When God Made Me A Girl…

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This post comes from my heart. In light of everything going on in the world today, I can’t help but think: If I had not been born into a godly home, and if I had been born in today’s times when children are told they can be anything they want to be – even the opposite gender – I may have made some very different choices and missed out on many blessings. This post is not written in anger or to hurt anyone. It’s just something I need to say.

angie_3yrscr

When God Made Me a Girl…

He knew exactly what He was doing. Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee;” Did you catch that? Before I was even a twinkle in my mother’s eye, God already knew all about me.

Growing up, I was a tomboy. I loved dirt. I loved sports. I could beat up any boy who looked at me cross-eyed. I had no time for nail polish, lipstick, and frilly dresses like the other girls. I wanted to be outside, riding bikes over dirt ramps, crashing into things, and joking around with the boys I called my friends.

As a teenager, most of my friends were guys. Girls were catty and mean, so I avoided them and just hung out with the guys. We played basketball, card games, and always had a good time.

That was my life. There were many times I wished I could have just been born a boy. Boys had it so much easier. (In my mind. They may not have!) Guys could get mad and get over it a few minutes later. Girls could hold grudges for years. In fact, I’m sure there are still a few girls that won’t talk to me because I didn’t wear the right shoes that one day in 9th grade.

I grew up going to a Christian school where girls were required to be in dresses to our knees every.single.day. No pants. Only skirts. (And the occasional pair of culottes.) Oh, how I hated it. You couldn’t ride bikes (well) in a skirt. I always had shorts on underneath my skirts, because I was not going to let a stupid skirt slow me down. I wanted to be able to climb and play like all the boys no matter what I was wearing.

I hated being a girl most days growing up. Absolutely hated it. If I could have changed it, I would have.

So, did God make a mistake? Should I have been a boy? Life would have been easier, sure, but it definitely wouldn’t have been the same.

Growing up, I would often mention to my dad that I wished I was a boy. He knew it, and he knew why. But, instead of encouraging me to be something that I was not created to be, he would tell me this verse over and over: Psalm 139:14 – “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:” He would remind me all the time that I was made exactly the way God wanted me to be, and that God had a purpose to fulfill in me one day.

angieandgene

Maybe God taught me to fight like a guy and not hold a grudge because He knew it would help in my marriage one day. Gene and I rarely fight anyway, but when we do, the fights don’t last for days. Usually, they only last a few minutes. We speak our mind and the fighting is done. It’s probably why we’re still married today!

Maybe the reason God allowed me to be a girl who liked dirt and sports and being outside was because He knew that one day I would be the mother of 5 boys. I cannot be intimidated by dirt, must love sports, and I have to be able to deal with unidentifiable smells at any given moment.

So, why did I have to suffer all of those years wearing those awful skirts? I’m guessing it’s because God also knew I would be a mother to 3 amazing girls, all of whom love to wear dresses, paint their nails, and are just as girly as girly can be. He knew that one day, I would have to teach each of them to be modest, at whatever cost, and show them the ways a girl behaves.

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Years ago, when I was struggling and in so much pain, I had no idea that one day God’s purpose for my life would be fulfilled – or how it would be fulfilled. I certainly didn’t know it would mean being a mom of 8, surrounded by many different situations that both my boys AND my girls are dealing with, and that my life as a young person had set me up to handle it all.

When God Made Me a Girl… I didn’t like it. I didn’t understand it. But I am oh so very thankful He did because of the life I have now.

If you, or your child, is dealing with a similar situation, and they feel like they don’t belong, please don’t try to go above God’s head and change something that isn’t meant to be. Instead, encourage them to embrace the person God created them to be. To try and achieve whatever they want to do, but to do it as the person they are – not the person they wish they could be instead. Life is HARD. I get that. But changing who you are on the outside does NOT change who God created you to be. You are still that person, you are just trying to hide it. I get that. I wished many times I could have hidden the fact that I was a girl and that I really could have been “just one of the guys.”

I want you to know that you are loved. God loves you SO much – as confused as you may be, as hurt as you may be, as unloved as you may feel. Turn to Him. Let Him lead. I promise, His ways are perfect. We just have to be willing to sit back and hold on as the ride goes around.

If you don’t know God, and if you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus, can I introduce you to Him? He wants to get to know you. ALL of you – just like you are. Contact me today, and we can talk. I think you’d like Him. I already know He loves you. :) May you find the peace that only Jesus can give. Not peace from changing everything about you, but true peace that overwhelms you from the inside out.

#Spon: #FairRepair Study from @RepairPal Proves Women Pay More for Auto Repair — But You Don’t Have To!

Women watch out!
Despite living in an age where female CEOs can make more than their male counterparts and female soldiers can enter combat, some believe that the car industry is still very much “a man’s world.”
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been advised to take a man with me when visiting auto repair shops or car dealerships — and I know I’m not alone. Women getting worked over or even ripped off seems to be a common concern in the automotive industry.
For example, there was the time my husband asked me to get the oil changed in our passenger van. No big deal, right? Well, I drove the van to the place where I usually got it done, and the guy informed me they could no longer change the oil in my van because it was “too heavy” for their lift. (Although there was a very large truck already on the lift behind him. It looked every bit as big as my van.) So, I left and decided to go to a little “mom and pop” auto repair shop. The huge sign outside said “Oil Change: $39.95.” Great! I figured it would probably be a little more, but when they showed me the total, I wanted to cry: $109.95. The invoice was full of things I never asked for, and charges that I didn’t understand. I have no doubt they ripped me off, and most likely because I’m a woman and they thought they could get away with it. Now, I warn everyone I can about that shop, and refuse to set foot back in such an unprofessional place of business.
I recently partnered with RepairPal (the auto repair estimator site) to share with you some of the data behind this very real issue. They released their RepairPal Institute Gender Bias Study, which found that uncertified shops routinely charge women more than men for auto repairs—sometimes by as much as 73%. (See my story above! It happens!)
>> Nationwide, women are overcharged by an average of 8% compared to men.
>> In big cities like LA, San Francisco and New York, women are overcharged by a whopping average of 66%.
>> In smaller cities, women are overcharged by a lower amount (average of around 3%), but it’s still significant. (We are definitely a smaller city, and I’m sad that I was overcharged so much.)
>> The greater New York area is the worst, with women overcharged by an average of 73%.
The most likely scenario is that shops are taking advantage of what they believe to be a general lack of automotive knowledge among women. It’s stereotypical and unfair, to say the least.
Luckily, RepairPal has given us some helpful strategies to help women get a fair price and avoid falling into the overpriced trap set by uncertified shops:
*  STRATEGY #1:  GET A VISUAL
A picture is worth 1,000 words, so ask your technicians to show you the problem area on your car or give you before-and-after photos as a great way to educate yourself.
*  STRATEGY #2:  USE AN ESTIMATOR
After getting the problem professionally diagnosed, use an online estimator tool like the RepairPal Estimator to get an accurate idea of what a fair price should be.
FairRepairEstimator
*  STRATEGY #3:  THE MANUAL IS YOUR FRIEND
Blow the dust off your owner’s manual and start to familiarize yourself with it. Understanding what warning lights correspond with what systems puts you at an automatic advantage. (If your battery light is on and the mechanic starts talking about motor oil, you’ll know something’s fishy.)
For even more tips on how to make sure you’re getting a fair price and using a trusted, certified mechanic, please visit http://www.repairpal.com. They have information about why you should choose certified repair shops and where to find one in your area.
I’d love to hear if you’ve ever visited an auto repair shop and got overcharged or if you’ve been to a RepairPal shop and was impressed by the fair price! Tell me what you’ve experienced in the comments below. 

