Friday, April 05, 2019

How to Communicate with Your Strong-Willed Teenager

Don't know how to communicate with your strong-willed teen? Try this simple trick to get your teenager to talk to you!


An easy trick to get your teenager to talk to you.

Trying to get a teenager to talk to you is already hard enough as it is, but add in a super strong will and communication becomes even more difficult.

I have three daughters and they are all so different. My oldest two are quite easy to talk to—they voluntarily share with me, they don't get overly offended if I give advice that they don't love, and even if they aren't in the mood to talk I don't have to wait very long before they are.

It's not that my youngest daughter doesn't want to talk to me—she does. It's just that when we talk it often ends up in a fight because she is so strong-willed and independent that if I say the slightest wrong thing or give her a suggestion that she doesn't like she gets mad.

As soon as she gets mad, she starts pushing back and picking fights with me and it's all I can do to remain calm. In fact, she knows how to push my buttons so well that I usually don't remain calm. Once I lose my cool, communication effectively stops. There is nothing I can say to get through to her and even if I could find a way to say it, she wouldn't listen.

Trying to get through to a strong-willed tween or teen is downright exhausting!

But I figured out a trick. It came out of desperation, but it really works.

How to get your strong willed teen to talk to you—this trick will help you finally start communicating with your teenager!


How to talk to your strong-willed teenager


Last year, I took my middle and youngest daughters on a mini-vacation for spring break. Their oldest sister was out looking at college campuses and so I figured it would be fun for just the three of us to go have a little shopping trip together.

While we were there, a little bit of drama started happening between Sophia and one of her friends. She told me a little about it, and when I began to ask a few questions to gain a better understanding of the situation, she started to freak out. Then she freaked out even more when I had the audacity to give her some advice about how to handle it.

This was not a new issue—it was one I had tried to discuss with her many times in the previous months. But every single time we talked about it, she blew up and I could never get her to really listen to what I was trying to tell her. I mean, I think I give pretty good advice sometimes, but when your kid won't even hear the advice it's kind of hard to shove it down their throats.

I will never forget laying on the hotel bed while Sophia was laying on the other bed texting a friend. She was super angry at me and had completely shut down and wouldn't listen to a thing I had to say. I watched her fingers fly on her phone keyboard and I figured I'd just try to text her instead. 




Out of desperation, I typed out the following text:


"I won't bring it up again. I don't know what's really going on there, which is what I've been trying to figure out. The only thing I care about is that you are always kind and don't hurt ____'s feelings!"

I was sure she'd just ignore it, but to my surprise, she answered almost immediately. It was snarky, but it was a start.

"You shall bring it up again but ok."

I answered that I really wouldn't if she didn't want me to.

And then she sent a text back that totally shocked me.

"I like when u talk to me so yeah"

Wait, what? She likes when I talk to her? Really? I mean, she sure didn't act like she likes when I talk to her—especially about that particular subject!

I wanted to make sure she really meant what she said, so I reminded her how mad she got when we talked about the issue.

She suggested that I talk to her about it in a different way, then. I asked her for examples of how I could better ask her about the issue because I felt I'd exhausted every way I knew how to talk to her about it.

"idk"

I mean, I shouldn't have really expected examples from her, but it made me just a little bit mad that she couldn't give me one. So I said I would just leave her alone about it after all.

And then I got the second shock of the night when she replied:

"Do it even though u get me mad cuz ur my mom and ur supposed to do that." 

There are two important takeaways to this breakthrough conversation I had with her that night over text:

1. Even though it often makes them mad, our strong-willed teens are listening to what we have to say, and they may even like the fact that we are trying to communicate with and help them. 

2. Texting is a great way to have a serious conversation with your tween or teen that is too emotional to have in person. 

Since that night I have had many, many text conversations with Sophia. When she stomps off after we've had another argument, the first thing I do is grab my phone and continue the conversation over text.

Sometimes she yells at me over text, but because she can read what I have to say without the emotion behind it, she always calms down quickly. And once she's calm, she listens. And she opens up. And we have a civil conversation in which I am able to figure out what it is that is troubling her and she finally listens to my (sometimes good) advice.

