21Apr

A Peaceful Home Part 3: No Regrets Parenting

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A Peaceful Home: Peace in Your Parenting

Sometimes a peaceful home is a precarious thing, especially when we aren’t implementing the strategies to be intentional about making our home a haven. And sometimes one big toddler fit is all it takes to tip the scale from peace to chaos.

The Secret to Peaceful Parenting

I’d be lying if I said there is some kind of magical parenting potion that would suddenly make your children or parenting perfect.

But what I can tell you is that this simple technique will bring added peace to your parenting…appreciate your children.

I know you love your kids. And of course you appreciate them. But sometimes there is a gap between what we know in our hearts and what we express intentionally with our actions. 

No Regrets Parenting

There are many ways that we can intentionally appreciate our children. The biggest one for me is what I call “no regret parenting.”

It’s something of a misnomer because we could never truly have no regrets. However, it helps me make my decisions with a higher perspective, recognizing that my time with my children is limited. Whether it is ended suddenly, or bit-by-bit through growing up, the hard truth is that our time with our children is short and fleeting.

And I want to make that time matter.

It doesn’t mean we don’t have bad moments, but I want to make sure that I spend enough of each day loving on and enjoying my kids so that if it were my last day with them, I would have no regrets.

children's memories

Action Steps

So, what are some practical ways that we can apply this?

  • Pray! Like we discussed on Day 1, that is always the first step. Always.
  • Practice the golden rule…even with your kids. Some of the things that I see parents expecting of their children or saying to their children is just ridiculous. Respect your children as people. Treat them with kindness. Speak to them with kindness. “Do unto others…” includes our families.
  • Prevent meltdowns. Instead of needing to deal with a meltdown, work to prevent it. Often our kids are grumpy for the same reasons we are–they are tired, hungry, hurried, stressed, etc. Remember, as moms, we set the tone in our homes. There are many grumpiness triggers that we are in full control of and many times we can stop that meltdown before it ever happens.
  • Give them your undivided attention. Sometimes my to-do list is just too long and I feel like I don’t have time to sit for half an hour and play a game or read a book. However, I have found that making time to spend that quality time with my kids is necessary for peace in our home. It helps me to practice that “no regrets” parenting I mentioned. I can say with confidence that I have never regretted taking time to focus on my kids, but I have regretted many times of saying “not now” too often.

Embrace this Season

“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” -CS Lewis

You are called to be a mother right now. Accept it. Embrace it.

So much of the tension I have felt over the years from not having time to do this or that came from my own selfishness. I’m ashamed to admit it, but there were times when I was striving for other things, and forsaking the very gift and calling that the Lord had given me. I experienced constant tension as I realized I couldn’t “do it all.” Something had to give.

It wasn’t my family that was the problem, it was my own attitude. When I stopped fighting it, I can’t tell you the peace I felt.

Maybe that means you won’t get the “me time” you want right now. Maybe it means you can’t write that book you’ve always planned, see your friends as often as you like, or whatever it is you’re missing out on. But, whatever it is you’re missing out on, please know that this season won’t last forever. But, for now, you may need to let it go.

Embrace this season and appreciate your children. 

You might be surprised at the amount of peace such a simple thing will bring to your heart and home.

Additional Articles & Resources

  1. The Homemaker’s Quiet Time Journal–my book for homemakers with quiet time tips, journaling sheets, my own quiet time routine, and lots of great verses that are specifically applicable to our lives as homemakers. You can also visit Why You Need a Daily Quiet Time, and 10 Tips to Get the Most out of Your Daily Quiet Time.
  2. My Time is Not My Own–lessons for mothering, from looking at the way Jesus responded to interruptions.
  3. Are We Chasing Dreams or Chasing God–The importance of seeking God’s ways in our lives.
  4. Serving Where God Calls You–thriving as a SAHM.
  5. How 936 Pennies Will Change the Way You Parent
  6. Hands-Free Mama
  7. 10 Things I learned when I stopped yelling at my kids
  8. What’s a SAHM really worth?
  9. You’re not JUST a Mom

Giveaway

I’m giving away another DVD today…Mom’s Night Out. I was skeptical about this movie, but I really enjoyed it, and I want to bless one of you with a copy of it.

