baby, Kids, Mom Life, parenting, Parenting is hard

3 Surprisingly Simple Steps to Connect with your Child

How-to-Connect-with-your-kidsWe all have a desire to be close to each one of our children. This connection is important for their growth and happiness. Kids that are more connected with their parents are more likely to want to do good and make their parents happy.

We all want to be close to our children, but let’s be honest many times life gets in the way, our schedules are all busy, and it is hard to get that connection time that we both need. And then on top of that, we spend much of the time shaping and correcting them so they turn out to be AMAZING RESPONSIBLE ADULTS, which at times comes across as nagging, yelling or criticizing them for what they are or aren’t doing. Did you know research suggests for every negative interaction (yelling, criticizing, nagging) we need to have 5 Positive interactions to make up for it?

You might be thinking to yourself about now, how on Earth can I do it all so that my child feels loved and I can connect with them every day and make up for all the negative interactions? I will let you in on a little secret I learned….

Ready for it?

The more time you spend connecting with your kids each day, the stronger your bond will become, and in time you will start to see less and less negative interactions!

Don’t believe me?

With these Surprisingly Simple Steps, you will Start Connecting with your child on a whole new level and your connection will GROW!


Kids need tangible, physical contact with a parent every day. In fact, they need at least 8 touches a day. When your kids are small and cuddly it seems like an easier task, but as they get older this can become more difficult. Think outside the box, perhaps a small hug, high fives, pats on the back, secret handshakes, a touch on the arm, or moving hair out of their eyes.


When we classify talk, it’s not just any “small talk”. You need to engage your child in at least one worthwhile conversation every day. This talk needs to have eye to eye interaction! This is essential for all KIDS! So stop what you are doing, slow down, and look them in the eyes as you communicate.


You want to spend 9 Meaningful Minutes A Day!

The first 3 minutes of the day, right after they wake up.

The 3 minutes after they walk in the door after school.

The last 3 minutes of the day, right before bed.

These 9 minutes of the day can have a powerful and significant influence on your child. But they can also be the most challenging minutes of the day. Start by shutting down electronics, getting off of the phone, and actively engaging your child for 3 minutes. Set the tone for your child by being positive, encouraging, and patient.

There it is. Nothing too crazy. Simply intentional and meaningful parenting.

Love this article? Share on Pinterest!







Kids, parenting, Uncategorized

12 Chores Your Kids Need to Be Doing

Do you feel like you are the only one that ever cleans and picks up around your house?

I know I DO!

I have days where I feel like from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed I am running around the house like a crazy person doing laundry, making beds, scrubbing toilets, sweeping the floors, along with about 100 other tasks.

I have always struggled with finding the balance between my kids helping around the house and my kids having fun.  Between going to school all day, homework, and extracurricular activities I have always felt like their was very little time for kids to be kids so I have done 99.9% of the housework, until one day when I DISCOVERED there are many things kids can do that just take a FEW MINUTES HERE AND A FEW MINUTES THERE to really help out around the house!

Are you like me and do too much for your kids?

Do you want to teach your kids responsibilities on the limited amount of time that you have?

It is so important to teach our kids to be responsible now so they can be responsible as adults! We TEACH THEM RESPONSIBILITY by giving them chores (or in our house, we call them jobs) to do to help the household run effectively!  

Here are 12 Jobs that take less than 15 minutes that your kids need to be doing to help around the house!


12 Jobs Your Kids Need to Be Doing

Pick Up After Themselves: Nothing drives me more bonkers than finding stuff everywhere that it doesn’t belong! Chase is the worst! I think Chase thinks that by the front door is an extension of his bedroom and the playroom is just one giant laundry basket for his dirty socks!

No matter how old your kids are they can pick up after themselves. If they use it, they need to put it away!

Making their Beds: Each member of the house should make their own bed. I remember the first time the boys made their beds… the sheets were not pulled up, the comforter was on sideways, and the blanket they sleep with was a big rolled up ball thrown in the middle of the bed!

I so badly wanted to go and FIX IT, but I didn’t because #1 rule of kids doing chores is don’t go behind them and fix it or they will never learn.

What I did do was I would take them in there and give them some helpful tips… it’s easier if you find a corner of the sheet and pull it up… Lay the blanket on the ground and put the corners together… These tips after a while helped because now they head into their rooms and make their bed and it looks pretty good all on their own!

Toddlers can even make their bed… Teach them young! Talie and I will go to her room and I will tell her step by step what I am doing; she tries to help where she can. Then she puts the pillows on the bed and all her animals.

