Teenage Love


Since Valentine’s Day is coming up, I thought this would be an appropriate time to talk about love.  Teenage love.  When do you let your kids date?  When do they get to have a boyfriend?  Are those the same things?  Are they different?  Can they meet a boy somewhere?  Can you even control any of that?  Or should you?  It’s so overwhelming.  I have my own opinions about dating that are based on my experiences as a teenager and then a couple like Janae and Jason comes along and blows that all out of the water.  There is a shockingly high percentage of couples in our Sunday school class that dated in high school…and they’re still happily married.  Mind blown!

I was recently talking to a friend about our rule that our kids cannot date until they are 16.  It seems so simple.  No dating until age 16, but she brought up some good questions.  Does that mean they can’t have a “boyfriend?”  Does that mean they can’t meet boys at the movie theater?  Do we really have a say in any of this?  I mean really unless we plan to go everywhere with them, we won’t have any idea what’s going on.

We have worked really hard at raising our kids.  We’ve put in the hard years of constant discipline and correction.  I feel like we are reaping the benefits right now.  The girls are at a magical age where they can do things on their own and they want to please us…for now.  How do we maintain that desire, but allow them to grow up and think for themselves and make mistakes?  A wise friend told me that she tells her daughter that she wants to have some really tough conversations with her now because when it comes down to it the choice is hers and she wants her to have all of the information.  That’s hard for me to think about when it comes to love because the consequences are real.  And they can be life long.  And I know how stupid I was as a teenager.

Love is so important!  It is what God created us for.  I want my kids to experience that in a healthy way.  In a way that lifts them up instead of tears them down.  I pray that they feel God’s unconditional love so that they don’t base their worth on the love they get from someone else.  Loving another person and being loved is an amazing feeling that should be cherished, but I need them to know that you can love someone without giving yourself completely to them (emotionally and physically).  That kind of love should be reserved for God and for marriage.  My plan for that is to try to keep the lines of communication open as they get older.  No, I don’t want to be their best friends.  What I do want is for them is to respect me enough and value my opinion enough to seek out my advice when they are making tough decisions.  I know there are some of you mothers with grown children that are laughing right now, but I promise you I have seen this done effectively.  And it is amazing!

So as you can see I have more questions here than answers.  I am hoping some of you can shed some light on the subject.  What were the rules for you as a kid?  What do you plan to do with your children?  Did your children talk to you when they were teenagers?  How in the world did you make that happen?





Classroom Valentine Gift Ideas


Keeping with the Valentine theme this week, I am sharing what Ellasyn will be giving to her classmates and teacher for Valentine’s Day. I always struggle with kids exchanging Valentines. For starters, I don’t like the thought of my 5 year old exchanging the lovey/I have a crush on you type. She is 5 and I don’t need that to be starting anytime soon. Secondly, why does nearly every holiday involve candy?! So I struggle each year to find something my daughter can give that fits the “no lovey, no candy” criteria that I like. You may think that I am the scrooge of Valentine’s Day for putting such stringent stipulations on the Valentines my daughters give out, but that is just how it is around here. This year I found these that I thought were perfect. Simple, practical, and age appropriate. I love that instead of candy it offers the children something they will actually use. And in all honesty they were probably much cheaper to make than candy Valentines in that I got the packages of  pencils in the Target $1 spot.


For Ellasyn’s teacher, whom we absolutely adore, I wanted to stick with the practical theme. I found a cute Valentine dish towel, whisk, and spatula in the Valentine section at Hobby Lobby. I paired that with an oven mitt from Wal Mart and this cute printable saying. Again, something she can actually use and no candy involved. There are hundreds of great ideas out there, but this is what we have settled on for this year. What do your kids do?



1 Easy Step to Eating Healthy

It’s no secret that I’m not a chef or a baker or a cook of any kind.  It has taken me a long time to admit this to myself and to the rest of the world.  I didn’t really come to grips with this reality until the last few years.  I mean I am supposed to be a cook.  I’m a woman.  I should enjoy putting on my apron and whipping up something delicious.  That’s what society tells me anyways.  That I should have supper on the table every night for my husband, that I should cook a meal for my friend who just had a baby, that I should smile and bake cookies for my kids to eat when they get home from school. And it’s even worse because I’m a stay at home mom.  Let’s not get into that argument here, but just because it is my defined duty to have supper ready every night doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it.

To top all of that off, I have the world’s pickiest eaters in my house.  Okay.  Maybe not the pickiest, but they are VERY opinionated.  My girls are pretty good.  They don’t complain too much and eat almost anything I put in front of them.  Devin is the complete opposite.  He simply does not like food.  At all.  And I’m about to out my husband here.  He prides himself on not being a picky eater.  In reality he likes most things, but vegetables are not one of them.

When I picked up running a few years ago, it taught me a few things about eating.  It made me realize that eating should be about fueling your body.  It really started when I decided to train for a half marathon.  You have to be so purposeful about what you eat when you’re training, especially on your long run days.  Whatever you eat that day has to give you enough energy to push through that ten miler.  That’s when I realized that eating isn’t just about how many calories you’re eating, but about the quality of the food you’re putting in your mouth.

