Working, working, working!!!

I cannot even being to tell you how many times I think about friends I have made blogging here and “write” to everyone in my head. Every week I make plans to write posts the next week. Apparently I’ve done that for almost a year!!

My kids are now 5 and 7! Instead of staying up till late hours of the night doing preschool wannabe prep packets, it’s Tae Kwon Do practice and soccer snack schedules! My little girl is starting kindergarten this fall!! And my sweet baby boy?? He’s up to my shoulders!

Let’s see, since I last blogged we’ve had a tae kwon do birthday party, a fire station birthday party, lost of lost teeth (one tonight! Praying the tooth fairy doesn’t forget before she falls asleep!), two new family members (puppies!), and lots and lots of activities.

I’ve blogged in my head about handmade birthday invitations I actually pulled off, real pictures of how crazy my laundry pile gets, new favorite working mom product finds, and all sorts of stuff. Sometime extra time just never appears. I thought toddlerhood was busy!! I cannot even fathom how much time I had when my kids were in bed at 7:30.

This week we had an ice storm but usually we have tae kwon do Monday and Wednesday, now soccer Tuesday and Thursday. Believe me, I understand lack of time and the best intentions. I hope to be back soon with more thoughts, ideas, and encouragement!!

Until then…the cutest puppies ever!


Book Review: Why Can’t I Get My Children to BEHAVE

I was asked a few months ago to review a book by Joey and Carla Link called Why Can’t I Get My Children to BEHAVE? Joey and Carla Link are founders of the site Parenting Made Practical and very involved in the Growing Familes International organization founded by Gary & Mary Anne Ezzo (author of Babywise). Carla and Joey are also well known for authoring Mom’s Notes…a series of presentations on parenting issues broken down by age level. Needless to say I was very flattered to receive an email from Carla offering to send me a copy of her new book.

Why Can't I Get My Kids to Behave by Carla & Joey Link

This books is full of all kinds of helpfulness. I thought it would be a quick review and an easy summary, but I found myself underlining and highlighting whole paragraphs on every couple of pages. I love reading and even though I am not well experienced in writing reviews I still thought I could quickly type out my thoughts. Then I started to realize how much I was trying to capture…so then I thought maybe I’d do a topic series inspired by chapters in the book…and then I realized how little time I had to devote to blogging.

So this review is much overdue and most likely cannot even begin to do this book justice. I think the thing that surprised me the most about this book is that it wasn’t a new strategy…it wasn’t a series of steps…it was practical. It is full of things I know I should be doing. It honestly wasn’t even earth shattering or ground breaking to the way we had already been parenting. I did get some new ideas and fresh perspectives but more than anything it just makes sense.  Just to illustrate a few of my favorite quotes that are so simple but so true:

Failure to teach your children how to obey will affect every stage of their life, and they will become totally independent before they are emotionally, intellectually, and socially ready for it.

Parents give their kids everything they want and pay their way through expensive colleges to find out their kids don’t want to be with them.

Getting your child to come at the call of his name is the greatest foundation you can put in place when you train your child to obey.

Telling your child to go and sit to get self-control is not a consequence…It gives you both a chance to calm down.

See? How can I possibly summarize all of these nuggets found every couple of paragraphs. Really I do plan to get back to blogging and this book is the perfect outline for many posts. It jives with no-nonsense, common sense approaches to obstacles you are guaranteed to face. If you are looking for a book that takes some of the hype and complexity out of behavior issues then this is a great book for you. There are no complicated formulas but it is chock full of simple ideas to surround your children with loving discipline. It covers everything from complaining to first time obedience to challenging authority to apologizing. You will also find hot topics like spanking, counting to 3, and prioritizing marriage over children. None of these are long chapters devoted to very specific topics for pages and pages. Instead what you will find are short chapters that cover a multitude of topics. I feel like they hit on almost everything I could have asked about! There are even sections dedicated to working parents!!

