Want Smart Kids?

crafts

From my segment on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook… Listen to segment here: Real Moms: Want Smart Kids?

We know that the library needs to be our friend all summer, but did you know that the smart kids are doing more than reading?
(Please library loving people, forgive me…you know I would never tell them to really put down books…but just take a deep breath and open your hearts 🙂 )

That’s right, they’re doing crafts!

Creativity is just as important as reading. So, give them some supplies and a little direction and let their imaginations go wild.

When kids create, it stimulates the right side of their brain and…well, makes them smart!

I need to give a disclaimer here, I am NOT crafty. I want to be. I have glue guns, paints and supplies. But I’m just a poser. I’m the kid whose watercolor landscapes always turned into brown mountains with grey skies.

But our kids don’t care, and perfection is not part of life for Real Moms, so just have fun with it, get messy and let the kids create. It’s summer, hose them off when they’re done! It’s all good.

Here are a few ideas for you, because I couldn’t come up with anything beyond popsicle stick people:

My friend Korene has a great craft page here:  CRAFTREDO

I also have some fantastic ideas from crafty type people for you on my Pinterest Page in the “Parenting and Kid Stuff” board.

So, let’s do some crafts this summer and grow some smart kids!

 

If you’re not in the West Michigan area you can listen to my segments every Tuesday at 7:05 AM EST live on iHeart Radio anywhere in the world!

Check out Tommy and Brook’s page online at West Michigan STAR: Tommy and Brook

Their Facebook page: Tommy and Brook

And their Twitter: @TommyAndBrook

The Summer 2013 Praise and Coffee Magazine, Our Last Issue

The Summer Praise and Coffee Magazine is here!

Click here to read: Summer 2013

It’s filled with great articles by amazing women. The topic is freedom, and we tackle it from all angles.

Freedom from our past, freedom to forgive, freedom from debt and more.cover summer 2013

Our last issue…

It was a little harder to press “publish” on this magazine. As you will read, it is the last magazine for an undecided amount of time. I tell you about the decision on the last pages of the magazine.

We’ve had three great years publishing this magazine! I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who submitted articles and poured their hearts out on the pages over the years. I’ve met some wonderful ladies along this journey and connected with women that have become friends in real life.

My focus is shifting and I have some other projects that have been calling for my attention for a long while and I’m hoping I can make some forward motion in those areas now.

The topic of “Freedom” was decided before I decided that this would be the last issue, but it is quite fitting. I don’t mean to say that I’m ‘free of the magazine’ because I’ve loved doing it. Loved it! But it is freeing to know that it’s ok to lay down something you love doing when you do it while trusting that God is leading you and has other things on the horizon.

It’s easy to go with the flow and once a system is started, just keep moving but the past few years I’ve learned to enjoy the fluidity of a relationship with Jesus. The message stays the same, but the vehicle changes. Freedom brings peace, but it often has to be fought for. We have to fight the voices and disappointments of others. Don’t expect everyone to love or understand the changes that God calls you to do.

But bravely step out, or step back, whichever you’re feeling the tug to do. Peace is the signature of a walk with God. I did not say quiet or calm or even easy, but I said peace, that inner sense that you’re on the right track and the contented rest that comes with trusting the Father’s love and leading.

I hope that even this move to stop publishing the magazine will encourage and inspire you to follow close to what God lays in your heart because His ways are always better than ours.

 

Here are some of the article pics if you would like to Pin them for us! And we would love it if you did!

diema freedom

espresso

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forgive

freedome julie

grace

israel

mel capture melanie

tracee article

tricia capture

What Do Our Kids Want From Us?

summer-camp

Obviously an endless supply of Sourpatch kids candy, DS games, new bikes and a new iPhone would be top on their list, but apparently our kids want a few other things from us too. I’ve been talking with Tommy and Brook on Star 105.7 for the last several weeks about survey results of what else our kids want from us. You can listen to my segments on my Star 105.7 page or read about them here:

