Time is what really matters

thNY3U2PMH

I was having a discussion with a co-worker earlier. I told her a story about taking my daughter out for ice cream at Dairy Queen and how much we enjoyed it. This prompted her to tell me about a new custard creation at Sonic and how delicious it was. I told her it sounded intriguing and that I may just have to try that out. Then she jokingly said that my husband and I should do that for our date night.

Here’s where the conversation went from a simple exchange to something a tad more serious. She was cracking up at her “joke”. I looked at her seriously and said “why not?” And she said “Oh you wouldn’t want to go do that for your date night you need to do something much fancier than that!” I repeated my question of why not. She shrugged her shoulders and said “Oh I guess it doesn’t matter for you anymore because you’ve been married for so long.” (We’ve been married 16 almost 17 years by the way…)

I looked seriously at her and took a deep breath. I wasn’t sure if I should attempt to impart some wisdom to this young, single girl or not. I truly think that a lot of people are quite confused about expectations when it comes to so many things in the world today, like love/dating just to name one. My co-worker then gives me a perplexed look because my facial expressions hide nothing so she knew my brain was working overtime.

endless_time__by_marsphoto-d5000hk

“Let me just give you a little wisdom from a married woman who is also incredibly cool. If you truly love and care for someone it doesn’t matter where you are, or what you are doing. All that really matters is that you are together and spending time with the person you love. Whether you are at McDonald’s ordering off the value menu, or at the fanciest restaurant in Memphis … it doesn’t matter. As long as you are together with the person who means more to you than anything else.”

She then tries to argue her point with me by saying, “But if you are going out to the theatre to see a play you don’t want to go to McDonald’s or Sonic before a nice evening out like that!”

So I plead with her to see the error of her ways. “I’m serious here. Whether you are taking your private jet out for the flashiest date in the world, or both at home on the couch or in bed sick as dogs just watching TV. It wouldn’t matter if you are at a park eating PB & J and home made microwave popcorn that you brought to the park with you. All that matters is that you are spending time with the person that you love. That is ALL that matters is the time not the activity or the fanciness of any of it.”

She then looks at me and questions me again with a Really? I reassured her and told her that sometimes it’s nice to go out for a fancy night out, but even then it wouldn’t matter one bit about the fancy place or activity if my love wasn’t there to share it with me.

1-time-is-precious

Listen, all relationships have their ups and downs. However, it seems like so many marriages are failing in recent times. Divorce rates are through the roof and there are definitely times that a divorce is the right decision. But what if a lot of times divorce wasn’t the right choice? What if a simple adjustment of expectation was really what is necessary. Now I am not saying that adjustment would be a one-sided thing. A marriage is something that takes BOTH people to make it work. I am just really wondering how many marriages could possibly be saved a conversation about what each of you expect from the other person and trying to come to a compromise on some things or at the very least a realization that with a little work you might be able to save your marriage.

I have never once thought that marriage was going to be easy. I can promise you that I have learned that it is even more difficult that I thought it would be. Marriage is NOT a fairy tale and no spouse is perfect (husband or wife). We all have our flaws and that means every single marriage is flawed in one way or another. All we can do is try to communicate with each other and work towards bettering what we have with the person that we love enough to call our other half.

time_for_love_by_screamst

Sure there are lots of things that make a marriage work or not work, but in the end what it all boils down to is time.

  • Communication
  • Respect
  • Love
  • Devotion
  • Finances
  • Careers
  • Housework
  • Kids
  • Family Obligations

This is a short list of things that come into play on a regular basis in my marriage. Not all inclusive by any means, but it gives you an idea for arguments sake. EVERY single thing on this list comes down to time. Taking the time to be there for someone other than yourself means all the world to others. Spouse’s included.

A person can’t communicate with themselves. All the people involved in a conversation have to take the time to listen and participate in the conversation so that everyone feels like they are being heard and not ignored.

Respect is something that people have to take the time to invest in with other people. Yes it isn’t just given out, but you have to put the time in to earn respect with someone and through that it helps you to gain respect in return.

time-707642

Love is shown in so many ways however, every single one of those ways takes time. Even a simple kiss on the forehead or cheek takes time away from something else that you could be doing in that moment. That moment may seem insignificant, however, taking that moment to show your love for one another can be earth shattering at certain times in your lives.

Do you see the point that I am trying to make? I doubt you all need me to continue on point by point through the list explaining it to you.

The bottom line for me is how much every single moment means. I have realized over the last few years that moments matter. Some moments are good, and others are bad. However, they ALL matter. I try to learn from the bad moments both about myself and about the other person involved in the bad moment. I can take those bad moments and try to improve how I handle myself in a similar situation when it comes up again. I can learn how to better interact with people through those bad moments too. Everyone reacts to things differently so if I need to adjust my behavior with certain people to make my experience with them better, then I can try to do that. It’s not me changing who I am, but it is me choosing to adjust. Me taking the time to make that adjustment for others could mean a world of change for myself and for all of the people around me.