Laundry: I do all the laundry in the house. The older kids have been taught how to if they need to in an emergency or if they want something washed not on laundry day. Yep! You heard that we have laundry days: Mondays and Thursdays. The Kids are responsible for getting all their laundry down to the laundry room before school; if it doesn’t make it there, it doesn’t get washed! After it is washed I will fold it and then they are responsible for taking it and putting it away. If the kids are home and I need the laundry moved from the washer to the dryer they will do that as well.

Trash: The kids take turns emptying the kitchen trash as needed. Trash day is Friday so on Thursday Chase is responsible for collecting all the trash around the house and taking it outside and then Colby takes the cans to the corner. After the trash has come, he brings the cans back up to the house.  

Set the Table: The kids take turns setting the table by week. They are responsible for placemats, plates, silverware, napkins, and filling glasses with water. Talie will help whoever is setting the table.

Clear the Table: Each member of the family clears their own plate, scrapes the food into the trash, scrubs it with the scrubber and puts it in the dishwasher. You are probably thinking certainly a toddler doesn’t do this, but they can and should! You can assist them in carrying it over to the trash and help them scrape it clean. Then help them scrub it with the scrubber. Trust me! Your toddler will love this part! Then you can show them how it goes in the dishwasher.

Emptying Dishwasher: The kids take turns emptying the dishwasher as well. They are responsible for putting everything away. If they can’t reach where something goes they get a stool or ask for help. Even little kids can help sort silverware or put plastic cups away.

Clean Room: They are responsible for tidying up their room. They need to make sure drawers are pushed in, laundry is in the basket, and their dresser is clean. I also have them vacuum their floor.

Clean Bathroom: All the older kids are in charge of a bathroom in the house. They scrub the sink, the toilet, and the bathtub. They clean the mirror and the floor. I remember the first time they “cleaned the bathroom”! I walked in and you could still see the pee stains on the boys’ toilet… I REALLY WANTED TO CLEAN IT MYSELF at that point, but I resisted. I pointed out everything that needed some more love, and they were so annoyed with me because we went back and forth for over an hour with things that needed to be cleaned again, but now they have gotten it and can clean a bathroom in about 15ish minutes that looks pretty good and smells fresh!

Meal Planning: I know you are probably trying to figure out how meal planning is a chore, but in our house it is! Every Sunday we sit down as a family and figure out what we are going to eat. Everyone has a say and we decide on our meals as a family. If you say, “I don’t care.” That means you aren’t allowed to complain that week with what we have! Meal planning teaches kids to plan and to budget. If they say we want steak then they know we have to eat spaghetti a different night so that we stay within our grocery budget.

Yard Work: Kids need to help take care of the yard, not just play in it! There are weeds that need to be pulled, sidewalks that need sweeping, gardens that need to be watered, lawns that need mowing, etc. The kids need to learn these jobs so when they live on their own one day they know how to do things!

Cleaning up after Pets: If you have pets, the kids should be feeding them, walking them, and cleaning up after them! This teaches them to care for and be responsible for something other than themselves.

There you have it! 12 Jobs that Kids Need to be Doing that all Take 15 minutes or less!

Like this article? Share it on Pinterest! 






How To Teach your Tweens about Hygiene Pirate Style

*This post contains affiliate links

Don’t let your kids be Scared straight about Hygiene! Use the Pirates of the Caribbean movies to teach tweens hygiene.


How to use a Pirates of the Caribbean movie to instruct your tween in the ways of cleanliness.

The other night our family decided to sit down and watch a movie together. The kids picked out one of our favorites Pirates of the Caribbean! As we were watching it, I thought to myself, “what would their mother think? They are so disgustingly dirty and smelly!” At that moment I literally started laughing out loud because the thought came to me, “MY TWEEN IS JUST LIKE THIS PIRATE! DIRTY AND SMELLY!”

I guess I should back up a bit… The other day as my tween walked passed me I noticed something… Something I hadn’t smelt before… My nose immediately turned up at the stench of BO (Bad Odor!) And if there was one thing I would have to say I hate in this world it is stench!

I began to think about how I should address this “new smell” with my tween without making them feel weird about it. I came up with the normal ideas:

  1. Take my child aside and have the awkward talk with them that they are growing up and their body is changing and that they are starting to smell…. (you get the point I’m trying to make here)
  2. Take your child on a drive to the drug store and explain on the way that their body is changing it is time to start practicing proper hygiene and then walk them into the store to pick out products that they want to us.
  3. Have a great discussion over ice cream like we do for all the other talks we have had.
  4. Or I would just throw them in the car so they couldn’t escape and I would tell them that they smell and we ABSOLUTELY needed to do something about it!

