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10 Creative Reasons Why The Elf Hasn’t Moved

Posted in Life, Parenting by
Fun and creative reasons Why the elf hasn't moved

Elf on the Shelf season is in full effect. I see it in Mom groups on Facebook, news feeds and Pinterest. If you’re wondering what to tell your kids when the elf hasn’t moved, I’ve got you covered. Below I have 10 creative reasons why the elf hasn’t moved.

But first, here’s some advice for you new parents dealing with this whole Elf on the Shelf thing. Make your elf’s first year as boring as possible.

All these amazing things you see on Pinterest – don’t do it. Pin away if you must but don’t use all the good ideas in his/her first year in your home. Treat this whole Elf on the Shelf thing like a marathon. If you go all out in the early years you will exert yourself. That’s why I’ve come up with some reasons/excuses you use as to why the elf hasn’t moved.

reasons why the elf didn't move

 

Let me explain where I’m coming from. This year would mark the 4 year anniversary since Michael the Elf came into our home. For the last 2 years he’s become extremely comfortable in the Shephard home. He hangs around doing nothing. Often times, he just hangs out in the same spot for 2-3 days straight. The spark is gone and the honeymoon phase is over. It’s gotten so bad that Gianna wrote him a note last year. She was very frank but offered some solid advice.

It read:

Dear Michael, 

Please do something crazy! You can sit on the toilet and poop Hershey kisses. 

Love , 

Gianna

Gianna left Michael this note last year, 3 days before Christmas. Even our little bright-eyed girl started to take notice.  His first year in our home, Michael was like the A+ student. Every night he reported to Santa and did the craziest things. He got into the bag of marshmallows and tried feeding them to the reindeer.  One time we found him in the fridge.  Did you know elves can wrap presents? Yup, Michael was a master gift wrapper.  A huge mess was always left behind, but definitely some legit wrapping skills. Michael would get in the pantry and eat all the cookies (wink). Gianna was very impressed by his shenanigans.

 


Well, last year, I started to simplify things for the Holidays. In many instances, I was trying to simmer down my inner “perfect Mom” defect. Apparently, I dialed it down too much when it came to our Elf on the Shelf.

If you’re wondering what to tell your kids when the elf hasn’t moved, I’ve got you covered.  Due to Michaels less than stellar performance I’ve had to come up with some creative reasons as to why our elf hasn’t moved.

10 Creative Reasons Why The Elf Hasn’t Moved

1. Use him as an example of what NOT to do. He’s become lazy. You see how frustrating it is for Mommy and Daddy when you don’t do what you are supposed to? I’m an awful Mother, I know. 

2. Your behavior was questionable yesterday so he wants to give you another chance before reporting to Santa

  3.  He’s sick and needed to rest. I think the baby got him sick.

  4. Freezing temps last night! The house must so cozy for him and he’s just avoiding making the cold and long voyage to the North Pole.

  5.  By the time he finished playing with the [ reindeer ], it was almost morning so he decided to stay – feel free to use whatever Christmas figure you have around the house – Snowman, Reindeer, Mickey, etc.  

6. The Elf must have fallen asleep waiting for everyone to fall asleep and didn’t wake back up.

7. They are probably up to something sneaky and trying to trick you. I bet he’ll move once you go to school.

8.  That must be the best view in the house to observe good/bad behavior.

9. Say that elf probably felt sick from eating too much junk. Then hide some candy/treats and use this as another example for limiting junk food.

10. And when you run out of reasons, act completely perplexed and ask them why they think he didn’t move.

 

 

 

I’m sure there are many other parents out there that often forget to move that friggin’ elf.  I can’t be the only one. Do you have any fun and creative   reasons why the elf hasn’t moved?

 For more of my Parenting post go here.
December 8, 2017
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Why I Had “The Talk” With My Daughter Before I Was Ready

Posted in Family, Parenting by
THE TALK WTIH DAUGHTER

I had the talk with my daughter and I wasn’t ready.  She was watching a video on a popular family You Tube channel called 8 Passengers. At first I was mad, until I saw the video myself.

