I have a very busy toddler!  She is a mixed bag as I am able to keep her occupied, but I need to have plenty of tricks to pull out of my hat.  I am always on the lookout for activities to keep her busy, especially during school time.  I often scope out Goodwills and second hand stores because she gets tired of things so quickly, I don't feel bad passing them on when she loses interest this way.  Here is a list of some of her favorite activities!!!  
This is a cheap and easy activity!  I bought the buttons, the elastic and little basket at The Dollar Tree all for $1 a piece.  A total of $3 and it keeps her pretty entertained!!!  
I found this cute little Teddy Bear puzzle at a Goodwill for $1.99.  You can dress the bear in different outfits right on the lid of the box!  Audree loves it and it was cheap and easy to store away!!!
Little workbooks are always a hit!  I think this is because she watches her older sisters and she wants to be like them during school!  A lot of times, she just scribbles but every now and then she does some tracing and picture finding!  I know it is advancing her learning even if it doesn't appear to be!
I bought these little learning popsicles on Amazon for Audree's birthday!  They are meant for letter recognition, however, she LOVES to play with them in her play kitchen.  I think it's great because she is playing make believe with them and receiving letter recognition at the same time.  It is also a fun matching game!!
This was another awesome Goodwill find!!  This is a Melissa and Dough letter puzzle that retails for about $15.00 brand new!  I got it for $1.99 and it is in excellent condition!!!  She loves it and when she gets tired of it, I can simply pass it along to someone else or put it in the church Kid's room!  
This is another Melissa and Doug game I bought YEARS ago when Camden was Audree's age!  So it has been around for about 13 years!!  I am not sure if they still have them, but all of my kids have loved this!  You place a picture mat on top of the wooden peg board and match the right color pegs to the picture!  You can also flip the card over and it is blank, so they can use their imagination!  I believe I only paid around $15 for this one as well!
Lastly, little workbooks are cheap and always a hit around here!  This one helps them learn to trace and cut and it is totally fine to let them scribble when you only paid $1 for it!  Audree things this is her "school book!"  

I pray this gives your toddler some fun and you a few moments of peace!!!!

Peace and Blessings
Your Friend
Missy
 
 
I am being a multitasking reader right now and am currently reading two different books!!  

It really works out well because they kind of coincide.  I am finishing up my Understanding Purpose, Women of Faith study, which has been extremely enlightening; and am also reading Desperate, For the Mother Who Needs to Breath.  This book is written by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson and is simply wonderful!

I wandered into the Christian book store in kind of a stooper one day, searching for a book to feed my mothering soul.  I know I am not the only mama who has been there.  I looked around and though many of the books looked awesome, this book kind of jumped off the shelf into my hands, yelling,,, READ ME!  I had read another book by Sally Clarkson many years ago, called The Ministry of Motherhood and loved it.  I was pretty sure I would love this one too!

I highly suggest this book for any mama who feels she is trudging through the trenches OR even if you just want some inspiration.  It is a soul touching book that really helps you understand I have learned thus far.  

The younger mom, Sarah, was reaching out to the older mom, Sally.  Sarah was asking Sally how to deal with the frustrations of her children "just not getting it."  She was feeling overwhelmed at the constant lessons she feels she is teaching her children and they simply aren't getting or not caring.  

You know those lessons well.... cleaning their room, picking up their toys, putting their dishes in the dishwasher, putting their dirty clothes IN the laundry basket, talking respectively, not rolling their eyes!!  You get it!!  

Sarah shared she was feeling defeated as she felt she spent most days nagging and feeling frustrated with her children's behaviors.

The answer Sally gave Sarah was both convicting and eye opening.  Sally told Sarah that when she was going through a similar season with her four children, whom are now all adults, she will never forget what her husband said to her.  

She was worn out and complaining about her children's behaviors and lack of diligence and was asking her husband the same question Sarah was asking Sally..... "when will they ever just get it and do what I ask?" And this was her husband's response....

"Sally they will quit being sinners, when you quit being a sinner."

FLASH!!!  

And the light turns on!
The short explanation.... I will never, ever quit being a sinner.  Never.  I can diligently seek God I can decrease my sin and repent for the sins I do commit, I can fall as the feet of Christ and seek and accept His help and forgiveness but I will never, ever stop sinning.  That was the consequence of the fall of man. 

Therefore, neither will my children.  

