Do NOT Miss This!

Do NOT Miss This!

The one thing I look most forward to all year is coming up in a few weeks!  The Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit is everything I need to refill my tank, my worn out mom tank.

I am talking about hundreds of other women in the same place you are….tired, needing encouragement, many in struggling marriages and with hopelessness.  Even though I am a total introvert, I love this event and wouldn’t miss it unless God dropped a 2 ton steel beam in my driveway so I couldn’t get out.  And if it helps, there are lots of prizes all weekend.

The first time I went a few years ago in Oklahoma I was not sure what I was getting into.  I had been invited and decided to check it out.  It was a long drive, 8 hours, but I felt it was something I should do.  I can’t tell you why now….it was instinct.  And the first night I was like, “What IS this thing?!”  There were women from all walks of life, some dressed up, some dressed down, some in heels and others in denim jumpers with sneakers.  There was a sense of excitement and peace at the same time.

Then one by one onstage women in costume marched across being described by the announcer, there was Debbie Drowning and Peggy Perfect and Sara Sporty and Helen Hanging-On.  They were funny, but tapped into deep issues we all face as moms.  After that there was worship and I was hooked.  Women being real, speakers encouraging us, praise and laughter?!?!  SIGN ME UP!

It was that same year I grabbed the founder and told her I had to be a part of this.  I wanted to bring it to Texas and do whatever I could to help.  And here we are now about to host the third Summit in Texas!!!  Hallelujah, isn’t God amazing?!?!

This year we are doing a few new things, including a blogger dinner and time of fellowship.  Connie from Smockity Frocks, Kris from Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and I will all be there.  We want to meet you and spend time ministering to each other.  You can sign up for the dinner when you register. (the blogger dinner is only in Texas, but I will also be at the Oklahoma event!)

And at the Texas Summit we will also be doing a panel answering your questions.  Are you struggling with something?  Do you wonder how other moms do it all?  Have you reached the end of your rope?  Well, bring on the questions and we will do our best to answer them and let you know you’re not alone.  You can head over to my Facebook page and leave a question there.  We will answer some of your questions here too, so if you can’t come to the Summit, please go ahead and ask anything.

I hope you will consider attending the Summit.  I’d love to see you at either one, but the Texas Summit is near to my heart and I am hoping to bring a bunch of you with me!  And don’t tell me it’s too far because I drive 8 hours each year to go to the one in Oklahoma and I would fly anywhere in the USA to be there.

If you are worried because you don’t know anyone else going then I have a couple of solutions for you.  First, bring a friend (or 2 or 3)!  This is a great girlfriend trip.  Share a room and ride together and have a grand adventure!  Or, if that doesn’t work out you can consider me your friend to hang around with.  Even though I will be moving around a lot, I will make sure you meet some of the other amazing women there and help plug you in.

I have a $10 off code you can use, so be sure you plug that in when you register!  It’s PENNINGTON10

Here is my recap of the 2014 Summit.  You really don’t want to miss this.

Come join us!  January 22-23 in Oklahoma and February 5-6 in TEXAS!!!

 

10 Questions for Your Kids When They Are Bored

10 Questions for Your Kids When They Are Bored

This post contains affiliate links.

Hello!  If you’re stopping by from Thomas Nelson…welcome!  I hope you’ll hang around and if you want to know more about me THIS is a good place to start!

10 great questions to have your kids ask themselves when they are bored. #parenting

With 9 kids, I have heard many versions of “Mom, I’m bored,” and, “I don’t have anything to do.”  I usually send them outside with orders to, “Run around and have FUN!”.  But the cold weather (or here in Texas, the summer heat) can keep us inside and not sure what to do with ourselves.

I keep a list posted in the house for the kids to reference when they have nothing to do: 10 things to ask yourself before you tell Mom you’re bored.