Moms Night Out Movie

Just enter using the widget below :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This is a part of the “Peaceful Home” series. Visit the landing page to follow along with all the related posts.  A Peaceful Home

 Photo Credit

30Dec

25 Ways to Beat Cabin Fever {On A Budget!}

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25 Ways to Beat Cabin Fever with Kids | Serving Joyfully

It’s that time of year. The days are shorter and the children are cooped up due to cold and nasty weather outside, and they are restless! Here are some fun ideas to beat the cabin fever.

1. Bundle up. Put on your big girl {long} underwear, mamas, and let your littles go play in the snow! I know many of us would probably much prefer the warmth and comfort of your couch, but the memories are outside in the snow! Enjoy these moments.

25 Ways to Beat Cabin Fever | Serving Joyfully

2. Make Homemade Hot Cocoa. If you do go outside in the cold, nothing warms you up like homemade hot cocoa. And, it’s pretty yummy, even if you haven’t been outside in the cold! The kiddos can help with measuring ingredients or counting out mini marshmallows to add to the cups :)

3. Make Snow Cream. It’s a yummy treat, and as one reader mentioned on my snow cream recipe, it’s like practically free dessert delivered to your door.

Snow Ice Cream from Serving Joyfully

4. Game Night. Our family loves to play board games! There are tons of great games you can play indoors–get creative! We also have lots of made up games like the birthday game, that we enjoy playing.

5. Read a book. Or twelve. I love to read and I have a great desire to cultivate that in my children. Make it even more fun by adding activities–crafts, have a theme meal, etc. We’ve also had fun acting out our own little play of a book. See how I get free/cheap books to read.

25 Ways to Beat Cabin Fever

6. Printable Activities. There are tons of great printable activities and games to be found on the web! I have several here on my site for FREE like my fall themed dominoes, and ice cream social pack. I also have some printable packs in my printables store, including my All About Winter fun pack.

7. 365 Things to Make & Do. This is a great book with tons crafty activities! My boys love to make things :)

8. Build a fort in the living room. Pull out some blankets and pillows. If you’re feeling especially fun, make some indoor s’mores to enjoy in there. Read books, tell stories, sing songs. Enjoy!

9. Make cards. Pull out some art supplies–construction paper, markers, paint, even coloring books and crayons and make some cards to brighten someone’s day! .

10. Make Birdfeeders. Lots of birds hang around during the cooler weather and this is a fun activity! (I’ll be having a full post about this soon!) My boys loved watching the birds outside eating the seed from their toilet paper roll + peanut butter + bird seed feeders.

25 Ways to Beat Cabin Fever

11. Spring Cleaning. Okay, so this isn’t exactly fun, but if you’re stuck inside you might as well make the most of it and purge some things!

12. Throwback Thursday. It doesn’t have to be Thursday! My boys LOVE looking through old albums and photos of themselves as babies and toddlers. And it’s fun for mom and dad, too. Were they really ever this small???

25 Ways to Beat Cabin Fever

13. Go to the library. Sometimes you just need to get out. of. the. house! The library is a great (and free) choice!

14. Work a puzzle. My boys love working puzzles, and bigger ones can be a great family activity as well!

15. Perform for one another. My boys made up this game. Take turns singing silly songs and dancing while the rest of the family is the audience. Hubby and I like to take a song and sing it rap style, country style, etc. It’s a fun thing for the family.

16. Play with boxes. What is it with kids and boxes? But, they really bring out the creativity. You can make vehicles, or a little town out of small boxes, or a playhouse out of large boxes. They are great fun either way.

17. Cook something. My boys love to help in the kitchen! They can help with anything, and if you plan ahead for an afternoon of baking, you won’t be concerned about them taking too long or making an extra mess. One fun and simple thing they can do is decorate cupcakes. PS–isn’t this little Chef Set the cutest?

25 Ways to Beat Cabin Fever

18. Play dress up. We don’t celebrate halloween, but my boys love to dress up, so they play with costumes all year long. My kids’ favorite right now is Buzz Lightyear!

25 Ways to Beat Cabin Fever

No costumes? Let them dress up in mom or dad’s clothes! My boys love to dress up like daddy.

