Miracle Morning

Have you heard of the book The Miracle Morning?  If you haven’t, google it right now!  You will find tons of YouTube videos of people talking about the Miracle Morning and how it has changed their lives!  After hearing so many recommendations for the book, I decided to read it.  The concept is super basic, but powerful.

He recommends getting up early. Every. Single. Day. I know, this sounds impossible.  I never thought of myself as a morning person.  As a mom of 6, I only recently even started sleeping through the night!  My mornings usually started with the kids waking me up demanding something, or I was waking up to yelling and screaming because they were fighting over something.  Not a peaceful way to wake up!Continue reading

Summer Schedule For Sanity

Summer Schedule For Sanity
Summer Schedule For Sanity

Kids are out of school, summer is officially here. I’m excited and slightly terrified, ok, I’m a lot terrified.  I’ve never done summer with 6 kids before. Yikes.  I now have older kids who have activities they want to do and a baby who kind of complicates some of those activities so trying to find the balance is a challenge.  Deep breath.  I’ve learned that summer NEEDS a schedule- plans, routines, the works!  I’m trying to find a way to keep everyone happy so fighting is nonexistent (is that even possible?)  I also don’t want to plan too much and exhaust the kids because that creates grumpy and melt down prone children, ahhh the balance.

Our summer schedule includes:Continue reading

10 Ways To Calm Down The Raging Child

10 Ways To Calm Down The Raging Child
10 Ways To Calm Down The Raging Child

Emotions are so BIG, especially when they are coming out of a small uncontrollable body.  Even as an adult, I have a hard time controlling my emotions sometimes, and being a parent brings out the best and worst in you.  So expecting my kids to control their emotions is like expecting my dog to be toilet trained.  I believe in teaching and providing tools for our children so they can learn to control their emotions, same as adults.  Sending children to their rooms to calm down or giving them time out is not teaching them to control their emotions.  Children need to learn to recognize, name, and tame their emotions.  Sending them to isolation may temporarily give you relief, but does not solve the problem long term.Continue reading

Lessons From Moana

I absolutely loved the movie Moana.  I was so happy that Disney finally made a movie that didn’t involve the parents dying in tragic deaths, they were actually good parents, and it wasn’t a love story.  Seriously, Disney really broke the mold with this one-in a good way.

There were a few things that really stood out to me in the movie that I will be discussing with my kids- love these learning moments.

Find Happiness Where You Are

In the first song, Moana’s parents are trying to teach her to find happiness where she is.  While she ends up leaving the island, I still think this is a good message.  Life doesn’t always happen the way we want it to- everyone has trials and disappointments.  Despite this, we can still find happiness where ever we are.  We can choose to focus on the positive in life, we cannot always control what happens to us, but we can control our thoughts.  This is a really hard concept to teach young kids- to change your thoughts and focus on the positive- so I’ll take any chance to reinforce this concept. (The Trolls movie is another great show that teaches that happiness comes from within, not outside sources).

Along those same lines, when Moana returns the heart, she sings, “This is not who you are, you know who you are.”  What happens to us does not have to define who we are, we can choose who we are.  Again, this reinforces how important it is to have positive thinking and not to dwell on the bad things that happens to us.

Understanding Your Past To Know Who You Are

Can I say Family History?  Ha Ha.  But seriously, it wasn’t until Moana learned about her ancestors that she understood herself better and why she felt so strongly about the ocean.  Family History doesn’t have to be researching back generations ago, it can be learning more about your grandparents.  My kids are always fascinated to see pictures of their grandparents when they were kids or even young parents.  You may find that your kids have similar personalities to their grandparents.  I’ve definitely noticed that my son is a lot like my dad- who knew!!

Follow Through, Never Give Up, And Chase Your Dreams!

Life rarely works out the way we plan, and at some point everyone has to reconcile reality with their dreams, but I still want my kids to have the courage to chase after what is important to them, stick with it, and overcome obstacles. Every child needs to learn to not give up when tasks get hard – like homework, school projects, friendships, relationships etc.

