Family Christmas Crafting: Craft #2 Ornaments

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Beaded Candy Canes

craft2

 

ChrI remember when I was young, my mom put candy canes on the Christmas Tree.  It was beautiful however the ants thought they were delicious and they were all in our tree.  So here is an ant free alternative to adding candy canes to the tree.

What you would need:

*White, red, or green pipe cleaner

*Red & White Beads

Step 1: Cut the pipe cleaner in half or measure how big you want your candy cane to be.

Step 2: Place the first bead on the pipe cleaner almost to the very end. Leaving about 1/4 of an inch.

Step 3: Fold the 1/4 of an inch of pipe cleaner that is left at the bottom around the bead.  This will help secure it and the rest of the beads you put on.

Step 4: Place the rest of the beads on the pipe cleaner leaving about a 1/4 of pipe cleaner on the opposite end.

Step 5: Fold the pipe cleaner around the last bead.

Step 6: Bend the pipe cleaner to look like a candy cane.

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Are you qualified

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qualified

For as long as I can remember I have worked with children.  When I was in daycare myself I would assist with the smaller children.  My first job at 15 years old was being and assistant teacher in daycare.  When I was 17 I became a mentor and youth leader.  And every since then children have been in my world.  I did not know that they were the purpose of my very being.  I did not know that I would be teaching parents how to love and teach their children more effectively.

But now I know.  I have known for about 4 years now.  I have wanted to be a family coach for about 4 years but talked myself out of it.  Because I was thinking about how people would embrace me and what I would teach them.  I have never birthed a child.  I have never adopted a child yet I have been a mother.  It’s weird I know.  Sometimes it is not the experiences we have that qualify us it is simply who we are.  I was created to teach, care for, love on, and empower families.  I have a gifting for nurturing, teaching, and understanding children.  I have been graced to do what I do.  And I do it very well.  Not bragging, I’m just saying.

I said all this to say just because you are parenting for the first time, just because you are single but want to be a foster parent, just because you do not have a Master’s degree hanging on your wall, you can still pursue the dreams and calling that is on your life.  You will not rest well until you do.  Validation from others does not qualify you.  The passion and the drive you have qualifies you.  The gifts that you were created with qualifies you.  God’s calling on your life qualifies you.  You were born for this. (what ever your “this” maybe).  So go and do that thing that you have been wanting to do but talked yourself out of because you felt as though you aren’t qualified.  Take a step towards that today!

Christmas Crafting!! Craft #1 Sharpie Dishes

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Not my work but super cute!!

Not my work but super cute!!

Family time is so precious.  It is a time to create memories and a time to create a lasting bond.  So this year let us get together as a family to create some great gifts!  I will be posting different family fun crafts each week so that we can get the party started!!

The first craft I did myself a couple of Christmases ago, but it is still a classic.

What you will need:

*White dish.  (I purchased mine from the dollar tree)

*Different colored sharpie markers.

*oven

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Step 2: Wipe down the dishes that you are using with alcohol.

Step 3: Create your beautiful art on your dish using the sharpie markers.

Step 4: Place dishes in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

And Ta Da!!!  You have a great personalized gift to give to those you love.

I could not for the life of me find the pictures of my creations but I would love to see yours.  Share your pictures of your Dish Art with me!!  Here.

Healthy Independence.

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shoes

Our jobs as parents are to mold and teach this little person that was given to us to be a functional adult.  One way that we do that is by teaching independence.  Now, I do not mean that you kick your six year old out of the house to fend for himself.  I mean preparing your child to function as an adult on his own when the time comes.  Here are some helpful tips to start teaching independence.

1. Give children appropriate responsibilities.  As adults we all know that responsibilities are one of the things that we all have day in and day out.  Your children are going to have those as well.  Having a sense of responsibility makes you feel that you have a purpose.  It makes you feel that you are needed and wanted.  Children need to feel that way as well.  When we give out responsibilities make sure it is a task that your child can successfully handle.  Do not set them up for failure. Also let them do it.  You can instruct them on how it is done but let them do it.  If Brad is responsible for the trash and he may not be coming home, it is his responsibility to get some one to take out the trash for him.

2. Let them find their way.  I know that Savanah may not make up the bed with those sharp military corners that you like. But she does get up every morning and makes up her bed to the best of her ablity.  Please do not go back and remake her bed because it is not up to your standards.  I saw a post the other day that said that 8+1=9 but so does 5+4.  We are getting the same answer but using different methods.  Same thing with your child.  They get the job completed but they may do it their way.  That is what you want for your child, for them to think for themselves.

3.Be consistent.  This is always a big thing in your parenting journey.  Children pick up on inconsistencies and they start becoming inconsistent themselves.  Be an example.  Let your yes be yes and your no be no.

4. Help them make healthy decisions.  Let them decide on what they want to wear shorts in 30 degree weather explain to them why this is not a good decision.  Then let them show you what would be the best thing for them to wear. Celebrate their good decisions.