We should not expect for everyone else to always live up to our expectations. We can attempt to communicate those expectations to others, however, that doesn’t mean they have to meet those expectations. What we expect from others isn’t always what those people are willing to give back to us. We have to take what is given to us from others and truly accept it for what it is. That may be the best that person can give at this present time. If their best isn’t what you expected, that doesn’t make it any less of a gesture.

value-of-time

This whole thought on time for me definitely applies to my marriage, but I also believe that is applies to pretty much every aspect of my life.

Time is the greatest gift that we can give to anyone. Don’t put off the gift of your time when it comes to anyone that you love or care about. It’s too important not to lose another moment.

untitled

Planning the Perfect Spiderman Birthday Party

Is your little boy crazy about Spiderman? Then why not throw him a Spiderman Birthday party? Here are some tips for making the party fun for the kids yet simple for you.

I always find the best way to start planning for any party is the guest list. Once you know how many people to plan for then you are ready to focus on the rest of the details. After finishing the guest list, it is then time to get the invitations ready. You can either purchase character themed invitations from a local or on-line party supplier or you can make your own invitations using Microsoft Word’s invitation templates. The invitations need to be mailed out two weeks before the party date. This way all of your anticipated guests have plenty of time to make sure they can attend and RSVP. Just a side note, I have noticed that most people do not feel the need to RSVP anymore, so when you send out the invitations, make sure you are prepared for all of those people to attend.

Next, you need to make a decision on a cake. You can order a Spiderman themed cake from any local bakery or supermarket. You can also make your own cake. I find that making my own cake saves me quite a bit of money. There are a couple of options when making your own Spiderman cake. You can purchase a Spiderman shaped cake pan from a specialty baking shop. This choice is a bit more complicated to decorate, however it is well worth the effort once you see the finished cake. You could also make Spiderman cupcakes. There are several ways to do this, here are a few of my favorites. Cupcakes decorated with Spiderman Faces, or web designs, or you can even do web designs and put a Spiderman figure on top.

If you want something different than cake, you can always make crispy treats instead, or in addition to the cake. Rice crispy treats are easy to shape and color. You can make them in to Spidey heads, or even web shapes. If you are not ready for a complex decorating job, you can always get your local bakery to transfer any Spiderman picture onto edible image paper. There is a charge for this, however it is usually very minimal. You could even take a photo of your son dressed up as Spiderman, and then your cake is absolutely one of a kind! The image is easy to place onto any cake. You want to make sure the cake is ordered, pan or supplies are purchased, or the image is able to be turned into an edible one, so start the cake process about the same time that you send out the invitations.

Now comes my favorite part of planning a child’s party, the games and activities! There are so many ways to make the party memorable. Below I am going to list several of my favorite ideas. Depending on the age of the kids that will be attending you party you should choose 2 or 3 activities for them to participate in.

Spiderman coloring pages printed from the web or taken from a coloring book

Pin the spider on Spiderman

Capture the villains! Use silly string as web, and place pictures or action figures of the Spiderman villains around the yard or room. Let the kids shoot the bad guys with “web” If you use action figures, this would make a great party favor, the villain that each child shoots, they get to take home as a favor!

Spider crafts. There are tons of spider crafts out there. Just do a search on the web for Spider crafts and you will get tons of options!

Spiderman dodge ball. The birthday boy is first to be Spiderman, and all the guests are the villains The final villain left standing is next to be Spiderman. You can continue on with this through all of the party guests. Another great idea is to use a ball that looks like Spider man’s head for this game.

A child’s party is not complete without favor bags to send him with the friends that attend. You can purchase a variety of character themed goodies at party supply stores. Some of these stores may even have bags already filled and packed for you, so you don’t have to worry about filling the goody bags. You don’t want to just send home toys though, the kids will want to find something yummy in the bag as well. Spiderman fruit snacks, fruit rolls, or even red and blue candies make great choices for this theme party!

The final week before the party is the time to get all of the final details into place. Pick up all the snack foods, drinks, and other party supplies. You will need cups, plates for food, and also plates for cake and ice cream. Make sure you don’t forget napkins and plastic silverware. You will also need to make sure you chill the drinks ahead of time and have plenty of ice on hand too. You will need to order balloons from the floral department of the grocery store, or from the party supply store near you.

The day of the party everything should be all ready. The cake should be picked up right before the party, or made the day before. All decorations can also be put up right before the party. As the guests arrive you will be calm and collected and be able to enjoy the party along with your child. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures of the birthday boy enjoying all the web-slinging action at his party. He will remember it forever, and I am sure you will too!

The Butcher Shop in Cordova, TN: A Cut Above the Rest

My husband and I recently celebrated our wedding anniversary. The kids got shipped off to their grandmother’s house for the weekend so we could enjoy some time to ourselves. We wanted to make our dinner out special so we chose to go to The Butcher Shop in Cordova, TN.