  • Come into my bedroom at night, tuck me in. Come say goodnight. Another good idea is to talk about what they are thankful for from the day. Studies have proven that on common quality of happy people is: gratitude!
  • During dinner, talk about what you could do together on the weekend. Kids love to have something to look forward to! Unless your weekend plans are to clean out the garage, then be nice and skip this one.
  • Let them play outside, A LOT. Summer’s coming Momma, send them out that screen door!
  • Tell them stories about when you were little. Keep in mind ‘little’ let’s not talk about those college years!
  • This one might surprise you, but when kids were asked to look back and tell what they remembered and loved most about their moms…one of the things is that they were thankful that she disciplined them. The reason is that they said: it made them feel like she cared. “She took the time to teach me how to be a good person.”
    I should emphasize discipline- not just punishment. There’s a big difference, discipline is about disciple-ing not just grounding them with no guidance for their future.
  • Give them room to grow.  The older they get, the more we need to step back so they can do things on their own. I think we really start to see this in junior high. They are going through crazy growth and hormonal changes and we are going to need to adjust how we parent them. Instead of doing it all for them, it’s time to start guiding them and being more hands off.
  • To continue the idea of giving them room to grow, one of the biggest ways we help our kids is by teaching them to make decisions. When they’re little, we help them recognize when they’ve made a good versus a poor choice. The older they get we coach them along the path of decision making and help them with three ideas:

As they get older we want our kids to ask themselves these three things when it comes to decision making:

  1. Why do I want to do this?
    You want your children to understand what motivates their decisions.
    Is it peer pressure? Is it selfish?
  2. What are my options?
    When they’re little we can help them by narrowing choices and as they grow we help them see the choices they have.
  3. What are the consequences or benefits?
    Do they really want the outcome of this decision?
    Kids tend to make impulsive, immediate gratification decisions (Don’t we all?!)
    And often when we ask our older kids why they did something wrong, they’re response (if being honest) is that they just didn’t stop to think about the consequences.

 

Ok, so that was a lot to take in, I think you deserve a good cup of coffee and some dark chocolate!

Point your kids in the right direction— when they’re old they won’t be lost.
Proverbs 22:6

If you’re not in the West Michigan area you can listen live on iHeart Radio anywhere in the world!

Check out Tommy and Brook’s page online at West Michigan STAR: Tommy and Brook

Their Facebook page: Tommy and Brook

And their Twitter: @TommyAndBrook

Do Schools Kill Our Creativity?

I watched this video this morning and just had to share it. I think this resonates with every one of us.

If for no other reason, watch is for the laughs, he is so funny.

But this is also for:

All the moms who worry about their kids not doing well in school.

All the students that feel they’ve been put in a box or they just don’t fit in. (And may I add, good for YOU!)

All the parents of children and the kids wrongly labeled ADD or ADHD.

 

What if. What if, God just has a different plan.

 

Do schools kill our creativity? Let’s do something about it.

Watch it here: Sir Ken Robinson

 

Spring 2013 Praise and Coffee Magazine is here!

Thank you to so many amazing women (and one man) who grace the pages of this issue!

spring 2013

We do not have print subsciptions available yet but you can order the magazines individually here:

Praise and Coffee Spring 2013

Praise and Coffee: Praise and Coffee Spring 2013

Connecting women to encourage each other and inspiring them to draw closer to God.

Find out more on MagCloud

 

And for all of you wonderful Pinners, here are some Pins for you to share!
Also available on my Pinterest page:

alli

contents 2

dee

espresso

fashion

israel

marriage

mel nelson

ronel

tami

underlying anger

Sign up here to receive an email when each new magazine comes out (this is only for magazine, not our actual website updates and you will only get 4 email a year).


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Moms, What You Are Doing Matters

Taken from my segment on Star 105.7 in West Michigan with Tommy and Brook

Last week as I spoke to a MOPS group I looked at the tired eyes of those moms who feel buried in laundry and overcome with planning dinners and driving to practices and doing homework (on the way to school because the night before they said “no, mom I don’t have ny homework”), and I just want so badly for them to grasp how important their roles are in their child’s life.

