Eight Reasons to Bring Your Kids Around the Table Tonight


Andy and I are working really hard to get our family around the table each night…

But why? Why is it so important to us to bring our family back together around that wooden sanctuary?

  1. Kids might learn to love veggies. A survey was found that 9 – 14 year old children, who ate dinner at the fa were eating more fruits and vegetables and not as much soda or fried foods.
  2. It’s the perfect setting to try new foods. My kids will barely sit down in a restaurant much less eat something other than chicken and fries. I would be less likely to allow them to get something they may not like and pay for it than serving it at home. I would expect them to try it and if it was not a favorite, I would not have to order another meal.
  3. You control how much they eat (portions). Restaurant portions are becoming larger than necessary. Often the kids eat too much and if they don’t eat it all, it’s considered waste. At home, you can start as little or as large as you’d like.
  4. Healthy meals mean happy kids. Studies have shown that kids who eat with their families frequently are less likely to get depressed, consider suicide, and develop an eating disorder. They are also more likely to delay sex and to report that their parents are proud of them. When a child is feeling down or depressed, family dinner can act as an intervention. You are more aware of how your child is feeling when you are sitting across a table and watching them for 30 minutes or so an evening.
  5. Family dinners help kids “just say no.”  Eating family dinners at least five times a week drastically lowers a teen’s chance of smoking, drinking, and using drugs. Teens who have fewer than three family dinners a week are 3.5 times more likely to have abused prescription drugs and to have used illegal drugs other than marijuana, three times more likely to have used marijuana, more than 2.5 times more likely to have smoked cigarettes, and 1.5 times more likely to have tried alcohol, according to the CASA report.
  6. Better food, better report card. Of teens who eat with their family fewer than three times a week, 20 percent get C’s or lower on their report cards, according to the CASA report. Only 9 percent of teens who eat frequently with their families do this poorly in school. Family meals give children an opportunity to have conversations with adults, as well as to pick up on how adults are using words with each other, which may explain why family dinnertime is also thought to build a child’s vocabulary.
  7. Supper can be a stress reliever.  If you take the time to shrug off the day, let your worries slip away and sit down to dinner with your family – you’ll probably relieve some tension and stress. Sit back and have a good time with your family.
  8. Put a little cash in your pocket. It costs less! 🙂

These are all reasons that we think bringing back the table works for us. Do you have any other good reasons? It would awesome to compile I huge list! 

Uncover your table, make it inviting and bring dinner and your family to the table. It could have a huge impact on everyone sitting around it! 

Enjoy and Delight in Your Family!


Have any tips or tricks? Leave them in the comments below. I’d love to hear them! ❤

Our System for Commission


Teaching our children about handling money and making good financial decisions is extremely important to my husband and me.

We live in a world in which instant gratification and the “Me first!” attitude seems to be at the forefront of our children’s minds. If we are being honest, most people’s minds – even adults.

Andy and I want our kids to be hard workers, with a good work ethic and know how to properly handle money.

I have always waffled back and forth on allowance or earnings for kids. My kids are part of the family and they do have family duties. Those are jobs that help maintain and keep the day to day running. I refuse to pay them for washing dishes or helping fold and put away laundry. Those are all jobs they have for just being part of the family.

However, there are a lot of jobs that their “clean freak” mama would like to be done. These jobs do not make the day to day running of the house better or worse. These jobs just help keep mama happy.

First and foremost, there are things that I want my kids to learn to do. Habits I would like them to instill. Should I pay them to do those things? Probably not. However, I refuse to pay them a weekly commission if these personal habits are not done on a daily or weekly basis.

Before paying them commission, these are the items that need to be given attention:

  • They have to be in the Word daily. Once again, I don’t know if this is wise, however, money speaks. I know they are not going to be paid as adults to read their Bible daily but I want them to make it a habit. Also, the Bible has a lot to say about stewardship and stewardship is one of the main reasons behind the idea of giving them commission.
  • They have to maintain their bedrooms, laundry, and possessions. I am not going to hand over money to a child who has LEGOs strewn about all over the floor because he did an extra job. He has to be diligent about picking up his belongings. Taking care of what your money has purchased or that you own is another aspect of stewardship I want them to learn.
  • They are required to be involved in one act of service a week. One of the qualifiers we put on paying commission is they have to serve without getting paid at least once a week. One of those times being when I have moms over once a month. With adults in the room, our kids are more than able to watch the kids. A lot of my friends around here, since its military, have husband’s deployed and they need that time of rest and refreshment. Another example of service can be helping out at church. It cannot be a paid act. I want my kids to be servants not takers.
  • They have to maintain a good work ethic and attitude. Part of this training is to train our children in how they should approach life and a job.  God calls us to approach every task as if doing it for Him.  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” – Colossians 3:23       Like I stated before, I am not paying my kids to have a good attitude and do what they are supposed to be doing. I am trying to instill good habits.

