Great 1st Birthday Gift- LeapFrog My Pal Scout and Violet

LeapFrog My Pal VioletLeapFrog My Pal Scout
Here is a great 1st birthday gift idea for you: Leapfrog’s My Pal Violet and Scout are cute and fun. LeapFrog does a great job of making electronic educational toys that kids love to play with!  You can plug these puppies into your computer (cable and instructions included) to personalize them with your child’s favorite things.  They will say your child’s name, favorite color, favorite food, songs and much more.  You can press the night time button on the foot once to play music for 2 minutes, or twice for 5 minutes.  Violet was a big hit in our house and was the favorite stuffed animal that my youngest slept with for a couple years.  The recommended ages for this are 6 months to 3 years.
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    How Do You Keep it All Together?

    I get asked this question a lot: “How do you keep it all together?”  Perhaps people ask me because I have 6 kids and if I chose to have 6 then I must have felt like I could handle them and stay on top of everything else too.  Right?

    The truth is that I almost always went into a new pregnancy wondering how on earth I would manage with one more or even two more (after having twins second I always wondered if I was having twins again).  It was always a stretching process to add another child to our family.  I knew it would be but I also knew that God had promised to be my strength when I relied on Him and so I did.

    I didn’t set out to have a large family.  I was a planner, an organizer and very much liked to be in control and a family of 8 never crossed my mind.  But I found that when you have a child on your heart, and your husband is in the same place, another child is always a gift.  Always.

    Back to keeping it all together.

    I don’t think that it’s possible.  To keep it all together.  It seems to me that any togetherness is a perceived condition.  Children don’t allow for it.

    Please don’t get me wrong.  I am NOT saying that you cannot keep your house neat or that you cannot be organized or that you cannot have a great plan.  What I am saying is that keeping it all together implies that you are completely in control and everything goes your way.  It doesn’t. Hardly ever.

    Kids are ever changing and raising them is incredibly demanding.  A mother needs mounds of grace for her children and even more for herself.  The dreams and plans you have of having it all together are sure to get interrupted by dealing with heart issues, sick kids, sleepless nights that lead to tired days, a daily battle inside of how much time you spend cleaning up and how much time you spend playing with kids, and I haven’t even gotten to distractions or tangents (like wanting to redo your daughters room. Right. Now!).  Did I mention doctors appointments and planning meals and running errands?

    The only way I know of how to keep it all together is by not allowing it to wreck you when it all falls apart.  I’ve spent many moments crying over spilled milk and clothes all over the floor that I just put away.  I’ve had heart palpitations over people coming over at a moments notice and when my kids melt down in a store.  But I think my time is better spent on learning to be okay with the things that happen outside of my plans rather than trying so hard to keep anything outside of them from happening.  Know what I mean?

    I hope this is freeing for you in some way.  I have spent years trying to keep it all together.  If we can learn to hold it all loosely and focus on what’s important than I believe we will live lives that are capable of more joy, more grace and even more fun. And that’s what I want for my family and for you too.

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    Linking up today with Kristen from We Are That Family for What Works for me Wednesday

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      The Most Important Status Updates You Can Pay Attention to

      The other night I was sitting at my dinner table with my family and the kids, all 6 of them, were being chatter boxes.  I felt like asking them all to take a deep breath and be quiet. But then I realized something that I needed to remember.  They were sharing the details of their life with me and it would be easy to ignore these status updates but they are the most important ones I can pay attention to.  I do love Facebook and Twitter but staying up to date on everyone else and missing what my kids are saying would be really sad.  So I’m taking more moments to listen, to be in the moment and stay up to date on my kids statuses.

      Do you struggle with missing your kids status updates?  What ways do you make time to really hear them?
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        A Reason for the Quiet

        It’s been a little quiet around here lately.

        I’ve been busy getting my priorities in order and creating margin in my life. It’s not an easy task to cut back.  It almost seems like more work to let go of things and hand them off but I’m getting there.

        I did want to share with you something I have been a part of working on and I am incredibly excited about. It’s this:

        The Declare Conference is a conference for Christian women bloggers.  Our desire is to bless and encourage you while helping you to grow and learn about blogging and social media. The conference will take place in Dallas, Texas August 9th-10th, 2013.  It’s going to be so much fun! We have some amazing speakers lined up to learn from.

        If you are a blogger or want to start blogging I’d love to invite you to join us.  We will have fun connecting, learn a lot, eat well, enjoy some awesome swag, have great vendors to meet with, party and, of course, indulge in chocolate! You won’t want to miss it!

        I’ll be back to regular blogging soon and sharing all about what moms love. Thank you for your patience with me as I am learning and growing as a wife, mom & blogger.

        Are you a blogger? Have you ever been to a blogging conference? Which one is your favorite?

        Thank you for sharing!

          Cookie’s Kids Fashion Bargains

          I love a good bargain and having 6 kids pretty much makes bargain shopping mandatory.  Recently I was browsing Cookie’s Kids Online Department Store for some winter clothing for my 4 year old for next year.  Now, she is a girly girl with the taste of a princess and loves anything frilly and feminine.  Shopping for her is usually fun but the kind of outfits she likes are often pricey.

          I was really surprised at what I found for the money at Cookie’s Kids.  I was aiming to spend about $30 and I started out searching for girls dresses. I was pleasantly surprised as I found cute dresses like the one below for as little as $9.99.

          Cookie’s Kids Dress

          As I searched for the perfect outfits for my daughter I was excited to find that Cookie’s Kids has Hello Kitty and Disney Princess clothing too.  Both of which are favorites for her.  It took me a little while to decide what to get with so many choices.  There where quite a few different styles and looks that were great deals but I needed to stick to the budget. So, I was able to find 3 adorable outfits for just under $30.

          Finding the right size was incredibly easy on Cookie’s Kids. I just clicked on the Alva Kids icon next to the size selection and entered my daughters information.  Once I had added the information my daughter’s size was already selected for each new item I viewed.  Super simple shopping if you ask me!

          We anxiously awaited the package to arrive in the mail and when it came my daughter was thrilled to open it and see what I had found for her.  She was so excited with each outfit.  I got them in the next size up but she just had to try them all on and see what they looked like.

          My daughter danced and twirled and giggled with her new outfits on.  Honestly it was difficult to get her to be still after she tried each one on.  She could hardly wait until daddy go home to show him all of her favorite new clothes.

          She promptly picked the Princess outfit to wear for the day and had to hang the others up so she could wear them the following days.  I’ve had a hard time convincing her that the clothes were a little big and meant for next year.  I may just have to hide them away one day when she isn’t paying attention.

          After shopping at Cookie’s Kids for cute girls clothes I also noticed that they have a nice selection of school uniforms.  I’m keeping my eye on them and hoping to find some good deals for next year.  I also think some of their boys suits are adorable and would be perfect for Easter coming up. They also have a great new Spring Line if you are getting ready for the warmer weather.

          To find out more about my Cookie’s Kids shopping experience check out my Google+ Story.  Also, search #Cookieskids on twitter for more info and stories about Cookie’s Kids. If you are in NYC there are 7 Cookie’s Kids stores in Bronx, Brooklyn and Jamaica as well as their online store at CookiesKids.com.

          Do you shop for bargains online for the next season?  Have you ever shopped at Cookie’s Kids?

          I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and CookiesKids.com #CBias #SocialFabric

          Thank you for sharing!