A Shabby Chic Baby Shower!

My sister and brother in law (who is my double brother in law, my older sister married my husband’s younger brother!) recently were incredibly blessed to adopt a newborn little girl. They have not been able to have biological children, so they now have 3 beautiful children that are in their family through adoption. They adopted twins as toddlers, but also really wanted to experience life with a baby from the beginning.

They had to wait a long time, pray, and almost give up hope before my sister received the call that they were matched with a birth mom the day before her 40th birthday! Talk about an amazing birthday gift.

I knew that I wanted to put on a baby shower, and not just any old baby shower. It had to be absolutely perfect for this day.

My sister loves roses, and so I went with a Shabby Chic Floral theme for the shower.

Baby shower for my sister and her new little girl. We did a shabby chic floral theme!

My sister (wearing the floral maxi dress from Deborah & Co.) and her new little daughter! I put pink tulle up behind her and then hung white lights up between the tulle. They had some amazing newborn pictures taken that were available right before the shower, so I framed one of the pictures and hung it at the top.

The baby quilt behind the rocking chair was my mom’s baby quilt (who passed away seven years ago, we miss her so much). I tried to put little touches of my mom out as much as I could. I used her candlesticks on the mantel, I put a picture of her out in the kitchen, and my sister and I both thought about her a lot that day. It was so hard. She would have been crying tears of joy that day to see my sister finally holding a baby in her arms!

Floral Tepee for a shabby chic baby shower.

I had this crazy idea that I could pull off every project I had in mind, but I finally admitted defeat and called my mother in law! She is really crafty, and when I told her I wanted to make a lace tepee to put all the gifts in (and then later use it as a reading nook for my girls in their room) she jumped right in and said she would make it! Sean cut out the poles for her, and she painted them, drilled holes and connected the tepee together with white rope, and then draped the lace around the poles. Some pretty flowers went on top! I love how it turned out!

Baby Shower Tables set up for girls to eat.

We had 50 people come to the shower, and almost half of that number was girls. I didn’t want them eating in the living room with carpet, so I set up these tables in our dining rooms that has wood floors and they ate there. It was perfect!

You can clearly see we are not done with our dining room! That back wall is going to have white shiplap on it, and my grand piano will go in here, along with a table that Sean is going to build for us. It’s going to be amazing one day, once we get all these projects done and trim up.

This was the dessert table, and it was fun to decorate. I used my letter board to write a message out about Anna, and then put pictures on the table from the photo shoot they had. I taped white paper lanterns to the ceiling, and found a picture at Hobby Lobby that said “Such a Big Miracle in Such a Little Girl” and put my first nail in my newly painted walls to hang it up. Ha! It was a big deal to all of us. We worked so hard to get all the wallpaper down!

Dessert time!

I made brownies but put them in little mini muffin pans for a brownie bite. And isn’t my niece adorable?!!!

Mini cheesecake bites and cream puffs, plus we had a chocolate cake.

For food I had:

Croussant rolls with chicken salad or deli meat and cheese.

Mini Quiches

Cheese and Crackers

Veggie Tray

Build your own Yogurt Parfait (greek yogurt, berry blend and granola to top), they put in small pink containers.

And then we had Passion Tea and water.

I have a drawer that needs fixed. I’m married to a cabinet maker…but you know how that goes. It’s on the list of things to do. ๐Ÿ™‚

I passed out these baby favors when people left. I found the little boxes on Amazon and filled them with yummy chocolate from Costco.

I put together this activity for the younger girls to do while the moms were writing advice down for Jennifer that we put in a beautiful rose theme scrapbook. They used the Sharpie markers to write fun things on the diapers. Honestly though….I’m not sure if she will be able to use the diapers. A mom said she had marked the size on a package of diapers with a sharpie marker and it bled through to the clothes. :/

This isn’t the best picture but I had to cut out some ladies sitting below the mantle because I didn’t have permission to post their pictures on the blog. ๐Ÿ™‚ We whitewashed our mantle, and I love how it turned out! I framed a large picture of Jennifer and Anna, and then had pink candlesticks on the mantle along with these white rose lights I found at Target.

I had so much fun putting this all together for my sister and I’m thankful for all of our friends who came and blessed her with a lot of nice gifts for her new daughter!

If you want to read more about their adoption journey, you can read these two posts.ย 

An Adoption Story Written By God!

Adoption Fundraiser post that has their infertility story.ย 

 

 

 

5 Ways To Help Your Child Sit Still In Church

You might be feeling like I do right now…that it feels like a dream when you actually get to sit in a church service and participate. I’m on my sixth toddler, without huge breaks in-between each toddler. There is hope though…I’m going to share with you 5 ways to help your child sit still in church and hopefully in time you can get back in that church service!

