Treasuring Your Children In The Highs & Lows Of Parenting

Treasuring Your Children In The Highs & Lows Of Parenting

Treasuring Our Children In The Highs & Lows of Parenting  

Regardless of the morning, week, or even year you may have had … regardless of what you may think or feel right now, your children are a blessing from God.

  • John 16:21 — When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.
  • Psalm 127:3 — Behold, children are a gift from the LORD
  • James 1:17 — Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above

As a mother of young children, it’s easy for me to forget that truth in the midst of the daily grind. It’s easy to believe this when my children are respectful and kind to one another or are sleeping.

But my children are also gifts …

  • when my youngest bites, pinches, hits his sister
  • when my child wakes up in the middle of the night sick and can’t fall back asleep
  • when my baby insists on rolling over in the middle of a diaper change
  • when my child just won’t “get” potty training
  • when my daughter slips and falls in a pile of dog vomit at Petsmart because she was not listening when I said, “there’s doggie throw-up right here. Watch out and don’t step in it.” (#truestory)
  • when both of my girls decide they want to have a party as soon as it is “lights out” at night
  • when I have to pack up and leave the store in the middle of a much-needed grocery run because of disrespect and disobedience

Even in the midst of these times my children are a gift.

And yours are, too.

Parenting is the hardest, most demanding job in the world, but it is also the most important job in the world. You are responsible for growing a tiny human being into a full-grown, responsible adult!

Parenting is H-A-R-D.

It is easy to get lost in the day-to-day and forget the importance of your job as mom or dad. It’s equally easy to forget about how those little people in your house are walking gifts from God.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is described on more than one occasion as “pondering and treasuring” things/moments in her heart in regards to her son. We must do the same.

So how do we treasure these gifts?

1. Stop, look, listen

Sllllooooowwww down. You can’t appreciate something you don’t take the time to observe. I like to eavesdrop on my children when they have no idea I am even aware of what they are doing.

I have a running “quote book” of all the funny things my kids say/do. I write the date, who I am quoting, and the quote/action in a journal. On a long, hard day (or when they are grown) I can flip through it and cherish those precious moments.

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2. Be fully present

Parenthood is not just about the destination, but the journey. You can’t plan a vacation to the Grand Canyon and then expect to magically appear there once your bags are packed. You must travel over hours (or even days) to get there. You get to your destination point by going through the process of traveling.

Likewise with parenting.

Parenting is not just about raising kids to leave the nest, but enjoying the journey of getting there. Don’t wish their childhood away. Enjoy each stage for what it is. The next stage will come.

If you are constantly hoping for the next thing to happen you will look back on the time you had to raise your children with regret and an ache in your heart. If most of us are honest with ourselves, we probably already have some regret.

3. Give yourself grace

If you are like me, you probably are thinking of all the ways you have failed to recognize your children as gifts … or how you have failed to treasure them where they are in life right now. If you are in this place let me encourage you with this verse from Lamentations 3:22-23:

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

Let’s extend this mercy to ourselves. Don’t let your past mistakes define you. They are only part of our journey. Learn from them and move on. Life is not about just the mom or dad you were today, but the one you are fighting to be. We can learn from our bad days, but then we must let them go and move on.

We can extend this kind of grace to our children, too. Like us, they are human and will fail us … just like we fail God. But we can’t let their mistakes define who we think they are. Just as the Lord gives us new mercies each day we can extend those same mercies to our children.

Music speaks to my soul on a level nothing else can, and I stumbled across this song several years ago. It’s a great reminder of the perspective we need to have during the highs and lows of parenting.

Listen to this song and then go hug those babies of yours.

And be the last to let go.

An Instant Library for Every Aspect of (Natural) Homemaking – for Less than $30

An Instant Library for Every Aspect of (Natural) Homemaking – for Less than $30

For the first few years of my marriage, I was a bit clueless as a homemaker. I thought cooking from scratch meant heating up convenience foods. I piled my dirty dishes in my laundry basket to take to my mom’s because I didn’t have a dishwasher. And my budget didn’t even include food. Food.

