Surviving and sometimes thriving thanks to God's grace.

Enchanted Fairytale Birthday Parties

Today we have a great post from another guest blogger. Please meet Emma.

Emma is a teacher, constantly improving her skills both as a teacher and as a parent. She is passionate about writing and learning new things that can help you to lead a quality life. She is a regular contributor to High Style Life.You can follow her on Twitter @EmmahLawson

Enchanted fairy tale birthday parties

Little girls love magic, and if they could, they would move to the forest in a blink of an eye and live in harmony with magical forest creatures and fairies. It does not come as a surprise, though, fairies and magic are among favorite little girls’ things in the world, and no wonder they want to watch fairy cartoons, and pretend play enchanted forest all the time. If you would like to give a special gift to your little girl, prepare her an ‘Enchanted fairy tale’ themed birthday party.

Invitations

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Think about the very elements you want to incorporate in your party & have them printed on invitations. If possible, order different invitations & personalize each one with a little sticker or some glitter on the corners. Make sure there are mushrooms, flowers, stars, & little fairies printed on them. You can even choose to make them yourself if you would like: have flowers & leaves cut out of colored paper and glued onto the invitation with golden dots cut out of plain golden paper; as long as it is extraordinary, girls will love it.

Decoration

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If you have a garden you have more than half of your problems solved: little tables covered with white, pink, and green tablecloths, colorful cushions on small chairs, perhaps even a tent made out of your old curtains so that it looks like a baldachin over their dining table. Once again, mushrooms peeking out from underneath the chairs and every corner of your yard, plastic ivy over the table, pastel colored paper butterflies hanging on strings from the trees and glued onto their chairs, food served on wooden plates and fake moss covered platters. They will have no problem imagining that they are in a fairy tale. You can do this in your home as well, just attach paper flowers, leaves, and ivy over your curtains and door frames.

Costumes

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Fairies and princesses may not be the same thing, but they do have something in common: beautiful dresses and lovely little crowns.They can even decide if they would like to be princess fairies instead (a hint: yes, they all would). Have tutus, tiaras, and fairy wings prepared for all your guests, but the birthday girl should still be the star; allow her to wear her flower girl dress and make her wings and tiara a little extra special. They can also have magic wands with stars and straps of fabric attached so they can run around and cast spells.

Cake and snacks

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You don’t have to make an exotic and extraordinary meal, you just have to be innovative and name the things you have prepared differently: poisoned candy apples from Snow white, pixie punch for soda, magic beans for jelly beans, fairy cupcakes with little edible fairies on top… You only need a bit of imagination. As for the cake, make it fit into the theme of the party perfectly: Princess or fairy cake with plenty of chocolate so they would grow strong and beautiful.

 

 

Besides the joy for seeing all those little girls mesmerized with the surroundings you’ve prepared, your heart will be filled with pride and joy once you see how happy they are to be real fairies for a day.

 

What your Closet is Begging for this Fall

GUEST BLOGGER FUN!!!!

Today’s informative piece is sent to us by guest blogger Jennifer Monahan. We are so excited to be able to feature her and her insight.

Jennifer Monahan is a freelance writer and a  mom of 2 fantastic kids out of Jackson Hole Wyoming. When she’s not working around the horse and cleaning up after her husband, she likes to keep up and write about the newest fashion trends. You can follow her on twitter @Jenmonahan76

scarf and bootsFall is one of the best seasons for your wardrobe because you have the ability to mix and match pieces to create different looks that show off your sense of style. You can pull from different seasons and layer them (or dress them down) so that it all feels season appropriate.

However, there are also many items that are fall specific that you might not have in your wardrobe yet.

These ten items are absolute essentials for your closet this year:

scarf1. Scarves of All Colors

Scarves are really the most versatile option for fall. Put them on in the mornings with a coat to keep you warm, and then use them in the office when the air conditioning gets to be too chilly. Scarves work well with sweaters, t-shirts, and even dresses to keep you looking put together.