 

What are your favorite parts from the movie?

 

lessons from Moana

Halloween Crafts

Halloween Crafts

Happy Halloween everyone!!  Halloween is in full swing at our house- we’ve had decorations up since September.  Yea, we’re not obsessed or anything.  This year I loaded up with supplies from the $1 section at Target- love that spot!  I’ve also been searching the internet for easy and fun crafts to do with the kiddos.  Here’s a collection of what I’ve found!

Halloween Crafts

We made the candy bar mummies from THIS website with my daughter’s preschool class.  They were all unique and super cute!  I just ripped up coffee filters, cause that’s what I had on hand, and it worked great.  There are tons of other really cute and yummy mummy crafts on here as well.

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Photo from http://www.theidearoom.net/2016/09/mummy-crafts-treats.html

Another cute website with easy crafts.  Lots of these crafts use supplies that are lying around the house.  Easy peasy.

Photo from http://www.hgtv.com/design/make-and-celebrate/handmade/30-halloween-kids-crafts-pictures

And one more fun one, who doesn’t love HGTV? 

Halloween Crafts

From this picture, I got the painted pumpkins, witches, and the Ghost Screams from the $1 section at Target.  I absolutely LOVE my ‘A Witch lives here with her little MONSTERS’ sign.  I’ve had that a few years- and sadly, sometimes it’s true.  HA! The candy bar mummy is so cute!  In the back is “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe.  I got the printable from here. I love it!

Happy Haunting!

Top Halloween Movies For Kids

It’s October!!  The holiday season has officially kicked off! Pumpkins, skeletons, witches, oh how I love this month! One of the best ways to get into the Halloween spirit is movies!!  I’m kind of a scaredy cat, and I don’t like creepy horrifying movies, plus I want to keep it kid friendly for my littles.  So, here is a list of the top Halloween movies for kids (and wussy adults like me).

  1. Hocus Pocus- This is a classic from my childhood.  I remember being totally freaked out by this movie so the recommended age is 10 and up, depending on your kids.

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2. Casper- Another classic and much more child friendly.  Recommended age 6 and up.

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3. The Witches- Based off of a book by Roald Dahl, the witches have a few scary scenes so recommend age is 8 and up.

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4. Monster House- This is a fun Halloween movie, but still has some fright!  Recommended age 10 and up.

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5. Hotel Transylvania 1 and 2- A more recent movie that is full of laughs.  This is a favorite at our house!  Ages 6 and up.

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6. The Haunted Mansion- Based off of the Disney ride, this movie does have some funny moments but is still a little creepy.  Ages 10 and up.

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7. Monsters vs Aliens- need I say more? Ages 6 and up.

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8. Spooky Stories 1 and 2 by Dreamworks- short stories from classic Dreamworks movies Shrek and Monsters vs Aliens. Ages 6 and up.

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9. Bedknobs and Broomsticks- An oldie but a goodie.  Ages 4 and up.

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10. The Book of Life- I absolutely LOVE this movie!!  If you haven’t watched it, add it to your list!  Ages 6 and up.

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Here’s even more Halloween movies, including fun Halloween specials found in your kids favorite series, most can be found on Netflix!

Happy Halloween!!

How To Find Balance

How To Find The Balance Between Over Scheduling And Too Much Free Time

Balance

School is back in session and every day seems to be jammed packed with activities.  Once the bell rings to dismiss the kids, it’s go go go nonstop until bedtime.  It’s brought to mind the age old debate of how to find the balance between over scheduling and too much free time.

I’m all for giving my kids free time to play and just be kids, but if they have too much unstructured time, they start to fight, destroy things, and chaos starts to rule with four little gremlins as king. 

This was an issue during the summer where we lived in a neighborhood with no other children around.  We would get out and walk or bike in the mornings, but in the 110 degrees (sometimes even hotter) of the afternoon, we felt trapped inside our house.  We still did a lot of fun things- lake days, swimming at the pool, camping, but we’re not able to do those things every single day.

