Posts Filed Under Parenting

A Screwtape Letter For The Unappreciated Mom – Guest Post

by bosssanders on February 6, 2014 with 2 comments

Hey y’all… I have a great guest-post by Kelsey (from Organizing Life with Littles) that almost-perfectly sums up what it seems like Satan is busy saying and speaking into MY life!  Over the past few weeks, I’ve had some people speak into my life – I’m not “fun” enough, some people just don’t like me (that’s probably true…although many more DO), I don’t do enough as a momma…as a wife… as a woman…  That I’m not enough.  You get it.  And, when all of the pokes come at once, they suddenly feel more like punches, dragging me down.  And, I begin to question myself and wonder at the merit of these things.  This is for all of you…women, especially.  I know I’m not alone.

A Screwtape Letter For the Unappreciated Mom

A Screwtape Letter for the Unappreciated Mom

My Dear Wormwood,

I was thrilled to hear you have been making progress with the mother.  You have a good lead, from what I hear.  She’s feels over-worked, unappreciated, and discouraged?  I’m so glad to hear it.  If you tread carefully, this can be a great opportunity.  With the kids waking her up every hour last night, we already have an advantage.  A tired Mom makes for a more emotional Mom, and an emotional Mom is a vulnerable one.

I do have a few tips.  First, aim your best efforts at her marriage.

As you know, we cannot do much with a unified marriage.  Luckily for us, a cranky and exhausted wife can do wonders to change that.  We must convince her that her husband is no longer the friend and ally she first married.  Instead, we must reveal every sin and selfish habit, especially drawing attention to his thoughtless actions (mal-intended or not) against her.

Sometimes it’s the less obvious things, things the husband doesn’t even realize, that we can use to offend her the most.  When he comes home from work and dumps his things on the counter nearest the door (instead of hanging his coat or putting away his keys), let her think of it as a direct assault on her work as a homekeeper.  When he treks mud in with his shoes, let her think it is because he does not love her.  Such extremes of thought may seem ridiculous to you or I, but to the exhausted mortal woman, it can seem possible.  Your goal is to make her think the husband does not notice, or even better, that he does not care about her efforts at home.

Secondly, do what you can to keep her focused on  her troubles and pains.  Remind her how much her back aches, how draining the children were all day, and how many undone tasks still beckon her.  Do not let her wonder what difficulties her husband faced that day or whether his back might also be aching.  Valuing others above oneself is one of those silly, though strangely effective, tactics of the Enemy.  If she stops to make him a cup of coffee, the next thing you know she’ll be rubbing his shoulders and flirting with him on the couch.  It can progress out of your control if you’re not careful.

Along those lines, be sure the Mother starts to value productivity above everything else.  Have her wake up early and work non-stop until bedtime.  If the husband relaxes in the evening with an hour of computer gaming, be sure the wife notices the pile of unfolded laundry or unswept floors.  Do not let her grab a book and relax alongside her husband.  Diligence, often one of the Enemy’s virtues, when overdone can be used to our advantage as well.  Convince her that as long as there is a shred of work to be done (and there always is), no one should be resting.  Then, as she folds and sweeps and he sits, you can introduce the sweet bitterness of resentment.

A word of caution here.  Remember, the love of a husband can be dangerous to our cause.  If he senses her unhappiness, he may begin to help or (even worse) show her affection.  This is where previously planted seeds of resentment can be guided into full bloom.  Make her think that his displays of affection are because he “only wants one thing”.  Do not let her view his help with the dishes (or kisses or cuddling) as having pure motives.  If he shows his desire for her, convince her that she is being used, not loved.  As we both know, the ultimate Act of Marriage can bond them together in a way that can undo much hard work on our part.  Because of this, do not allow her to prioritize that Act on her mental to-do-list.  It is in our best interest to keep the wife busy, busy, busy and be sure she’s far too exhausted to consider it by the end of the evening.

Now, onto the children.  Lovely little opportunities for us, the children, especially the little ones.  We all know that children are a favorite tool of the Enemy.  He calls them Blessings and Gifts and calls parents to lay down their lives for them, just as his Son did.  Insane, I know.  We must convince her that the obnoxious little people she has charge of are not really worth her sacrifice.  When the Mother first dreamed of having children, she probably imagined large, innocent eyes and chubby, happy grins taking up the majority of her days.  Do your best to shatter those expectations.

Instead, draw attention to how much they take from her.  Let them take and take and take…  And need and need and need, until the Mother feels totally spent.  Let them start crying at the same time for the most irrational of reasons.  Let the noise bother her.  Let their bad behavior surprise her.  Do your best to make the day-to-day monotony of diaper changes, meals, and baths seem simultaneously overwhelming and beneath her.  Let her think of all the better, more important things she could be doing with her life, if only she didn’t have the children.

Don’t let her think about the future responsible, faithful adults she is raising.  Society changers, friends, workers, husbands or wives…  Don’t let her think of them as life-long companions who will love her, converse with her, and care for her in her old age.  Oh, and definitely don’t let her think about the grandchildren she might be able to see in their little grubby faces if she looked hard enough now.  No, no, no…  Thinking ahead to when her work bears fruit, as the Enemy calls it, is always a bad idea.  Keep words like ‘heritage’ or ‘legacy’ far away from the runny noses and jelly stains of the day to day.