The Butcher Shop specializes in steaks. However they have lots of options on the menu if steak is not your thing. The evening that my husband and I ate there, we both chose steak to eat. However, we also enjoyed an appetizer,some wine, and a fabulous dessert. We chose the Crab Cake Remoulade for our appetizer. They cost $9, for 2 crab cakes. They were absolutely delicious! One for each of us to eat, and the flavors were so intense yet not overpowering. We each also had a salad that came with our meal. My husband went with the Ceasar salad, and I chose the house salad. They both were very well put together and fresh. For our entrees my husband chose the 14 oz fillet mignon for $29.00, and I chose the Stuffed Fillet for $26. My husband said his fillet was cooked to perfection and was one of the best he had ever eaten. My stuffed fillet, was heavenly! It was stuffed with sauteed portabello mushrooms, Gorgonzola cheese and fresh rosemary sprigs and served with Au Jus on the side. We both chose to have a baked potato for our side item. We were able to choose whatever items we wanted to go into our baked potato. My husband had his loaded, and I chose a few of my favorite fillings cheese, sour cream, butter, and bacon. The presentation of our meals was gorgeous, and most importantly they were so flavorful that we really enjoyed them. The Waiter was so helpful. My husband knew exactly what wine he wanted, however, I was unsure. The Waiter brought me one to try and when I didn’t think it was the one for me, he brought me another which I loved and chose as my wine for dinner.

Even though we were almost stuffed, we couldn’t resist asking what was on the dessert menu. The Waiter described each of the dessert items to us. They all sounded divine, however, there was one that stood out. They were offering a special dessert at that time, it was Banana’s Foster. I had never had this before, but heard it was amazing, so we ordered it and enjoyed the atmosphere of the restaurant while we waited. The Banana’s Foster arrived and it looked exquisite. The Butcher Shop does not light it’s Banana’s Foster, so that was one aspect of eating Banana’s Foster we did not experience. I took a bite and looked over to my husband and asked him “Where is yours?” This dessert was so amazing, I couldn’t believe it! We ate the entire dessert and then enjoyed the atmosphere a little longer while finishing up our wine.

Since it was our anniversary, we asked the Waiter to take our picture so we could remember the night forever. However, even without the picture, I don’t think we will ever forget that night. The food was amazing, the atmosphere romantic, and the service impeccable. The prices are much too high for us to eat at The Butcher Shop on a regular basis, however, I will definitely want to go back there on our next special occasion!

Holiday Visiting

I remember being a child and making coupon books for my mother for Mother’s Day. The small handmade book would have several coupons in it for things like a hug, a kiss, a clean room, breakfast in bed, and so on. My mother always loved those home made pictures and coupon books, or else she just told me she did! Now I am a grown woman and a mother myself. The thought crossed my mind as I mapped out my families plans for the upcoming Mother’s Day weekend. Where is my time to relax and enjoy a quiet moment on Mother’s Day? My schedule for the holiday weekend goes a little something like this.

Friday – take the kids to school, work, clean the house, do the laundry, pick up the kids from school, make dinner, have family fun time (our Friday night ritual), get the kids to bed and any other chore that pops up.

Saturday – breakfast, get all three kids bathed and dressed, get myself bathed and dressed, drive an hour and a half to visit my mother and my grandmother for the day, drive an hour and a half back home, cook dinner, clean up, get the kids to bed and do more laundry.

Sunday – breakfast, get everyone bathed and ready again, drive an hour to visit my mother in law for the day, drive an hour back home, cook dinner, clean up, get the kids to bed, and do laundry yet again.

Where in this packed schedule is there time for me to bask in the joys of motherhood or enjoy this holiday at all? Don’t get me wrong, I am thoroughly looking forward to each moment that I get to spend with my mother, grandmother, and mother in law. Each of them are such wonderful women and I love them all dearly. The problem is not just with Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. It is every holiday. At Christmas time it is the same thing. Days of packed schedules and no real time for our children to sit and enjoy the gifts they have received or to learn the true meaning of the holiday. We are too busy carting them from one place to another to just enjoy time together during the holiday. At Thanksgiving, we find ourselves so stuffed from eating three separate Thanksgiving dinners over the course of the weekend, that we may need to be rolled home instead of drive ourselves home.

I found holidays much simpler before I was married with children. Back then, I only had my parents and extended family to worry about seeing on any given holiday. Those were simpler times. Then I got married and that added a whole other set of parents and extended family to see on each holiday. Then you add in children that you are having to cart around with you each time you go visit anyone. You have to carry diapers, bottles, changes of clothes, baby wipes, formula, baby food, pacifiers, and whatever else your child needs to make it through a day away from home. Not to mention keeping the child entertained in the car while you drive to and from your destination, or keeping them occupied while at your destination. Luckily, I have wonderful parents and in-laws that have toys at their homes to entertain the children so we don’t have to bring something along to keep them happy at the grandparent’s house. Many people are not so lucky though. You begin to feel like you are taking your entire home with you. As you drive, thoughts start circling in your head. “Why can’t they come to visit us?” “Don’t they realize how hard it is to travel with children?” “There has to be an easier way to do this every year?”