Contrast this time, when kids had all the free time in the world to play and just be kids vs now.  We get up at 6:30, kids are off to school.  They are out at 3 pm.  With four kids, we have activities every single day after school, they all have their thing.  My kids aren’t old enough to be left home alone, so we all get to go to everything.  And you know what’s happened in our house?  Less fighting (not no fighting just less fighting) and less destruction.  So here’s my question, what’s the balance between too much free time and over scheduling?

5 Ways To Find The BalanceBalance

This is something I’ve thought about for the last few years since the kids have started school.  Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Each child is different and handles things differently. My oldest son seems to thrive with lots of activities, sports, and socializing.  My oldest daughter gets overwhelmed with too much activity.  She does not handle change well, and likes consistency.  She requires more downtime.  You know your children best and what they can handle.  Being fair does not mean giving each child the exact same thing.  Being fair is making sure that each child’s needs are met in the way that they NEED them to be. (This brings to mind the object lesson with the teacher and the band aids, have you heard that one?)  It also varies with age, older kids usually can handle more activities than the younger ones who need more play time.
  • Sleep is king and priority number 1! Children need sleep to focus and stay happy.  If activities are cutting into sleep time, it’s too much!!
  • Routine should be the foundation of everything. Especially at home, kids thrive with a consistent routine.  Our routine allows for play time, reading, chores, homework, and bedtime.  Routine helps our kids know what is expected of them and helps reduce battles over homework or bedtime.
  • Communicate! I always let my kids know in the morning what is going on that day.  We let our kids choose an instrument and choose a sport, but we try not to force them to do anything! (We do make sure they follow through with something once they’ve committed.  You can’t back out of soccer half way through the season because it’s too hard.)  Communicate means letting your kids know what is going on everyday (this is where a routine comes in handy!), and letting your kids choose some of their activities.  Listen to them!
  • Make time for each child. In all the hustle and bustle of the day, children need to feel connection.  This seems like a no brainer, but sometimes life gets so dang busy and while you’ve spent the last three hours with your kids driving them around from place to place, this doesn’t mean that you’ve connected with them individually.  This one thing can have a huge impact on your child’s behavior.  Quality time vs quantity.  Bedtime is the perfect time to connect with children if you haven’t already during the day.Balance

Finding the balance between free time and over scheduling will always be something we are battling to some degree.  I’m always looking for ways to help our home run smooth, so…..

How do you find the balance?  What’s too much and what’s too little?

Why I Took My Kids’ Clothes Away

Why I Took My Kids’ Clothes Away, Well Most of Them, And How Less Is More

 

Keeping a clean house can be downright challenging when you have kids.  There have been several times when I’ve cleaned up a room and by the time the vacuum is put away- the room’s a mess again.  Sigh.  It feels like a never ending battle.  I expect my kids to clean up their own messes including their rooms, ahem, well, at least I try.  🙂  For one of my children, this has been a challenge, an extreme challenge.

Ever since she could walk and climb, she found joy in pulling everything out of her closet and onto the floor.  Nothing was safe, no matter how high, she would find a way to get it- and throw it on the floor.  It was extremely frustrating.  As she got older, the messes kept getting worse and bigger! Then one day, I just had enough.  So I took away her clothes, well, most of them, and all the toys in her room.

S was my third child and clearly she had way too much stuff in her room.  She had a lot of hand me downs plus her own stuff she’d accumulated in her 4 years of life (Yes, she was 4 by the time I did this (Why did I wait so long??)).  I took a few boxes into her room, and I had her pick 5 tops, 5 bottoms, 5 pajamas, and that’s it.  Everything else went into the box.  At first, this was hard.  I didn’t want to box up clothes that she had received as gifts or that were sentimental, but I did it.  She got to pick 5 of each.  Next, we removed all the toys and took them downstairs.  Her closet looked so bare, but I figured I would have less mess to clean up every day. I put the boxes full of her clothes in her closet on the top shelf. 