That’s … important.
An Instant Library for Every Aspect of (Natural) Homemaking – for Less than $30 | Shalom Mama
Thankfully, I learned a lot over the years.

Experience taught me that budgets are important because debt stinks, my husband is definitely the baker in our family since I love to get “creative” with recipes and you don’t use bleach on a brown carpet to stop a smoothie stain (yes, I seriously did that).

And the rest, well, the rest I learned through those wonderful sources of wisdom that always help me get a clue – books.

It is because of the wisdom shared by others that I now consider myself a pretty competent homemaker. I budget, meal plan, take care of my family naturally and homeschool our four kids without going crazy (most of the time). I haven’t even bleached a carpet lately!

That’s why I’m excited about The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.

What is The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle?

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is a complete library of great eBooks on homemaking-a truly valuable knowledge base you’ll use for many years to come.

Unlike a library, though, you don’t have to spend years building it up. The Ultimate Bundles team has done the hard work for you, searching the web to find the very best eBooks from top homemaking authors and combining them into one essential collection that you can buy in one simple purchase.

Act now to get the ultimate eBook collection on homemaking at a once-in-a-lifetime price.

Buy the PDF BundleBuy the Kindle BundleI’m confident you won’t find a more comprehensive set of homemaking resources anywhere — and certainly not at this price. Bought separately, they’d cost a total of $698 (not including $200+ in bonuses!). But you can have all of them for just $29.97!

Or, for just an extra $10, you not only get the full set of PDF files, but also a bonus set of Kindle editions, perfectly formatted for easy Kindle reading. This has been a popular request over the years and I’m excited to say it’s now available!

I believe it’s the best deal on homemaking eBooks anywhere on the web. But it will only be available for six days. So grab yours before it’s gone!

You get ALL THIS in The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle!

In this bundle, you will find 80+ eResources aimed to grow you in all aspects of homemaking, including:

  • Homemaking
  • Motherhood
  • Marriage
  • Food (recipes!)
  • Self-care
  • Faith (for you & for your kids)
  • Work-from-home & blogging
  • Pregnancy & babies
  • Health & wellness
  • Homeschooling
  • Holidays & special events
  • Financial stewardship

See the full list of 80+ eBooks, audio files, eCourses & printable packs included in the sale.

We’ve also included $200 of freebies from our 10 awesome partners!

In addition to all the amazing eResources, this bundle includes the best bonus offers it’s ever had, including:

bonus-imagesAs well as five more incredible offers from:

These deals are worth over six times the price of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. So you’re up on the deal right away!

Learn more about the bonus offers.

Buy the PDF BundleBuy the Kindle BundleThis huge wealth of information and guidance will be right there on your laptop, tablet, smartphone, or Kindle, whenever you need it.

Here’s what you need to know about the sale:

When? 8 a.m. EST Wednesday, April 23 until 11:59 p.m. EST Monday, April 28

What? 78 eBooks, 2 eCourses, 2 audio files, and 2 printable packs PLUS over $200 worth of bonus products you’ll really use!

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Buy the PDF BundleBuy the Kindle BundleRemember, this bundle is available for 6 days only, from 8 a.m. (EST) on Wednesday, April 23 to 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Monday, April 28th.

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

How to Keep Kids Healthy Year-Round

How to Keep Kids Healthy Year-Round

Do you ever get tired of saying that your kids are sick … again? Wouldn’t it be awesome if good health was the norm and illness was a rare occurrence? And what if you could make it happen simply and naturally? You’d be all for it, right?

How to Keep Kids Healthy Year-Round | Shalom Mama

Well friends, I don’t have a magic pill for you, but I do have some suggestions. Besides, even if there was someone claiming to have a magic pill for good health, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Because wellness doesn’t come in a magic pill – it comes with embracing a lifestyle of healthy decisions and habits.

