me. If I ask a guy out it’s a different story. If we begin dating long term, then paying for dates can be discussed and equalized.

When a boy pays for his date, it teaches him how to provide. In essence this is practice on how to provide for a future family.

When a girl sees a boy pay for her, it helps show her that he is responsible, and it helps teach her how to be treated right. It doesn’t mean that she can’t pay, but it shows her what it’s like to be taken care of (even just for one night). Girls should also be taught to say “Thank You” when a guy pays, instead of expecting it and not saying anything.

  1.     Paired Off:  You + your date. No third wheel friend, not a bunch of random people that you bring with you, just you and your date. You asked them out specifically, which means there is a commitment of short duration expected.

When guys ask a girl out they are then also responsible for her safety and well-being. This helps teach him how to be a protector, because he is now responsible, for a short period of time, for someone other than himself.

Protection from others, and sketchy areas is included, but it can also be from each other. Guys shouldn’t force the girl to kiss them or make out, they should respect her space and never try and do anything that would make her uncomfortable.

When a girl goes out with a guy she should feel safe with him, and should feel like he will take care of her for the duration of their date. This helps teach her how she should be treated and how she feels with this certain individual.

 


  1.     Discussing the Dating Rules or Guidelines for your Family

Dating is fun, and adolescents should be allowed to experience it when they are of an age that is appropriate. This is based on every family’s personal guidelines, but they should definitely be discussed and solidified.

For me, 16 is when I could start going out on group dates. Each of us had an individual date, but there were multiple couples involved. Those were some of the most fun activities I’ve ever been on. It was fun, safe, and I got to know a lot of different people.  Notice that this is actually a group DATE, instead of a hang out.

Now as an adult, I don’t have as many group dates because my focus is now on finding someone who I could see spending the rest of my life with. I’m not looking for that at 16, and my maturity level has increased (well, in some areas at least).

Parents need to discuss with each other:

-What age their child should be allowed to start dating

        -Is there an age difference for group dates vs. single dates?

-Curfew and what time is appropriate for weekdays and weekends

-How involved you are knowing where they are, who they are with, what the activity is, etc.

Dating is how children and young adults practice their social skills, and it exposes them to different types of people. It can be looked at as an educational experience, but overall it is FUN and should be FUN!

Dating doesn’t have to be so serious, and teaching our children these points will help them feel like dating is something they can do frequently and with a confident attitude.

 

-Written by Lisa Jensen. 

Lisa Jensen is a recent graduate of BYU-Idaho with her degree in marriage and family studies. She has spent the last semester interning for Confessions of Parenting. She is striving to help young adults and teenagers become more confident in themselves, and their abilities, in all aspects of their lives. She hopes to help parents become more informed and involved with topics that children and young adults don’t often get taught at home, but rather from their peers and society.

 

WHAT I WISH I'D KNOWN AS A TEENAGER

 

Kids, Product Review

Helping Kids Discover Journaling

I love this time a year… A time of new beginnings and fresh starts, of course we don’t always have to wait for the New Year to do this, but it seems for the most of us we always do… For me, it usually is an excuse to still continue to eat chocolate! 🙂

One of my FAVORITE things about the New Year is taking the time to start a journal! Many people wonder why they should keep a journal. Journaling allows me to really discover who I am. It allows my children and grandchildren to one day understand my trials and struggles and exactly how to get through them (when I give them all to them when I get older). It allows me the opportunity for personal growth and self discovery. So many times I have turned back to my journal for answers that I am seeking. Journaling offers us the ability to spill our guts and really reflect on the things that are bothering us. It really helps us improve our understanding and insight on situations that are occurring around us. 

As a mom I want to have my kids discover these same benefits of journaling, but I always have felt like journals are a little above their head until now!

IMG_0819.jpg

My Gratitude and Dream Journal

I love the My Gratitude and Dream journal because it is not like any other journal that I have written in. This colorful journal is sprinkled with quotes that are not only meaningful, but inspiring as well. It also allows plenty of room for you to write your thoughts, feelings, and ideas on what you are thankful for. What I love about this journal is the fact that I don’t feel the need that I have to write in it every day, but I certainly can!

