5 Ways We Can Fail Our Children

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As parents, we will fail … sometimes horribly. But, we don’t have to raise the white flag and surrender ourselves to failure. By identifying some of these wrong patterns, we can start taking steps toward raising our children rightly.

1. Resorting to Anger

Most children can tell by your tone of voice and body language if you are haboring anger towards them. If your child needs correction, but you feel your emotions starting to boil over, go slow. Send your child to the next room, so you can take the time to breathe and compose yourself before approaching them.

2. Avoiding Forgiveness

Sometimes, though, you just mess up and let out your full wrath on them. Been there, done that. But rather than allowing that wall to remain between you and your children, you can begin to knock down those bricks with forgiveness. Though it takes swallowing a huge slice of humble pie, asking your child for forgiveness, not only models for them the right way to resolve conflict, but assures them that the relationship has not been broken.

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3. Letting Them Have Their Way

Let’s face it. Kids are persistent. If they don’t wear you down with their continual requests, you may find yourself just giving in to escape the temper tantrums. But be warned. Children that consistently get their way will face a rude awakening one day when they realize the world does not revolve around them. And, if they don’t learn, at an early age, how to submit to your authority, how can we expect them to heed other authorities in their future?

4. Failing to Follow Through

We can also fail to follow through on consequences to their disobedience. Perhaps we were being lazy, or our words were just threats to get them to outwardly comply, or we just completely forgot. But, if you say that their screaming at the store will be dealt with at home, you need to follow through. We can’t get frustrated when they don’t listen to us if all we give them are empty words.

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5. Encouraging Delayed Obedience

I used to help out in a classroom, where “the count” was implemented to get the kids to quiet down. It’s funny because once you get to #2, you start including fractions (2 1/2, 2 3/4, 2 7/8). Many of us have probably employed this same tactic at home. But, all we’re really accomplishing is training our children that delayed obedience is ok. If my kid is running towards an oncoming car, I’m not going to say, “I’ll give you to the count of 3 to stop.” And though it’s not always a matter of safety, a child needs to learn to obey his parent without delay.

I’m preaching to myself here too because it’s so easy to get into wrong habits of parenting. But don’t grow weary. You will see the fruit of your labor in due time.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

 

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Flashbacks: One Year of Blogging Adventures

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I grew up watching popular family sitcoms, like The Cosby Show or Family Ties (yes, I am dating myself). One of my favorite types of episodes are those flashbacks, when the family gathers in the living room and starts reminiscing about the past. As a viewer, you get to travel back in time as well, getting snippets of some of your favorite episodes.

This post is somewhat like those flashback episodes. Since this blog just turned 1 year old, I’m kind of in a reflective mood. So, here’s a look back at some memorable posts of the past.

Top Viewed Post

There is not even a close second. This post on 6 Ideas for No-Cost Date Nights has been viewed more than any other on this blog. This is largely due to The Penny Hoarder sharing it on their Facebook page … many thanks!

Most Commented Post

I have not always welcomed my little ones in the kitchen. It was my domain, and though I had envisioned a happy mom and kids baking cookies together, my personality was, at first, much too controlling for that to become a reality. However, I could not squash their eagerness to help, and slowly, I’ve let my guard down and allowed them to participate more in kitchen activities. Now, it’s become one of the ways that we bond together.

The Post that Explains it All

I participated in a Blog Hop, where bloggers “tagged” each other with the topic Why Do You Write?  I really enjoyed thinking through and explaining my writing process. This post really goes into what makes me tick as a blogger.

My First Post

There’s probably a total of 2 people that read this post, but it’s really the main theme of this blog. This whole concept of stewardship is what launched me into starting this site in the first place.

Thanks to all of you, who have taken the time to support this endeavor of mine, by reading, sharing, and commenting! Lord willing, there will be more blogging adventures ahead!

 

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Warnings for Bloggers-to-Be

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I made it!

I hit my one-year mark for this blog. It’s not my first blog, but I’m not sure if it counts when my only faithful readers in the past were my parents. Ok, I’m exaggerating. But, this is the first blog, where I’ve really tried to reach an audience (rather than the “journaling” type of blogs that I’ve had before) and where I’ve ventured into a self-hosted site and monetizing this little piece of cyberspace.

A whole year of this brought in a lot of lessons learned. Blogging can be fun, but there are some pitfalls to watch out for. If you’re thinking about starting a blog, I ask you to heed these 2 warnings.

Don’t misuse your time

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Blogging will take a lot of time. I mean, A LOT of time! If you want to go the self-hosted route, you’re going to have to learn all the techie stuff, fiddle with this font or that, try out different layouts, etc. etc.

And once your design is just perfect, you have to actually fill your space with some good and engaging content. That means you can’t just spit out whatever is in your head and hope that others will relate.

