Morning Baskets

Sometimes I feel like our day just starts off on the wrong foot and stays there 

The kids wake up early, during my quiet time, they're whiny (from waking up early, obvi), I let them watch a show so I can finish my quiet time, one gets hungry and therefore whiny, I give up on quiet time, throw together breakfast and we all continue to be annoyed all day. 

Enter the beloved Morning Baskets

These baskets are FILLED with activities and books, specific to their age and likes, that require little to no help. Meaning I can finish reading my Bible or make breakfast in peace or even get ready for the day! *GASP*

Each of my boys has a basket (these are adorable and sturdy and hold a lot - different color but honestly I wish I had them in the steel :D ). In the morning, when they wake up, if breakfast is not ready yet, for whatever reason (like I haven't drank all of my coffee yet ha!), I just hug them and ask them to go to the table where I set their morning baskets the night before. 

They LOVE these baskets! And they entertain them for SO long!! Most times I have to pull them away from them for breakfast and allow them to go back later. I call that a WIN!

Some ideas for morning baskets:
*sketch books - Let their imaginations run wild with free hand drawing and coloring or have them use stencils or a step by step drawing book like the ones listed below. Sometimes I just draw their name in bubble letters and let them color it in. 
*stencils - These stencils bring me right back to my childhood. They're easy to use, there are TONS of fun designs, and my kids love drawing random images AND creating a whole scene in their sketch books!
* dry erase pouches - Each of the littler boys has a dry erase pouch that I printed a tracing practice of their name and for our 5 year old I put some easy math facts on the other side.
*drawing book for younger kids - My 5 year old LOVES to do step by step drawing videos. But I don't always love that he's on screen, especially first thing in the morning. This book has step by step instructions on how to draw fun, yet simple designs!
*drawing book for older kids - These are great for older kids!
*addition and subtraction flash cards - Perfect for my 5 year old kindergartener.
*alphabet flash cards - Great for my 3 year old who is just learning letters and sounds.
*dry erase workbook - Sometimes they need guidance on these but sometimes they just trace or color on their own... which means I choose peace over perfection ;)
*lined dry erase board - Sensing a theme here? I'm a cheapskate and love things that can be used over and over with simple cleanup, I know you do too ;) Give me all the dry erase things!!! 
*markers - As a teachers' daughter, yes that's multiple teachers lol, I only allow Crayola in my house haha
*twistable crayons - I LOVE these because they're easy to use, hard to break, and seem to last longer!
*devotional - This is not something they do independently but something I am to do with them each morning so if it's in the morning baskets, it's easier to remember! We are LOVING this one because my kiddos are really into science and nature, especially since our move to the country! Louie Giglio does a fantastic job making these interesting, understandable, and truly pointing out how cool God's creation is!!!

Obviously these can be changed and customized to fit your kids' ages and likes. And I love that I can change them as my kids grow and change! So easy! So fun! Here's to peaceful mornings!

What would you include in a basket for your child?! Need help coming up with some ideas? I would LOVE to help you in all things motherhood, but especially this!

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Check out all the details HERE

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The Last Place You'll Need to Look to Achieve Your Dream Home Environment

The Last Place You'll Need to Look to Achieve Your Dream Home Environment
What does your ideal home look like? Not the landscaping or the shutters. Not the perfect wall color or the perfect decor. But the environment in your home, what does that look like? 

For me it's peace + joy. Mamas, when we are at peace, when we feel like we accomplished whatever is on our hearts, when things "flow well', when we make time for ourselves, when we give ourselves grace... we are more peaceful. Which makes our family more peaceful. Which makes us all more JOYFUL!!!!

How Grace turned into Empowerment, Empowerment to Freedom

How Grace turned into Empowerment, Empowerment to Freedom
We were literally desperate. Gasping for air. Clinging to whatever vine of hope we could find that we were promised would pull us out of the hamster wheel of symptoms to "fixes" to new or worse symptoms to new "fix-alls"... and we were completely beaten down and defeated.

Three years ago, this was our life. I was just reminded by my Facebook memories. I felt like a failure as a mother. Like I couldn't even care for my kids without being told by a doctor what to do.

Luckily, God, in all his infinite grace and mercy, brought a sweet friend back into my life, into my living room. She sat on my floor and listened to my heart breaking and told me how much I was loved. How God had created me specifically to be these boys' mama. How He had empowered me to make choices and take control of our home and our health.

How I Knew My Easter Was a Sham

How I Knew My Easter Was a Sham
Anyone else feel like Easter isn't Easter this year?

I know I'm not the only heathen in the room ;)

I LOVE Easter! The story of Jesus laying down His life for me is one I've been told since I was little and it STILL gives me chills. And the services on Easter get me so jacked and emotional. And my mama makes the best meal (aside from every other holiday meal she makes HA!). And the family is all together. And we laugh and hide Easter eggs for the littles. And my kids get a simple, fun, outdoorsy Easter basket. And I finish the day just feeling really blessed and grateful.

So this year, when church is live streamed and I sit and try to pay attention as my kids demand all of mine and my family dinner and Easter egg hunt is cancelled and I haven't even gotten the Easter decorations out... I'm just not feeling it.

And that's when I knew that my love of Easter had less to do with the sacrifice Jesus made for me than I would have liked to admit. Sobering honestly. I felt like a fake. I read my Bible almost daily, I lead a Sunday school group, I try to truly pray for others not just say I will. Yet here I sit, after having the commercial-ness of a spiritual holiday taken away, and feeling like it's all been stripped away. Like the holiday isn't even a holiday anymore. 