And I’ve got plenty of suggestions for those healthy habits.

Over the past few years, we’ve made several changes to create a wellness lifestyle. They were gradual (and when they weren’t, they didn’t work so well) and simple. But they made a huge difference.

Of the changes we made, I noticed four main areas where we got the biggest return for our investment. So I suggest starting there if you need to make some changes in your home.

1. Good food

When it comes to food, real is the way to go. That means no added chemicals or other sketchy ingredients. And made from scratch is best. This gives you the most control over what you’re feeding your family.

After making the switch to real food, we noticed a huge change in our wellness. We got sick less and had fewer headaches and stomach aches. Over time, random aches and pains diminished as well.

Real food switches

If you need help making the switch, don’t worry. You don’t have to toss everything in your pantry (you know, unless it’s really awful for you). Choose a few things to change and start making the switch. If you need some help, check out this post on real food switches you can make in no time.

Plan ahead

Planning ahead has been the most helpful part of not only feeding our family well, but making sure it’s done within our budget. Here are some tips for planning ahead to save money on real food.

2. Restful sleep

Good, restful sleep is crucial for our health. That goes for adults and kids alike. Helping your kids get plenty of sleep can go a long way in keeping them healthy.

Bedtime routine

If you don’t have one already, try creating a bedtime routine. It doesn’t have to be strict, by any means, but it helps to have a groove so everyone knows what to expect at night. This is what it looks like in our home:

  • Turn off screens (7:30 pm)
  • Brush/floss teeth
  • Get on jammies and get in bed
  • Listen to chapter or two of current book
  • Kid reading time
  • Lights out (by 8:30)

It doesn’t always happen this way, but it gives a guideline to go by that makes bedtime much easier.

Essential oils

I don’t do it every night, but I usually apply essential oils before bed. I choose calming oils that will help the kids settle in for a good night’s sleep. Some nights, I’ll just do a drop of lavender on their chests.

Other nights, when they’re especially rowdy, I’ll pull out the big guns and use a blend with lavender, wild orange, vetiver and some other oils in coconut oil for a super relaxing mix. If you’re looking for a relaxing essential oil recipe, try this one or this one.

How to Keep Kids Healthy Year-Round | Shalom Mama

3. Immune system support

Our immune system is our first line of defense so it makes sense to help it be as strong as possible, right? Thankfully, that’s really easy to do. All of the suggestions here are actually really great for supporting the immune system, but I use these ones especially when we’re at risk of getting sick.

Herbs & essential oils

If you need help boosting your kids’ immune systems, you only need a couple bottles of plant-based goodness.

First, I recommend On Guard essential oil. This blend is full of essential oils that support a strong immune system. I alternate between rubbing it on my kids’ feet and diffusing it in our bus. I also use it in all our cleaning products to kill harmful germs.

Elderberry syrup is another great way to keep your immune system strong, especially when you’re going to be hanging around people who may be sick. You can buy it pre-made, but it’s super simple (and more cost-effective) to make it yourself. Here’s the recipe.

Family Physician Kit

On those rare occasions they do get sick, we turn to the oils in the Family Physician Kit first before heading in to the doctor’s office. Why? Because essential oils can help knock out pathogens that get kids sick (even viruses!) in a way that’s safe and super fast. They also help support a healthy body, rather than wiping the good stuff while also killing the bad.

For best pricing, become a wellness advocate for 25% off all orders and great prices on enrollment kits. Learn more here.

How to Keep Kids Healthy Year-Round | Shalom Mama

4. Quality supplements

Lastly, we use supplements. Not just any, mind you. We use whole food options that will give us a big return for our investment. (My husband and I use the same ones, plus doTERRA‘s Lifelong Vitality Pack.)

Fermented Cod Liver Oil

I’ve been using the fermented cod liver oil from Green Pasture for the last two years because of its many benefits. The oil is fermented, instead of heat processed, so it doesn’t kill delicate nutrients. FCLO is also a great source of vitamins A & D, DHA/EPA and helps support a healthy immune system.

