How do you know if your child is ready for piano lessons?

A guide on how you know if your child is ready for piano lessons |

I don't remember a time that I haven't played the piano. My parents--neither of them with any kind of musical background--started me with piano lessons when I was four years old, and it's been an enormous (and wonderful) part of my life ever since. It taught me at a very young age how to work hard to learn something new, dedication, responsibility, and getting over some of my fears.  I performed and played all through high school, and then into college on a piano scholarship.  I taught piano lessons for many years--all through college and up until my last baby was born two years ago.  The ability to play the piano has given me many opportunities--to play, perform, serve in my church and … [Read more...]

7 things that will keep your house clean in about an hour a day!

7 things that will help you keep your house clean in about an hour a day |

Oh, how I love having a clean home.  But life is crazy busy, and there are always a million things to do all of the time, and it can be tricky to keep up on housework. Whether you work out of the home or in the home, to-do lists and responsibilities can be a mile long, and you might feel like you just don't have time to do what needs to be done. Years ago, I developed a method that really worked for me to keep my house clean, and I've been able to maintain it through six kids, working, staying home, and now working/blogging from home. I've found that I can just maintain a clean house, the daily chores just don't take as long, so I can fit a lot more in. There are seven things that I do on … [Read more...]

What I wish I knew with baby # 1…truths, tips, and ideas

what I wish I knew with baby #1 |

Looking back over the years since I've had my first baby, there have been countless lessons learned, wisdom gained, and knowledge acquired--and I'm still learning.  There have so many times I've muttered to myself "I wish I knew that the first time!", and with some things, wondered why in the world no one ever filled me in beforehand! So...I'm going to do that for you.  Six babies later, I'm sharing not only some of the truths I've learned, but also tips on some baby basics and advice for new moms, and maybe--hopefully-- you'll glean a little something that will help you on your motherhood journey. And while you're in the thick of it, you'll know that someone else has been there, and … [Read more...]

Our untraditional family rules

Our untraditional family rules |

When my oldest was around five years old, we started a funny list of unofficial "family rules", and they've stuck!  My husband is a pretty humorous guy who likes to nickname everything and everyone, and he started make up silly rules based on incidents that happened in our family. Over the years we've added to it, but they have to go through a serious vetting process in order to make it on the list. They've also become more official than unofficial, and we refer to them all the time. I love having these silly rules, because it usually evokes a more positive response than it might otherwise, and more often times than not, I get a tiny smile.  Most of the time, I don't even need to finish … [Read more...]

12 Steps to Change

12 steps to change |

Odds are, addiction has touched your life in some way, either personally, or through a friend or family member.  There are many types of addiction, and each one can have a devastating effect on not only the addict, but also everyone they love and who love them. Millions of people in this world are living every day with the worry, heartache, and burden of addiction. But, there is hope. On many people have shared their story, in hopes that it can help someone else. Judith says:  "As long as I can remember, I have battled with an eating disorder. My disorder led to many health complications, so I went from doctor to doctor to find a quick fix. When one doctor … [Read more...]

Make packing lunches easier & faster with a school lunch station!

School Lunch Station | Free Printables |

With my twin boys starting kindergarten this year (sniff, sniff), I will now have five kids to pack school lunch for.  All of a sudden this past week that seemed like... a lot.  We still have a couple of weeks until school starts, but I decided to get organized now! I've always had some kind of lunch station, but the thought of 25 bags of chips, 25 fruit cups, 25 granola bars, 25 string cheese, and 25 go-gurt (plus sandwich stuff) per week really got me thinking about how I could create something to make the packing process a lot faster and easier. So...the official school lunch station has been created, including some super cute printables as the finishing touch. It's simple, but that's … [Read more...]

5 ways to stay organized & connect with your kids after school

5 ways to connect with your kids & stay organized after school |

When the kids come home from school, so begins the busiest part of my day.  Homework, making dinner, music lessons and practice, sports--the list goes on.  It's important to me to not only keep this part of the day as organized as possible, but also to really connect with my school-aged kids. They've been gone all day, and I don't want to rush, rush, rush through a crazy afternoon just to put them to bed without really connecting with them.  It's also much easier said than done, which is why I have a game plan!  There are five things on my after school list, and I'm feeling ready (almost) for the new school year to start in two weeks! It's not always possible to each of them every … [Read more...]

Washcloth boo-boo bunny

washcloth boo boo bunny |

Last year my baby spent a lot of time in the hospital. Within seven months, she was admitted to ICU five times, and it was an incredibly difficult time.  We were blessed with really wonderful doctors, and exceptional nurses who took great care of her, and  when you're spending weeks in the hospital at one time, you get to know them pretty well.  Caroline was between 15-21 months during this time, and being old enough to walk but young enough to be confined in a crib was a challenge, and I was constantly looking for ways to entertain her.  She also had a lot of shots, IV's and treatments and watching your baby go through it is pretty terrible.  The nurses were definitely the bright … [Read more...]

Monogrammed backpack tags

Monogrammed Backpack Tags |

My kids love having something on their backpacks that identify it as "theirs".  I created these super cute monogrammed backpack tags that are perfect for the new school year! I prefer using monograms instead of their full names for safety reasons, plus initials are really just adorable! My darling boys (yes, they're twins!) are heading off to kindergarten this fall (sniff, sniff), and they are SO excited about their backpacks and tags. On my girls' tags, I added a bit of ribbon. I think I could add even a few more pieces, for a fuller look, and it would be darling! These are SO easy to need just a few items and you can make one for each of your kids! … [Read more...]

Best summer movies for families…including teens!

50 Best Summer Movies for Families |

Our family loves movies, and summer movie nights are a common occurrence around our house. Popping popcorn, snuggling up on the couch together--it's the best! We've watched a lot of movies as a family, and I thought I'd gather some of our very favorite summer movies that are perfect for your next movie night and share them with you! My kids are mostly younger (five of them are age nine and younger), with just one older, so we are watching movies that are for that general age group. If you have an age span of kids, these movies will still appeal for the most apart across the board, and are movies that the whole family can enjoy.  Many of these are ones that I enjoyed as a child, watching … [Read more...]