Go for one that adds a pop of color to your outfit to beat those mid-October blues.

2. Skinny Jeans

Skinny jeans have been a staple in everyone’s wardrobe for the last few years, and they show no signs of leaving anytime soon. Tuck a pair into high-shafted boots to look a little more stylish or match them with a chunky, over sized sweater for a hayride. They are also great for those mornings when it is a little damp  outside – having pants with a wet hem is the worst!

3. Fun Flats

Mornings start getting slick in the fall, and that is not a time to be wobbling on your heels. Flats make more sense in the fall because you likely have to dodge leaf piles and walk on some questionable terrains. Add a pair of nude flats to make your legs longer and coordinate with a scarf for a put together look!

autumn boots4. Boots, Boots, and more Boots

Boots are the perfect shoe for almost everyone – they are comfortable, keep you warm, and can really transform any wardrobe into something special. Booties look great with tights and a dress or cropped pants, and ankle boots are perfect for picking apples or trick-or-treating. The clear winner, however, is the high shafted boot, which you pair with just about everything. Pair with high socks, skinny jeans, and a chunky sweater and you’ll get a cute, comfortable, and cozy look without much effort.

 

5. Not Your Dad’s Plaid

Plaid is going to be one of the hottest patterns of the fall, no matter where you are. Whether you want to go classic with a plaid shirt or flannel or you want to add some plaid to your accessories, it goes with just about everything. Try to add a plaid scarf or bracelet to your chic black looks or use a pair of plaid flats to spice things up. Remember that a little bit goes a long, long way!

6. Capes

Capes have been all over the red carpet lately, and there is a way to do them in everyday life. A great cape or poncho is a versatile look for weekends at home, hayrides, or while you are sitting under the Friday night lights. Most of the time, they are made from a warmer material so they can act as outwear when you don’t need a jacket at first, but once the sun goes down you will. Pair them with a simple outfit like jeans, a t-shirt, and boots to look a little more stylish.

7. Skirts

Skirts never really are “out,” are they? In fall, skirts have a great time because they are so versatile. Take a plain skirt and pair it with tights and some killer boots or get a longer skirt and match it with a great sweater. Color blocking in skirts has been huge this year, so make sure to color coordinate with a similar color shirt.

8. Trending Trench Coats

Walk the streets of any major city, and you will see that some of the most stylish women have trench coats. Now, for most women a trench coat seems a little stiff, but many brands have been working on more feminine styles. Look for trench coats with a touch of velvet, ruffles, flowers, and even pleated skirts. If you are going somewhere that you need to look good in outwear, a trench coat is an absolute must have.

9. Cashmere

Cashmere has long been considered a luxury for many women, but it doesn’t always have to be. A cashmere scarf, beanie, or gloves can really take your look to the next level. There are even some pretty great cashmere-dupes on the market as well. Cashmere will never go out of style, so making an investment in a great cashmere sweater will pay off many times in the coming years. Plus, they go with everything! Wear them with a skirt for the office, or pair with some leggings and thick socks for a cuddly weekend indoors.

10. The Fall Classic Leather Jacket

Leather jackets are another wardrobe staple that if you play your cards right and invest in a great, quality jacket, you will have it forever. Their popularity for the normal fashionista may vary, but you will never be out of style in one. Pair on top of a flirty dress to add some edge to your look, or just match with boots and jeans for a classic look. Black or brown leather is the most popular option, but if you want, going outside of the box and picking a colored leather is gorgeous as well.

Fall is a great time to experiment with pieces from other seasons. If you mix and match the items on this list with what is currently in your wardrobe, you can never go wrong.

Photo credits  Flickr User pinprick , Flickr user Hola.Lucia or Idhren

Are Marriage Podcasts Really a Crock??????

