The Daily Dash: April 17, 2014 feat. FamilyLife Resurrection Eggs

On today’s episode of The Daily Dash, I featured the 20th Anniversary Edition of FamilyLife’s Resurrection Eggs:


resurrection eggs 20th anniverary The Daily Dash: April 17, 2014 feat. FamilyLife Resurrection Eggs

While I’ve known about Resurrection Eggs for years, I’ve never incorporated them into our family’s Easter routine until now!

While I wish I would have started earlier in the days leading up to Good Friday, our travel plans simply didn’t allow it this year.

However, there’s still plenty of time to enjoy and learn from the lessons packed into this age-appropriate tool.

resurrection eggs familylife The Daily Dash: April 17, 2014 feat. FamilyLife Resurrection Eggs

To learn more about and purchase Resurrection Eggs for your family, you can visit the FamilyLife website.

As you know, our family is HUGE fans of the ministry of FamilyLife, participating in everything from their Weekend to Remember marriage weekends to their Love Like You Mean It Marriage Cruise.

While FamilyLife did send me a set of the Resurrection Eggs to experience with my family, I was not compensated or coaxed in any way to write this post, nor are there any affiliate links. I just wanted to share a fantastic resource for parents wondering how to share the Easter story in a more tangible way with their kids!

If you want to know more about what’s going on around the world and in my life each day in under 3 minutes, then make sure you subscribe to my Daily Dash Playlist on YouTube!

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What Goes Unnoticed…

9285861466 c5037cabd6 What Goes Unnoticed...

Photo courtesy of heroturtle

I’ll be the first to admit; I’m not a stellar homemaker.

But I should get an A for effort.

Perhaps if I spent as much time cleaning as I do inventing ways to clean (not to mention spreadsheets & systems for keeping track of cleaning), my home would be better off.

But alas, such is not the case.

Yet something struck me today: No-one really notices when the house is clean, but they sure do make a stink when the house is dirty!

Let’s face it, your expect the house to be clean. So when you see what you expect, nothing miraculous happens.

But as soon as that first spec of dust, that first stray hair or that corner pile of dirt emerges, all hell breaks loose.

Then it dawned on me: we parent in much of the same way.

We have certain expectations of our kids, and when they meet those expectations, no celebration ensues. But when our kids disappoint us, fall short of our expectations, or worse yet, deliberately disobey us, boy do we know how to hit them where it hurts.

Guilt. Shame. Disgust.

All those things we never like to admit we experience as parents, much less inflict upon our kids, yet it happens.

A mentor once told me she kept a picture of her kids as toddlers always displayed close by her phone. There’s something about our kids at that age that just brings a smile to our faces, regardless of what trouble they’d gotten into just minutes earlier. Looking at that picture before she answered her phone always put her in the right mood.

However, as our kids age, we fail to smile simply because the enter a room. In fact, more often than not, we find a reason to chastise them the minute they enter our presence. Following that logic, it should come as no surprise that so many teenagers stop wanting to hang around their parents. After all, who wants to spend time with people that overlook what we do well and choose to focus only on our faults?

Just like I need to spend more time appreciating the things I am doing well around our home rather than focusing on areas where I’m lacking, I need to apply equal effort to noticing where my kids are thriving rather than honing in on those areas where they might not be living up to my standards.

So what does all this mean?

Set standards & communicate values, but most importantly, show love. By training your eyes & ears to look for opportunities instead of disappointments, you just might be surprised at how your kids will in turn surprise you.

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Sibling Love: #SiblingLove Twitter Party on 2/25

The topic of love is not a new one for February, but how much thought do you give you sibling love?

 Sibling Love: #SiblingLove Twitter Party on 2/25

I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately.

I essentially grew up as an only child; I have three half brothers, but they were all out of the house by the time I was two. So when it comes to mediating the relationship between my own kids, I don’t have a ton of personal experiences to draw from.

Perhaps thats why I felt the need to write The Secret of Sibling Love on Vanderbilt’s Children’s Wishing Well blog this month.