If there is any last piece of advice I have for you, Wormwood, it is to keep the Mother looking to her husband or family for her fulfillment and comfort.  We know that the Enemy is always watching and willing to take the burdens of his children, but if we divert the Mother’s attention well enough, this fact can be forgotten.  Make her look to her husband for worth and affirmation.  Then, when he lets her down (as he is sure to do), she will be ours to torment.  Yes, the worst thing that could happen would be for her to turn to Him with her needs and inadequacies.  Once she realizes that the Enemy offers a peace that transcends her situation, our work could be utterly compromised.

Your Malevolent Uncle,


About Kelsey:  A Christian first, a happily married wife second, and then a Mom to two handsome boys, Gabriel the three-year-old and Matthias, the almost-one-year old. I love them all to pieces and try to enjoy each day of this busy, blessed life!

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by bosssanders on September 14, 2013 with 3 comments

These are my FAVORITE resources!  I enjoy many books (MANY), but these are the ones I recommend everyone stocking their shelves with!


52 Fantastic Dates For You And Your Mate by Claudia and David Arp – EXCELLENT book, filled with fun date ideas (many of them can be frugal AND expensive, depending on how you choose to embellish.)


The Legacy Path by Brian Haynes – Create a spiritual legacy path for your children.  Great book with SO many easy-to-implement tips AND it’s easy to read!  This is one of those change-your-life books!

Raising A Modern-Day Princess by Pam Farrel and Doreen Hanna – perfect for parents of girls ages 8-15 (also great to begin reading early!)

Child of Wonder: Nurturing Creative and Naturally Curious Children by Ginger Carlson – You have kids?  Great, you need this book.

Words of Wisdom for Moms by Ginger Plowman – A GREAT flip-book of helpful discipline scripture and techniques

Reaching The Heart Of Your Child (Audio CD) by Ginger Plowman


Life Lines by Dave Meyer (Joyce Meyer’s husband) – Great book if you’re looking for some short devotionals to carry you through your day.  Not too preachy, not super in depth.  Short and sweet and lovely!

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan – If you ever doubt or wonder how much God truly loves you (I mean, truly…), check this one out.  It’s written so its reader doesn’t need a doctorate in theology or english to understand it and enjoy it.

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream by David Platt – Super good.  A must read.  –Especially if your name is Joel Osteen.  By the way, prepare to be a little uncomfortable as you read this book…but, it’s worth it!

Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of  a Woman’s Soul by John and Stasi Eldredge – You’ll learn more about yourself than you ever knew in this one.

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp – It’s all about thanksgiving and finding contentment into everyday life.  She doesn’t speak from a perspective of someone who has all of the riches, but of someone easily related to… someone who has had their share of heartache.  And even still, she’s found the secret we’ve all been searching for…

Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend – Teaches you how to create HEALTHY boundaries (and what those specifically look like) in your life.  Whether it’s your gossiping aunt Mable or creepy cousin Beck or manipulative in-law, this book tells you how to create boundaries.  GOOD STUFF.


Parenting With A Plan

by bosssanders on June 13, 2013 with 2 comments

I’d never thought much about it, until someone pointed it out to me… but my husband and I parent with a plan.

Sounds kind of weird, but it’s true.  I took it for granted for the longest time, thinking all parents must think like this.  – Knowing what types of things they’d like their children to experience or learn before they leave the nest… not in a day by day planned activity book (because that IS kind of crazy… or will make you crazy when you try to make it all unfold so perfectly!), but in a very general sort of way.

Until recently, we didn’t have it on paper… but, then began thinking… we make goal sheets at work, lists of things to do, things to get at the grocery… why don’t we do this with parenting?  –One of our biggest and best “jobs?”  Why not?

So, we put it to paper… and, because I’ve been encouraged to share it, here it is!

The Most Important Things

First, we sat down and wrote a list of the things most important to us – things we hoped our children would have or become…

1.  Relationship with God/Jesus

- Know and be able to show mercy, forgiveness, and love

- God-seeking hearts

2.  Values

3.  Ability to take care of themselves (hygiene, chores, money, cook, reliable, don’t give up easily, cars, and a little knowledge on hair/fashion)

4.  Ability to keep a job

5.  Have good professional and interpersonal skills

6.  Know what being a good (biblical) husband or wife looks like (i.e., setting good examples for our children in these roles)

The Disclaimer

This is where I tell you that we don’t have it down perfectly.  The part where i tell you they are GOALS, not ACHIEVEMENTS.  It’s that piece of paper that helps tell you how to get where you want to go on the days where you don’t know anymore because you’ve not gotten enough sleep… or, after a REALLY hard day when all 3 children needed you (and on you) all at once… all day… OR BOTH!  It’s the map for this wonderful adventure, helping us stay on course and discern what matters and what doesn’t.  It’s for that.

Breaking It Down

To reach the main goals (above), we came up with a broken up list of age-appropriate things we hope to teach our children at specific stages.

