Sharing is Healthy

Sharing is Healthy!

It’s hard for anyone to share, but little kids definitely want their own way. Sharing is just not a natural thing to want to do. But, sharing is healthy, and good for you. I need to help my little sweethearts see the advantages of sharing and get them to actually do it. As a parent I am going to guide them toward doing the right thing, but that can be difficult.Sharing is Healthy

I have to be the parent, so I have full control and Veto Rights!  Why am I saying that I have full control and veto rights? It sounds a little bit harsh. It makes you want to say ‘you’re not the boss of me’!

Actually I am the boss, because my children were given to me by God and it’s my responsibility to do my very best for them.

Your little ones need someone that they can count on, to guide them in life.

They need someone who cares enough to meet their physical needs, to teach them good character, to present them opportunities so they can succeed at each stage of their developmental years. Teaching them to share is a huge part of that. So where would we all be if I didn’t live up to my responsibilities?

Full control doesn’t ‘micro-manage’. Veto doesn’t mean that you have to run around after your kids saying no, no, no! It means that as the parent, I need to create an environment where they can thrive and develop their character. I’m the one who has to be strong and make choices for them that are not comfortable.

I wrote a post called Hobbies are Healthy. Today I say, Sharing is healthier. Working on a hobby adds quality and experience to your life. Sharing develops good character. Sharing is only easy, if it’s your choice, but if you have to share, it is annoying and no fun!

I grew up with only 1 little brother. My baby sister didn’t come along til I was 12. I had my own bedroom, my own stereo, my own toys, basically my own little universe. I could have become incredibly selfish and self centered, (I probably was, but I didn’t know it) but then, my dad split.

After he left, life became tougher, and we had to pull together to make our family work successfully. That forced us to become more unselfish and giving with each other. We had to babysit. We had less options to go out to restaurants, do fun activities, get more toys at Christmas because money was tight. Since we had to share, it was the best training we could have gotten for our life. Sacrifice and sharing! Suddenly we were forced to become more aware of how we could meet each other’s needs. You have to check out this article. This is what I didn’t want for my kids. If these are true stories, I’m so glad they all learned. It’s really funny! 17 Former Spoiled Brats

Raising 9 children, I see great value in having to share.

We have only 1 TV in our house. I like it that way, because we are the parents. We get first dibs, veto rights and full control over what is shown on our one and only TV.

Often we’ll pick the (boring) show, like HGTV home DIY’s, or some retro Austin City Limits music concert, and the kids either watch with us, or find something else to do. That is fine with me. If the kids turn it on first, Disney shows up and we might join them. We share, and we’re together. It’s really more wonderful to have only 1 TV. It brings us together. It’s better than letting each little person be selfish and stay separately in their own rooms to watch what they want. We get to be together. That’s why sharing is healthy.

In the car, the oldest automatically gets shot gun but the others get 1st come, 1st served for the rest of the seats. I’m the parent, I get veto rights, and full control of who sits where! That means that if an argument starts, I tell them where to sit, and that’s it.

They share and take turns picking the bedtime story. They share the snowmobile. We even share the landline phone in the house!

 

Why? Because I am the parent, and I love them.

Having a house phone, allows me to know who they’re talking to and how long they’re using the phone. They can have a cell phone when I say it’s good for them, but if they’re too young to handle that responsibility, they get to use the house phone. 

We bought a 5 bedroom house when we only had 4 kids. 2 girls shared one bedroom, 2 boys shared another. 1 bedroom was saved for a guestroom, and since we were renovating, 1 room was a catch-all for tools and construction materials. The oldest got 1st choice of top or bottom bunk, and of course they chose the top.Sharing is Healthy

 

If you talk to my children, you’ll hear stories of how annoying it was to have to share a bedroom. There was fighting, stealing each other’s stuff, fooling around, and getting in trouble for fooling around. But, there were also special times, secrets, sneaking up, and adventures that I don’t even want to know about. Sharing created an environment of give and take, like it or lump it. In life, you have to like it or lump it often, and having to share as a kid, prepares them for the real world.

I remember luxury day.

We bought a high-top van loaded with fancy lights inside, leather seats and guess what?…1 TV / video player. It felt so luxurious to travel in comfort and style. I think we had 6 kids, then. 4 across the back seat, and 2 kids in each captain seats.