After the whirlwind of the holiday ends, you sit down and start trying to think of a solution to make things easier the next time around. Thoughts of trading off each year and only visiting one set of family each year instead of all of them every year. Well, that isn’t fair of course. Then the family you don’t get to see that year will feel left out, and you will miss seeing them and so will your children. What about having everyone to your place instead? Well, this poses a whole other set of issues. Do you have room for everyone at your house? Would everyone be willing to travel to you instead? Every option comes to the same conclusion. This is the way it has been done for years in ‘my’ family.

I have found, there is not any real solution to this problem. Of course you feel obligated, they are your family. You love them and want to be with them and enjoy the holiday with them. They raised you and cared for you just like you are doing for your children. It is a matter of respect, love, and devotion to your family and your roots that keeps you running on every holiday. As my husband has said in years before, our parents had to travel with us when we were young, they have earned the right for us to come to them. Now it is our turn to teach our kids to not forget about their roots, and to continue loving and cherishing family even once you are grown and have a family of your own. It is an important lesson for every child to learn. At times while traveling from place to place on the holidays, I find myself frustrated and tired. The kids may be fighting in the car, or cranky and tired of riding for so long. Whatever the frustration is at that moment, I try to remember how much fun we had while visiting this time, or how much fun we will have at the next place. I try to remind my children of those things too.

Why do we feel obligated? Because that is the way it is, and I don’t think it should be any other way.

Product Review: Coppertone Water Babies – Quick Cover Lotion Spray

A few weeks ago we wanted to let our three children go outside and play in the sprinkler. I was getting them into their swim suits and getting towels ready for them. When I went to the cabinet to pull out the sunscreen I realized we were all out. Instead of calling off all of the fun, I ran up to the store to buy a new supply for the summer. When I arrived at the sunscreen aisle, I was amazed. There were so many choices! They have screens, blocks, lotions, sticks, balms, oils, sprays, waterproof, sport, UVA, UVB, and not to mention all of the different SPF choices! I focused my search on the children’s products. The majority of the children’s sunscreen products that I found that day were 45 SPF at the minimum. That was the one constant in the children’s sunscreen products, a high SPF.

SPF
SPF stand for Sun Protection Factor. I know what you are thinking. Great, but what on earth does the SPF number actually mean? It is basically the amount of time that a person can be exposed to sunlight without getting sun burned. According to Wikipedia’s definition of SPF, a person who would normally burn in 12 minutes of sun exposure without sunscreen, once protected by a 10 SPF sunscreen they could then be out for 2 hours, or 120 minutes, before getting burned. So the SPF multiplies the amount of time that you can be out in the sun by that number. The higher the SPF the longer you can be out in the sun without getting burned.

UVA/UVB
These are the types of invisible rays that the sun puts out. Ultraviolet A & B rays can cause both short and long term skin damage. If a sun screen products says it has Broad Spectrum protection that means it is protecting against both UVA and UVB rays.

Let’s recap! SPF is the amount of time that you can be out in the sun. UVA and UVB are the types of rays the sun puts out. Broad Spectrum sun screen is better because it protects against both types of harmful rays from the sun. Now that we all have a better understanding of all the confusing letters on the sunscreen packages, let’s go back to my purchase that day.

I wanted something that would be quick and easy to apply. Therefore, I focused my attentions on the sprays and sticks. In the end I chose to go with the Coppertone Water Babies Lotion Spray. I made my purchase at a Kroger grocery store and this specific brand was on sale for $8.99 for a 6 oz spray bottle. This was neither the cheapest brand or the most expensive brand that day.

Why did I choose this brand?
1. Easy of application – It is a lotion in a spray form. All I had to do was spray the lotion onto my kids skin and rub it in.
2. SPF – This product has an SPF of 50. This mean that my kids could be out in the sun 50 times longer than they could be without sunscreen on.
3. Waterproof – The bottle claims that this product gives ‘instant waterproof protection’ My kids were going to be playing in the sprinkler so I needed something that was not going to wash off during the first pass in the sprinkler.
4. Broad spectrum protection – it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
5. Hypoallergenic – I have a child with a skin condition so this extra sensitive formula was important to me.
6. The bottle says it is #1 Pediatrician Recommended

Now you know what all of the letters mean, how much this product cost me, and also why I chose the product. That means it is time for the important stuff! Did the product live up to its claims and my expectations as a parent?

I am the mother of three children, each of them has very different skin from the other. My oldest child has skin that rarely burns. A nice olive complexion that just turns a gorgeous tan in the sun, however it is still very important to protect her skin from the harmful rays of the sun. My middle child has a fairer complexion that does burn fairly easy. Then my youngest child has extremely sensitive skin. She has severe eczema, many lotions sting and burn when we put them on her, so sunscreen is sometimes a big issue for her. No matter how bad it stings, she has to wear it in order to be out in the sun.