IMG_0825

Perfect for Kids and Teens

If you are trying to inspire your kids or teens to write in journals this is the perfect one for them to get started with! It allows them room to color, write, and truly express themselves on each page. It has a variety of colors and is truly inviting. It is never too early to introduce journaling and expressing gratitude to your kids, and this is the perfect book to do it!

If you are looking for a journal for your kids that offers more self reflection and personal growth the My Happy Place journal is just what you are looking for.

My Happy Place

This journal allows them to grow as they discover themselves through self-reflection, school and hobbies, family and friends, and helping the world.

It will help your child:

*express themselves through writing, pictures, and drawing

* Unlock their feelings, hopes, and dreams

* Discover who they are and what they want to become

* Build Confidence and strengthen relationships

* Give them awareness that they can make a difference in the world in which we live.

 

These journals were created by a mom and a daughter who had a dream to make and create products that inspire, educate, and entertain the young and the young at heart and My Gratitude and Dream Journal and My Happy Place certainly does just that!

If you are a parent or grandparent wanting to teach your children the beauty of journaling these are the perfect journals to get them started! I am so excited for my 10 year old daughter to open both of these journals on Christmas morning so that she can begin to understand the beauty of journaling. You can find both journals on Amazon here and here.

 

*These opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. For a full disclosure please see my disclosure statement.

Blogmas, Christmas, Holidays, Kids

How Older Kids Can Help Little Ones Still Believe

Welcome to Blogmas 2017! We are so excited to have Romina from Mini Mummi Blogger with us today!

I discovered that Santa Claus was a myth when I was 7 years old. Now, I say discovered, because I worked it out myself, rather than being told by my parents (or other kids in school). You see, that year, I had asked Santa to bring me a bike. But not just any bike, a specific, pink bike, with streamers coming out of the handles, and a little silver bell. It would be my first real bike, and I was super excited!

One day, I was playing hide and seek with a family friend’s niece, at his place. The family friend was a tiler, and he had a number of pallets in his driveway (which extended behind the garage door, and into the enclosed patio he’d had built onto his house). There weren’t really a lot of place to hide at this house, so I went out to where the pallets were. I noticed that one of them seemed to have a space in the middle, which looked like the perfect hiding place, so I snuck in to hide. Lo and behold, there, in the centre of this pallet, was a very specific, pink bike, with streamers coming out of the handles, and a little silver bell. I knew this must be my bike, which my parents had hidden here until Christmas, knowing I’d probably manage to find it at home. Rather than feel disappointed at the realisation that Santa was, in fact, my parents, I was pretty pleased with myself at having made this discovery. Yes, I was a bit of a smarty pants.

I didn’t, however, let my parents know that I knew. I guess I thought it would make them sad, or something. More importantly, I didn’t want my brother to find out! He was only 4 years old at the time, and really loved Christmas. So, I let my parents continue to think I still believed in Santa. After dinner, I would help Dad put out the milk and cookies he would later help himself to, pretending we’d had a visit from the jolly fat man and his reindeer. I’d go along on the “Santa spotting” strolls we traditionally took with Mum after dinner, while Dad presumably laid out the gifts under the tree. When my parents finally decided to tell me that Santa was make believe, I simply said “I know”, and was met with bemused expressions.

I knew it had been worth it (and, let’s not lie, it had been fun to go along with it all!), when my parents told my brother, a year later (prior to Christmas, when some kid in his class had spilled the beans). When my mother confirmed the rumor, my brother was devastated. He cried. I told him it would all be okay, he’d still get presents. This seemed to calm him down a bit, but he was still sad at losing the magic of that belief. And this is why I was excited to put together a post on this topic, for Confessions of Parenting. I love telling this story, because it really illustrates how the spirit of Christmas can be maintained, and what it means to the children who believe. Not blowing my own trumpet here, but it’s a good example of how older siblings can keep the magic alive for their little siblings.

Here are ten things your big kids can do to help their younger brothers and sisters believe:

 

  1. Read a Christmas Storybook

If your older children can read, get them to choose their favourite Christmas story and read it to their younger siblings. It’s a great way for them to spend time with their siblings, and perpetuate the myth of the man who knows if you’ve been naughty or nice!

pexels-photo-326581

  1. Make Handmade Ornaments

Doing crafts is also a good activity for older children to do with their siblings. Depending on the kind of activity, you may need to supervise (scissors, glue, disaster, whatnot …), but be creative! Kids can come up with amazing ideas given a bunch of odds and ends: macaroni, buttons, streamers, cardboard, ribbons, empty toilet rolls, egg cartons, lids, fake flowers – seriously, anything is useful. Once they’re done, make a big deal about each child hanging their ornament on the tree!