My kids are in a unique stage of life (ages 8 & 9) where they are developing their own way in life, yet still looking to me for guidance & direction. While I can share lessons on love, kindness & compassion with them, I believe there truly are unique lessons that can be taught to them when it comes to loving their sibling.

So my fellow Tommy Nelson mommies and I will be hosting a Twitter Party on exactly this topic on Tuesday, February 25 at 8pmCST/9pm EST!

Screen Shot 2014 02 24 at 9.06.10 PM Sibling Love: #SiblingLove Twitter Party on 2/25

Just RSVP over on FaithGateway.com in the comments section so you can qualify for one of the many gifts we’ll be giving away during our #SiblingLove Twitter Party.

So whether you are a sibling, have siblings, or one day want to give birth to siblings, I guarantee you’re going to get something out of this family event! (And God knows we all need to learn and grow from each other, so the more voices that can contribute to this conversation, the better!)

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Do You Make Time for Kid Dates?

making time for kid dates Do You Make Time for Kid Dates?

Do you make time for kid dates?

You know what I mean right? I’m talking one-on-one time with just you and one of your kids doing something THEY want to do, not just taking them along with you on an errand somewhere.

The funny thing is, when you take the time to study your children and then intentionally invest in their lives on a one-on-one basis, the return is immeasurable icon smile Do You Make Time for Kid Dates?

Making time for kid dates these days can be difficult, especially when you consider that it’s tough for moms to even go to the bathroom by ourselves.

But I’m here to plea with you to consider doing exactly that.

Sometimes I get really creative with our kids’ dates, like when I came up with an American Girl Doll Scavenger Hunt to surprise my daughter with the new Saige doll or when I planned a “Girl Mom Weekend” to Atlanta to spend time together and talk about the transition from little girl to young woman.

KidDates Do You Make Time for Kid Dates?

Other times I keep it simple and just take my son on a picnic to his favorite tree near our home or we catch a movie and grab some ice cream afterwards (and yes, even though I love my kids, I still find a deal, take them to a matinee, or use my rewards points so it doesn’t have to break the bank).

Regardless of whether you have one child or seventeen, finding those moments to spend individual time with each child has a multiplying effect.

However you decide to spend time individually with your kids, never forget the immortal words of Nike: “Just Do It!”

Here are just a few simple ideas for your individual kid dates:

  • Take them to dinner at their favorite restaurant (even if it’s not as healthy as you’d like)
  • Learn a new hobby together
  • Get rid of all technology and spend time alone in nature together
Do you set aside time each month for special time with your kids? If so, I’d love to hear some of your kid date ideas below!

To read my full post on Making Time for Individual Kid Dates, head on over to the Wishing Well blog.

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Starting Your School Day Off Right: 4 Quick Tips

starting your school day off right Starting Your School Day Off Right: 4 Quick Tips

Since I promised 4 Quick Tips to starting your school day off right, let me just quench the suspense and give those to you right away:

1. Lay out your priorities

2. Develop a schedule

3. Set their minds

4. Communicate your expectations

Now if you want to learn the detailed how and why behind making each of these tips a reality, you’ll have to read my full article on How to Start Your School Day Off Right on FaithGateway.com. But suffice it to say, this advice comes from personal need and experience.

I have one child who gets out of bed quite easily in the morning and another who…does not.

However, everything changed a few months ago after making only one change.

What that made me realize was that as parents, more often than not, we grossly underestimate our kids. And worse than that, I wasn’t giving them the room to prove me wrong.

Our kids are capable. Give them something to look forward to. Challenge them. Allow them the opportunity to rise above the mundane of the everyday and see a glimpse of the extraordinary God designed for us!

So if you’re like me and find yourself hurrying your kids into the car each morning with a cup of dried cereal, praying no-one forgot homework or a lunch box, I challenge you re-think your morning routine by digging deeper into the 4 tips above.

Then come back and let me know how they worked for you icon wink Starting Your School Day Off Right: 4 Quick Tips

For more tips on how to re-prioritize your year, check out my series on How to Live a Prioritized Life.

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Summer Kids Activities with new Kidventures Book!

KidVentures 300x250 Summer Kids Activities with new Kidventures Book!