There was always a mad scramble to choose the movies for the trip. The little zippered case would be loaded up with everyone’s choices. They were allowed to choose 2 videos each, with the admonition, that there would be a vote. The best part about the TV in the van, was that we all watched the same movie at the same time. We were together and sharing. They didn’t even necessarily get either one of their choices of movies on that trip.  

I always kind of wanted a bigger house that had rec rooms and family rooms and optional living spaces, but looking back, I’ve loved being in closer quarters. I think it’s helped us to be a lot closer.

Being the parent, you have full control and veto rights. Why? Because you have the big picture and know what’s best for your precious children. Why else? Because you love your little dears and you want the best for them, just like I do.I love flowers, they're like a ribbon on top

I want my sweet little dears, to grow up to be Godly, unselfish, caring, diligent, honest people who will win the respect of others because of their awesome character. And I want them to know and experience the blessing of give and take with others. 

Hobbies are Healthy

Hobbies are awesome for children.

Hobbies are healthy! Even when it means extra work for mama? Yes,…it is worth it. So let your kids explore.

Caleb’s best buddy, Tanner loves rock collecting. Then he finds out that his cousin, Adler is into rock collecting, too, so that made it totally exciting. He collected some rocks and surprised me with a beautiful hand-crafted ring.

What a treasure! Not for the value of the rock, of course, but the value of the sweet little boy who showed his love to his Mom. 

Hobbies are Healthy

Working on a hobby lets your little ones express themselves as they’re growing up and exploring their world.

How sweet that Caleb chose to give a gift as a way to express himself.

It gives them a goal, a purpose, something to focus on. 

Hobbies are healthy because they help your kids to discover themselves, their interests and build their self-esteem. Hobbies are also great educational tools. (Just don’t tell them that they’re getting schooled). In general, hobbies teach children to set and achieve goals, solve problems and make decisions.

Caleb even studied his gift to me and took it back and improved it!

Hobbies are Healthy

So he and Tanner have been learning about geology. Cool, extra education, without me having to teach at him.

It didn’t feel like I had to cram stuff into his brain that he doesn’t care about. He’s always reporting to me about stuff he’s learning. 

Those boys were out finding rocks, bringing rocks home from vacations and looking up all kinds of info about the minerals that are in the rocks.

The beauty of sharing experiences with friends, is that even though I can see that Caleb is not actually super interested in rock collecting, he’s having a really good time with his friend while they’re learning.

He’s spending quality time, learning with his friend and having a lot of fun.

You never know, hobbies can set the course for what your child becomes later in life. They often turn into lifelong interests or careers.  Very cool, right? It’s very possible that Tanner might do something in engineering that might be geologically based. Caleb is still exploring many ideas. 

Parents, we have the biggest influence in the lives our little ones.

If you’re a bit involved with their hobby, to provide guidance, support and encouragement, you will help to build their self-esteem and self-confidence. They’ll learn that they don’t need to be afraid to try something new and it’s worth it to try. You’ve got to admit that hobbies are healthy, mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically

You can use hobby times to teach your child strong work habits. Following directions closely, setting goals, and proper planning and organization, are a few examples. You can show them that nothing worthwhile is ever easy!

Kids get frustrated when the going gets tough, and become easily bored and want to quit. Even a hobby takes some work and dedication if you want it to be successful.

I’m not against TV / Screen time, but…

If your little dear don’t have a strong interest in a hobby, or fun activity, here’s a crazy suggestion! Turn off the TV!

Its amazing how hard that is for me to do sometimes. When I’m tired, I want to turn it on and veg. When the kids are hyper, I want to turn on the TV and let them veg!

By turning off the TV, here’s what I’ve found. I’ve turned off the TV, and then sat there with them! Yes, there we sat, looking at each other wondering how we’re going to fill the evening.

Then someone says the magic words. “Let’s go…(insert creative idea here)”. And that’s when the magic happens.