25 Ways to Beat Cabin Fever

19. Make homemade playdough. It’s very simple to make, and they get to have fun making it and playing with it! A quick pinterest search yields lots of great recipes and play dough activities.

20. Build. Build with legos and other building toys. You can also get creative and use toothpicks with cheese cubes, grapes, marshmallows, etc, and let your children build a structure out of food.

25 Ways to Beat Cabin Fever

21. Busy Bags. These bags (or boxes) are made up of activities to occupy your children for just such a time as those cabin fever days. I have a post coming up on these, but Money Saving Mom has a lot of great busy bag ideas on her site. And, here is another list to get you started.

22. Kiwi CrateI have shared before how much I LOVE these activity kits! They are very affordable (approx. $20 each) and offer great learning activities as well. You can purchase them individually, or subscribe. For a free alternative, head to pinterest for kids activities and projects.

Kiwi Crate Open

23. Make paper airplanes. Here is a great post with some tips and ideas.

24. Play Hopscotch. Use masking tape to create an indoor hopscotch board. Something about playing outside games inside is always fun for my boys.

25. Science Experiments. Since you’re stuck inside, it’s a good time to pull out those fun science activities from pinterest! Homemade slime anyone? If you’re not feeling creative, you can also get some great science kits like this one or this one.

And, of course, it’s always a fun treat to have a movie party with PJ’s and popcorn in the middle of the afternoon!

What are your favorite winter activities for kids?

24Oct

To Him who is able…

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exceedingly above

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…” -Ephesians 3:20

There is so much encouragement to pull from this verse, but it is especially comforting to me in times of disappointments. Sometimes, I have a plan, a dream, or a wish. A way that I think would be the best for myself and/or my family. Something I really want. And sometimes what we get seems to be the opposite. Have you ever experienced times like that?

In those times of disappointments, I am reminded of this. He is able to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.”

God’s best is beyond my wildest imaginations. And sometimes God steps in to protect us from ourselves, from our limited view of this life, and from settling for second best. 

If you’ve been around this blog for a bit, you know about our deep longing to live in the country, and that we can’t purchase a place for 3 yearsSo, renting it is. In our small tiny town, there is not a large selection of homes for rent, and even less that are in the country. We’ve only seen 1 come available in the entire 2 years we’ve lived here!

Well, last night my husband came home to tell me that there is a place in the country for rent. Similar rent (actually $25 less), 6 miles out of town, about 1/4 mile down a gravel road, so not right on the highway, and has a garage, etc. Only 2 bedrooms, but our boys happily share a bedroom now, so that would be fine. It seemed perfect. I called and set up an appointment to see it, and went to bed last night excitedly thinking about how great of a birthday present it would be for us to love this house and be able to rent it.

This morning I woke up and the woman called to let me know that she had second thoughts and no longer wants to rent to a family with children.

Bummer! I will be honest and say that I was (and am) terribly disappointed.

She ended up calling back and we are going to meet with her and look at the place, so the door is still open that it could possibly happen.

But, regardless of what happens with this or other situations in which things don’t go my way, I know that I can trust that God knows best. Always. And His ways are best. Even if it may not feel like it to us, with our limited perspective, I trust Him and His sovereignty.

Truly, so much pressure is removed when we come to accept and rest in the sovereignty of God!

My prayer for you today is that if things don’t seem to be going your way, that you would lean into Him. Trust in Him, and know that He is able to do far above our expectations or plans.

His way is always best.

17Jul

Summer Fun with Cold Stone Creamery!

This post may contain affiliate links and/or sponsored content. Thank you for supporting Serving Joyfully.

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cold Stone Creamery. All opinions are 100% mine.

On Saturday, we took our boys to the park, where they did a lot of stuff that looked like this:

After all that running and jumping outside in the hot sun, what better way to cool off than with some delicious Cold Stone Creamery Creations™?! The boys had actually never been there before, so they were very excited. Ice cream is kind of a big deal in this house.

