Announcing My New (PRINTABLE) 2015 Household Management Binder (and a freebie!)

Check out the household management printable at my new home by clicking here!

To Be Honest

To be honest…it’s past my bedtime.  I’m tired.  But I am here at my in-laws watching Penn State v. Ohio State (well…I’m not really watching, but who’s keeping track?)

To be honest…I’m typing this entire post on my phone…eek.

Right now I’m part of the latest Bloom book study on Let’s All Be Brave by Annie Downs.  And while reading through I’ve come up with a list of sorts.  A list of things I need to evaluate.  I’m going to share my list with you today and later answer my questions for you.

So here’s the list.  I hope you will share your own responses:

1) What is your brave?  The thing you want to do but are to scared to do.
2) Who loves you?  Who will support you in your endeavors?
3) Who do you love?  Tell them so.
4) What are your talents?
5) How can you use them to serve God.
6) Speak random words of kindness.
7) What do you need to say yes to?
8) What do you need to say no to?

#letsallbebrave #bloom #incourage

How would you answer these questions?

Catching Up

Wow!  I don’t know how things have been going for you (though I’d love to hear!), but our lives have been a whirlwind over here for months.  You would think that I would be used to it by now, but, well, I’m not.

We had some major events happen this summer that ultimately led Cinderella to enter a faith-based residential treatment home.  There is much hard work to be done on both ends that include counseling, homework, parenting classes, visitation, and many changes to old habits.

I found myself in the hospital about three weeks ago, struggling with a bout of depression.

I’d love to dialogue with you about some of these changes.  My hope is to post once a week about how things are going.  I hope you can benefit from reading as much as I will (hopefully) benefit from talking about it.

I must admit–I have been working on things I’d love to share with you.  We’ve tried many new recipes, gone to some great museums, tried new crafts and organizing ideas…my hope is to throw some of these in there as well.  But I haven’t forgotten you!

What major events have been going on in your life lately?

Checking In: What Are You Reading?

It has been far too long since I posted, and I miss  it terribly!  Our family is undergoing many trials and transformations, which hopefully I’ll be able to share soon.

In any case, I wanted to check in to see how y’all are doing?

For lack of time, though, I thought I’d share with you what I’m reading and ask what’s on your night stand right now?  Here’s what’s on mine:

The Generosity Ladder by Nelson Searcy
A Devotional Night Light for Parents by Dr. James Dobson
Parenting Isn’t for Cowards by Dr. James Dobson
The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman
Let’s All Be Brave by Annie Downs

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! (AND A DISCOUNT!)

disneyfrozeninvitationsdisneyfrozenbirthdaythankyoupostcards

I’m super-excited to announce that I’m offering MY VERY FIRST ETSY SHOP SALE!  Because my birthday is in August, I wanted to offer you all a very fine discount…just because!  So head on over to my Etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/MakingtheMostBlog?ref=ss_profile and enter the code HAPPY28 on checkout!

Enjoy!

P.S.  Keep your eyes peeled; new posts to come soon!

Planning Summer: Getting Outside

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Another item of great importance to me and my parenting style is exercise.  I have always struggled with my weight, and there are several weight-related diseases that run in my family.  It is my goal to encourage active behavior early in life so that my kids live a healthy lifestyle as adults.  Because of that, I like to make sure I get the kids outside to play.  I also remember some of my greatest fun as a kid being outside.  I hate to have my kids staring at the TV all day when they could be running around.  Here’s what we are planning to do this summer to encourage that behavior:

Camp out in the back yard
Roast hot dogs
Make s’mores
Corn roast
Go roller skating (this will probably be on our sidewalk)
Fun day at the park
Start a water fight
Picnic at the creek
Watch the birds
Plant a garden
Catch bugs (be careful with this one–last year, Rapunzel caught a bee!)