Results

The result?  She now has the cleanest room of all my children, and it stays clean! Even months later, she still keeps it clean.  After years of emptying her closet every day, she stopped.  As an extra bonus for me, her laundry is so easy because there isn’t much to wash. 

This experience reinforced the idea that less is more and that children don’t need much to survive, thrive, and be happy.

Check out this post from Living Well Spending Less– she had a similar idea and I totally laughed when I read this.  It’s nice to read about other moms who share your pain and have similar solutions.

What have you done to help control the chaos in your home?

why I took my kids clothes away

Why I took my kids’ clothes away

10 Ways For Moms To Survive Summer

Summer Survival Guide For Moms

School had just ended for my kiddos on Thursday.  Now it’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m hiding under a pile of pillows in fetal position in my room praying my children won’t find me.  School had only been out for 3 days, 3 DAYS!! How had it come to this already?  My house was a disaster and no matter how much I begged, bribed, or hollered, it was not going to change.  2 of my kids were in tears the other 2 were yelling and running around leaving a path of destruction in their wake.  All thoughts of a productive, happy, and perfectly planned out summer were gone.  In that moment, I was in survival mode and that meant hiding from my monster children.  But seriously, how am I going to survive this summer?

What I’ve learned so far

My kids are destructive when they are bored or have nothing to do. I find when I just give my kids free time they end up fighting or destroying something.  But it’s not realistic to plan out every second of every day, yikes!  That just sounds exhausting!  So, I’ve tried to find the balance between not over scheduling and providing constructive free time.

I am a better mom when I take care of myself.  Being a mom is an emotional roller coaster.  I’m better at handling the ups and downs when I’ve taken care of myself spiritually, physically, and mentally.

 

 

10 Ways For Moms To Survive Summer

10 Ways For Moms To Survive Summer

  1.      Have options– For the times when you are at the house with nothing planned, or maybe you’re trying to cook dinner or you need to take a shower, give your kiddos options of what they can do so they don’t go and flood the bathroom or pull everything out of their closets and onto the floor.

I love the idea of having a craft box full of activities that they can choose from- water color paint, clay, coloring books, sensory bottles, etc.  If your kids are not into arts and crafts, the two of you can come up with a boredom buster list.  Have them come up with ideas of what they can do when they feel bored. Do they like to build?  Blow bubbles?  Cook?  Clean? (I wish!), then fill a box of activities geared just for them.     

  1.      Early bedtime for kids– Having an early bedtime for your kids, even in the summer, is a gift, for you. I NEED that couple of hours every night without my kids demanding my attention every second.  This is time for my husband and I to reconnect, talk about our day, and relax!  Yes, I let my kids stay up on some nights, but not every night because I need time at the end of the day to finally breathe and catch up.     
  2.      Girls night out/ or date night– This doesn’t have to happen every week, but schedule some fun time just for you with no kids!
  3.      Plan activities YOU like to do– I love all the summer lists on pinterest for kids activities, but schedule some family activities that you like to do too as well! I love sharing what I love with my kids.  I love to cook, so I let my kids pick a recipe and we cook and eat it together.  I love to hike, so we’ve done some hikes together.  Summer should be fun for everyone- including you!
  4.      Exercise– Exercise isn’t just for your body or to be healthy. Exercise helps you be strong mentally and moms need a lot of mental strength.  Get those endorphins flowing with whatever exercise you love!  Even better, exercise with friends for an added boost.
  5.      Routine– Kids need routine. It helps them and you stay on track.  This doesn’t mean you have to schedule out every minute of every day (unless you want to), but some type of consistent routine is needed.   If kids know what is expected of them every day, then they are more likely to get it done.
  6.      Have quiet time or reading time during the day– again this is for your sanity, and of course it’s great for the kids!
  7.      Chores– Getting kids to do chores is hard. I know.  But there is no way mom should do all the work.  There are tons of strategies online to help motivate kids to do chores.  Find what works for you and stick to it.  I love when my kids help out around the house.  They can be seriously helpful.  And, of course, kids need to learn responsibility and how to work, so win win.
  8.      Get outside– Staying inside the house all day is no fun for you or your kids. Get outside for an immediate mood boost.  Play in the back yard, go to a park, go for a walk, whatever it is- spend time everyday outside even if it’s just 10 minutes.
  9.      Take care of yourself– get enough sleep and eat healthy! If I stay up late reading or watching TV it’s the perfect formula for grumpy mom the next day. Or if I spend all day snacking on junk food, I feel so gross by the afternoon.  The days I feel my best, and am therefore the best mama, are when I’ve slept well, read scriptures, eaten healthy, and exercised.  I feel my best physically and mentally, and therefore I’m able to be the best for my kids.