Here is another of my favorite quotes that beautifully summarizes what this book is all about:

When God gives a command or instruction, the ones He gives it to do not have the right to negotiate it with Him or do it on their terms. God does not tolerate partial obedience from His children, and we should not tolerate it from ours. Partial obedience is not obeying completely. In reality, partial obedience is disobedience because, when it comes to obedience, either your child obeys all the way or he doesn’t obey at all.

This book is available at the Parenting Made Practical website, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Daddy time

It is so very easy for me to fall in to the trap of feeling like I take on the world at home and at work. I feel like I work two full time jobs…and I do…but I assume that I  feel SO much more overworked than my spouse.  I get up before everyone else most mornings. As soon as I get home, there is a whirlwind of things to be done. I do not have a housekeeper. We do not pay anyone else to cut our grass. I do most of the meal planning and cooking and much of the cleaning. So when my husband comes home and wants 30 minutes of downtime it unnerves me to be completely transparent.

How does he not see all that has to get done? How does he think going in after me and then getting stuck working late is good multitasking? Why doesn’t he have a TON of weekend projects like ALL the other dads? Why doesn’t he make millions so I can be like all the MILLIONS of other moms that can stay home? See how spiraling those thoughts got so quickly? I don’t know about you but as irrational as it looks typing that out…that is often how quickly my thoughts plummet.

Right when I started this post, my husband was upstairs putting the kids to bed. He is amazing at that. He never complains. He never keeps score of all the nights he gets them upstairs. I would have never gotten this blog going if it weren’t for the nights he gave me that extra 15 or 20 minutes to finish my posts while he handled the “brush your teeth…stop playing…brush your teeth…look in the laundry room…you still have to wash your hands…finish brushing…”

Photo by the Graceful Mom

To get through the early years as a working mom I had (and still have to) to make lists of the perks of working or of having  a job. Now, my lists are often all that my husband does. He does a lot but gets credit for little. When I stop to think he does much more than just take on bedtime. He doesn’t even bat an eye that the vacuum cleaner is in the middle of the floor when he gets home while I am trying to work on my blog. The kids were getting along remarkably well but let’s just say that they were having a little bit more “tech time” than I ever allow. I {probably} would have bit his head off about all the things he could have gotten done if the roles were reversed.

Daddy time is so special. It not only makes him a beloved parent but makes him a better spouse in my eyes. I just need to be better at making my mental lists of all the positive things he does and not the negative. Some of the reasons on my list that make daddy time awesome include: he takes them out for doughnuts so I can have some time alone on Saturday morning every now and then, he plays a brief video game with our son in the evenings while I fix supper which really does mean the world to my boy, he crawls under the covers with our daughter and ask if he can have sleepover, he makes math fun, he would much rather have a dirty house and a happy wife, he values parenting on the same page, he dresses up for Halloween, he makes significant work contributions so that we can put money towards education, and he doesn’t bat an eye about taking both kids to church by himself or staying home with them on weekends I work. They might not be fed the way I want or dressed in anything presentable…but they are well loved and cherish their daddy time.

Working Mom Finds: Kidecals REVIEW

A few months back, I wrote about Kidecals. To recap, they are decal stickers that you can use to label everything from backpacks, clothes, thermos containers, mason jars, and even keyboards.

To begin with, the ordering process was an absolute breeze. Honestly, it took longer to pick out the design than to customize it…and when I say customize, you have the option to customize everything from the color to the placement of the text on most designs. You also see a live preview as you make changes. I chose a *simple* monogram but I had the option to change 4 different color areas as well as two text areas. It was seriously the most fun I have had ordering and customizing a product in a long time. Checkout was absolutely painless, and I still love that you get to see your real-time proof right in front of you. No getting stuck with a preselected color theme and no verifying your draft via email.

The labels I received were exactly how the proof looked. I ordered a monogram so that I could use it on things for the whole family. You have many, many options for decals for everything from phone numbers, addresses, blank labels, moving stickers, baking stickers, food allergies, gifts.