Before you tell Mom you’re bored, answer these questions:

  1. Is your room clean?  Picking up a few things and straightening is an important thing to do every day.
  2. Have you exercised?  Use your body and get your heart rate up every day.
  3. Can you help someone?  The best way to use your free time is to give it to someone else.
  4. Have you read a book today?  Keep your mind exercised by reading every day!
  5. Have you prayed?  When you’re bored, it’s a good time to spend a few minutes talking to God.
  6. Have you read the Bible?  Find a verse and read it 3 times then say it out loud.
  7. Have you done something creative?  Draw a picture, write a story, play some music, weave a potholder.
  8. Have you played a game with someone?  NOT a video game, but a game where you sit at a table facing each other and talking to each other.
  9. Are your chores done?  Is the dog bowl clean and your laundry put away?  You are an important part of your family and when you don’t do your chores you are making life harder for everyone else.
  10. Is there something you can find to do yourself?  Look around and see what you can do without interrupting Mom or Dad to ask.  You might be surprised at what’s available to you already.

Here are a few fun books to keep around for the kids to read while they’re looking for something to do:

Read and Share 5 Minute Bible Stories (quick, easy reference to find Bible stories, you might even find art projects to go along with them!), Henry Hodges Needs a Friend (a sweet little book about feeling left out), Under the Sea  (packed with hundreds of ideas for felt creations), MindWar (for the teens, one of those thrillers about a seemingly ordinary teenager who discovers a hidden gift)
The next time your child tell you they are bored, get out the questions and let them find productive things to do on their own.  Get their creative juices flowing and teach them to make wise choices for how to spend their time.
And then send them out to play.
Come on over to Facebook for more conversation!
10 Last Minute Gift Ideas

10 Last Minute Gift Ideas

Here are a few last minute gift ideas for those of you who have waited too long…

  1. Hickory Farms – You can usually pick up a package of sausage and cheese for someone in the grocery store.
  2. Books – It’s too late to order from Amazon, but the bookstores are still open.  Several of you have messaged me asking where you can get my book….it’s available in Barnes & Noble plus most Christian bookstores have it!
  3. Candy – Look around on Pinterest and there are tons of adorable ideas for ways to present candy as a gift.
  4. Printed image – If you want to order something just print the image of it and roll it into a paper towel tube and wrap it.  In fact, this would be a great way to present a Young Living Premium Starter Kit.  😉
  5. Gift cards – they are everywhere now, even the hardware store and the post office!
  6. Stocking – buy an actual sock and fill it with small goodies.  That’s fun!
  7. Shop your house – If you own a book that you love or a mug that is your fave, give it to someone as a love gift.
  8. Coupons – The old fallback, make a coupon for a movie together (your treat!) or lunch or to do something you know they would love.
  9. A weekend away – If you’re buying for a tired mom, consider gifting her a much needed weekend away at the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit!  (use my code: PENNINGTON10 for $10 off!)
  10. A donation – There is no shortage of needs around the world and making a donation instead of a gift is a blessing all around!

I hope you get everything wrapped up and can stop to enjoy the time with family and friends.  Merry Christmas!

Come over to Facebook to keep the conversation going!

Come to the Summit! (plus a note to your husband)

Come to the Summit! (plus a note to your husband)

Well?  Have you made up your mind or not?  It’s time to just jump on in and register for the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit.

Look, I know it’s hard to get away and we can feel guilty spending time for ourselves and we wonder how the family will survive without us for a few days.  But this, my friend, is what you need to fill your tank.

Moms get worn out, burned out, tuned out….. we NEED a break!  And it is OK!!  You can’t just go-go-go without stopping and being refreshed with energy and enthusiasm and God’s love.

And the best part is that you will get all of that AND MORE at the Homeschool Mom’s Winter Summit!  It takes place in Norman, OK January 22-23 and again in San Marcos, TX February 5-6.  The speakers, the prayer time, the worship, the laughter (OH so much laughter!) will all feed your soul and lift your heart.

The speakers will cover everything from marriage to motherhood to mere survival.  These are moms in the trenches just like us and they’ll minister you to all weekend while you hang out with your friends (and make NEW friends!).  Then we laugh.  And laugh.  And laugh.

It is my personal mission to make sure no one is there without a friend, so if you don’t know anyone come sit by ME!  I WANT to know you!  I want to spend time together.  You WILL NOT be bothering me!!!!!!

Please, don’t let doubt and fear or lack of funds keep you from this event.  If you have to travel, make it happen.  If you have to farm your kids out for a couple of days…. do it!  For the Texas event, Kris from Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers is traveling across several states to come!  And Connie from Smockity Frocks will be there too!  And many, many other amazing women…. including YOU, I hope!

