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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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Archive for Finding Simplicity as a SAHM

Sep
12

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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Aug
21

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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Jul
18

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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Jun
09

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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May
16

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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Apr
11

The Perfect Coffee For Your Mom Problem

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coffee and computerThink outside the Keurig. With so many coffee choices why limit yourself to just drip? Instead, pick the java for your situation. But which coffee choice is best for daily mama drama? For every situation your little lovelies create there is a brew waiting to spark some energy.  Let’s discuss a few winning combinations to help through typical mom tough spots.

 

No Talkie before Coffee – You need black coffee straight up, in shots. Find the smallest setting on the Keurig. Now, make three shots. Forget the cream and sugar, there isn’t time! Okay, now you can breath, which is good because, trust me, they do not understand quiet before coffee. Remember to enjoy their somber moods when the teen years arrive.

 

Tiny Tornadoes — French coffee is the way to go for untidy tots. Cafe Au Lait, to be exact. A dash of steamed milk, a whole lot of java and the impossible becomes possible again. Don’t rush, enjoy every sip until the last drop of heavenly nectar is gone. Now equip yourself with a trash bag and a broom, it’s cleaning time!

 

Empty Container Equals Empty Brain — No coffee in the container? Have no fear! Time for a trip out of the house. Drive to the nearest coffee shop for a fill-up on the way to the grocery store. You’re a stay-at-home-mom, multi-task! Grab a latte before ticking items off the grocery list (If you forget the list on the kitchen counter again, wing it)!

 

Braving Walmart at Night — An Americano coffee will make the drive to Walmart more enjoyable without all the caffeine. I won’t even suggest the D-word, Walmart at night requires caffeine. Make the excursion even better, keep the kiddos at home with hubby.

 

Cooking Requires Coffee — Macchiato to the rescue! An espresso, a shot of steamed milk, and caramel make cooking spaghetti more enjoyable. Grind some fine beans, turn on the milk steamer, and create a delicacy to cope with the noise and bubbling pots. Nothing goes better with cooking than an excellent frou-frou drink!

 

Bugged Out — Game on, lice don’t stand a chance against a determined mama. But, you don’t have time for anything at the moment. With sheets to wash, beds to steam, hair to shampoo and pick, your hands are on overdrive. Make time first for a double shot of espresso. Chances are, if one noggin comes home with these nasty little blood suckers, soon multiple noggins will be teeming with creepy crawlers. Down your caffeine quickly, but make sure to enjoy the robust flavor.

 

Cuddles on the Couch  — Pull out the milk foamer, because if you’re sharing coffee with a coffee snatcher, your elixir needs to be more milk than brew. I would suggest not adding the mocha this go around. Keep your mama chocolate milk a secret. Lets face it, with you and hubby already addicted to coffee, do you really need the kids addicted too? Read More→

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Mar
14

13 Ways to Feed Your Faith

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Do you read your Bible every day? I don’t, but I do read scripture every day. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17), so you need to be reading scripture daily for the health of your faith. But who has the time, or even the desire, to sit down with their Bible and read? So let’s discuss some interesting ways to get your daily dose of The Word.

  1. Decorate your walls — Put beautiful landscape pictures with scripture on your walls. Not only do you have something pretty to gaze upon, but you will also give your faith a boost every time you walk down the hall to wash another load of laundry. My goal is to put a scripture picture in every room of my house.
  2. Verse A Day App – Sign up for a verse of the day app on your phone or iPad. Apps are a fantastic method of keeping up with scripture without picking up a Bible. Even better, if you find the verse to be what you need, you can read the rest of the chapter right where you are, even if you are in the grocery store. Some Bible apps will even read the Bible out loud to you while you commute to work. You can even sign up for a verse of the day in your email.
  3. Wallet cards — Many Christian stores, and even some regular bookstores, will carry credit-card sized cards with a pretty picture and verse. Whenever you reach into your wallet, you will be reminded of God.
  4. Scripture a Day Calendar — Everyday you rip off the sheet from yesterday and start a fresh verse to feed your soul.
  5. Answer Questions — I found a website where I answer Bible questions for other people. Those who do not understand The Word can benefit from the knowledge of others. By responding to questions, I have to dive deep into the Bible to find the right answers to the questions. Mind you this option might not be the right one for everyone. If, like me, you have a relevant degree, this might be a viable and unique way to immerse yourself.
  6. Facebook — Join a Facebook or Twitter group which shares scripture often. Let your news feed fill with verses, in between pictures of cats and your friend’s babies of course!
  7. Devote a little time — Get yourself a devotional book. Not only will this give you a little lesson every day to uplift, but will have a verse at the bottom for you.
  8. Listen to music — Find a Christian group you love who incorporate scripture into their songs. You might not know the exact location of the verse in the Bible, but the words will be in your heart.
  9. Keep a journal — whenever you receive a verse you want to remember to write the scripture in your journal, and when you need it, the verse will be close to you to read on a whim. Fill it up! You can even write prayer requests or prayers in the journal.
  10. Play Bible games — Find a Bible trivia game to play with your children or friends. What a wonderful way to have fun and feed your faith!
  11. Use Scripture on your background — Use Google to find a scripture background for your computer. Seeing scripture daily might even help you memorize more verses. When the verse is deeply planted in your head, find a new one!
  12. Drink your coffee or tea — Shop for a few mugs with your favorite scriptures to make your morning coffee more enjoyable.
  13. Read to your children — Before your kids head to school educate them with a daily verse from the best book ever created. Reading scripture to your children is beneficial to help them grow their faith as well.

