Thursday, April 23, 2015

Etsy: Mother's Day Gift Ideas Inspired by My Mom

Mother's Day this year is going to be different. It's the first time I will celebrate without my Mom. She died on March 21st of this year from glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer. I miss her terribly. Instead of dreading the upcoming holiday,  I thought of gift ideas that Mom would have loved. She was an extraordinary woman, and I hope these ideas inspire you to lavish love on your mom this May.

Mom was a great interior decorator, and she would have loved this pillow by Burlap Heart Strings.


Even though my Mom was a grandma, she still loved her tech. She had so many phone covers, she could change them out like earrings. A phone case from Caribou Creek Cases would have been right up her ally.


Mother was an amazing cook, and took pride in her kitchen. Wooden spoons from Cabany Co baring "Becky's Kitchen" would have made her smile.


I have one of Mom's paintings in my office. She was an amateur, but that didn't stop her from trying to paint. A painting gift set from Kate Trade is a perfect gift for the novice painter.

Mom was no stranger to a sewing machine. This gift from Mizzeztee is adorable, and it fit Mom's love of tea cups and sewing. 

This one shocks everyone. Mom road her own motorcycle and loved every minute of it. A motorcycle charm from Jewel Be Charmed would have looked great on her bracelet.


Thanks for letting me walk down memory lane. I hope you have a wonderful and blessed Mother's Day!

I love you, Mom.

Amanda

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Easy Chore System for Children

Teaching children responsibility is not the easiest thing to accomplish. You have to instill a good work ethic, taking pride in doing a good job, and that we sometimes have to do things we really don't want to do. I searched high and low for a chore system that would help my children visualize what needed to be done and the rewards that go along with doing a job well done. I must admit that this is still a work in progress, and I learn new ways to tweak this system every day. Hopefully it will give you ideas for implementing a chore system that works for your family.

Each of my children (excluding the baby) have a chore list on the back of their bedroom door. It lets them know what I expect them to accomplish every day. They are given one point for finishing everything on this list each day.

I also have 3 x 5 index cards on which I have written extra chores. They are required to do one chore from the stack of cards every other day.

Here are a few ideas for chores.
*Put up everything from under your bed in the correct place.
*Clean out the trash in the van.
*Dust all the furniture.
*Sweep the front and back porch.
*Take out the trash throughout the house.
*Clean the bathroom counter tops.

Reward System
We keep a running tally of the boys' points on the menu board in the kitchen. At any given time they can see the points they have earned. When they have earned enough points, they can "cash the points out".  So far they only want to save up enough for tablet time, but it's a start. 


I also make the point system flexible. For instance, my eldest child wants to earn money for things instead of points. I assign a monetary value to the chores and keep a running total on the menu board. 


I hope this gives you a brilliant idea for teaching your children the importance of helping out around the house. Please share your chore ideas with us.

Amanda

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How to Make Your Bedroom More Romantic

Transforming your bedroom into a romantic escape is important for keeping the spark alive in your marriage. Honestly, your husband may or may not care if you take time to beef up the romantic level of the boudoir, but he will notice your effort. Your bedroom should be your retreat at the end of every day. Here are a few ways to give your bedroom a high score on the romantic scale.


Declutter
Having the bed piled with laundry and a dresser full of everything that doesn't fit in your purse will send the wrong message. Make sure all the surfaces including the floor are cleared of any clutter. You want to walk into your bedroom and think romantic thoughts and not how much work you need to do just to uncover the bed.

Candles
After you have cleared a place on your bedside tables and dresser, place candles around the room. They are great for mood lighting, and they come in so many amazing scents. Chose a sensual scent to fire up the romance. Lavender is not one of those smells. It will put you to sleep. I learned that the hard way.

Soft Sheets
There is nothing better than slipping into soft clean sheets at the end of a long day. It relaxes the body and soothes the soul. Have you tried satin sheets? You can slide over to your spouse for some cuddle time, or you can run and jump on the bed. Whoever slides all the way across the bed wins. Okay, that might not be the most romantic thing, but it might be fun. Oh, and make sure you exfoliate those elbows and feet before getting into satin sheets. Any rough skin sticks to the sheets like Velcro. Awkward!

Turn Off the TV
One of the biggest romance killers in the bedroom is the TV. It distracts you for one another, and by the time you turn it off you both are ready to sleep. Keep the TV off for maximum love time.