Use the code: PENNINGTON10 to get $10 off your registration fee.  And hop over to Facebook to let me know you’re going!  I will be glad to answer any questions you have and do what I can to help you get there.

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I promise friends, this is WORTH it!  Ask for it for Christmas!!! If you share a hotel room with 3 other ladies (these are all suites and they’re HUGE!) it’s only $60 for both nights (not counting tax which might literally double that ‘cuz hotel tax makes me crazy and I can’t even get on that soapbox).  Let’s do a little math….

$109  (Registration)
– $10  (using my discount code: PENNINGTON10)
+$10  (to attend the blogger dinner if you’re in Texas)
+$60  (hotel)
+$25  (various food and miscellaneous)
= $194

For $200 plus the cost of getting there you get all of your food, nice hotel, time with friends, meet new amazing people, get prayed with, get loved on, hear wisdom, laugh ’til your sides hurt….GIRLFRIEND WHAT IS STOPPING YOU?!?!

(OK, now I want to talk to your husbands so just turn your computer over to him right now or screenshot this part and text it to him: Guys, my husband wants you to know how much going to the Summit refreshes me.  He makes sure I get there every year because I come home happier, more in love with him, more excited about the kids and feeling like I can handle what I have to face every day.  He wants to encourage YOU to send your wife to the Summit.)

Back to you friends….please come.  I want to help, I want to pray for you, I want to be a part of making your life better.

Summit or BUST!

Catch me on Facebook for more fun!

Today I am Thankful

Today I am Thankful

Last week when I was at Disney I got to meet a couple of y’all and that was wonderful!  I love meeting you all in person and getting to chat with you.  Each of the ladies I met asked me the same question that many of you ask me, “How are things going with your daughter?”.

I have stayed away from this subject on the blog for several reasons.

  1. There really isn’t anything to tell.  We don’t hear from her and know very little about her life.
  2. It is painful.  I like to be positive and encouraging here, but I want to be honest.  This is a very hard subject for me and frankly I just don’t like to talk about it.
  3. The haters.  It is a sad, sad world out there and people sure do enjoy tearing others apart.  Every time I mention anything about my hurt over this situation people come out of the woodwork to throw stones at me and it’s just so dumb and mean.  I simply don’t want to dredge up the crazy.
  4. The very, very limited accessibility we have with her is a precious treasure to me and I don’t want to lose that by saying anything that would hurt her in any way.  Sometimes you just need to keep quiet and pray, so that’s what we’re doing.

But I know that many of you care about us and wonder how I am.  I get asked about it several times a day, and your tenderness has been a blessing!!!

Here’s the answer: I am really, really sad, but I am OK.  In fact, I am finding places of joy and peace that I never knew existed before because I never needed it so much.  I am learning humility and hope and trust in the God who knows exactly what we need.

I am still working on some other lessons I need to learn, like forgiveness and confidence in who I am in Christ without being affected by what other people think.  Those 2 things, yeah, not easy.  I read once that if we won’t forgive someone else then we don’t fully understand the depths of our own depravity.  That really helps me remember that I am no more deserving of forgiveness than anyone else, no matter what they’ve done.  The Bible is clear on that.  But honestly, there are a few people that my flesh would rather never see or hear from again.  Just being real, not saying it’s right.

God is even using that battle to grow me into a stronger, wiser, more valuable member of the Kingdom.  I do want that, even though it hurts like H-E-double-hockeysticks.

This week, as we move into the holidays I am fighting the grief again.  My heart breaks daily and God beautifully mends it every single time.  He often uses you all to be His messenger of love.  Those of you who have sent me cards and messages, you have held me together.  Every note of encouragement is a healing balm to me.  Isn’t it amazing how you find out who your true friends are through these kinds of trials?  I have been shocked (and saddened) at who has been hateful and even more surprised at many who came out in force to stand firm by my side.  Those people are my earth angels (great, now I’m picturing Marty McFly from Back to the Future and that song “Earth Angel”).

God uses our suffering for our good, and knowing who you can really trust is a very good thing!  I have been so, so grateful for that.  And He has shown me where I am strong, thickened my skin, held me up in times of trial and proved to me that I can survive what I would have thought would kill me.

