Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Graham Blanchard's Mom Mentors: Scripture for Moms’ 2016 Challenges

Graham Blanchard recently asked its panel of Mom Mentors: What passage of Scripture is on your heart starting the New Year, and how do you hope it impacts your child or children?

I loved reading the very insightful answers shared by my fellow moms. I think you'll be able to relate to them, too!

Click HERE to read the article, and feel free to share what Bible passages inspire you as a parent in the comments section below!

Monday, February 08, 2016

Giving Your Children Wings Without Losing Yours Book Tour: An Exclusive Interview with Author Tami K. Fox!

Wingstour
wings digital books
To Dream the Impossible Dream of an Organized Home

Does the idea of organizing and cleaning your home seem like an impossible dream? Homeschooling mother of six, Tami Fox, shares how she uses routines in her home to make it a haven for her family. She’s taught her children these routines so they’ll be able to take their wings and fly into life as prepared adults. She shares positive methods for organizing and cleaning. Tami wants to help you give your children wings, so they can FLY, too!

"Tami has taken FLYing to a new level! Not only has she educated her six children well and eliminated CHAOS, she has not lost herself in the process."~Marla Cilley, The FlyLady

Paperback / Amazon for the Kindle Reader / Apple Store for iBooks / Barnes and Noble for the Nook

An Exclusive Interview with the Author

1. My middle-schoolers have lots of homework, plus sports, Scouts, youth group and other activities. Where can we squeeze in household chores?

Thank you for asking this question. I know it is on the minds of a lot of parents. Middle school age children often have a lot of homework and extra-curricular activities. It makes it difficult to get in housework and get their rooms cleaned. On days when they do not have an outside activity after school, have them do their homework first. While they are doing homework, you can start the laundry and start dinner preparations. As they finish their homework, invite them to cook with you and have some time talking while you are in the kitchen. After dinner, they can spend 15 minutes cleaning one area of their room. They should also be responsible for doing their laundry and washing their sheets once a week. You can assign a laundry day to each family member, and this will help spread out the laundry over the week versus doing it all on Saturday. While they are cleaning in their rooms, you can pick one household task to do at the same time. I do one household cleaning task per day of the week, and as long as we pick up behind ourselves daily, the house is maintained. If you set up small routines each day, you can squeeze in household tasks and not have to spend a whole day on the weekend cleaning and doing laundry.

2. What sort of motivators (i.e. bribery?) will encourage kids to tackle projects around the home?

The word I like to use is rewards. Children (and adults) are motivated by rewards. If you know what your children love, then you can use that as a motivator to get them to help around the house. It does not have to be a material thing either. It can be an activity that they enjoy or simply uninterrupted time with you. For my children, they know they have to do their morning routine and school work before lunch. If they don’t have everything completed by lunch, they have to finish it in the afternoon. But if they have all of their household tasks completed and their school work completed, they have free time in the afternoon. Once a week, I try to take them on an activity that they enjoy. If we can’t go somewhere, we will do something at home that they enjoy. I have found that by filling their emotional love tanks with doing things with them that they enjoy, they are happy to help me with projects around the house.

3. I'm a working mom, and I often feel stretched too thin. Any tips for moms to help alleviate the stress?

Most moms feel stretched for time. Working moms especially feel this. By working with your family on having a teamwork approach with household tasks and cooking, you can reduce the amount of work you are doing at home. Teach your children to pick up behind themselves at a young age and limit the amount of toys they have access to.

Writing out a menu plan, shopping for the menu, and setting things up each evening for the next day’s meals reduces a lot of stress. It takes away the age-old question of, “What’s for dinner, Mom?” Keep menu planning simple. Cook in bulk and freeze meals to reheat on busy days. Use a lot of fresh fruits and veggies that need little preparation time. I tend to do my menu planning on Friday, and I grocery shop on Saturday. Some Sundays I will do some bulk cooking for the week for the refrigerator and freezer. It takes a little planning, but the pay-off is huge.

Having a good evening routine in place helps reduce your stress. If you take 15 minutes in the evening to lay out your clothes for the next day and have everything ready for the morning, you will start your day off on the right foot. I really feel it’s essential for working moms to relax and do something they enjoy for 10 or 15 minutes a day. Taking 15 minutes to walk also helps reduce stress. I often get up before anyone in my house to get in my morning walk. Moms have to take care of themselves, so we can take care of our families.

4. We have made job charts and created reward systems in the past, but we never seem to stick with them. Any tips?

The more complicated a job chart and reward system are, the harder they are to keep in place. I am supportive of a short morning task list and a short evening task list for everyone. Make a list of the basics that have to be done before everyone leaves the house in the morning. In the afternoon, the children’s task list will depend on their age, but it will start with doing homework. Then they should do 15 minutes of maintenance in their bedroom, and then they can help you for 15 minutes on a household task. In the evening, a student’s task list should include laying out clothes for the next day, getting things ready and put in a specific place for the next morning, and getting to bed at a decent hour.