3 Years

  • dust
  • dress self
  • use toilet independently
  • beginning to brush teeth by self
  • pick up toys
  • say prayers
  • clean glass tables
  • dry dishes
  • put clothes in washer

4 Years

  • brush teeth
  • make bed
  • get own breakfast (cereal, bananas, granola bars)
  • make sandwiches
  • begin to clean room by self
  • dust
  • everything 3 yo can do

5 Years

  • straighten room
  • sweep
  • vacuum
  • empty small garbage cans (bathrooms)
  • set table
  • clear table
  • make own lunch (sandwiches)
  • get allowance
  • clean sink
  • wash and fold laundry
  • dust
  • beginning understanding of interest and savings

6 Years

  • take shower by self
  • dust
  • load dishwasher (or, rinse dishes)
  • empty dishwasher
  • wash dishes (6.5 ish)
  • use microwave (late 6)
  • water plants
  • make and answer phone calls
  • sweep
  • clean sink and toilet (their bathroom)
  • gets savings account

7 Years

  • wash dishes
  • floss by self
  • clean toilets
  • pull weeds
  • use/have savings acct
  • read with comprehension
  • memorize phone number and address
  • do own hair
  • begin piano lessons (?)
  • use play money to show our bills vs. budget/incoming money (good stewardship)

8 Years

  • groom nails/hair
  • get up by self
  • participate in teams/clubs
  • develop personal talents
  • clean mirrors
  • baptized (? – this is when we’ll start exploring it.  It happens when THEY are ready, though)
  • get into the practice of reading scriptures daily
  • learn care for a pet
  • buy stock/CD/investment for part of their Christmas and allow them to track it

9 Years

  • mop floor
  • clean pictures
  • bake cakes/cookies
  • understand emergency preparedness
  • learn basic first aid
  • fill car with gas
  • wash car
  • vacuum car interior
  • hammer nails
  • sew on buttons
  • saw wood (supervision!!)
  • cook veggies
  • write letters
  • understand puberty/sex (sigh)
  • email
  • wrap presents

10 Years

  • do own laundry completely
  • set personal goals
  • play musical instrument
  • maintain personal journal
  • participate in exercise program
  • rent videos
  • clean stove/oven
  • make several kids of salad
  • understand basic nutrition
  • use leaf blower
  • write creatively

11 Years

  • Arrange for own haircuts (ability to set appts)
  • help clean refrigerator
  • clean cupboards
  • straighten drawers
  • straighten closets
  • sew hems
  • bake pies
  • bake bread
  • make several main dishes
  • iron own clothes
  • plan meals
  • mow lawn
  • weed eat
  • maintain garden
  • use a camera
  • crochet/knit
  • babysitting class
  • first aid training
  • use internet with filters (not with us right behind them)

And… the list goes on… all the way up to 17… with extra notes on teaching them more about money.  This, by the way, is NOT their chore list.  These are things we hope to teach them how to do.  Not, “here’s a broom, now sweep” but standing with them, gently guiding and showing step by step how to do these things.  And, then practicing and practicing and practicing with them.  Chores is a totally different post… and way less bullet points ;)   These are simply some of the things we want to make sure we don’t forget to teach our children how to do… like, really… purposefully… teach them.  It’s SO easy to just tell them to move and do it ourselves… but such a disservice to them!

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy!

Does your family have a “plan” of any sorts for parenting?  I’d love to hear about it!  How do you stay on track?

filed under Parenting

Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson (book review)

by bosssanders on March 5, 2013 with no comments

Raising kids isn’t easy.

It was never meant to be.

Hollywood paints this great picture of a mom who has 3 kids under 5 in tow and still manages to dress in the latest fashions, shop with perfectly behaved children, have dinner on the table at 5PM, plays pretend, reads bedtime stories, and then heads to the kitchen table to clean up so she can sew a couple of handmade costumes all before making sweet love to her husband for the 80th night in a row.  (And then wakes up the next day with perfect makeup and flawless skin to be awesome again.)

I’ll be the first to admit that I somehow missed out on the radiant supermom cape given out with your firstborn.  Most days, my house looks like a tornado went through at least one room…if not the whole house.  There are days when “me time” looks like being able to shave my legs or pluck my eyebrows (I know, FUN!  EXCITING!).  Motherhood is beautiful and amazing, but let’s face it…sometimes it can feel like the most lonely, hard, and unappreciated calling we’ve ever known.

The thing is, though, we aren’t EXPECTED to be able to do this all on our own.  The image that Hollywood so often portrays is not only a farce, but it is also not biblical.

In fact, the Bible instructs us to live in community and for younger women to be mentored by older women (Titus 2).  If we follow biblical advice, it actually might soothe our hearts as we lay down insane expectations on each other…and ourselves.

In Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson, these two ladies write about their mentor relationship in a very honest way that every young mother can not only relate to but also learn from.  Each chapter begins with short note from each lady to the other – each letter begins a new topic where the younger Sarah Mae feels like she’s not measuring up or struggling in her quest of motherhood with 3 very young littles.  Then, Sally Clarkson follows up with understanding and encouragement, followed by pages of great tips and lessons learned from each of their motherhood experiences.

Sarah and Sally cover topics such as*:

- Ideals of motherhood (that picture in our minds of what motherhood should look like)

- “The Go It Alone Culture” (where we have this big idea that we should be able to do everything on our own)

- Parenting formulas (and how to sift through parenting how-to books and not feel like a complete failure)

-The beast of housework

and TONS more.