Although the weather has been quite tempermental in the past weeks, it should surprise no-one that summer is right around the corner. And if your kids are old enough to play outside, then it’s only a matter of time before you hear them say, “Mom, I’m booooorrrrrredddd!”

That’s why I’m so excited to share my friend (QuatroMama) Jen’s new Summer Kids Activities book: KidVentures: 50 Outdoor Experiences of Wonder, Discovery, & Childhood Memories.

What exactly is KidVentures, you ask?

It’s a practical step-by-step ebook guide for your outdoor summer adventures. It’s chock-full of 50 creative, active, and hands-on learning activities for you and your family this summer along with supply lists, detailed instructions, printables, diagrams, and resources to take each activity a step further!

So what are you waiting for? You certainly don’t wan’t to wait until school is out to snag this treasure. And trust me, if Jen has tested it out on her quadruplet boys and they approve it, then your kids certainly will icon wink Summer Kids Activities with new Kidventures Book!

KidVentures 3001 Summer Kids Activities with new Kidventures Book!

Click here to visit KidVentures by Jen Murray

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Mother’s Day Presents: 3 Tips for Success

mothers day presents 3 tips success Mothers Day Presents: 3 Tips for Success

The perennial question when it comes to Mother’s Day presents seems to always be this: to make homemade or buy?

On the “Family Friendly Morning Show” this week I shared my 3 step to success to make this a happy Mother’s Day for every mom out there. If you follow these three steps to help you select 3 special gifts, you’ll find it hard to go wrong!

Mother’s Day Presents: 3 Steps to Success

1. Sentimental Mother’s Day Present

This is where the homemade comes in to the Mother’s Day present process. Have the kids paint a picture, make a card, form a clay pot…you get the idea. I would say  ’make mom a mix tape’, but then I’d be dating myself, wouldn’t I?

2. Practical Mother’s Day Present

If you’ve been paying attention since Christmas, chances are mom’s mentioned needed a new ‘something’. Whether it’s a new vacuum, sweater, throw pillow or screwdriver, it doesn’t matter – get it for her. Now this is why my 3 step process is so key: if you ONLY buy her this one practical gift, it seems insensitive. But if you present this gift along with something from each of the other two categories, you come off as thoughtful icon wink Mothers Day Presents: 3 Tips for Success Tricky, isn’t it? Oh, the female brain…

3. Wish-List Mother’s Day present

Now this one is a little trickier, especially if you’re on a budget. The wish-list can closely resemble something she’s mentioned that falls under the practical category OR it can be something she mentions often that never gets fulfilled – we’re talking something as simple as flowers up to an extravagant trip or piece of jewelry. Again, the idea here is to do something out of the ordinary that communicates to mom that you appreciate who she is, what she does and what she dreams about.

Make sure you check out my other Mother’s Day Savings posts:
*Mother’s Day Photo Deals & Discounts

*Mother’s Day Free Food & Restaurant Deals

Do you have any other Mother’s Day gift-giving success ideas?

Disclosure: There are Amazon affiliate links/banners used in this post. By shopping through them, not only will you get great deals for mom, you’ll be helping my family too!
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The nation’s thrill; a mother’s terror #PrayforBoston

pray hard 300x225 The nations thrill; a mothers terror #PrayforBoston

When news came of the Boston Marathon bomber suspect finally being apprehended last night, there was a thrill that came over the nation. I can only imagine that Bostonians in particular experienced a sense of relief that this terrorist had been caught and a sense of peace in knowing the lockdown has finally ended.

But for one mother, her terror is just beginning.

This terrorist is only 19 years old. Not only is he barely an adult himself, he is someone’s child.

He is a brother, a nephew, a friend.

And the reports from those who knew him all echo the same sentiment:
We would never have imagined he could do such a thing.”

He was described as “funny”, “nice”, & “a good athlete”…not “isolated”, “withdrawn” or “brooding”.

So what now for this family who has to face their own terror that is just beginning? Their world has been equally turned upside down by their sons’ (alleged) actions, yet I can guarantee they will not have the privilege of fighting this battle in private.

