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Work-at-home mom: take a deep breath and Do Life Different as you allow these devotions for work-at-home moms to fill the vacuum of your needy heart in the chaos of your busy world.
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Fight the Flu

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Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina Palmerheart in snowWith the flu season in full gear, us stay-at-home mom’s have the convenience of making a wonderful pot of homemade soup to help our children (and husband and ourselves) get well faster. Not just the flu, but Strep, and bronchitis, and mono, and all the other illness that like to keep our kids home on school days coughing, feverish, and miserable. I will share with you my simple and tasty chicken soup recipe along with a few other tricks I use to combat the woes that come with winter. 

Chicken Soup

3 handfuls of angel hair pasta or egg noodles or potatoes (5 medium potatoes peeled and cut)

5 fresh garlic cloves chopped fine

1 medium white onion chopped fine

2 containers of chicken broth or stock 

1 can of cream of chicken soup (preferably the Aldi brand or one without creepy ingredients like MSG)

1 bag frozen mixed veggies 

4 cups of water

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed


To taste, sage, thyme, garlic salt, onion powder, bay leaves, salt, and pepper

Start by sautéing the chicken in olive or coconut oil then add in the fresh garlic and onion until everything is a golden brown. Pour in the chicken broth or stock and mix in cream of mushroom soup and water. Add in spices and bring to a boil. Next, put in pasta or potatoes and bring back to a boil until cooked through. Add in the flaxseed and allow to boil for another minute or two. Serve. 

Other tips I swear by (to compliment traditional medicine or by themselves):

Anointing oil – I pray over my babies when they are sick. God can surely handle a cold!

Essential oils in a diffuser – I love eucalyptus to help open the nose and germ fighter (also called four thieves) to kill germs in the air. Oils can also be mixed with a carrier oil and put on the body. I suggest lavender for almost everything.  

Wet sock treatment – This is a new one in my repertoire been using for a few months and found to be quite effective (please talk to your doctor if you have any concerns before trying). The purpose of this treatment is to force your (or your child’s) immune system into overdrive. 

Take one pair of white regular socks and place in a bowl to soak of ice and water. Soak your child feet in warm water in the tub or in a foot tub for ten minutes. After ten minutes, put the wet socks (wring them out first) on the child’s feet and then put dry thick wool socks (if you don’t own wool socks, use two pair of thick socks or fuzzy socks) put the child to bed and make sure they are covered up in a blanket and warm pajamas. This has brought fevers down every time and stopped others in the house from getting sick.  Read More→

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Take Away the Panic

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Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina PalmerTwo autumns ago, my family vacationed in Disney World. Day two we spent in Epcot visiting various countries including the Mexican Pyramid. Our clan of five plus my dad, stepmother, and two young sisters lined up for the boat ride. Mexico teamed with people visiting booths, activities, and the same line we endured. One, two, three, four, five little heads I counted several times while waiting for thirty minutes for a two-minute ride. Two pink shirts, one blue, a purple, and an orange. I must have counted the wrong pink shirt because when I glanced over, my daughter Alex was gone. 

Blinders covered my eyes as I rushed out of line on the hunt for my baby. Calling her name I weaved in and out of the crowd pushing people out of my way until another mom stopped me. Was I looking for a little blond girl in a pink shirt? I was. She knew where my baby was and took me to the vendor where my five-year-old princess waited as my throat slowly released the choked panic and fear. Alex chattered away to an employee as I approached ready to kiss all over her and never let her out of the safety of my arms again. The world was no longer black and grim, but brimming with color and hope again. 

Alex, upon finding she had lost her family in a strange place, did not panic. She found a mother who took her to a booth or store and more specifically, to a person with a name tag, where she asked for help finding her mama. Alex was fine. Apologizing over and over again, Alex calmed me with her peaceful happy-go-lucky attitude telling me she was fine she knew just what to do when lost. I had prepared my children for worse case scenarios on the twenty hour drive to Disney. 

If the kids got lost, they were to find a mom or an employee with a name tag. That was exactly what Alex did. She took charge of the situation and got herself to relative safety until I could get to her location. Alex chatted with the employee as they were about to announce a missing child to the throng of faces. My little one scoped out souvenirs and bubbled over with five-year-old chatter, not a hint of alarm or trepidation spoiling her day in the world of magic. 