6991611_f520When I listen to all the marriage podcasts it sounds so logical. It seems so easy and spot on. Of course the next time we argue I will be able to take the high road and stop my anger from whirling up like a tornado and quickly escalating out of control.

I am ready for the next challenge.

God just loves to give you the opportunity to practice a new skill set.

Boom the opportunity comes. There is a brief flash of something I have heard or read about keeping calm, but it is stuck in the back of my mind, pushed down beneath all the anger.

I go from zero to really mad in record time.

But now I have the added bonus of feeling guilty because I have all of this info about the best way to handle these situations.

I know the right thing to do but frankly I am just really mad and don’t want to take the high road. I am 100% sure I am right but  that is wrong in and of itself. Of course I cognitively know I am not 100% right but tell that to my heart. It is pretty sure I am a victim of unjust accusations.

I always say being a Christian is hard. Before I found Jesus I was happy to just stew in my anger and self righteousness. Now when I want to wallow I know I shouldn’t. All the enjoyment is gone from my pouting. It is replaced with the Holy Spirit urging me,( incessantly mind you), that it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong. I argue with the Holy Spirit because I feel very vindicated in my stance. The Holy Spirit deep signs and reiterates the exact same thing.

Then God throws down a daily devotion, followed by a podcast, followed by something else I read or hear just to make sure I don’t miss His easy to follow advice.

I have never once had Him give me signs to reinforce my indignance, You think He could throw me a bone once in a while so I could have my pity party.But that is not the way He works. 

So here I sit, knowing what to do and I am irritated as all get out that I have to do it. 

The good news is, at this point in my faith walk, at least I have this recognition

Now  the next part. of the journey is actually doing it. Hopefully followed by the phase where I really don’t care who is right or wrong. The part where you just assume the best of the person you have chosen to spend your life with.

So, no,  I don’t really think marriage pod casts are a crock. I think they are great. I think they add  building blocks to our marriage foundation. They are just itty bitty building blocks that I continually slip off of. But I climb back up on get a tad higher each time..

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

“Be completely humble and gentle; Be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

 

THE MIGHTY MUG – PLUS A GIVEAWAY


Since I spend the majority of my day at my computer and consume a fair amount of coffee and I am clumsy I have been searching for a reliable no spill mug.
Mighty Mug is so rad. I love this sturdy mug. It really cannot be pushed over because it has Smart Grip (that is a real trademarked technology.)  I am going to get one for my iced drinks too.

My boys were arguing the other day and one of them threw a shoe at the other (that is an entire other blog to come) anyway it missed and hit the mug. Literally no spillage. So mommas if you need a car mug, desk mug, hot or iced check them out.

Also they are doing a giveaway for one of my readers. All you have to do it enter here MIGHTY MUG GIVEAWAY  or copy and paste the address below in your search

. http://bemighty.themightymug.com/justyouraveragemomma/

Contest dates are from 9/23-9/30. Winner will be announced on 10/1

http://themightymug.com/pages/about-us

Mighty Mug Ice

About Mighty Mug

ABOUT MIGHTY MUG

Mighty Mug is the innovative mug that grips to your desk when knocked into. Say good-bye to your old mug that falls over and spills. Desks of the world rejoice!

 

Letting Go of Your Teenager

imagesAlmost 18 years of  guiding, going to seminars, going to church, getting my cherubs mentors, having them go to youth group and bible studies. I felt we had given our babies every tool to make good decisions.

That is why it is so devastating when they choose the wrong path. We gave them everything in our power to guide them down the right path. They chose poorly.

The decision was life altering. It is a no take back situation. They have to deal with the consequences. The consequences will rear their ugly head many times over the course of their young lives.

And honestly I feel pretty helpless. As your babies get older the decisions they have to make get harder. Every single part of our culture leads our children against God’s plan. What is good is, at best, critiqued and ridiculed. What is bad is celebrated and encouraged. Parenting morals and values is an uphill battle. I have this visual of the 2 of us pushing a giant rock up hill and the rest of the world pushing that rock with their feet and hands back down.

