How to Build a Toddler Fort in 10 Easy Steps

…With the least amount of effort possible.

How to Build a Toddler Fort in 10 Easy Steps

Step 1.  Buy Diapers.

Step 2.  Use all the diapers on your kid.  This could take anywhere from 2 weeks to a month, depending on how long your kid is comfortable sitting in their own … ya know.

Step 3.  Get annoyed with the empty diaper boxes taking up space, but feel guilty for just throwing them away (because recycling just takes too much effort… please don’t hate me).

Step 4.  Think “Oh, maybe I could pretend to be a good mom and do a craft with my kid!”

Step 5.  Break all the boxes apart.

Step 6.  Allow your toddler to make a big mess of chalk all over the boxes.

Step 7.  Wish you hadn’t allowed the use of chalk in the house.  These are crumbs the dog won’t eat :/ .

Step 8.  Tape the boxes together using packing tape … and strands of your hair that just seem to keep falling out since having kids.

Step 9.  Put toddler in the middle of boxes with his toys.

Step 10.  Fix the fort every 5 minutes because the toddler tries to sit on the walls.

You’re welcome 😀

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Be Still

Wake up.  Look at the clock.  It’s 5:45am

Hear the toddler call for you.

Roll over, see that the baby is awake and starting to be upset in his cradle.

Okay.  You can do this.  One step at a time.

Pick up the baby.

Change him.

Feed him.

Put him down to sleep again.

Go get the toddler.

God is who He says He is.

Play, change, sing.  “Do you want breakfast?”

Downstairs.  First things first.  Make Coffee.

God can do what He says He can do.

Don’t think about how this kind of morning won’t be happening a month from now.

Get toddler his breakfast.

Check email.  Find encouraging words.

I am who God says I am.

Push aside feelings of frustration that being home is about to end.

Create fun activity for toddler.

Play with it for 5 minutes.

He’s moved on.

I can do all things through Christ.

Hear the baby upstairs.

Go upstairs.

Toddler has to use the potty…

Encourage this.

Take him off the potty.

He’s pooped in his diaper.

God’s Word is alive and active in me.

Change the toddler.

Feed the baby.

Brush your teeth.

It’s only 9am.

Be Still.

Drink another cup of coffee, pray, today will be a good day.  Maybe even include a shower 😉

 

 

*Phrases in italics come from Beth Moore’s book Believing God

bE StiLL

Be Careful What You Ask For

It’s no secret that staying home and living on one income in this economy is difficult.  Cost of living, huge amounts of student loans, jobs that require degrees but the pay grade doesn’t meet the cost of the degree.  We aren’t the only ones who are finding ourselves here.  So many people in my generation struggle.

It’s also ironic that I’m writing this post right after posting a couple days ago about how to earn money from home.  Because, on Friday, I accepted a job as a teacher at an elementary school teaching students with Autism.

Believe it or not, we prayed for this.  Not directly.  We asked God to continue to provide and take care of us.  We asked Him to close all doors that weren’t what He wanted for us.  I was hoping He would answer with a part-time job teaching online from home or working outside the home in the evenings.  But that isn’t what happened.  Be careful what you pray for, because for some reason God thinks He knows what is best for you more than you do (**read that sentence with sarcasm please!!)

So here we are.  Another new adventure.  Another chance to trust that God will take care of us.  We’ve already set up interviews for 2 seemingly amazing nannies, so many people are sharing about how amazing this particular elementary school is, strangers are telling us that this is a job I should definitely take.  All the signs point to God has this under control.

Fellow mamas, how do you do it?  When your heart is at home and you weren’t expecting to go back to full time work?  Leaving your kiddos again?  Any advice and prayer would be so helpful.

Is anyone going through a similar thing?  I want to encourage you that this is just a season.  Whether you stay at your job for a few months or a few years, or more, this is still just a season in life.  Find 3-5 things to be grateful for in each day, maybe in each moment, and write them down.  Remember that God has called you to be exactly where you are.  Don’t waste it.

The best advice I’ve ever been given when life gets a bit more difficult to swallow is this…

OneStepatatime

One. Step. At. A. Time.

That’s all you can do.  Maybe those steps are super small and include “Okay, just get out of bed”  “Okay, now stand up”  “Now all you have to do is brush your teeth.”  Or maybe they are bigger.  But you can do it.  With God and your support system, YOU CAN DO ANYTHING.

Just one step at a time.

Earning Money from Home… Without Watching Other People’s Kids

Staying at home with my children is incredibly important to me.  But with the cost of living, student loan debt, and the desire to one day own a house again… living on one paycheck doesn’t always make life super comfortable.

I know that my family cannot be the only one out there that struggles to pay off debt AND maintain a one-income household.  So I thought I’d share with you all some things that I do to help bring in some extra cash without having to watch other people’s children (because the point for me is to be home with MY kids).