Our #1 outdoor activity is the local parks’ summer program.  Every year, they set up little platforms at various local parks, and you have to follow the directions provided to find them.  Each one has a piece of plastic on it with an image cut out, and the object is to place a piece of paper over the image and color it with crayon so that it shows up on the paper.  The goal is to get all of these, and we have for the last two years in a row.  It sounds easy, but they change up the parks every year, some trails are fairly difficult, and some can be over 2 miles.  We spend most of our time over the summer on this, and we have many great experiences from the last two years (too many to mention!).  Check with your local library and park programs; maybe you have something similar in your area!

What do you like to do outside with your kids over the summer?

Planning for Summer: Being Creative

One of the most important things to me when parenting my children is encouraging their creativity and the creative process.  Since the start of my parenting journey, I’ve been all for creative play: less about the toys that do things for you and more about the dolls and legos, crayons, paper, etc.  Apparently I did a good job of this too, because my kids have this knack for making just about anything using paper and an ENTIRE roll of tape.

So that being said, of course I am all for encouraging creativity throughout the summer.  Here are some of the things we plan to do to keep those creative juices flowing:

Make our own bubbles
Blow those bubbles
Find shapes in the clouds
Write in your journal
Learn a dance
Make a video
Create a collage using pictures from magazines
Play with sidewalk chalk
Create a photo booth and take pictures
Make oobleck and play with it
Use your imagination day!
Build a fort
Write a story
Draw pictures to go with your story
Make a sock puppet
Put on a show with your sock puppet

I’d also like to visit two area arts festivals over the summer as well.  It looks like a huge list, but when you space things out and group some of the smaller things together, it really isn’t too much when your kids are home all summer.  Better building that creativity than having their face in a cell phone!

I still have a couple of days to fill.  What creative things do you like do with your kids?

Sometimes You Just Need a Day Off

For those working Momma’s out there…sometimes…(and I hope you realize it) you just need a day off.  If I share anything in common with any of the other working moms out there in the world, I could probably bet that many of you hate taking a day off.  For some of you, it just means there’s that much to catch up on when you get back to work.  For others, it might mean that your short on pay for a day.  I have been both of those.

But really, no matter what your situation (and I can say this, because I’ve worked full time, stayed at home, and worked part time–sometimes all at the same time and sometimes at different times–at some point in my life), you JUST NEED TO TAKE A DAY OFF.

What prompted me to write this today was Wednesday.  I drove all the way over to work only to realize that I forgot my key.  And being the only employee with official hours on Wednesday this week (I work at a small church), there just wasn’t anyone to let me in.  As I drove back home to get my key, I tossed around different scenerios in my head.  When would I make up that forty minutes I just lost?  Do I just call it a day?  Do I work late?  After weighing my options, I just decided to call in.  (Please keep in mind that you can’t just take off whenever you want–unless, of course, you are your own boss–but check in with the boss first to make sure it’s approved!)

Now back to WHY I needed the day off: I made the mistake earlier this week of thinking my workload this week had lightened since Easter.  Not so much.  Since I try to save as much money as possible by shopping at different places depending on deals and coupons, I had several places to go.  I had meat to separate in the basement refrigerator (we buy in bulk), Sunday School items to prepare, among other things to take care of.  So i took the morning to prepare my lists and head out to the various stores.

Thank goodness I did, or I never would have gotten everything done!

If you’re behind at home, and it’s stressing you out; if it’s affecting your mood; if you’re just worn down; if you just need one day without someone needing you every second…find a babysitter, call in sick…just take the day off.  Your kids (and probably your husband, if you have one) will thank you for it.

Thinking About Summer: Visiting Museums

A few weeks ago, when we were still seemingly in the midst of Winter, I suddenly had the urge to plan out our summer.  So that’s what I did.  Yep–at the beginning of March, I planned out the months of June, July, and August.  Complete with camp adventures.

We knew a while ago that we were doing camp.  Princess Anna is going to Mom & Me Camp for the first time (and she is already packed!), and Rapunzel is going to “Big Girl Camp” for the first time!  We are all so excited.  But of course these camps are short term, and I have a lot of summer to fill.