I never thought I would have such an adverse reaction when it came time to having, The Talk with my daughter. Most of time I over share, over comment and overly insert my unsolicited opinion. For the most part, I’ve always been comfortable talking about uncomfortable topics, sometimes to a fault, so when my daughter asked me when I was going to give her The Talk (that’s exactly how she put it), I was completely taken back and uncomfortable with what I was feeling and thinking.

It’s way too soon, I thought! She just turned 8 in February (fyi- it’s October). Seriously, how did she know about this already? She never really questioned what Tampons or any other feminine products were, or even how babies are made.  I asked her where she heard about it and her answer shocked me.

“From 8 Passengers on YouTube”, she said.

We’ve actually  watched this channel together many times. One thing Gianna and I like to do is watch DIY’s and family channels on YouTube. This family has six kids and share many of the ups and downs families often face. I love watching them, however I’ve never seen the video she was talking about.

You hear it often in parenting circles and fellow mom friends, “If you don’t talk to your child about ____, they will learn it from YouTube”.

Pssh! Not me, not my kid!

To be honest, I don’t remember how I responded. It was at night and I probably blamed it on her little brother who had to be put to bed.

 

The Talk with daughter

This is one of the moments I went back to when I realized it was time for me to accept she is growing up.

My Feelings Towards 8 Passenger Mom

I’ve got to be honest with you, 8 Passenger Mom, I was a little angry with you. Why would you put that on You Tube!?  That is a private discussion between a Mother and Daughter. Plus, having this discussion with my daughter seemed like a few years out. Now, because she watched your video,  I’m being forced to have it with her before I was ready.

Did you catch that? Before I was ready. This whole discomfort with me having this discussion had nothing to do with my daughter. I never thought about her curious little mind or innocence of wanting more knowledge. Whether I liked it or not, she was ready and it was time.

Back to me being angry at 8 Passenger Mom. The second I dropped my daughter off at school the next morning, I searched for the YouTube video on their channel. It was pretty easy to find and I couldn’t believe how many views it had – 1.2 Million!  About a minute and half into the video, she talks about what prompted the discussion. It was because her daughter started asking questions. Then, as she went on to say how old her daughter was, my anger dissolved into love and compassion. While fighting back tears, she said her daughters age.  She is eight.  The same age as my daughter. At that moment all my negative feelings disappeared. As she cried, I cried with her. I knew EXACTLY what she was feeling and why. As mothers with daughters, we all know this time is coming. Unlike solid foods, potty training or even the first day of Kindergarten, THIS moment when we have this talk with our little girls, hurts. I’m not talking like a hurt that stings for only one second. It’s deep and it lingers. I still feel it even after 2 weeks of having the talk. I’ve already cried three times writing this post. It’s the hardest reminder that they are growing up.

How Our “Talk” Went

Like the Mom on 8 Passengers, I’m not going to go into details on this. The same day that I watched the video, she asked me about it again while at my parents house. My Mom took her out to lunch and it came up again. My Mom told Gianna the story when she first told me. She told me a period was something at the end of the sentence. Like Gianna, I knew it was more than a dot.

I surrendered to the idea that this had to go down – today. When we got back to the house I told my husband what was going on so he can keep our  wild 2-year old monkey entertained.  Confession: I poured myself a glass of wine and went into her bedroom.

She could feel my hesitation and I told her that the reason it wasn’t easy for me, had nothing to do with the topic. This was just another sign that my baby girl was getting older. I let her sort of guide the discussion by her questions and I made sure to answer them all. We talked about puberty, emotional and physical changes, pimples and pads.