Communication about potential threats was only one security measure in my arsenal. Every day after my children and sisters dressed for the day, including shoes on, I would take a picture of them in their daily outfit. The drive over also included quizzing my children about mine and my husband’s phone numbers, our names, and other distinguishing factors they may need to give under bad circumstances. This was our families typical car discussion. We talked about possible scenarios and how to handle them if they happen. I am very thankful now that we tell our children what to do in potentially scary situations as it saved us tons of panic at Disney. 

We have gone over situations such as what to do when:

– A stranger offers you candy or anything else to get into their vehicle or go with them somewhere.

– If they get separated from us anywhere. 

– They come home and we are not there and they cannot get into the house. 

– How to figure out if someone is safe to approach for help.

– What to do if they come home and the doors are open, our wallets, purse, shoes, and phones are there but we are not.

– If there is a fire, tornado, or other disasters. 

– Someone comes into the house uninvited. 

– What to do if we run out of coffee (okay, this one is a joke, but also kind of real).  Read More→


Constructive Activities to Keep Kids Busy This Christmas Break

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Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina PalmerChristmas TreeThe countdown has begun. My children are about to begin a two-week vacation, and yours may be, too. The second week of Christmas break most kids entertain themselves with all those lovely presents we spent weeks buying and wrapping. Week one is like a disease that causes kids to itch for gifts, which drives us (okay, me) up the wall. Why do schools let kids out before Christmas Eve? What do you mean ‘teachers need to shop, too?’ Let the children soak up their education and let moms finish getting ready instead of three or four days off before the big day. Ha!

My kids attend school Monday, early release on the 19th and 20th, no school on the 21st, and the winter break extends straight on into the New Year. That’s two half days and four days of three mini-me’s asking if it’s Christmas yet.

Lucky for them, their mom is terrible at math and overbought baking supplies for holiday gifts. This year the girls and I made cookie jars for the teachers, friends, and church family. As in, we bought quart-sized jars and filled them with the dry ingredients for butterscotch oatmeal cookies. My aunt had a book with the recipes and cards to attach to the jars for the gift-receiver. We put twenty-four jars together and had enough for neighbors, teachers, my husband’s co-workers, the pastors, and a few friends. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon with my little helpers. Thanks to my lack of math skills, we now own enough extra sugar, flour, baking powder, and baking chips for my mandatory holiday five-pound weight gain.

Along with baking, here are some constructive activities to keep the youngsters from ripping into the tree early:

  • Craft Fun – Hobby Lobby (along with other craft stores) has some wonderful ornament kits with all the stickers and decorations included. Every year I buy one or two of these kits and the kids contribute to the tree decorating. The shop even has little gingerbread decorating kids (not the edible kind) with tiny candy stickers. I admit I enjoy decorating them too.
  • Candy hunt in the backyard – Think Easter egg hunt. I live in Texas and see little snow but name a kid who doesn’t love candy.
  • Clearing out toy clutter – This activity isn’t much fun but is necessary and helpful to us moms. Give each kid a box and they can clear out all the toys and books they stopped playing with and reading, to make way for all the gadgets and gizmo’s under the tree. I would suggest the same for video games. Toys can then be donated and help the youngling’s get their rooms clean before the onslaught of toys move from the tree to their rooms.
  • Baking – Don’t forget the baking! My son Rick is better at baking than me. I’m not joking. If I don’t stand by the oven, I burn the cookies. Heck, if I stand by the oven I burn the cookies. He can walk off, sniff the air a few minutes later and pull the cookies out at the perfect time. His cookies stay soft for days! How did he get so good at baking? Practice. At first, they help measure ingredients and work their way up to cooking on their own.
  • Princess tea party – We have a full-service mismatch tea-set and with all those cookies Rick will bake, Bri, Alex, and I will require a sophisticated tea party worthy of the queen.
  • Games – Board games! And card games! Rick recently learned how to play war and then taught his sisters how to play. Think of all the old-fashioned fun! Clue, Catan (if you haven’t played this game you need to try it!), Scrabble, Skipbo, Checkers, Chess, Pictionary, Apples to Apples, Scattergories, Monopoly, Sorry, the list goes on! Make them put their electronics down and try some fun from the past!