None of these options seemed like the right one, so I admit I let him stink for a few more days!

At that moment, while watching the movie I knew exactly how I was going to teach my tween about hygiene in a very non-threatening, light-hearted, fun way!

Since we were watching the First Pirates of the Caribbean, I knew I would be able to watch the 2nd movie with him and he would be all for it! So I hopped on Amazon, ordered the movie and a few other things I would need!

This is How I taught My Tween about Hygiene with the Pirates of the Caribbean!

Set the stage: choose one of the Pirate movies to watch together with your son or daughter. (Or both!) Make it a fun date and bring popcorn, drinks, or some other yummy treats.

While you are watching the movie be sure to Point out these 5 Things!


  1. Pirate Teeth:  As the story unfolds a nasty looking pirate will eventually wander onto the screen. At your leisure pause the movie so that the alarming image is frozen on your television screen. Take this opportunity (there will be lots of them) to point out one of the pirate’s hygiene issues. Make a comment on how GROSS their teeth are! Let your kids agree with you! Have a brief discussion on the importance of brushing twice a day and flossing at least once.
  2. Pirate Skin:  Continue watching the movie and look for your next prime opportunity to pause so we can look at the fact that they are always dirty! Point out to your kids how funny it is that even though the pirates jump into the water from time to time they never come out clean. Engage with them, ask them why they never are clean? Hopefully (fingers crossed)  they say, it’s because they don’t ever use soap! Draw their attention to this fact, “You are right! They don’t! That must be why they are always dirty!” Perhaps mention to them that they must smell really bad too because they don’t use soap. Maybe even ask them if they want the Pirate to come share a room with them? This will get them talking and probably thinking, “When was the last time I used soap?
  3. Pirate Hair:  There are many characters in the film with greasy, dirty hair. Don’t be afraid to point this out to your tween. Ask the hard questions: “Does that look attractive?” “How do you think it smells?” Point out the fact that if they used shampoo how amazing their hair would look. Casually say, “using shampoo is key to great looking hair.” Most tweens need to use it every day for best results.
  4. Pirate Armpits:  Sweat stains are not attractive! Does your tween know this? Make sure they do. You could share with them that because they are growing their bodies are working hard to produce more hormones. Just because it is normal doesn’t mean it is good. Deodorant is their friend and they should apply it liberally every day (sometimes more than once) to avoid “pirate” like sweat stains and smells.
  5. Pirate Clothes:  The pirates always seem to be wearing the same grunge outfits. This is a great time to remind your kids that they should wear clean clothes every day. Even more important than clean clothes is clean underwear! Remind them that the place to find these clothes is in closets and drawers, not on the floor or in the dirty clothes basket. Thank heavens for washers and dryers!


As the movie draws to an end present them with all of the fun products they need to overcome teenage funk. Offer to answer any questions they might have! And remember to have fun with it!

Maybe your kids aren’t Pirate fans like mine! That’s okay! Get creative! Think outside of the box when teaching your tweens about hygiene!

Adapt this to your own tween’s needs. Do not give up! Hang in there! Be persistent! They will eventually get it. Good personal hygiene is an important life skill that they need to learn, like driving a car or managing money.

Like what you read? Share it on Pinterest!teaching-kids-about-pirates-using-pirates

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.


Written by Whitney. Whitney is an intern that is currently finishing up her degree in marriage and family studies. We are so glad to have her working with us this semester.

Kids, parenting, Parenting is hard

My kids NEVER Misquote Me…Unfortunately…


I know way too well that kids say exactly what you said…We were eating at a quick eat taco place the other day and sweet little TJ (7 months) grabbed my plate knocking my plate into my water spilling all my water all over my food and me! I might have said something I shouldn’t have under my breath (not to my kids, just the situation) and my kids heard! And of course, they thought it was so appropriate at that point to use the same word. Parenting fail for me that day!

Kids, parenting

How to Get Toddlers to Stay in Bed


Our daughter was the most amazing sleeper while in a crib. She would fall asleep without even a peep and sleep through the night. Her naps consisted of three hours of “me time” (me time= dishes, laundry, cleaning toilets, etc) because everyone else was gone. When she was a little older than 1 we got pregnant with our last baby and knew we would need to move her out of the crib. At 21 months we moved her to a “big girl” bed and everything changed! She was no longer taking good naps, bedtime became a three ring circus trying to get her to fall asleep, she was waking up with every sound, and she now was wandering into our room at all hours of the night to sleep with us.


