Lindsey P. Emery Art Giveaway

It is no secret that I love art.

Prior to becoming a photographer I was very much into sketch art… and even at one point went to college for graphic design. I loved using my hands to create and have always had a real appreciation for artist.

I have a few artist friends in the Atlanta area I have made.

Melissa Payne Baker was my first artist friend I made after moving here. An amazing lady, mom and artist who I adore. I have 3 of her paintings in my home and each of them is very special to me.

I was super exciting when Melissa agreed to mentor my friend Lindsey. Who has wanted to start an art business for some time… but it got put on hold due to moves, cancer and, well… life.

Super excited for Lindsey to finally have her business off the ground and moving right along.

She gave me a beautiful piece for Christmas and I just had to share it.

Art on Mantel

ED9A5563 Art on Mantel

Art on Mantel



Lindsey wanted to

give away a 6×6 mini canvas away on my blog!

Its a cute bird nest canvas and would make a great addition to a mantel, book shelf, collage wall, etc. You can view Lindsey’s website at Lindsey P. Emery Designs.

To enter this giveaway you have to live in the USA. Just fill out the Raffle Copter below to enter.

Thanks everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Super simple tip for creating Salves and Ointments

Super simple tip for creating Salves and Ointments

Melting Essential Oils to create Salves and LotionI get a lot of request these days for my Athletes Foot Salve. It did wonders on my husband… so I’ve had lots of readers interested in trying it too. Because of this, Ive been making a lot of batches of this stuff… and while making up a double batch I figured out another way to heat up the oils. I use to put all the butters/oils into a double boiler… and then pour the liquid into the glass jars… this worked fine but it made clean up a chore.

So the other day while making it up, I decided to just use the glass jars as the “double boiler” and put those into a skillet with water. The water heated up and melted the oils directly in the glass container! I have done this twice now and Ive never had an issue.

I just heat up everything in the tiny glass jar. Stir it really well, then take it off the heat and add in my essential oils. Allow to sit and it then hardens into the salve I was trying to create.

So tip to all those making my Athletes Foot Salve or any other salve type stuff, this method will save you some clean up time and hassle.

For all those new here. I use Rocky Mountain Oils for my source of Essenital Oils.

View more of my Essential Oil post HERE.

Easy way to Melt down Oils and Butters to create Essential Oil Salves and ointments

Easy way to Melt down Oils and Butters to create Essential Oil Salves and ointments

Teaching Care

Teaching Care

I get stopped often while out with my boys. Especially if I am running an errand… waiting in line somewhere… or trying on clothes (yes I have taken all four of my boys into a dressing room area – now that they are older they wait outside my dressing room, but you get the idea). When people ask me “Are all these yours?” :) I often wonder if they think I am their nanny or sister… but when I respond “Yup, all 4.” Their response more times than not is “Bless your heart.

For years my boys never really said anything when people would say this.

They were oblivious to the words of most strangers… and would just go on doing whatever boys do while out in public. :) Now that my older two are 8 and 10, they notice a lot more.

Caleb who is 10 often ask me “Why do people always say that?

I then have to explain to him that people think 4 kids is a lot… which I guess it is… but even more so they believe that having four boys especially is unusually hard and crazy to deal with.

Boys are crazy.

… and a tad foolish at times (then again so are girls).

They are loud.

Love to wrestle.

Run, jump, climb.

… but one thing that my boys are as well, is very caring.

Teaching boys CareI never believed you had to teach boys to love or care… but I am learning as I grow and my children grow, that caring… is far more than just loving each other. Caring is something we teach our boys to do as well.

Teaching them to care for those around them.

To care for their friends.

To care for their home.

Their things.

Their bodies.

To care for and respect authority.

To care about what they say to each other and how that may affect the other person.

Having boys is so much more than reigning in the hyper activity and rowdy play.

I have seen first hand how amazingly caring boys can be… but I have also seen how disrespectful and uncaring children can be when not taught to care. When I became a mother I never realized the responsibility that was being set for me in raising children. I knew the obvious responsibility. Clothing, loving, feeding, education a child… but its far more.

Thankful for wisdom.

Scripture.

From elders/adults I look up to.

All of which have helped me to raise four boys who are growing up to be amazing young men.

They are young… and while society seems to expect so little from children at the age my kids are… and really on into the teen years. I expect a lot and I believe we don’t give our kids enough credit for how amazing they can be, even at age 8 and 10.