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What Type of Mom are You Based on Your Thanksgiving Choices?

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I had fun making this quiz!

Let me know which type of mama you are!

1. What food do you let your children help to cook?
A. Cranberry Sauce. They only have to open a can.
B. Green Bean Casserole. The dish is easy to make and looks so pretty when finished.
C. Mashed Potatoes. I don’t want to peel all of those potatoes.
D. Stuffing. My child can break up all the bread and go nuts with the spices and broth.

2. Choose your favorite Turkey day dessert:
A. Chocolate Cream Pie
B. Pecan Pie
C. Pumpkin Pie
D. Apple Pie

3. What is your favorite scripture to read before diving in to all that turkey and stuffing?
A. Colossians 4:2 “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”
B. Psalm 100:4 “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!”
C. Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God.
D. Psalm 50:14 “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High.”

4. Pick a veggie to add color to the table:
A. Peas
B. Corn
C. Asparagus
D. Brussel Sprouts

5. What will you be drinking once your belly is full of turkey?
A. Coffee. I need the caffeine to stay awake.
B. Apple Cider. There is always room for cider.
C. Pumpkin Spice Latte to fill my pumpkin fix until the pumpkin pie is served.
D. Black Tea for a moment of relaxation.

6. How will you use the leftovers?
A. Turkey Sandwiches
B. What leftovers?
C. What? Put the leftover on a plate and stick them in the microwave.
D. Turkey Bone Soup

7. What movie will be on in the background as you cook up some deliciousness?
A. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
B. Whatever is Playing on the Hallmark Movie Channel
C. A Christmas Story
D. Ha! Like my husband is going to let me have the TV when the game is on!

8. What time will you serve your feast?
A. At 3 pm sharp, whether everyone is there or not.
B. When the food is done.
C. Regular dinner time. I need all day to work up an appetite as big as this meal.
D. When everyone gets here and all the food is ready.

9. Appetizers to prep for the big meal?
A. Why would you do that? Did you see how big that turkey is?
B. I put a cheese and cracker plate out but why would you waste your stomach space on pre-game eating?
C. Bring it on. I can handle tons of appetizers, three full plates, and two pies by myself!
D. Well, I mean we have to have deviled eggs…

10. What do you eat first?
A. Gotta eat the stuffing first. I don’t save the best for last.
B. Turkey so I can swirl it around to catch tidbits and gravy.
C. Dinner roll, its like a pushup for my belly.
D. A mountain of mashed potatoes smothered in a volcano of gravy.

11. What meat needs to be on your plate?
A. Dark meat so the force will be with me.
B. White meat because, duh.
C. Why waste precious space on turkey when I can eat stuffing?
D. Tofurkey because we need a little healthy on this day of indulgence.

12. Who says the prayer before you tuck in?
A. The whole family takes a turn saying what they are thankful for and a quick thanks to God for providing.
B. I do. Short and sweet. God can smell the food and is welcome to grab a plate.
C. We each say a silent prayer, but no one eats until everyone is done praying.
D. One of the Grandparents says a thirty minute prayer as the food gets cold. Read More→

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Get Your Tickets

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My children are obsessed with electronics, which is completely understandable in a digital world. Most of us carry powerful computers masquerading as phones in our pocket. Everywhere you look are screens, screens, and more screens. Even billboards are digital now. You know everyone who says they have to work or go into the office are really saying, ‘I’m going to go stare at a screen for eight hours.’ Even as a stay-at-home-mom, I am staring at a screen right now. The difference between us parents and the children is we can have some semblance of self-control, our children not so much. Enter tickets to earn electronics.

Go to Walmart (or any other store that sells offices supplies) and find the raffle ticket rolls. I got one roll per child. Alex gets red, Bri gets blue, and Rick gets white. I almost attempted some convoluted method of ticket distribution but decided it was better for all involved if we kept the ticket system simple. I like my sanity, what can I say? So the system is simple:

Do something right and get a ticket.

Go above and beyond and get a ticket.

Do what you are supposed to do and get a ticket.