And, if I’m being honest here…

I don’t own a supermom cape.  I’ve done the whole beat myself up game for not living up to what a mom should do in a day.  I’ve played that game and can I just say…it stinks?  It’s no fun!  I have 3 littles under 5 and we are pursuing a 4th little guy through adoption and the thing I’ve learned so far is that 99% of the things we stress over…don’t matter.

I thought I’d be this mom who put great meals on the table each night with homemade bread and dessert from scratch.  I pictured my hair styled, lipgloss, and a cute dress from the Limited.  I imagined myself as a mom who NEVER raised her voice, who homeschooled, did cloth diapers, ate only organics and never had laundry piles and even my lists would be organized.  Turns out, my life isn’t like that.  And, for the longest time, I beat myself up over it.  I felt like a failure…defeated…desperate.  I saw all of these other moms who seemed to have it all pulled together…until one day, I realized they all struggled with SOMETHING too.

I still have moments where I get frustrated…(like when the toddler throws his bottle in the toilet and dumps his sisters’ stuffed animals in the tub and turns on the water).  And as the sun goes down, I’m ready to go with it.  But, I’ve lessened the demands on myself.  I no longer worry if the laundry doesn’t get folded every day and I’m okay with pajama pants and a tshirt if I’m staying in – because then I can better enjoy peanut butter fingers hugging my legs or snotty kisses.  I’m okay with a little dust, disposable diapers, and the occasional frozen pizza.  I’m okay needing two months to read a novel “for fun” and letting my sewing machine collect dust.

And that’s why I really like this book

Maybe you are desperate…at your breaking point.  Or, maybe you could just use some wise council to lift your spirit and guide you because you just don’t feel like you are as happy as you could be or you find yourself frustrated or yelling a little too often.  Or, maybe your just lonely in this motherhood journey…

Either way… if you are a mom, this book is for you.

*Topics listed above are paraphrased by me. These are not the actual chapter titles.
DISCLAIMER: The book I read was sent to me to be reviewed. All thoughts and opinions are mine, however.

filed under Parenting, Reviews

The Jolly Fat Guy In The Red Suit And Apologizing To My Daughters

by bosssanders on December 8, 2012 with 1 comment

It’s hard to apologize to your kids, sometimes (which, is probably the point I guess)…

But, apologizing because you lied to them and then unwrapping the long tendrils of lies from the branches of truth?  –That’s a whole different level of hard.

For the past few years, we’ve teetered back and forth, trying to find some happy medium between making Jesus the REASON for our celebrating and some of our favorite traditions (some Old, some New).  –Including Santa and little mischief-making elves.  We weren’t ready to “kill Santa” (as that seemed a little harsh) and we were convinced that Jesus and Santa could live together in perfect harmony in our home.  I mean, they both seem pretty likeable, right?  Jesus could make wine and maybe Santa could not eat all of the cookies… I don’t know, it seemed like it could work for us.  Instead, we came up with what looked a lot like Jesus-Claus.  It was on accident, of course, but what do you expect when you tell a little kid that the reason for Christmas IS NOT Santa?

This was their reply:  “Yeh, okay.  Right.  So, Santa is still bringing me gifts right?”

And then we realized… In a 3-and-5-year old’s brain, a little baby can’t compete with a jolly fat guy in a red suit who magically flies around in a sleigh led by reindeer, comes down chimneys, and leaves gifts under children’s trees as they sleep once a year.

“Convicted” would be a great word for how we felt.

Jen Hatmaker said, “My friend Andrew, who identifies himself as a member of the “non-believer corner” put it this way:

‘I always thought it was strange how Christians will tell me they have this giant and awesome truth they know is true deep in their soul and want to share with me, but when 12/25 comes around they lie to their own progeny because, apparently, that giant, liberating, and awesomely simple truth is somehow just not enough. It may be a good narrative, but it needs a little something to give it some panache.’”

And, I feel it to the bottom of my soul – this trade-off of a true Savior who rescued ME for the pretend magic of flying reindeer and a Santa that doesn’t even exist.  It’s like satan came up with this way to get us off track in this seemingly harmless way and he’s tricked Christians into handing over our finances to help fund the whole thing.  We can’t even turn on the television without seeing commercials, telling us about all the things that we just NEED and can’t live without — while across the world (and even in our own hometowns) their are people who REALLY NEED.  And it just doesn’t settle well with me.  I think about how hard Steven and I have worked to remove any false idols from our lives…how we STILL how to work hard at it, how it still threatens to suck us in.  Bigger homes, more money, projects…anything…ANYTHING (even if it was a good thing) that takes our focus off of Christ and onto something else.  And yet… we’ve been handing this one idol down to our children.  I mean, we dressed him in red and made him real pretty, but oh. my. soul.  We just wanted our kids to have magic and memories and somehow, we traded everything that matters for a mirage that’s not even real.

Please hear me now… this is important.  I’M NOT JUDGING YOU. I am NOT the Christmas police.  I don’t care if you celebrate Santa or flying reindeer.  You don’t have to fret over me coming over and seeing your twelve hundred piece Santa collection.  I don’t even care if you leave cookies out, climb on top of the roof to stomp around a little and jingle bells right before sliding back into the yard to stomp reindeer footprints and sprinkle pretend reindeer poop in the yard.  That’s your journey.  And ours…has been slow…and is still a journey.  We’re still learning, growing.