While texting, I do my best to remember the things that a strong-willed child needs from a parent. I give her lots of positive feedback especially, and I try to remember that her independence is way more important to her than it is to my other children.

A year later, it's working really well for us.

If you've got a strong-willed teen and you're having trouble getting through to them—try texting. You might be surprised!

Are you having trouble getting through to your strong willed teen? Try this genius mom hack to finally start talking to your teenager.


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Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Father's Day Flood 2018—Houghton, Michigan

Life can change in an instant—our personal experience with flash flooding on Father's Day 2018

Agate Falls—the new name for Agate Street after the flash flooding on Father's Day 2018

Agate Street on Father's Day 2018. The silver mini van you see is mine, parked in front of my home. The girl in the bright orange shirt is also mine. This photo was featured in multiple national news outlets as the flooding was reported—our little 15 minutes of fame. Photo credit: Melissa Lubinski


At 2:00 am on Father's Day 2018, I woke up to a government alert blaring on my phone. I picked it up and read that there would be flash flooding due to heavy rain in the area and to stay off the roads. I didn't think much more of it—I was in bed and not planning to drive anywhere, and I was too tired to comprehend what it really meant.

I didn't sleep very well after that, though. They weren't kidding about the heavy rain! It was loudly pounding on my roof and I could hear the water rushing down the hill outside my bedroom window. And the thunder! Still, I didn't worry too much—it was just a rain storm, right?

Finally, around 5:30 am, I stopped trying to sleep and picked up my phone. I opened up Facebook and the first status I saw was from a friend who lives across town from me.

Garage caved in. Cars floating. Basement and first floor inundated. At least we’re all safe.

What? I couldn't wrap my mind around what she was saying, but if her cars were floating what was happening to mine? So I got out of bed and opened my front door.



I was completely shocked by what I saw. It looked like an earthquake had happened outside my front door. I live on a steep hill, and the flooding had demolished it. The street was completely destroyed, pipelines were exposed everywhere, and a raging waterfall was cascading down the hill. The above video was taken about a half hour after I first saw the damage.

I ran back into the house and woke up my husband. I guess I sounded pretty alarmed because he leapt out of bed and ran out of the house. After that point, it was all a blur. We started calling and texting friends to make sure they were okay. As the stories started to roll in, I recognized how blessed we were that our road took the brunt of everything—aside from a little bit of water in one corner of the basement, our home was not damaged at all. The destroyed street had saved our home.

The damage looking down Agate Street from the Father's Day Flood


  • My daughter Chloe's friend Samantha lived next door to Bethany and also lost her home. 
  • My daughter Sophia's friend Thatcher was buried in rubble when a mudslide tore through his basement where he was sleeping in his bed. He was life-flighted to Ann Arbor, but passed away the next day. (News article about Thatcher)


These were just the stories of people we knew well, but there were plenty of others. Throughout the day, we walked around town to see people's cars buried in feet of mud, homes and business with extensive damage, and so many lovely people. The whole town came together in a way that only shared tragedy can facilitate.

By the end of the day, hundreds of people had walked over to our street to see the damage (it was one of the worst hit streets in the area). It was quite a sight to see so many people with their umbrellas and dogs milling around my front yard—it was a veritable tourist attraction! Jimmy Johns even sent employees to our street with sandwiches for all.



In the evening, the water had finally slowed down, but our street was even more damaged than it had been in the morning because of all that rushing water. We had already planned a Father's Day barbecue for our opera festival friends, and we chose to go ahead with it even though not everyone could make it.

I will never forget Nancy and Dianne coming to our home that night. They were in utter shock. We fed them, listened to their experiences, and then helped them get to another friend's to stay the night. We couldn't find anyone who had a car available to drive them, so Joel and I decided to walk them over (about a mile and a half). When we left the house with them, we noticed a police car on the street above our house so we walked over and asked if they could give them a ride, and of course the police were happy to help.



I will also never forget Sophia's two best girlfriends spent the night that night. They spent it frantically checking for updates on Thatcher and crying a lot. They were full of such hope for him—he was really hanging on for the first day—but it was so hard to see them grappling with such an awful thing. Even harder when they found out the next day that he wasn't going to make it. You're not supposed to lose friends before you even start 7th grade.