#Spon: Bringing up Baby: Costs & Habit Insights of the American Mom from zulily.com

sponsoredDisclaimer:This is a sponsored post on behalf of Zulily. They provided the information, but any opinions expressed are my own.

In celebration of moms this Mother’s Day, online retailer zulily.com is honoring new moms nationwide by taking a closer look at something they all can relate to –budgeting for all things baby!

Read on here for some of the survey insights they found regarding spending and saving habits when preparing for baby:

  • With annual childcare costs hovering around $6,000, it’s crucial to choose (and pay!) the right person to watch your kids. In our survey Julia Roberts was voted the top celeb moms would let babysit, but Kim Kardashian didn’t make the cut and was only selected by 3% of respondents.
  • Raising kids can get pretty pricey, so it’s no surprise a third of mothers surveyed said they’d compete in a monthly random dance battle (32%) in exchange for free baby gear, attire, etc.
  • Almost half of mothers surveyed (45%) said the most missed pre-mom indulgence is actually having a day off.
  • 33% of moms agreed that the most common squabble couples have regarding new parenting is about money.

With all the above stats, it’s no wonder moms everywhere are always on the lookout for smarter ways to spend on baby, and online retailer zulily is dedicated to helping their plight by serving up fresh, unexpected items for baby and the whole family, in fact, just in the last year customers have saved millions of dollars on baby gear items. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Savings on baby blankets: over $2.4M
  • Total savings on key items needed to set up a nursery: over $2.6M
  • Savings on all baby feeding supplies: over $4.5M

Be sure to check back on zulily.com or on their app every morning to discover new finds, especially on Mother’s Day (May 8th) for their Moms First event, to shop everything a new mama wouldn’t want to be without.

mothers_day_infographic - FINAL

*The study was conducted online using a Google Consumer Survey, which uses inferred demographic and location information to employ stratified sampling method by distributing the surveys based on the targeted audience to its publisher network and/or android smartphone users. The study consisted of 1000 respondents between April 4th and April 7th among women aged 25-54. The margin of error is +/-5 percentage points.
**Sales Data Methodology: The methodology used to report on the 2015-16 maternity and infant purchasing trends was created by reviewing more than 262,000 products, from April 2015 – April 2016. zulily has approximately 5 million active customers, as of Q4 2015.

#Spon: Partnering with @ParasolCo to Bring You the Best Diapers Around!

sampleDisclaimer: I received a sample of Parasol Diapers in order to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.

best baby diapers

It’s true. As a mom of 8, I have lots of experience with diapers. I’ve tried them all. Honestly! Every single one of them. I’ve even tried cloth diapers. I know what works best for super sensitive bottoms, and I know what works best for crazy super-soakers. What I wanted was a diaper that would make me happy no matter what! I’m now down to just one baby in diapers. (Crazy, right? And no chance of any more in diapers, either, which is even crazier!) After all this time, I’ve been looking for that one diaper that I could fall in love with and use all the time. I wanted it to be safe and gentle on Sawyer’s sensitive skin, but I wanted it to hold up on the nights when he had a lot to drink during the day and needs some extra protection to get him through the night. And, truth be told, I wanted them to be cute.

It’s not so much to ask, is it? We spend most of our time outdoors during the Spring and Summer, and Sawyer prefers to be naked. If I’m going to have my baby running all over creation in his diaper, is it too much to ask that they be cute? I think not.

Earlier this month, I was introduced to Parasol Co. They wanted me to test out their new diapers on Sawyer and tell them what I thought.

cute baby diapers

Oh my goodness. Diapers that are gentle, strong, AND cute?! Who could say no?! So, they sent me a box of diapers and asked if I would mind doing a comparison with my current diaper and wipes brand(s).

Here’s the result of my comparison immediately after I received my package from Parasol Co.:

Immediately, I fell in love with these diapers. I started using them right away, and I never switched back. The same is true for the wipes. They are so soft, and feel more like a washcloth than a wipe. They work well on even the yuckiest messes, and my kids all love them!

Before I switched to Parasol Co. diapers, I had been faithful to one brand, but I had also recently grabbed a pack of “slip on”diapers because they were on sale one day. BIG MISTAKE. Those diapers caused a horrible allergic rash on Sawyers back, and even after I switched back to my regular diapers, I couldn’t get the rash to go away. TWO DAYS after using nothing but Parasol Co. diapers and wipes, there was a huge difference in his rash, and now it’s completely gone. I won’t claim that the Parasol Co. diapers healed him, but they sure did help, and I am eternally grateful! It shows me that their products are exactly what they claim they are: made with safe materials and eco-conscious practices. These are diapers you can trust. They are Hypoallergenic, Chlorine-free, Fragrance-free, Lotion-free, and Latex-free. See? Safe.

Maybe you’re worried about a monthly subscription service. Maybe you think it’s too expensive. Let me assure you, as one who has purchased diapers endlessly for the past 13 years straight, these diapers are not too expensive, and could even help you save money in the long run!

Think about it. For $85/month, you get an entire month’s worth of diapers and wipes. For one month, you don’t have to worry about a thing because everything is sent to you. (You decide if you want it sent every 3, 4, or 5 weeks.)

Now, think about how much you are currently spending on diapers and wipes. If I buy a pack of diapers every week at $10 – 12, that’s approximately $45-50/month. Plus wipes. (And wipes are not cheap, especially if you want wipes that work well!) So, we’re up to about $75-80/month between diapers and wipes. Hmmm… Now, factor in the gas it took you to get to the store, the energy you consumed taking your little one (or little ones, in my case!) into the store, and all the unnecessary things you bought at the store just because you had to stop for a diaper run.

