Fun Fall Festivities

It’s that time of year where everything has a little pumpkin spice! Our family loves creating and continuing traditions. Here’s some fun fall festivities we partake in every year:

1. Attend a Fall Festival. My Mom and Dad’s church, Grace Chapel in Loxahatchee, hosts a rocking fall festival! There’s bounce houses, hay rides, and a trunk or treat this year! Look up local churches in your area to find one near you. What I love about these is that they are usually free!

2. Trunk or treat. We choose to go to a trunk or treat event instead of walking around the neighborhood. We let our buddy fill up his bucket and choose three pieces of candy that are most appealing to him at the end of the night. He eats one that night, and can have two more for the two days following. That night he “trades in” his bucket and I replace the candy with a book or game. When he wakes up the next morning his bucket is waiting with his new good inside.

3. Pumpkin patch pics. We love getting our annual family picture at the pumpkin patch! We told the Facebook world we were having our first little “pumpkin” as our announcement to say we were expecting, so pumpkins and patches have a special place in my heart.

4. Painting pumpkins! I buy a bag of small pumpkins and acrylic paint at Walmart. This is super fun and not as messy as carving a pumpkin! Plus we use the kiddos pumpkins to as decoration!

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What do you and your family do to celebrate fall, Mama?

Father’s Day Craft Ideas

Hey Mamas and Dadas! Happy almost Father’s Day to all those awesome Daddy’s out there! One of our favorite things to do is to create gifts for the holidays! This year for Father’s Day we are giving our Daddy and Papas a canvas made by the kiddos. Check out the supplies you need and easy steps to this process!

Supplies: Painter’s tape, canvases, paint, paper plate, and sponges.

How to do it:

  1. Prep the canvas with the masking tape. We did a simple “Dad” and “Papa.” A friend  of ours was very creative and made a space rocket! img_1280.jpeg
  2. Put a variety of paint colors in the paper plate.
  3. Show your child a sample online of a painting project made with painter’s tape. Model for them how to use the sponge to blot the paint on. Try to avoid smearing as this mixes colors, but also let your child have fun!IMG_1283.jpeg IMG_1284.jpeg
  4. Allow the canvas to dry some, but not completely.
  5. Carefully remove the painter’s tape from the canvas.IMG_1286.jpegimg_1287.jpeg
  6. After the canvas is completely dry, wrap it up!

What are your plans for Father’s Day this year, Mama? Do you and your kids ever make home made crafts as a gift?

Preparing for The Season of Lent

Can you believe it’s the first week of March, Mama? The year of 2019 seems to be flying by and I am trying to keep up with its fast past. Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 6, Lent begins.

I grew up with grandparents who loved Jesus and were devout Catholics. I have a very vivid memory of going to an Ash Wednesday service with them and having an ash put on my forehead around age 4. I have other memories as well. The smell of incense. The image of my Grandfather holding his Rosary beads. The sound of the recording of Hail Mary prayers on our car rides.

I attended a wide variety of denominations growing up…pentecostal, baptist, non-denominational, and presbyterian. It was my Grandparents’ influence, however that had me ponder the season of Lent when I grew older.

In years past, I’ve fasted from sweets, restaurants, dairy, and meat.

This year I stumbled upon a treasure. There’s this beautiful devotional called “40 Days of Decrease” by Alicia Britt Chloe.

Alicia challenges us to look past the superficial and seek to fast from deeper issues of the heart that we allow ourselves to engage in such as: comparison, accumulation, and gossip. She calls readers to “study Jesus’ uncommon and uncomfortable call to abandon the world’s allusions, embrace His kingdom’s reality, and journey cross-ward and beyond.”

The study guides the reader through John 12 to 21 over the course of 40 days, preparing our hearts and pointing to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection.

What I love is that it is available for free on the Hoopla app. All you need is your library card and you can access it!

What are you giving up for Lent this season, Mama?

Setting Goals (Part 2)

How’s it going, Mama? It’s fifteen days into January! How are those goals coming along? I wanted to share a few more ways I like to set goals for myself.

My friend Jessica recently introduced me to the idea of setting one month, three month, and six month goals. This is a terrific way to aim a little further into the future. I like to start with asking myself, “Where do I want to be in six months spiritually, physically, personally, or financially?” I write out my SMART goal according to each topic, and then from there I set my one and three month objectives to help me aim for the six month target.

Something super trendy right now is choosing a word for the year. I LOVE this because it’s simple, and you could always come back to, “Does what I’m doing in this moment line up with my word?”

To take it a step further, turn your word into a word map. 🙂 My word for this year is focus. If you check out the picture below, you can see that I branched out and wrote some areas I want to be focused in and then got even more specific with ways I can focus on those topics. I have my word map displayed in a place I see regularly to motivate and remind me.

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I recently was challenged by my Babes to think about choosing a verse to focus on for my life. In thinking about planning for 2018, I decided that a verse for the year would be a great way to keep my goals in perspective. Here’s what I chose:

“Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3

Where it’s doing laundry, washing dishes, changing diapers, or working for corporate, let’s commit our goals and dreams to Jesus!

What’s a word or verse you want to focus on in 2018, Mama?

 

Setting Goals (Part 1)

New Year’s is just around the corner and it’s the time for writing resolutions! I much prefer to call it setting goals, because I think the phrase “New Year’s resolutions” gets such a bad rap of something people stick to for a short period of time.