What do I want more than anything from God when I sin; and what does He lovingly give me every time I sin and repent?

Grace.  Grace abundant.  Grace I do NOT deserve.  

Are there consequences to my sin?  Often, yes.  Does God use my sin to teach my valuable lessons?  Absolutely.  Does God's grace and forgiveness give me permission to keep sinning?  Absolutely NOT.  

BUT... God sees my heart.  He knows what He created me to do and He knows I am capable of all things He has called me to, but I will never accomplish them with a completely sinless life. 

Jesus remains and will remain the ONLY sinless man that walked this earth. 

Though I need to expect obedience from my children and train them accordingly, they will continuously struggle at times, because they too, like me, are sinners.  While training them and teaching them, I also need to show them grace and love, just as I so greatly need from my Heavenly Father.  

I cannot place them in a life of condemnation.  That is counterproductive and will not reap the harvest God longs for us to reap with our children.  

My Poppy had it right.  He always taught me...
"Missy.... people need the most love when they deserve it the least."  Though this is often very hard to live out, my Poppy lived it out amazingly!  I pray that though I may stumble, I learn to do the same.  

I pray this for you as well my friends!

Peace and Blessings
Your Friend 
Missy


 
 
There are times that I sit at my computer, asking God what I am to type as my heart has not a clue.  There are times I find myself questioning my posts, wanting validation from God that was the message He wanted to use me to deliver.  

Not today.  Today, I am more certain than ever, this is the message God has given me to share.  I hear it in my mind but more importantly, I feel it in my heart and depths of my soul.  

I have vowed to be authentic, and authentic I am.  While my life is full of blessings and wonderful moments, I am also real about the moments that don't quite fit into the wonderful category. 

God allows pain, struggle, exhaustion and suffering all as a means to His end.  I have become keenly aware of this over the last few years and for me personally, hiding behind my dark moments only makes them darker to me.  By sharing my struggles and challenges I feel a load has been lifted and I have allowed light to shine on that which Satan would love for me to keep in the dark.  

I totally understand how some people are more introverted and private and that is A Okay!  I kind of wear my heart on my sleeve and have learned how sharing my own stories of trial and tribulation often has helped in delivering others from theirs.  

When I first gave my life to Christ, one of the first things that I did was study women.  I wanted to know what God expected from me and I desired to know my purpose in His big plan.  

A scripture I was drawn to was Titus 2:3-6 we learn God has called women to be reverent in the way that they live. teaching what is good, so they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self controlled and pure, to be busy at home, kind and subject to their husbands as not to malign the word of God.  This is loosely paraphrased, but that is jist of it. 

What I loved about this scripture, is still what I love about it today; women need other women.  It is right here in God's word.  He knew how much younger women, new to being a wife and mother, would need to support and encouragement from an older, wiser woman, who has been there, done that.  

God knew that on those lonely, exhausting nights, you are pacing the floor with a colicky baby, you would need to advice and compassion of a seasoned mother.  You would dote on her assurance that this too shall pass, knowing she survived it, so can you.  

God knew on that day, when your heart was crushed beyond your capability to stand and you had lost all hope that your marriage could survive, you would need that woman who had walked through the fires of hell in her marriage and came out the other end more beautiful and stronger that she was before.  You would need to see that redemption can win and you would need to see it coming from someone who could understand every tear that ran down your face.  

Titus 2 is not just about older women instructing and teaching younger women it is more about supporting them, loving them and encouraging them through the storms of life that are bound to come.  
I need other women.  I need other Mamas.  They get me.  They understand me.  They feel my pain, my frustration, my exhaustion.  They can look into my eyes and remember when they experienced that same weariness in their soul and want nothing more than to take it form me, knowing full well how much it hurts.  

This... is why I share my stories.  This... is why I make a great effort in being authentic and real.  This... is why I am honest about my struggles and challenges.  

Mama... that lost it with her children yesterday... I need you.

Mama... that was so angry at her husband that she was ready to walk out the door and never come back... I need you. 

Mama.... that spent 30 minutes crying in the bathroom out of pure exhaustion... I need you. 

Mama.... who is struggling to find the joy as a wife and mama... I need you. 

Mama.... that is ready to fall apart trying to handle and balance it all... I need you.

Mama.... that has lived in the dark pit of anxiety and depression.... I need you. 

Mama.... that lost her cool at the grocery store because your child throwing a tantrum was the straw that broke the camel's back that day... I need you.  