See? You’re already saving money, and you’re getting super cute diapers that are SAFE and work well! (The only issue I have had with the diapers was one night when Sawyer slept for 14 hours straight and woke up soaked. But, the fact that he slept 14 hours was a fine trade off for one morning of washing the sheets. Totally worth it!)

Want me to give you an even better incentive to try Parasol Co.? If you head to the Parasol Co. website, and use the code Blessed16 when you order your first box, you’ll receive $20 off that box! This is it, folks! It’s what you’ve been waiting for! We all love a discount, and this is a great way to try out these amazing diapers for a fraction of the cost.

parasol discount code blessed16

Now, tell me those aren’t the cutest diapers you’ve ever seen?! They have 3 great patterns to choose from, so pick your favorite, and order now!

I love everything about the Parasol Company, and I am so excited to partner with them. I can’t wait to see what other products they come up with. I know it will be great, and I hope I get to share more with you again soon!

Take a chance and try Parasol Co. diapers on your little one today! If you do, please be sure to let me know.

Renting a Property – What You Can Do to Make It Easier

our house

With house prices constantly on the rise, more and more families are choosing to rent a property to live in rather than get a mortgage and buy their own. In many cases, this is due to the fact that houses are becoming more difficult to afford, and sometimes it is by choice, for example somebody who has to move around a lot for work may not want to tie themselves to one area by buying a home, so will rent instead. To ensure that you get the best experience from renting your property and are a happy tenant, here are just a few things that you should do.

Make Sure Everything is Clear
The last thing that you need is for your deposit to be declared non-refundable when your contract is up because you have missed something on the rental agreement. Some landlords are more lenient than others with what they will let their tenants do, whilst others can be quite strict. In order to ensure that you don’t end up making a costly mistake by doing something that you thought was allowed, it’s important that you take the time to go through the rental agreement. If there is anything that you are unsure about, the best thing to do is contact your landlord – after all, if you get their permission to do something such as keep a pet or redecorate, they won’t be able to penalize you for this at the end of your contract.

Get Insured
You’ve heard of home insurance for those who own their own home, but what about insurance for renters? Although your landlord will insure the actual property so that they are covered financially should any damage come to it, what can you do to protect the belongings that you keep in the home? Renter’s insurance is designed specifically for tenants, and covers anything which belongs to you kept in the property. This includes things such as furniture and appliances which you provide yourself and do not belong to your landlord. Taking out this type of insurance means that everything is covered in the event of damage, rather than just the building. Click here to learn more about renter’s insurance.

How to Approach Renting a Home
If you are renting a home for the first time, you may be wondering how is best to approach looking for a property. In short, you should approach it in much the same way as you would if you were thinking of buying a home – after all, you’re going to be paying a lot of money to live in a property and therefore it is important that you choose somewhere that is going to be safe, comfortable and convenient. Arranging viewings and even having the home surveyed by a professional before you make a decision is a wise idea when renting a property, and it can save you from running into problems further down the line.

Do you choose to rent rather than buy? Let us know why in the comments.

#Sponsored #Giveaway: #JLust – A New Fragrance by @JLo – My #Review

sampleDisclaimer: I received a sample of this product in order to facilitate my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

jlust by JLo

As a mom of 8, I tend to not think about things like perfume, make-up, and feeling girly. But, you know what? That’s wrong. Once in awhile, I *need* to feel girly. I need to get dressed up, spray on my favorite perfume, and remind my husband why he married me. (And how we got those 8 kids! 😉 )

Recently, I received a sample of a JLust, a new fragrance from Jennifer Lopez. Oh my goodness. To say I love it would be an understatement. It is amazing. Truly amazing.

This perfume epitomizes “girly.” I put it on, and I no longer feel like the haggard, frazzled mom I am. Instead, I feel beautiful – something I haven’t felt in a very long time.

I wish I could describe the scents in this bottle. It’s sweet and alluring. It’s feminine and beautiful. It’s unlike anything I’ve personally used before.

If you are looking to change things up, and you’re trying to find that feminine side you’ve had to bury under laundry, dishes, and housework, please let me recommend you grab yourself a bottle of JLust. You’ll be so glad you did. (And I bet your significant other might enjoy it as well!)

I’ve found JLust at Kohl’s for just $49. (That’s a great deal, and worth every penny, I promise you.)

If you’re like me, you can’t always justify spending money on something like perfume, but ladies, you are so worth it! You deserve this! You deserve to spend a little bit of money and feel good. Even on the days when you haven’t showered in 3 days, you’re still in your pajamas, and you have 3 toddlers hanging off your legs. Those may just be the days you need this most! Do something for YOU for a change. You’re worth it.

(And, men, if you happen to be reading this and still haven’t gotten your wife her Mother’s Day gift, click that link up there and get this for your wife. Go! Now!)

Also be sure to follow JLo on twitter and tweet your #JLustList to @JLo. She’ll be retweeting her favorites today!

Want a chance to WIN this perfume for yourself? (Or for the one you love!)

Use the Rafflecopter Gadget Below. Giveaway ends 5/9.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#Spon: Our Sip & Seek Adventures with @EvenfloBaby

sampleDisclaimer: This post is sponsored by Evenflo. I received samples of the products in order to facilitate my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sip N Seek Adventure Pack

Sawyer loves to explore. That child is always running, climbing, and exploring everything he can find. He never stops. Ok, maybe twice a day: once at nap time, and then again at bed time. But, every other minute of the day, he’s trying to find something new that he can get into. It’s no wonder he’s my best sleeper, simply because he’s the most active baby I have ever had. Needless to say, the boy keeps me on my toes!

sip n seek climber

So, when Evenflo contacted me and asked me to take part in their Sip N Seek Adventure program, I *knew* Sawyer and I were the perfect fit! We were supposed to take a day to go on an adventure. Evenflo provided me with the awesome pack you see pictured above. There were more than enough snacks and cups to get us through the day, as well as some extra goodies that made our adventure even more special.

sip n seek group shot

We started our day at the local Misty Mountain Railroad. None of my kids or I had ever been to this fun little museum before. It was incredible! I can’t imagine the hours someone put in to making that museum come to life. The kids spent so much time taking everything in. And I wasn’t surprised when the very first thing Gage pointed out was Superman on top of one of the buildings.

sip n seek superman

After spending some time with the owner of the museum, and learning all about the different sections they had set up, how much work had gone into it, and being shown all of the little hidden treasures, (like Superman), hidden throughout the display, we knew our adventure was far from over! My friend had come along on our adventure, and she invited us back to her home for awhile. But, her home isn’t like most homes. She lives on a farm. Complete with animals, and all sorts of stuff for Sawyer to climb on and explore.

sip n seek farm

We met a cow, climbed on everything we could find, fed the bunnies, pet the goats. My goodness, what fun we had! And, through it all, Evenflo was there to keep him hydrated and happy with their Sip N Seek Cups!

sip n seek cups

Evenflo sent us an awesome Astronaut themed Sip N Seek Cup with their new Triple-Flo stoppers in their insulated cups. It keeps Sawyer’s drinks cool, without fear of it spoiling while we’re out and about. Other designs available include Mermaids, Unicorns, and Dinosaurs, each one sure to make your little one smile!