Some of the things that I’ve seen happen..

a. Can you read that chapter book again. Right now we’re reading ‘TheHobbies are healthy, especially reading Hobbit, plus box set pocket edition’. –  now I’m wondering why I picked such a long book. It’s taking us forever to get through it! It’s made for some wonderful conversation. Its a very good story.

b. Let’s go outside… let’s play swing baseball, build swords and shields, let’s work on the tree fort, let’s build a ramp for our bikes, etc. Mostly from the boys, lol.

c. Can you teach me to make cookies, oatmeal squares, French silk pie, how do I sew this, I want to make a quilt, yikes, that’s a big one, I want to practice calligraphy, etc.

Amazing creativity follows the turning off of the TV. This is when the good stuff happens. Memories are made when Mama gets mean and takes away the fun of their TV / screen time. Worth it, I say!

Just a little stat here:

It’s been noted by experts that by age 15, the average child has spent more time watching television than sitting in a classroom.  I believe that they spend more time passively watching something rather that interacting with their family!

Hobbies are healthy, they are a rewarding and enriching parts of our lives. Encourage your child to explore his own interests and find a hobby of their very own. It’s okay if their interest fades and they move on to something else. Just help them to make the most of the hobby for a time. You’ll make awesome memories with your little sweethearts. 

What hobbies are your children into right now? When I was young, I tried out stamp collecting and then I had a collection of tiny little fancy spoons, but I really loved needle work and making hand crafted things. My grandma taught me to knit and crochet and when I was older, I took it up again, and I’m really enjoying it. 

Maybe some of the skills your little ones are learning will become a valuable part of their adult life. Hobbies are healthy, because life is more than your physical body, more than a job, its about a quality of life that has depth. Enjoy the journey, the mess and the learning with your little ones.I love flowers, they're like a ribbon on top

P.S. This just in! It’s too cold and snowy to find rocks. Magic Tricks are in! Why did I let him buy the Magic Trick Kit. ha ha ha!

Time for the show    Pick a card, Any card…

 

Spare the Laundry and Spoil the Child

I know you’ve heard “Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child”. That’s an old fashioned paraphrase of the Bible verse –

‘Whoever does not discipline his son hates him, but whoever loves him is diligent to correct him.’ ISV

Today I say “Spare the Laundry and Spoil the Child”.

Spare the Laundry, Spoil the Child

Lessons I’ve learned from normal life experiences…

When Davey, our first baby, our sweet little son was just crawling and toddling about, he was forever at my side in our small apartment. We read and played and bathed and did all of the usual Mommy and baby activities. The only little problem was that I also had to get some things done and the laundry was one of those things.

I would try to set him up with some toys, nearby, so I could get to it, but he was too curious. He wanted to know what I was doing and wanted to ‘help’. I would throw a shirt in the basket, then he would toddle over and throw something in the basket, too. It was super cute and it became a game.

He was enjoying it so much, that I started making separate piles of clothes just for him. He wanted to be in charge of throwing everything into the basket.

This activity / work, actually became ‘quality time’ for us. You know!… that quality time thing, we’re always trying to intentionally incorporate into our lives with our children. If we can pull it off, then we’d be perfect parents, right? Unfortunately, for some reason, it doesn’t always work.

In your daily life, ‘quality time’ doesn’t always work out the way you plan it, but don’t feel guilty! If your little dear is with you, and your work can be turned into a game, that’s a win!

I have 9 children, and laundry is a big deal! As each of my babies started to grow up, we worked together. I taught them how to sort the laundry, put it in the washer & dryer and then fold & put it away in drawers.

Truly, it was almost physically impossible for me to do it all myself, anyways. At first it was a great way to keep them amused and in sight!

Those little ones became quite proficient at the job. When one of my boys moved out, at least I knew that he could handle laundry, proficiently. Unplanned mission accomplished!

Here’s the Real Lesson!

My goal in life was not to teach my children to do laundry. Every kid grows up, moves out and figures out how to do his own laundry, right?

The lesson, for me, came when those toddlers grew up and realized that laundry was work! It was not actually a fun game and they didn’t want to play anymore.

That was my moment to realize that our game had taught them skills, but now it was my job to teach them good character and discipline.

Good character means: a. Don’t quit till the job is done. b. Do the job with excellence. c. Have a (relatively) cheerful attitude while doing the job;)

They were expected to contribute to the process of making our home run like a well-oiled machine, and laundry was certainly a big part.

When the game of laundry became the work of doing their own laundry, I still insisted that they continue to do their own.