1.  Take online surveys.  There are MANY websites that will pay you to take surveys, but only one that I have found that will pay you cash instead of “points”.  I use PaidViewPoint and have cashed out a few times this year, as has my husband, bringing in about $80.  This is definitely not a way to earn a full-time (or even part-time) income.  BUT the surveys take about 1-3 minutes each and you at the very least 10 cents a survey.  I’ve earned $5 on a few surveys.  It’s something quick and easy to do when you think about it, and when you reach $15 you can cash out and have some extra pocket money… maybe halfway to a date night?  Here is my referral link, check it out!  http://paidviewpoint.com/?r=4cudzk

paidviewpoint

2.  Make Something.  What are your skills?  Are you creative?  Can you make or create something that other’s would want to pay money for?  Then sell it!  With websites like Etsy and TeacherspayTeachers you can have your own business creating what you are passionate about.  I have a page through teacherspayteachers and usually can bring in about $30-$75 a month depending on the time of year.  I have a friend who actually earns a full-time salary with her teacher store!  The more you make, the more you can sell.  Share your creativity with others!

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3.  Sell your stuff.  Do you love it?  Do you use it?  If no, then sell it!  I’ve brought in hundreds of dollars with selling stuff we just don’t need.

4. Join a network marketing company.  This is a legitimate way to earn money.  It isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme and requires you to commit at least 15 hours a week in order to be successful.  I wrote a post a while back on what I learned from 1 month in my business, you should go read it.  There are many different companies you can choose from,  so pick one that you are passionate about.  I love knowing my family is using every day products that won’t harm them.  That’s why I work a business through Arbonne.

arbonne-logo

5.  Write a blog post about how to earn money from home and include all your links.  😉

Welp, that’s what I have for you!  I would LOVE to hear your advice on how you earn extra income from home.  Let me know!

Survival Kit: Travel Edition

Okay, so first you need to know that if anyone ever suggests traveling more than 3 hours with two small children in the car… JUST SAY NO!!

But, if you mistakenly say yes, like I did, here are some things you are going to need…

Movies you don’t find annoying.  You will also need something to play these movies on.  We borrowed a DVD player, but you can also use an IPAD.  Our favorites from this trip were…

(We watched Frozen about 20 million gazzillion times…. Do you want to build a snowman?)

Your kid’s favorite toys.  If you’ve read anything in my blog before, you know how much my kid ADORES Mickey Mouse.  And since I was not all about singing the “hot-dog-dance” the entire way to CANADA, we brought his books and stuffed animal.  He loves his look-and-find Mickey Mouse book, and we brought his Mickey stuffed animal for him to perform his musical dance numbers with … we maybe still sang about 902308352 gazillion bazzillion rounds of the hot-dog song. 😦

Muscle Relaxer.  Driving can be lots of fun.  But when you’ve been in the driver’s seat for an extended amount of time than your back and shoulders are going to take a beating.  Husband drove the entire way on our trip (48 hours total there and back).  Before you get mad at me, I did the parenting and climbed from the front to the back of the car the entire trip to calm the baby, feed the baby, play with the toddler, switch the dvd, etc…

But anyway, the best thing we’ve found for helping sore muscles on the trip was…717YSNhERJL._SX425_

This Renewing Body Gelee is basically a cure-all for so many things.  But it helped so much with my husband’s back while we were driving.  I’ve also used it after having a baby and having to sit up while *trying to * sleep during the first 4 weeks.

SNACKS.  Snacks are the magical things that keep you and your little ones happy.  Now is not the time to think (completely) about nutrition.  Pull out the crackers, chocolate milk, lunchables, etc.  Whatever works to keep your littles fed, happy, and QUIET.

Good Company :).  My suggestion here would be this guy… Basically the best travel buddy ever :D.

eric

 

Everyday I Give My Kids Away

Dear little one, your little legs are curled up and you have the tiniest ear listening to my heart.  I’m sitting here imagining your future.  What will life be like for you?  Will you be a musician, firefighter, engineer, astronaut, the president?  It’s so much fun thinking of who you will become, especially in these moments when you are so little that really anything is possible.  The whole world is in front of you.

When you get  bit older you’ll be able to tell me what you want to be when you grow up.  And my hope is to give you the encouragement to not give up and become all that you were created to be.  My prayer, however, is that no matter what the future holds you will choose to glorify God with everything you do.


 

Mamas, I think this is probably the hardest thing about parenting.  Trusting that God loves our kids more than we do.

Almost 2 years ago a friend died after a 9 month battle with cancer.  He was 28 years old.

At his funeral, someone read a tribute from his mom.  She said, “It took 9 months to bring you into the world, and 9 months to take you home.”

This has stuck with me ever since.  When we watch our bellies grow, hold our new little babies, and spend countless hours rocking them to sleep… we let our minds imagine just what the future will be like.  How will our precious, perfect baby impact the world they will live in.