Evenflo’s new TripleFlo Sip & Seek Cups are now available at Babies ‘R’ Us, Meijer, and HEB, and retail for $4.99 each. You can also purchase 2 packs for $9.99 at Amazon.com, Walmart.com, and Target.com.

If your little one is always on the go, and you need a cup that can keep up with him (or her!), I highly recommend the products from the Evenflo feeding line. We are super impressed, and these are now the only cups Sawyer will use!

Thank you, Evenflo, for making high quality, BPA-free products that I want to give my baby.

#Spon: #FlyBy Presents the #UndertheSea Bible for Kids

sampleDisclaimer: This post is sponsored by FlyBy Promotions and Zonderkidz. I received a copy of the Under the Sea Bible in order to facilitate my review. Any opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.

under the sea

In our house, we are always trying to find ways to encourage our children to read their Bible. Typically, this isn’t a problem, but when it comes to our younger children, it can be more difficult.

Thankfully, we received a copy of the Under the Sea Bible. The timing could not have been more perfect! Our 7 year old son, Parker, is constantly asking questions and wanting to know more about accepting Christ as his Savior. His little heart is so open and so willing. Not only that, but his class recently took a trip to a local Aquarium. His class has been studying things “Under the Sea” for weeks now, in order to prepare for their trip. So, when a Bible, whose cover was decorated with beautiful, sparkly, creatures from under the sea – well, let’s just say – Parker called dibs!

reading the Bible

While I wish the Under the Sea Bible was available in other versions, (namely the KJV with the words of Jesus in red), I still believe this is an excellent resource for Parker. The inserts inside the Bible are full of color, and more importantly, full of information to help him understand what the Bible tells us. It’s opened the door to lots of questions. Even more than all of that, though, I love that I will just randomly find Parker sitting and reading this Bible all over the house.

The Under the Sea Holy Bible, NIrV would make a fantastic gift for any child aged 6 – 10. The beautiful underwater creatures sparkle on the outside cover and bring the interior of this Bible to life. The inserts inside the Bible cover themes of God’s love and care for all of us, and also give a clear representation of the gospel.

You can learn more about the Bible by clicking either of the links above. The Bible is now available for purchase at these major retailers:

You can also learn more about Zonderkidz products by following them on social media:

Thank you, Zonderkidz for producing a Bible that has my child wanting to read, wanting to learn more, and asking the questions he needs to learn in order to give his heart to Christ. We love this Bible, and we are sure you will too!

Moms, Let’s Get REAL.

I used the following post as a devotional for my monthly MOPs group this month. (Mothers of Preschoolers) It went over so well, and so many moms approached me afterward, I felt it needed to be shared here. I hope this post touches you and helps you realize you are loved, no matter who you really are.

Let's Get Real

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend the Casting Crowns concert with one of my very best friends. After we left the concert, and had some ice cream, we got into some pretty deep discussion. Since then, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this topic. I think this is something all moms need to hear, I’m just praying I can bring it across in a way that points to Jesus.

Tonight, I want us to get real. I mean really really real. Like, spill-our-guts-and-show-the-world-who-we-really-are real.

I start thinking about what Mark Hall said at the concert that night when he said, “As Christians, we feel this overwhelming need to always look good so that we can make Jesus look good.”

Whoa. That hit me like a ton of bricks. I am SO guilty. I feel this need, and it is absolutely overwhelming, to make sure *I* always look good, and therefore Jesus will always look good.

Why do we do that? Why can’t we just be real? As a mom of 8, I often feel like everyone is looking at me. Scrutinizing every move I make, and just waiting for me to fail. And so, I try, with all my might, to NOT fail. To give this perfect appearance of a perfect life all the time.

Oh, what a fake I am. I am not perfect. Nor, should I ever pretend to be, because I am so far from perfect, it’s ridiculous. I have done things that would make you gasp in disbelief and cause you to think little of me. It’s true. I have a past so tattered, that I would do anything to hide it from all of you.

Let me tell you a little secret, and please don’t think less of me because I say this, I just want to be real – to be honest, and to tell it like it is.

The first time I attended my local MOPs group, about 8 years ago, I felt oddly out of place. It was like everyone in the room was so much better than me. Everyone was gorgeous, put together, and so outgoing. There I was, like a bump on a log — a frumpy, overweight, stressed out, exhausted mom of 4, pregnant with her 5th. I had to be better. I had to do better. I had to fit in with everyone around me. (Let me just interject here, if this is how you feel about coming to MOPs, please know that is the exact opposite of what we want you to feel! We want you to walk into MOPs, just as you are, even if it means you show up in your pajamas, and know that you are loved regardless of how much money you have, how stressed out you are, or how long it’s been since you got to take a shower that lasted longer than 3 minutes.)

Back to what I was saying. I felt so out of place, like I could never fit in with these gorgeous ladies. So, I put on a mask. Every time I walked into MOPs, I made sure my makeup was perfect, every hair in place, even made sure my legs were shaved and my eye brows were plucked. I’ve done this for years. Why? Because that’s what I thought I needed to do to give off the appearance of being a good Christian mom that would always make Jesus look good. I had to give off that “perfect life” vibe.

But, you know what? Here’s the thing. It’s not my job to make Jesus look good. He IS good. He radiates good. And if I’m trying to show HIS good by lying? Well, that ain’t doin’ nobody no good! (My high school English teacher is wagging her finger at me right now!) But, it’s true. How can I radiate the love of Christ, if I’m not willing to be REAL and let Him use me in whatever way he chooses?

I have been told that I give off a vibe that I am very difficult to approach, a holier-than-thou vibe, if you will. You have no idea how much hearing this hurts my heart, but it is very much my own fault. It’s all due to the fact that I feel the need to give off that “perfect” appearance. Instead of perfect, though, I am making myself appear stand-offish, and completely unapproachable. Oh, how I hate it! (I have also been told – by the same friend that was willing to give me the brutal truth – that once you get to know me, you see how far off the initial appearance is, but I fear that many people won’t take the time to get to know me simply because of that initial vibe. It hurts my heart so badly to think of all the friendships I may have missed out on because of my overwhelming desire to be look perfect.)