If I had let them start whining about not wanting to do the job, I would have spoiled the child. To spoil means to ruin or allow to go bad, like a rotten tomato; very unattractive 😉 So don’t let your little dears become selfish and lazy because that would ruin them.

Teach your little dear that its a celebration to accomplish a job. Tell them that you’re proud of their work. Let them know that you’re grateful for their help, because the team (family) needs their participation to win the game of life!

This blog is about children, family, life lessons and giving. When you give a gift, and put a ribbon on top, you’ve just added value to your gift. You’ve shown how special you want the person to feel who is receiving the gift.

I want to give you the gift of encouragement as you live your life with your family and teach your own children how to succeed in life. It’s a process, you can do it!

Our Newest Homeschool Project

I just found a really great HomeSchool project.

HomeSchool ProjectIt’s actually great even if your kids goes to school, It’s a great project. We’ve homeschooled our 9 children for most of their school life. Time and money were tight, but most of all, energy was tight. If you can imagine that;) There was always a baby or a toddler, and you know how energy sapping that can be. It was tough for me to fit in an extra HomeSchool project that would take more time and energy.

Many of our kids have graduated,…my work there is done. Yes! An accomplishment! But I still have several more years left of homeschooling.

HomeSchool Project

I’m trying to up my game a bit and be a little more creative. I’m so excited to be able to add some variety to our schooling this year.

Our curriculum has been pretty full of intense book learning so we need to insert a good homeschool project, to spice up our school. Thank you Facebook advertising for introducing me to KiwiCo. The company caught my eye, and I’m so glad it did.

We chose the kit we wanted based on Caleb’s age. The first kit he received in the mail was the Tinker Crate, science and engineering. He got to learn how to build an electronic spinning wheel where you squirt paint onto the paper and make an art project.

Science meets art!

Taking a risk and trying this company was a great move. Since I was keeping my eyes open for a new homeschool project I went for it. Doing something completely different, is stimulating his mind and his imagination. He got creative and he’s having a change of pace from his usual book work.

I was really surprised and pleased with the results of our first overall experience.

Here’s what happened. 1st of all, Caleb thinks he’s getting out of some boring book work so he can do a fun project during school hours. He’s excited to try something new. 2nd, the surprise of getting a new homeschool project in the mail was a new and super fun thing for us. 3rd, it is a special time for us to focus on him and work on something creative together.

I had him unbox the whole project and read each step of the instructions. He had a massive sense of accomplishment as he actually figured out on his own how to put it all together. It was just enough of a stretch for him, that he was super proud that he was able to do it.

I didn’t tell him ahead of time that the kit was coming in the mail with his name on it. What kid doesn’t love to get mail? Little kids see Mommy and Daddy getting letters in the mail every day, and they get nothing, right? So if your little dear gets something in the mail, it’s like Christmas.

When I told him that I had bought 3 projects and the next 2 would arrive in the next 2 months, he was so excited.

HomeScool Project

Tinker Crate from KiwiCo is a total win. I love it. If you have little ones who love to try new things, even if they go to school, this is totally worth it. For a good price, you get to spend time with your little dears, building a great relationship, and at the same time, you’re helping them learn, the fun way!

Life, It’s Complicated

Life, it’s complicated. One moment, I have a desperately important situation I’m dealing with, and the next moment, I’m fussing about being slim! I’m not trying to be a tall, blonde fashion model, or a 22 year old cheerleader, I just want to have my slim, youthful self, and still be going strong. 

I was such a goofball and I previously wrote a post called, ‘What’s Mama’s #1 problem?’

That’s such a ridiculous title, because, basically it relates to no one. In that moment, I was thinking about diets, and how I needed to go one one! It was my #1 problem, in that moment! . 

I am not crazy or obsessed about weight loss. But, I was remembering that after having babies, I had gained an impressive amount of weight. Oh, how I wished that I could be skinny and energetic again, right away! It was hard to be patient and not diet, because my babies needed to be breastfed, and if I didn’t eat, then they weren’t happy either. 

Don’t you get excited to share something new, when you have just discovered it?

The new diet that we were trying, is working and I was wishing that I’d had the Keto Diet after my babies were born. I could have eaten reasonable quantities of food, been full and nourished my baby, all while slimming back to normal.