5.Help your child talk through solutions. Be a listening ear.  If you let your child talk through situations they will be able to find suitable solutions or almost suitable. They may need a nudge here and there but let them come up with the solution to their problems.

6.Create opportunities for your child to be independent.  Let them choose what is for dinner one night.  Give them a part of the grocery list and let your children go in pairs to pick those things out.  Let them redecorate their room.  Give them an opportunity to be independent.

7. Set some clear expectations.  Let them know that they are an important part of this family and with that comes expectations that they must follow.  Such as curfews, unplugging at the dinner table, or cleaning their room.  Let them know what that means to you and what those things look like. Also give them instructions and make sure that they understand fully, even if you have to repeat it a couple of times.

8.Be Open.  Be open to them figuring out the world on their own.  Give them some healthy space.  Let them work through tough situations.  When they ask you what you think about something.  A good thing to say is “I will always have advice for you and I am so glad you came to me.  However, I first want to hear what you think you should do.”  This creates dialogue between you and your child creating a strong bond between you two.

9. Let them fail to their way to success.  I know that you have been through so many life failures however those things helped to groom you into the person that you are today.  The same goes for your child.  I know that it breaks your heart to see your child hurt, disappointed, or sad.  However those emotions and situations builds character.  So sometimes you have to let them fail but be right there to comfort, talk to them about what they can do differently next time, and listen to them. Which brings me to number ten.

10. Let them know you are there for them.  You are their support system.  They look to you as an example and as a sounding board throughout their life.  Let them know that you are challenging them to be the best them that they can be, but you will always be there when they need you.  You may not always pick up the pieces however you are there to give encouragement or to be their rock.

What sort of ways do you help your child become and independent child?  I would love for you to share.  Comment below or connect with us on facebook and/or twitter.

10 Anti-Procrastination tips.

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procrastination

Procrastination is not my friend.  Although we use to hang out a lot.  I have a habit of looking up frequently used words to see what they really mean.  I also check to see if I am using them in the correct context.  I looked up the word procrastination on dictionary.com and this is the definition that it gives:  Putting off or delaying, especially something that requires immediate attention. Oh boy, that was my college years in a nut shell.  Now I have gotten better with hanging around with procrastination, we might do coffee at times but no more being room mates.  Here are some of the tips that I use to make sure that my unwanted guest stays it’s distance.

1. Create a to-do list.  I create a weekly to-do list of about twenty task.  Then I break down those task into daily task.  I create my to-do list on Sundays.  That is when I reflect on my previous week and prepare for the week to come.  My mind and entire life functions with a list.  If it is not written down somewhere it does not exist in my world.

2. Prioritize your task.  Look at the tasks that you are wanting to complete.  Then put the task in a category of must and wants.  Your must category are the things that must get completed today.  Like car pool or dinner.  Your want to list may consist of cleaning out the closet or dusting.

3. Spread out task through out the week.  Once you have completed your must and your want list.  Then you will be able to know the things that you must do today and then plan for the rest of the week.  Do not think that everything has to be completed today.  That becomes very overwhelming and discouraging.

4. Create and keep a schedule.  When things are scheduled out I tend to stick to them.  They are on my calendar and I know that is what you should be doing.  For example on Thursday nights you and your family know that the bathroom gets a thorough cleaning.  It is on the cleaning schedule for Thursday’s.  Which brings me to number 5.

5.  Make some things habitual.  Just like the Thursday night bathroom cleaning. Set somethings for certain times or days and just get in the habit of doing it.  Before you know it your body will just start doing the task when it is scheduled to be completed.

6. Plan ahead for pre-scheduled events.  We all know that the holidays come every year.  Start planning early for them. I would even suggest to start planning for the next year right after this one has passed.  For example on the day after Christmas start talking about where you will spend Christmas next year.  Start budgeting for the ideas that you come up with. Or as soon as one person’s birthday has passed start planning for the up and coming birthday.

7. Cut out excessive idol time.  I know that we all have our favorite tv shows and things that we really like to just chill out and do.  However when we start to limit those things we can actually see that we have a little more time to complete other task that really need to get done.  You become less stressed out and your 24 hours are really enough.

8. Do things as you go.  There are some small task that you see that need your attention and it takes little to no time to complete them.  Go ahead and do them in passing.  If you see that there are only a few dishes in the sink go ahead, rinse them, and put them in the dish washer. It may take you only 10 minutes at a time to do that instead of waiting for a sink full of dishes to pile up before you do anything about it. Now that may take 30 minutes.  You just saved 20 minutes.

9.The more you put in the later pile the bigger it gets.  Just like the dishes.  The more you say “oh I can do that later” and sit in front of the tv or your tablet the more gets piled up.  Also what if something pops up that is unexpected that demands your attention at the time that you labeled as later.  The mole hill becomes a mountain very fast.