A ticket gives you 10 minutes of electronic time.

The kids choice of which electronic to spend their time on: iPad, TV, video games, etc.

We do not take away tickets for bad behavior. The only negative from this system is if you don’t do it right, you don’t get a ticket.

That’s it. Simple. We don’t allow our kids electronics on school nights. We want this to be time for homework, chores, playing, and reading, so on Friday night after dinner the kids can start using their tickets. Once they are out of tickets, they are done with tickets for the weekend. It’s our money system. And my kids are going to be hurting this weekend because they have not done their chores properly at all this week and have barely earned any tickets. Their problem, not mine. They had plenty of opportunities to be responsible and earn tickets.

Here are reasons my kids can earn a ticket:

They put their lunchbox and backpack away.

They did their normal daily chore right, without being told.

Their room was clean.

They didn’t leave their stuff downstairs.

They picked up after themselves.

They cleaned something without being told.

They helped each other.

They finished their homework.

They are passing all their classes with no low graded assignments.

I caught them doing something nice.


The options are endless for them to earn hours and hours of electronics. But it’s up to them to take the initiative and earn their favorite free time activities.

Now recently, I went to do a load of my daughters’ laundry and was annoyed to find I couldn’t walk into the laundry room without stepping on stuff. Clothes, shoes, and other random stuff was all over my beautiful laundry room floor. I spent a lot of money at Ikea to get the laundry room of my dreams and my kids were messing it up! On top of that, in the laundry basket I had to dig out hangers, books, toys, and clean folded clothes just to find the dirty clothes to put in the wash. I had enough. Now my kiddos have to wash their own clothes between Friday and Sunday. They have to wash, dry, fold and put away their own laundry and it costs them two tickets for the use of my dream laundry room. They think I am mean, but I don’t care. They were mean to my favorite room, and I was done. This wasn’t a one-time offense, this was a constant daily struggle. Now I can walk into my laundry room and walk on the floor, not stuff.

Parents have many jobs as a parent. The most prevalent is teaching your children to be an asset to society and not a drain on society. Moms, we need to make our children so independent that we put ourselves out of a job. Because someday our children are going to be all grown up and they are going to need to take care of themselves. That’s the job, to teach our kids to take care of themselves. Hopefully having to earn their electronics, and pay for the privilege of using my laundry room, will help my kids be a step closer to becoming independent children who will become independent adults.

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Waking up on the Wrong Side of the Bed

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Friday morning, (there was a light at the end of the school-week tunnel) my twelve-year-old son woke up about twenty minutes early of his own accord, and now the whole house would pay for his lost sleep. My girls had to leave for school thirty minutes before Rick and yet he decided to hog the bathroom. He screamed at both of his younger sisters for having the audacity to get in his way. Rick squawked at me for asking him to take out the trash. Even the dogs got yelled at for being under his feet. Ensue the parental lecture, from both mom and dad, about not ruining everyone else’s day because you ‘woke up on the wrong side of the bed.’

Let’s backtrack a couple of years. I had a nephew come to visit for the summer and he woke up every day with a less than sunny disposition. He said he could not control his mood, despite me lecturing him on how your attitude is your choice. He called me out, and rightly so, for claiming and acting like I was not in a good mood until after my first cup of coffee. Side note: let’s face it though, coffee really does make morning time better.

I made a promise to start waking up with a much better temperament. Took me a couple of days of training myself, but I changed my attitude in the wee hours of the morning to a less cranky presence.

Move back a few more years to when my middle child was about a fourteen months old. She woke up grouchy every day. Her foul mood made the mornings and afternoons quite frustrating for me and her older brother Rick.

I complained to a friend who asked me a life changing question: “Why do you allow her to wake up grouchy?

Of course, I balked at her query. I was young and naive still and did not realize disposition was a choice. She suggested not letting Bri out of her crib until she had stopped yelling and carrying on. I was still to change her diaper but not to let her out until she was willing to more agreeable. I agreed because, honestly, I was at my wit’s end waking up to a cranky baby.

Four days was all it took for Bri to wake up happy.