Being hugely pregnant, I didn’t have the time or the energy to continue the bedtime fight for who knows how long so we tried everything and I mean everything to get Talie to stay in bed! After 2 months we finally found the perfect bedtime routine that keeps her in her bed through the whole night 95% of the time!

How to Get Your Toddler to Stay in Bed

Before beginning bedtime, you need to think of your child’s sleep schedule. Toddlers that take naps will naturally stay up later than those that don’t because they aren’t as tired. Make sure to allow at least 5 hours of playtime after they wake up from their nap. So on those “late nap” days that we all hate, it means you will probably have a little one bouncing around the house still at 10 pm.

Yeah… That was a LATE night!

Be Consistent with the same routine for getting into bed. Talie always says goodnight to everyone before she heads to her room. Then she and I head in there. I put her pillows on the floor, pull back her blankets, she climbs in and then I hand her each stuffed animal one at a time, with their correct name, Pink bear, dog sheep, super dog, and Minnie. I push her hair off her face because it is usually everywhere and I kiss her good night. She kisses me and I tell her I love her, which then leads, I love you more, I love you most, I love you right up to the moon. After that, I kiss her again and remind her that she is a big girl and she is going to sleep in her bed all night and we will see each other in the morning. I sing her one song! I then kiss her one more time and tell her goodnight and as I am a little bit away from her room she will sit up and say, “I love you, mom. Goodnight!” Of course, I say it back and that is the end!

In the morning I praise her for being such a big girl for sleeping in her bed and tell her what a good job she did.

This is our routine now that works, although it didn’t always work that well!

How We Got to What Works Now

I remember when we first were sleep training Talie we would go into her room to tuck her in. We were a little inconsistent with things and like I said we tried everything! Every time we laid her down and would walk out she would run out behind us crying and screaming.

This is what we did at that point:

We would carry her back in coddling her and loving her telling her it was going to be okay and that she needed to sleep.

Once we were in there we would sing her additional songs, which then would have her chasing after us for more songs.

We would lay with her as she poked us in the eye, played with our hair, stuck her fingers in our mouth while we (more my husband) slept and she entertained herself until she was exhausted and fell asleep.



What We Did That Worked When Toddlers Get Out of Bed

As stated before we had a consistent routine when we were in Talie’s room. She knew what to expect. She looked forward to each part of this routine. After we said goodnight and left that was it.

When Kids Get Out of Bed

At first, Talie would get up A LOT! The first time that she got up we picked her up gave her a kiss and told her it was time to sleep and that was it. We carried her back to her bed and laid her down with nothing else said. She begged and pleaded for another song and a hug, but we said nothing and did nothing. She, of course, started crying. We walked out. It is crushing as a parent to do this, I get it… I have been there, but the extra hugs and songs after the initial tuck in defeat the whole purpose of getting them to stay in bed. You are establishing the fact that if they get up you will come in and give them the attention they want.

At this point, every child, of course, will chase after you. This is where you need to stay STRONG! You will simply pick them up, no hugs, no kisses, no words and put them back in their bed. You will do this until they stay in their bed. It might take an hour the first night, but the point is to be consistent. Do not after 15 minutes say this is not working and go and lay with them because you have now just established with your toddler that they can follow you out for 15 minutes and then you will give them exactly what they want when it is bedtime.

Additional Tips


Nightlight: Sometimes a nightlight can really help toddlers feel safe. Think about it, they are in a big room with “noises” all by themselves. We didn’t realize at first (because Talie couldn’t communicate that well with us) that she was afraid of the dark. She would say it was scary. Once we bought a nightlight and put one in her room and one in the hall bedtime became a lot smoother.

Be Consistent: Have the same routine. Do the same thing. Toddlers thrive on consistency. When you give them that the world is a better place in their eyes. If mom has always tucked in the toddler and dad is going to do it tonight, make sure dad has the same routine or the whole night will be thrown off for your toddler.

Find Something Comforting that they Like to Sleep With: Toddlers love to feel a sense of security. Find a stuffed animal, a special blanket, or something that they like to sleep with. This allows them to feel safe while they are away from you.

Getting to toddlers to stay in bed takes consistency and time. It will be a struggle to teach them to stay in bed but in the long run will be beneficial for your toddler (they will actually get a good night sleep) and for you and your spouse (wink, wink).