I just get frustrated when I know there’s something I can do to be slim and healthy, but whatever I’m doing just isn’t working. Hence, the Keto Diet!

So in the moment of writing that post, the #1 problem on this Mama’s mind was how to lose weight and feel good about myself again. 

When you read, Mama’s #1 problem, you probably had many, many other things on your mind. You might be worried about your finances. You might have a sick child, (so stressful), you might be lonely.

My goodness, there’s a myriad of difficulties we Mama’s face! So, Life, it’s complicated.

Life it's complicated. Have a healthy drink

Sometimes, I’m being lighthearted, and silly. I’m wishing to be slim and energetic and have my clothes fit.

Please just stay with me in my silliness, and enjoy learning about some new ways to eat that can be healthier and very delicious.

Even when you’re dealing with life’s difficulties, why not have a yummy, healthy treat. Try this one and tell me if you like it. 

See the recipe and have a drink on me 😉

 

 

Families That Eat Together – Stay Healthy Together?

Really? Families that eat together are healthier?

Studies show, that not only do children like to sit down at the dinner table and eat a meal with their parents. They are more likely to eat a well-balanced, nutritious meal when they do! Start a tradition of eating together with your little babies. It’s easier to train them to sit at the table if you start when they’re young. 

Eat together, have healthier children

Eating dinner together most nights was normal life. Many people’s lives are too busy and it’s uncommon to eat dinner anymore.

My husband grew up in an extremely traditional and old fashioned family. His mom stayed home and cared for their 8 children; they ate hot cereal or eggs for breakfast and sat down at a gigantic table together, for dinner each night.

I grew up with one younger brother and a baby sister and we basically did the same thing. We ate dinner together most nights. Even when my parents separated, my mom did a wonderful job keeping the family traditions and we continued to eat dinner together, each night, until each of us moved out to go to college or jobs, etc.

We Grew Up and Kept Our Parents Traditions

When I got married, David and I kept the same traditions, the way we were both raised. It just seemed natural. As each of our 9 children came along, we naturally cooked a lot at home and ate together.

We had a friend and his little girl live with us for 3 months and one night at dinner, he said to us, “You people are like the Brady Bunch” and I said, “But where’s my housekeeper, Alice?” haha. Our friend was raised in a very different environment and he didn’t know that anyone sat down and ate dinner together anymore, except maybe on holidays.

With the hectic lives we all lead these days, getting the family all together in the same place at the same time can be a very difficult chore. Think about all the activities that your kids are involved in each week? You’re on the go all the time. 

We tried to keep our schedules very reasonable. If one boy was in football, we focused on football. When we had 2 girls in gymnastics, that’s what we focused on. We let a girl take violin and another boy take guitar, so music was our thing for a while. The main thing is that we did not allow these extra-curricular activities to overwhelm our family’s life, goals, or our schedules. 

I know that between work schedules, after-school activities, errands, and the like, we all have less and less time.  

It is totally worth it, to implement a few simple ideas, execute some clever planning, and make your family dinners, an enjoyable and treasured family time.

First of all, designate no less than one night per week to have a sit-down meal with your family. 

I know that you can’t completely change everything, but if you’re willing to change it up, one night a week, you’ll see tremendous benefit to your family’s overall well-being. The fact that statistically your children will tend to be healthier, is enough reason for me, right?

Here are 5 great ideas:

– Sunday nights are a great time to plan your family dinners because you have more time to relax. The weekend chores and errands are done, and it’s the lull before the storm of the week’s school and work.

-If your babes are in any way old enough, involve them in the meal planning and preparation. This gives them a strong sense of self and it builds the foundation for a lifetime of healthy meal planning and preparation. Odds are, that if you take the time to plan these dinners, you’re going to make more healthy, homemade items.

-Make sure the TV and phones are off! This sounds like a no-brainer in theory, but it reality, it’s hard to break some of our habits. We have our phones always there, of course, and the TV sometimes just drones on in the background. If you could see how much these distractions take away from your time together with the most important people in your life, you’d be very willing to shut out the noise. 

-Take your time eating, and teach your children how to do the same. I know, it’s hard to tell that to a hungry teenager, who wants to wolf his food down and run off to something more ‘fun’. Eating slowly is a healthy habit. 