After all those prerequisites are done, they have a job which is above and beyond their daily duties.

We have a lot of white trim, doorways, and doors in our home. I go crazy if there are black fingerprints all over them. One of the jobs is to wipe down all the white trim once a week.

I have yet to find a system that addresses all my pros and cons of allowance systems. Teaching my kids and guiding them in the ways of work ethic, attitude, and finance is very important.

What about you? Do you have a compensation or allowance system in your family? What’s that look like for you?


This post was part of the Works For Me Wednesday series! Feel free to comment and link any WFMW posts you may have to share!wfmw

WFMW: Systems


How is your house so clean?

How are you always on time?

How do you have it all together?

I often get so many questions about how I keep all my ducks in a row.  And, quite honestly, it always makes me laugh because I do not feel like that way at all! Chaos and always one step from losing my mind is how I often feel.

Here’s the thing. I really think all mamas feel that way. Whether you have one child or six. Working mom, stay at home mom or work at home mom, we all feel that way at times.

I decided that I would share some tips on how I keep things from taking over and getting more chaotic than they already are.

After a while of thinking of how I keep the ship sailing, it came to me – my blessed systems. I have so many systems in place.

When we are going through a trying season or if someone is sick or if we just had a new baby, the systems are already put into place so that I don’t have to think about how to make it through the day.  I just had never thought about it because the habits/routines are in place and I just do them.

When I sat down and began listing all my systems, I had way more than I had thought. Here are a few:

  • Day Theme/Homemaking
  • Morning
  • Homeschool
  • Evening
  • Menu planning/Grocery
  • Errands/Days Out
  • Cleaning/Chores
  • Laundry
  • Cloth diapering
  • Garage Saling/Thrifting
  • Make – Up/Getting ready for the day
  • Decluttering/Purging
  • Getting out the door
  • Holiday Prep
  • Commission (aka allowance)

As a large family mama who is taking care of numerous people, systems are where the magic happens. They are the glue that holds it all together.

Some may say that having so many systems (or routines) in place can stifle creativity and feel binding, I feel the complete opposite. I find freedom in having them. I find that it takes me a lot less time to do the things that need to be done and in turn, I have more free time.

Over the next few weeks, I will be spilling the beans on the systems I have used, what I do now and what has worked the best for our family.

Are you excited? I am excited to share them with you! Do you have any systems in place to keep your family smooth sailing? I’d love to hear!




Let’s discuss a topic in which I have been struggling and I know other mamas, for that matter, struggle with on a daily basis. 

It’s an ugly word…. To me, it’s one of the worst words around. Satan uses it in a mighty way and often times prevails…


How many times a day do we compare ourselves to other women? How often do we look around and feel inadequate? 

My house is a mess! How does she have everything so clean and right in it’s place?!

How does she have time to make such creative and loving dinners? I barely have time for Hamburger Helper!

She is so skinny and put together! I could be a before picture of a Jenny Craig ad!

Goodness, here she goes again with yet another talent! I haven’t even mastered one!!

And then, there come the even more dangerous comparisons…

Her children are so perfect! Good grades. Good at sports! Well liked! Oh my and so well behaved! I need to get home and whip mine into shape!

Her husband is so good looking and pays so much attention to her! Wish mine could be on a I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter commercial as well! 

There are so many comparisons out there and we waste so much energy comparing.

Do you know that when compare ourselves to others and try to be like others, we are actually robbing the Lord of one of his servants? 

We are all made in His image…

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27 
God did not make us in the image of Karen the good cook down the street. He made us in His image. An image that is perfect. Perfect for God’s plan…. for us.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
The body of Christ is made of many different parts with different functions and purposes. When we try to imitate another, we are not maintaining our function and instead imitating another’s and our function is then missed out on.
Take our bodies for example… What if our nose decided it wanting to be an ear instead of a nose? We’ll call nose, Ned… Well Ned the Nose didn’t quite think he was good at being a nose. He’s been looking over at Ernie the Ear for a bit and thought, “Wow! Ernie is so good at being an ear! I want to be like Ernie the Ear instead of like me, Ned the Nasty No good Nose!” 
We’d now have three ears and not one nose! The body would not work in the fluidity that God had programmed it and made it to be work in. Much like the body of Christ and His plan for the world would not be working as it should if we decide our function isn’t good enough and try to be like someone else.
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” – Romans 12:4 -5
“All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.” – I Corinthians 12:11-12
Instead of comparing, let’s embrace who we are. Who God made us to be. He did a good work in you. ❤

Mommy Guilt

Breast feed? Formula feed? Vaccines? Anti-vax? Cloth diapers? Disposable diapers? Baby food? Schedules? On demand? Public school? Private school? Homeschool?