As parents, we just have to sit back and watch. We are not mad, we are just sad.We all want what is best for our children. The guidance we give them is an attempt to save them from heartache and suffering. As they get older you realize, no matter how much guidance and how many right things you do, they have to suffer. They have to have heartache. They cannot learn from their mistakes unless they make them.

At these times the natural reaction is to grab a hold tighter. To set more rules and monitor more closely. But that isn’t going to work. At some point in their life you have to let go. You have to let failures happen.

The only path I can see to take is laying out consistent expectations  and talking about the bumps in the road. This makes your home a safe place for your children when they mess up. Grace and mercy are our friends during these times. Using these times to re-emphasize God’s word. To gently let them know that these choices are not part of what God wants for them.

Even though I think we all feel helpless sometimes we have to remember that we have the power of God in us. That makes us far from helpless.

Romans 5:3-6 reminds us “ Not only so, but wealso glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.have

God’s in our corner. Nothing is a surprise to Him. Each moment in our lives serves a purpose for His plan.

So you can let go with confidence. We were only stewards of our children in the first place. They were never really ours, they are His and He loves them so much more than we ever could. We can continue to guide but ultimately their path is already set. God has His arms around them.

 

“Spiritual Parenting in the First Five Years”

41sprIJdN6L._SX348_BO1,204,203,200_When I was pregnant I read so many baby & pregnancy books. As time passed I read a variety of parenting technique books. Everything from Ferberizing (which i hated), to Love Languages for Children, (which I loved.) Honestly I never thought about developing my child’s spirituality in the early years. I read how to get them to sleep, play nice, share, eat blah blah blah. In retrospect, Spiritual Parenting seems pretty important

I just read an eBook titled “Spiritual Parenting in the First Five Years” by Callie Grant

This is a quick easy read with some great tips. You can purchase Callie Grant’s e-book here on Amazon!

It is a worthwhile purchase at $5.00

Here is a brief synopsis. I hope you mommas enjoy it.

Expecting parents have nine months to plan and attend classes before the baby arrives. Traditionally, most of that time is devoted to preparing for the child’s physical needs. But what about the baby’s spiritual needs? Callie Grant, founder of the Christian publishing company Graham Blanchard, lays out five Bible-based principles for the care and feeding of a new child’s inner life. The first few years of a child’s life are developmentally the most important. Parents can maximize this vital window to teach their children about who God is, and how they are made to be in a relationship of peace, joy and love with him.

 

 

August Is The Sunday Of Summer

Summer-Sunday-e1407858845935The end of summer elicits two very different responses from mommas. In one camp there is the  group that thinks, “Thank goodness.  I cannot wait for school to start.” The second group is more of the clinging by the your fingertips to the last moments as they are dragged out from under you.

I have always belonged to the latter group. If you have read any of my previous posts you will know that milestones are not my favorite part of parenting. I may rejoice and beam with pride as each cherub reaches a milestone but I silently grieve as they pass them. (Ok, not all that silently.)

Each year the end of summer is just a slap upside the head to me. We have spent summer in a blissful, relatively nag free state.  My big rule over summer is that everyone must brush their teeth twice a day. Otherwise it is pretty much Lord of the Flies over here.

I know there are tons of families who thrive on the routine of school. To me, summer is sooooooo much better than the day to day of school life. Let’s face it school sets us up for failure. How can a day start out peaceful when everyone is waking up while it is still dark outside? No one in our family is really a morning person. Most of the time 3 of the 4 are crabby. It rotates which of the 3, but it is usually at least three. Then there is the homework grind, the after school stuff, nagging everyone to get to bed on time. It is this exhausting ritual that last nine months. Plus it is cold and dark out early and I am not at all tan, I mean really come on…..