OK, I am reading back through this and it sounds like a real downer.  I don’t want to leave you with anything but the tremendous hope and gratitude that I have in what God can do and how great He is to use my hardships to help me and the people I love.  Nothing but good will come of this trial, that I am sure of.

Here are a few things that I am so, so thankful for…

  1. He has lovingly removed some toxic people from my life.
  2. He is teaching me to forgive, which is my biggest challenge.
  3. He is showing me where my value lies, which is in Him!
  4. He is making me more loving and understanding.
  5. He is giving me new friends who are trustworthy.
  6. He is strengthening my relationship with my other kids (this part has been SUCH a blessing!)
  7. He is teaching me blind trust and giving me that kind of joy that only comes from the Holy Spirit and has nothing to do with circumstance.
  8. He has strengthened my marriage through this, when it could have easily gone the other way.
  9. He has blessed my business, how amazing!!!
  10. He has give me the opportunity through this to encourage thousands of you who are going through a similar trial, which is an incredible gift to me.

Yippee!!  Look at what a great list that is! I hope that encourages you to be thankful this week and for whatever God is doing in your life.  It can get really hard, but oh so rich with blessings along the way!  Make your own list and see what great things God is doing.

Happy Thanksgiving!  May the joy of the Lord be your strength!

 

Home from Vacation and Straight to Thanksgiving

Home from Vacation and Straight to Thanksgiving

I should be starting this morning with enthusiasm.  I have grocery shopping and Bible study, answering emails and getting the house ready for Thanksgiving all to do this morning.  But instead I am drinking hot tea in my jammies and considering a 10AM nap.

Our family was on vacation last week and now I am so worn out from all of the running around and eating and keeping up with active boys that I need a break from my break.

We went to Disney World.  It was wonderful and magical, but I got so tired that by the time we pulled in the driveway on Saturday night at 10:00 I wasn’t sure if I could make the walk from the van to the house.  Yesterday I stayed in bed until noon while watching trash TV.  After that I dragged myself to my recliner and stared at the walls, not even trying to get anything done.  I slept almost the entire day and I still don’t feel caught up on rest.

I’d like to stay in my post-Disney stupor today too, but life won’t let me.  We are having a houseful of people here for Thanksgiving, which is such a wonderful blessing!  Since I love my friends, I can’t just lie around wishing the holiday elves would bake the pies and find room in the fridge for all this food.  I have to actually get up.

This morning while I was unpacking my suitcase and putting away the vacation memories, I decided not to put my hair supplies away just yet.  You see, I got a little obsessed with doing fun things with my hair for Disney.  I created a different style for each themed park and it was so much fun that I am thinking of doing some more things with my hair for the holidays.  Maybe a Christmas tree or some kind of fountain.

Here are the styles I did last week.  I got so much interest in them on social media that I will do individual tutorials for them over the next few weeks.  I just need time to recover first.

Right now I have a week filled with baking and shopping and cleaning and hopefully getting some rest before I have to get up at 4:00 on Black Friday to take my teens shopping.  In preparation for Thanksgiving Day, I made a Pin board with some great tips, games and recipes.  This will help me when I get to the store and forget what I was planning to cook.  If you have a great Thanksgiving recipe, I hope you’ll share it with us over on Facebook! I need all the help I can get.

We will be moving all of the furniture out of our living room to make space for a few more tables on Thanksgiving.  I am not sure where the sofa is going to go, I may be crawling over it for the next 4 days.  Hopefully I can still get a few naps in while we get ready for our guests to arrive!

Happy Thanksgiving week my friends!

 

The Great Furniture Switch

The Great Furniture Switch

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Normally our Saturdays are all about bathroom cleaning and naps.  But this past Saturday took on a life of its own after James informed me that he really wished I would switch the living room and dining room.  He asks for so few things around here.  I tend to run the show when it comes to room arranging and décor, so I felt like I should do it.

Great dining room/school room!

The new dining room/ school room

Also, I didn’t mind that it would be motivation to get everything really clean, as in buh-bye dust bunnies and cobwebs.  Under my furniture gets pretty bad.  Plus, my area rug was on its last leg and I had been wanting to roll it up and throw it away.  So on Saturday morning I informed the boys that it was going to be a mom/boy work day.  After they leapt for joy and thanked me for the opportunity, we got to work.  Plus I bribed them with money.