I need you and ALL your imperfection.  I need to hear your story.  I need to hear that life is not always a walk in a beautiful meadow but it can be stinking hard and some days you lose it.  Some days you cry.  And some days... you want to be anyone else but you.  

It is not the falls and the failures that define us... it is the strength and grace we project as we get back up and keep going!!  

Mama's we need each other and we need the real, authentic, messy you.  The only way to teach another person how to triumph over adversity is to lead them down the road, we know is right because we once walked it ourselves!

I have the utmost respect and love for you Mamas.  Your job is hard, let us not let is harden our hearts!!! 

Peace and Blessings
Your Friend 
Missy
 
 
I recall doing a Bible devotion with my children several years ago that happened to pop into my mind the other day.  It was an eye opening devotion that taught me something about myself as well as teaching my children a valuable lesson.  Here is what it said....

"Am I stealing the time and energy of others in my family by not doing my share of the work?" 

WOW... I thought!!  Stealing?????  I had never thought about it in that manner, however, my heart had surely felt that way.  My days are full and I very often feel as though I can never get done what I am wanting to, and I do not even work outside the home.  Yet, my children very often leave messes for me to clean up, neglect to do their chores (even simple ones), and stop me while I am busy doing a household task to ask me for things they are more than capable of getting or doing themselves.










After reading this devotion.... I was stunned as that is exactly how I feel when they do these above mentioned things... as if they are stealing my precious time!  And you know what... that is exactly what they are doing. 

Now, let me clarify!  My job is to care for my children, I do this day in and day out and I do not consider meeting their needs and nurturing them stealing my time, however, when they choose to be "lazy" or "demanding"of me, asking me to do things that they themselves, should and could be doing... that is stealing my time.  In turn, leaving me exhausted from the extra work that could have been prevented by them doing their part!




What I learned about myself is I am hands down an accessory to their "crime."  I am very guilty of doing a lot of the extra work myself to avoid conflict, bad attitudes or possibly having to do it over again as it is not to my "standards."  Rather than calling them back downstairs to clean up the dishes they left in the family room, I just do it myself, justifying that I am headed to the kitchen anyway and it will be much quicker!  If I continue to constantly do the chores they should be doing themselves, then I have to take part of the blame for my exhaustion. 

It takes both time and energy to properly train my children how to properly make their bed, load the dishwasher (yes, I know dear, I need help with this as well!!), fold laundry or hand up clothes, but long term, that is the goal of parenting.... to TRAIN our children in the way they should go.  I often fail at this.

As I explained this to the children, they were enlightened as they do not ever want to be known as stealing.  The scripture that went along with this was just as enlightening....

"Let him who steals, steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need." Ephesians 4:28


I have to say... this has been one of my favorite devotions to date!!!  It has also been very applicable for me as I am now even more aware of stealing other's time and energy.... when it is something I could be doing myself!

A great lesson for all who choose to embrace it!

Peace and Blessings
Your Friend In Christ
Missy

 
 
I sometimes receive the blessing... of holding someone's precious baby. I find myself staring at them thinking..." I cannot believe my kiddos were ever this little!"  But... I know they were.... I can recall when my biggest worries were sleepless nights.... explosive diapers and feeding times!

Then over the years.. how the worries evolved into... temper tantrums and throwing food.  Now...as my children become even older... and the worries have once again changed.... to sassy little mouths, a fight for their independence and video game and TV limits!!!  The preteen/ teen years bring even grander challenges of endless lists of expensive material items they would like to own (very soon if possible) guarding their eyes and ears and relentlessly convincing them that they really DO NOT know everything. 

 No matter what the age... what the challenges.... my heart always goes back to one focus.... their laughter... their smiles..... the special moments when I can be laying on the couch or in my room and hear the sound of their laughter and joy as they hear a funny joke or watch a funny clip on TV.

These are the moments to live for.... these are the moments that you will truly miss.... these are the moments God brings to fill your heart with joy in the midst of parenting woes.  Just as the first smile of a newborn brings to much joy and happiness to a parent..... someday... it will be the sound of their laughter.

As quickly as we sometimes forget.... children are a blessing... a gift from God.....  Children are a heritage from the LORD,  offspring a reward from him. Psalm 127: 3  Parenting is not always easy.... this is very true..... but if you stay focused on God's purpose for these precious lives..... this will be your reward!!  Enjoy this little poem God inspired in my heart!