The time that you put in doesn’t just pour into your blog itself, but you have to be willing to check out other blogs, comment on their posts, and make some friends.

I think you get the point that blogging can really take over your life … if you let it. But don’t. Manage your time wisely. Schedule in a set time to write or comment on posts, so it doesn’t eat up other priorities in your life. For me, I squeeze in some blogging early in the morning, during the kids’ naptime, or after they go to bed at night. Sometimes it doesn’t happen at all, and that’s ok. Sometimes I have to totally step away from it, taking a week off, a month off, or even more.

It’s ok. The rest of the world will move on.

Don’t put blogging before family

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Because of the obvious danger that blogging can take up all your time, it can have inevitable negative effects on those closest to you, like your family.

And if you have a mommy blog, can you, in good conscience, post about “10 Activities to Plan for Your Kids” after telling your child you can’t play tea with her because you have some important blog writing to do?

Like I said before, try not to blog when your family is needing your attention the most. If possible, perhaps you can work out a schedule with your spouse, where you can have some time to create while he hangs out with the kids.

Even if blogging becomes an income-earning, full-time gig, it’s not worth it if you neglect the most important people in your life.

Kevin DeYoung, author of Crazy Busy, shares his thoughts on how blogging unchecked can have negative effects on our relationships [affiliate link]. “We don’t want to disappoint hundreds or thousands of people we’ve never met, so we work all night and ruin the evening of the few people who depend on us every day.”

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I’d like to know your thoughts.

If you’re a blogger, how do you balance blogging with the rest of your life?

If you’re thinking about starting a blog, what are some of your questions about it? (Maybe it can be a topic for a future post.)

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Thank you for your support! I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Click here for more information on my disclosure.

 

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How to Turn Your Clicks into Cash: Introducing Qmee

connected — may 29 (day 29)

Raise your hand if you browse through the virtual aisles of a store on the internet before even stepping through those automatic sliding doors!

Sometimes when you’re looking for a specific item or just some good deals, Ebay or Amazon can be a superior alternative to wasting gas, driving from store to store. And need I mention the special challenges some of us may have when having to shop with little kids in tow?

You know I’m all for saving and/or earning a little money here and there, especially when it doesn’t require me to turn my life upside down. What if I told you there’s a way to earn some cash while doing what you probably do everyday, multiple times a day?

Let me introduce you to Qmee, a free search-loyalty, cash-reward browser app installed easily into any major browser.  This app rewards you with actual cash micropayments, for clicking on search results you otherwise would click for no reward!

So what does that mean? When you do a search, let’s say, on Amazon, Qmee will post some relevant results on the screen next to the usual Amazon results. If you click on any of Qmee’s results, you get a small cash payment in your account.

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The amounts for each click are small, typically between 4 and 14 cents, but it adds up as you do your internet searches! Even 5 bucks earned in a month through Qmee is still 5 bucks that you didn’t have before when doing your web searches the old way.

What I like about this app is that it works with sites that you probably visit frequently anyway. Google, Yahoo, Amazon … just to name a few. This eliminates having to go to another search engine browser, especially when you’re so used to using Google, for example.

As your clicks translate into coins dropped into your piggy bank, you may come to a point when you want to break open the pig and use that hard-earned cash (web search and mouse-clicking takes a lot of work). You can have it transferred to your PayPal account or donate it to charity.

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So, what do you think? It’s free to sign up and free to get the app!

To learn more, visit Qmee to try it for yourself.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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What I Learned From Having a Child with Special Needs

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I sat in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, filling out a questionnaire about my 2-year-old, who was happily playing in the “kiddie corner”.

Does your child eat at least 2 cups of fruits and vegetables a day? YES. Does your child kick a ball? YES. Does your child speak two-word sentences?

I hesitated. My pencil hovered over the check box, and slowly, I marked the box indicating “no.” In the quietness of that waiting room, I felt as though I would explode from the multitude of questions and concerns that raced through my mind.

Is there something wrong with my child because he’s not speaking in sentences yet? Is it a red flag that most of his talking is largely gibberish? Can’t he just be a late bloomer, and it won’t be long before he hits this milestone?

It was a typical well-child exam with our pediatrician but marked the beginning of a journey that we are still on today, taking us to countless evaluations, assessments, speech pathologists, child development experts, doctors, and specialists.

I wish I could tell you I was unwavering in my resolve to care for my child with special needs.

Truth is I am sometimes plagued with doubts, fears, depression, and thoughts of failing as a mom.

What keeps me standing firm in the midst of a lot of uncertainty is God Himself and the lessons He has taught me from this experience of being a mom of a child with special needs.

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There Will Always Be Questions

The first diagnosis we received was that our child had severe language delays (Mixed Expressive Receptive Language Disorder), but as he continued to stall in his development, questions only increased. The gap between him and his peers widened. Later, he was diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder.

