Well.... we all know how often our little ones want a play mate!  I will be the first to admit, playing Barbies or make believe is not my favorite past time, HOWEVER, there are some activities that the kid in me really still enjoys!  I still LOVE to read, color, do crafts or PLAY PLAYDOUGH!  So when one of my youngsters approaches me with that playful gleam in their eye... I quickly suggest one of the above activities.  
Over the years, I have made many batches of homemade playdough.  I love it because it is quick, easy and very inexpensive.  Best of all, you can make any scent or color you choose.  There are a zillion recipes out there!!

This is one of my favorites as a base playdough.  I add different scents and colors for different times of the year.  Today, we made a batch of Pumpkin Spice playdough.  Here is the quick and easy recipe to whip it together.  You may have a lot OR all of these ingredients already!

HOMEMADE PLAYDOUGH

*1 cup of flour
*1/2 cup salt
*2 tsp cream of tartar
*1 cup of water
*2 TBS vegetable oil 

Now... for pumpkin spice scent I add.....

*1 tsp cinnamon
*1tsp cloves
*1 tsp nutmeg
*and if you really want a stronger cinnamon scent you can add a few drops of cinnamon essential oil!
*3 drops of yellow food coloring and 2 drops of red food coloring

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and mix over medium heat.  Stir continuously.  As you stir and the mixture heats up, it will begin to bind together and form the playdough.  Keep stirring until it is completely bound in a big ball.  Shut off the heat and dump the playdough out.  IT WILL BE HOT!  As it cools, knead the dough until the stickiness and tackiness is gone!  

You are now.... READY TO PLAY!

A few years back I found a HUGE  box of cookie cutters at a Goodwill for $3!  It had cutters for every season.  I take the ones out for each season to Audree or other children to play with!  She loves to play with the dough in her play kitchen as well!  

If it gives me 5 minutes of peace.. it is a GOOD thing!!! LOL  
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I leave a little tin full of the seasonal cookie cutters out to be played with!!!
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A method of joy and entertainment for the little busy body... therefore... a method of joy for me!!!
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Moving her kitchen... into my kitchen..... has proven to be a wonderful idea!!!! Thanks Pottery Barn Kids!
I hope this little idea give you some peace as well!!!

Peace and Blessings
Your Friend
Missy
 
 
Yes, oh yes!!!

If you are a parent.... you are in battle!!  There is no doubt about it.  Along with the precious moments you would not trade for anything... comes the challenges that send you running for the chocolate and the closest exit!!! 

Nothing I mean NOTHING could have prepared me for becoming a full time, 24 hours, 7 day a week, 365 day a year parent!!  You will not completely "Get it" until you become a parent and experience the plethora of treasures and trauma that are in store for you.

In the nearly 14 years I have been a mama, God has taught me MANY, MANY things!!  WAAAY too many to list on this post, however, I found the old and faithful saying to be absolutely true... "PICK YOUR BATTLES!" 

We really can apply this to every are of our lives, however, I am going to focus in our parenting for this lovely post!

Every parent has heard it said... probably over and over again... pick your battles, pick your battles, pick your battles!  

YES!  You absolutely need to if you want to survive and outlast your children because as I am sure you have already learned... they can be stubborn, resourceful and relentless little creatures!!  

Whatever battle you are going to pick... you better be ready to fight to win because if you default and let them have the victory... you only set yourself up for a greater battle the next round in the ring!

So.. how does one know what battles to pick?  

This is the million dollar question that has a pretty significant answer!

Prior to giving our lives to Christ, we had no real basis or foundation for our parenting decisions or battle picking.  We kind of just focused in on what WE thought was important and was going to raise our children to be the responsible and kind adults we hoped for. 

Then God.....

Yes... He came and blew a lot of my preconceived parenting ideas out of the water.  He revealed to me the real battles I need to be picking and that wasting my time on the petty battles is only exhausting me to the point I have no energy left for the things that matter most.  

So... today I will share with you... the battles we have chosen to pick in our home..... and ones we laid to rest...... 

Our battles revolve around ONE main focus..... God.  In order to assess what battles you desire to pick with your children... you truly need to make a mission statement for your parenting.  What is your mission as a parent?  What is the end result you want to see?