There are so many different opinions out there on teaching a young child to sit still. Some expect a child to sit still in church by the age of 1. Others think it’s amazing if a 5 year old can sit still.

I’m here to tell you there is no one-age-fits-all standard.

ย 5 ways to Teach a Toddler To Sit Still In Church! It can be frustrating as a parent to want to sit in church and listen to the message, but as parents of younger children it's not always possible. We are currently training our sixth child to sit still in church, and here are some tips!

Children have such different personalities that it’s really not fair to expect every child to be ready to sit still for 1-2 hours in church by the same age. I’ll tell you what’s normal for our family, and you might be horrified that we wait so late, or you might think we are crazy for trying so young.

It’s really subjective to what your own standard is, but my goal is not to be the model poster family for getting our children to sit still in church.

Years ago we used to be super firm about getting our children to sit still at a young age. We would take them out and spank them, make them sit still on our lap in another room; they would cry and cry….and make our Sunday morning pretty miserable.

Guess what? They all pretty much started sitting still around the same time whether we took them out and corrected them or not. For our family that is around 3 years old.

Here are 5 tips and tricks for teaching children to sit still.

Have sit time at home.

You want a moment of honesty? This is incredibly hard for us to do in our season of life. When we only had 1 or 2 children this was a huge priority. ย Now that we have six children it’s not on my daily to do list. I’m trying to get all the homeschooling in each day, and I just don’t have 30 minutes for daily sit time practice.

Other excellent times are family devotions, however our youngest has screamed (very loudly) during those times. Her personality is intense, so those times have not worked.

If you don’t have a toddler with an intense personality (some might call it strong willed), then family devotions or when you sit down to read a book to your older children is an excellent time to grab that child and let them practice sitting on your lap. You know your child so only you can determine if it’s a good time.

When my oldest three children were younger I had a wooden bench that I bring into the living room and have them sit there while I read to them. They knew it was a learning time to practice sitting for church, but they also were able to listen to mama read to them.

Set Realistic Goals

Some people might think I’m stepping on some toes here, but I’d like to beg of you not to take your 12 month old out of church multiple times to spank them. ย I’d venture to guess that if you just give that baby some more time they will learn to sit. I speak from experience here as a mother who has tried to follow all the parenting books that give the perfect way to teach a baby to sit still. It doesn’t always work like the books say.

Parenting requires a lot of patience. I’ve definitely had my patience tested with our current 2 year old, and all my friends heard about it when she finally sat in a church service. I was so excited that I had to share!

Your goals can be more optimistic for your toddler who is a very calm, peaceful baby. They need to be adjusted for the super active toddler who might take a little bit more time.

Go Sit Somewhere Else

Can you sit in the balcony at church? Is there a room where you can still see the service but not be in the sanctuary? Can you walk the child around but still hear the message?

At some point you have to feed yourself spiritually as a mother. If it means you are walking the child around to keep him/her happy so you can hear the sermon, that’s what has to happen. I’ve had some Sundays where my main goal was to focus on training my child. Other Sundays I desperately needed the encouragement of listening to a sermon, so I knew I would be walking the child around so I could hear.

I’ve even brought my Tula carrier to church and carried our youngest in that, just to give my arms a break.

Whatever you do, try to avoid the nursery full of toys if you are in the middle of teaching them to sit still. Right now I’m trying hard not to bring Sophia in the nursery, but instead take her to an overflow room that has a tv to watch the service so she is still learning we have to sit. When you take them to the nursery any sort of training for the day is gone when they see the toys. ๐Ÿ™‚ If it’s a younger child and your goal is not for them to sit still yet, by all means use the nursery if need be.

Bring a Church bag

I have a special bag that I’m using just for Sophia right now. It’s full of quiet activities that keep her busy in church. I will say you really have to know the personality of your child when you decide on bringing a busy bag along. For some of my children it just made it worse. They became so distracted with everything that they never sat still and it was easier to just train them to sit on my lap.

Sophia is so incredibly busy that this slows her down, and we managed to make it through a Sunday morning and Sunday evening service in church recently! I was thrilled. ๐Ÿ™‚

Matilda Jane Bag for quiet time bag at church.

I found a steal of a deal on this Matilda Jane Messenger bag this year! Normally a $75 bag, I got it brand new for $15! This is our church bag, and I love carrying it because it’s so pretty!ย 

Here are things I put in a church bag:

Coloring books – I’ve found that the smaller the coloring book, the easier it is for a toddler to quietly use it in church. Here is a cute coloring book that is a smaller size for a toddler.

Melissa and Doug Water Wow Books – These are the best ever! Just make sure the little water pen is full and this will keep your child busy! Sophia loves the one she has and I’m getting her more for Christmas.