-Don’t jump up and start clearing dishes and putting things away until everyone is done eating and talking. Relax! Dinner is not a ‘task’ to check off of your to do list. It is valuable time, spent together, interacting and loving each other. 

What are all the benefits to Families that eat together?

a. Healthier habits are instilled in your children, (and probably yourself).

b. You’ll have healthier and deeper relationships between you and your children and healthier relationships between each of the kids themselves.

c. Start your week in calm and organized way. You’ll be more focused and successful going into work and school.

d. You will have better happiness and satisfaction with your life. This is when you can show each other that it’s important to take time with each other to actually care, in the midst of a crazy and busy life.

Quote: Dexter Yager: People don’t care how much you know, till they know how much you care.

Here’s the deal. If your little precious darlings can sense that you care deeply about them, they will be willing to listen to you and you will have greater influence in their lives for the good. Get my free report for more great ideas with your precious family

You’re a Great Mom, No Matter How You Started

How Did You Start to Become a Great Mom?

I talk a lot about your dreams and desires to raise your little ones to be successful in life. They’re the most beautiful little people to be born, to anyone, ever, in the history of the world. Those little sweethearts make you want to be a great mom, even if you didn’t plan for your little dear.

You gave birth to them, right? You love them with all of your heart.

You're a Great Mom because of your little dearI’ve learned that setting aside your dreams and desires for a time, to give your best to your little one, is totally worth it. But…I’m talking to you as an experienced mother who’s figured some stuff out. 

Get my Free Report for some great tips and ideas.

Let me be honest with you. I didn’t exactly have a clear plan about giving my life and my time for a child when I was 20 years old, in college and having an unplanned pregnancy. Obviously, my ‘plan’ took a dramatic turn when a little dear was about to arrive.

Many of us come into the mothering job in an unexpected way. Many of us had dreams, goals, and plans to do something with our life and then maybe have some kids later, but then, along came baby. 

For me, the start of the baby thing did not look like this – 

a. studying magazines and searching The Knot, picking out wedding things, getting married in a fairy tale setting 

b. career, where I’d be massively successful 

c. take months to study magazines, search The Nest and decorate a lovely home 

d. study magazines, search The Bump and have the joy of starting to plan for a baby. 

e. have it all end up like a fairy tale with lots of money and a beautiful baby and total freedom to be an amazing mom. 

For me, I was thrown into the firestorm of baby, marriage, no money and trying to figure it out. How many are tracking with me on this scenario? 

What was it like for you? Smooth, easy, no worries? Or was it as crazy wild ride where you had to jump into gear and ‘figure it out’?

Most of all is the fact that no matter what your plan was to become a mom, be proud of yourself that you are a great Mom and you’re doing your best!

Get my Free Report. Simple, easy to read and full of useful ideas if you’re a Great Mom.

 

3 Tips You Need To “Make It” Through Your Toddler Day

Here’s an excerpt of a post by my niece, who is a lovely Mom.

Sometimes it’s hard to get through your toddler day!

Does this scenario sound familiar?

3 tips to make it through your Toddler Day“How do Moms with tons of little kids get anything done??!
My afternoon so far, in a nutshell: Finally remember to call to set up an apt. during business hours, the phone is still ringing and I hear water pouring everywhere…

Baby dumped over my glass of water that I forgot I’d left on the coffee table, spilling it all over everything (work, electronics, etc) on the table, pouring onto the floor, other furniture and so on, gleefully splashing with her hands like a big puddle (did I mention it had a lot of lemon in it?

So yes, big sticky mess)… manage to book my apt. while containing the mess and trying to clean it up… hang up, take a minute to wipe everything down and notice Baby is somewhere else. Round the corner to the bathroom and find this. It’s 15 month old Baby in the bathroom, pulling out miles of toilet paper onto the floor.

Pretty much all day has been a never ending cycle of her visiting all the places she can make a mess and get into everything possible, and then go scurrying up the stairs like a little spider as I’m trying to avert disasters, clean the kitchen and prep food. Clearly my work day is going to be: start late tonight and probably go into the wee hours again. Oh nap time, how I long for you to visit Baby.”

I love this, because it sounds like so many of my days. After struggling to accomplish something / anything, while running after baby and trying to keep her happy, when she does take her, nap, I’m so tired, I need a nap too. And accomplishment goes out the window. You need to read my free report to get more great ideas, too.