For us... it is God fearing, responsible, respectful adults with kind and giving hearts that long to serve the Lord.  That's it.  That is success to Garrick and I.  After truly thinking about it.... we assessed that we don't care what our children choose to do with their lives as long as.... they are responsible.... respectful, kind, giving and long to serve God.  

Period. 

We could now begin focusing on the battles we truly needed to pick with our children... here are a list of battles we assessed were not worth the picking....

1. Straight A's- Yes, we want our children to work hard and put forth as much effort as possible with their grades, however, at the end of their lives, when they stand before God. straight A's will not matter.  If their goal is to become a Dr. to save lives one day.... they will naturally have the desire to work hard in school.  We don't pick this battle.  We monitor their grades and as long as we know they are trying and doing their best and maintaining "acceptable" grades.... we let it go.

2. Clothing- Yes, we rarely pick this battle.  It can be exhausting and never ending.  We do not allow immodest dressing, nor offensive dressing.  Nor would we allow anything that would not be acceptable in the eyes of God, however, if my child wants to wear sweatpants and t-shirts every day or a swimsuit with snow boots around the house.... I simply don't care.  My girls have walked around town in dress up dresses and plastic shoes.... and I couldn't care less.  I have no energy for the clothing battles and at the end of their life..... it simply won't matter.  
3. Perfectly Tidy Rooms- Okay.... nothing smelly or offensive, however, trying to get a child to appreciate an immaculate room is plainly frustrating and exhausting!  Yes, we make them keep their rooms somewhat clean, but messiness comes with children and I don't have the energy to fight this daily.  Once again... at the end of their life... God will not care if they kept an immaculate room!

So... what battles do we pick?

1. Heart Issues... ALWAYS- If our child misbehaves, makes a bad choice or is disobedient in any way, we take this very seriously.  Respect and kindness and obedience are some of our number one goals.  We will not tolerate disrespect in any way, shape or form, especially toward authority figures.  This battle is picked probably most often among all.  Not addressing this issue WILL have long term negative effects in their life and at the end of their life.... it will matter greatly to God the way they treated other people.  When we go to school conferences... our very FIRST question is not how they are doing academically..... but how is their conduct?  As long as my child is kind and respectful to the teacher, I could care less if they are not at the top of the class.  

2. Obedience- Our children are required to be obedient.... it doesn't matter if it is the tiniest of things such as asking them to pick something up off the floor.  If we ask it or request it.... it needs to be done.  This battle can be a REAL battle.... but we fight it to win it.  We surely have our losing moments.... but we never give up the fight.  This is another issue that WILL matter at the end of their life.  If they can not be obedient for their parents... we have little hope they will be obedient to God. 

3. Lying- Lying is absolutely, unacceptable!  Unfortunately, you do not always know if your child is lying, however, we usually have a pretty good idea!  It is nipped ASAP!  We try to approach it as lovingly and as patiently as possible, with deceit and lying is a horrible habit for children to attain and very difficult to break them of.  Our goal is to teach them.... as Christ did... The truth will set you free!!  Honesty will ALWAYS reap the most benefits, even if it is initially difficult.  Lying is evil to me..... it was the way the first sin was committed and there is nothing that kills someones integrity faster than being seen as a liar! If you are not an honest person.... there is no true foundation to you as a person.  No one will ever know... who you really are.  

So, these are just a few!  I could go on!  But these are our number one focuses and battles!  Everything else... God will take care of!  

I pray... today.... that you are able to assess your true battles... put your energy toward those... and learn to enjoy the other precious parenting moments!

Peace and blessings
Your Friend

Missy
 
 
Many years ago.... at least 7 to be exact.... I found this poem while reading another blog I happen to love.  The day I found it, I happen to be having a very rough day as a mama and once again, God's timing was impeccable.  

I felt lead to share it with you today.  God must know there are parents out there that desperately need to read it.  

I am not going to go on about how quickly our children grow up and how we need to savor each moment, because I know we all know that.  The bottom line is, we all do our best.  In our humanness, it is nearly impossible to savor EACH and EVERY moment because we have human limitations.  