Sticker Books – This keeps Sophia busy for quite awhile! She loves putting stickers on her hands and arms, and on paper. Then she peels them off and puts them back on her hands. Anything to keep her busy and quiet! You could look at the dollar store to stock up on inexpensive stickers.

Board Books – Sophia absolutely loves the Fisher-Price Little People books. I’ve tried different books and these by far keep her quiet and busy the longest. She loves all the flaps to lift up and every page has so many different pictures for her to look at. I definitely recommend these books for church! You can see the whole list of the Little People books here.

Magnetic Dolls – Don’t bring the whole set along as that could get overwhelming. I have picked out one magnetic doll and a handful of clothes to bring along, just enough to keep her busy without dropping tons of pieces and sorting through a whole box of clothes.

Notepad and crayons – Sometimes they just want to doodle on plain white paper! Don’t forget to throw in a simple notepad in the bag.

Matilda Jane Quiet Time Bag for Church.

The important thing is to not let your toddler be in control of the bag, and only get one thing out at a time! If the toddler has the bag they are easily distracted and they start pulling out all the toys at once.

We don’t do snacks in church when they are toddlers, it’s just what our family has decided on.

Teach them to sit still on your lap and on the pew.

I’m finding that my five year old is struggling to sit still in church right now. We recently started attending a new church and we don’t have our extended family there. She used to sit on her Aunt or Nana’s lap almost every service, and now that she doesn’t have that it’s a struggle for her.

Make sure that as they get older they can quietly sit next to you, as well as on your lap. Snuggles are lovely, but if you are having more babies you really need that older one to sit still in a pew.

Encourage the Positive Behavior

If you are teaching an older child to sit still make sure you encourage the positive behavior instead of just threatening what their punishment will be if they don’t sit still. Using the Little Character Badges chart for children ages 3-5 is an excellent way to do this! Use the empty line on the chart to write the goal for the child, and encourage them through daily sit time at home.

Little Character Badges Chart for children ages 3-5.

I hope this gives you some ideas! Teaching children to sit still doesn’t happen overnight – it takes a lot of hard work but the end result is worth it!ย 

If you liked this post, pin it to Pinterest to share with others! ๐Ÿ™‚

5 ways to Teach a Toddler To Sit Still In Church! It can be frustrating as a parent to want to sit in church and listen to the message, but as parents of younger children it's not always possible. We are currently training our sixth child to sit still in church, and here are some tips!

 

 

Do Not Bow To The Gender Idol

Somewhere along the way it has become a crime to say there are inherent differences between a man and a woman.

And it has happened in my lifetime.

Another evidence of this just recently cropped up in the news. A senior engineer from Google wrote a company memo suggesting, among other things, “that men and women biologically differ in many ways.” He went on to suggest that these biological differences, though small, contribute to different strengths and weaknesses in men and women.

He said that “women on average, have more openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas.ย Women generally also have a stronger interest in people rather than things…These two differences in part explain why women relatively prefer jobs in social or artistic areas.”

This man ended up being fired by Google for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.”

What a sad world we live in.

For centuries it was a given that there are clear differences between men and women that contribute to clear differences in their strengths and weaknesses. Now it’s considered shameful to acknowledge this. Now everyone must bow before the altar of gender equality. This man refused (or forgot?) to and it cost him his job, maybe his career.

So there are real and present consequences for asserting that there are substantive differences between men and women. Does that mean we have to go along with it? Absolutely not.

To be sure, there’s a fiery furnace of sorts that awaits those who openly maintain a clear distinction between sexes (and the furnace grows hotter when you say that this distinction was purposefully designed by God). The good news is that just as this same God supported Shadrach, Mishach, and Abednego for not bowing before the idol of their day, so he is willing to support those who refuse to bow before the idol of gender equality. This is not to say that we will not endure ridicule, or the loss of our job, or worse, but as long as we remain faithful, especially in the midst of the fire, God will be faithful to help us in all our troubles.

What’s the alternative? Should we begin to pretend that, generally speaking, men and women don’t look, act, or think different than one another? Should I treat everyone I meet like a man? Or a women? Actually, if gender distinctions don’t exist, what are we all supposed to be? Have the powers that be decided that yet?

I really don’t care if they have or if they ever do. I am a woman and I feel privileged to be so. I will raise my daughters to cultivate the virtues of womanhood. I will raise my sons to cultivate the virtues of manhood; and I will raise both of them to embrace the differences between men and women and to rejoice in the God that made them. It should not be a shameful thing to acknowledge the peculiar strengths and weaknesses which men or a women possess respectively; God ordained it so and we should not try to pretend otherwise.

What if we acknowledged that men generally (please, I beg of you, don’t forget I just said generally) are stronger than women, and there are certain jobs they just are better suited for. When you drive by construction jobs, why on average do you see more men out there working then women?