The Laughter Down the Hall

A newly wedded couple.....
laying on their bed.....
remembering yesterday....
dreaming of whats ahead....

staring at the ceiling....
echos of silence fall....
as they hear the distant sound...
of laughter down the hall.....

Holding hands they pray....
that someday very soon....
God would fill their hearts....
by blessing his wife's womb....

10 months down the road....
laying in that same bed....
comes the very sound....
they had come to dread.....

a tiny little screeching....
echoes down the hall....
giving not a care to the time at all.....

Tired and exhausted ......
they fulfill their call....
for someday they will hear...
the sound of laughter down the hall...

10 more years shall pass them......
their babies all grown up.....
instead of tears of hunger.....
they are hearing..."mom... make him shut up!"

The laundry is never done....
and there is a mess in every room....
with one hand she stirs a pot....
with another pushes a broom.....

When the clock strikes 10:00...
into bed she and her husband fall....
but  through the exhaustion.... smile.....
as they hear the laughter down the hall....

10 more years shall pass them....
their babies have grown and moved away.....
It almost seemed impossible....
they would ever see this day.....

Laying in their bed.....
they feel the tender tears begin to fall.....
As through the unwelcomed silence....
they still hear the laughter down the hall....

that very precious sound.....
the music to their ears....
the sound that brought them comfort....
for so very many years.....

Growing old together....
there is no sweeter memory they can recall....
than laying in each other's arms....
listening to the laughter down the hall.....

Don't wish it all away......
for a full night of sleep....
or pray the years will pass quickly....
so your free time you may keep....

For as you blink your eyes....
this will become your past.....
So pray for each precious moment....
In your heart to always last....



 
 
Parenting can completely exhaust me.

I won't lie.  

I try diligently to always be authentic; and this is authentic. 

My children, sometimes, suck the life out of me!

Yes, Yes, Yes.... I will be one of the first to say and agree that your time with them is fleeting and you must cherish every moment.  I totally get it and I have spent countless hours, days even, feeling guilty for failing to do that very thing.  

Our children are truly gifts from the Lord and though exhaustion may taint this truth at times, in my heart, I never forget it.

As I have had a recent spell of "Mommy Malaria" I have prayed each and every day for God to; A) take it from me and B) show me where the exhaustion stems from.

He has faithfully spoken. 

My exhaustion does not come from the day to day parenting and mothering I am called to do.  I delight in raising my children and I feel humbled and honored that God has entrusted me with these precious lives.  

My exhaustion comes from..... ME.
 
Yes, me.  My unrealistic, worldly comparison expectation of being a "good" mom. 

When I forget the basic principles God has taught me through His word on what HE expects from me as a mother, I begin to unravel in a fury of exhaustion  

I CANNOT possibly keep up with the expectations I put on myself as a mother to these four children.  

Here is my shortened list:

  • I must ALWAYS be patient.
  • I must ALWAYS be intentional and interactive.
  • I must ALWAYS serve them with joy!
  • I must take every opportunity to stimulate their mind.
  • I must provide fun activities.
  • I must take them on outings at least weekly.
  • I must be happily ready to meet any need they may have at any given moment of the day.
  • I must never show them exhaustion.
  • I must role model strength and serving joyfully. 
  • Taking quiet time for myself at night, is showing them I don't care about them, I must always be available!
  • I must homeschool them to prepare them for Harvard if that is what they choose!
  • I must project to them and the world that I relish every moment of parenting and I am cherishing the fleeting moments I am given! 

So... there is my ridiculously impossible to achieve, exhausting list!

Oh, believe me, I know how ridiculous those expectations are and now that they are written down for me to see, they look even more absurd!

But, truly, these are the thoughts I go to bed with and wrestle with every day.  

I will tell you from my personal experience, the more children you have, the more your parenting journey evolves.  Different seasons call for different strategies and activities.  I was able to do far more things with my children when there were just 2 or even 3, than I can with four.  I am also much older now than I was when I first started having children and my home and prep time needs much m ore attention than it did with 1 or 2 kiddos.  

I spend half my life making food and washing clothes.  And I am ok with that, truly, but the struggle and exhaustion comes in when I allow myself to feel guilty for doing those very things, rather than spending intentional time with my children.  