So I want to eat better, healthier, more vegetables and all that jazz.  But it is so overwhelming to me (the hater of all things kitchen related).  My friends tell me it’s easy.  Just try xyz, but then I think about all the extra time I will have to spend in the kitchen and I run the other direction.  You’d think it would help that my bloglovin feed is full of recipes.  But the problem is that for every healthy recipe in my feed there are an equal number of delicious, so-bad-for-you recipes.  Not helping!  So I came up with a plan to eat healthier without getting overwhelmed.  It still involves me having to make a separate meal for my family.  Blerg!  But that’s the only option right now.  At least until I can get my husband on board.

I am going to try one new healthy recipe per week. The thought of cooking two meals every day is too much, but I can handle one meal per week.  I’m secretly hoping that my family will decide they like my healthy meals, but a more likely side effect is that I decide it’s either not too bad or totally worth it to make an extra meal.  Here are a few of the meals I will be trying.  I should add that I am totally fine with eating only vegetables as my meal.  My husband isn’t, but since I’m making him a different meal that’s okay.  I’ll let you know how they are after I try them.

Grilled Veggie and Hummus Wraps

Vegetable Wrap


From my recipes.com

Honey-roasted Veggies and Gnocchi

Veggies and Gnocchi

From A Beautiful Mess

Easy Veggie Frittata

(I love calling it a Frittata.  It’s just so much fancier than omelet.)

Veggie Frittata

From A Beautiful Mess

Chili Roasted Salmon with Cilantro Cream

Chili Roasted Salmon

From Fitness Magazine.com

I’m thinking there will be lots of salads in my future too.  Which is totally fine with me because I love salad!  Here’s to a small change that will hopefully lead to bigger change.


Vegetable harvest isolated

Valentine’s Day Shirts


Since getting my silhouette last year I like to use it to make holiday shirts. Valentine’s Day is just a few weeks away so I used some time during our craft weekend to make Valentine’s Day shirts for me and the girls. I actually didn’t make one for Ensley (bad mom) because she already has some hand me down Valentine’s Day shirts. I took pieces of different ones I had seen on Pinterest to design my own. I followed the same steps as when I made St. Patrick’s Day shirts for the girls last year.

For this project you will need:

  • shirt of your choice (mine was from Target)
  • fabric of your choice
  • wonder under
  • computer
  • silhouette
  • iron

First I cut the fabric to the 12 x12 size of the silhouette mat and ironed the wonder under on the back. The scratchy side of the wonder under goes against the fabric. Follow the directions on the box. I did the same with the fabric for the hearts too. I designed the “love” and heart files in photoshop and then opened them in the silhouette studio and cut them using the silhouette.


My file shows two “love” words because Sami and I were making our shirts together so it made sense to cut them out at the same time. Once the pieces were cut, I peeled off the wonder under backing, positioned it where I wanted it on my shirt, and ironed it down. I generally just eye ball it in the center where it looks good, but you may be more of a measuring kind of gal and that’s fine too.

We used a different material for our elbow patches. It was red with small white hearts. You could follow the same steps above to iron them on, however, since Sami and I were working together we decided to actually try our shirts on to get the patches in just the right place where our elbows would be. If you aren’t working with a partner you may have to eye ball it again. It definitely doesn’t have to be perfect.

Vdayshirt And that’s it! A simple Valentine’s Day shirt!

I made the girls’ shirts different than mine. They had red shirts so I used black and white based fabric for them. This chevron design came from a pack of black and white scraps from Hobby Lobby. I used the same method as above and designed the large heart in photoshop to the size I wanted it. Following all the same steps, I used the silhouette to cut it out. I eye balled the center of the shirt and ironed it on. The small red heart outline was actually left from a mistake of the first time we cut the “love” word. Somehow it ended up way too small on our first attempt, but it left cute little hearts to add to the girls’ shirts. I love the added touch. Sami made a little boys’ version for Devin that she will share tomorrow.


If you don’t own a silhouette you could print out designs on paper, tape it over fabric, and use a rotary or craft exact knife to cut them out by hand and then follow the same steps with the wonder under and ironing. Happy Crafting!


Devin {Throwback Thursday}

Here’s a little throwback for you.  This is from when Devin was almost 2 1/2 years old.  It was such a precious time, but man am I happy to be almost through the 3s!

Devin can talk now. For a while his favorite word was “doing” (I just realized that looks like doing. As in “I’m doing the dishes.”  Think sound instead. Like, the bell went doing.). He learned this word from his Uncle Josh. Devin was driving one of those battery powered cars (not safe!). Demonstrated by him running into their propane tank. It made a sound and Uncle Josh says it went “doing”. And just like that he found a new favorite word. So this is how conversations started going at our house:

Me: What are you doing?
Devin: doing.


Me:  What do you want for lunch?
Devin:  doing.


Me:  I love you.
Devin: (wait for it) doing.

All kinds of fun!

His new favorite words are “what doing?” (Not the sound this time, the word). And “where going?”  Good questions except he is never satisfied with my answer because no matter what I say he just keeps asking.

Here’s a picture so you can put a sweet face to those oh-so-precious yet oh-so-annoying questions.  Which we still have, they have just changed to “Why?” And that is also a never ending question.