Dining room is a homeschool room.

The schoolroom side of the dining room.

We have gone back and forth with these 2 rooms over the years with pros and cons for both arrangements.  On one hand, the way it’s been for the past couple of years had the dining room right off the kitchen which is handy and makes life easier.  On the other hand, when the living room is in that spot we hang out in there a lot and spend more time relaxing as a family.  BUT that means when you walk in our house you’re immediately in the dining room, which isn’t my favorite.  See?  Pros.  Cons.

dining room school room for a homeschool family

The view of the front door from the school area.

Doing this kind of job is complicated, like one of those little 3×3 slider puzzles with an empty slot that you slide the pieces around until you have them in order from 1-8.  You can’t do it without that empty slot.  In the same way we needed to create an empty place to begin the great furniture switch.

A fun school room/ dining room

This vintage fridge holds blankets and is a playful addition to the dining room.

We took a sofa out to the front porch and then started sliding furniture back and forth, cleaning as we moved each piece.  It was like a dance: step left then slide right, push, shuffle, sweep, repeat.  We even had music playing to keep us moving.  We listened to everything from Rascal Flats to Star Wars soundtracks.

great homeschool room!

The school table and bookshelf with our favorite books on it!

Slowly, slowly we chipped away at it until the furniture had been moved and the rooms were clean.  Then we started the process of finding the best arrangements.  Once we got the basics in place, it was time to take care of the finer details like walls and shelves.  It’s a matter of trying something, stepping back, adjusting, wandering around the house looking for just the right object, trying again, over and over.  I still have a few things to do and I’ll be tweaking for the rest of the week, but we got it mostly done.

Use the kids' initials for wall art!

I’m still searching for a few of the kids’ initials.

We even went through all of the school books and supplies (which was a monster job!) and we cleaned out the games and movies.  I am telling you, we left no stone unturned.  By around 5:00 we were all so exhausted that we collapsed in our new living room and just stared at each other.  No one moved for about half an hour until the debate began over who was going to get up and make us all something for dinner.  That could only mean one thing….pizza.

Fall dining room

Sweet little pumpkins as a centerpiece

On Sunday morning we were still worn out from the day before (and the past few stressful weeks), so we decided to take a day off from everything.  No church, no cleaning, no social media, no school work, no nothin’.  We piled in the car and headed to the city to just hang out together, have a nice meal and relax.  We did a little shopping for a few things the kids needed, saw a movie, had some Mexican food and walked around in the gorgeous weather just enjoying being together.  It was the nicest day I have had in months.

Great living room on a budget, chalkboard wall, hard to arrange!

The living room with chalkboard wall.

This week I have a few things to wrap up in the newly arranged rooms and a lot of school to get done with the boys, but it should be nice and simple.  My older kids each have projects they’re working on, so we’re all buzzing around doing our thing, helping each other and spending time supporting each other.

happy living room on a budget!

The other side of the living room

And now that there are no more dust bunnies in that part of the house I am feeling a weight off that I didn’t realize I had.  I always crave clean, but seldom seem to get there.  This is nice.

Family living room on a budget

My sweet floating shelves and chalkboard wall

And making my husband happy on top of all of it makes it kind of a perfect weekend.

Have a great week!

Happy Book Lover’s Day!

Happy Book Lover’s Day!

This post contains affiliate links.

Did you know that tomorrow is Book Lover’s Day?!  Oh boy, I could get into that one.  I live by the philosophy that you can never have too many books.

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I love, love, love to read books.  And if I don’t have time to read, I get an audio book for the car.  I’m from the 70s when we were told over and over, “Reading is FUNdamental.”  I would choose books over jewelry, chocolate or cute shoes.  If that doesn’t express how much I love books, then you will never understand.

On our anniversary over the summer, James and I went to a bookstore after eating a nice dinner and I spent the whole time trying to convince him that we needed more books.  Visions of the pile next to my bed that I haven’t read yet did pass through my head, but I pushed it out long enough to buy 2 more.

In addition to MY BOOK, here are a few that you might like for your library.  These are kids’ books.  Let’s not even talk about the amount of kids’ books I have.  These are all from my friends at Thomas Nelson.  They have a great selection of books for all ages!