I must admit, I love, Love, LOVE setting goals! I find it so satisfying to write things down on paper and cross them off my list as I accomplish them.

One thing I learned in teaching, is my goals (or objectives) have to be SMART. Here’s an example of a goal:

I will exercise in 2018.

Here’s an example of how to make it SMARTer:

I will get my heart rate up for 30 minutes a day, three times a week or more.

Here’s the breakdown of the SMART acronym:

Specific-It’s important to be specific with what you want to do! Getting my heart rate up is more specific than “exercise.” I could take a leisurely walk and label it as exercise, or I can increase my heart rate to see more results. I could also be specific in what type of exercise I want to do-running, yoga, cycling…

Measurable-I need to be able to measure my goal. If I simply say “I will exercise,” there is no accountability to how often I will do this. By saying three times a week or more, I am setting the bar, but allowing myself to aim higher.

Achievable/Attainable-Is the goal something I can achieve? Is this something that fits within my daily schedule? What do I have going on in my life? How can I create a time and space to make this happen?

Realistic-What does my current work out schedule look like? If I say, “I will get my heart rate up for one hour a day, every day of the week,” but am not exercising in any shape or form at present, this would be a tough goal to accomplish. Take a look at where you are at, and where you want to go. Baby steps. This is the main reason I believe people get so discouraged and quit. Set realistic goals that you can reach and then reset your goals, making them more challenging.

Time-Set a time frame. Thirty minutes might be a realistic amount of time for some, and might be too much/not enough for others. The beauty of goal setting is it’s YOUR goal! You get to take ownership of it and mold and shape it to challenge you personally.

What about you, Mama? What are some of your goals for 2018? One of mine might include completing one load of laundry a day-from start to finish. 🙂

The Greatest Gift

The countdown is ON! Christmas is ten days away! As we rapidly approach this day, our family chooses to participate in some activities to  prepare our hearts for the Greatest Gift. We celebrate the gift of Jesus! Here are some fun things we do in the month of December:

  1. Star from Afar. Every morning my son Aiden wakes up eager to search for three wooden wise men who will lead him to the star. Each night we read the book and scripture reading for that particular day. Aiden loves to remind us before he goes to sleep each night to hide the star! (You could use any kid-friendly nativity set or create your own star and wise men to search for!)
  2. Felt nativity scene. For my son’s first Christmas, I used this free template to create a felt nativity scene. I have it tacked to our wall so my son can play with the characters and “act out” the story.
  3. Reading stories! Some of our favorites include: Goodnight Manger by Laura Sassi and Song of the Stars by Sally Lloyd-Jones.
  4. Creating Christmas gifts. I was recently challenged by my friend Christy’s perspective. She wants to raise her daughter to be aware of what she can give, not just receive. Gift giving for a child can come in multiple forms: a craft, a song in the church play, spending time serving at an elderly home…it can vary from year to year based on your child’s abilities and interests as they grow.
  5. Christmas lights. There’s nothing super spiritual about this activity, but who doesn’t love Christmas lights? We are big fans of Gabriel Lane and Hoffman’s Chocolate in Palm Beach County.

What do you do with your family, Mama? How do you prepare your little ones’ hearts for the Greatest Gift?

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Our felt Nativity scene 🙂

Tree of Thanks

I hope you Mamas and your families had a “Happy Thanksgiving!” I love the time to sit around the table with friends and family and eat yummy food!

Wednesday night My son was sick with a 102° temperature and a yucky cough. To say the least, I was a bit anxious about what Thursday would hold for us. I had scheduled myself to teach online from 4:30-7:00 am. Thoughts of “Would my 5 month old daughter get sick? Would my son be up during the night? Would I get any sleep? Would we have to cancel our plans?” ran through my head simultaneously as I rested on my pillow.

Thankfully his temp broke in the middle of the night, and he slept well from midnight to 7 am. Lil never got sick, praise God! When I woke up Thursday morning, I found time to teach, run, shower, wash my hair (Mama win), clean…all with the help of my best Babes!

We have the pleasure of living near both my parents and my husband’s parents. (Can we say, “free babysitters?”) Thanksgiving is one of the many holidays we share, and this year we had it going on! This Mama did not have to cook, minus a side kale salad. I’m so thankful for my mom and mother-in-law who prepared the food for everyone!

Pre-kids, one thing I looked forward most after the Thanksgiving meal, was a nice long nap on the couch. This year, I and the kiddos both napped in the car in between celebrations. This is my typical fall-asleep-anywhere-anytime posture.

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As life gets fuller, I’m finding it’s so easy to get caught up in the going here and there and preparing for the holidays, that we forget to pause and take a moment to give thanks.

Every year since as far back as I can remember, we would each take turns and share our favorite thanksgiving food and one thing we were thankful for. This year, I decided to add a little something festive to our ritual.

I recently found this awesome resource: Tree of Thanks. Aiden helped me gather sticks and rocks to make our centerpiece. I traced and cut out some leaves with construction paper, and voila! An easy thanksgiving masterpiece was created. On the day of, I asked people to write what they were thankful for on a leaf and decorate the tree with it.

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How was your holiday, Mama? What are you thankful for? What food did you enjoy most?

I know it may sound cliche, but I am truly thankful for my family. And hands down, my Grandma Julie’s orange rolls are what I look forward to every year!