Why can’t we accept that women can be (on average, generally speaking!), much more relationship minded, which makes them more suited for certain jobs? We women love connecting with people, and we are good at talking through what we feel.

These are not signs of weaknesses. They are not something to hide away and feel ashamed of.

When the world begins to lose site of who created them, which is God, the perspective of what God created men and women to be gradually disappears.

Stand strong, Christian families. Look to the godly examples we have been given and teach your children to strive after those godly traits. Encourage your boys to be men, teaching them about Moses, David, Joshua, and Noah, how these men stood strong at times, and how they gave into temptations and what happened. Teach your girls about Eve, Ruth, Mary the mother of Jesus, the Proverbs 31 woman, and help them learn from the lives of these women.

Each of these men and women had very important, but very different, roles to play in the kingdom of God. Notice also that these roles were not interchangeable. Moses clearly could not have filled the role of Mary, nor could Mary have filled the role of Moses. They each had unique calling that were suited to their unique abilities as men and women.

The world is quickly changing, but that doesn’t mean the ways of God are changing. His truths are unchangeable, unshakeable, and they endure to the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Babies Deserve A Baby Shower!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that women love having good friends and eating chocolate.

Ok, so not every single woman out there loves chocolate, and there are those super private ladies who just want to stay home and never talk to anyone.

But I think those are few and far between.

For the large majority of ladies, we love to get together and visit, eat food, and celebrate life with each other.

I’ve always thought it was sad that after the 1st baby, there really isn’t a celebration with girlfriends over other babies coming. I know ladies don’t need a huge baby shower after the first baby, but every baby is such a precious gift! Whether it’s your 1st baby or your 6th, there is cause to celebrate.

If you are a mom of several children (or maybe a mom of many!), the budget is always tight. Throwing a huge baby shower for your best friend might not be financially possible, let alone the thought of buying gifts for all the baby showers you could attend!

But what if it didn’t have to be terribly expensive to celebrate a new baby with a friend?

What about just throwing a diaper party? Any mom can use diapers for a new baby, and it could be such a blessing for her to be surrounded by her friends, celebrating the life of her 4th, 5th….you get the idea.

Here are some ideas of how you could do this and keep it super affordable and relaxed.

(This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Pampers and Luvs at Sam’s Club. The opinions and text are all mine.)

Throw your best friend a diaper shower! It can be so easy to get together and make that mom having her 2nd, 4th, or 5th baby feel loved and spoiled on!

If you have tea cups or a china set collecting dust, pull it out and spoil your friends with it!

There are so many different beverages you can serve. If it’s during the cold months, definitely serve a warm tea or hot cider.

During the hot months, you can serve a chilled tea, like the Passion Lemonade tea recipe I shared recently. Growing up I didn’t like tea at all, so my mom served juice or chocolate milk at our tea parties. ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you don’t have tea cups, just use some pretty glasses or cute paper cups!

You can’t have girlfriends over without serving a few treats! It doesn’t have to be expensive. Forget about buying an expensive cake; just bake some brownies, maybe grab some fruit, and put it in a nice dish or arrange it neatly on a platter! Sometimes we feel the pressure to have an elaborate display of foods for any party we put together, but it’s really ok to keep it simple!

I grabbed the paper plates and napkins in the photos for $1.00 each! I’m telling you, throwing a baby shower for a friend does not need to blow your grocery budget.

Super yummy brownies! I found this stand last year and it’s a favorite of mine.

You can keep decorations simple. Everything on this table I already had around the house. I’ve had this picture over Sophia’s changing table.

And of course you can’t forget the diapers! One friend could bring a small package of diapers, or several friends could go in on a big box of diapers! Right now at Sam’s Club you can save $10 off two boxes of Pampers or Luvs, or save $18 when you purchase 3 boxes! Plus you can get free shipping when you order through Sam’s Club online, which saves you time. I love ordering anything I possibly can online! I know other moms love to use Sam’s Club pickup, and the Sam’s Club Scan and Go app to save time! This diaper deal is only available through August 22nd. Order one for you, and one for a friend (you can find my reasons on why I only order name brand diapers here!).

Don’t forget how fast babies grow. You don’t want every friend bringing newborn and size 1 diapers to the shower. It’s so helpful to have the larger sizes to pull out as well!

One last idea for the baby shower – set out some pretty notecard paper and have each friend write an encouraging note to the new mom. Even if she has several children, those first few months of having a baby can be challenging and those words of encouragement could be so helpful!

I can’t wait to host some tea parties at our new house with my girlfriends! I’ve already promised my daughters they can invite some friends over for a tea party in September, so I know one will be happening soon. There is something magical feeling about a pretty teacup. It’s calming to the spirit and helps you unwind!