I’ll be talking in the next few posts about how I scheduled our summer and will be ending with our summer calendar.  But one of the first things I decided to do was to visit museums.  Our family hasn’t been in a financial position…ever…really to visit any museums at a cost.  And just about all of the museums in our area come with a cost.  This year, we aren’t incredibly well off per se, but we are at least finally able to pay our bills, and I knew that our kids could benefit immensely from visiting museums.

Because museums are quite costly, and because there are few I wanted to visit, Prince Charming and I decided to use any extra money I make on the side to put toward a family membership with a children’s museum that has affiliations across the country.  We went with the Family Plus membership, which allows us admission for 6 people (so we can ALL go!), up to three adult cardholders (so a grandparent can take them too!), guest discounts, free access to members-only events, express entry on busy days, and discounts at the museum store, on birthday party packages, on guest memberships, and guest admissions PLUS 50% off general admission to 200+ member museums.  Even if we only visit each museum once and don’t use any other benefit, we are still saving over $26.

Now Princess Anna has this problem called I-have-to-touch-anything-and-everything-especially-if-Mom-doesn’t-want-me-to.  (Reason #2 why we never really went to museums before.)  That’s why our membership includes admission to museums like Port Discovery, Hands on House, and Please Touch Museum.  Now I can breathe a sigh of relief.  I can’t say for sure if we will do this every year, but at least for this year I am pleased to provide my kids with some active learning at a discount.  And what’s better than having your kids learn while having fun?

Taking Care of Friendship

Today, as I attempted to catch up on the backlog of emails in my inbox, I perused through some of my favorite blogs.  As I was doing so, I happened across a few articles about friendship, the importance of developing friendships, and the like.  It got me thinking.  I don’t like to jump on the bandwagon, but when something speaks to me, I feel I need to write it.  (And by the way, you can check out what I read at incourage at The Art of Simple.)

On the radio the other day, I heard one person ask another what the difference was between her friendships 10 years ago and her friendships today.  Well, 10 years ago I was in my senior year of high school.  I can still remember all of my friends from back then, but I think I knew deep down who was real and who wasn’t.  Sure I had my “friends”, but then there are always FRIENDS–you know, real friends.  The ones who wanted me around even though I didn’t want to smoke, drink, and have sex.  The ones that would come to all the sporting events with me or just walk around the mall.

As is no surprise, I haven’t seen most of my “friends” since I graduated high school.  There’s the one I fell away from, the one I’m always talking to, and the one I wish I talked to more.

Then you go to college, make a bunch more superficial friends and a couple of keepers.  I have two of the keepers.

But then you graduate from college and you enter real life: get a job, get married, have kids…and somewhere among the diapers, the milk, the laundry, the soccer games, and the instrumental concerts, you lose touch.  Your friends are two hours away in a new place and you want to be there with her during this transition but you can’t get away long enough to even see her place.  Or she’s three hours away, and you get to see her once–maybe twice a year when you take vacation with your family.  Or she’s just about an hour away but she works full time on the night shift, and the only time you get together is with the kids–which they love (the kids and your friends!), but all you want is some real grown up time sometimes.  Even the friends you make through your kids’ friends (moms unite!) are out of reach most days–they have busy schedules too.

I miss my friends.

Take some time to read Jennie Allen and Tsh.

And then take the time to pursue meaningful friendships.  Wherever you are, whatever your circumstances, whether you feel like the frazzled mom with no friends or the laid back mom with a million, call up a friend or send her an email–whatever it takes to refresh those precious friendships.  Male or female, single or married, ten kids or no kids.  We need those friendships in our lives.  We were made for friendships.  So pursue them.  Cultivate them.  And then tell us how you did it.

And while you’re at it, pin this prayer from Elisa Pulliam.  Or print it.  Or just visit it over and over again and pray it every time you see it.  You’ll be glad you did.  And so will they.

The Prayer of a Friend