I put sunscreen on my middle child first. He is a giggly and wiggly five year old little boy. Getting him to stand still for me to apply sunscreen is a major task. The ease of the spray was wonderful for him. It sprays on quickly then I rubbed it in and he was done. He loved the fact that I was spraying lotion onto him. I had finished applying the sunscreen to his entire body in under 5 minutes. My oldest went next. She is a seven year old who is easy to manage when it comes to sunscreen. She also thought the spray was cool, but the ease of application was not particularly necessary for her. If I had only needed sunscreen for her, then I probably would have gone with a less expensive lotion rather than going for the more expensive spray on type. Now it was time for the real test. My three year old with a skin condition. I sprayed the lotion onto her arms and started to rub it in. Not a single cry from her! It was gentle enough that it did not agitate her eczema at all. This was a huge plus for me!

Even though the product says on the front of the bottle that it gives instant waterproof protection, I still had my kids wait about 30 minutes after the application before they went out into the water. I guess I am from the old school where good things come to those who wait, so we waited. Then out into the sun and water they went. The played out in the water and sun for the majority of the afternoon. They came in after about two and a half hours of playing outside. They were not in the sprinkler the entire time they ran around the yard and rode their scooters and bikes some also. That evening I put them into the tub and got them all ready for bed. Not a hint of pink or red on them. The next day I checked over them again to make sure nothing had shown up, not a hint of sun burn at all.

All in all, the Coppertone Water Babies Lotion Spray is a wonderful product. I think it is best for younger children since the ease of application is so important at the younger ages. I would definitely purchase this product again for my children. It was easy to use, worked just as the bottle says, and was not ridiculously expensive. I still have quite a bit of sunscreen lotion left in this bottle, but I know I will need to buy more before the summer is over. This will be the brand I go directly to next time I am in the sunscreen aisle!

How to Avoid Sibling Rivalry

I am the mother of three great kids. It amazes me how when I am with each one individually they are so different than when the other children are with us. Sometimes it seems that I am dealing with three little Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’s. The problem is they are all wanting my attention and my attention gets stretched out as much as possible, but at times it still isn’t enough to go around.

I began to try to figure out ways to help fight back against sibling rivalry in our house. Here are a few tips that I have found extremely helpful!

Comparisons
Let me start off by saying that “never” is not a word that I use lightly. So when I tell you this tip, please realize how serious it is. Never compare your children to one another. This is so easy to do and not realize that you are even comparing them. Think back to the last time you told your kids to clean their rooms. One child got the job done quickly, and the other child took much longer. When you check in on the slower child, what did you say? Did you say something along the lines of, “I am so glad that you are taking your time and getting the job done the right way.” Or did your statement sound more like this, “Why is this not finished yet? Your sister/brother finished her/his room over an hour ago!” If you said something similar to the second statement, then you were comparing your kids. Even if you are the perfect parent, your children are going to compete against one another. That is inevitable, however, the better we can get at not comparing our children to one another, the less the children will feel the need to be better than the other. The best thing to remember is that each child is different and one child may be better at one task than the other, but that other child is going to be great at another task. Recognize these differences, and acknowledge that your child is doing their best at each task, or push them to strive for their best no matter what the task is! All you want is that child’s personal best, which may not necessarily be the same as your other child.

Falling into this same category, is playing favorites. This can not help any sibling rivalry situation. The only thing that playing favorites will do is make things much worse! Beware of favoring a certain child over another. Your children do notice it no matter what age they are, ad chances are they will not forget it.

Cooperate, don’t compete
Let’s use dinner as an example for this tip. I know I have children who like to dawdle at the dinner table. Instead of having the children try to beat each other to finish first, set a timer. The children can each try to beat the clock and finish eating their dinner before the time is up. This way they are not competing against each other. This works the same for picking up toys, books or clearing the table. Whatever the chore or task, this timer trick will work. Not only does it keep the children from competing, but it also helps them to cooperate with each other on many occasions. An added bonus with the timer trick, it turns just about anything into a fun activity. Cooperation works when it comes to fun projects too, not just the difficult stuff. If you are having the children make something for a holiday gift, have them all cooperate to make one gift instead of having each of them make their own gift. This way each child can use his or her own strengths and not feel like someone else did a better job.

Routine
If you find that your children are arguing at the same time each day, then it may be a time to change your daily routine. Something as simple as moving dinner up by half an hour can make a huge difference in the way your children react to one another. Making sure that you have a set schedule for your day makes children feel secure because they know when to expect meals, bath, bed, and any other activities that your family does on a daily basis.

Attention
The main reason that siblings bicker is because they want the attention of the parents. It does not matter what kind of attention they get, as long as they are getting attention. To a child, any attention is better than no attention. So a child will get attention any way that they can. Sometimes children will achieve the attention they crave in positive ways, other times in negative ways. You need to teach your children that negative attention is not the appropriate way to gain time with you as a parent. Negative actions will have negative consequences. The same must happen for positive actions, reward those with a positive reenforcement. There are always going to be circumstances when negative actions will happen. No child is perfect, and they will do bad things. This is one of the many ways that a child learns. It is our job as parents to help guide them toward making more positive choices rather than negative choices.