I tested them out three ways…one on a change of clothes (underwear specifically) that I knew would be washed, one on the inside of a backpack, and one as a gift tag. The one on the underwear has held up just fine. I have washed and dried a few times and there is no flaking, cracking, or peeling. It is holding nice and tight. I don’t wash this pair weekly but let’s just say that they have needed to go through some cycles. I love on the kidecals site where it explains why rubbing the labels actually helps:

The adhesive on the kids wall decals is state of the art. Tiny capsules containing adhesive line the back of the decal. By rubbing, or burnishing, the decals into place you are actually breaking the capsules and releasing the adhesive. So the more you burnish, the more adhesive you release and the more aggressive the adhesive becomes (while still being removable)!

The second label I placed on the backpack is also holding up nicely. I didn’t expect it to get as much wear as on clothing but there are folders and important momentos going in and out of the backpack daily so there is definitely a chance of being poked or rubbed often. This particular label still looks brand new and shiny (no scratches) just like I put it on there yesterday.

The last way I used my labels so far was on a couple gifts. They were for my in-laws and they LOVED the personalized gift tag. How cute is this!

Photo by The Graceful Mom

Here are my favorite perks…there are several! Shipping is always free! Mine arrived so quick I had to think about what I had ordered! They were well packaged and professionally done. I also love how they are made:

Our wall decals are printed on a really cool new phthalate free (non PVC, BPA free), self-adhesive material (it’s actually a tightly woven fabric!) with ecosol inks. Our waterproof name labels are printed onto a really durable self-adhesive vinyl with eco sol inks.  I am constantly researching to find the best and greenest materials and printing processes available while trying to keep my kids name labels and decals affordable and local.

You can still use AWESOMELABELS right now to get 15% off. Although these have tons of uses, I really think I will be ordering more for gift labels. What a fun way to add some personalization and creativity to presents.







Taking breaks

Wow. It has definitely been a very long time (may be more like a year than just months) since I have blogged regularly. I decided several months ago to take a break from the Babywise Friendly Blog Network before the holidays. Both of my kids have winter birthdays and I felt like I had stuff to do almost every night for a couple months. Sometimes I wonder how I ever had time in my life to start and reasonably maintain a blog. I still debate quite often taking a more permanent break. When I started this blog, it was from encouragement from a friend but I was also at a place in my life when I really needed an outlet for all of the issues working moms work through. I definitely still need that outlet…but it gets harder to fit blogging in on top of life so it is usually the first thing to go. So all that to so I really do not know the future for this site or if I will ever be able to get back to regularly blogging and contributing.



However, I owe a great debt to a couple of moms that reached out to me MONTHS ago to do product and book reviews. I have deeply infringed on their time and generosity so their reviews are my utmost and first priority. Then I really do hope that I can add some organization back to my life in general and include some short but more frequent posts. Every time I consider wrapping this blog up, someone sends me the sweetest most touching and extremely encouraging note as an appreciative working mom. More than anything, the idea behind naming this site was to add grace in to the difficulty of working outside the home…and I don’t know about you but I could certainly stand to be more graceful in my words, thoughts, and deeds.

Working mom find: kidecals

I posted a long time ago about how important name labels can be to a working mom. We use them at preschool, summer camp, grandparents, backpack supplies. I am super excited to find a new label company. Their website is extremely fun and well designed. Meet kidecals.

Here is the cool part. Before I even write a full review, they are offering a 15% discount using the code AWESOMELABELS.

Kidecals features more than just kid labels. Just from a quick glance at their site you will see a variety of everything from Colorado relief labels (100% goes to Colorado flood victims), mason jar labels, keyboard decal labels, chalkboard style labels, and much more! They are PVC free, BPA free, and phthalate free and printed with eco sol inks!!!

Here are a few of my favorites:




Here is another really, really cool thing about these labels that I am very excited about…free shipping! On all orders…no matter how much you buy. Look for my full review coming soon!


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