  1. Go for a “Santa spotting” Walk

Whether it’s to distract them from a parent setting up the presents, or simply to add an activity to Christmas Eve, take your children for a walk outside. Get your older children to help you point out interesting things that may be signs of Santa and his reindeer. If you don’t look too closely – and use a bit of imagination – you can see Santa’s sleigh crossing in front of the moon (the dark shadows made by the moon’s craters). If going for a walk isn’t practical, pop out into your backyard or onto your balcony, and have your children look for shooting stars or the same “man in the moon”. This way, you may even be able to leave this duty to your older children, while you bustle about getting things ready for Santa’s visit.

  1. Write Letters to Santa

Have your older children write letters to Santa, to encourage your little ones to do so, as well. If your little ones can’t write yet, their older siblings may even be able to pen the letter while the younger ones dictate their wishlists! If the local post office or shopping centre is hosting a “Santa’s mailbox”, perhaps organise a trip to actually post the letters (and leave this in your older children’s hands, if they’re old enough!

pexels-photo-260498

  1. Decorate the House

Set out a box of decorations for your kids to put up around the house. If your little ones aren’t tall enough to reach, they’ll have fun instructing their older siblings on where to drape this bit of tinsel and hang that Christmas stocking! Putting up decorations in their own bedrooms will also add to the holiday cheer.

  1. Recount Past Christmas Experiences

Older children will often remember particular Christmases quite clearly. Ask your older kids to tell their younger siblings about their favourite Christmas, focusing on the make believe aspects that the little ones will relate to and enjoy!

  1. Bake Christmas Cookies

Involving your children in the preparation of the food that Santa and his reindeer will consume is a great way of selling the story. Santa needs cookies, so get the kids baking! Appoint the older children as supervisors for cookie decoration duty, or ask them to help the little ones select the choicest carrots for the reindeer!

christmas-cookies-553457

  1. Set the Table for a Feast

Okay, so you do get some benefit out of this one! Seriously, though, setting the table with special napkins, cutlery holders, centrepieces, and other Christmas-y tidbits can build excitement. Fancy place settings for the yummy dinner that will be had will impress Santa! Place the older children in charge of napkin folding or a similar activity, so that they can show their younger siblings how a simple Christmas napkin can become a fan or a sailboat! (Note: reasonable origami-like skills required for this one!)

pexels-photo-260493

  1. Take Santa Photos

Whether you head over to the local “Santa’s workshop” or DIY, taking photos with Santa is a sure-fire way of perpetuating the myth of the jolly fat man. Get your older kids to help you organise the trip or set up your own Santa throne (or whatever setting works for your location and family). If your older kids are photography aficionados, perhaps they can even do the camerawork while the little ones pose with Santa!

pexels-photo-260470

  1. Wrap Gifts Together

A great lesson to teach your kids is that giving is as good as receiving (better, even!). There is magic in seeing someone’s face light up when they’ve opened a gift carefully chosen for them. Place your older kids on supervisor duty, and have all your children help with wrapping the presents and putting them under the tree. This will encourage them all to work together, and, more importantly, to appreciate the thought that goes into gift giving.

 

Well, there you have it! Ten ways to get your older children to help your little ones believe. The younger ones will enjoy the magic for as long as they can, while the older ones will learn the satisfaction of helping maintain the sense of joy their siblings have during the holiday season. That is a lesson truly in the spirit of Christmas.

 

14183715_10154384151202394_1834188456286553740_n

Romina is a first time mummy to a beautiful baby boy. Her blog is a place to share her thoughts and experiences, so other mummies can find useful and friendly information, and to encourage them to believe in themselves and have confidence in their mummy-wisdom. You can find her over at Mini Mummi Blogger

 

 

 

 

 

HOw older kids can help little ones still believe

Divorce, Kids, remarriage, Step Families, Stepmoms

You Never Really Stop Loving Your Step Kids Even After Divorce

Many years ago, when I was 20, I became a stepmom for the very first time to two little boys who were 18 months and 3 years old. Their dad, who had already been married before, convinced me that I just couldn’t live without him or these adorable little boys. I always wanted to be a mom and this just allowed me to get a jumpstart on that.

people-children-child-happy-160946

The boys would come and visit us every other weekend and once throughout the week. I bonded rather quickly with them and loved to play with them. Over time our time together increased. Fast forward a few years and the boys were living with us pretty much full time. It was certainly a full house with 4 boys (we had had two since getting married), my husband, me, and a dog all in 1400 square feet!