So, my sweet friends, let me confess to you how real I am, and how perfect I am not:

– I yell. A lot. And loud. There are times when my kids make me so angry, I will literally turn into She-Hulk and can only grunt commands. “GO!” “EAT!” “CLEAN!” “QUIIIIEEEETTTT!!!!” Seriously, it’s not pretty.

– I am not Super Mom. I cannot do it all, even if my Facebook posts show otherwise. I am simply a stressed out mama who needs a super God to get me though my day. Every day.

– I am not patient. Sometimes, I’m certain God gave me children to teach me patience. And He gave me so many kids because I need a LOT MORE practice in patience than most women.

– Laundry is my nemesis. I have 15 (yes, 15) tubs of clothes stacked on my back porch. They are not clean and sorted by season. Oh no. They are dirty clothes from before our move. IN NOVEMBER. I still haven’t touched them. And at this point, I’m thinking I should just burn them so that I can have the 15 storage tubs for other junk.

– Every day is not perfect. Facebook is only one part of my life. There is so much more that goes on behind the scenes that no one even knows about. I fight with my husband, who is wonderful, but still a man. I can barely make ends meet with one income and 10 people in our household. Some days, I don’t know where dinner that night is coming from. Sometimes, I don’t want to be a mom. I want a day off to myself, and I want to SLEEP.

After I had written out this devotional before my meeting, I started to get ready for church. Standing in front of the mirror, I had had enough with my bangs. They were too long and too straggly, and they needed a change. So, I grabbed the scissors and…. oh, shoot! Too short. Oh my gosh. Way too short. So much for the perfect representation of my non-existent perfect life. I sure took care of that, didn’t I? I guess I really needed to keep it real. As I’m standing in the bathroom, tears streaming down my face, my 11 year old puts an arm around my shoulders and says, “It’s not so bad! Look! Now we have the same hairdo!” Just what I always wanted… the same hairdo as my 11 year old… SON. Sigh. I’m just keepin’ it real here, ladies. Really real.
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I could go on for hours, there is just so much more I could share. But, I think you get the point. I’m a frazzled, crazy mom, who hates laundry, her hair, and can turn into She-Hulk on a whim. And I am definitely not holier than you!

Before I close, though, I want to leave you with this verse:  Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Do you get that? We are his workmanship – created in Christ Jesus. God made me this way. God made you that way. He knew I was going to be a mess, and yet He loves me anyway. Even when I yell. Even when I have a bad day. He’s still there, still loving me, still wanting me to serve Him in whatever capacity I can. He wants us to walk in good works, but it doesn’t mean we have to do it perfectly every moment of every day. In fact, we don’t have to do it perfectly at all!

So, ladies, can we make a pact with each other? Can we promise to just be real from here on out? Really real?

Let’s just do our best, and if we have a bad day, don’t hide it. Embrace it, and discover what the Lord is trying to teach you through it. Your bad day might be a blessing to another mom who is trying to hold it together when it seems like her whole world is falling apart.

Always remember, YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made!

fearfully and wonderfully made

Party Entertainment for All Ages

Some parties and party hosts unintentionally exclude many of the people who attend these special events. However, there are many ways you can get people of all ages involved in the activities at a party. This often makes these types of get-togethers more enjoyable for young and old people who attend and provides many happy memories in years to come. These are some of the most popular types of entertainment that can be enjoyed by a wide range of age groups who are attending a special occasion together.

Party Rentals
Party rentals are extremely popular at parties and most people can get involved in these activities. Bounce houses, carnival games, slides, water slides, moon walks, thrill rides and rock wall rental options are available and are just some of the forms of entertainment you can add to your party for most age groups.
Create a Party Theme
Creating a party theme is an effective way to get everyone involved in a party that includes kids, teens and adults. The only limitation with this type of entertainment is your imagination. The most popular types of party themes include film themes, beach themes, popular celebrities or other themes everyone is familiar with. To make things even more exciting and interesting you could hold a competition for the best dressed attendee or similar competitions.
Music
Music taste differ between younger and older audiences. To cater for this, have different areas where each age group can listen to music that’s more suited to their tastes. This is the perfect way for adults to relax and chat, especially if they have taken part in more energetic activities earlier in the day.

Karaoke
If you want music to play a bigger role in a party, Karaoke is normally a sure way to find out who the real entertainers are at your party. It’s the ideal way to get young and old party-goers involved and have a few laughs along the way too.

Computer Games
Many adults are just as interested in gaming as their younger counterparts. A party is the perfect place to hold competitions amongst older and younger gamers to see who’s best. Once again you could provide some prizes for those who fare best in these competitions between young and old gamers.

Unfortunately, not all parties are as good as they should be. Some parties alienate certain people who attend and the party doesn’t have the same feeling you get at a party that includes everyone. However, it doesn’t have to be like this. There are many different ways a host can encourage more interaction between people of different age groups at a party. It’s also a great way for people to get to know people they may not have known very well before the party took place. The two main aims of a party are for everyone to enjoy themselves and take away fond memories of the occasion. Involving everyone in the activities at a party is the most effective way to do this.

#AD: Keeping Our #GameDayTraditions FUN! @SheSpeaksUp @ProcterGamble @Walmart

sampleDisclaimer: This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/P&G. Opinions expressed are 100% my own.

gamedaytraditions

Game Day in our house means lots of preparation! I’ve got so much to do! There’s the food to prepare… the house to get clean… every little detail must be taken care of… Even down to what toilet paper I’m going to make sure is available for my guests! (I don’t want someone coming over, using my bathroom, and then going home to tell their spouse, “Ugh. That toilet paper was like sandpaper!” No thank you! Only best for my guests! They deserve the ultra strong, yet squeezably soft goodness that only Charmin can provide.) Luckily, I can head to Walmart and grab everything I need to make our traditions for Game Day perfect.

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Set up is crucial. Spray some Febreze to get the furniture smelling fresh and clean. Then, I need everything laid out just right so my guests can get to it easily. I need the right paper towels to handle clean ups, because with the crew we host on game day, there are sure to be a few spills! Bounty helps me get the counters clean after I’ve slaved in the kitchen all day, and then Bounty paper towels are perfect for clean up during and after the party!

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And then there’s the food. Oh my goodness, the food! Meatballs, sandwiches, chili cheese dip and chips, bread, pasta, desserts galore. I don’t do anything small. I have to make sure there’s plenty of food for everyone, and that there’s no chance of anyone leaving my house hungry!

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And while I’m going out of my mind, trying so hard to make everything just right, I remember the most important tradition I have when it comes to game day: the people I share game day with.