Here’s 3 great tips to help you keep your cool 😉 

1. Take a nap when baby takes a nap! It is okay; you deserve it because you’ve been working for hours before the nap and physically, mentally and emotionally, and you need a break too.

2. Make a short list, 3-4 things to accomplish before baby gets up, so that you can feel really good about yourself for spending quality time with baby while she is awake.

3. Laugh – It’s okay to just laugh when things screw up. Life is fun if you just let it be fun!

Quote – Erma Bombeck – “When humor goes, there goes civilization.” 

Quote – Erma Bombeck – “Youngsters of the age of two and three are endowed with extraordinary strength They can lift a dog twice their own weight and dump him into the bathtub.” Her books are hilarious.

See – My sweet niece didn’t have to clean up wet dog in her house, that day, but if she did, wouldn’t that have been the funniest story to make your day. That would make a glass of spilled lemon water sound like a walk in the park.

Secret Santa…Guilt!

I have Secret Santa guilt! 

Gifts are on my mind a lot. I don’t live to get presents, but I like them as much as anyone else. It’s worse when I give gifts because it’s so hard for me to choose something great and I agonized over trying to give the very best thing. I need to be smart with the $$, but honestly, if I had all the $$ in the world, then I’d agonized over giving too much. Or I’d worry about sending the wrong message by being too lavish. Yup, I’m not a win-win thinker, I’m a no win thinker.

Some people are amazing at choosing just the right thing…

Secret Santa, not necessary for a thoughtful giftMy site is called The Ribbon on Top. That name just screams, there’s a present involved here otherwise, why would we talk about a ribbon on top? Intangible gifts are the ones with the deepest value. I love to give of myself and I try to notice when others put out on my behalf; a compliment, a thoughtful gesture, a hug, etc.; those are precious gifts. No Secret Santa necessary. 

Decorations are coming out, Christmas music is playing at the mall, I’m planning my dinner and the wish lists are being written. It’s getting exciting.

The craziest thing happened at Christmas a while ago, and I can’t get it out of my mind. Small packages started arriving at my house with the names of each one of my kids on them. Inside each package was a $100 Amazon gift card in a pretty tin snowflake box. The married one’s got $200 gift cards.  

Amazon.com $100 Gift Card in a Snowflake Tin (Happy Holidays Card Design) (Affiliate)

You’d think I’d jump for joy!

Instead of jumping for joy, I started to panic. ‘What have I done? When did I order gift cards? Here’s the funniest thought that I had. “Did someone hack my account and buy everyone in my family a gift card?” OK, that doesn’t make any sense? Who would hack your Amazon account and buy you a gift card with your money for Christmas?! 

I actually checked my Amazon account, my bank account, and then I called Amazon. They tracked the orders and said that the cards were sent anonymously and it was all legit! No one else knew these gift cards had arrived because if it was a hoax, I didn’t want anyone to be disappointed.

Let the Happy Dance Begin!

When I finally broke the news to everyone, there was a major happy dance. It was like they’d been given a million dollars. That was a pretty fun day. You know, it gets real good when you take the kiddos to Amazon and let them start shopping and dreaming. Oh the excitement of picking out the gift, the anticipation, and then getting the goodies in the mail. The happy dances went on for days.

So, back to my guilt. You forgot that I started this whole story by saying I have Secret Santa Guilt. How could someone know all of my family, be shockingly generous to us and give each of us $100. That’s $1,400.00 and leave us with we o one to thank for it !!!

      14 times!

Honestly, I am so grateful for a mystery giver. I thought about posting our pics on Facebook with a big thanks, but, I was sure that somehow, some way, I’d inadvertently discover this mysterious, kind, thoughtful generous person or people. But I did not!

So this is my Secret Santa guilt…I wanted to say thank you, personally, to our Santa.I love flowers, they're like a ribbon on top

Now I am saying thank you, Mystery Person, from the bottom of my heart, on behalf of my whole family. You gave us fun, a treat, a lesson in generosity and a great memory. God Bless You.

The Value Of A Gift is More Than Stuff

The value of a gift is more than stuff. It’s never about the stuff.