Summer is a serenade of beautiful long days at the beach or better yet vacation. Bedtime is flexible, showers are flexible, vegetables at every meal are flexible, heck even waking up has some flexibility.The end of summer also means my cherubs are one year older, one grade higher and one step closer to being all grown up.

As the last moments of summer come to a gentle close I will miss a ton of things.

I will miss my almost grown giant children waking up starving at 11 a.m, hair all amuck, still looking like they are just really tall 8 year olds.

I will miss meeting one of my cherubs for lunch during my lunch hour at work.

I will miss the constant barrage of friends that come and go. The week long sleepovers.  I love coming home to eight cherubs sprawled all over the furniture watching a movie.

I won’t will miss following up on homework or running to the craft store to get stuff to do a project. Heck, I have not stepped into a craft store since June.

I will won’t miss feeling like everyone has to be in bed by 10 p.m. or the next day will be a disaster

But the thing I will really miss is that this is my second to last summer with two of my babies. They are seniors this year. It is a big year. They have already taken senior pictures. The first football game of their last year is tomorrow. In fact almost everything is the last of something.

For someone who never wants her babies to fly the coup, and yes, I totally understand how dysfunctional and unhealthy that is. Senior year is just a great big emotional roller coaster. Full of peacock proud moments and teary eyes. Next summer is our last summer together as a whole family before they begin the journey off  whatever path life takes them on.

Sure I know they will come back and visit but that is the key word. It is just a “visit.”  They won’t live here anymore. I totally get that, that is the goal. God only loaned us our cherubs. We are their stewards. Our job is to raise independent, God loving, gospel sharing adults. If we have done that then we have fulfilled our commitment and God’s purpose for letting us have these amazing humans for the past eighteen or so years.

So sayonara summer. Hello fall. Lots of exciting moments to experience this year. Forward progress mommas.

Psalm 127:3-5 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

 

 

 

A Convenient Solution to Costly Dr Appointments + a Giveaway

MavenLogoOhhhh mommas I am so excited about this nifty new app. I frequently am asked to review things on this blog and I usually do not consider doing so because I don’t want to inundate you with white noise. But this is so great. I love it. I only wish I had access to this when my babies were little. It would have saved me countless trips to the pediatrician’s office.

MAVEN is an app that basically allows you to make a virtual appointment with a certified doctor, specialist or nurse practitioner on your IPad or IPhone. The price range is between $18-$100 per appointment. (I don’t know about you but that kicks butt on my deductible) You pay up front so there are no add on fees and you will know what it is going to cost before you commit. It is geared towards women but they are able to meet almost all needs. They are able to give prescriptions, physical therapy exercise, prenatal care, breast feeding help etc.

How rad would it be to have a new baby and not have to haul yourself, the baby, the car seat, the diaper bag and a toddler to find out why someone has a fever or is ear tugging?

This is not designed to replace your GP but to supplement in a convenient cost effective way. They do not currently work with insurance companies.

I think you are going to love it. They are offering all readers of Just Your Average Momma a free visit to give it a try (worth $25 dollars which covers time with a nurse practitioner, physical therapist, or nutritionist) Just put in this code (valid for one visit only). JUSTYOURAVERAGEMOMMA on this link http://go.onelink.me/1845334105?pid=Blog&c=JustYourAverageMomma

I have attached the one sheeter from the company for your review. Give it a try and let me know what you think. This is one of those times when modern technology is a good thing.

Maven Primer

I Am Praying, But I Really Don’t Mean It.

vain_young_woman_072709_m-234x350Vanity is one of the more yucky parts of me. I am often concerned with how I look and how people see me. This is getting to be a slippery slope as I age.

I have entered what I call the age of invisibility. This is the age when you can walk through a crowd at a water park and no on pays a lick of attention to you. It is liberating in some ways (you don’t have to suck in all day and you  can wear your 3 year old one piece) but very difficult in others. I used to get a lot of self worth and affirmation from that kind of attention.