 

I always knew my role as a “stepmom”, but over time with the boys always there the lines slowly blurred together. I was the one that shopped for their birthday and Christmas gifts. I was the one who baked the cookies they enjoyed eating after school as well as the one who attended IEPs (the oldest was special needs) and parent teacher conferences. I was the one who potty trained the kids, cleaned up poopies, wiped snotty noses when they stayed home sick from school, and even volunteered in their classrooms. I was their number one cheerleader for them at sporting events and all the other activities they were involved in. I was pretty much “mom”, without the title. I did it all for them and I loved it!

pexels-photo-277477

Deep down I knew these boys weren’t legally mine, but they were part of me, and honestly I was mom to them, without the title. When they needed something they knew that I would be there. Some of my favorite moments were holding them reading stories or playing video games on the couch with them. I would do anything to protect them, I would put their needs above my own, and their happiness was my number one priority.

reading-77167

Overtime, my husband and I changed… We tried to work through some things, even went to counseling, but it just didn’t work out and we decided that it was time to move on. Leaving the life I had worked so hard to build was one of the hardest decisions I have had to make in my life, but I knew deep down it was the right one.

 

After my husband and I separated we made the decision to keep all the kids together through the rest of the school year. I still got to see C & C all the time, help them with homework and continue to share that special bond we had formed over the last 9 years together.

 

The day came all too quickly when it was time to say goodbye to video games on the couch and sharing homemade cookies after school. Me, being terrible at goodbyes, promised them that we would still see each other all the time at their brother’s sporting events and other activities, and that they could come visit me or call me whenever they wanted.

 

At first we saw each other all the time, but overtime it became less frequent, conversations became shorter and more fictitious and love seemed to slowly dwindle.

 

I will never forget those sweet little boys, who are now 16 and 17. I still remember their precious smiles the first day we met and how they could both light up a room with their sweet spirits. Thankfully, Facebook shares these memories with me occasionally!  I can’t help, but wonder what they are up to and how they turned out since we last sat on the couch and snuggled and ate cookies. I wonder if they think of me and miss me like I miss them. I am only left with all the memories we made so many years ago and I just hope that I made a difference in their life, like they made in mine so many years ago.

~C & C if you ever find this, know that I still love you, know that I am always here for you, and that I think of you often. If you ever need me, I’ll be there…

 

You Never really stop loving them

 

Blogmas, Christmas, Kids

Christmas Crafts with the Kids

Welcome to Blogmas 2017! I am so excited to have Monica here from https://monicainmommyland.com sharing craft ideas we can do with the kids with us! I always need new craft ideas to do with the kids! Will definitely beaming these this year because they are so cute! Visit her at her blog and say, “hi!”

Christmas time has always been my one of my favorite times of the year. Snow, pine tree scent, and Christmas cookies will always make me feel like a child again. But since I’ve become a parent it has only gotten better!

For me, one of my all-time favorite parts of being a parent is seeing the excitement and joy the holidays bring to my children. Birthdays are magical, Easter’s exciting and Christmas it’s just amazing. The only thing that compares to seeing your child’s face as you explain that Santa is Coming to Town. Is watching a sleepy version of that face see their presents for the first time early Christmas morning. Each year as the children grow older it gets more and more exciting and all around more fun.

Each year I try and do something to get the kids in the Christmas spirit (although that isn’t very hard these days!) This year I decided to spread the holiday spirit by doing a couple crafts that the kids and I could do together. We chose two popsicle stick ornaments. Mostly because we saw the cutest popsicle stick Christmas trees on Pinterest and thought it looked fun!

I have to say, I am so glad that we chose the popsicle sticks as our materials. It ended up making the whole crafting project a lot easier. The sticks were very sturdy and held up against my little ones getting a little rough. If you have young children you probably know but they are not always the gentlest of creatures. But even my one-and-a-half-year-old was able to help decorate and we all had a great time.