What have you found that works for you?


Was This Helpful? Pin on Pinterest to share with others!


Kids, Mom Life, My Life, parenting, Product Review, things that work

How To Limit Screen Time with Tweens and Teens

This post contains affiliate links.

I have a love-hate relationship with technology! I love it because it offers so much information right at our fingertips, but I HATE it because how much it sucks my kids in! I mean let’s be honest with video games, new YouTubers popping up every day, and a variety of other ways to suck our kids in if we aren’t careful they will be “hooked up” to technology from the time they get home from school until bedtime, excluding the 5 minute break that they take coming down for “family dinner” to scarf down some food! And we haven’t even begun to talk about what they could possibly find on the internet!

I have tried so many things with the boys trying to get them to not spend so much time using technology, but each method has failed. Mostly because I hate being the bad guy! I don’t want to listen to their whining when I take electronics away so I end up giving in and giving it back to them. I am also inconsistent because it is so hard to monitor how much time each person has spent on technology! And on top of that, you can’t really chase Tweens and Teens around asking them if they are on their devices without being the “most overprotective mom” in the entire world.


I knew Chase would be getting a phone for Christmas and part of me was scared to death as to how much MORE he would be on the internet, so I started searching for different ways to limit the amount of wifi that each child used as well as have some sort of internet security in place to protect them from a lot of inappropriate stuff out there and that is when I heard about Circle with Disney.

What is Circle With Disney?

Circle with Disney is a device that you hook up with your router that controls each device individually on your wifi network, that is all controlled through an app on your phone, so it’s super convenient.  It allows you to place time limits as well as security limits on devices and individuals that are hooked up to your network. Circle with Disney allows me to set wake up and bedtimes, off times throughout the day, filter content, as well as look at the history of where each person has been on the internet. I can also pause each person’s wifi or give rewards for good behavior with a click of a button on the app on my phone! I don’t even have to be home to do this!


How Does Circle Work For Our Family?

We have had Circle with Disney for almost 2 months and it has worked fantastic for our family! At first, the boys were using their entire wifi allotment within hours of waking up and they, of course, would come begging for more, but now they have learned to use their wifi when they really want to play a game or watch something on YouTube. Very rarely are they using all their wifi on their personal devices in a day. They have discovered the outdoors and other activities that they really enjoy, they are no longer getting up at 6am on Saturday (because they know the wifi is off) and family dinners are now longer than 5 minutes!


I love knowing exactly where my kids have been on the internet and how much time they are spending there. I no longer fear about them running into inappropriate content because I know it is being blocked. I have also discovered how much time I waste in a day on the internet and limited myself as well so that I too can be productive!

Circle with Disney is $99.00 and has been worth every penny because the wifi is no longer a battle I have to fight every day with the kids! If you want to limit wifi and have struggled to do that I can guarantee this will work for you! They also have a monthly plan that protects devices when they are off the wifi network as well if your kids decide to start using data when they run out of wifi for the day (mine haven’t tried this yet because they know they will lose their phones for a very long time if we go over our data plan!)

If you struggle with screen time like we did, Circle with Disney can really help solve your screen time problems! Click here to purchase Circle with Disney at Amazon!

Like what you read? Pin it so others can read it!


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.



Kids, parenting, Parenting is hard

How to Lose a Pacifier in Just 3 Days!


Each toddler has that one thing that they love more than anything in the entire world!
For some it’s their blanket, for others it’s a favorite stuffed animal, and then there are those kids that love a certain toy…

I wish my daughter loved one of these things that I wouldn’t mind her always having with her, but it wasn’t… My daughter’s favorite thing just happened to be her PACIFIER!

To say her pacifier was her favorite thing is a huge understatement! I think she would choose her pacifier over food if she had too; in fact, there were times when she would take her pacifier out just long enough to stick a piece of food in her mouth and then she would shove her pacifier right back in. We could not go anywhere without making sure she had a pacifier as well as me having two spares just in case she lost one. It was bad! My 2 ½-year-old was addicted to a pacifier and I had NO IDEA what to do about it, until one Wednesday at our Wandering Wednesday link party, where bloggers come and share great blog posts, I found an idea from Have Twins First on how to ditch the pacifiers in just three days! It was an idea she found here called Bye Bye Binkie: Ending the Pacifier Habit. I read her post and sort of laughed because I thought to myself, “YOU HAVE NO IDEA JUST HOW ADDICTED MY TODDLER IS… I mean that thing is in her mouth for at least 20 hours a day,” but I decided it wouldn’t hurt to try it out!


