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2013: The year I learn to RELAX

I look forward to the New Year every year.   It’s not about a New Year’s outfit, champagne filled parties or dancing till the wee hours.  There is just something about a brand new year that inspires me.

It marks a new beginning and who doesn’t love a new beginning?

For the past two years instead of making New Year’s Resolutions I have embraced a Fruit of the Spirit.  The first year I chose JOY and the second year I chose LOVE.  Both years were challenging in ways that didn’t give me the Fruit I desired but instead caused me to develop them within my present circumstances.

The year I chose JOY we had to move out of our home for 6 months—-over Christmas and with our newest daughter. She didn’t get to spend her first Christmas in our home.  That year each of our children celebrated their birthdays in a cramped  rental home,  void of our usual traditions and surroundings.

The year I chose love I found it incredibly hard to love someone I desperately wanted to.

So you can see why I was hesitant to make a choice this year.  Unlike previous years, this year I contemplated what might happen to me if I chose this particular Fruit of the Spirit over that one.  I’m sure that is probably against the rules, but that’s what I did.

In the end, I decided not to choose a Fruit of the Spirit this year and instead just embrace a word.

My word for this year is to RELAX.

I need to relax my housekeeping standards.  It’s okay if the house isn’t photo ready for a shoot in Architectural Digest.  There are 5 healthy and active children who live and learn here.  It’s okay for my house to look like it.  In fact, it’s a blessing for my house to look like it.

I need to just relax.  I need to indulge in activities that are RELAXING, not necessarily productive or necessary.   It’s okay to have moments where you aren’t really doing anything productive.  It’s okay if someone sees you on the sofa, reading a book, playing a game—-and the laundry isn’t done.

I need to not glorify the act of being busy and instead take glory in just soaking it all in and enjoying the fruits of my labors (and blessings).

I need to relax my parenting standards.  I need to stop beating myself up about the ways I could improve my parenting.  My children love me.  I am a good mother.  I am not perfect, but I am enough. They are happy, healthy and know that they are loved.  I should just RELAX and enjoy this season with them, before it passes.

I need to relax about blogging, SEO, comments, traffic and just write.   Write because I have something to share.  Write because I am a writer and that’s what we do.  Write for my soul.  Write for my memories.  I need to just keep writing because that’s how you get better at something.  After that, whatever happens, happens.

What are you choosing for 2013?


This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Links & Things: Thanksgiving 2012 Edition

Are you cooking Thanksgiving Dinner this year? I do every year, and I love it.  I usually spend all day Wednesday baking and prepping so that my kitchen isn’t such a mess on Thanksgiving day and I can take some time to enjoy being with family in-between putting things in and out of the oven.  This year we are blessed to host 17 for Thanksgiving (7 adults and 10 children).  I’m very excited!

Another tradition we have is participating in preparing meals with a local charity that provides over 100,000 Thanksgiving meals in our area.  Each year our children try to outdo their record of packing meals from the previous year. I was pleased to be able to go with them this year.  Usually they do this on Wednesday and I’m home cooking.  It feels good to let our children participate in acts of service. To show them that  they don’t have to wait until they grow up to have an impact. God can use their little hands, feet and hearts now.


Because the weekend starts early, I’m posting my links early.


For those cooking Thanksgiving Dinner:

Everything Thanksgiving by Martha Stewart

Top 10 Turkey Tips from Food Network

USDA Safe Turkey Thawing Tips

News & Politics:

Everyone’s a blogger. Even a billionaire software designer on the run from a murder investigation.  If you can’t get enough also read, a Bizarre Visit to John McAffee’s pleasure palace in Belize from CNN.

I have to admit that I’m addicted to the Petraeus scandal involving Paula Broadwell and Jill Kelley.  I know it’s bad, but I can’t stop following it.  Apparrently neither can the folks at SNL.  These are my 2 favorite skits: Winners & Losers skit & Situation Room Spoof.

For Laughs

If the holidays seem a little overwhelming for you, you will enjoy In Which I break up with Martha Stewart by Cara Sexton.

I went back and forth about whether or not to link this Thanksgiving Video from Saturday Night Live. It’s really over the top, but I did laugh out loud.  Watch it without your children in the room because you may not find some of the physical comedy appropriate for them.  The language is fine.


Happy Thanksgiving!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

National Tooth Fairy Day and the cost of baby teeth

February 28th is recognized as National Tooth Fairy Day in the United States.  In the US, and  many countries across the world, the Tooth Fairy makes nightly visits to children who have lost their baby teeth leaving behind a trail of money, sweets and sometimes a bit of fairy dust, under their pillow.

However, with each generation it seems the Tooth Fairy’s tradition has become more elaborate and expensive.  Teeth that once were just tucked under a child’s pillow at night are now left in special Tooth Fairy pillows like these on Etsy.

What is the origin of the Tooth Fairy?

Throughout history people of all origins have shared traditions, stories and legends about the loss of baby teeth.

The Vikings believed that children’s teeth ( strung onto necklaces or incorporated into jewelry) had magical powers that helped them be successful in battle.

In Early Europe it was tradition to bury a child’s baby tooth.  This was meant to prevent witches or evil spirits from using the teeth for voodoo or to cast spells. After a child’s 6th tooth fell out it was customary in Northern Europe to give money.   This was referred to as a “tooth fee” and is recorded in writings as early as the Eddas.

What is the going rate for a baby tooth?

Generally the amount left tucked under a pillow is determined by several factors including: country, economic status, and peer pressure.  A 2011 study found that American children receive $2.60 per tooth on average.  Yet many families in my area leave $5-10 per tooth!

These families are particularly shocked to know that we have never celebrated the Tooth Fairy in our home. I’m not sure why.  I certainly don’t have anything against it.  

In thinking about it for this post I believe it’s because my children are so excited just to lose a tooth, that there hasn’t been a need for us to offer an outside reward.  For them, losing a tooth means they are growing up, and so far that is exciting enough.

How do you celebrate lost baby teeth in your home?  How much does the Tooth Fairy pay your children for their baby teeth?
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Happy Mother’s Day

In honor of Mother’s Day here are some posts on Motherhood

Mother’s Day: It’s complicated

Everything to me

The call to motherhood, even for the childless

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Cure for the holidays

Getting nervous about the holidays?  Family and in-laws stress you out?  Watch this video for a solution to your family gatherings this holiday season.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.