The damage looking up Agate Street from the Father's Day Flood

Our minivan was stranded on our driveway. We thought it would be months before we were able to use it again, but the police said we should try to drive it up the sidewalk. I was terrified of this. I didn't think it would fit between the stone walls and the telephone poles and I was worried that the sidewalk would cave in since so much of the dirt had washed out from the road next to it. Besides, we had plenty of offers to borrow cars from friends. I thought it was smarter to just leave it where it was.

I couldn't look—but Joel and several of our opera buddies managed to get it to higher ground and to a spot where we would be able to drive it on the streets that were undamaged.

Teenage girls volunteering to clean up debris from Father's Day Flood in Houghton Michigan


In the days, weeks, and months to come we watched our area rebuild. We volunteered several times to clean up debris, muck out flooded homes, and move rubble from streets. The above photo shows two of my daughters and their friends getting ready to mobilize from a local church which became the flood relief center for several weeks.

We learned a lot about the power of rain and about the power of community. We learned that, yes, life can change in an instant, but that no matter how bad it is we can overcome.

Want to be prepared in an emergency? Download a bundle of emergency preparedness printables here.
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Monday, April 01, 2019

Holy Week Free Easter Printables

Follow the Biblical events of Easter week with your family using these free Holy Week printables


Creative ways to teach the resurrection


I've been thinking for a while now that I don't really know the Biblical events leading up to Easter that well. I know the basics—The triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, Jesus' trial and crucifixion, and the resurrection. However, I am not always sure of the details and I really want to understand everything that leads up to Easter Sunday much better than I do.

I want my family to understand them, too.

So I came up with these printables that outline each day of Holy Week, beginning with Palm Sunday. My plan is to gather my family before bed each day and read the scriptures that correspond to that day from the Bible and discuss them together.

I am super excited to do this activity with my family this Easter! I already learned so much more about Holy Week just by making them—for instance, what on earth Maundy Thursday means and why it is called that! (I'll explain it below if you're curious.)

Holy Week Free Easter Printable activity for families


We will then hang that day's printable up on the wall until we have finished then all and have them all on the wall. I just used a string and some cute clothespins that I had on hand, but you could do it any way that works for you!

I printed mine out on white card stock paper and then laminated them. I want them to be durable so they can be used again every Easter.

Palm Sunday: Jesus' Triumphal Entry free printable


Supplies needed:
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White card stock paper or photo paper

Color printer (or have them printed at a print shop)

Small clothespins



Directions:

1. Download the printable by entering your email address in the form found at the end of this post.

2. Print the files (4 pages) onto either white card stock or photo paper.

3. Use a paper trimmer to cut out each printable.

4. Place in thermal laminating pouches and run through laminator. I put two in each pouch, using four pouches, total.

5. Tape or tack a length of baker's twine to the wall.

6. Using a clothespin, pin each printable up as you learn about that day of the Holy Week.

7. Learn more about the events leading up to Easter with your family!



Maundy Thursday: Last Supper & Gethsemane (free printable)


A word about Maundy Thursday


As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I hadn't heard it called Maundy Thursday too much. However, it is used by much of the Christian world. I researched what it meant, and I am looking forward to teaching my kids what it means as well.

Maundy comes from the Latin "mandatum" which means "commadment." It refers to the new commandment Jesus gave his disciples on that day—"A new commandment I give you, that ye love one another; as I loved you, that ye love one another." (John 13:34)

I got my information from this blog, which is an incredible resource of Gospel knowledge: LDS Seasonal Materials

Holy Week free Easter printables—Follow the events of Easter week with your family by using these free printables. If you are looking for creative ways to teach the resurrection to your kids, these printables will help them better understand the Easter story.


I hope you and your family enjoy this Easter week activity! Don't forget to download your printable by entering your email address into the form below.



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This post may contain affiliate links, for more information, please see my disclosure.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

21 Green Food Ideas for St. Patrick's Day

A gathering of delicious green food to serve on St. Patrick's Day!