How You Lose the Pacifier in 3 Days

Step 1

From what I read from Have Twins First and Bye Bye Binkie, the process starts three days before you actually take the pacifiers away. You do this by starting the conversation about the pacifiers going away.

So 3 days before, I prepped my daughter telling her how big she was getting and how she could do such fun things. She, of course, agreed that she was so big. I then said there were babies that really needed her pacifiers because they were little and that they really needed those pacifiers… She happily agreed (Yes, I was still laughing inside thinking this will never work). We had this conversation 5-6 times a day for the next three days. Each conversation lasted less than 30 seconds.


Step 2

It was the big day, Day 3, the day I had been dreading… I went through the whole house and found all the pacifiers because I knew if she had to find them she would have a major meltdown when it was time to give them away.,Then  I only needed to get the one she had in her mouth! I distracted her with some candy and took the last pacifier and shoved them in the bottom of a drawer in a dresser so she would never be able to find them.

Then it happened, she asked for her pacifier! I told her that we gave them to the babies. This satisfied her! What?! Was this working? Throughout the day she continued to ask for her pacifier and I continued to tell her that we gave them to the babies.

No Pacifier at Bedtime? Send Help!

We made it through the day without any major meltdowns because we didn’t have a pacifier and I was relieved! We got ready for bed with our normal routine. We sang and gave kisses, and then it happened… She asked for her pacifier. I reminded her that the babies had it and she lost it… There was no comforting herShe sobbed…I told her the babies were so happy and she made the babies happy and I kissed her again and left. She cried herself to sleep that night and my heart was breaking… I was so tempted to go give her a pacifier, but I didn’t!  

The next morning she woke up and sadly asked me for her pacifier, I reminded her that the babies had them now. Throughout the day she continued to ask, but less frequently than the day before at bedtime, it was similar to the day before, but not as bad or for as long. After a few days, she was no longer asking for it during the day, unless she got hurt doing something. Nap time and nights became easier too and got to the point where she was laying down without crying.

It’s been one month of no pacifiers and our life is so much better without pacifiers! Our toddler is happier (I never thought that would happen!), she talks more and plays more. Honestly taking her pacifier away was the hardest thing I have had to do as a mom with her. There were many times where I thought, “this isn’t worth it”, or “if I gave it to her she would just stop crying”, and many other tempting thoughts, but I am SO glad that I was strong enough to stick to the plan because we are so much better off without Pacifiers!

Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 12.45.55 PM

I know that it is heartbreaking to take their pacifier away for them and for you, but I promise if you stick to the plan you will be pacifier free and you will no longer be searching for the lost pacifiers under the bed at two o’clock in the morning!

Kids, parenting, Parenting is hard

How to Transition from Homeschool to Public School

I am that parent who never envisioned sending my kids to public school. Let’s be honest, we were having so much fun learning at home and getting to go on vacation whenever we felt like it, why would we ever choose to go to a “real school”?  I had homeschooled for 10 years 2 months and 15 days when my 15-year old son decided to issue these words, “Mom, I want to go to high school!” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, but I wanted my son to experience high school if that’s what he really wanted to do, so off we went into an unknown territory for our family.   

#1 Vaccinations

The first step in entering public school is making sure all your child’s vaccinations are up to date. If you choose to not vaccinate then you will be required to sign a waiver and get it notarized.  I currently live in Texas which has a few more required vaccinations then where we previously lived, so you want to make sure you check your state’s vaccination requirements.  You cannot assume like I did, that all of the state laws are the same.  Get to know what vaccinations are required in your state for your children to attend school so there is no delay.

One important option for those parents who do not vaccinate is that some states have waivers that you can request to opt out of certain vaccinations so check into that if you choose to not vaccinate.

#2 Current Report Card

While homeschooling it’s important to keep track of any grades you give your children on assignments and tests.  This information will be helpful to the school so they know what your child knows and he/she will not have to repeat courses you have already taught.  I did not use an online homeschooling program so this made things a little tricky and held up the admission process. So you want to be sure to keep great records while homeschooling just in case they will ever attend public school.   

#3 Testing

One thing I made sure to do each year was to give my kids a national standardized test.  I went through Abeka. This was required where we lived, even though we only had to submit the results every other year. Each state is different though. Texas, for example, has a state test as well as national tests that all students must pass in order to move to the next grade level.  Therefore, to satisfy the state, and prove my child’s grade level, he was required to take the state test for the previous grade level.