I love my babies, but when they grow up, there’s no better friend for life than your own grownup little dear. Your little one will become a friend who is priceless! Your precious kiddo is the gift; someone you deeply care about, and hopefully they care about you too  😉   

My Friend Birdie (7 children!) – Quote –  ‘If I’d known how great my kids would be when they grew up, I’d have had more!’

When I met Birdie, her children were grown and she had many grandchildren. I only had 5 children, 9 and younger. Life was crazy and I was swamped and in over my head! Nothing was neat and tidy, and guess what, I had 4 more children and they were boys.

It wasn’t always total chaos at our house, but it was crazy.

I appreciated Birdie’s advice to love the kiddos, not the perfectly made bed. Now that many of them are grown, most of the beds are made, but the memories of chaos is fun and I’m extremely proud of them.

I’m serious when I say the value of a gift is not the stuff. The value is in the fact that my dear, precious children were thoughtful enough to make the effort to give me the gift.

The value of a gift is the person, not the stuff

Fast forward a few years from when I met Birdie, and those babies have grown up into thoughtful, generous young people. They give me the best gifts.

This year the girls really decided to treat me for my birthday. Of course the guys went along with their idea. They set me up with top of the line stuff. The works, all to make my nails fabulous. All I had to do was to learn how to do my nails.

I had a nail kit before, but I hadn’t mastered the skill. They researched the best equipment to accomplish the goal and sent me the whole deal for my birthday.

My nails aren’t naturally beautiful. I haven’t cared for them either. I used to go to the salon, but it can be expensive, and its time consuming. Obviously I needed some help, and these thoughtful kids came to my rescue.

The value of a gift is the person, not the stuff

The secret is in the ‘magic oven’. Actually it’s called the Gelish Harmony 18G Pro LED Nail Polish Curing Lamp and Fantastic Four Kit. Sure this is an affiliate link, and I’m telling you about it because you’ll love it, too.

It’s amazing and it’s fast. That’s the one thing that stopped me from having great nail success. Going to the salon took too long, and doing it myself took too long. I love having my own little beauty set up and I’m grateful that these babies cared to get me the best equipment for the job.

You know and I know that love is not stuff. But in this case, the stuff, took a lot of effort and coordination between my sweet kids, that the thoughtfulness and the work that they put into me gift, showed the love.

I was pretty pleased with my first try. Don’t judge me, I’m not a professional, but I had such fun. Practice makes perfect and I will definitely get better.

Our house is a real home, with children, teenagers, and grown up kids coming and going. 

The ‘new marrieds’ came home for a long weekend. We have some sweet times together.

The problem is that people need to eat and nails can’t be a priority when there’s food to prepare. I wanted the girls to try out my new set up, and I didn’t have time to play:( I started on food and set the girls up with my new gadget, right where I could watch. With a little you tube tutorial, they got real good.

It’s funny, the things that bring us all together. There were kids all over the place, everyone running around, supper being made and nails being worked on. Nicole, my sweet daughter in law, did my son’s girlfriend, Tori’s, nails. I loved the fact that we were altogether. It was spontaneous, and natural and sweet. We worked, we visited and we enjoyed each other. The little things, the unplanned events when we’re together, are some of sweetest memories I have.

The value of a gift is the person, not the stuffThe beauty and sweetness of babies lasts for such a short time. It’s precious, wonderful and exhausting. If you raise your sweethearts right, you’ll glide past the hard work, into the friendship phase and the rewards are more valuable than you can imagine.

Now when I do my nails, I think of them and I am happy that I was able to do the work and have the honor of raising them.

The value of a gift is not the stuff, but the stuff reminds me of the value of a gift of children. I love flowers, they're like a ribbon on top

I‘m so proud of them and grateful to have so many wonderful children, big and small. Like Birdie said, ‘If I’d known how great my kids would be when they grew up, I’d have had more!’

P.S. These are the colors that we chose that day. I know Tori’s hands are lovely, like a hand model’s hands, but other that that, which color is your favorite?

Gelish U V Gel Nail Polish “Glamour Queen” 01407  This is the color on my nails and its a beautiful and definitely classy, neutral color.

Gelish Gel Polish Harmony U V “Red Roses 01343” This color is on Tori’s beautiful hands and its bright, stunning and glamorous.