Family Time
An easy way to fight back against sibling rivalry is to show your children how much fun you can all have together as a family. Family time is a blast for everyone. Decide on a weekly or monthly activity that you all can enjoy as a family. It could be a ball game, a day at the park, a trip to the zoo or museum, a movie, or even a game night. See my other articles to find great ways to enjoy family time together.

Time & Space
Children need to have individual time to themselves or with a parent. Having time alone to do what they want without a sibling joining in or tagging along can change a child’s attitude around completely. I know that I need time to myself on occasion and this can be important for children as well. Each child should have their own time in their own space and not be interrupted during this time. Also, time just you and each child on an individual basis is just as important. Sometimes children are more willing to open up and discuss situations that are troubling them or even things that they are proud of if it is only you and your child. They need to have solo time with each parent so they have time to connect with each of you and feel important to each of you.

Even if you follow each of these tips, arguments will happen between siblings. The best thing to do in this situation is to sit and talk with your children about the best ways to handle conflict. This varies from one family to the next. Some families prefer children to work things out on their own, other parents want to be involved in the solutions. It all depends on which way works best for your family.

Even with sibling rivalry, my life would not be the same if I didn’t have my sister, and your children’s lives would not be without their siblings. I can’t imagine growing up all alone, without my sister. Life just would have been missing something! Arguments or not, siblings are something to be treasured and loved. Remind your kids of that when conflicts do arise. One day they will appreciate these life lessons that they were able to learn early on thanks to their siblings!

10 Great Games for Family Game Night

For the past few years, my family of 5 have had a weekly family night. I am sure we had family nights before this, but it was not necessarily a weekly occasion. This family night has become something that our children look forward to each week. We chose Friday as our night for family night. It seemed to work best for us and our schedules.

Since starting our family night, we have done a variety of things to enjoy this family time. Our favorite thing to do by far is play games! Playing games together is such a wonderful experience. It is a great time to teach your children about life, and a great time for you to learn from them as well. Here are some of our favorites.

Yahtzee
The game of Yahtzee has been around since 1956. It is a classic dice game. The object of the game is to get as many points as possible by rolling 5 dice into certain combinations. Some of these combinations are 3 of a kind, 4 of a kind, full house, straights, and Yahtzee (also known as 5 of a kind). There is also another way to earn points with the dice, by rolling as many of each number at a time as possible. If you were to roll four ones, you would choose whether or not to count that as 4 of a kind, or as your score for your ones. The game is over once all of the score boxes are filled. If you do not roll a certain combination then you take a 0 for that score box. This game is by far our families favorite game to play on family night. The kids learn about numbers, counting, and winning and losing. They have a blast rolling the dice. Even our youngest enjoys the game! Amazingly, she wins most times that we play. It must be beginners luck!

Uno
This card game was introduced in 1971. You must have a special deck of cards in order to play. The deck has 4 different colors and special cards. The object of the game is simple, be the first one to use all of your cards! Just don’t forget to say “uno” when you only have one card left, or else you will have to draw two cards. This game is a great game for all ages. My almost 4 year old can play with only a little bit of help. This game can be long, so make sure you are prepared for that. last time we played I was hoping for an early night and we played Uno for several hours. It was a blast the whole time though!

Life
That is the game, of course! This game was first on the market in 1860, however was revamped to the version we all know today in 1960. This was one of my favorites when I was a child. You get in your car and literally move your way through life. You go to college, get a job, get married, have kids, the whole nine yards! It is so much fun to play with your children even when they are small. They giggle and laugh about all of the different things that The Game of Life throws their way.

Pictionary
This team play game is a blast for those families out there with artistic ability, or even families without it! Your team has to guess what you are drawing. This can be much more difficult than you would think!

Scattergories
This game is best for families with older children. The rules say it is for ages 12 and up. This is a fast paced game where you must think of items in certain categories that all start with the same letter. It seems easy, but it is actually rather difficult at times. It is so funny to hear what each team comes up with each round. I have played this game and laughed so hard I was crying. It truly is a blast for any family to play!

Charades
To play this game, you do not need to buy a special deck of cards, or even a board or dice. It is all about your own creative imagination and how well you can act out your thoughts. This is also a better game for older children. I have tried to play it with my younger ones and it seems to just frustrate them more than they enjoy it. This is another game that will have you all laughing until your sides hurt.

Battleship
I know, this seems like it is not a family game. It is originally meant for only two people. However, my family of 5 loves playing this together. We will get into teams and play against each other. The teams decide together where to place the ships and where to hit next. It really is a great game to play as a team. the game doesn’t take that long to play either so you could even play more than one round if you wanted!

Twister
This is one for everyone to get up and get moving with! It is a mat with different colors and you have to contort your body in order to put your hands and feet on the right colors without falling. The last one standing wins. Of course, many times this winds up in a big pile up which is just as much fun as winning! This also should be played with players that are all about the same size. If there is an adult falling onto a smaller child, someone could be hurt.

Sorry
The game is called “The game of sweet revenge”, it is family night need I say more? What family member won’t enjoy sabotaging another family member’s game? It is just a blast to play this tricky board game!