When you scroll through your FB newsfeed or surf the net, there are countless I mean COUNTLESS articles talking about the time you are wasting with your children.  To put down the broom and go to the park.  That you are going to live with regret your entire life if you do the laundry rather then do a craft.  

And while YES, it is absolutely important for us to spend quality time with our children, that was never the focus God gave us in His word.  



As a parent....

My Purpose.... Is to Teach Them Their Purpose.

There you have it.  

I have to root myself back to God's calling for me as a mother.  And while He wants me to be patient, loving and attentive to my children; nowhere in scripture does he tell me to entertain, be perfect, sacrifice to exhaustion, never be real, place my children above all household duties or give them a top notch flawless education!

Those are MY expectations, not God's.  

Here is the thing.  God has a purpose for my life and He has a purpose for my children's lives.  He knew their purpose before He created them.  My children may have no clue, what on earth their purpose is and why God placed them here. And though, I may not be totally aware of God's purpose for each of my children, I am assured of this.... it was to use the gifts and talents He gave them... to serve Him.  

That's it.  That is their purpose.  And my job as their parent is to help them recognize what those gifts and talents are and help to build them and nurture them so one day, they can and will use them to serve the Lord.  

My job is to train them...to live a life... glorifying to God.... not to live a life full of self focus and self indulging.  

By me, completely exhausting myself to serve my children, I am teaching them they are the focus of my life.... not God.  

By retreating to my room at night, for some much needed quiet time with God and to rejuvenate my soul for the next day of service, is not neglecting their needs, it is teaching them their needs are not number one.  That other's have needs as well and they need to be sensitive to other's needs.  

What happens with me, is I give to the point of exhaustion, let guilt consume me and inevitably become the "ugly mom."  The cranky, exhausted, discontent, barky mom, even I hate!

By replacing my ridiculous expectations with God's purpose and desire for me as a parent, I become the intentional, loving mom God created me to be.  A mom that uses every day activities to interact with my children.  I can have a meaningful conversation with them on the car ride to school or while folding laundry and that is just as meaningful as a planned date.  

Removing the Pressure.... Reveals my Purpose.  And my purpose.... is to teach my children.... their purpose.  

I pray today... for all the parents that struggle with self defeating guilt.  You have to shut out the world is you are going to raise your children God's way.  

Our world is self focused and very much self indulged.  I think we can see the consequences of that in our current generations. 

Our children are not here to be served.... but to be trained to serve others.  

And THAT... is what will make them successful.  

Peace and Blessings
Your Friend 
Missy
 
 
Hi there Mama.

Yes, you! The one with the pony tail and faded raccoon eyes from yesterday's eye liner.  

The one with the beautiful smile.  

Yes, I know you have a beautiful smile. You know.... that smile you get when you watch your child hit a home run or see your children laughing together. Or that soft grin you make, when your husband recites a joke so stupid.....' you can't help but grin.  

You probably are wondering how I've seen you smile.  You are thinking to yourself..... I really don't smile much anymore.  In fact,  I may have cracked a slight grin... but I don't know if I really, authentically smiled at all today. 

 I know I've frowned, I know I've been close to tears and I certainly know I've shown a scowl or two.... but I am not sure I ever smiled.  

I've seen your smile because it is hidden in the same place mine often is.  

Beneath the demands....
Beneath the noise...
the chaos
the endless laundry
the around the clock eating
the messes
the last minute requests
the pile of bills
the missing shoe
the missing pants
the missing homework
the missing I Phone or I Pod
the sink full of dishes
the crying
the tantrums
the ungrateful back talk
the pile of vomit covered sheets
and the pile you will soon have from the next child

I know it's there beautiful mama.  And I know deep in your heart.... you hope for the moment.... it is set free. 

A moment when you can curl up on the couch with your favorite fuzzy blanket and watch that movie that makes you laugh until you can't breathe.  A moment when you can start or finish that book you've been staring at on your bookshelf, while soaking in a hot bubble bath.  That moment.... when your husband comes home and tells you he got a sitter and he is taking you out.... FAR AWAY from the piles that bury you.  That moment..... when you reach your hand out for a little attention and smile at your hot pink fingertips that are usually buried in dish soap.  

That smile is priceless mama....  That smile brings peace to your family. 

I want you to focus more on that smile.  

You matter too Mama.

You may struggle to remember that..... and others may fail as well....but you matter. 

Sacrifice is not beautiful..... when it makes us ugly.  