The first day was hard for both her, me, and Rick. Not one of us wanted to listen to her whining. I went in, changed her diaper, and told her when she could be nice, I would let her out and we would get breakfast. She looked at me like I was crazy (and I felt like I was crazy). The second day I think she was louder and more insistent, but I help up my end of the bargain to not let her out and until she improved her mood. She had a point to prove on day three. She thought she was more stubborn than me and could use her little squeaky voice to force me to do her bidding.

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School is in Session

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School is in session for many of our families. When did school begin starting in August? Maybe only where I grew up, in New Hampshire, did school start after Labor Day. Either way, here in Texas, school starts in the middle of August. Time for school supplies, new clothes, and new teachers.

For stay-at-home and work-at-home moms, the start of school means free time (for those of us who are not homeschooling – by the way to you homeschooling moms, I have a lot of respect for you. I homeschooled for a spell, and there is no job more challenging). The problem is how to use your free time productively. Turning on the TV while folding laundry suddenly turns into binge watching Netflix and before you know it, the kids are home, and you have only folded one load of laundry and mopped the living room floor.

Like New Years, we stay-at-home-moms convince ourselves this is the year we are going to start our workout routines now that the kids are in school all day. Our house will be the cleanest on the block, and we are going to lose ten pounds and find a job working online that will bring in a steady income. Well, ladies, let’s make this the year. Let’s pick a goal and not let life and laziness get in the way. I am going to set myself a schedule and make a real effort to accomplish some of my domestic goals this year. Now, if any of you have any tips, I am all for hearing them. So far pinning organization idea’s on Pinterest has not lead to much fruition.

This year my kid’s school hours have changed. I have two elementary students who will be starting school at 8:05 am and one middle schooler who will be starting school at 8:55 am. Which means my girls need to be awake at 7:00 am to be ready and to school on time. My son will need to be up at 7:45 to be ready to hop on the bus at 8:30. Which means I have from 8:25 until (hold on checking the school website, as I have no idea what time school is out) 3:50 in the afternoon to do all the grocery shopping, cleaning, exercising, writing, and meal planning.

I was thinking this year I will try working out once the girls have left and only my son is home, as he is in middle school and mostly self-sufficient. I will already have his lunch made when I make the girls lunch, so I can tell my boy to brush his teeth from a yoga mat just as easily as I can from the couch.

With that settled, I am going to set up a schedule for cleaning with one major room per day:

Monday – Grocery shopping and running errands. Monday’s are already annoying might as well get the annoying stuff out of the way and be prepared for the week.
Tuesday – Living room and dining room
Wednesday – Office and front entry
Thursday – Bedroom and laundry
Friday – Bathrooms Read More→

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Random Acts of Happiness

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Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina Palmer Now we all know the best part of waking up is coffee in our cup, but the second best part of waking up is sweet notes from our children, spelling errors and all. My vanity table in my room has a note from my son and one from each of my daughters. The note from my youngest says, “I love you mom,” with a smiley face. The one from my son says, “I hope you get a perfect coffee and you are fun, loving, caring, and an overall good mother.” My son’s note is signed anonymous, which cracks me up! Like I don’t know his handwriting and would sit there for hours trying to figure out who left me such a thoughtful note.

My middle child made me a giant card out of purple construction paper that says I am the world’s greatest mom (mind you she has limited knowledge, as I am her only mom). Inside the card are pictures of me flying, drinking coffee (big surprise right?), and a poem about how I am her hero. One time for Mother’s Day at school, my daughter was given a list to fill out about me, and the part that had me rolling on the floor was, when asked what food I cook best, she chose salad. At some point maybe I can take a chance and put together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or maybe make some toast!

This morning I woke up to a note from my youngest telling me I am a sweet mom, along with a ticket for a coffee. Let me tell you these notes fuel my life. When I walk into the the laundry room and find shoes on the floor along with dirty clothes preventing the door from shutting, or their rooms are a mess again, or their mess is trickling down the stairs, I begin to wonder if my children hate me. Then I get these notes and know my little ones love me and just need more training and practice. They do love me; they are just little heathens.