WHY?! Jesus STILL willingly died on the cross for my sins. He still rose three days later! I still get to spend eternity with Him! The facts and the basis are still the same. So if I truly love Easter, then the lack of physical meetings shouldn't change my feelings.

Now don't get me wrong. The things I love about Easter are GOOD things and I think God gave them to me as blessing (mainly being with the church and the family time). I think we're allowed to grieve the loss of those things this year. But the fact that, for me, those things being taken from me potentially ruined my Easter, shows that they had taken a higher level of sanctity than Jesus being sent to Earth to die on a cross so I could spend forever in Heaven even though I'm a stinking sinner who can't get most things right!

Those things had become an idol to me, without me even realizing it. 

I think it's easy to think of idols as physical statues we worship, but idols are anything we place above God. Anything we think about or obsess over or push God behind can be an idol. AND I ALREADY KNEW THAT! (I fought through a serious spiritual battle of making Carson an idol when I was a single mom - that's another story for another time). Yet here I sit again, sweetly, gently convicted. 

And you know what?! Jesus is HERE FOR IT! He's not mad at me or disappointed in me, He's happy that I finally came to Him and laid it all down, on the very day we pause to thank Him for what He did for sinners just like me.

So as we enter into this time of celebration, I pray you all feel MORE inclined to redirect your Easter celebrations this year, not give up on them. I hope your family creates new traditions that point you closer to Jesus.

For us? I'm heading to the store to buy the Easter dinner I was convince we weren't having (along with all our other groceries, calm down, I'm not making a special trip during "quarantine" lol). I'm sending the oldest out to the barn to get out the Easter decorations, even if they'll only be up for a few more days. I'm going to log off social media until Monday so I can savor this sweet sacrifice with my family. We're going to make some Easter crafts and talk about what Jesus has done for us. We're going to dress up on Easter morning, even though I didn't buy Easter outfits this year. I'm going to set up an Easter egg hunt for my boys at our new house and it's going to be epic with all the land we have now.

I pray this is your sweetest Easter yet. 

What are you doing to make Easter special this year, during these odd, restrictive times? Let me know in the comments! I'm always up for new ideas, especially fun traditions.

Taking Care of Your Mom-Self

Taking Care of Your Mom-Self
Moms are some of the most selfless people we know. They spend the majority of our days taking care of everyone and everything and by the end of the day you will find them dead on the couch or forcing themselves to stay awake for 30 more minutes just so they can have a snippet of adult time.

This leads to moms who sometimes feel overwhelmed and unfulfilled. We’ve lost sight of ourselves – our goals, our dreams. No matter how much we got done in the day, we always notice more that could be done, making lists (mentally or on paper) for the next days, always having that feeling of “not enough,” even if it’s not directly tied to how we feel about ourselves.

How can we better rest? How can we better care for ourselves so we can care for our loved ones better without feeling completely depleted?

It’s the “put your air mask on yourself before helping others” theology. You can’t pour from an empty cup, we’ve all heard that, but it’s especially true for mamas.

I’m not one to preach self-care and for a long time I considered it selfish. But I truly believe God has a plan for us specifically as mamas, and we can’t fully walk in the glory of who He designed us to be as moms unless we are intentionally working to find who He is calling us to be and then being good stewards of that calling by spending time developing ourselves.

Now, this is going to hurt when you read it, I’m well aware... but if we are going to be intentional about caring for ourselves so we can better care for our families, then I think you have to set your day up as such. Set your day up for success. And that means…. waking up before those precious, needy little beings are up and asking for 5 million things (ha!)

This will take time to figure out what hour is right for you to wake, but these are some things to consider:

  1. What time do you need to be out the door? OR if you stay home, what time do the kids need to be out the door? OR if you have toddlers and don’t leave the house in the mornings, what time do they wake? The goal is to get your “stuff” done before they are up, allowing you time to focus on yourself.
  2. What are some things you value for yourself or that you know would benefit your mom-sanity that you feel like you struggle to get done that could be a part of your morning routine? For example: reading your Bible or meditating, exercising, showering ALONE (can I get an amen?!), etc.
  3. How long will you allow yourself for each of those things?

From there, you can set a time to wake.

Once you set that time you need to take a serious look at your bedtime as well. Again, I know this is painful ;) How many hours of sleep do you need to function? Protect your bedtime, it is crucial to your morning routine, which is crucial to the rest of your day going smoothly!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or like this task is too big, start small. Maybe you just want to start by reading your Bible for 30 minutes before the kids get up. Or maybe you just want to shower in peace. It’s ok to just pick one area and focus on doing that well and consistently before adding another.

However you choose to adapt your morning routine, even just adding one area of caring for yourself and setting your day up for success will enhance your morning and your day.

How are you caring for yourself? I am always adapting my morning routine, would love to hear from you!

Praying for you along the way <3

I feel like we all need something luxurious to have just to ourselves as mamas, other than our hidden chocolate stash, of course ;) Check out this easy, life-giving, age-reversing, GLOW serum (all the heart eyes).

  • 2 ounce glass dropper bottle
  • 10 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
  • 10 drops of Frankincense Essential Oil
  • 5 drops of Lemon Essential Oil
Add essential oils to glass dropper bottle, top with jojoba oil. Shake then apply one full dropper to face and neck before bed.

Love this info? You'll LOVE my guide to being a more peaceful and present mama! Check it out right here.