What to make on St. Patrick's Day? Try one of these fun green foods!

St. Patrick's Day hasn't always been my favorite holiday, I admit. And while I will probably never have the leprechauns visit my house and leave gold for my children or green footprints in the bathroom, it is kind of fun to add a simple nod to the holiday.

The easiest way to do that on St. Patrick's Day is just to make everything green—including your food.

I've compiled a list of some fun recipes that are all very green! We have green breakfast foods, green dinner entrees, and lots and lots of green desserts. I can't wait to try out the bell pepper and potato frittata for dinner—it's a healthier option and I absolutely love the idea of using the peppers as shamrocks!

For breakfast, I think we will go with the green pancakes since we have green smoothies most days already.

The trouble will be choosing a dessert—too bad I can't make them all!


A list of 21 green foods to eat on St. Patrick's Day—find links to green breakfast, green dinner, and green dessert!



  1. Colcannon Irish Potatoes from wholefoodbellies.com
  2. Green Quinoa Summer Salad from pinchofyum.com
  3. Shamrock Shake Recipe from dinneratthezoo.com
  4. Green Smoothie from twopeasandtheirpod.com
  5. Shamrock Shape Cupcakes from browneyedbaker.com
  6. Lime Jello Salad with Cream Cheese and Marshmallows from overstuffedlife.com
  7. Saint Patrick's Breakfast; Green Pancakes from iheartnaptime.net
  8. Bell Pepper And Potato Frittata from skinnytaste.com
  9. Delicious Green Colored Popcorn St Patrick's Day from skiptomylou.org
  10. Green Ombre St. Patrick's Day Cupcakes from thegoldlininggirl.com
  11. Mint Chocolate Brownie Brittle Bark from lifeloveandsugar.com
  12. Rainbow Meringues: Easy St. Patrick's Day Recipe from kenarry.com
  13. Vegan Cruciferous Colcannon For St. Patrick's Day from healthyslowcooking.com
  14. St. Patrick's Day Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies from kleinworthco.com
  15. Shamrock Shake Macarons from bakingamoment.com
  16. St. Patrick's Gum Drops Recipe from cincyshopper.com
  17. 4 Ingredient Shamrock Shake Fudge from spendwithpennies.com
  18. Shamrock Shake Cupcakes from crazyforcrust.com
  19. Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes from lifeloveandsugar.com
  20. Shamrock Cookies from thirtyhandmadedays.com
  21. Rice Krispies Treats from sarahsbakestudio.com

Make this yummy Lime Jello Salad with Cream Cheese and Marshmallows for your St. Patrick's Day dinner


I hope you find a few recipes on this list that you and your families will enjoy this March 17!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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See the linky parties I link up to here.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

The 15 Best Parenting Books for Raising Girls

As the mother of three daughters, parenting girls is something I constantly worry about.


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When they were little, it was one thing, but now that my youngest is 12 and my eldest is already out of the house, I worry about it even more. The things that teenage girls face today are so different than when I was growing up. I want to be sure I'm doing the best I can as a mother of girls and that I am armed with the best information out there.

These 15 books have all gotten great reviews, and while I haven't made my way through the entire list yet, I have read about half of them. The rest are on my to-read list.

15 Best Books on Raising Girls


Best Parenting Books for Raising Girls

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Top 15 Parenting books for Raising Girls: The Curse of the Good GirlThe Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence by Rachel Simmons 

This book had a huge impact on me when I first read it 9 years ago. Author Rachel Simmons argues that the way girls are brought up to be "nice" and people-pleasing actually hinders them from being successful. Breaking out of the good girl mold does not mean that we don't teach our daughters to be kind, but it does mean we should teach them to express their feelings, learn to be assertive, and stay to true to who they are.

The thing that stayed with me most was that the typical "good girls" are actually the ones who become "mean girls." There is a better way to teach our daughters to be kind and good and Simmons has lots of great exercises for helping girls do just that.