We probably do no imagine that our babies will suffer greatly and die before they turn 30.  But really, we don’t know.  We don’t know how God will use our babies.  I know this sounds morbid, and that’s not the point… stick with me.

While my friend battled for his life, he discovered an opportunity to share the Savior with the world.  He shared about God and glorified His name throughout the process with blogging, creating videos to encourage others, talking with his nurses and fellow patients, and standing firm in the belief that while his flesh may lose this battle, God had already won the war.

That’s what I want for my boys.  Certainly not that they get cancer and leave this world at a young age.  But there will inescapably be suffering.  Everyone suffers through something.  My hope and prayer is to prepare them.  To teach them to glorify God in their actions and words.  To help build such a solid foundation for them that when times get tough they don’t fall further than their knees.

If I were to be in charge of the future, my boys would never feel pain.  My instinct is to protect them at all costs.  Because I love them.

But God loves them more.  And He loved them first.

Everyday, I have to give them away.  “This is the day the Lord has made.”  Not me.  The Lord.  And He will ultimately move in my kids’ lives in a way that brings them closer to him.  Really, there is no other joy than that.  While my idea of a future would bring them less pain here on earth, God’s is to bring them no pain for eternity.


 

Little one, my prayer for you is that you give glory to God in all that you do.  That you don’t become disheartened when the world shows its true colors to you.  When times get tough, and they will dear one, that you look to heaven for your strength and comfort.  That “home” for you is much more than here on earth, but in our Father’s arms.

-My prayer for you, When times get tough, and they will dear one...That you will look to heaven for your strength and comfort-

Mom Life Is…

Waking up in a puddle of boob milk.

Realizing by 9:30 PM that you haven’t eaten since breakfast… and somehow you’ve gained 6 lbs.

Guzzling coffee so much for energy that it begins to have the opposite effect on you.

Tip-toeing past your toddler’s door trying to not wake him up… only to inadvertently step on EVERY SINGLE squeaky part of the old wood floors.

Thinking “I know I don’t have to… but I should probably pee now while they are both sleeping”

Choosing between sleep, shower, eating, or peeing.  Usually sleep wins out.

Having a headache for no reason.

Loving so much it hurts.

Taking pictures in the dark that look really crappy and still posting them to social media because you’re obsessed.

Forgetting to brush your teeth.

When putting on clean clothes means the clothes that haven’t made it to the dirty laundry basket and may have a bit of spit-up on them.  If you forget that it’s dirty… that makes it clean, right?

Having to many thoughts in your head at once.

When Barnes and Nobel becomes your favorite store, not because of the books, but because of the coffee for you and trains to entertain your kid.

No longer going out in the afternoon because that is during the sacred nap-time.  All things must be accomplished in the morning.

A constant smell of diapers.  Even in the car, if you’re like me and changed your kid while you were out and then totally forgot that the dirty diaper is still in the back of the car.  … It’s still there :(.

Taking your boobs out in public.

Feeling like it’s okay to share all of the above with the world, because you’re not about keeping up appearances anymore.

Smelling someone’s butt to see if they pooped.  And it being a totally okay thing to do.

Smelling B.O. in public, wondering who forgot deodorant, and then realizing it was you.

Understanding what words your toddler is trying to say when it’s literally jibberish to everyone else.

Trying to figure out why your little human is crying when they can’t tell you.

Not always flushing the toilet because that could mean waking up the toddler.

Finally getting to go out by yourself and realizing 10 minutes into the drive that you’ve been not only listening to, but singing along with your child’s CD.

Exhausting.

Lonely.

A gift.

Love you’ve never felt before and can’t explain.

View More: http://lindsayfauverphotography.pass.us/benat
Lindsay Fauver Photography

 

An Open Letter to my Toddler

imageDear Toddler,

Poop is not an acceptable alternative to paint. Ever.

The dog is not a horse… Or a drum. And he does not enjoy being vacuumed.

Those ARE honey nut Cheerios…. They are supposed to taste like regular Cheerios… Honest.

So you think you’re growing out of nap time? Let me introduce you to “quiet time.”

No you can’t have some of mommy’s fun colored drink…. It’s too spicy for you.

If you value your happiness and freedom to use the coffee table as a drum… DON’T spill my coffee!!

I don’t think your baby brother enjoys it when you put your cereal bowl over his face.

Mickey Mouse is too tired to come to our house (TV) today. The club house is broken. Goofy is on it. Unfortunately without Mickey and the clubhouse, no one remembers the words to the hot dog dance….

Goldfish crackers are not meant to be eaten with your toes.

And for the love, your shoes do NOT need to come off in the car just minutes before we get to where ever we are going. Keep them on!

Love, Momma

 

P.S… I still think you’re ridiculously cute and the best toddler around!  Thanks for being my buddy 🙂