This part is important, too…  It’s not JUST about booting Santa for us.  It’s about TRULY celebrating Jesus and all He means to us.  It’s not about whether He was actually born in December – but, this is the month we choose to celebrate in a BIG way.  We want to learn how to tell the nativity story in a way that captures the REAL magic of a baby sent to save the world.  We want them to know the excitement in the depths of our souls.  It’s not just about “taking something out” but it’s about filling it with real magic and hope!

  • We’ve told our children the story of St. Nickolaus and about how he loved God so much he helped children in need, but also hid because he wanted them to give God thanks and not him.  We’ve also told them that St. Nick is where the tradition of Santa Claus came from (partly, anyhow.  As they get older, we can explain that Santa was part St. Nick, part pagan god, and 80 percent Big Marketing).  We told them that part of life came death and now St. Nick is really with Jesus in heaven, just like Gramps.  And, that people dress up and pretend they are Santa kind of like they like to dress up like princesses, play baby dolls, etc.  Because it’s fun, and because people want to give.  And, that pretending some was okay as long as they knew Jesus was why we celebrate.
  • We are telling and retelling the wonderful story of Jesus being born.  But, we’re finding fun new ways to do it…
  • We are anticipating Jesus’ Birthday Party and talking about what kind of gifts we want to give Him.  We have talked about the types of gifts Jesus wants… US.  And that He also likes it when we love others like He loves us.  We  talk specifically on ways we can do that.  This year, we are doing acts of kindness and the girls are helping choose what we do.  We’re also going to make gifts and goodies and leave on neighbors’ porches with a little poem about the Nativity.
  • We are learning a special birthday song for Jesus.
  • We have this GREAT little Advent book for the girls, it’s short and has great crafts for their age and it’s just so good!  They love it!  It focuses on Jesus and not candy and not ‘what’s in it for them” type stuff.
  • Their Mimi gave them a little advent calendar that has a photo of the nativity on it and you peel back the little boxes for each day and it slowly gives scripture to tell the story of Jesus’ birth.  They LOVE it!
  • We’re slowing down on materialism.  We are filtering pretty heavily any movies that focus on getting piles of gifts under the tree and part of the perks of not having television (we watch movies via computer and ipad and projector), no commercials telling my children they need the latest crap!!  And, we’ve adopted the 5-gift rule: Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read.  They’ve only been told to pick out ONE gift they’d like from mom and dad and the rest will be a surprise.  There are a couple of stocking type gifts too.  Oh, and something we saw at Walmart and hubby couldn’t resist.  Other than that, we’ve asked family to only give money or experiences.  The girls REALLY want to go to Disney.  And truth be told, they keep asking if we can throw out most of the toys they do have… there are too many even for them and they get so overwhelmed.  (We will be purging many but we WON’T be restocking after Christmas).
  • We are filling our home with Jesus-centered music.
  • We are spending quality time with each other.  Quiet, stress-free, wonderful quality time.  We are just loving on each other.

This is for us.

You might not be where we are right now, and I’m okay with that.  I won’t be arriving at your house with the Christmas police to cite you.  Because as I said, this life is a journey, and we’re still on ours…


FUN! – Just Have It!

by bosssanders on November 1, 2012 with 1 comment

I saw this a while ago, and man did it hit me hard:

I guess I’m an “old soul” – or seriously don’t belong in this time, I don’t know which.  My soul LONGS for peaceful and slow days (although i work really well under short-term craziness too).  Days filled with appointments and schedules and this and that don’t really interest me on a day to day basis.  Even things that are meant to be fun can be crazy and hectic (think Disney World).  I long for the days when friends did more than like your status on facebook and when neighbors actually knew your name. (-We’re the weird neighbors that move in and then take gifts to the other neighbors.)

Don’t get me wrong, I like my hair dryer and my internet and some of the people I’ve met online who I wouldn’t have otherwise because they live across the world.  I like that I can look up anything I want to know.  But, sometimes our blessings can be our curses…if we let them.

Sometimes our good intentions just create a busy-ness and it all creeps into our daily lives…and it cloaks us and our families, and the more we do the unhappier we are.

Years ago, we intentionally stepped out of the insane “rat race” – of trying to make it to the top (wherever that is!).  Instead, we pursue the provisions and blessings God has for us and GRATITUDE.

Part of that has been in our journey to be more intentional with our kiddos.  It’s always a work in progress.  I hope it always will be, I pray we never become complacent.

I received a tip a long time ago about dates in your marriage – it included creating a jar of date ideas to choose from (like a menu!) and when you run out of ideas (or feel particularly indecisive), you just choose and DO IT.

We thought it’d be fun to create something similar to the one we created for our marriage for activities with the kids!

Here are some of the fun ideas we have:

- Camp in the backyard with campfire, burgers, s’mores, movie/story-telling

- bowling

- mini golf

- visit the planetarium

- pumpkin patch and corn maze

- fishing (on my parent’s dock)

- ride bikes in the neighborhood

- make bird feeders together

- bleach t-shirt designs (basically you take colored shirts and make a template that you adhere to shirts and spray with bleach water…fun!)