I know.... I have become ugly too many times.  

The ugly mama.

That mama that gives and gives and gives without much reprieve..... and never takes those moments to find my missing smile.  

That mama..... whose tank runs on empty way too long...... and with one little spark.... a flame erupts from the fumes of exhaustion that linger.

Those ugly eruptions would die..... by simply remembering.... I matter. 

I need..... You need..... those smile producing moments. 

Those moments are not selfish.  Those moments are as necessary as breathing.  

No one was made to "do it all."

And those that make the mistake of believing they are the exception to this........ will eventually trade in beauty for ashes.

There should be no guilt in self care. 

But we often feel.... massive guilt when ugly mama makes her appearance.  Ugly mama steals precious moments from out lives.  

Put ugly mama to death.... today. 

Find your smile mama.

Take care of you.  Refill that tank that is running on fumes by the end of the day. 

Jesus.... the perfect human.... in every way.... took time for Himself.   He knew in His infinite wisdom.... He needed that to accomplish God's greater purpose.  

You... have great purpose mama.  Your smile is a healing balm to your child's soul.  When they see you smile.... their world seems safe and okay. 

Smile today.  Take time for you.  Don't you dare feel guilty.  

You..... have earned every minute of it..... and my guess is....... then some.  

Peace and Blessings
Your Friend 
Missy
 
 
Okay, Okay!!!  We all need some humor in our life and I promised to share some on this blog... so I could not resist this post.  

Yesterday as I was foraging around my home in the endless pursuit to tidy up I began feeling the "cranky mama" evolve inside.  It was quickly transforming, almost like the incredible hulk.  So.... there ya go.... we will now affectionately call is "hulk mama."  Hulk Mama was coming out in full force as I walked in the bathroom and saw this....
YES!  REALLY!!  Someone did this!! Now... I am not going to point fingers because honestly.... it could be any one of my children.  And I started thinking... THIS.... THIS... is why mama gets cranky!  There are some things that require VERY little effort to do and when they get left for me to do because someone was (let us call it what it is) too lazy to do it.... HULK MAMA makes an appearance.  

Really, I could not help but start chucking as I began discovering all the others things that induce Hulk Mama transformation!  I just need to know.... CAN YOU RELATE? LOL


Picture
YES... REALLY.... there are 5, count them, 5 hooks hanging there, but where is the towel??????
Picture
I deep clean my bathrooms.. every Tuesday! This is just not fit for man nor beast! I guess I need a toilet bowl the size of Texas to prevent the hose down.... I don't know.
Picture
Really.... it's fine!! I have endless amounts of money in the budget for markers!!! Replacing lids is just was too tedious and time consuming! And I love the extra little flair the marks give my counter top!!!
Picture
No really..... let me get that for you!!! Maybe I should place garbage cans every 2 ft, throughout the house. What do you think???
Picture
I don't know.... maybe if I somehow rig the dishwasher with a remote control that will open the door and roll out the racks it might make it a bit easier. I'm just not sure... that will still require a little effort.
Picture
You know what.... let's just forgo the laundry baskets. They were purposeless anyway. Just go ahead and throw your clothes wherever works for you!!
Picture
I am not sure what I was thinking with the bookshelves and baskets. They were another one of my ridiculous ideas. The books really work better on the floor for easy access!!
Picture
You are right.... I see no reason to go ahead and put the clothes IN the drawers!! Dressers.... another dumb idea!! The piles look nicer and require much less effort!!
So, what do you think folks??  Can anyone relate to these photos or am I the only lucky one?? LOL

It is all part of the parenting journey and as I have progressed in my parenting I have gotten a tad better at making them come back and fix the ridiculousness!!  

I pray this gives you a chuckle for the day... or at least remind you... we are in the trenches together!!!

Peace and Blessings
Your Friend
Missy
 
 
A couple months back I shared a post on how I was lead to put my daughter's play kitchen in our kitchen area in hopes that she would play with it a little more.  I got this swell idea after swooning over the the Pottery Barn Kids magazine!  THANK YOU POTTERY BARN!  It continues to be a hit!  My girls play with it ALL the time and it took everything in me to wait to decorate the little kitchen area of Christmas!  I was so eager in fact that I admit..... I may have put up some decorations before Thanksgiving!!! (hehehe)

The day I was prepping pies for Thanksgiving, Audree spent most of the day preparing her "Thanksgiving dinner!" It was very nice to have a space where she could be in the kitchen with me but not necessarily WITH me... you get my drift! Yes, I love to let my kids help me cook, HOWEVER, baking is often therapeutic for me and somehow the "therapy" part gets thrown out the window when there are many little hands attempting to "help" me!! LOL 

So... here is the finished Kid's Christmas Kitchen!!!