They have their fights.

Their spats over stupidness.

The uncontrollable silliness on a night off.

… but while the world may see “Bless her Heart as they see me with a line of boys behind me in a store… I’m thinking “They Bless my Heart” and I am so thankful I can actually go out to a store and enjoy them.

Do I want to grocery shop with them every week? Not really haha. They are children… and children can be distracting while shopping, even while well behaved. It is far easier to grocery shop without them… but if I had to go to the store weekly with all four of my boys, it would be absolutely doable.

Enjoy motherhood.

Let them be children.

… but instill in them a desire to care.

6 Simple Steps to Potty Train your Toddler

6 Simple Steps to Potty Train your Toddler

I was asked via email recently some tips on potty training. As I wrote my response I thought “you know… I cant recall if over the years I did a post about this, but I should!” So I sat down after sending that email and decided to write out a post on my tips to potty training.

Before we dig in. A small disclaimer. I AM NO EXPERT but I am a mom of 4 boys, 3 of which all potty trained either slightly before age 2 or right after age 2. All of which trained rather quickly and by using the same methods.

So, my ability to train must not be to terrible :)

Caleb my 1st born was 26 mo when he trained. I swore Id never have more than 1 kid in diapers at a time. Taite my 2nd born was born right when Caleb got trained. Perfect timing. :-D Taite trained unusually early at 21 months old. However, he seemed to do everything early . From walking, talking to sleeping in a big boy bed by 16 mo. So it was at no surprised he completed that milestone early as well [Taite, btw is the one featured in the images on this post – He’s now 8 year old]. Owen I forget his exact age but it was over age 2… possibly closer to age 3. He could have trained earlier but I kept putting it off since I was busy with two other kids.

Before you start training your tot. One thing to be aware of is knowing if they are ready. I have found that when my toddlers start staying dry for hours… that they are ready. Also some of the time, they will show interest in sitting on a toilet. Some of my kids did this but not all. The “staying dry” though for me is the real evidence and if your toddler can go an hour without peeing in his diaper, you better believe he can go an hour in underwear.

So lets get started….

6 Simple Steps to Potty Training your Toddler:

6 Simple Steps to Potty Training your Toddler

1. Schedule in some time.

– I always found that setting aside a week to train was always best. You don’t want to have a hectic week and expect to train your child in the midst of school plays, field trips and work. You want to plan on tackling this when you know you can be home for a good majority of the time.

2. Go ahead and ditch the diapers.

– When you want to begin. Ditch the diapers “almost” completely. By this I mean, while lil man or lil lady is awake, he or she should not be in a diaper. DO NOT BUY PULL UPS! They are a waste of money and do nothing more than what a diaper could. The only diapers you will want to use are during “nap time” and “bed time.” That portion of the training comes later.

3. Take your tot shopping for some big boy undies or panties.

– Let your cutie pick out their choice of undies. This will make them feel involved and special… and also, who would deny their favorite Thomas the Train underwear. It is just one more encouraging way to get them on board. If your kid could careless what the undies look like, I do recommend these. They are thicker and help catch some of the pee in the case of an accident.

4. Buy a toddler toilet seat. NOT a potty.

– This is a matter of personal preference here… I at one point had one of those cute potty seats that sat beside the “normal” toilet… and while those are cute and seem to make sense… to me, they did nothing but stink, result in my having to clean one more toilet and created fear in my child when it came to “normal toilets.” So to me, starting out your tot with a “potty seat” that sits onto a “NORMAL” Potty, is the way to go. You can find these anywhere. Walmart sells them as well as amazon. There are lots of choices. If you have a boy, I would suggest one with a tiny “pee shield.” Here is one that has it. The only time I would ever use a “porta” style potty, is in the car. :) For the car I do keep a Baby Bjorn Potty available for those training periods. :)

5. Buy some reward treats to encourage sitting often.


– When I begin training I always try to make going to the potty fun. I try to never make it seem like a punishment… and one way to do this was to always offer a treat when they went. Our drug of choice was gummy bears :) – but you could use M&M’s or whatever candy you would like. Don’t make the reward a strawberry tho. I mean really, this is potty training. Give that kid some sugar, or something hah… When my tot would sit, even if he didn’t pee, I would give him a gummy bear. I would then tell him if he wanted to get “TWO” gummy bears, he’d have to pee. If he wanted “THREE” gummy bears, he’d have to poop. You better believe when they did poop and I handed them 3 gummy bears, they got super excited.