But these labels don’t eliminate the questions and concerns. Rather, we realized how much more we need to seek answers, find help, and most importantly, get on our knees to pray.

A Parent Still Knows Best

We’ve seen many so-called experts, and though they may have a lot of knowledge in their fields, we are truly the experts when it comes to our child. We have taken some of the helpful information from doctors and specialists, but it is up to us to determine exactly how best to apply them in all the particulars of our child.

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My Child is Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I have sought to know and understand my child deeper than I would ever imagine. But still, there is none who is more intimately acquainted with him and all his ways than the One who created him. God didn’t overlook him or make a mistake. He doesn’t consider him unimportant or love him less. My child is God’s creation, “knitted together” and “intricately woven” by His hands (Psalm 139:13-15).

Though, in my humanness, I will occasionally ask the all-too-familiar question, “Why God?”, I am always brought to my knees with the same peaceful answer that surpasses all comprehension.

My child was made for my good and God’s glory!

 

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And the Winner is …

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Congratulations to Shaunie W. on winning the $25 Gyft Card! You will be receiving an email with details on how to claim your prize!

Thank you to all who participated!

 

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3 Obstacles to Enjoying Your Children

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My husband could clearly see I needed a break. He began to gather the kids to take them out, so that I could have some time alone. “Where are you going?” “What will I do while you’re gone?” “Are you gonna do something fun without me?”

Why is it that when I am with the children all day, I sometimes fail to consider how to spend that time enjoying them? And, when they leave my presence, I feel like I’m missing out on something?

Because of the fact that they are with me most of my waking hours, I can sometimes take for granted that small window of time (yes, it is a small window even though it feels like forever) that I have with them. Can you relate?

Here are 3 things that we can allow to get in the way of enjoying our children.

Television

Mesmerizing

PBSkids got me through some rough adjustment periods of being a mom of three children under 4 years old. But just as it can get quite addicting to watch TV, it can be equally addicting to continually turn it on for your kids just to get some peace and quiet.

Perhaps during those few hours they are glued to the tube, you can clean your whole house, make a fancy dinner, pay the bills, and return some phone calls. You may even feel quite productive, but the time you could have spent playing with the little ones or listening to all their funny talk has been replaced by Elmo and Mickey Mouse.

Technology

Spending quality family time together ...

When we have a chance to splurge a bit and go out to eat, it’s not uncommon for us to notice scenes like the one above. Unless they all happen to be texting each other, I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to assume they’re not really having too much bonding time.

Though my kids don’t have their own devices, I’ve been guilty of allowing my own access to technology to get in the way of noticing my children.

“Mommy, did you see me go across the monkey bars?”

Or, did we find our Facebook newsfeed more interesting than our child’s latest playground accomplishment?

Surely, Facebook can wait. Set the phone aside. And, try to have fun with your kids sometimes without thinking about sharing that moment with the whole social media world.

To Do Lists

5/4/2010: To-Do List

This is probably my biggest obstacle. I’m so task-oriented that I run into the danger of seeing time spent with the kids as another duty to check off my list. Or worse, I see it as something that hinders me from completing that checklist.

If, at the end of the day, you failed to cross off even one thing on your agenda, but you read to your toddler, made some rainbow loom bracelets with your daughter, and taught your boy how to dribble a ball, then you accomplished way more than can be quantified by a written set of goals.

Let’s identify those distractions, steer clear of them, and start savoring the simple joys of parenthood!

What keeps you from enjoying your children?

 

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The New Way to Give a Gyft {Giveaway}

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I love the thoughtfulness behind personal gifts … that coffee mug with the cute message that a friend just had to get for you or the soft blanket that someone took the time to crochet for your first baby.

But let’s face it. Sometimes the convenience of a gift card eliminates the guesswork in shopping for the perfect gift. I’ve done it while walking down the aisles of Target, trying to figure out exactly what kind of coffee maker the bride and groom needs or even if they need one in the first place.

Though not a handmade gift, who can deny the usefulness of gift cards? I certainly don’t complain when I receive them from family and friends.

But if you’re like me, gift cards have a tendency to get buried deep down into the oversized Mama purse. Not to mention, I totally lose track of how much value are in those cards.

Here’s a nifty solution for those who are tired of unnecessarily weighing down their wallets with gift cards.

Gyft is a mobile gift card app that can turn this

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into this

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Download the app and sign up for Gyft, and the convenience of gift cards will all be nicely kept in your phone. Here’s how it works …

To buy a new card, select a retailer and the amount. There are over 200 to pick from.

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Then, choose a payment method. After payment, the gift card will immediately appear in your Gyft account.

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When you’re ready to use it, tap “redeem”. You will get a barcode on your phone that can be scanned at the store and/or a promo code to use in an online purchase.

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Easy peasy, right?

You can also add your own cards if it’s among one of the many stores within the Gyft platform.