So we decided to do both Christmas trees and snowflakes for our crafts. We saw a few different popsicle stick trees on Pinterest when we went looking for ideas but we decided you are completely different, and I think they all turned out great. The snowflakes were super easy and turned out to be my daughter’s favorite. Another plus side of doing two popsicle crafts is that we end up needing fewer supplies.

Christmas Trees

What you need:

3 Popsicle Sticks

Green Marker

Ribbon

2 Pipe Cleaners

Snowflake Gems

Hot Glue Gun

Directions:

The first thing we did was color the popsicle sticks green. We then put a dot of hot glue on the end of the sticks and put them together into a triangle.

Next, we measured out the pipe cleaners and cut them so they would fit across the triangle. Each time getting a little smaller so that it would fit all the way to the top of the triangle.

Once we had all the pieces cut that we needed I put hot glue on either side of the tree and then let my daughter place the pipe cleaner onto the glue. -This part could be a little tricky if your child is young. But my four-year-old was able to just use the end of a pencil to push the pipe cleaner into the glue so that her finger wasn’t touching glue itself-.

Once you have all the pipe cleaners attached you can then add the decorations. We chose the little red and green pom poms, the little snowflake ornaments and a ribbon for the top of the tree. I also added a little piece of string to the back of it with a little hot glue so that we could hang it on the tree when we were finished.

Snowflakes

What you need:

3 Popsicle Sticks

1 Pipe Cleaner

Snowflake Gem

Glitter Glue

Hot Glue Gun

Directions:

Next up is our Snowflake. This one was even easier than the first and just happens to be my favorite. To start we glued the three sticks together in the middle so that they made a snowflake shape.

Next we cut the pipe cleaner into 2 inch pieces and then folded them so that they were in a V shape.

We then glued those V’s near the end of each of the sticks.

From there we placed a few drops of glitter glue and the little snowflake gem for decoration and that was it.

Again I added a little piece of string to the back of it so that we can hang it up on the tree when we were finished.

Both of these crafts her so fun I’m easy! I was a little surprised that they both worked out as well as they did because crafting with kids means anything can go wrong. But all in all, they turned out great and we will be hanging them as soon as our tree is up. If you are looking for a fun easy (and cheap) Christmas craft to do with your children, I would highly recommend one of these!

Thanks for reading!- Monica

Monica

My name is Monica and I am the blogger behind Monica In Mommyland. I have two small children that keep me on my toes! I work from home as a blogger and freelance writer and I love what I do. My blog is a place for busy moms to find fun and creative ideas to help make motherhood a little easier. https://monicainmommyland.com

Blogmas, Christmas, Holidays, Kids

Maintaining Family Christmas Traditions While Incorporating Travel During the Holiday Season

Welcome to Blogmas 2017! Ruth from www.havekiddoswilltravel.net is joining us today with tips on how to travel with kids this holiday season! Be sure to stop by and say. “hi” to her!

Traveling with children during the busy vacation season can be an exhausting and even dare I say a traumatizing experience. Prior to having children, my husband and I took turns traveling to spend the Christmas Holiday with my parents or extended family. We would hop on a Christmas Eve flight to Florida, Washington DC, Virginia or Maryland and enjoy an adult focused, memory filled vacation where we were spoiled, fed, rested and stayed out late with friends reminiscing about childhood and college memories. After welcoming our first born, we longed to wake up in our own beds on Christmas morning, yet felt that she was too young to remember and thus, creating memories with family outweighed the negatives of leaving our warmly decorated home to live out of a suitcase throughout Christmas and New Year. We continued this pace until our second child was one and our first-born was three. Suddenly, I struggled through conflicting emotions of wanting to maintain close extended family connections and the desire to create our own immediate family traditions. After much dialogue and reflection, a compromise was reached.