Even though I have ten people living in my house – and we can make any occasion a party! – when we add family and friends to the mix, it’s always something to remember!

Once the game is over, and everyone has left, that’s when I’m thankful I stocked up at Walmart! It’s time for the real clean up! I find dip under the couch. Stains on *everyone’s* clothes. And the bathroom usually looks like a tornado ran through it. (Did you notice all those kids in the picture above?!) Luckily, I’ve got Bounty to help with the clean up of the house, and Tide to help make laundry easier.

After every game day happening, all I want to do is sleep for a week, but I’m always thankful that I’ve had the fun with family and friends. They make every moment of preparation, frustration, and clean up worth it. It doesn’t even matter who wins the game!

Companies like Walmart and P&G make Game Day even easier. I’m thankful for quality products that make everyone happy, at a price that makes my wallet happy!

Want to read about other bloggers and their #GameDayTraditions? Here are the links that will help you do just that:

Now, tell me about Game Day at your house. Do you have any traditions you follow? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

Moving From the City to the Suburbs

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If you grew up in the heart of a big city or live in one now, you enjoy many benefits of city life — easy access to public transportation, extensive shopping and social activities, vibrant art and culture. But you might be like many who wonder if raising a family in a large city is a good idea. Many parents and parents to-be worry about the quality of schools, frequency of crime and lack of safe spaces for kids to play. You’ll drive more if you live outside the city, but there are some distinct advantages to ditching your city digs and taking up residence in the suburbs.

Affordability
In the city, an apartment or flat costs more. You pay a premium for sidewalks, cafes and theaters, as well as the shorter commute. But you money simply goes further in the suburbs. In Seattle for example, a one-bedroom apartment might cost $1,500 in a moderately priced city neighborhood, but in a suburb a mile away, the same apartment might be $900.

Less Noise & Less Pollution
Suburbs have the benefit of less crowding and more green space. When people aren’t packed in like sardines, crime is also less frequent. You can check out crime rates of an area before you move to see what your new neighborhood might be like. With less people and less industry comes better air quality too. See where your current city ranks in terms of pollution according to the American Lung Association. Less noise and pollution can lead to less stress and a higher quality of life.

Better Schools
City schools often don’t compare to their suburban counterparts. Part of the reason for this is the lack of tax base to support the school districts financially. Lower incomes correlate to school bonds and measures not being funded. So families choose the  suburbs to help ensure their children get a better education, even though doing so often means paying higher property taxes. Last, homes and apartments in good school districts hold their value which is important even if you don’t have kids. Look up schools ahead of time and compare. Global report card even allows you to compare any town or suburb to locales outside the U.S.

More Kids
While there are plenty of children who live in the city, parents usually find more convenient access to child care centers, parks and recreation facilities in the suburbs.

If you are considering a move to the suburbs, rent first, or rent permanently. The benefits of renting include flexibility to move should the commute turn out to be too long or the neighborhood doesn’t meet your needs. Renting may be a great permanent option for your family. It also might be a place to stay while you look for a larger place or house. Check out some of the hottest suburbs in the country for renters. Many of the suburbs on this list are among the safest places in their broader metro area. In some cases the rents might be higher too, but the benefits might be worth the premium.

New Weight Loss Challenge & Bible Study Starting Monday!

At the end of last summer, I started a Weight Loss Challenge/Bible Study called “God Before Goodies.” It lasted 4 weeks, and the results were amazing! The ladies in the group became each others’ cheerleaders, friendships were formed, weight was lost, and GOD was given all the glory!

Since the group ended, I’ve been asked almost daily if I would start a new group. After much prayer and deliberation, I’ve decided to start another group. The new group will be called “Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be.”

Becoming the Woman God wants me to be

From January 4th through February 1st, we will look at the lives of different women in the Bible. We will apply the characteristics of their lives to better ourselves in all we do – whether eating, exercising, or living a life for Christ.

I promise you, this is unlike any weight loss challenge you have ever been a part of. We will keep Christ first, help you develop a habit of daily Bible reading, and encourage you in your weight loss goals.

The cost to join is $20 for the month. There are no extra fees. No products to buy. No hidden costs. You are welcome to join for the Bible Study aspect, the weight loss aspect, or both! When you join, you will be surrounded by like-minded women, focusing on your life in Christ, and improving all the areas of your life.

I do have several scholarships available (with no tricks to the scholarship, either!), so if you really want to join but just don’t have the funds, contact me and let me know. I don’t want the fee to keep you from drawing closer to Christ if you really can’t afford it.

I’ve been much in prayer for this study, and I would love to have you join us. It will be run as a secret Facebook group, and only the women who have paid are allowed in the group. (No lurkers – it’s all completely private!)

If you want in, let me know. I’d love to have you join us!

Rejoice in His Blessings this Year. Join Me in #Blessings366

At my most recent MOPs meeting, I was talking to some of my fellow moms and telling them that I wanted a break from social media. Facebook becomes a time suck for me. I get so wrapped up in reading and liking posts that before I know it, I’ve spent an hour getting absolutely nothing accomplished.

So, I had decided that I wouldn’t be doing my “Blessing of the day” in 2016 so that I could keep myself off of Facebook.

One of the moms begged me to change my mind. She told me she had gone through some really hard times this past year, and my “Blessings of the day” posts were what helped encourage her to keep looking up. She told me I had no idea how much those daily pictures and posts had helped her, and she couldn’t imagine not having them to look forward to in 2016.

I told her I would pray about it, and the more I did, the more I knew I had to keep sharing. Not just for her, (though I do love knowing it was an encouragement to someone out there!), but because of the effect it had on me. I was able to look back through this past year and see all God brought us through… and there was a lot! God was so good, and even on the hard days, I was still able to find some kind of blessing during that day. It’s been a great way to remember to be grateful, even when times are tough.

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So, I will keep tradition alive, and I will share my blessings each day in 2016. Because it’s a leap year, I’ll have to change the hashtag, so this year, you can find the blessings at #blessings366 on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

I would love it if you would join me. Your photos don’t have to be anything fancy. Just find one blessing every day and share it using the hashtag #blessings366.

If you are committed to participating in #blessings366 this year, grab the button below and put it on your blog. It’ll help remind you to share your blessings with those around you.

#Blessings366
I am excited to see what the Lord does in 2016, and I’m hoping you’ll be a part of it. Let’s give all the glory to our Savior this year and watch the blessings roll in!