- nature bracelets – duct tape around their wrists with sticky side up and have them walk around and find fun things to stick to it!

- make super giant bubbles and bubble wands

- visit the homeplace

- see a matinee

- see a play

- dance in the warm (summer) rain – a favorite!!

- board games

- let girls dress up and put on a play

- have a cupcake decorating contest

- make an outdoor (or indoor!) obstacle course!

- go on a treasure/scavenger hunt – use pirate’s maps too!

- write a book and illustrate it together!!

- croquet

- soccer

- make mini homemade pizzas together!

- Go on an alphabet tour – bring cameras and a notebook and take photos of things that begin with A, B, C, etc.

Another favorite thing for us is to have THEME WEEKS where we concentrate on a specific theme for a week.  For example, Rora LOVES trains right now.  So, one week we borrowed a stack of books about trains from the library and they wore conductor hats as we read them.  We also visited a train museum where they got whistles, hats, and had a tour of all things TRAINS!  They played with an extensive model train set up and we played train games and went around town pretending our van was a train.  We scoured town for trains on the move and would sit and watch them and talk about different kinds of trains.  (We have plans to surprise Rora in the spring with a train RIDE for her birthday but SHHH!  Don’t tell her!)

So, I’d love to know…what are some of your favorite activities to do with your kids?  How do you have intentional time with your family?  And ideas you can share with us?


50 Rules for Dads of Daughters

by bosssanders on October 25, 2012 with no comments

I came across this lovely list from Life to Her Years and had to re-post!  Posted with permission:

1. Love her mom. Treat her mother with respect, honor, and a big heaping spoonful of public displays of affection. When she grows up, the odds are good she’ll fall in love with and marry someone who treats her much like you treated her mother. Good or bad, that’s just the way it is. I’d prefer good.


2. Always be there. Quality time doesn’t happen without quantity time. Hang out together for no other reason than just to be in each other’s presence. Be genuinely interested in the things that interest her. She needs her dad to be involved in her life at every stage. Don’t just sit idly by while she adds years to her life… add life to her years.


3. Save the day. She’ll grow up looking for a hero. It might as well be you. She’ll need you to come through for her over and over again throughout her life. Rise to the occasion. Red cape and blue tights optional.


4. Savor every moment you have together. Today she’s crawling around the house in diapers, tomorrow you’re handing her the keys to the car, and before you know it, you’re walking her down the aisle. Some day soon, hanging out with her old man won’t be the bees knees anymore. Life happens pretty fast. You better cherish it while you can.


5. Pray for her. Regularly. Passionately. Continually.


6. Buy her a glove and teach her to throw a baseball. Make her proud to throw like a girl… a girl with a wicked slider.


7. She will fight with her mother. Choose sides wisely.


8. Go ahead. Buy her those pearls.


9. Of course you look silly playing peek-a-boo. You should play anyway.


10. Enjoy the wonder of bath time.


11. There will come a day when she asks for a puppy. Don’t over think it. At least one time in her life, just say, “Yes.”


12. It’s never too early to start teaching her about money. She will still probably suck you dry as a teenager… and on her wedding day.


13. Make pancakes in the shape of her age for breakfast on her birthday. In a pinch, donuts with pink sprinkles and a candle will suffice.


14. Buy her a pair of Chucks as soon as she starts walking. She won’t always want to wear matching shoes with her old man.


15. Dance with her. Start when she’s a little girl or even when she’s a baby. Don’t wait until her wedding day.


16. Take her fishing. She will probably squirm more than the worm on your hook. That’s OK.


17. Learn to say no. She may pitch a fit today, but someday you’ll both be glad you stuck to your guns.


18. Tell her she’s beautiful. Say it over and over again. Someday an animated movie or “beauty” magazine will try to convince her otherwise.


19. Teach her to change a flat. A tire without air need not be a major panic inducing event in her life. She’ll still call you crying the first time it happens.


20. Take her camping. Immerse her in the great outdoors. Watch her eyes fill with wonder the first time she sees the beauty of wide open spaces. Leave the iPod at home.


21. Let her hold the wheel. She will always remember when daddy let her drive.


22. She’s as smart as any boy. Make sure she knows that.


23. When she learns to give kisses, she will want to plant them all over your face. Encourage this practice.


24. Knowing how to eat sunflower seeds correctly will not help her get into a good college. Teach her anyway.


25. Letting her ride on your shoulders is pure magic. Do it now while you have a strong back and she’s still tiny.


26. It is in her nature to make music. It’s up to you to introduce her to the joy of socks on a wooden floor.


27. If there’s a splash park near your home, take her there often. She will be drawn to the water like a duck to a puddle.


28. She will eagerly await your return home from work in the evenings. Don’t be late.


29. If her mom enrolls her in swim lessons, make sure you get in the pool too. Don’t be intimidated if there are no other dads there. It’s their loss.


30. Never miss her birthday. In ten years she won’t remember the present you gave her. She will remember if you weren’t there.


31. Teach her to roller skate. Watch her confidence soar.


32. Let her roll around in the grass. It’s good for her soul. It’s not bad for yours either.


33. Take her swimsuit shopping. Don’t be afraid to veto some of her choices, but resist the urge to buy her full-body beach pajamas.