You can find it online here. Or, if you’d like a discount, you could sign up as a group buyer and save money by buying in bulk (I go in with a few friends on my orders).

How do you keep your kids healthy year-round?

Choose Your Words Wisely (or How I Became a Better Mom)

Choose Your Words Wisely (or How I Became a Better Mom)

“Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.”  — Psalm 127:3

Choose your words wisely (or how I became a better mom)

“You kids are driving me crazy!”

“I can’t wait until you grow up and move out.”

“Will you kids please just leave me alone?!”

“Why can’t you just… ”

If you find yourself saying this stuff to your kids, please do me a favor …

Shut. Up.

I mean it. Just stop.

I’ve heard moms say this stuff a lot. And I’m the first to admit that I’ve said a few of these myself.

But a few years ago, I read a blog by a mom with small children. She realized that despite the challenges she was going through, she was going to miss the kids when they were older. And it was a gift that God let her realize it now.  So she started to cherish them.

I realized recently that our oldest is halfway to eighteen. That means, that if he chooses to leave the nest as soon as he’s legally able (as my husband did), half our time with him is gone. That just breaks my heart when I think of all the times I said harsh words or said no to spending time with him so I could do something I wanted to do that was of no real importance.

We are to love and nurture our children. Our love for our them is representative of God’s love for us. That’s a big responsibility; one we should not take lightly.

“But Nina, you don’t understand, they’re driving me nuts!”

I understand. Trust me – I have four children. And our home is tiny, y’all.

This post is as much for me as it is for anyone who reads it. But it will get better. They will get better. You will react better. Change is possible.

I would never make the claim that I’m perfect – in fact, I found this post in my archives and knew I desperately need this reminder right now – but these tips, these habits have helped me so much:

Begin each day with prayer

One specific prayer has worked wonders on my attitude and the way I treat my kids. “Lord please give me divine patience and grace today.” It must be divine. When you try to do it yourself it won’t work.

Get away for time with yourself

Please do not try to be a martyr! I tried. It only leads to burn out and false pride. My husband had to shove me out the door to get time for myself – I thought I’d be seen as a bad mom if I didn’t.

Thank God I have such a good husband. I now take time to for myself on a weekly basis and I love it. It’s truly rejuvenating. But that doesn’t mean I’m gone all day shopping (I tried that, it just made things worse). Sometimes, I just need 30 minutes to be alone, pray and remember why I chose this wonderful life.

Teach them

Do you dislike being around your kids because they’re snotty and rude and don’t help around the house? Well, do something to change that. We teach them to tie their shoes, go potty in the toilet, sit quietly in front of the TV…

Teach them how you want them to behave – by modeling that behavior yourself (yes, I know my daughter picked up that snotty attitude from moi). Be consistent. But do something.

Spend less time on yourself

Didn’t she just say spend more time by yourself? I did. I mean it. BUT. Spend less time focused on yourself. I find my attitude towards my kids gets worse when I’m doing something that I want to do when it’s not imperative that it get done right then.

All they want is my attention. And all I want to do is sit on Facebook all day …

Intentionally include them

We’re relational creatures, our kids included. They want to feel important and wanted. Be intentional during the day to include them in something your doing and give them the gift of your undivided attention.

That means turn off the TV, put the phone away and put the computer in sleep mode.

Remember why you had them in the first place

Was it because you felt obligated or was it because you couldn’t wait to meet these special blessings? Nobody should feel like an unwanted burden, especially our children.

So please, choose your words wisely.

What have you done to prevent harsh words?

9 Ways to Slow Down and Connect as a Family

9 Ways to Slow Down and Connect as a Family

Life is fast-paced, and if we aren’t careful we can miss some of the sweetest gifts life has to offer. This is especially true in parenting.