Parenting is hard. Adulting is hard (I do enjoy this new trend of turning nouns into verbs). Do not miss the moments that make all the rest of raising children worth the time and energy spent. The notes are great, but I love when my kiddos give me hugs and kisses. I am not much of a cuddler, but I do love affection. I adore when my kids share freckles with me (I have none, they have plenty). All of these wonderful moments of random happiness are the sand that fills the jar. Read More→

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Is YouTube Ruining My Kids?

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YouTube is a plethora of videos on everything from how to build a box, to how to clean your sinuses. Learn how to build a house. Learn a new language. Deep relaxation techniques. The list goes on and on. But do my kids watch videos that teach them useful skills like how to play the piano? Nope. They watch other children play with toys. They watch other kids open new toys. They watch adults being stupid for amusement. They watch endless videos of how to build a Minecraft house. 

Summer has started here in Texas. Well, mostly started. The sun comes out occasionally before the next thunder and lightning storm, but the pool is open, and school is out. Either way, summer is supposed to be for biking with friends, building forts, going to the playground, rollerskating, etc. Did this stop in the 1990s? I miss being a kid because of summers activities. Why in the world would my kids rather stay inside and watch videos of other children playing with toys than actually going outside to play with toys?

I’m a stay-at-home mom, and my job doesn’t end because it’s summer. The new season simply means I can sleep hours that work better for my circadian sleep rhythm. You know like go to bed at midnight and wake up at eight am. Okay, fine. I go to sleep closer to two am and wake up at nine am. Either way, this schedule is more natural to my disposition. I still have to grocery shop, clean, do my writing, reading, and editing, but now I have three children along.

To give in and let them watch the weirdo videos they like on YouTube would be so easy! I don’t have to mom today; YouTube is more than willing to babysit. Let’s be honest, had we had YouTube available back in the 1980s when I was a kid, my friends and I would have all been watching ridiculous videos too. My particular favorites would have been best pranks to pull on your brother or cat videos. Is this fair to my kids though? Nope. Read More→

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Tutu Much Money

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teen girlsMy daughters, Bri and Alex, have been in dance classes for a few years of their lives. Bri was in both ballet and Irish dance before requesting no more dance. She said she couldn’t keep her arms straight; when in ballet she was supposed to use her arms, and in Irish, she was not. She asked to stop, and I reluctantly agreed. Who does not want to see their little girl with a bun, tutu, and ballet shoes? Some moms don’t, but this mom did. Then baby number three took dance for three years, and I have decided ballet for number three is not cost effect.

Alex loves to be the center of attention and in a beautiful costume or dress. Dancing is not her passion. How do I know dancing is not her passion? She does not dance around the house, she never practiced her dance routine at home or anywhere else, and she doesn’t talk about dance. Oh, and she needs constant reminders to get ready for class on Saturday mornings. I am not suggesting my child live and breathe dance. I am saying she should care enough about dance to put forth enough effort for the class to be cost effective.

I warned little miss that if at her recital she had shown no effort on her part to learn her routine (I do my part of telling her to practice, up to her to do the work), I would not pay for another year of class. Here’s the math:

$70 a month for nine months for class
$25 leotard and tights
$150 recital and costume
$48 tickets to recital
$30 one dance picture
$20 program for recital
Total – $903 a year for dance

The cost would be completely worth the price if my daughter were gaining useful skills such as practicing skills, or patience, or anything beyond looking cute in a costume and occasionally moving her feet. At the recital, Alex had to spend the entire two minutes on stage looking over her shoulder to watch the teacher show her what steps she was supposed to do next. She did not in nine months time learn anything except where she was supposed to stand when the dance started. Children younger than her knew all their steps. Actions speak loudly.

My little miss does not care about dancing; she cares about dressing up and being on stage in front of an audience. Not worth the cost for dance class. In the car on the way home from the recital, my attention seeking third child ask how she did at her recital, and I was truthful, because who am I helping if I give her undeserved accolades? I was tactful but honest. “Alex, you did ok, but you did not try very hard, and you did not practice, which showed because you had to keep looking at your teacher or classmates to know what steps to do.” I told her I wanted her to be proud of herself and did she think she had put enough effort forth to be proud of herself. She said she guessed not. Then she changed the subject and moved on. She only cared about being in a costume. I am not just going to praise her because she wants me too, because in the real world you have to earn praise. Read More→

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