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Feb
07

Hypocrisy and Parenting

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Becoming a hypocrite is very easy for parents. Do what I say, not what I do, because sometimes adults can do things children cannot, but it still makes adults look like hypocrites. I strive to set a good example for my children, and sometimes I actually succeed. One thing I have done is not teach my children there are bad words (aka swear words); there are adult words and children words. My children have no right, whatsoever, to correct an adult they hear swearing. No, no, if I hear my children correcting an adult, even a stranger, I will stop them. Adults can swear, children cannot. If you say swears are bad words you are setting a precedent and telling your kids, adults who swear are doing something wrong. Now, this isn’t to say swearing is right, but the point is to teach the children they cannot correct adults because children are under a different set of rule than adults.

This is the point, children are under a different set of standards than adults. The difference is in the home and in society. Teachers at school can use the microwave to heat up leftovers for lunch; students do not have access to microwaves. There is a different set of rules for teachers than for the students. Mom and dad can stay up late and play video games; children cannot because there is a different set of rules.

What I want to share with you today is a memory from a few years ago. First, I need to say Christians have a different set of rules than non-Christians. Read 1 Corinthians and see what Paul has to say about this topic. Right now, I am building up to something and need you to understand that the rules for my children and the rules for Christians is why I am bringing this story up.

When I was in college, studying the Old Testament, I was learning about the different ceremonies God commanded His people to celebrate. Now, I have no intention of following all of the Old Testament ceremonies and feasts, I am not under that covenant as a believer in Jesus, but the Sabbath is another story altogether. The Sabbath is mentioned in the second chapter of Genesis, “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day, he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on that day he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” The Sabbath’s holiness is mention before God has established a covenant with any man or group of people.

Not only is the Sabbath mentioned in the very first book of the Bible, but it is also referred to in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8). Now, the Ten Commandments do fall under the Old Covenant but are still the commandments by which we are governed (along with the new commandments to love God above all else and to love others as we love ourselves. Found in Matthew 22:36-40). The Ten Commandments still serve the purpose of recognizing sin and showing we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), even under the new covenant. Read More→

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Jan
12

5 Ways to Let the Punishment Fit the Crime

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I always have my trusty standby punishments for my children tucked away in my tool belt, but sometimes, no most times, I think the punishment should fit the crime. Here are a few examples to help you learn to discipline your children in a way meant to apply natural consequences to the situations they find themselves in.

1. Repetition — I have learned when my kids do not clean something correctly it usually means they need more practice. So I have them repeat the chore a dozen or more times. For example, my kids all had problems putting the cap back on the toothpaste. After putting the cap on and taking it off 25 times, they seem more inclined to remember to put the cap on. If they “sweep” the floor and leave dirt everywhere I assume they need more practice and provide that opportunity out of the kindness of my heart. Practice makes perfect.

2. Bed Time — My son who on a couple of occasions decided to play a fun little bed time game I like to call “Heck No!” He would stay up late in his room while I thought he was asleep. The next day he would complain about how tired he was so I would put him to bed earlier, natural consequences. At some point in the future, he will beg to stay up later when he is a teenager, and I will play this game a little bit differently. I will let him stay up as late as he likes so long as he gets to school on time and does all of his homework and chores. If it works as it worked on me, he will find his own bed time is probably earlier than he wants it to be.

3. Clean Your Room — A fun story curtesy of my father and brother. When my brother, William, lived with just our dad (our parents were divorced), he was told to go clean his bedroom. Later William comes out and says “Dad, why should I clean my room? It’s just going to get messy again.” My dad painted a knowing smile on his mouth and responded, “Your right, never mind you don’t have to clean your room.” An hour before dinner William asks what’s for dinner. Then comes my father’s brilliant response.”Why should I feed you? You’re just going to get hungry again anyway.” My brother got the message and went to clean his room. Read More→

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Dec
15

The Refrigerator of My Dreams

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When I was six and in first grade, my teacher told us to write down our future career aspirations. She meant for our goals to be career-oriented. Other kids wrote down their desire to be firemen, doctors, and even a princess. My list was short, concise, just three goals that reached beyond a job. My block-print read in order: mom, wife, writer. Other kids grew up and their goals changed. Suddenly being a fireman sounded more dangerous than thrilling. Being a doctor required more years of school and money than everyone was willing to put forth. The one girl was still plotting her engagement to Prince Harry. She and I alone knew our hearts desire at the tender age of six.

Today I walked past a box of ornaments, a pair of sandals, two candy wrappers, and a pile of Rice Crispies on the floor, on the way to my white refrigerator. Picking this fridge was a time-consuming computer search of reading reviews on several websites and picking my particular specifications. A real grown up endeavor. Another reminder that I am now in my late thirties. Well past the days of stuck with whatever appliances come with the place we are renting. Now, my floor is a patchwork of cereal and tiny pink socks. Then I shut the fridge door and found out this is the magical refrigerator of my dreams.

Why you ask, is this icebox so magical? This one is decorated with a picture of me with unicorn hair and large black eyes. This fridge has my son’s A/B honor roll ribbon on the freezer section. I have a tin turned into a pen holder, one of my Pinterest wins. A poem my middle child wrote is on the other side next to progress reports and the phone number for the local pizza shop. There is a stuffed bat adorning the door because my family loves stuffed animals. Basically, my fridge is covered in the same stuff as every other family in America who are peppered with children from two to twenty, and I love it!

All the random bits of my life with my husband and children end up on the fridge as a constant reminder of the mundane to spectacular details of our lives. These details, however, are unique to my dreams and goals. This appliance sits there as a giant ice-making reminder that all my dreams have come true and I haven’t even said, “I’m forty” once in my life. My writing is not gracing the fridge; I might need to print out this blog to prove to my magical fridge all three of my goals are current. Read More→

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