My son was a little bit nervous about doing this and I thought he might change his mind, but his desire to attend high school was greater than the anxiety he felt about taking the exam.  (Of course, he passed with flying colors…. Yep, teacher of the year right here, just saying!)

#4 Adjustment Period

Being homeschooled allows for parents to remove the negative effects of peer pressure that can be present in public schools.  During the first month of attending high school, my son realized that being the “class clown” was not the smartest way to go.  He also quickly understood that teachers were not like parents and they did not accept late work.  This was the hardest part of the transition! It took patience as I watched him struggle through the adjustment.

How I Dealt with the Adjustment Period?

No parent wants to see their kids struggle, so I searched for the right thing to say or to do. I learned through this adjustment period that teenagers need guidance without it appearing to be lectures. So what I chose to do was offer a few soft words each day help him find his way.

#5 Other Ways to Bond

Now that my kids go to public school, I no longer get to spend as much time with them like the old days.  So every day after school we all sit down at the kitchen table and they work on homework and I work on other projects to be able to spend time with them. Since my kids started public school it gave me a chance to go back to college and take some classes, which has been fun because we have shared each other’s successes (good grades on test) and cry with each other during discouraging times (usually when I feel overwhelmed my kids are there to help encourage me to continue).  We have bonded in new ways, which I would never have imagined prior to them going to public school.

Transitioning from homeschool to public school has been a journey that I did not think we would ever take as a family, but our family has now done it twice and been successful both times we have done it!  As I look back I think the transition was the hardest for me!  I used to look forward to waking up every day and spending it with my kids teaching them, but now I look forward to them coming home and telling me about their adventures at school.  I still work closely with all of their teachers (love that the school has everything online for parents to see each day) to make sure my kids are on track.  Making the move to public school was the right choice for our family.

What were some of the most difficult things you encountered transitioning from homeschool to public school?


5-things-to-remember-when-transitioning-from-Homeschool-to-Public-School (5 Things) - JY


~Written by Jennifer

Kids, parenting

How Do You Stop Yelling?

Despite the fact that I have my degree in marriage and family studies and have taken parenting classes and early childhood education classes I still struggle with parenting at times. It is no secret that one of my biggest challenges is Yelling in the heat of the moment. If you don’t believe me go read, I’m a Yeller.

I yell. I yell too often, and then my kids ask me why I have my angry voice out?

I’ll be honest at first it feels totally justifiable why I am yelling, I mean they aren’t listening, but then mom guilt comes in and I realize that I shouldn’t handle things that way and then I feel really bad.

10 days ago I committed to not yell for an entire year, and man it’s been hard at times, but I haven’t yelled… I have been super close many times, but then I remember that I am in control of my actions…

So… How Do You Stop Yelling at Your Kids?


First, Let’s Chat About Yelling…

In order to be successful at something we need to set ourselves up for success, so how do we do that? We need to understand why we yell in the first place. I have come to understand that yelling for me is me losing complete control of the situation. Therefore, I have to make the choice well before the situation occurs that I am going to stay calm no matter what, I know… Easier said than done.

Find Your Triggers

I have thought long and hard about why I lose it with my kids and 9 times out of 10 it is close to bedtime when I have a plan and things are not going according to that plan. With me being able to recognize my trigger I am able to make changes to allow me to not become as frustrated and allow my emotions to take over. I have learned to have some flexibility in the plan. Yes, bedtime in our house is at 9pm, but is there really that big of a difference between 9:00 and 9:02? 10 days ago I would have said, “Yes!” but after realizing to be a little more flexible our nights have become better, and I have less of a desire to yell…

What are your yelling triggers?

Recognize that Yelling Doesn’t Work

I know at the moment we think that yelling is the best way to handle the situation, but in reality, it doesn’t help anything and it doesn’t work. Yelling makes the kids sad, you get an “angry face” and it just makes the situation worse, followed by you feeling guilty for yelling at your kids.

Plan Ahead

I know this sounds ridiculous but think about those situations that make you the most frustrated and plan how to handle it differently the next time it happens.

For me, it’s usually when I say, “It’s time to get ready for bed.” And then like clockwork, my night goes to hell in a handbasket… I think the boys take this as a nightly invitation to start horsing around, tripping each other, bring out their accents from around the world, checking one last thing on their phones, complaining that they are hungry, and the list could go on and on as to what happens.