I know the whole thing about getting our self worth from God etc. That He is enough.  I wish so very much that could be enough for me? I know how narcissistic this all sounds and I am really not as self involved as it reads. But as I get older the lack of affirmation is much more noticeable. Thus making me grasp for things that will help.I don’t want to loose weight for health, it’s for vanity as is dying my hair, getting eyelash extensions (I really loved those) or buying new makeup.

The trouble with these things is  that we are not exactly rolling in dough. Anytime I do something fluffy like that it comes straight from some other part of the budget. There is no stroke Kris’s ego fund.

Mommas I am not saying you shouldn’t try and look your best, but there is a line that I cross sometimes. The line where I will sacrifice in one area to get some unnecessary fluff just because I am feeling low about myself. That is where the rub lies. If I really felt that God’s love was enough I would be far less wrapped up in me.

So I pray that God takes away this part of me. I pray that He painlessly zaps it out of me. I am hoping one day I will wake up and look in the mirror and just be content. Sadly I don’t think that is the way it works..To make matters worse at the same time  I kind of don’t want it to change. I still really like the compliments. I love getting a new outfit or hair style that causes my friends to say, “You look great.”  I get this temporary high.

So what happens when you pray but as you are praying you know you really don’t mean it? You want to mean it but you just don’t. You feel like you still need whatever the thorn in your side is?  Let’s face it God knows what is going on. No one is fooling Him.

I am tackling this by acknowledging the fact that I don’t mean it and I still need whatever it is to make me feel good. Then I ask God to at least take away the part that still wants it. My prayer goes like this;  “Dear Heavenly Father, you know how I am.  I don’t really want you to take it but I would love for you to change my thinking to more of you and less of me. Please make my heart more like yours. Let your ways be my ways. Please let me know you are enough in my heart. And even though I don’t mean it I really want to be obedient. But Lord it is going to take some extra help from you because I cannot do it on my own.”

I am one weak sister mommas. I am just hoping the good Lord appreciates my efforts. Whatever your struggling with,(vanity, unwillingness to forgive, anger, addiction etc.) the thing that you know you shouldn’t be doing but it just feels good. Ask God to intercede on your behalf. Even if you don’t mean it I fully believe God will change our hearts.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who gives me strength

How Can We Love Them in the Moments We Really Want to Strangle Them?

6397Last night was sucky. The cherubs were in prime summer agitation mode. They have been home too much, around each other too much and just off schedule all together. They were bickering, nitpicking and just being all round rotten. One is passive aggressive, one is aggresive aggresive and the other two do a variation. I had reached my limit.

When I reach my limit I usually do this thing where I feel that since I have been patient enough I now am justified to let loose. Honestly, it always made me feel better to yell. I come from a long line of yellers. It is a comfort zone thing. I am making progress on breaking that pattern but every once in a while….

Anyway, as I lie there in bed fuming, getting more and more irritated I prayed. This is my favorite prayer for these times. It goes something like this, “Dear God, I would like to beat all my cherubs right now. I am really mad and fed up and frankly I do not like them at this moment. Please help me to love them the way they need to be loved right now”

The end part of this prayer always keeps me from jumping over the ledge. It gives me perspective that this is temporary and that my cherubs need something specific.

I take a deep breath and go into the living room. I, relatively calmly, ask them to separate and leave each other alone. They argue, they defend their positions, but I am silent. (Silence and prayer are the two most powerful parenting tools around.) This is followed with some hugs and more of me insisting they leave each other alone. It is truly amazing to watch. When I yell and get in the mix it turns into this ridiculous moment of explosion and strife but when I am silent and hug the situation just fizzles. Don’t stoke the fire mommas. Let it die.

I may not get the initial satisfaction I get when I yell, but this ends up being so much more peaceful and effective.

I figure God is always loving us the way we need, even when we act up, so I should try and extend that same love to my family.

Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

 

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