From day one, moms begin to feel the pressure. The guilt. Am I enough? Will a be enough for the child God has given me? Will I make the correct choices or mess them up royally?


Honest answer. We are all going to screw up our children. No. I’m just kidding. But really. Who in here is perfect? I know I’m not.


We live in a fallen world. We are going to mess up. We are going to make mistakes. We are going to become annoyed and exhausted. We are going to sometimes make the wrong choices. That is part of the motherhood journey.


There are quick points that I want to touch on that hopefully bring encouragement to your mommy heart: 


  1. God knew us in the womb. God knew your child in the womb.  I know a lot of mamas out there will say “I didn’t carry my child in my womb. This does not pertain to me.” There is more than one definition of womb. The Webster dictionary  calls a womb “the place where anything is generated or produced.” and “any cavity containing and enveloping anything.” This leads me to believe that our hearts could be classified just the same as a uterus. I know when we adopted our daughter, as soon as I learned of her and as our relationship has grown, my heart completely envelops an intense love. God has been at the center of that. While she has grown in my heart, God knew. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” (Jeremiah 1:5a) You, sweet mama, were the mother that God himself designed and made for the child you have. He made you with all your quirks and issues to be the mother to the child with all the quirks in issues they have. No matter how much you feel you mess up or how hard it is sometimes, you are the EXACT mama God made for your children.
  2. With all the decisions and ways society tells us to parent, we can become overwhelmed. We feel ill equipped to be the mother we want to be or feel called to be. Wouldn’t it be amazing if when you became a parent, the doctor hands you a manual? Too bad that isn’t reality. Lucky for us, God promises us that He will equip us. “[He will] equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him.” (Hebrews 13:21) Dear sisters, Christ is doing a good work through you as a mama!
  3. We often become so weary as mamas. We become physically weary. Long nights of no sleep. Sickness. Teenagers. Keeping a house. Feeding a baby. Laundry. Cooking. Schooling. The list goes on and on. Our bodies can become physically exhausted and tired. We can become mentally weary. Am I feeding my baby the right foods? Should I be doing something different? Why does my baby always have an ear infection? Those are just from being a mama. That is not even taking in to account being a wife, daughter and friend. Life can feel heavy. Where can we go when we feel so exhausted in different ways? “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29) We can relax and find rest in Christ. He can refresh and renew us daily. His mercies are new every morning.
  4. Even when we rest in Jesus, sometimes we just cannot handle everything being thrown at us. We lash out and it’s often times at those we hold dearest… Our sweet little babes. Then becomes a vicious cycle of lashing out and then mama guilt. Did my anger just cause my two year old to become insecure and have to have counseling through their early adult years? How could I have done that? On and on it goes. We, sweet mamas, need to hold on to God’s grace and extend it to ourselves as well. We are often so hard on ourselves and continue to beat ourselves up. Oh how many sleepless nights I have spent tossing and turning feeling intense guilt over my mommying earlier that day. When we humble ourselves and see that we are weak by ourselves but strong and whole in Christ, a beautiful connection of motherhood in Christ is formed. “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
  5. As we deal with all the big questions that come with being a mama,  I want to remind you that God knows our futures and He is faithful. No matter what we decide, Christ already knows the ending. He is already working it out. “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6) and “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  (Jeremiah 29:11)


Mamas, give yourself permission to give your worries to the Lord. He already has you covered. “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” – Exodus 14:14

Blessings and peace to you this evening, sweet mamas. ❤


My Best Tips to Keep Calm in the Chaos {Including Mama}


We all have those times. We are groping for something to hold on to while life whips us around. I can actually feel myself grab for the seat belt. It’s too tight. It’s not pulling. C’mon… LOOSEN! I let back in and it loosens too much. Back and forth. All the while, life is accelerating and hitting the brakes. Veering to the right and back to left. I grab for the door handles, girlfriend. I put my hands out to keep from bashing my head on the dash. Life can be a wild ride.


What are some ways that we can keep calm in the chaos?