Here’s another cool feature of Gyft. Whenever you buy a card through them, you earn points, which can go towards buying more cards. So, if you frequent Target for your monthly household and grocery shopping, you can set aside a certain amount to spend at that store by purchasing a Target giftcard through Gyft. It’s money that you would be spending anyway, but now it’s also money that just earned you some points for future Target trips.

It’s free to sign up, so don’t delay! Click on one of the links below to download the app.
IOS
Android

But wait! I have another cool treat for you!

Gyft is giving away a $25 Gyft card to one of my readers.

This card will allow you to choose any gift card available through Gyft. By completing different tasks (see entry form below), you can earn up to 6 entries. This giveaway will end on Monday, March 16th.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored giveaway.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Click here for more information on my disclosure.

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4 Creative Ways to Earn or Save Money

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Back in June of last year, I wrote a guest post on Money Saving Mom about how to survive a season of unemployment. I shared our own personal experience and how we had to find creative ways to get through one of our leanest financial times.

I wrote, hoping that I could encourage someone, who was going through such a difficult trial. But what I didn’t expect was being more encouraged by readers, who commented and shared how they were able to make ends meet during their most challenging financial seasons.

It’s exciting to hear about how people have found ways to live on less, and more than that, they come out of such trials, being more thankful and better stewards of what they have.

If you’re racking your brain trying to figure out how else you can save or earn money to help pay the bills and get food on the table, perhaps the following posts from other bloggers will give you the needed inspiration.

Milk for Sale

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With my first child, I pumped and stored so much breastmilk in the freezer, one would think I was expecting a natural disaster. Had I known I could’ve sold all that milk and start a savings account for my kid, I wouldn’t have tossed it all out. Though the idea of selling breastmilk may spark some controversy, The Penny Hoarder posted an interesting article about it here.

Reduce Clutter, Increase Cash

Artsy yard sale sign

If you’re looking to have a more minimalist lifestyle and make a few extra bucks in the process, having a yard sale is a great idea. K&M: The Stay-at-Home Life shares some helpful tips on having a successful yard sale.

Save on the Never-ending Chore of Laundry

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Whether you’re a load-of-laundry-each-day kind of a person or someone who tackles the whole mountain of clothes in one day, we can all agree that laundry can be a daunting chore as well as a pricey one. Kate from Stay at Home Mom with Money Saving Tips shares different ways you can save money on this necessary household task.

Release the Writing Genius in You

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If you want to bring in some income on a more regular basis, and you love to write, check out how Brittany from Equipping Godly Women is able to make real money by accepting writing orders from various website owners.

Your turn! Do you have any creative ideas for saving or earning some extra cash?

 

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Putting the MIU COLOR® Reusable Bag to the Test {Product Review}

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Years ago, during a major shopping trip to Walmart, the cashier asked me if I brought my own reusable bags. I had never brought my own bags to the store, just something I didn’t think about. So, after I told the cashier “no”, she said I could buy some for 20 cents each. Sounded cheap enough. The bags were basically the same size as the regular plastic bags but in the canvas-like material.

Though I bought about 5 of them, I had never used them again. And right now, I honestly cannot find even a single one, so I assume they have all ended up in the “reusable bag black hole” where all the others are.

Reusable bags are a great idea, but not all bags are the same.

I had an opportunity to review a bag by MIU COLOR® that is sturdy, water-resistant, and large enough to hold many items [affiliate link].

[affiliate link]

We put their bag to the test during a grocery run. If you want to know how I do store trips with 4 kids in tow, read on.

I don’t buy a lot and stick to my list.

It’s hard enough when my kids get distracted and start wandering down a different aisle, but when I get distracted by this sale or that, we’re on our way to a store meltdown.

I don’t use a shopping cart.

If I know I’m not buying a lot of bulky items, I avoid the shopping cart altogether. I load the two youngest on the sit-n-stand stroller and clip my reusable shopping bag on. The older kids help me with getting items. This is where a large reusable bag would come in handy, and the MIU COLOR® bag passed the test!

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Our bags do take a beating during trips to the store, but the nice thing about the MIU COLOR® bag is that it is machine washable. In fact, though most people don’t wash their bags, studies show that it is a good idea to clean them regularly to avoid the risk of harmful bacteria from raw foods.

Besides grocery runs, we can use the bag to carry our stuff for library trips, swimming classes, and park days.

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The MIU COLOR® Reusable Bag comes in green, dark blue, and light blue and is available on Amazon [affiliate link]. Though the price is reasonable, I probably would hesitate to pay that much for a reusable bag, but then again, I’m the woman who bought 20-cent reusable bags that were never used again!

The bag has actually received great marks from Amazon customers. So, for a sturdy bag like this that will likely be reused multiple times, it may be worth the price for you!
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Click here for more information on my disclosure.

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