I have 4 kids, three are grown and we adopted our youngest and she’s 8 yrs old.

I remember with (as I fondly refer to them) ‘my first batch of kids’ how I felt like the house keeper, room service and chauffer. I was a taller, blonder, unshowered Benson that lived in the suburbs in a house with so little heat that we put up a blanket in the stairway to keep ourselves warm all day. I didn’t feel like my role mattered except to keep the kids from killing each other and putting a few groceries in their busy little bodies.

Fast forward a couple decades and my oldest is married and second son is engaged. This past weekend we helped our son and his new wife move. Watching my grown sons interact and seeing how they treat their wife and fiancé ….it made me so thankful and I realized even more how much moms matter. Thankfully, I also thought about how little all the mistakes I made along the way, mattered. We’re real moms, we’re not perfect but being there for our kids, taking care of all the mundane tasks that we must do…it really matters.

I just want to tell moms (and dads)…that what you’re doing…this sometimes exhausting and seemingly thankless job…it matters. You are nurturing and raising the next generation.

No matter the age, whether your kids are picking up everything they see and putting it in their mouths or sassing back with the same lips a few years later, your role in their life matters.

If they are biological, adopted, foster or step children, you matter. You make a difference.

It wasn’t until we adopted Lauren that I came to understand the depth and power of attachment in a child’s life. It was a rocky first year with a little girl that spent her first 26 months in an orphange, and the several years since have been a learning experience. Even though she’s strongly attached, there is still a glimpse of that “survival” tendency in her that keeps me on my toes.

So when I saw this on the wall of her school, my heart melted.

feb 2013Yup, it matters.

Give yourself a break Moms, you’re not expected to be a perfect mom. Be a REAL mom.

If you missed this segment, listen here: Real Moms: What you are doing matters!

You can listen to my ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

Is Shame Based Punishment Effective?

Taken from my segment on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook

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Is publicly shaming our children an effective way to bring a positive change when they’ve made serious mistakes?

Experts and this real mom say no.

Kids need to be able to trust that their parents will watch out not only for their physical well- being but also care for their emotional health. Our job is to provide loving guidance not humiliation that demeans our children.

It’s ok that our kids feel guilt over their bad decisions, guilt drives us to change. Guilt says: you did something wrong, but shame says: you ARE something wrong.

Shame based punishment teaches kids to devalue themselves and their worth.

Publicly humiliating a child is so destructive because most of the time, the world doesn’t let us have the mercy and grace we need to move on from our mistakes.

Shaming our kids destroys their self-esteem and studies have proven that children with a healthy self-esteem will:

  • Have a larger network of friends
  • Have courage to face difficult situations and
  • Have the self-confidence needed to step up to the challenges of stepping out as a leader.

Shame-based punishments may work in the short term, but in the long term, it can be a vicious cycle.

My heart goes out to the parent whose child is constantly making really bad decisions, it can feel quite helpless and I’m sure the signs only come out after buckets of tears and helpless feelings.

But I still believe that there is a better way than public humiliation.

How often has humiliation provoked you to positive change?
Does throwing your dirty laundry in the face of all your friends at work or church compel you to want to do better or make you feel like shrinking back and isolating yourself?

What does a bully do? He/she humiliates. By using humiliation as punishment, parents resemble a school yard bully. Though I know this would never be their intention.

Sometimes I think that publicly shaming our child is less about them and more about us. It could be that a parent wants to deal with their own embarrassment of their child’s behavior and they think that this kind of public display will show the world that they are a good parent.

Street corners are not the only place for this kind of shame, Facebook is the new street corner so we also need to be careful that our Facebook posts are not embarrassing our kids.

But what does a parent do when faced with a child that refuses to listen?
Each situation is different but I encourage you to get to the root of the WHY they are doing it. See if you can find a way to address the heart of the issue.

And consider how you can discipline instead of punish them. Discipline comes from the word disciple and is done with the intent of moving forward in a positive way it encourages growth in someone. Punishment is always based on the past and not on a positive future.