6. Plan to use a timer.

– Now this is really the method portion of “Steps” in training. For me, the key was finding out how long my child could go between peeing. You will not know exactly how long until you start. A good “general start time” to go by though is 20 minutes. So lets say your child wakes up. That morning is the day you want to start training. So get super excited, smile a lot and tell your little one “Today we get to wear our big boy undies! First thing we have to do though is try to go potty.” I would then let them sit on the potty for just a moment. Ask if they have to pee… make a “psssss….” sound and if they went great, if not, its okay too. I would then set a timer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, put your toddler onto the potty. Making again a big deal about it and getting super excited. Say things like “Its time to go potty. Lets see if we can pee pee.” and then make the same “pssss….” sound. I find the sound effects help btw, but those are obviously optional. :) If your child went pee, awesome! Re-set the timer for 20 minutes again. If after 20 minutes your child doesn’t pee… that is fine too. What I would do in these instances is just set the timer for an additional 15 minutes or so. Then after that time, Id put him on the potty again. So 35 minutes had passed. If he went, great, if not. Again, just add on some more time. Eventually what happens is you get a general idea as to how long a time period your kid can go without peeing. I remember my children being able to go 45 minutes from the get go. You obviously will want to factor in how much they drink too. :) If they drink a lot of juice or water… then take that into consideration and take them sooner.

Potty Training without TearsThat really is about it.

For me this timer method worked really well.

The gummy bears never failed me :) and always encouraged my kids. Most of my children would train within a week or so. Once they grasp the concepts of peeing and pooping on the potty, that is when I started letting them go through nap time with out a diaper. The night time “wetting” thing is also something you may not be able to “surpass” initially with potty training. I have found that with boys especially, it can take YEARS for them to go through the night without wetting. In fact some Doctors say its totally normal for a boy to wet their bed to age 10 without much concern. Crazy huh?

Hopefully this list was helpful to those reading.

Potty Training as scary as it seems to “new moms” – trust me, its not that bad.

Just stay positive.

Encouraging to those lil tots.

… and try to make it fun.

& one last tip. Allowing your kid to go pantless is a good idea the 1st few days. [Not naked, pantless. Finding a pile of poo on the floor isnt ideal, so undies will at least keep from this happening – pantless, good, naked, not so much.] If its winter, turn up the heat if possible. When you start training any child, there will be accidents and a good many to begin with. Its totally normal and begins to familiarize them with what is going on. So don’t sweat a few puddles haha… just maybe place some towels on your sofa and prepare a bit for the idea of this happening… cause, well, it will. :)

& below is a list of a few extra’s I like to have for training “outside” the home.

(totally optional)

- Undies that snap down the side. This way if they have a poo accident while out, you aren’t ripping underwear off with scissors or slidding poo down their leg as you attempt to salvage a pair of underwear. (keeping it real) So underwear that snap down the side are nice to have for outings. This ETSY shop had a lot of cute ones.

- A wet bag to put any soiled clothes in. Accidents will happen… having a washable wet bag is nice to have handy for those times. I have found ours invaluable!

- Foldable Potty Seat if your little one is skittish with big potty usage… but will use the toddler seat that sit on top of a normal toilet at home – yet while out refuses any toilet sitting without a “seat.” They do have FOLDABLE potty seats you can take with you. We did have to use one of these for Caleb, who was super skittish with toilets after a scare at an air port when a toilet automatically flushed on him. :-\

& I think, finally that is all. HAHA. I plan to start training Reed very soon. He is ready. I just keep putting it off. I plan to order some of the trainers above for him (at the etsy shop). I will for sure let you all know how I like those if you want.

Happy Training!

Homeschooling. Means far more than just academics

Homeschooling. Means far more than just academics

After about 3 solid days of sunshine here in Georgia. We are faced with a very dreary and wet day. I suppose after 60’s for 3 days, it was only due time for the temps to drop and us to get back to the reality of what Winter should be like.

Today was one of those days we had very little school work to do. So despite being stuck inside all day, besides a few spelling test, seat work and a dab of computer work. My boys were free to do as they pleased.