For the little ones, this book, I Prayed for You is precious!  It’s a hardcover book teaching them how much their mama prays for them.

For the 3-7 year old we love the Mercer Mayer books like, You Go First.  We have had them around since my 25 year old was this age and I can still hear her sweet little voice “reading” the lines with me.

In age 8-12, my son absolutely loves his Nature Bible!  He carries it around the house to read and to church and he’s so pound of it.  Your young lady or gentleman will love it too.

And we can’t forget the teen in your life!  Here’s one that will spark great discussion and thought in your teen and the entire family, Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door.

While they may each have their own books, studies show that reading aloud grooms them to read more on their own.  Pick up any of these books and start reading as a family.  Do some fun voices and make the words come to life for your kids.  If you can show them what a joy reading is by reading out loud to them, they are more likely to love to read throughout their lives.  It doesn’t even have to be a book that is targeted for their age range, just read.  My 8 year old can listen to the teen books and the teens can hang out long enough to hear a shorter children’s story.

How will you spend this Saturday?  Me, I will be in my hammock with a stack of books and not clock to tell me to stop reading.

Join me on Facebook for more conversation!

5 Tips for the Days When Mom Gets Sick

5 Tips for the Days When Mom Gets Sick

This post contains affiliate links.

5 great things you can do in advance to prepare for the days when mom gets sick

As we approach the winter it’s a good time to prepare for the possibility of sickness in the family.  It happens to all of us occasionally, we catch a bug that’s going around and before we know it we are in bed.  All day.

In our house, it typically starts with one of the kids and works its way around until Mom gets it.  This place can’t run well for long without Mom!  Who is going organize the meals and make sure the homework gets done?  Nope, we mothers need to stay well, but it’s not always in our hands.

Mom, with some preparation you can get a couple of days of rest and the kids can take care of things while you’re healing.  Of course, this won’t work for babies.  They can’t take care of themselves no matter how much you prepare.  That’s when you lean on your friends or your husband takes a day off of work.  Look, life happens.  See it as an opportunity to bless someone by allowing them to serve you (something I am terrible at!).

But for the kids over 3 years old, they can take care of most things for a couple of days.  You will have to lift your head occasionally to check on them and do a few small tasks, but you can make it a lot easier on yourself if you have some supplies in place for that dreaded sick day.

  1. Food – We always keep some quick fix foods on hand that are exclusively for sick days.  Crackers, cheese cubes (which can be frozen), nuts, cereal, canned fruit and beef jerky are all food that can be stored for long periods of time and don’t require cooking.  I keep ours in a sealed bin at the top of the pantry and pull it out when I am sick (otherwise someone eats it when no one is sick!).  If you don’t have this, make a list of foods that someone can pick up for you at the store like bread, bananas, peanut butter and yogurt so the kids can get eat without cooking.  If they’re old enough they can fix their own simple lunch.  If not, it is still easy for you to do with almost no clean up.
  2. Books – I have taught my kids to love books and I keep some up on a high shelf and can pull them out when I need to rest. For the little ones, a book like Count My Blessings 1-2-3” is perfect because it has some fun movable parts and if you’ve read it to them before, they will know where to count as they turn the pages.  For the middles, try “Duck Commander Devotions for Kids” by Korie Robertson.  It’s adorable! And the older kids might like “Dream Treaders,”  by Wayne Thomas Batson as the first book in a trilogy (I find mine need trilogies because they read so quickly!
  3. Toys – I have, for as long as I can remember, had s few toy sets tucked away for an emergency.  Believe me, needing something new for the kids to do can be an actual emergency when you are ill.  This would include good toys, not free stuff from their Happy Meals.  Think of Christmas and how you don’t see the kids for hours after they open their presents.  This is a similar concept, only it’s not a gift and these toys will get put away again in a day or two.  Sets like Legos and Playmobile are good for this.
  4. DVDs – In our home we only let the kids watch a movie once a week, so when sickness hits the house I don’t feel so bad that they are watching shows all day long for a few days.  I like to buy new ones during the holidays when they go on sale and tuck them away for a time when the kids really need to be kept occupied.  Also, think outside of the box and get a few that teach Bible lessons like those at Thomas Nelson.
  5. Little Helper Prizes – Teach your kids to help you by having a little chart made up in advance to play “Mommy’s Little Helper.”  You can make a list of helpful things for them to do and offer prizes for the amount of points they get at the end of the day.  I keep a box of prizes with the toys from #3.  As they do these activities, give them a tally mark in the box and at the end of the day add them up.  Each mark is a point and they get prizes at the end of the day.  Ten points gets a prize from the box.  Prizes will be things from the dollar store like a roll of tape, piece of candy, some string, a fun eraser, teeny spiral notebook, etc.  This will help to make them aware of helping plus do some of the thinking for you.