10 Ways For Moms To Survive Summer

Remember, to be the best mom you can be- you need to take care of yourself.  When you feel good, spiritually, mentally and physically, you are better prepared for whatever your kids throw at you.  Summer fun is for everyone!!

Why I Run With My Kids

Why I Run With My Kids


Running with my kids is a completely different kind of running experience.   We go slow, I run in place while my four year old stops frequently to smell flowers, chase leaves, and explore the unknown.  She chatters non stop the whole time we run.  She tells me stories of the lizards hiding in the bushes, she makes up adventures that we are embarking on- with her always in the lead.  I am at her whim.  We follow her pace, her time frame, and sometimes we end up walking home with her resting on my back.  I love every moment of it.  I love sharing my love of running with the people I love the most.

When I was training for my second marathon, I was heading out the door for a quick 3-4 mile run when my oldest daughter, 6 at the time, asked to come with me.  I was hesitant.  I wanted this be a quick run, 30 min tops, to a local pond and back.  I told her how far I was going, and she still insisted on coming with me.  I told her to get her shoes and off we went.  I let her set the pace, I recommended we go slow since I knew for her this was going to be a very long run.  We started up the hill and at the top, we were greeted by a coyote off to the side of the road.  We quickly stopped and watched as it took off running and hiding in the bushes.  We kept going.  She did great for the first mile.  I was feeling hopeful about her being able to complete the run with no problem.  We stopped a few times to collect bright red leaves blowing around in the gentle breeze.  With her clutching the leaves in her hands, we continued on.  We made it to the pond, guzzled down some water and kept going, at least for a little bit.  About this time, she started struggling.  “I don’t want to run anymore.  My side hurts.  Can we please stop?  Can daddy come pick us up?”  We slowed down and started walking.  The whole time I was encouraging her- take deep breaths, let’s keep running, you can do this, we’ll run to that tree and then walk for 10 seconds, look how far we’ve already run, you are doing amazing!  We continued like this for the rest of the run, stopping to walk as she needed, me encouraging her to keep going.  We made it home, and I gushed out a stream of praise.  “That was so hard, but you did it!  You kept going even though it was really hard.  You are amazing!  I’m so proud of you!”  After this run, I thought she would never want to run with me again, but she did!  She still asks to go running with me all the time.  Even though it has been over a year since this run, she still talks about how we saw the coyote together.  What great memories we created together.

Top 10 reasons to run with kids

  1. One on one time with your child
  2. Create an opportunity for them to overcome something hard and succeed!
  3. Great opportunity to encourage and praise your child
  4. Learn mental strength
  5. Great way for you both to be healthy
  6. Create memories they will always remember
  7. Share what you love with those you love
  8. Provides time to talk
  9. The kids love it!
  10. Good excuse to slow down and really enjoy your surroundings

Most races have a kids run for free!  My kids love this! Both times I ran a marathon, the kids got a t-shirt and a medal.  It’s all about fun and the kids get such a rush from it.  I love it too because it turns race day into an event for the whole family.  We all get to encourage each other in our different races and every one wins!

Happy running!