We get worn out.  We get exhausted.  We get burned out.  We get mentally drained and often with little rest and reprieve for ourselves.  So my goal, or God's goal I should say, is not to make parents feel more guilt and shame for the moments they struggle and want to run to a land far, far away.  

We are have been there and will be there again.  God wants you to read this and understand that even though it is exhausting, God intends for your children to be a gift, where as Satan wants them to be a burden.  Every parent needs a little motivation to keep plugging away.  

I know there are days... I do. 
 
PRECIOUS LASTS

Long ago you came to me,
a miracle of firsts,
First smiles and teeth and baby steps
a sunbeam on the burst.

But one day you will move away
and leave to me your past
And I will be left thinking of
a lifetime of your lasts…

The last time that I held a bottle
to your baby lips.The last time that I lifted you
and held you on my hip.
The last night when you woke up crying,
needing to be walked,
When last you crawled up with your blanket
wanting to be rocked.

The last time when you ran to me,
still small enough to hold.
The last time that you said you’d marry
me when you grew old.

Precious, simple moments and
bright flashes from your past-
Would I have held on longer if
I’d known they were your last?

The last time that you catch a frog
in that old backyard pond.
The last time that you run barefoot
across our fresh-cut lawn.
Silly, scattered images
will represent your past.
I keep on taking pictures,
never quite sure of your lasts…

The last time that I comb your hair
or stop a pillow fight.
The last time that I pray with you
and tuck you in at night.

The last time when we cuddle
with a book, just me and you
The last time you jump in our bed
and sleep between us two.
The last piano lesson,
last vacation to the lake.
Your last few weeks of middle school,
last soccer goal you make.

I look ahead and dream of days
that haven’t come to pass.
But as I do, I sometimes miss
today’s sweet, precious lasts…

The last time that I help you with
a math or spelling test.
The last time when I shout that yes,
your room is still a mess.

The last time that you need me for
a ride from here to there.
The last time that you spend the night
with your old tattered bear.

My life keeps moving faster,
stealing precious days that pass,
I want to hold on longer-
want to recognize your lasts…

The last time that you need my help
with details of a dance.
The last time that you ask me for
advice about romance.

The last time that you talk to me
about your hopes and dreams.
The last time that you wear a jersey
for your high school team.

I’ve watched you grow and barely noticed
seasons as they pass.
If I could freeze the hands of time,
I’d hold on to your lasts.

For come some bright fall morning,
you’ll be going far away.
College life will beckon
in a brilliant sort of way.

One last hug, one last good-bye,
one quick and hurried kiss.
One last time to understand
just how much you’ll be missed.

I’ll watch you leave and think how fast
our time together passed.
Let me hold on longer,
God,to every precious last.

Peace and Blessings
Your Friend and Fellow Parent

Missy








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They day.... I first met you.
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The days.... you still played together.
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The days.... when Halloween candy was like winning the lottery!
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The days... when it was so easy to make you smile!
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The days I had to privilege of not just being your mama... but your teacher.
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The days I wanted to pull my hair... but really couldn't help but laugh!
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The days... when I could kiss your chubby toes... all day!!!
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The days... you were all still around... to take our yearly family picture.
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The days you wore piggy tails.... and we played candy land. For HOURS!
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The days of silly selfies.... and snuggles on the couch!
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The days when helping daddy... was exciting not a bore!
 
 
Today, after church, I began pondering with God, the struggles I have in parenting.  I think a universal parenting problem is struggling with the reactions we often receive from our children when we tell them no or something they do not want to hear. 

A lot of times, it may feel like the easier thing to do, just to let them have their way, rather than deal with the unpleasant attitudes and behaviors that follow setting boundaries and limits with them.  

God revealed to me, if you look at this clearly, what is really happening is I am allowing my children/ child bully me or manipulate me into giving them what they want by plaguing me with their negative behavior.  

Why I allow this, I don't really know  But I know I do at times.  My job as a parent is not to make my children perpetually happy and content with life, nor is it to be their best friend.  

God has stated very clearly what my job is.... and that is the only way I stay grounded!

Here is a little video clip God lead me to make today..... I hope it speaks to you, if you struggle in this area of parenting!

Peace and Blessings
Your Friend 

Missy