Homeschool is far more than academicsMid morning they began to get a bit antsy unable to go out, so I thought it was the perfect day to let them jump on our pillows. This is something I have allowed my children to do for years now. It is a bit messs but way easier to clean up than a floor full of legos.

So they jumped.

Laughed.

Played.

Giggled.

… and for a good while, had such fun being silly and listening to worship music in the background.

I decided as they played that I would set up my video camera and record them playing. I knew it be fun to look back on. As they played I couldn’t help but think how awesome it was that they were even home to do this.


[I’ll place the video at the end]

I have had my share of days… months… years, where I questioned our home schooling the boys.

I had many moments of non-escapable thoughts of “is this worth it?” “am I doing more harm than good?” “would I be a better mom if they were gone some…” “public school would probably do them good…” and so forth.

I battled those thoughts and more, yearly. Especially my first few years of home schooling. Especially those years I added a new child to the mix… or we moved. Or I had to adjust to my husbands horrible job hours. There are to many times to count, where I felt defeated and lonely. Days where I would be surrounded by cranky kids who didn’t want to do their school work and a tired me, who wanted nothing more than to be done with it.

Homeschooling was exhausting!

I remember resenting moms who were able to just put their kids in public school and be done with it. I envied the alone time.

It seems like in the last year or so though. I have hit a new season in home schooling.

A season of thankfulness.

Grace.

Humbling moments…

and feelings of such blessing, as I sit and watch my boys learn.

Homeschool is far more than academicsI will be the first to raise my hand and bow to the awesomeness and hard work public school teachers put in. I have many friends who are public school teachers and I know the blood, sweat and tears they pour into their jobs. They like cops are very under appreciated. I for one would never want to teach a classroom full of kids that were not my own. At least I have the authority to discipline mine. :) So those new to my blog, must know. I am never ever downing public schools on this blog and I am never ever unappreciative of the work that goes into being a public school teacher. Nor do I think less of any parent who chooses differently. Homeschooling IS NOT a fit for every family and that is completely okay and right.

… but can I just say.

Home Schooling my boys has been nothing but a blessing.

We’ve had our bumps… but compared to the good we’ve experienced, its been worth ever single trial along the way.

My initial reason to home school back in the day was because I felt I needed to as a Pastors wife. My husband believed in home schooling after he had some very bad life changing experiences in public school as a young boy… I did it, because I wanted to not only please Travis but because I truly wasn’t ready to ship off my kids to a school for a good majority of the day. Caleb was so little still to me… I just didn’t want him to go… and selfishly I knew if I homeschooled him, he’d be with me more.

As my oldest son is now 10… in the 4th grade. Growing and maturing into an amazing young man. I am realizing in a new way, the importance in our family for home schooling.

I get so tired of hearing from people downing on home schoolings…

Saying they will be unsocial.

Weird.

Nerdy.

Unable to adapt to society.

What a load of crap. :-D

My boys are amazingly social.

Bright.

Out going.

Nerdy at times :) – but who isn’t!

Well rounded.

Independent thinkers.

Homeschool is far more than academics… and they do all of it without the peer pressure daily from kids around them.

I love their desire to please their mother/father.

… rather than their peer.

I find peace in knowing they are not being exposed to pornography on the school bus or learning the latest inappropriate jokes and lingo from the lunch room.

I can find moments of Praise in being able to speak truth into my boys on what scripture teaches… and what the Bible says… without worrying about offending someone or breaking a religious rule.

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Freedom in creating our own schedule and learning as we go. May it be in our school room, on the road or with friends.

Home schooling is SO MUCH MORE than just Academics.

In 8 years. Caleb will be an adult.

18…

I will be 38 years old… (Same age as my husband is today)… and I will then send my son off to college (hopefully).

8 years.

Thats it.

I hear so often the dread of teen years… and while I am not there… but oh so close. My prayer is to break that mold too… and to enjoy my boys for all they are. In the brokeness and in the praise.

So in the moments of silly games.

Choosing to Home school?

Jumping on pillows.

Dancing.

Laughing.

Tickles and Play.

I can cherish each moment, knowing all my boys see. All my boys do… and praying for them daily, to become all that God desires them to be.

No one can tell you what to do in regards to schooling your children.

… but can I encourage you. From one tired mom to another :) – that its worth it.

Why Homeschool?


Every single moment.