Kids in the Outdoors: The Benefits of Outdoor Playtime

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Confined within the house or classroom, your kids may become stir-crazy. Make sure they have an outlet for all their energy, and let them run free outside. Outdoor recreation has been scientifically linked to physical and mental health benefits. Nature can also serve as an outdoor classroom that teaches your children about wildlife and plant life. Regardless of where you live or how old your children are, there are many ways you can incorporate outdoor outings into your family’s routine.

Learn the Benefits of Nature
Time outdoors reaps many benefits that bolster mental and physical health. The mere act of frequent nature outings encourages exercise and an active lifestyle. The University of Essex studied the effects of colors in relation to exercise. The study found that the color green produces better results — less mood disturbances and lower feelings of exertion — than any other color. From this study, it was deduced that the greenery within nature provides an ideal setting for exercise.

Nature helps improve brain function and concentration within children. A study conducted by the National Center for Biology Information found that children with ADHD who spend time outdoors have lessened symptoms. Those who engage in the same activities indoors do not show the same increase of concentration.

The summer sun provides an ample amount of vitamin D, which increases your children’s bone and cell growth, increases their immune functions and provides them with energy. Make sure that your family wears sunscreen that is 30 SPF to be protected from skin damage or cancer.

Make It a Habit
Make outdoor recreation a habit for your family. Schedule time when you and your kids can take walks through your local parks, go on weekend hikes or try new outdoor activities. You can incorporate outdoor activity into your daily routine, even if you have smaller children with some simple solutions. For example, install a kid seat on your bicycle for regular rides around the neighborhood after dinner or to and from school.

The habit of outdoor recreation can be implemented in any environment or weather conditions. If you live in the city and nature isn’t as accessible, many cities have interurban trails or arboretums that are abundant in greenery. If you’re in a colder climate, there are a number of cold-weather activities you can take part in. Equip your kids with the right winter gear, and teach them about snow and ice safety so they can fully enjoy the outdoors in the winter.

Fun Activities
There are plenty of outdoor activities that the entire family can enjoy. Excite and engage your kids with a variety of outdoor games that will keep them outside for as long as possible. Take your family to a park or some fields with a soccer ball for a friendly afternoon scrimmage. Purchase some small, multi-colored cones to place around the field for a game of frisbee golf.

Bird watching is an activity that provides your kids with outdoor time as well as an increased knowledge of all the varieties of birds. Research the best spots for bird watching in your area and bring along a picture guide and a journal. You and your child can make a game of how many types of birds you spot.

You can also take nature walks with your children to identify plants, trees, insects and wildlife. A number of handy outdoor apps will assist in your identification of all the life that lies within nature.

Exciting Gift Ideas That Any Man Will Love

Whether you’re shopping for your husband, brother or father, choosing gifts for men is never easy. The main problem is that when it comes to buying for him, it can be a real struggle coming up with a fun and unique idea. Often, when we’re gift buying, we ask people what they want, to get a few ideas, but men tend to state that they ‘don’t need anything’. (This is seriously unhelpful and makes shopping for them even harder.)

While picking the perfect gift for the man in your life can be tricky, it doesn’t have to be. To make gift buying a little easier, I thought that I would share a few ideas with you here, that all men are sure to love.

Sports themed gifts

Almost every guy supports one sport or another, so a sports themed gift could be perfect. Think about what his favorite sport is, as well as what team or player he supports, and use this to come up with some gift ideas.

Tickets to watch a match are always a safe bet, as is memorabilia. If he likes to collect stuff, he might love a selection of vintage memorabilia of his favorite sports team or player. You can find some fantastic vintage pieces on selling sites like eBay, so make sure to have a look on there.

If he has always wanted to give a particular sport a try, why not book him in for lessons or an experience day? Men love trying new things, especially if it’s something that they’ve wanted to try for a while.

Gadgets

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Photo source

If the guy that you’re buying for loves messing around with gadgets, something technological could make the perfect gift. The good news is that there are so many options to choose from, that whatever his interests, there should be something that’s perfect.

Ask yourself what his hobbies include. If, for example, he loves taking photos, why not buy him a top of the range camera? It’s important to choose him a gift he’ll cherish and use, so something that relates to an interest he has is a good idea.

Or, for instance, if he’s crazy about remote control cars and helicopters, consider treating him to the ultimate boy’s toy – a drone. These might not come cheap, but if you pick him a good one – check out the Pro Photo UAV website, he’ll have hours of fun with it.

If he doesn’t have a tablet of his own, this could make the perfect gift. Today tablets are affordable to buy and have so many uses, and because of this make great gifts. While ipads are the most sought after device, there are plenty of tablet designs that are just as good and a lot cheaper. (To find out the best makes, have a look online.)

Edible treats

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Image credit: Flickr

If all else fails and you’re stuck for ideas, edible gifts can be a great success. When we think of edible treats, we often think of sweet things. However, savoury foods can also make great gifts. How about treating him to a hamper made up of all his fave treats? Instead of buying the hamper, get creative and make it yourself. Ready made hampers can be a little pricey, so going down the DIY route it best. Plus, that way, you can customize it just for him.

All you need is a basket, some tissue paper, ribbon, and a selection of his favorite food and drink. Pack the hamper with lots of bits and bobs that you know he’ll love, and you can make him the most incredible gift.

So there you have it, my guide to exciting gift ideas that all men will love.

The Benefits of Using Glass Packaging

The production of goods is not an easy job, but a very rewarding one. Owning a business in this type of sector comes with a lot of responsibility. One of the biggest responsibilities that a business owner in this line of work has is choosing the right packaging for their products. Using Glass Products to house a product can be very beneficial. Selecting a great supplier of glass containers is the first thing that a business owner will have to think about. Here are some of the benefits that using glass containers for products can provide.

A Recyclable Material
For most business owners, finding a way to supply the public with products without putting a strain on the environment is a top concern. By using glass containers, a business owner will be able to do just that. The glass that comprises the containers is a completely recyclable material. This means that after the product it used, the glass can be made into other goods and used again and again. By taking the time to do their part for the environment, a business owner will be able to reduce the pollution they put out of their company.

No Effect on the Product
The next benefit that comes along with using glass packaging is that it is non porous. This means that the product will not be affected during transport, which means it will allow for the taste or the consistency to remain intact. The money that is paid for quality packaging is well worth it and will help to ensure that the quality products produced will reach the consumer unspoiled. Be sure to speak with the glass container supplier being used about what can be done to keep the product safe while in transport.

Durable Grade of Glass
Choosing to use glass packaging is also a great way for the business owner to get their product on the shelves in one piece. The tempered glass that is used for this type of packaging will help to reduce the frequency of glass breaks. Be sure to invest the money into getting quality containers. Taking the time to research the various glass containers available will make it much easier for a person to get the right results. A reputable and experienced supplier will have no problem guiding a business owner towards the right type of glass container.