So now 10 minutes before it’s time to get ready for bed, I tell them we are getting ready for bed in 10 minutes. After those 10 minutes, when it is bedtime, I already expect that these shenanigans are going to happen, so when they do I am not instantly fired up and ready to yell. I also have planned my Positive FIrst Response, “Boys, I don’t think you heard me the first time, It’s time to get ready for bed. Please head to your rooms and get your Pajamas on and then brush your teeth.”

So to recap the changes I have made with planning ahead: 1. Thought about the situations that makes me most frustrated 2. Planned a Positive First Reaction and 3.Gave the kids warning that bedtime was coming up, rather than springing it on them when it is time to get ready for bed. These simple steps have helped me keep my cool.

In The Moment When You Want To Yell

It’s time to get ready for bed and the boys are now chasing each other around the house trying to trick one another. One is trying to pants the other and the other is screaming for dear life… It’s here! The moment we planned for… I am angry. I am frustrated. No one is listening and I am about ready to lose it. How do I calm down so I am not the crazy shouting mean yelling mom? 

Talk Calmly, but Firmly Using Simple Phrases

This is when we need to use every ounce of patience we have and we need to take a deep breath and calmly, but firmly announce what is supposed to be happening. Do this with simple short phrases. In my case, I calmly, but firmly state, “Boys, it is time to get ready for bed. Go to your rooms and get ready for bed.”

Respond, Don’t React

Certainly, it would be easy for me to chase the boys around the living room or to yell at them when they are yelling at each other, but this doesn’t work because it is me reacting to the situation based on emotions. We need to respond effectively to what is happening rather than reacting.

Set Consequences/ and Follow Through

If talking calmly doesn’t work using simple phrases, then it is time to set a consequence. “Boys, if you do not start getting ready for bed right now, then you will lose your wifi after school tomorrow.” Okay… So in our house, this usually is what gets at least one of them bolting to their room because a life without wifi is the ultimate punishment. I know what the parenting books say, the consequence should go in line with the punishment. So if they aren’t getting ready for bed they should have to do it sooner the next day or early to bed… This does not work for us. We have a few things that if I threaten to take them away I can be guaranteed fantastic behavior immediately, the wifi being one of them. So find a consequence that works for your kids. It probably is a different consequence for each one of them. 

If your kids don’t do what they were supposed to after you set the consequence, then you have no choice, but to follow through. If you don’t follow through your kids will now realize that you just like to give “idle threats” and that you really don’t mean what you say, so they will never believe any consequence you set, ever.

Walk Away

If you are about ready to lose it, it’s time to walk away and get a few deep breaths… I know you might think this is letting the kids win, but really you are winning here because you are recognizing that you are still in control of the situation. Most of the time when I walk away the kids usually start listening. If the problem is still happening when you come back then you are able to deal with the situation with more patience.

Walking away from a situation also shows my kids that it is okay to walk away from situations they are in before they lose it. It teaches them it is not okay to scream or shout and we can all take a moment to compose ourselves before dealing with the situation on hand.

Laughter is the Best Medicine

When the situation is escalating and you want to yell, using humor might be a good alternative. Making a joke and laughing can change the situation completely. When I tell a joke the boys stop chasing each other and start wanting to tell jokes. I then let them tell a joke and then they head off to get ready for bed. Problem solved! We avoided Yelling and they are now getting ready for bed, and bonus! Everyone is happy!

After I’ve Yelled

Let’s be honest… I yell… I feel like crap… I feel like the worst mom in the world… I feel like I am majorly failing… I feel like my kids hate me. So what do we do once we yell?


Tell your kids you are sorry, and really mean it. This is important to do this because they need to recognize that everyone makes mistakes, even their mom, and dad! It helps them learn how to apologize also when they are in the wrong. 

Show an Increase of Love

Parenting can be hard! So can being a kid, trying to figure everything out. In those moments after we lose it, we need to make sure that our kids know they are loved. We need to take this time to give them some extra attention, spend some quality time playing a game or reading a book or give them some extra hugs to make them know how much they are loved.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up!

For days after I yell, I worry that my kids hate me, even though they show no signs of hating me… I mean kids are really the most incredible forgiving individuals in the world! It’s easy to think that we are the worst parents in the world and that everyone is a better parent than me, but that doesn’t help anyone! So pick yourself up and figure out what you want to do better next time! I know you can do it! 

What have you found helps you to not yell at your kids?



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 shenanigans. 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 whipped 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!


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 a 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 be 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