34. Somewhere between the time she turns three and her sixth birthday, the odds are good that she will ask you to marry her. Let her down gently.


35. She’ll probably want to crawl in bed with you after a nightmare. This is a good thing.


36. Few things in life are more comforting to a crying little girl than her father’s hand. Never forget this.


37. Introduce her to the swings at your local park. She’ll squeal for you to push her higher and faster. Her definition of “higher and faster” is probably not the same as yours. Keep that in mind.


38. When she’s a bit older, your definition of higher and faster will be a lot closer to hers. When that day comes, go ahead… give it all you’ve got.


39. Holding her upside down by the legs while she giggles and screams uncontrollably is great for your biceps. WARNING: She has no concept of muscle fatigue.


40. She might ask you to buy her a pony on her birthday. Unless you live on a farm, do not buy her a pony on her birthday. It’s OK to rent one though.


41. Take it easy on the presents for her birthday and Christmas. Instead, give her the gift of experiences you can share together.


42. Let her know she can always come home. No matter what.


43. Remember, just like a butterfly, she too will spread her wings and fly some day. Enjoy her caterpillar years.


44. Write her a handwritten letter every year on her birthday. Give them to her when she goes off to college, becomes a mother herself, or when you think she needs them most.


45. Learn to trust her. Gradually give her more freedom as she gets older. She will rise to the expectations you set for her.


46. When in doubt, trust your heart. She already does.


47. When your teenage daughter is upset, learning when to engage and when to back off will add years to YOUR life. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.


48. Ice cream covers over a multitude of sins. Know her favorite flavor.


49. This day is coming soon. There’s nothing you can do to be ready for it. The sooner you accept this fact, the easier it will be.


50. Today she’s walking down the driveway to get on the school bus. Tomorrow she’s going off to college. Don’t blink.


Photo Credits

He was unable to find the original source for #’s 1, 3, 7, 16, 20, 42, and 47. If you know the source for any of these, please tell me so I can give the photographers credit. Here are the rest:

4. Father of the Bride

14. The Life of Rachel

15. Danielle Toews

24. A Peakin To Our Lives

26. Dear Baby Blog

28. Baby Love Blog

32. My Blackbird Photography

34. Emily RC Photography

35. It’s What Makes Me Me

39. Popsicles and Pigtails

43. Irrational Obsessions

50. Lil Miss Bossy

And #’s 8, 10, 13, 27, 29, and 36 were taken by “Life To Her Years”.

If a number is not listed above, the image came from Life Magazine’s online database of pictures hosted by Google Images.

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Simple Woman’s Daybook – October 9, 2012

by bosssanders on October 9, 2012 with no comments

A Simple Woman’s Daybook for today…Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Outside my window…The sun is shining!!  It looks deceptively warm outside!

I am thinking…of lots of things.  My brain has lots going on for the past few days ;)   1.) The kids and I are working on our Neighborhood “You’ve been Boo’ed” gifts and we are super excited!  Throwing around some ideas in my head on how to decorate the frames for the gifts so they’ll be super cute.  2.) Rora is feeling better (so it seems)… so yay!  And, the rest of us have gotten over the yuck (FINALLY)…so yay, again!  3.) We are still in our homestudy process but just scheduled our last meeting!  YEAH!  SO looking forward to having the finished thing in hand!  4.) Really wish L’s school was more open to parent-involvement… I’m really not liking this switch from homeschool to public school!  (But, she LOVES it)   I’m willing to give it more time, though to see how it progresses.  5.) about Halloween… and Christmas!!  And little guy’s birthday!  I’m starting lists for what I need for each and … well, let the Christmas shopping/crafting begin!

I am thankful…for my awesome husband, great kids, and my family.  Actually, I have a HUGE list of things I’m thankful for ;)   I AM enjoying this weather though…I LOVE every different season and love how they change!

From the kitchen…We have non-paleo chocolate chip cookies and non-paleo pizza leftover from our treat last night (for lunch today).  And, for tonight… I’m thinking… Butter Chicken (paleo)

From the learning rooms…L is in school (it’s picture day!) and R and I are working through her Preschool worksheets.  We are practicing letters A-E and her shapes.  She’s got her colors down.

I am creating…crafts with R and our Neighborhood BOO gifts :)

I am wearing…My “Southern Chics” lime green LS shirt and turquoise sweats.  :)   Very colorful today!

I am reading…I’m in between books right now… have any you’d recommend? (Quick reads…maybe fiction?  Would love a good fiction…)

I am hoping…to hear our homestudy is FINISHED soon :)   Other than that… just hoping for a great day for my husband at work!

I am hearing…R playing

Around the house… I’m itching to paint rooms…well, not so much to paint them, but for them to be painted so I can re-decorate :)

One of my favorite things…quality time with my husband… and “dates” with our kids!  We have so much fun together.

I am going…to run a few errands in a bit…

A few plans for the rest of the week…Crafting, homeschooling, a visit to the corn maze, haunted ghost tour with hubby, pumpkin patch and hayrides, my brother’s bday and making halloween costumes??