Jenga
A tower of toppling blocks make for a very tense time! Each player takes turns pulling out a block from the tower. as long as the tower doesn’t fall the game is still on. You make the tower fall and you lose. This game is great, because each time you play there is only one loser, so everyone else wins. Plus the game does not take a long time to play, so several rounds can be played in the same night.

No matter what game you play, whether it is one of the games I mentioned above, or some other game that your family enjoys, Family Game Night is the perfect way to spend time together as a family!

5 Must Do Tips For a Pirate Birthday Party

I have written several articles with tips for children’s birthday parties. With this article instead of doing a step by step guide, I decided to take a different approach. If you are looking for a step by step guide, please see my other birthday party articles.

This article will have several tips for making your pirate birthday party a huge success. My son’s pirate birthday party was a blast for all in attendance, not just the children.

Tip #1 – Give everyone at the party Pirate names! This is just too much fun! You can do a search for Pirate Name Generator and come up with several sites that have this silly feature. All you need to make this work is a list of everyone coming to your party, and a box of name tags. We got our name tags ready the night before the party. As soon as guests arrive give them their new pirate name tag and watch the fun begin! We all were having a blast checking out each other’s pirate names and laughing at how funny they were. If you don’t like the names generated by the first site that you go to, then try another one. They all come up with different ones, so try a few out until you find the one you like the best!

Tip #2 – Get creative with the cake! As popular as Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies have become you are sure to find a pirate cake at your local bakery. However, I suggest getting more creative with your cake choice. You can go to a cake decorator store and purchase a pirate shape cake pan. You could make a sheet cake and decorate it like a pirates flag with a skull and cross bones. you could also decorate a sheet cake like a beach with treasure on it, or like a treasure map! You could also use a loaf pan to make a cake and turn it into a treasure chest! Plus one of the coolest cakes I have seen is shaped like a pirate ship. Amazingly, it is very simple to pull off too. Just make 2 standard round cakes, cut them in half to form 4 half circles. Then put the circles on their sides, round side down. You will have to trim the bottom of the curve to keep the cakes from rolling around. Hold the pieces together with icing, then decorate like a pirate ship! What a huge hit that would be!

Tip #3 – Have a treasure hunt! Scavenger hunts are always fun party games. With a Pirate party, the scavenger hunt becomes even more fun! Use the party favor bags as the treasure and have the kids hunt for treasure towards the end of the party!

Tip #4 – Have other fun pirate activities planned. A scavenger hunt at the end of the party will be fun, but other activities need to be planned as well. You could have everyone make their own pirate flags, or some other pirate craft. You could also have them color pirate themed pictures. You can give them a blank canvas and let them use their imagination, or you could print out or purchase pirate coloring pages.

Tip #5 – Watch the movie! If the children at the party are old enough, you could turn the party into a movie viewing pirate party. Everyone can watch the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and pretend to be pirates on Captain Jack Sparrow’s crew! You can purchase pirate hats, and other pirate related costume pieces for everyone at a party supplier.

Follow these fool proof pirate party tips and your pirate party will surely be a treasure in your child’s memory forever!

Crock Pot Breakfast Day 2

eatwell

In yesterday’s blog post on the Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole, I promised to let you all know my kids’ opinions on the casserole. All 5 of us ate the casserole for breakfast this morning. However, only 3 out of the 5 of us liked the casserole. My older 2 kids both said the casserole tasted good, however, they didn’t like the texture of it. I think that next time I will let the bread dry out a bit before I put the casserole together. Maybe that will help with the texture issue?

Tonight I am putting together Slow Cooker Cinnamon French Toast for tomorrow morning’s Brain Food Breakfast. Here’s the recipe:

Cinnamon French Toast Casserole

Ingredients:
2 16oz. loaves cinnamon swirl bread, sliced into 1/4’s and left to dry over night (or for a few hours)
1 dozen eggs
4 cups milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:
Spray the crock with non-stick spray! Place all the bread in the slow cooker.
Mix all of the remaining ingredients together and pour it over the bread.

Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours. Admire the smell while it cooks! The last 1/2 hour or so, remove the lid to let the moisture absorb some. Dust with powdered sugar, a dollop of whipped cream and/or drizzle with syrup when serving!

Thanks to http://newbaltimore.patch.com/blog_posts/slow-cooker-cinnamon-french-toast-casserole for this recipe.

I plan to cut this recipe in half because I’m only serving the 5 of us. I can’t wait to taste it because it sounds delicious!

By the way, today was a wonderful day. The kids all feel like their first day of testing went very well. Work went well, and I had a nice break in the middle of the day. My hubby took me out for lunch! We just went to a fast food place so it wasn’t anything fancy. However, getting to spend even 30 minutes with him in the middle of the day makes a bad day better, and makes a good day great. I know, we are a mushy couple and that annoys a lot of people. We love it though. We feel so happy that we have a connection and relationship where we can show affection and enjoy each others company all of the time.