Apparently some of her friends already had the discussion, so naturally it spurred her curiosity. Just when I thought our talk was over she asked how babies were made and a gift from God was not the answer she was looking for. I told her that married couples love each other and have this thing called, sex. Not surprising, she knew of the word but not its meaning. I kept it really simply and light. As she gets older, I’ll be able to explain more but for now, our talk answered all her questions and eased her curious little mind.

Whew. This was tough to write.

If I was denying that it was time to have the talk with my daughter, I know other Moms out there are saying the exact same thing. The time will be different for us all, but some things to consider when deciding if it’s time for you are – older siblings, older close friends or family members, how much exposure they have to movies, You Tube, etc. I’m sure there are more, but this is our experience.

Thank You, 8 passenger Mom for being so transparent, vulnerable and honest about your experience. I feel you and thank you for making me feel like I wasn’t alone. Sorry I ever judged your decision for making that video. Here I am writing about it and it feels sooooo good to get this out and share my story and personal struggle. Keep making videos and I’ll keep writing.

 

Love,

Jessica

October 8, 2017
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Teaching Kids To Be Grateful – Guest Post at Delicately Balancing Life

Posted in Family, Parenting by
Tips-for-teaching-kids-gratitude

Hello Momma’s!

This week I’m over at Delicately Balancing Life talking about GRATITUDE. Specifically, Teaching Kids to Be Grateful. While I’m not dishing out advice, I simply discussed what worked for us.

Before sending you off to read the article I would love to tell you a little about Lindsey. She is the creator behind Delicately Balancing Life.  Her blog touches on so many topics that we Womenlive through everyday. She talks about marriage, parenting, food/wine and career. Lindsey and her husband just welcomed a beautiful baby girl! She graciously asked me to be a guest blogger on her site and after seeing her site and reading what she’s about, I jumped on the opportunity.

Here’s a little snippet : 

” How can I un-spoil my child? No lie – this is EXACTLY what I entered into the Google search bar. This search led me to many articles about instilling gratitude in our children. While there are many parenting articles about teaching children the art of gratitude – this is not one of them.

Where did the gratitude go?

I’m not really sure it was ever there. To put it bluntly, my husband and I pretty much bought our daughter whatever she wanted. I rationalized it by indirectly blaming my parents. My 10-year old self will tell you that I grew up hearing “no” all the time. Of course, this was not true. I just didn’t get everything I wanted and it was mainly due to financial constraints. ” …… continue reading.

As I was writing this post I couldn’t help but think, this can and should apply to us, the parents.  It was a gut check for me. If I’m being honest, My behavior wasn’t in congruence with what I was trying to instill in my daughter. Teaching kids gratitude isn’t just about  instilling it in them, we need to display thankfulness and gratitude ourselves. Check out my post on how I found my joy and gratitude.

There are many studies that show the benefits of living with gratitude. Apparently gratitude is the key to joy. That’s a strong and interesting statement to think about. Joy isn’t found in fancy cars, money or a big house. Joy is the outcome of being grateful for the things, people and opportunities we presently have – RIGHT NOW. In this moment.

Read,  Instilling Gratitude In Our Children – What Worked For Our Family 

August 25, 2017
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My First Month as a Stay-at-Home Mom

Posted in Family, Life, Parenting by
My first Month as a stay at home mom

Being a stay at home parent was something I never considered. That was up until last year. In my 20’s I saw nothing exciting nor fulfilling in the Stay At Home Mom role. I was never the one jumping in line to “hold the baby” and even though my daughter was the love of my life, there was no way I was trading in my heels for an all day affair of baby talk and diapers.

Then at 31 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. From that point it was all about treatments, surgery and simply surviving for the next two years. The emotional dust from everything started to settle around three years after my cancer treatments and after having my little miracle man.  I started to feel a mis-alignment with what I was doing and what was bringing me true joy.

Right around the same time, the company I was working for started going through some changes. These changes started seeping into my department towards the end of last year and unless you’re completely disconnected from your own reality, you pretty much know what’s going on. You just don’t know exactly when. My position was one of those, “not part of the re-alignment” and in March, this mama was home with her babies (16 months and 8 yrs).