A picture thought…

R is LOVING trains right now.  So, we borrowed a bunch of train books from the library and read them in style!!  (R takes full credit for putting her hat on herself –goofy!)

A trip to the railroad museum… they were super excited.  There was an ENTIRE room dedicated to a super cool train set up for model trains… they LOVED watching the trains go in and out of tunnels and through all of the display.  They could have stayed in that one room alone, I think, for HOURS.

AJ was a trooper!  I really should buy some teething pad attachments for his carrier…


Little Red Riding Hood and her Big Bad Wolf ;)


Dear You

by bosssanders on April 21, 2012 with 2 comments

(This post is geared at NO-ONE in particular, and yet to EVERYONE whom it applies.)

Dear You in the corner with your snide remarks about my parenting philosophies…

You, who balked when you found out I don’t vaccinate my children and mouthed off words like “pack immunity” and “putting her children in danger…”

You, who made fun of me when I was insistent that there be no smoking around myself or my children…

You, who laughed when I said no chocolate/soda, and tried to give it to them anyways…

You, who think I’m ridiculous for trying to buy mostly organic and cut out additives, excess sugar, dyes, and other unhealthy things from my children’s diet…

I don’t owe you a thing, much less an explanation, but I want to be very clear…


They are not YOURS.  God entrusted them to my husband and I and we have promised to do everything in our power to keep them safe and healthy.  I don’t judge everyone who has different parenting philosophies; we are all just doing the best we know how (most of us, anyhow).

I have been very diligent with my research and I refuse to ignore the statistics and findings.  I do not make decisions lightly and I definitely am not one to jump on fads just because they seem “cool.”  I seek information and as information changes, I reserve the right to change my opinions and views.  Unfortunately, I am not my own research team, so I can not provide myself with all of the answers I want.  I do the best I can with what I have.

The choices we make regarding our children are not easy.  Lazy people do not dedicate hours to researching and checking the resources for said research.  Lazy people do not seek ways to contribute to the income in order to help make these changes.  Lazy people do not try to find creative ways to not disrupt their family and to still implement said changes.

For me, this IS a big deal.

I don’t think it’s funny when others make snide remarks.  I don’t think it’s funny when people know where I stand and still hand my child a candy bag larger than their head.  Or, when I specifically say NO CANDY and they reach right past me to give my child … candy.

I am not a mean mom.  I do not hate my children.

I love my children.  I love my children so much that I have made countless sacrifices to do what’s best… FOR THEM.

My children are in no way neglected and they are not losing out.  They DO get occasional “treats” – but those need to come from ME.  Not you.  At least, not unless you asked me first.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “Well, we did this and my kids are fine…” or “Well, my parents did this, and I turned out okay!”


I mean, seriously, what do you want me to say?  People drive like idiots in cars all day long and some don’t get in wrecks.  Some do.

My point is this…


I don’t judge you.  I really really don’t.  Whether your kids are little or grown up, I don’t judge what you do or did as a parent.

I mean, really… I don’t have the time or energy to even judge you or figure out what’s right for your family!!  I’m just trying to do what’s right for mine.

It’d be nice if as parents, we could SUPPORT each other instead of tear each other down.

Thankfully, I don’t personally know any people who think, “I’m going to have kids so I can do my best to SCREW them up!!”    We are all doing the best we can with what we have and what we know.

But, for those of you who can’t support my husband and I… for those of you who want to make snide remarks and do things behind my back (or in front of my face) that go completely against what you know I believe…

Then, you probably don’t really need to be a part of our lives.

There, I said it.

I want people who will respect us.  Our decisions.  Our well-being.  Not by your definition, but by ours.  I don’t need people who all agree and think just like me…I don’t need approval on how to raise my children…I just need respect and understanding.



PS – Thanks to all of the people who have chosen to respect and honor our decisions.

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When Old Becomes New

by bosssanders on December 29, 2011 with no comments

This season has been both sweet and challenge-filled (Merry Christmas, by the way)!  First, our sweet baby boy came and then almost 4 weeks later, his daddy came home from Iraq.

… And a father met his son for the very first time…

… And lots of hugs and tears (and smiles) as our family learns to reintegrate.  –Which is darn hard, by the way… Taking expectations and what “used to be” and throwing them out the window and learning who each of us are now.  He’s changed.  The girls have changed.  I have changed…  Everything has changed.

He’s experienced a different lifestyle – something that almost resembled “single life” while being deprived of many other things…

He’s grown wiser in some ways but has forgotten other things that seem so simple to those of us who live them daily…

And, he’s been thrown into suddenly having an infant and middle-of-the-night feedings and changings and the craziness of 3 little ones 4 and under.

Rora no longer has a paci…and she talks in full sentences…

Rora also can use the potty some….

Lala has gotten BIG and is animated and curious and SO stinkin smart…

And me, I’m different too.  I’ve mostly been “on my own” and experienced some of worst fears, things I never wanted to do.  But, I did them anyhow.  And, now I know I can.  I’m stronger.  I’m more confident.  And…I’ve gotten used to doing things MY way.

As a couple, we’re re-learning how to be patient and understanding.  We’re re-learning how to work together and how to relax and just…be a couple.

It’s hard work.

And, it’s a challenge we all gladly accept.  <3

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