Here is my 4-year old showing off his shark Creation™…while still wearing his sunglasses. Yep, that’s our boy :)

Both boys got that same thing, except my 6 year old got his shark gummies mixed in. Here they are enjoying their ice cream…leave it to mom to get a shot with full mouths and blue ice cream lips :)

I, on the other hand, go straight for the chocolate! This is the new Summertime Creation™, OREO® Double Chocolate, which includes chocolate ice cream mixed with OREO® pieces, fudge, and whipped cream:

The whole family had a great time enjoying our ice cream. They were very reasonably priced. The boys each had a small create-your-own, while Hubby and I each had a “Gotta Have It” sized Creation™. However, we were able to use a BOGO free coupon which you can get, too, when you join the My Cold Stone Club. They will also send out additional BOGO free coupons for special occasions like birthdays, etc.

Here is our attempt at a “selfie” of the family…

And, hubby and me :)

Also, I just found out that July 20 is National Ice Cream Day. So, if you’re a person who needs a reason to eat ice cream (we’re not! lol), then there you have it…and Cold Stone Creamery is the perfect place to celebrate! They use high quality ingredients and their ice cream is made fresh daily at all locations. And, you get to watch them mix your ice cream Creations on their frozen granite stone.

For more info, Follow Cold Stone on Twitter.

I asked for flavor recommendations on facebook and got a bunch, so I know a lot of you are already Cold Stone fans!

Which new Summertime Creation™ would you like to try?

Visit Sponsor's Site

16Jul

When I say I’m a #boymom

This post may contain affiliate links and/or sponsored content. Thank you for supporting Serving Joyfully.

How my use of the boy mom hashtag has nothing to do with gender inequality. #Boymom

Image Credit: Pixabay

I usually don’t write reactionary articles, but I read this post  and it is just really bugging me today. In it, Mandi  shares that she is offended and annoyed by the #boymom hashtag.

To be honest, I was quite surprised to learn that calling myself a boy mom could possibly be offensive.

I don’t have any girls. I am a mother of boys, hence the #boymom hashtag you might find on some of my tweets, and instagram pics…(when I remember to post there, that is).

Mandi, however, finds this hashtag offensive.

Here is what she has to say about it (condensed for space):

Our girls are about frills and fashion, but they’re also rough and tumble…So when I see one of these activities labeled with the #boymom hashtag — as if they’re things that only boys do — I get more than a little annoyed… the #boymom hashtag is used liberally for activities that plenty of girls enjoy.

Here’s the thing…My days look a lot like this:  swinging on the swingset, baking with my boys, playing legos, playing with hot wheels, dinosuars, and other toys, homeschooling, playing in the mud…and lots of jumping, climbing, and being rough. Some days, like today, it also includes sewing up pink-eared stuffed animals.

Some of the things my boys do are typically considered “boy” things and some are typically considered “girl” things. While I believe that gender differences are real, I also believe that no one fits perfectly into any little box. And that’s okay.

Because I grew up a little girl, I know that my days could look very similar if I were a mom of girls.

But I’m not. I am a mom of boys.

I think the biggest problem here is our society’s fascination with taking a positive statement and implying a negative.

When I tag something with #boymom, it doesn’t mean, as Mandi implies, that girls can’t or shouldn’t do those same activities. It doesn’t even mean all boys do them. It means that my boy does. Plain and simple. It means this is a little glimpse of my life as a boy mom. 

So lets make a deal? When you share a picture of your little girl donning her apron in the kitchen and tag it #girlmom, I’ll just comment about how cute she is. I won’t think that the fact that your girl enjoys baking somehow means my boys can’t.

And when I share a picture of my boys doing something, please don’t twist that around to mean that your girl can’t or shouldn’t do that thing. It doesn’t mean that at all. And to be honest, I think the whole idea is a bit absurd.

But, the truth is Mandi has the right to read whatever negative connotation into my celebration of motherhood that she chooses. Jon Acuff wrote a great post a while back about how I can write what I write, but I can’t control how someone else chooses to read it.

But, isn’t it exhausting to be looking for offense in everything?

Motherhood is hard enough. Life is hard enough. And the mommy wars have been raging for far too long about far too many things for us to be inventing insult and offense where none was intended.

I agree with her that we should let our kids be who they are.  I’m just confused about how my sharing about my boys doing that somehow prevents her girls from doing the same. When I browse through the #girlmom and #boymom hashtags, I don’t see moms who are trying to somehow oppress the opposite gender. I see moms who are celebrating their children and motherhood.

Let’s just all agree to enjoy and celebrate our kids…and let others do the same.

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