Yesterday’s tip was to enjoy the small things. Today, I am telling you not to be afraid to show love and affection to the one that you love.

My Views on Marriage

My wedding day

Above you see me and my husband on one of the happiest days of our life, our wedding day. It is now 12 years later and we are still happily married and going strong. Every day we grow in our love, appreciation and understanding of each other.

However, I will be perfectly honest … it has not been easy. I know that when we both went into this we thought that once we said “I do” we thought that it should be like a fairy tale. Everything sunshine, rainbows, and happiness all of the time. No problems or fights … just wonderful perfection all of the time. Boy were we ever wrong! Ha ha ha! Life is not a fairy tale, and marriage is certainly no exception to that rule!

I will say this, my hubby and I made an agreement before our wedding day, there was one word that would not be in our vocabulary … divorce. We personally decided that divorce, would not be an option for us ever. Now, we believe that there are times and situations when divorce is the correct choice. However, we knew that we would not take that option just because things got tough, and believe me … they did. All relationships go through seasons, highs and lows, or however you choose to word it. It seems like in this day and age more people get divorced than stay married. So many people were surprised to hear that we were celebrating our 12th anniversary. I heard things like “wow, that’s a really long time” and “oh that’s a big accomplishment.” Yes it is an accomplishment and we are very proud to have been married for 12 years. However, this is still the beginning … we have so much longer to go.

We stood in front of God, our family, and pastor and vowed to love, honor, and cherish each other til DEATH to us part. Larry is 42, and I am 33, I certainly hope we are nowhere near death, so we have many more years ahead of us in our marriage and life together. You don’t say “til I get sick of your crap” or “til I realize this was a mistake” or “til we can’t work together anymore”, or have I just not been to one of those weddings yet?

I STILL do

Marriage is about each and every day saying “I still do.” It is not always going to be easy and sometimes it will more than likely be really hard. But when you promise to love, honor and cherish each other … it is worth the work and effort. During those tough times remind yourself of all of the happy times that you have shared and pull from those memories to feed positive energy into whatever struggle you are dealing with at the time. Remember, once you work through the hard times your marriage, bond, and love will be even stronger on the other side of the struggle.

I hear so much talk in the world about the state of marriage in this country. How high the divorce rate is, and laws on same-sex marriage seem to be the majority of what I hear. But then you also hear so much about which celebrity or politician is cheating or getting divorced this week. The high divorce rate breaks my heart. I think of all of those broken homes, and broken hearts. Whether there are children involved or not, there are still people hurting when a marriage ends in divorce. Sure the husband and wife are hurting, but what about the family and friends of the couple? The divorce affects them too! I have several friends whose marriages have ended in divorce. Several of those situations I feel were justified reasons for divorce. However, there are many that I feel could have been resolved if the couple had just been willing to work through those tough times and come out stronger on the other side.

Same sex marriage is a huge issue currently. I personally feel very strongly about this issue. I have heard people say that allowing same-sex couples to marry is an attack on the institute of marriage. However, I do not agree with this at all. I think the attack on marriage is the multitude of traditional couples who get married and then get tired of trying and give up when the going gets tough. Gay marriage isn’t an attack on traditional marriage anymore than the traditional couples getting married and divorced so fast it would make your head spin. Not to mention the majority of the famous people who can’t seem to stay married or stick to their vows for any amount of time. If we are going to treat homosexual couples with such contempt that we deny them the right to be in a bond such as marriage if that is what they choose, then what are we going to start to deny people next? I mean, homosexuals are people after all!

I know, I am kind of jumping all over the place with this post tonight, and I apologize. My husband and I work hard to have the marriage that we have. It is so easy to love each other, but being married is not always the easiest task. Every day life can weigh you down and stress you out and make it difficult to put work into anything else at the end of the day. But your marriage is something that needs to nourished and fed each day. I read a quote from Andre Maurois the other day “A successful marriage is an edifice that must be rebuilt every day.” And that quote really hit a chord with me. Larry and I each need to have our needs met each day. Somedays he may need a little extra from me, and somedays I may need a little extra from him. However, each day we both have to work to meet each others needs. Filling our marriage cup each and every day could be a chore, but we choose to see it as a joy to breathe that life into our marriage.

This post is the result of me being home sick today. I had no kids at the house to distract me from my thoughts and I allowed my mind to wander and think about life and these ramblings are the result of my wandering mind today.

I will leave you with a pic that I found on Lifequotes.com. It is a recipe for a happy marriage. Feel free to comment, share, or bach me for this post. I know not everyone will agree with my points of view, and I am totally ok with that. 🙂 Hope this post finds you all happy, healthy and well.

marriage

Life Plan

Make Some History

The Seeds 4 Life

Seeds of Inspiration, Wisdom, and Positivity

Sincerely, James

The Life of a Teenage-Traveler

The Ninth Life

It's time to be inspired, become encouraged, and get uplifted!

Stay Calm, Have A Cupcake!

Handling life one sweet treat at a time.

WTWO Alerts

Posting Weather Alerts for West TN