As a Christian I look to Christ, He never humiliates or shames us, in fact He took our shame and punishment. However, He does discipline us.
Jesus showed us over and over that grace was more effective than scorn and punishment.

And in the Old Testament:

For further information on the dangers of shame I encourage you to check out Brene’ Brown’s website, videos and books.

If you missed this segment, listen here: Real Moms: Shame based punishment

You can listen to my ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

New Year’s Resolutions for Mom

Taken from the Star 105.7 Real Moms of West Michigan segment:

Photo by KarieMurrayPhotography.com

Photo by KarieMurrayPhotography.com

It’s a new year and I know that many moms have made the traditional New Year’s resolutions to eat better, lose weight, quit the bad habits and all that, but NOW it’s time for the Mom resolutions.

I have 3 mom resolutions that I think we all should commit to:

  1. Say yes more. Say ‘yes’ more to playing with your kids. I know what a challenge this can be with a busy life, but next time the word “no” rolls of your tongue, consider if you can say yes. Especially if it is to an activity that gives you time with your kids.
  2. The 2nd mom resolution is: be kind to yourself. Moms can be hard on themselves, let’s resolve to give ourselves a break  this year.
    No more unrealistic expectations allowed. You can’t be at both your kids games at the same time so be all in at the one you can make it to.
  3. Third and most important. Let’s resolve to remember that our kids are a gift. In light of the tragedies like Sandy Hook where so many parents no longer have the privilege of being frustrated when their kids argue with each other, they’ll never again have the honor of embarrassment as their child throwing a tantrum in the store and won’t get to feel the irritation of a teenager slamming a door.

 

Mom stuff is hard, raising kids is a challenge to say the least but let’s remember that they are a gift and thank God that they are still there to tuck in every night.

And most importantly, have a stash of chocolate hidden somewhere in the house that you can dip into when you need it! When all else fails, real moms know to administer chocolate.

If you missed this segment, listen here: New Years Resolutions for Moms

You can listen to my ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

Four Things To Talk to Kids About

Taken from my “Real Moms of West Michigan” segment with Tommy and Brook on Star 105.7

Listen here: Real Moms: Four Things to Talk to Kids About

And as long as I had the attention of West Michigan, I had to share a little something for my hubby!

 

You can listen to my ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

Christmas Gift Ideas


Taken from my “Real Moms of West Michigan” segment with Tommy and Brook on Star 105.7

I know that you are so organized and probably have all your shopping done, right? OH wait this is the REAL moms segment…and if they are anything like me…they are still a few minutes away from having it all wrapped and under the tree!

My tip to get ready for Christmas is: personalized gifts!

It’s the perfect time to order those personalized gifts for Christmas.

  • Picture frames, mouse pads, mugs, water bottles.
  • Calendars…make a personalized calendar for the Grandparents filled with last years pics of the kids.
  • Personalized gifts for teachers…now is a great time to order them!
  • Personalized throw blankets for Grandmas.
  • For the kids you could get: personalized sleeping bags, duffle bags, toys, water bottles, an apron for Mommy’s little helper in the kitchen.

You can pick some great personalized gifts (including the ones shown) here at Lillian Vernon:

Free Shipping on $40+ at LillianVernon.com with promo code 58ECO211 until 11/30/12. Shop for personalized Holiday Gifts & Décor, kids toys, kitchen, office organization and more - personalization is always FREE. - 125 x 125

Affliliate link

And to help you organize all of your gift giving this year I found you a great app!

It’s called Santa’s Bag…

It helps you track everyone on your Christmas List, allow you to budget individually, set gift ideas, and then track when gifts are purchased, if they’ve been wrapped, and how close you are to meeting budget. It’s really an amazing app.

And one other thing you can do right now is start your homemade vanilla with Tommy and Brook’s recipe. I made this a couple years ago and it it amazing! The longer the shelf life the better it is, grab the vanilla beans and vodka and get gifting!

Homemade Vanilla

What is your favorite ‘prepare ahead of time’ kind of gift?

 

You can listen to my ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

If you missed this segment, you can listen by clicking on the Star 105.7 tab.

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