I’ve made a Mommy’s Little Helper sheet for you to get started….just download and print!

Fun game to get the kids to help when mom is sick

Truthfully, there is no way you will be able to sleep all day while you recover, you’re just too important in these little people’s lives to be out of it for long.  But being ready with these ideas will make it a LOT easier for you (and them!).

Bless all you mommies who will deal with sickness this winter.  I am praying for you!

Holiday Gift Guide for Men

Holiday Gift Guide for Men

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Let’s face it…. guys are HARD to buy for.  With 5 sons and a husband on my list, I always appreciate some ideas for them.  So I made this list for you of things that we actually own and the guys love.  Here are 20 things that I would buy for my guys if we didn’t already have them!

Fashion —

  1. Suspenders – these are in style for the vintage loving guy.  My 16 year old son wears them every day and it’s a good look!
  2. Wood Watch – this made it to both my men’s and women’s list.  We love our watches from Jord!IMG_6054
  3. Plaid Shirt – plaid is in this year and your guy would look trendy in his favorite color mix.  I got ours at Target.
  4. Nerd Glasses – Not everyone likes the empty frames that kids are wearing these days, but I think they’re super cute and my trendy boys like wearing them.
  5. Bowtie – I got my boys this exact set last Christmas and put one in each stocking.  They wear them all the time.
Travel —
     6.  Toiletry Bag – My guys love having these.  They use them to keep their personal products in even at home.
     7.  Napwrap – This thing is so cool!  It holds your head, your arms, whatever you need to be able to sleep or relax while traveling.
     8.  Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones – These are a splurge that I got when I started traveling a lot and let me tell you… they are amazing!  They block out plane noise, kids crying, whatever and you can relax with music, audiobooks or just plain quiet.
     9.  External Battery – Several of us own these and I don’t know what we did without them.  It doesn’t matter what kind of phone you have, this will charge it.
10. Lael Bag – This bag is made by a company who uses the profits to provide meals for the orphaned and homeless worldwide.  We love ours and get lots of compliments in it.

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Business —
     11. Command Cord Clips – Command makes some great products and these cord clips are no exception.  They keep your cords tucked away without damaging walls or furniture.  They’d make a great stocking stuffer!
     12.  BookBook phone case – My husband LOVES his wallet phone case (and I have one too that I am crazy about!)
     13.  Do Over by Jon Acuff – I read this book last spring when it came out and loved it.  For the man who wants to improve his work life this book is for him!
     14.  Back Scratcher – My husband has this exact back scratcher and head massager in his office and uses it a lot.  I’m thinking of getting one for myself.
     15. Audible.com – If your guy drives or flies a lot he might love some audiobooks.  I listen to them constantly and there are so many great business books and Biblical encouragement books worth listening to!
Health —
     16. Shutran – This is an essential oil blend that is formulated especially for men.  My son loves it.
17. NingXia Nitro – This is another Young Living product that help clear the mind and enhance mental fitness.  What man doesn’t need that?!  It would make a great stocking stuffer!

     18. Dollar Shave Club Membership – Every month your man could get a fresh quality razor delivered to the door.
     19. Insulated Stainless Steel Bottle – This is my personal favorite bottle.  It holds a lot, fits in a cup holder, is easy to flip open and closed and keeps your drink cold (or hot).
     20. Lock Laces My guys just don’t care for tying their shoes, so these Lock Laces are perfect for them!  They go into your regular shoes and they lock instead of needing to be tied.
Well, I hope this list helps you with some ideas for the guys in your life!  Be sure to also check out my Holiday Gift Guide for Women!