A Path to Creative Family Traditions

Our first tradition was staying home for Thanksgiving annually and cooking from scratch our own meal while using recipes from both sides of our family. Our children get up early on Thanksgiving Day to help their Papi prep the brined turkey for the oven. Some years, we are blessed to have family or friends from out of town join us at our Thanksgiving table, but for the most part it’s about our immediate family. The Friday after Thanksgiving is the kick off to our Christmas traditions. We bundle up and go to our favorite farm to pick out the perfect tree. While playing Christmas music, the tree is carefully decorated with ornaments, which we have collected throughout the years from every location that we’ve checked off our family travel bucket list. We love reminiscing about our honeymoon in Hawaii as we hang the pineapple ornament and share the many memories that coincide with the Christmas trips taken prior to having children.

Now that we have four kids, we do in fact stay home for Christmas Eve. We go to church and cook our big Christmas meal that evening. Our children are allowed to open their stockings before bed on Christmas Eve and we tuck them in and make them promise not to wake up until 7 AM on Christmas Day. We open gifts as a family and spend the majority of Christmas Day in our PJs, throwing on outfits in time for a late dinner with friends. Our official Holiday travel doesn’t start until Christmas night. This allows our kids to slow down and savor the day as well as spend time as a family prior to moving into the hustle and bustle of holiday travel. We are known to take road trips to MA, PA, DC or even ski trips to Northern New England. We’ve also traveled to Orlando to spend time with my parents and go to Disney World. A note to my readers, this is my least favorite week to go to Disney World. You can enjoy all of the Christmas decorations and festivities by going to Disney World in November and early December without all the crowds and aggravation that comes along with the week between Christmas and New Year. Trust me, don’t do it. Please plan a trip anywhere else during the holiday break. I know that I digressed, but I’m adamant about preventing families from creating negative family memories, hindering their interest in future family trips.

Large Family Approved Guide to Holiday Family Travel

  1. There is no such thing as being overprepared when traveling with children during the busiest season of the year. Our family has taken December vacations to warm locations, ski resorts and have celebrated duplicate holidays with family between Christmas and the first week in January. Packing for any of these destinations for a family of six requires a serious packing list and the strategic use of layers. The experienced family globetrotter checks the list twice.
  2. If you’re traveling prior to Christmas Eve and are visiting family or going to a location that accommodates deliveries, use Amazon Prime or other online shopping service to send small gifts, toiletries, baby wipes, diapers and other essentials to your destination resort (you can even ship water, snacks and essentials to Disney properties). This strategy will reduce your luggage and minimize stress.
  3. Pack your child’s lovie. If your child doesn’t have a comfort item, I highly recommend the Angel Dear Napping Blanket. Our kids each have one and they are globetrotting lovies, having accompanying us on all of our family vacations.
  4. Allow your child to pack a small gift with them if you’re opening presents at home on Christmas Day and then immediately departing on a trip. We’ve done this with our children and it leads to complete buy in when discussing travel plans requiring us to depart on Christmas Day or the day after. Our kids each have a lightweight backpack that they use to pack their lovie, headphones, water bottle, snacks, journal, book and one toy. They’re responsible for packing their bag, which I secretly go through prior to leaving, as I’m not carrying anyone’s backpack through a busy airport.
  5. Learn to say no and don’t travel out of obligation during the holidays. I’ve often told new parents that traveling with children is not a vacation, but rather a trip. Accept it, embrace it and travel with them anyway. The memories are worthwhile. The amount of planning, energy and coordination required to travel during the holidays with little people is physically exhausting. The only way to not grow to recent all of the work involved is to only travel if you are enthusiastic about the location and the people that you’ll be fellowshipping with.
  6. If you’re flying domestically during the winter break, make sure to book your flights early and consider flying from a nearby airport if it allows you to travel nonstop at a more affordable rate.

IMG_7959

As you prepare your family’s hearts for the holiday season, I encourage you to play traditional Christmas music if that’s the holiday that you celebrate. There is something to be said for centering our hearts and spirits on the reason for the season. I wish you peace and safe travels wherever your adventures lead you, and like my grandmother use to say “vallan con Dios” which translates to “Go with God!”

 

68733_463506539144_958437_n

Ruth is a wife and mami of 4 active and globe-trotting kids. She’s always loved a good adventure and truly believes that it’s possible to not only travel with, but actually enjoy traveling with children. Join her, as she shares their adventures and inspires you to get out of the house with your kiddos. www.havekiddoswilltravel.net

 

Have Kiddos Will Travel is a participant in various affiliate programs, an affiliate advertising program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to other websites that they are affiliated with.