You can read my original review here: The Curse of the Good Girl Review


15 best parenting books for raising girls—Girls on the EdgeGirls on the Edge: The Four Factors Driving the New Crisis for Girls by Leonard Sax

The first book I read by Leonard Sax was actually his book on raising boys (Boys Adrift). I was unhappy about having to read it for book club since I don't have sons, but I ended up being fascinated about the research he has done and the conclusions he has drawn. As soon as I learned he wrote a book about raising girls, I bought it and read it.

In it Sax addresses the four factors that are driving the new crisis for girls. They are sexual identity, the cyberbubble, obsessions, and environmental toxins. He gives practical parenting advice on how to address each issue as you raise your own daughters.



Best books for raising girls—American Girls
American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales

I am currently reading this book and it is so eye opening. I have tried to stay highly involved in the social media my daughters are using, but this is taking it to a whole new level. The author, Nancy Jo Sales, has put together research from real girls and the very real things they deal with when it comes to social media.

This book gives an important and complete picture of what our girls are facing with social media today. It also helps parents to know how to best support their daughters and to give them the tools they need to navigate social media and find inner strength and confidence both on the internet and in real life.





Helping your daughter survive cliques, gossip, boyfriends, and the new realities of Girl World
Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World by Rosalind Wiseman

The social structures in "Girl World" are complex and somewhat dizzying for parents to understand yet our daughters are dealing with these social rules every single day. This book is absolutely spot on in its assessment of the social hierarchy and has great advice for parents to teach their daughters how to navigate it.

This book also addresses the mean girl culture better than any other that I have read. Bullying amongst girls is very real and I want to give my daughters as many tools as possible to deal with it. I also want to teach them the skills they need to avoid becoming mean girls themselves.




Top 15 Parenting Books for Raising Girls: Little Girls Can Be Mean
Little Girls Can Be Mean: Four Steps to Bullyproof Girls in the Early Grades by Michelle Anthony and Reyna Lindert

Many of the books on my list focus on the teenager aspect of raising girls, but this one is great for parents of younger girls. Bullying starts early (before Kindergarten!) and this book is a great guide for helping parents and teachers to get rid of bullying tendencies early on. It provides a four step program—observe, connect, guide, support—to help daughters handle these issues every day.

I feel the advice contained in this book definitely helped when one of my daughters was experiencing  bullying by one of her best friends. If you feel that your own daughter might be experiencing bullying, or even that she may be engaging in bullying behavior, this is a must read.



Best books for raising daughters—The Child Whisperer
The Child Whisperer: The Ultimate Handbook for Raising Happy, Successful, Cooperative Children by Carol Tuttle

This book isn't just about raising girls, but it has helped me immensely in raising mine. Author Carol Tuttle categorizes children into four separate energy types and teaches skills to parent each energy type specific to their needs.

Regarding girls, she does address how culture tends to expect all females to fall into the Type 1 or Type 2 categories, but has difficulty accepting girls who are Type 3 and Type 4. As a Type 4 woman myself who has tried to force myself into a more acceptable Type 2 mold in my lifetime, I totally relate to this. Tuttle's advice has helped me to give my own Type 3 and Type 4 daughters exactly what they need to be honored and successful as well as teaching me to know how to best parent my Type 2 daughter.

It all sounds a little crazy reading it here, but this book is definitely one of my favorite parenting resources ever.


Best books for raising girls—You're Wearing That?
You're Wearing That?: Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation by Deborah Tannen

We've all done it. Made an innocent remark that cause our daughters to get angry, start crying, or run to their rooms and slam the door. This book is on my to-read list because it happens all too often at my house and I am left wondering what on earth I said to provoke such a dramatic reaction.

This book gives solid advice to both mothers and daughters to help them improve their communication with one another and start having conversations that are helpful instead of hurtful.






Best parenting books ever—how to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

This is another excellent parenting resource that basically lives on my night table. It is not girl specific but it has made a huge difference as I parent my girls.

One of the biggest mistakes we make as parents is not allowing our children to feel their feelings. We mostly don't realize we do this as we really are trying our best and want to correct their behavior. The author gives so many great ways to approach different situations with our children and they work. Sometimes when I am in the middle of an argument with one of my daughters I suddenly realize I am not following the principles outlined in this book. As soon as I do, it's like magic and my daughter calms down, I calm down, and we are finally able to resolve the situation.