To go along with the whole Christmas Kitchen theme, I made some homemade Christmas scented playdough and got out the Christmas cookie cutters!!!  We made Gingerbread and Peppermint "Frozen" playdough!  We added what was supposed to be a "little"glitter to the mint green playdough, but I should have known better, my girls have never gotten the concept of "a little glitter or sprinkles!!!!"  Here are the recipes for the playdough!!

GINGERBREAD PLAYDOUGH

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Cloves (I dump I don't measure, but I would say at least a TBS of each fora  strong scent!)
1 cup water
2 TBS oil 

Mix dry ingredients in a saucepan, add water and oil and mix over medium heat keep mixing until mixture forms into a ball.  Remove from heat and dump playdough out and knead until the stickiness is gone and it is cooled down.  Store in a plastic container with a lid. 

FROZEN PEPPERMINT PLAYDOUGH

-Use the recipe from above but take out the spices and instead add about1 tsp of peppermint extract to the water OR about 5 drops of peppermint essential oil.  Also,we added about 2 drops of blue food coloring to make the light greenish blue color.  If you dare, you can add some glitter as well!! LOL

I hope these give you some fun ideas to try for the Christmas season with your younger kiddos!  My older kids love to play with the playdough as well.... and really..... to be honest... so do I!! LOL

Peace and Blessings
Your Friend 
Missy
 
 
IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!!!!!

YES!!  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration yesterday with Garrick's side of the family and today we head out to the tree farm in attempt to find the perfect tree!  We look for a tall slender fella that fits nicely in the corner of our family room!  

This has become one of my children's favorite family traditions!  

Do you have any family traditions you have made part of your family  legacy????  

I was very blessed to grow up in a family that held dear to many yearly holiday traditions!  My grandparents were  incredible at developing and carrying out these cherished traditions every year.  

Christmas was such an anticipated time of the year for me because of these traditions.  The weekend of Thanksgiving we would head out with Poppy to cut down a fresh Christmas tree!  We had a real tree every year.  Half the fun was watching the sometimes "frustrating" effort hauling the tree inside and getting it to stand straight in the stand!  

It also became a yearly tradition for someone to find their tree in the horizontal position when it was supposed to be vertical!!  LOL  My Poppy found a great solution to this and eventually started stringing fishing line from the trunk of the tree to the ceiling to keep it from collapsing! LOl 

We would decorate our tree listening to Christmas tunes and til this day I can still remember the peaceful feeling I had sitting in our family room next to the wood burner looking at the Christmas tree!  

 A yearly shopping trip with grandma also became a yearly tradition.  We would pick a Saturday and head out to the mall and literally shop ALL DAY!  As we got older, we would pick out our own Christmas presents as they were often clothes and then grandma would take them home and wrap them!  We would always have lunch, often at the Olive Garden and I would have a giant piece of New York cheesecake!!!  

Another tradition we had was when my Aunt and cousins would come to town a few days before Christmas.  We would always have a family lunch date at a tea room restaurant that I also happened to work in and then finish up last minute shopping. 

There are times I literally wish I could go back in time and experience the feelings as a child and teenager as we took part in these traditions.  I know I can't do this, so, I try to relive these same traditions with my own little family now.  We get a real tree every year and when we have even discussed possibly getting an artificial tree to save money and time our kids have a coronary!!  This has already become a tradition they cherish and I will not take it away from them.  

We also go to the Chicago area every year to celebrate Christmas with my family and this too has become a tradition they treasure.  There have been years it looked as if we would not be able to go and the kids were devastated as they look forward to this time with their cousins every year.  

Our family traditions become a part of who we are and very often we get the precious gift of passing these traditions down to our children.  And if we are really blessed we will get to witness them carrying on these traditions with their own families. 

What are your family traditions?  Do you have any that you treasure from your childhood?  If not, what are some traditions you would love to start with your family?  

Maybe start one this year!!  It is never too late!!!!  

Please share your traditions if you are willing!!!!

Peace and Blessings
Your Friend 
Missy