The adult’s task lists would be similar in a lot of ways to the students’ list, but it can include the detail as to which household task is done each day. I am a working mom, too, and it takes 10 minutes to do most of my household tasks. I have two sets of sheets for my bed, so I can strip it and remake it in 10 minutes. By keeping tasks short and sweet, it is easy to do them and not procrastinate. That is the biggest deterrent to completing tasks. We procrastinate because we want it to be perfect. Instead, just do the best you can do on a task and move on.

Keep rewards simple and consistent. If everyone works well on their schoolwork and household tasks, then you have a family reward of some sort. It can be an activity. It can be a pizza and movie night at home.

5. Should children receive an allowance? If so, for what chores and how much?

Giving children an allowance is a personal decision for each family. In our family, we give a set amount of allowance each week depending on the child’s age. Their allowance is not tied to specific tasks, but they know they are supposed to do their tasks each day to get their reward and allowance at the end of the week. As they get older and can do more detailed tasks, they get more allowance. If my children want to earn extra money, we talk about bigger projects around the house and what I am willing to pay. They have cleaned out gutters, mowed the lawn, washed cars, and cleaned out the garage for extra money. Children learn valuable lessons about budgeting when you give them an allowance. They also learn to do extra things when they want to make more money for a big item.
Tami - 5x7_fox-4553
About the author:
Tami lives in rural North Carolina with her husband of more than twenty-five years and their children. She has been a home educator since 2000. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Information Systems and uses her education to be a better teacher for her children. Tami is a writer and speaker to encourage moms. She writes reviews and other details about her life with her family at www.TamiFox.net.

She is in the trenches just like you and takes life one step at a time with mercy and grace. You can contact Tami through her blog or through email at Tami@TamiFox.com.

Follow the Book Tour

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Sort-Of Tasty Super Bowl Snacks from Awestruck

Forget football! The Super Bowl is all about the snacks. But while prepping for the biggest food holiday of the year, Awestruck's recipes end up being more of a fumble than a touchdown. Check out this humorous video from the new network for Millennial moms, Awestruck.



Susan Heim on Parenting Is Featured in "The Best DIY Blogs of 2015"!

The Crafties Award Winner
I received a fun surprise this week! I learned that Susan Heim on Parenting has been featured in “The Best DIY Blogs of 2015” by Benchmark Signs and Gifts. Here's the awesome write-up:

This blog is crazy cool. Susan Heim is a celebrated author and editor of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series. Her blog offers a lot of tips on products great for kids, movies to watch, and activities to do; however, the cool part is that there are giveaways that make her blog the hub for sweepstakes.

Thanks so much to Benchmark Signs and Gifts for this fantastic award!

CLICK HERE to check out all of The Best DIY Blogs of 2015!

Winners in January 2016

Chef Club Box from Cook Time with Remmi


Congratulations to the winner: Amanda A.!

Teddy Bears Personalized Hoodie Bear or Sweater Bear


Congratulations to the winner: Jennifer C.!

Baby, It’s Cold Outside Giveaway Hop: 3-DVD Family Prize Pack


Congratulations to the winner: Nikki G.!

Friday, February 05, 2016

Super Saturday Giveaway Linky (February 6, 2016)

Another Super Saturday Giveaway Linky has arrived! If you're hoping to find some great giveaways, you've come to the right place. Check out the list in my right sidebar and in the linky below. If you're hosting a giveaway on your blog, please share it with us in the linky. And don't forget to give this page a shout-out on your social media sites.







Attention, Pet Lovers ~ Two New Books Just for You from Chicken Soup for the Soul! (GIVEAWAY)

I’m pleased to announce that Chicken Soup for the Soul is issuing two new books for cat and dog fans! Read on to learn more about each book, filled with humorous and heartfelt true stories about the pets we love. Then enter the giveaway for your chance to win one of these great titles in paperback!

Chicken Soup for the Soul:
My Very Good, Very Bad Cat
101 Heartwarming Stories About Our Happy, Heroic & Hilarious Pets
What has the cat done now? You’ll recognize your own cat in this collection of stories about how very good and very bad our cats can be.

From cats with nine lives to cats that save lives -- from cats that wreck houses to cats that repair families -- from cats that crack us up to cats that act like therapists -- you’ll see your own cat with new appreciation for its unique skills and intuition.

With a special emphasis on the benefits and joys of adopting abandoned cats, these stories will make you laugh out loud, nod your head in recognition, and maybe even shed a tear or two.

Chicken Soup for the Soul:
My Very Good, Very Bad Dog
101 Heartwarming Stories About Our Happy, Heroic & Hilarious Pets
What has that dog done now? You’ll recognize your own canine companion in this collection of stories about how very good and very bad our dogs can be.