Remove Family Pictures
You don't want a picture of dear old Mom on the bedside table while you make out with your spouse. Keep pictures of the kids, your parents, and any other family members in other rooms of your house. Place pictures of your wedding, vacations, and fun events that you experienced with your favorite person (this should be your spouse).

Think Warm Colors
Have you noticed that every house has at least one room that is painted poop brown. That is not the warm color I'm talking about. Decorate you boudoir with welcoming coloring like rich purples, blues, or reds. You don't have to paint the walls dark. Add a plush duvet instead. Hang lush black out curtains so you can set the mood, no matter what time of day it happens to be. Accent pillows should be fluffy and invite you onto the bed. You get the picture.

Lock the Door
Once the little ones start walking, it's a good idea to put a lock on the door. You don't want to answer questions about the "game" you were playing last night. It's more romantic to focus on your spouse than wonder who might come through the bedroom door.

Don't wait until every room in the house is decorated before you tackle the master bedroom. Make your room a priority, and make it a romantic escape to retreat to at the end of a long day.

Amanda

Monday, April 20, 2015

Book Review: Breathe


Are you a big devotional reader? Most people have a genre they love, and others will read anything. Devotionals are one of those books that you love to read, or you stay away from all together. I'm not a huge devotional fan, but I enjoyed Breathe by Priscilla Shirer. It's only a five week devotional, and it contains a video devotion that coincides with the book. It's great for book club or home groups.

Breathe is about taking time for rest, and how to apply it to your life specifically. Giving yourself a Sabbath and using it for resting your body, spirit, and mind is a key principal in the book. Priscilla points out that you need to separate yourself from work, from things that hold you down, and from activities that keep you constantly on the move. No one can keep moving all the time. You will eventually give out, and that's when you are the most vulnerable.

Priscilla also points out that things will keep us from having margin in our lives. God has richly blessed us, but when we allow those things to take over our lives then we are living as slaves to those things that were meant to be blessings.

If you are finding yourself running ragged all the time, can't find room in your closet for one more thing, or you are constantly saying yes to everything, then you need to read this book. God gave us boundaries so that we can be free; not so He could enslave us.

Let me know what you think of Breathe. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Amanda

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Play Date Ideas: When You Are Tired of the Park

The park is one of the best places to take the kiddos. They burn energy, there is a bench when you need a water break, and it's free. After going to the park for the last five play dates, you might be looking for something a little different but that doesn't require any additional planning. Call all your friends, and line up the play dates because I have some ideas for you.


Movie Time
My two boys will sit and watch a movie, and the only time they get up is for a snack. If your child has a friend that loves movies as much as he does, then plan a movie play date. You might even be able to talk to the other mom during the movie.

Library
All the work is done for you with this play date. You don't have to clean the house, and story time keeps the kids engaged.

Jump Arenas
Some days the kids need to burn that extra energy, but it's raining. Try going to an indoor trampoline or bounce house arena. Check your area for locations. Some even offer discounted time slots during the week.

Craft Time
Do you have a craft room over run with craft supplies. Offer to host a craft play date. Pull out the craft supplies and see what the kids come up with. There is no need to have a preset craft. Let the kiddos use their endless imagination, but not the hot glue gun.

Camping
If you have tents for camping or play tents for the kids, set them up in the back yard or play room. Let the kids pretend they are in the woods exploring, and give them some pots and spoons so they can cook a hot meal over the pretend fire.

Bake Cookies
Have the children cut out cookies with cookie cutters. When you finish baking them, call the kiddos in to decorate their cookies. Use sprinkles, icing, food coloring (if you are brave), and little candies. The kids will love you! This will need to be a short play date or send them outside to burn the sugar off.

Go for a Drive
Load up your kids, your friend, and her children and set out for a drive. Pop in a DVD for a little quiet, and head to the snow cone stand or ice cream shop across town. After your little treat, hop back in the car and select another DVD. You get to talk to your friend, and the kids are strapped in the car for at least half an hour. This may be more of a play date for the moms.

Dress Up 
Pull out your old prom dress, aprons, bow ties, costumes, and old high heels. Boys and girls both like to play dress up. Have a fashion show or a let the kiddos put on a Broadway show for you.


Let your imagination go crazy, and come up with unique ways to get together with friends. What is your child's favorite play date?

Have a great play date!

Amanda

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