  1. Be prepared. If you are alive, chaotic times happen in life. That’s just the way it is. Any thing, even small thing, you can do to makes those chaotic times a little more easier to navigate. I find that having a menu plan and freezer meals available helps calm my nerves. I don’t have have to worry about what I can throw together when I get a chance to breathe and I don’t have to worry if I am not at home. Something can be pulled out of the freezer to thaw and then just thrown in the oven.
  2. Be organized. Do you know where things are in your home? Being able to grab something quickly or being able to call and tell someone directly where something can be found is essential to helping calm a mama’s nerves. Ever get a phone call and need to make a mad dash but you are searching for a paper that you need to take with you? Or maybe have a sick baby and you call and the nurse says “get here!” and you go to run out the door but WAIT! Where are the insurance cards? Not being organized and knowing where things are can make an already stressful situation more stressful.
  3. The 2/15 Rule. At our home, we have two days, Monday and Friday, that we dedicate to cleaning our house. Monday because the house is a disaster after a weekend of fun and relaxation and we need it fresh for a new week. Friday because I want us to be able to have fun and relax without worrying about it starting off as a mess. The 2/ 15 Rule is for all the other days. The 2 stands for two loads of laundry. If you come to my house, there will be laundry going. With a large family, there is a ton of dirty clothes. One way to keep calm in the chaos is to have the majority of the laundry caught up. This is not only because laundry piles up and that gets overwhelming but because times can come up where you need to pack quickly or grab clothes for the kids. Having laundry caught up takes the stress away. The 15 stands for 15 minutes. I try to keep every room in our house fifteen minutes away from being in tip top shape. Friends stop by for a quick chat. There may be a death and someone needs a place to stay. Having each room fifteen minutes away from clean makes it possible to get the house together quickly with the help of many hands. A recent example of this was when our youngest was born five months ago. We knew he would be coming soon but there was no indication that it would be as soon as I’d like. Andy and I went into the doctor and within an hour or two had to run home, get the kids ready, the house picked up (WHO wants to come home with a new baby to a dirty house?!) and back at the hospital to have the baby. That was a stressful situation. With being caught up with laundry and the fifteen minutes away from clean rule, the situation was a lot less stressful.
  4. Fast Flight Bin: We are extremely blessed to have a lot of our grandparents still living. With that blessing comes a lot of needs to quickly get in the car and head off. The Fast Flight Bin is a box which has activity books and such to preoccupy little minds and hands. Having that together and just being able to grab it or have a kid grab it quickly is a blessing and helps calm the chaos in a stressful situation.
  5. Do Something Normal: When it seems like our world is in complete chaos, one of the simplest yet hardest steps to take is to do something normal. Something grounding. One week recently was particularly hard. When I finally returned home I just wanted to escape. I hadn’t seen the kids all day and I knew I should be so excited to see them but I was just exhausted. I dug deep and decided to just grab a book and blanket and began to read to a them. Suddenly I felt a complete release of stress and began to enjoy the time I had with them. It’s not always easy to do something normal when you really just want to crash but it is so worth it!mamareading
  6. Hydrate:When mamas are in stressful, busy times taking the time to hydrate does not seem at all important. Water helps! When we become dehydrated, our bodies have to work harder and in turn we become more edgy and grumpy. Smaller situations begin to feel like bigger ones. Mountains out of mole hills. When the world is feeling crazy, stop and take a drink of water!
  7. Rest: I find myself lying awake at night trying to order my days or worrying about what is going to happen in life next. I find myself downstairs folding laundry. If I can’t sleep I might as well be productive! Wrong. My body needs rest. Even if I can’t quiet my mind, I need to allow my body to rest. In a perfect world, we would be able to forget our worries and fall fast asleep. This side of heaven, my friends, is not a perfect world. So if you can’t let go of those worries, at least just take a rest.
  8. Prayer/Meditation: Lastly but most importantly, prayer … Give it to Jesus. As I said above, it isn’t always easy to let go of your worries. Try. Try to hand over your cares and worries to Jesus. Let Him take control. Let Him carry your heavy burdens.


Chaotic and stressful times are inevitable. It’s all part of our journey. I often tell my kids, it’s not about what happens to you and the emotions and feelings you have about the situation, the trouble often comes when you react in a wrong manner.  A little preparation and planning ahead can go a long way as a mama. All these tips are wonderful to have in place all the time, but they are an amazing tool in your mama arsenal for those hard times. I find myself a lot less snappy and last out a lot less when these are in place. 


What are some ways you handle chaotic and stressful seasons?