From clever dogs that sneak food to heroic dogs that save lives -- from mischievous dogs that chew shoes to intuitive dogs that repair families -- from goofy dogs that crack us up to nurturing dogs that act like therapists -- you’ll have a new appreciation for your own dog’s unique skills.

With a special emphasis on the joy of adopting dogs from shelters, these stories will make you laugh out loud and maybe even shed a tear or two.

**Royalties from the sale of these books help support the great work of the American Humane Association.**

Click on the pictures above and order copies of these books for everyone in your life who loves dogs or cats -- including yourself!

GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner will receive Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Dog and one lucky winner will receive Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Cat in paperback! Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM EST on Friday, February 19, 2016.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of these books. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Valentine's Day Recipe: Triple Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies

Angela over at About a Mom published a holiday recipe last month that also makes a great Valentine's Day treat! Use red or pink frosting and heart-shaped sprinkles, and you have a scrumptious snack or dessert for everyone you love.

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE CAKE MIX COOKIES

Ingredients:
1 box chocolate cake mix
2 eggs
1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
1⁄2 cup white chocolate chips
1⁄3 cup dark chocolate chips
1⁄3 cup semi­sweet chocolate chips

Optional Icing:
1 cup white chocolate chips
1⁄2 Tbsp vegetable oil
10 drops red food coloring

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine cake mix, eggs and oil. Stir until combine. Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop by 1 Tbsp amounts onto cookie sheets. Bake for 9 minutes. Cool for 1­2 minutes on sheet and then transfer to cooling racks.

For optional icing:

Combine chocolate chips and oil in a bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir well. If not melted, microwave in 10-second increments, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Stir in food coloring. Ice cooled cookies.

CLICK HERE for the original recipe and more pictures of this decadent recipe!




Disclosure: I received Pepto-Bismol products for free from Smiley360 in exchange for my honest review and content posts. You can join Smiley360 here!

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Hugs and Kisses Giveaway Hop: Enter to Win a Colorful Post-it Prize Pack to Keep You Organized!

Welcome to the Hugs and Kisses Giveaway Hop hosted by Planet Weidknecht and LeahSay’s Views! Every blog participating in this giveaway is featuring a prize worth at least $25! Read on to learn about my wonderful sponsor, Post-it Brand, enter the giveaway, and then hop around to the other participating blogs!


We may be into the month of February, but it's not too late to tackle those New Year's resolutions! Whether trying to get fit, eat a little healthier, or achieve work-related goals, organizing yourself and your daily surroundings will help you accomplish your goals more effectively throughout the year. Why not get organized with Post-it Brand, which is celebrating 35 years of organization and productivity?

Over the last 35 years, the Post-it Brand has helped great ideas take shape, starting with a simple, practical reminder. Since the introduction of the original canary yellow 3 x 3 Post-it Note in 1980, the Post-it Brand has evolved into an assortment of products that transform lives by making communication and organization fast, friendly and easy, such as:

Post-It Brand World of Color
Featuring Post-it Notes in an array of bright and bold colors with 9 color palettes inspired by global destinations: Marrakesh, Rio de Janeiro, Bali, Bora Bora, New York, Cape Town, Jaipur, Marseille and Helsinki. Available in sizes 3x3, 4x4, 4x6 and 3x3 Pop-up Notes.


Post-it Flags and Post-it Tabs
Post-it Flags and Tabs help organize important information in notebooks, binders, books and more. Perfect for marking sections of papers and magazines, they stick securely yet remove cleanly when you decide to move them.

From the Post-it Brand World of Color collections inspired by the style and cultures of nine exotic destinations around the world, to the array of bright and bold colors of Post-it Flags and Tabs, the Post-it Brand is continuing to help ideas of all shapes and sizes come together!



Follow the Post-it® Brand:

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram
#Postit #35years

GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner will receive a variety of Post-it Notes, Flags and Tabs in an assortment of colors and patterns that can help you get organized this year! Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM EST on February 16, 2016.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Now hop around to the other blogs participating in this hop for the opportunity to win more "sweet" prizes!





Friday, January 29, 2016

Super Saturday Giveaway Linky (January 30, 2016)

It's hard to believe that January is coming to an end already! Please join me in entering some great giveaways through the linky below, and don't forget to check out my giveaways listed on the right sidebar. If you're giving away some great prizes on your blog or website, please include them in the linky and be sure to share this page through your social media channels.







Star Wars Hangover: The Force Won't Stop Awakening (from Awestruck)

Has your family been obsessed with Star Wars lately? I had to share this new video from Awestruck, a network for Millennial moms, which parodies just how far we all took our Star Wars obsession these past few months. For this family, recovering from a Death Star-sized hangover means throwing out the Chewbacca slippers... and realizing you got a Millenium Falcon tattoo. *shudders*