So.... let us just say.... my precious two year old can be a bit of an unwelcome distraction during our homeschool days!

Oh, she loves to be part of school, but not necessarily as a student, but as the class clown!!

In desperation I have sought out different ways to entertain her during school.  We have a play room, however, she really prefers not to play in there and rather than playing IN the room with the toys, she prefers to BRING the toys to her... ergo, the whole darn house becomes a playroom! You catching my drift???  

It can be frustrating to have a room full of age appropriate, engaging toys that your child doesn't touch because they want to be where the action is.  

I can somewhat understand this.

Like many... I LOVE Pottery Barn, especially the Kids edition, however, my wallet does NOT!  When my now, 11 year old daughter was turning 3, she BEGGED for a "pink kitchen" set.  I looked around and found one that was in our budget more so than the Pottery Barn Kids edition.  

It is hard to believe we have had that kitchen for 8 years now, but it is still alive and kicking!  

I recall swooning, I mean looking, through a Pottery Barn Kids Christmas magazine one year and seeing that they had placed the play kitchen in the actual kitchen of the home!  The little ones were playing in their little kitchen, while mom was playing in her big one!

I thought to myself... that really is simple and genius, but that is all the further I took that thought! (FYI, that happens frequently!!)

For whatever reason, yesterday, I got a wild hair to move the play kitchen!!

I thought... Hmmmmmm.. perhaps my little class clown will play more with the kitchen IN the kitchen, especially since we do school in the dining room, where she would still be within sight and earshot.  

I got to work moving things aroun
AND... above it a photo of the finished product!!

SHE LOVED IT!!  She played with it most of the afternoon and her sisters even played with her for awhile!!

Now, every parent knows how this goes....newness tends to ware off quickly, however, I am standing faithful that this will at least be helpful during school time!

It also makes me happy to see toys actually getting USED!!

I have got all kinds of fun plans in my head with the little kitchen!  Christmas lights at Christmas!  Gingerbread cookie decals on the window above her kitchen! 

Yes, it is very possible I may have more fun with it than Audree... but hey... its the little things right??? 

If you all have any other great ideas for toddler entertainment for getting your dusty, neglected toys used..... please share!!! I may only get a few minutes peace... but a few minutes... is a few minutes!!!

Peace and Blessings
Your Friend

This may come as a big shock to some... but I have a tendency to maybe, blow little things, just sometimes, out of proportion. (Insert smirk) I can, if given the right set of circumstances, make a ginormous mountain... out of a tiny molehill!  There... I admit it. 

Now, I know I am probably not the only woman and/or mother who has to make this confession. I can tell you that my tendency to do this GREATLY increases with the following circumstances;

  1. Tiredness/ fatigue/ exhaustion- Almost like my tired two year old, when my body, heart or mind is physically warn, my melting point is extremely low.  
  2. Hunger- Yes... I can get HANGRY!  I LOVE THAT TERM!!!!!   Now, my melting pointing is much higher with hunger, however, push it to the limit and you may want to duck for cover!  I especially struggle with this when I just sit down to finally eat something and my two year old climbs on my lap and starts snatching my food, after she has just eaten mind you!!
  3. When I have been in high demand- This one usually has a pretty low melting point as well.  Days when I feel like the word "MOOOOOOOOM" has been called out more than should be humanly possible and even the darn dogs have been underfoot. I tend to crack a whole lot quicker.  Especially when it has been for ridiculous, needless things like, finding something that was literally in PLAIN VIEW or whining for the 576th dog treat for the day!  Oh and my all time favorite... when the fur balls bark to go outside and I trail all the way to the kitchen to let them out and they stand there and stare at me as I hold open the door!  That REALLY tends to lower the melting point!! LOL

Yesterday, God kind of called me out on my mountain making tendency when I walked into the play room (that I just recently had the kids help me clean mind you!) and it looked like an F5 had just come through without my knowledge!  

I was about to get my feathers ruffled when God stopped me... perhaps in the name of love!! LOL  He said this..

"Now, really, is this THAT big of a deal? At the end of the day, isn't it more important that your kids had fun and enjoyed some crafts than a neat and tidy play room?  This isn't Pottery Barn Kids, this is the O'Brien home! Time yourself and see how long this really takes you to clean up.... you will see... this is really a molehill!"

So, once again, He was right and was more than likely wrong!  I TOOK ON THE CHALLENGE!  I timed myself and as God stated.... it only took me 11 minutes to tidy up the mess I am about to share with you!  11 MINUTES!!  11 Minutes out of my 24 hour day and I was going to let that become a mountain!  How many times have a made this mistake???  Sadly, too many to count.  I am not saying my kids should leave a war zone scene like this without having to clean it up, however, my reaction to the messes will be greatly different now.  
11 minutes... is not worth a 15 minute melt down!  So... I share with you the before and after photos!  I am incredibly grateful for God's voice and direction!  He truly knows how to bring peace.... to utter chaos!  He's the BEST at it!!