And that's why it lives on my night table—I need lots of reminders!

Best Parenting Books for Raising Girls—A Father's Guide to Raising Daughters
A Father's Guide to Raising Daughters: How to Boost Her Self-Esteem, Self-Image, and Self-Respect by Michael T. Wilkinson

While I have been focusing on my relationship with my daughters as their mother, their relationship with their father is just as important.

I have been noticing that my husband has been struggling a bit to know how to deal with our youngest daughter. She is very different than our older two and I want her to have a rock solid relationship with her dad. I researched books on the subject and this one seems to be a clear winner.

The reviews on this book tout it as a great guide for fathers to help raise daughters to be strong and independent.



Best parenting books ever—The Grown Up's Guide to Teenage Humans by Josh ShippThe Grown Up's Guide to Teenage Humans: How to Decode Their Behavior, Develop Unshakeable Trust, and Raise a Respectable Adult by Josh Shipp

This is another one of those parenting books that has a permanent place on my nightstand. You may have seen some of Josh Shipp's parenting videos on Facebook (I particularly like this one) and he is often called the "teen whisperer." He has a refreshing view on what teens need and how to parent them.

His book addresses many of the issues that girls face today such as eating disorders, social media, boyfriends, cliques, and more. I like that it is organized as more of a reference book so you can easily look up the issue that you are interested in and read up on it.




Top Parenting Books—Bringing Up Girls by James DobsonBringing Up Girls: Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of Women by Dr. James Dobson

Dr. Dobson has a more old fashioned conservative approach to parenting, but I enjoy reading his parenting articles and most recently read his book The New Strong-Willed Child. I think his advice is super practical and applicable. He is long winded and likes to use lots of studies and statistics in his writing, so if you like those sorts of examples, you will probably get more out of this book.

In this book, Dobson lists 7 things parents should be doing with their daughters in order to shape their lives. According to reviews, these 7 things are easy to apply and people have found success with them.



The 15 Best Parenting Books for Raising Girls—Enough As She Is by Rachel SimmonsEnough As She Is: How to Help Girls Move Beyond Impossible Standards of Success to Live Healthy, Happy, and Fulfilling Lives by Rachel Simmons  

Because I loved Simmons' The Curse of the Good Girl so much (see first item in this book list), I am looking forward to also reading this book. I love the idea of teaching my girls that they are truly enough as they are and that they do not have to define their life's success by anyone's measure but their own.

Simmons uses her typical in-depth case studies to show parents how to help their girls deal with negative feelings, be more authentic, embrace risk, and learn how to feel confident and happy.




Good parenting books to read on raising girls — Untangled by Lisa Damour
Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour

I have not read this book, but I am intrigued by the idea of these seven transitions into adulthood.

They are: 1) Parting with childhood, 2) Joining a new tribe, 3) Harnessing emotions, 4) Contending with adult authority, 5) Planning for the future, 6) Entering the romantic world, and 7) Caring for herself.

It seems important to understand how these transitions work in our daughters. However, based on some of the reviews it seems that religious people like myself may not love everything Damour has to say. I am still interested in her research of these transitions into adulthood, though.



Best books for raising girls—The myth of the perfect girl
The Myth of the Perfect Girl: Helping Our Daughters Find Authentic Success and Happiness in School and Life by Ana Homayoun

This book delves into the stress girls feel to be perfect in every aspect of their lives. According to reviews it is "insightful" and has "lots of great tips for helping teems who are overwhelmed and overbooked with life in general."

I know I felt this way as a teenager, but I see my daughters feeling it even more. It is harder than ever to get into a good college and teens are so overbooked and stretched way too thin. I am eager to find out what Homayoun's tips are for helping girls in this situation.





The Conscious Parent's Guide to Raising Girls: A Mindful Approach to Raising a Strong, Confident Daughter by Erika V. Shearin Karres

According to reviews, this looks like a good book for parents of elementary school aged girls especially. The information is similar to many other books I have listed and promises to help your daughter learn to deal with cliques and bullying, help improve communication with your daughter, help your daughter learn to resist peer pressure, and help you to build an emotionally healthy relationship with her.