When I first learned how young the suspects were and that they were brothers, I posted this update to my Facebook wall:

In shock over the new developments in Boston. Brokenhearted to hear the new ‘WANTED’ suspect is only 19 years old. Imagine what could have happened if someone had poured peace and grace into his life instead of anger and hatred… 

I have no answers to you in writing this (not that any of us do), but I have a prayer I’d like you to join with me in praying. As you pray for the families in Boston today and everyone around the country who’s been affected by this horrific act, please consider praying for the suspects’ family as well. Pray for justice to be served, but for a path of peace to be laid as a result.

God bless America.

 

Image sourced from Google Images/RunEatRepeat.com
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How to Help Kids Handle Hurt

 How to Help Kids Handle HurtOne of the toughest jobs I face as a parent is how to help my kids handle hurt. I don’t care whether or not the hurt is physical or emotional (and I know there will be a TON of both of the course of my children’s lives), it breaks my heart as a mom!

Sometimes in an effort to be “SuperParent”, we miss out on being what our kids really need, the parent they’ve always known and loved. In times of hurting, kids don’t want different, they want what they already know. The more you can focus on reminding them of what they know is true, the more they will understand that tragedy is a part of life and they too can triumph over the pain.

In addition to the hurts our kids experience first-hand, there are a slew of others that they will be a by-product of: from things that will literally shatter their world like divorce & family death to learning about the ills of this earth, such as natural disasters and child poverty.

In the nine years I’ve been a parent, we’ve been through our fair share of disasters, both of the child-sized variety and the actual earth-shaking variety. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that my adult-brain rationale is not very comforting to a hurting child.

So I’ve come up with a list of my top three pieces of advice I’ve complied, both from experts and personal experience, to help your kids when they’re hurting. You can read them over on Vanderbilt’s Wishing Well blog

 

 

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How to Keep Your Kids Honest: 30 Ways in 30 Days of April

Screen Shot 2013 03 13 at 1.02.36 PM 300x241 How to Keep Your Kids Honest: 30 Ways in 30 Days of April

If you’re like me (or most parents for that matter!), you struggle with how to keep your kids honest. Since April 30 is National Honesty Day, I wanted to help you teach your kids honesty in a more clever, bite size way.

I’ve come up with 30 Ways in the 30 Days of April to help keep your kids honest. I’ve shared the entire list of honesty tips of on my April Tommy Nelson blog post, but I wanted to share the top 10 to get you started encouraging your kids to walk in the ways of honesty and truth.

Top Ways to Keep Your Kids Honest:

1. Keep them accountable for their actions
2. Listen as they speak to friends & siblings
3. Have them put a penny in a jar every time they don’t tell the ‘whole’ truth
4. Share the difference between manipulation & persuasion
5. Set a good example before them
6. Encourage them when they tell the truth in a difficult situation
7. Ask little ones if they know the difference between right and wrong
8. Explain the difference between ‘telling the truth’ and ‘being honest’
9. Talk about what it means to live an ‘honest life’
10. Discourage telling ‘fibs’

(Remember, you can read my entire list of 30 Ways over on TommyNelson.com)

If you really want a helpful tool to help your kids live our the principles of being honest and doing the right thing, then check out this DVD resource from Tommy Nelson:
cocka doodle doo the right thing 209x300 How to Keep Your Kids Honest: 30 Ways in 30 Days of April

Featuring the voice talents of my Nashville ‘neighbors’, Amy Grant & Vince Gill’, this DVD will not only engage pre-school and elementary aged children alike, but also teaches a great message, including behaving well even when nobody is watching, and the biblical lessons from the Parables of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.
mqdefault 1 300x168 How to Keep Your Kids Honest: 30 Ways in 30 Days of April

Would you like to win this DVD for your family? Well you can!
Just enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below…
a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you don’t want to try your chances in the giveaway, you can buy “Cocka Doodle Doo the Right Thing” from ThomasNelson.com and use the code SAMIC20 to save 20% off the list price!

Remember, the best way to accomplish the goal of teaching our kids honesty is to show them practical ways to live it out instead of just listening to it! If you want more practical help on how to relate God’s Word to your life, take a look at my devotionals.

How have you taught your kids about the importance of telling the truth?

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