9 Ways to Slow Down and Connect as a Family.jpg

As parents we can get so consumed with work, chores and the next thing in our routine that we forget to pause and connect as a family. And the speed of our world makes it ridiculously hard to slow down as well.

So what’s a parent to do? How do we slow down and connect in meaningful ways with our family? I would like to suggest nine of an infinite number of options.

Read

Nothing fancy or complicated here. Just grab a book, snuggle up and enjoy. And reading together can be done no matter if your children are babies or teenagers. If you are low on options to read, your local library is a great resource.

Food

Family mealtime is a great time to bond through preparation of a meal and also the enjoyment of it as well. According to the Family Dinner Project, enjoying a meal together as a family does more than strengthen family bonds.

Family mealtime contributes to higher self esteem and lower risk of depression and eating disorders. Another benefit – family meals can help expand vocabulary (more so than reading).

Explore

Go for a walk around your neighborhood or a park. Find some local hiking trails in your area. Surprise your kids with a trip to a theme park for the day. Visit a zoo or museum. You get the idea … leave your home and enjoy life together.

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Play

Young children learn best through play, and it can also been a meaningful avenue of connection. But play is not just for little kiddos; it is great for big kids and their parents, too!

Grab some toys you already have at home (cars, building blocks, Legos, PlayDoh, etc) and play. Paint or create something together. Or maybe go to a park and swing or slide with your child.

Laugh

Don’t be afraid to show your silly side, too. Jump on the bed together. Tell jokes. Have a food fight. Jump in puddles and get all muddy. Kids love to see that their parents have a sense of humor and a silly side. Tell jokes.

family photos outtake 2012

Family Night

Dedicate a night each week or a few times a month for Family Night. Fix your family’s favorite meal, watch a movie or play games. Making this part of your family’s routine gives your children something to look forward to on a consistent basis.

For more ideas on ways to connect as a family check out 10 Ways to Connect As A Family at Holistic Homemaking.

In what ways do you like to spend quality time and connect with your family?

Share your ideas with us in the comments section below.

Get Crafty: Crafting Essentials for the Simple Home

Get Crafty: Crafting Essentials for the Simple Home

I used to tell myself that I’m not creative. And I believed it, most of the time. But the truth is that I am. I’m very creative. And so are you.

Crafting Essentials for the Simple Home

The real problem is, I’m just not that crafty.

Ok, I suppose that’s not true, either. In fact, I just realized that the real problem is the lack of ideas and disorganized supplies. Because I crochet a lot. I also love to get all crafty when I sew. And I made this.

So I am crafty. I just want to be more crafty and give my kiddos the opportunity to be crafty as well. Which brings me back to the real problems: ideas and supplies.

As for ideas, there’s a whole world of them right at my finger tips. Hello, Pinterest.

That means that I really need to solve the supply problem. Since there’s not much room in our bus, I’ve had to choose items carefully. And I think that’s important for everyone to do.

Because I’ve found that when you cross the line from not enough to too much, it steals your creativity instead of enhancing it because you’re faced with overwhelm from too many possibilities.

It happens when kids have too many toys. When your kitchen has too many gadgets. And when your craft supply box (or boxes) are overflowing. So it’s best to keep it as simple as possible and gather the essentials (add or subtract things so you can suit your family’s preferences).

So here are my essentials. Some I have, others are on my wishlist. They just need to be organized in a box and put in a place my kids and I can access easily when the crafting mood strikes.

Get Crafty Crafting Essentials for the Simple Home

Crafting Essentials

These are the supplies that can be used for a myriad of crafts.

Tools

Most of our tools can be used for more than crafting, which is important. I also make sure we have tools that the kids can use easily, like small scissors and glue they can use easily. Ok, not too easily.

Books

I love the internet, but there are some books I’ve kept in our simplification process because they have such good ideas. There are just a couple.

Ok, so pretty much anything by Amanda Soule.

Now to keep my kids from fighting over the glue …

What are your crafting essentials?