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Saturday, December 01, 2018

A Fun Family Tradition for Christmas Adam

Try this fun family tradition on Christmas Adam this year! 

Try this fun Christmas Adam tradition with your family!


Make sure to check out our Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide—Find hundreds of gift ideas for EVERYONE on your list!


Christmas Adam is the day before Christmas Eve. Unless it falls on a weekend, my girls are usually in school on December 23. Because of this, the evening of Christmas Adam has always seemed kind of like the first day we are able to start our Christmas celebrations, so when the girls were really young we started to cuddle up together and watch a Christmas movie on Christmas Adam.

The movie we always watch is George C. Scott's A Christmas Carol. When the girls were really young, they were pretty scared of the ghosts but now that they are older and used to the movie, they love it.

My husband and I chose this movie because we love the message it gives—generosity and love are always a better way of life than being like Scrooge.

But that's not ALL of our Christmas Adam tradition. One year, my husband came home on December 23 with a bunch of silly Christmas socks that a colleague had given him at work. She gave him one pair for each of us. The girls were super excited about the socks and put them right on and were still wearing then when we cuddled up to watch A Christmas Carol.

I didn't think a thing of it until the next year, when my daughter Chloe said, "I can't wait until we get our new silly Christmas socks and watch A Christmas Carol on Christmas Adam this year! It's my favorite tradition!"

Silly Socks and a movie—a fun Christmas tradition to do with your family.


You better believe I went out and bought some silly socks and brought them out on Christmas Adam before we watched our movie. Traditions are not something to mess around with—even if you didn't even know it was a tradition!

The photo above is our very first silly sock movie night back in 2011—I just snapped a quick picture with my phone to text it to the friend who gave the socks to us. If I had known it was going to be a new tradition, I might have bothered to take a better photo!

The photo collage below shows some of the Christmas Adams since. I usually remember to take a decent photo now!

Silly Socks and a movie—a fun Christmas tradition to do with your family.


I think our Christmas Adam Silly Sock tradition might be one of my favorite traditions simply because of the way it came about. It's unique, it's fun, and it brings us together as a family. We all really look forward to it.

Start your own Christmas Adam silly sock tradition


What you'll need:

A Christmas DVD 


You can try renting or streaming, but we ended up buying a copy of The Christmas Carol because it wasn't available on Netflix and someone else had taken the only copy at the local video rental—it's just easier to know you have it ready to go! You definitely don't want to be disappointed where traditions are concerned.

Here is a list of some great Christmas movies you could watch:

A Christmas Carol

The Grinch

Silly Socks for every member of the family 


There's quite a large selection on Amazon, and nearly every department store sells them at Christmas time.

Hot chocolate for everyone


We usually have hot chocolate with whipped cream in our favorite Christmas mugs while we watch the movie.

Lots of pillows and blankets for cuddling together


The best part is just being together—it just takes a tradition to get us there sometimes.

I hope you'll enjoy this fun (and silly) Christmas tradition as much as we do!

We all have Christmas Eve traditions, but what about Christmas Adam (December 23)? This silly socks and a movie is a fun family Christmas tradition to start.





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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Simple Christmas Traditions to Start with Your Family

Memorable Christmas traditions are the best part of Christmas! Here are several simple family Christmas traditions that will help keep the holiday spirit alive and that your children will remember for years to come!

family Christmas traditions

Make sure to check out our Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide—Find hundreds of gift ideas for EVERYONE on your list!

Christmas is full of traditions. Traditions bring us closer together as family, friends, and a community as a whole. Traditions give us something to look forward to and hold onto when things get hard or we are away from home and family. Some of my favorite memories of my childhood are centered around the Christmas traditions we had as a family, and I think many people feel the same way.

My children certainly do! They really look forward to the traditions we have made as a family for the holidays—in fact, I think I'd be in big trouble if I ever tried to get rid of one of them!