Freebies, Holidays, Kids, parenting, Printables

Top 20 Favorite Christmas Movies

Every December we love to watch Christmas movies as a family. We always kick off the Christmas season with a tradition I grew up with by watching Christmas Vacation Thanksgiving Night. From that night on we try to watch as many Christmas Movies as we can throughout the season.

This year my kids have been about everything Christmas already, so naturally the tree is up and decorated, the lights are up outside (but not on, I do have some limits) and we have started watching Christmas movies as a family!

We have  created a Christmas Movie Bucket List to see if your family can watch all of our Family’s favorites this season!

Our Family’s Top 20 Favorite Christmas Movies!

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Story

Charlie Brown Christmas

Elf

Frosty The Snowman

Home Alone (1,2, and 3)

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

It’s a Wonderful Life

Jingle All the Way

Meet Me in St. Louis

Mickey’s Christmas Carol

Miracle on 34th Street (the classic) and the revised version Miracle on 34th Street (2009)

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

The Grinch

The Muppets Christmas Carol

The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Original Christmas Classics (Includes Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is coming to Town, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer)

The Polar Express

The Santa Clause

White Christmas

 

Top 20 Favorite Christmas Movie Bucket List

Download your Christmas Top 20 Favorite Christmas Movie Bucket List!

Black and White Top 20 Favorite Christmas Movie Bucket List

Download your Black and White Top 20 Favorite Christmas Movie Bucket List!

 

Top 20 Christmas Movies

This post contains affiliate links, meaning by clicking on these links and purchasing a product we receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. If you choose to support our blog in this way we would be very grateful! For more details visit our disclosure page.

 

Freebies, Holidays, Kids, Mom Life, parenting, Printables

#Thankful2017

I know I never post on Wednesday’s because we have Wandering Wednesdays happening on the blog, but I couldn’t let the first day of November pass us by without starting our Gratitude Challenge for the month of November!

I am captivated by taking hundreds of pictures each week of everything around me because I love to look back and remember all the memories through pictures! With that being said, I am doing a photo gratitude challenge this month to express my thanks for everything I have! Will you join me?

30 Day Challenge/ Perfect for Kids Too!

I have created a printable calendar for you to display in your home so that you can spend each day focusing on something that you are grateful for.  When you find something that sparks each day’s prompt snap a picture of it to record what you are grateful for! (To download click the link below each picture!)

30 Days of Gratitude Photo Challenge

 

Click here to 30 Days of Gratitude Photo Challenge-pink with flowers

Copy of 30 Days of Gratitude Photo Challenge

Click here to download the 30 Days of Gratitude Photo Challenge-blue and green one

Copy of 30 Days of Gratitude Photo Challenge-2

Click here to Download a black and white copy! 30 Days of Gratitude Photo Challenge

Now that kids have all kinds of technology they can snap a picture too of things that they are grateful for! If your kids are too little to have cameras of their own involve them and help them take a picture of things they are grateful for! At dinner each night talk about what you have chosen to take a picture of. It starts a great conversation of gratitude!

If you choose to join in the fun, and post on social media use #Thankful2017 so we can all see what we are grateful for… Who knows, maybe your pic will end up being shared on the blog (With your permission of course!)!

Wanna Track my grateful journey? Follow me on Twitter or Instagram to see just what we are grateful for in our household!

Don’t forget to post on the fridge and share with your friends!

Happy Grateful Month!

baby, Kids, parenting, pregnancy

5 Simple Steps to Finding the Right Pediatrician

IMG_0385Today was TJ’s 4 month check up; as I was there I was reminded just how lucky I am to have  great pediatrician for my kids! One of the biggest concerns moving to Texas was “Would I ever be able to find a pediatrician I liked for all my kids?” I can honestly say yes! I have! Dr. P is kind, loving, and frankly the best pediatrician I have ever had for my kids in the 14 years that I have been a mom. My kids love going to the doctor. He goes out of his way to make each one of my crazy kids feel special… Even when Talie wants to hide in the corner with her pouty lip he finds a way to make her smile and laugh! I have been so blessed with finding just the right doctor for our family.

(Here’s a little video of TJ chatting with Dr. P today~)

So how do you go about finding a great Peds Doctor?

Continue reading “5 Simple Steps to Finding the Right Pediatrician”