10. Empower your team.  You have a built in team that you can empower to help you with task.  Delegate somethings on your to-do list that they can do.  Give instructions and let them complete it.  Do not micro manage or this will not work.

I hope that these help you the way they helped me over come procrastination.  I really want to hear what you think.  Come and share with me on Facebook and twitter.  Come and hang out with me on Instagram.

Can’t live with it, Can’t live with out it.

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colorful laundry

When I am having a conversation to a mom about family and household challenges one thing that comes up with out fail is Laundry.  Now I know that we have been discussing parenting strategies and practical child rearing things, but laundry is a dark cloud of doubt that hangs over us.  We tend to feel, if I can’t get the laundry right, can I do anything right?  You are doing a great job rather you have 1 load of laundry or 4 loads of laundry to wash and fold.  Now for me the washing and drying part is simple it is the folding and putting away that slows me down in the race to clean clothes.  Laundry is not going any where if anything it will continue to multiply, until you have an empty nest then you may miss it. But, for now here are some practical tips to make laundry not so over whelming.

1. Set a schedule. When you set a schedule you can impliment it to where each family member has a certain day to have their clothes washed.  You can set a day for just whites or just dark colored clothing.  Set a time as well.  Tell yourself “I am going to wash clothes from 6:00pm until 8:00pm this week.”  Then be on it. When the washer is finished put it in the dryer and keep your cycle going.  With my washer and dryer 2 hours of consistent laundry will allow me to wash, dry and put away about 3 loads of laundry.  That may only scratch the surface but you have completed more than if you ignored the ever growing piles.

2. Gather the troops young and old.  Something tells me mom or dad that you didn’t wear that 6T shirt yesterday.  Since you did not wear all of the clothes yourself you should not be expected to wash all of them yourself.  I know that you may have a specific way of washing. And there are rules to conserving the quality of clothes when you wash them.  So let this be a lesson to your little ones.  Make it into a game.  “Let’s see how fast you can put all of the white socks in this basket.” You are teaching colors, motor skills and there is one less task you have to do yourself.

3. Use the Get To method of thinking.  We talked about this in a previous blog but just to recap when we take the get to approach to our to-do list it brings a sense of gratitude.  Think and say “I am so grateful that I get to do my families laundry.  I am thankful that we have clean clothes to wear.”

4. Do laundry often.  Just like any task if we tackle it while it’s small it will be easier to accomplish and we will feel as if we actually can do it.  It is easier to wash the mole hill of laundry than the Mt Everest of laundry.

5. Get a systematic method.  This can tie in with the scheduling and can go farther to the actual separation of clothes. Do we wash the jeans first?  Do we check pockets as we are loading the clothes or during separation?  Find out what works for you and do that over and over again. Then you will have a system that you can do with your eyes close.

6. Separate daily.  Have a basket for dark colors and  light colors.  As well as any other category that you may have.  Put them for your children’s use as well.  Then when it is time to wash one task is already complete.

Ok as always I love to hear from you. And thank you so much for reading.  Share your laundry stories and what works best for you and your family.  Connect with me on facebook and twitter.  Happy imperfect parenting.

Get to vs have to, these little words can change your life.

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get to

I was listening to a motivational speaker this morning, Mr. Eric Thomas, and something that he said really struck something within me.  He said (in my own words) that there are two types of people in the world, the ones that say and think that they have to do something.  Then there are the ones that think and say that they get to do something.  Two small words that mean so much.

The have to crowd says I have to take Blake to soccer practice the get to crowd says I get to take Blake to soccer practice.  Now just let that settle in for a moment.  When we say that we have to do something for our family or our kids we turn it in to a chore or work.  Just like a great mother and father would say I have to make sure that my kids are safe.  I get that it is something that must be done.  It takes on a serious heavy tone.  Now on the other hand when we use the phrase for the everyday ins and outs of the family we tend to see it as a burden which can easily get us overwhelmed.

When we say that we get to do something, it is a privilege just like when we were younger some of the get to phrases we would say were.  I get to have a sleep over, I get to have ice cream for dessert, I get to go to the mall.  They were all things that we were excited to do.  When we use the words I get to it brings about a feeling and mind set of gratitude.  I get to cook dinner for my family today.  How awesome is that.  Some people may have lost their families so there is no one to cook for any more.  Or others may not have enough food to cook for their families.  But we get to cook for our family we get to provide them with nourishment, we get to see smiles on their faces because they are not going to bed hungry.  These are just some of the things that we get to do.  We will be grateful.

So let us change the words have to, to get to, and see how it will over flow into our children.  They get to clean their rooms what a privilege.  There are some children who do not have rooms or nice comfy beds to sleep on.  They get to go to school.  That is awesome, some children are not able to go to school because they go to work to help out the family.

Make a conscious effort to change the words that you are using.  Let me know that positive effects that it has on you and your family. Try it out today and then go to facebook or twitter and share your family’s changes.