While traditions are important, it's best to keep it to a few that you know you can pull off each year rather than so many that you find yourself overly stressed during the holidays just because you're trying to do all the things. Also, traditions tend to evolve a bit, so it's nice to just roll with the punches and see which ones stick and which ones don't. In the end, the ones that bring you and your family the most joy are the ones that will stay around forever.

If you are looking for how to start new family Christmas traditions, click the link below:


There are some good Christmas tradition ideas in the above linked post, and below I've included a few more family favorites.

Simple Christmas traditions to start with your family. These easy ideas will be traditions your family will remember for years to come!


7 Simple Christmas Traditions to Start with Your Family


Christmas Cookies


Christmas Eve cookie tradition. Make these amazing Peppermint cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve


Making cookies to set out on Christmas Eve for Santa Claus is a pretty universal tradition. We don't always make the same ones, but I think our favorite Christmas cookie to make are these Peppermint Meltaways. They are a little more time consuming to do, so if we are feeling pinched for time, Santa likes these chewy holiday cookies just as much.

Note—My youngest daughter has Celiac, so all of the recipes I share are gluten-free. However, all of them can just as easily be made with regular wheat flour if you don't need them to be gluten-free.

Christmas Books


Start the Christmas tradition of reading Christmas books to your family each evening in December. Find the best books here.


A favorite tradition at our house is to read a Christmas picture book every night during December. I have acquired quite the collection over the years and we all look forward to some family time each night reading a Christmas story that gets us in the holiday spirit. As the girls have gotten older, it has been a little harder to do every night with their busy schedules, but we still do it as often as we can, and I leave the books in a prominent place in the living room and often find one of them just reading a favorite story on her own.

Here are some of our favorite Christmas books:

24 Christmas Books to read with your family

Even more Christmas Books to read with your family


Christmas Advent

Do acts of service each day during December. Print out these adorable cards to put into your advent calendar that help you to do something kind each day.


An advent calendar is another fairly universal and easy Christmas tradition. A few years ago, I decided to replace the candy in our Christmas advent with some kindness cards. Instead of fighting over who got to eat the chocolate, my kids started to do nice things for each other, for their friends, and for the community.

Print out your own service advent cards here: Printable Kindness Advent


Christmas Service Project


These 6th graders helped a family in need at Christmas by buying them groceries.


We always try to do something for a family that is in need at Christmas time. Whether that's picking a few names off of the Angel Tree at the store, volunteering at Little Brothers, or buying food and delivering it to their homes. Last year, my youngest daughter (in 6th grade at the time), decided to include her friends in a Christmas service project and it was awesome. Read about what they did here: 6th Grade Christmas Service Project.

I'm hoping they'll want to do it again this year because it was a really great experience for all of them.


Christmas Tree Decorating




I bet you almost don't even think of this as a tradition because we all do it, but it is a tradition and it's one that immediately gets us in the holiday spirit. I admit that I go way overboard on my tree (here's this year's tree on Instagram), but man I love decorating the tree. Here is a Christmas Tree Decorating tutorial that I wrote, that will hopefully help you to get your tree looking super amazing this year.

Christmas Caroling


This is one of my favorite traditions from childhood. My family would go Christmas caroling on Christmas Eve and I loved it so much. In my adulthood, I have organized Christmas Caroling parties with friends which is also a favorite tradition. It doesn't have to be on Christmas Eve and people really love to have carolers stop by their home. If you enjoy music and singing, consider organizing your own Christmas Caroling party and start a new tradition this year!

Christmas Wonders Box

A Christmas Wonders box is a great idea for a family Christmas tradition that keeps the focus on gratitude


This is a cool tradition that I tried one year. It didn't stick with our family, but I still really liked it and it's a good way to help your family focus on the good things in their lives during the Christmas season. I might bring it out again this year, because sharing gratitudes with each other is always a good idea. Click to see how the tradition came about and how to make your own Christmas Wonders box.


Even though December is often one of the busier months of the year, I love how the traditions help me stay grounded with my focus on what's really important. My family, Christlike service to others, and gratitude. I feel our Christmas traditions help us to all stay focused on these important things and hopefully you will find the same thing.

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This post may contain affiliate links, for more information, please see my disclosure.