The right supplier can make the choosing and production of the glass containers much easier. Going online and researching a supplier can help a business owner make the right decision with ease.

Guest Post: Three Simple Tips for Selecting the Finest Watches for Women

Women do not have a shortage of jewelry pieces that they can add to their wardrobes. There are necklaces, bracelets, earrings, watches and a whole lot of other items. The same cannot be said for men.

For a long time the only jewelry piece that men could wear was a ring and then came the watches.

Watches have been known as the man’s jewelry but nowadays top watch brands are creating lovely watches for women as well. The only problem that you might have when looking for a woman’s watch is selecting the one that you want to take home with you.

Picking the right watch

The first thing that you need to consider when buying a watch is your body size. The watches that will look nice of plus size women might not look nice at all on women who are slim. Here are a few tips that you might want to consider when you are seeking out a luxury watch for women.

1. Size of the band
It goes without saying that a majority of watches for women come with a very thin band. The slimmer the band is the bigger it makes your hand appear. If you are slim then you should be looking for a watch that is going to make your hand appear to be bigger. This generally means that you should go for a watch with a slimmer band. As a plus size lady, a slim watch will make the hand look bigger; you should look for a watch with a wider band.

2. Size of the face
You do not want a watch with too large a face or too. The rules that govern the band/strap aforementioned are going to apply to the face of the watch as well. Do not over think it though.

3. Color
When buying luxury watches for women you will find a whole lot of colors to select from. This is where companies like Essential Watches come in to save the day. Essential Watches is an online watch shop that is based in Beverly Hills. The company deals with all the finest watches from Switzerland and Germany. Here you will get a watch for yourself and for your man- stylish watch. The colors available to choose from are innumerable- you will be totally spoilt for choice.

Generally when you are considering the colors, you should go for a color that will work for your everyday activities. For instance a watch with a silver face and a black dial will go with just about anything in your wardrobe.

Premium quality watches

Shopping for a watch online can be a dangerous affair. You need not be told that there are con artists online. This is why if you want to invest in a luxury watch you should seek out these products at sites like Essential Watches. This is one of those sites that have been tried, tested and proven to provide nothing but world class quality watches. Investing in a top brand watch is always nice. If the price of a brand new watch scares you, there are used watches available and they come at a cheaper price.

About Author
David Kuttner is a photographer, writer, and a father. When he’s not busy writing, he’s most likely spending time with his wife and their two mischievous dogs: Lily and Bart.

How To Make Your Next Children’s Birthday Party Memorable

Kids birthday parties are one of the joys of having kids. Getting to be there with them on their birthday as they enjoy themselves with their friends is priceless! You want your child to remember their childhood birthday parties forever. Here is how you can make your next children’s birthday party a memorable one, for your child and all those invited!

Pick A Theme
Choosing a theme is a great way to make a kids party memorable! Pirates is a great theme idea, as both boys and girls will enjoy it. As well as having them dress up as little pirates, you can incorporate the theme into your party games. Finding the buried treasure is guaranteed to be exciting! A theme makes a party more personal to your child, as they can involve something that they enjoy. If you are stuck for ideas, there are plenty on the internet!

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Link

Take Photos
The easiest way to make it memorable is to make sure to take lots of photos. Ask your guests moms and dads to take photos as well as you, or hand out some disposable cameras so you definitely get to see them. Alternatively you might want to hire a photographer if you think you’re going to be too busy helping to entertain kids to take photos. The Las Vegas Photographers site tells you how to pick the right one.

Go Big On Food
Make sure you have a wide range of food on offer, as you don’t want your children’s party to be memorable for the wrong reason. Kids can be fussy, and you don’t want them going hungry if they don’t like what you’ve gone on offer. Food can also make the party memorable for a good reason! Consider getting a really memorable cake, perhaps one that is shaped like their favorite cartoon character.

Little Touches
Little touches make a big difference! Make sure to decorate with plenty of banners and balloons to make your child feel important on their special day. A great decoration is a big birthday balloon with their age on it. You could also buy some party poppers, just make sure the kids are supervised with them! Then how about putting photos of them when they were even younger around the house. Older visitors to the party such as family members will appreciate these.

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Link

Choose The Location Wisely
The location is what the kids at the party will remember the most. So choose wisely! There are plenty of options available to you. If you’d rather not have to do the work yourself and run around after kids, you could hire somewhere like a leisure center or a swimming pool. This would also be a great option for kids who like being sporty or active. If you’d rather have something a bit closer to home, why not choose a garden party? You could hire a bouncy castle and arrange party games such as pass the parcel. This is a great option for younger kids, so you are able to keep an eye on them.

Making your child’s next birthday party as memorable as possible is easier than you might think. Try out these tips and see!

#Ad: I’m Happy for You (Sort Of…Not Really) #FLYBY #HydrateForTheHolidays #BookReview

sampleDisclaimer: This post is sponsored by FlyBy Promotions. I received a complimentary copy of the book in order to facilitate my review.

happy for you

Today’s world is full of competition. Do you ever look at Pinterest and get jealous of “those” moms who can do it all? I know I do.

Several weeks ago, I had the chance to hear Kay Wills Wyma’s interview with Focus on the Family. I was so impressed and so moved by the interview that I immediately ordered her book on my Kindle. I get so caught up with feeling like I have to be better than everyone else. Since everyone is comparing their life to mine anyway, I have to give them something that’s worth comparing!

How foolish is that? I can’t imagine Jesus would be very proud of that type of attitude. Nor would He appreciate my coveting the ability of others every time I log into Facebook or Pinterest.

This book is fantastic. A must read for every mom – or woman – who feels like her joy is being robbed by the comparison and competition in her life. Kay shares her own experiences with comparison living and gives her readers simple remedies that helped her family change their perspective and find freedom and joy in every day life.

Right now, we’re in the thick of the holiday season. Boy, that makes comparison an even touchier topic, doesn’t it? Well, I’ve got good news for you! On her blog, Kay is starting to #HydratefortheHolidays, and is helping us all learn how to recapture contentment and joy in our lives. I’m so excited about these posts. You must check them out!

Here are the best ways to check out all the #HydratefortheHolidays posts and interact with Kay:

I truly hope you’ll check out this book. It has truly helped me so much, and I’ve really changed my thought process on comparing my life with the lives of other moms and women, and have started focusing on my own blessings and all God has allowed me to do and have. This book is truly life changing and I will highly recommend it to everyone!

Have you read I’m Happy for You (Sort Of…Not Really): Finding Contentment in a Culture of Comparison? What did you think of it? I’d love to hear if it helped you as much as it did me. Leave me a comment below!