11 Minutes later....
11 Minutes later....
I should have really gotten a close up of the table!  It was quite scary and intimidating!!! LOL

However..... not worth the melt down or the mountain!!

I pray your mountains..... become molehills... as you allow God to give you a different and more peaceful perspective!

Peace and Blessings
Your Friend

It never fails.

I can be in the same room with the telephone for three hours and it won't ring one time.  The minute, I mean the MINUTE, I walk up the stairs to do something, the phone begins ringing off the wall.  Of course by the time I high tail it down the stairs to get the phone, it stops ringing! 

I have found that there are so many of these little daily, inconvenient coincidences that take place in the realm of parenting as well.  

Everyone knows how your parenting style tends to simmer down a bit with the birth of each child.  I was extremely anxious and anal with my firstborn and now that I am on number four, I have taken down a notch or 50!!  I don't care what she wears most of the time, I could care less if all she wants to eat for breakfast is MY breakfast and if the darn sucker will keep her happy in the grocery store, she can have two!!  

With that being said, there is one area of parenting that I absolutely cannot get too laxed on and that is supervision.  I can confess that there have been moments that I needed a mommy time out and found myself hiding out behind the laundry room doors a little bit too long.  When I finished wiping the chocolate evidence from my face and reappeared into my "household society," I often found my youngest daughter practicing her cosmetology skills out, baring a close resemblance to Alice Cooper or Miranda Sings.  

Really, all I could was laugh.  Though messy as all get out to clean up, those really are the parenting moments you come to cherish.  
The picture says it all....
These are the moments.....
my eyes were blind....

Maybe in the bathroom....
Or running way behind....

When my eyes were opened....
And I did reappear....

I saw the shenanigans....
And one thing became quite clear...

I must pray protection...
As I am busy cleaning or cooking...

As many accidents can happen...
When I am not looking. 
The fact of the matter is this, we cannot possibly watch and/ or see our children every second of every day.  

My heart breaks for the well meaning, nurturing parents that experienced a tragic accident with their children in those few moments that they were not looking.  I will take my lip stick canvas any day, however, we so very often rush to judgement when these horrific accidents occur.  

We start hurling accusations and inferring that we would never let something like that happen to our children.  While, yes, there are negligent parents in this world, most often, these accidents are happening to parents just like you and I, that happen to take their eyes off their child for a few moments, when in God's providence, the unthinkable happens.  

God has taken judgement from my heart, by replacing it with self awareness of my fallibility.  I am not a perfect parent, I will not throw stones.  

  I feel both blessed and grateful that my little accidents could be erased with some soap and water.  As I am fully aware..... they could have ended very differently. 

Let us give grace.... as it is grace we long to recieve. 

Peace and Blessings
Your Friend

I guess dry erase markers make great nail polish!!! Who knew?
SCHOOLS OUT FOR THE SUMMER..... meet my Alice Cooper!
These little tootsies are one of those precious pleasures of parenting!!  I could kiss them all day!

This colossal mess.... is one of those pesky pitfalls of parenting!  I could run from it.... everyday! LOL (FYI... sometimes I do!)

I could literally compare  pleasure and pitfall photos all day.  And I am here to tell ya, I am in no way an expert on the wondrous vocation of parenting!  Four kiddos later and every day is a new adventure.  I have children ranging in age from 13 to 2.  For the most part, I feel fairly confident with the 2 year old, as this is my fourth ride on the toddler train, however, my fourth child has been my most challenging yet and has often left me scratching my head and covering my ears and ducking for cover!! LOL

Then, there is the 13 year old. One of the main ways I am able to manage my teenager as well as the preteen is by placing myself back at that age and recalling how challenging and possibly annoying I had to have been to my parents as well.  NOT, that I am saying that my precious angels are annoying by any means, I am only recalling in fuzzy detail the sassy, know it all, combative behaviors I may have exhibited on rare occasions during those wonderful teen years. It seriously helps me give more grace and have more patience with the behaviors I find less than desirable!

On this page.... I will be a "real mama!"  I will share with you;

  • The pleasures and pitfalls of everyday parenting.
  • Ways God has lead me to train my children that have proven successful.
  • Supportive materials and references for parents in need!
  • Fun ways to engage your children.

We are in this parenting thing together.... but most importantly.... God is as well!
Peace and Blessings