While the title of this post says  Stay-at-Home, it should be more like Work-At-Home. Thankfully, I started doing some freelance work last year so when I left the company, I immediately started working on creating my own company.

I just don’t know how much work was actually done during my first month at home to warrant the work-at-home title.

 

Week 1 of my first month as a stay at home Mom went something like:

 

via GIPHY

No really, this is what I felt like! Plus, it was  Spring Break (lucky me). We visited some friends out of state and for once it was great coming home and not stress about preparing for the week ahead. Lunches? Nah, I’ll do those in the morning.

Positives this week: Everything

Negatives: Nada.

Week 2:

Still in the honeymoon phase, I was eagerly happy to be fulfilling all the house duties that I would otherwise be neglecting had I been working my 8-5.

 I’m not sure where the week went, but I only managed to do half of what I set out to do! Whatever! It’s early in my new role and I was still in the honeymoon phase. So I tell myself , “ It’s my first week, I’ll find my groove.”

The hardest decision for me this week was figuring out what to make for dinner.

Positives this week:

Waking up at 6am for some Mommy time, meditation, coffee and email check (ie. Facebook).

I spent time with my little man and I did school drop-offs and pick-ups. Some of you reading this probably loaf these duties but I’m new here, remember!?

The fact that I wasn’t coming home after 5pm also meant that the evenings were more enjoyable and my kitchen actually looked presentable the next morning.

Negatives:

Morning meditations ended here.

I wore workout gear almost everyday and while it appeared that I was headed to the gym after school drop-off,  I wasn’t.

I haven’t gone to the gym – even once.

Week 3:

I’m still kickin’ it with my little man and chillin’ in my workout wear.

By week three I remember that I actually have work to do. At least now I have a good reason for going to Starbucks almost everyday – Mommy gotta work!

Dinner time and evenings were a piece of cake.

Positives: EVERYTHING! THIS IS AMAZING!

Negatives: I missed a submission deadline for a site I contribute to and I can’t recall why.

Another week passed without me me practicing my morning meditations. Sigh.

Week 4:

Husband says, you need to come up with some sort of schedule.

Me  (completely on the defense):  I am! This is about the time when I find myself on YouTube watching routines of other Moms who stay at home and work. Don’t judge me! Some of those videos get hundred-thousand views, so I know I’m not alone in this.

In my YouTube ventures I find that many times their little one naps for 2 hours. I haven’t seen a 2-hour nap from my wild 19-month old the entire time I’ve been home!

I’m hearing it can take me as much as 4-6 months to find my schedule. Yes, I Googled that too.

Positives:  I’m alive and everyone is happy that I’m home more. However, this is starting to translate to: Mommy can do it all.

I’m making progress on my business and establishing a client base.

Negatives:

Little man now goes to Grandma’s 2 days a week so Mommy can actually get some work done. Is this a negative? I’m not so sure right now.

I’m on YouTube way too much.

My early 6am morning rise is starting to look more like 6:45 am or 7 am.

This month was everything and nothing that I had expected.

I quickly came to realize that staying at home with kids is much harder than any 8-5 job. At the same time, I realize that I never (ever) want to go back to the corporate world. It will take some major mojo, self-discipline and hustle for me to be able to stay home as I grow my business.

The second month gets even more interesting.  I had my first Mommy breakdown, started second guessing my decisions and my self-assurance was tanking. Stay tuned.

First month as a stay home Mom

I share tons more stories about my imperfect parenting here!

June 14, 2017
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Easy and Fun Easter Crafts for Kids

Posted in Life, Parenting by
Easy_crafts_cross_easter

If you’re looking for easy Easter crafts to do with the kids, you’re in luck. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite Pinterest craft ideas. While I love creating fun artwork with the kids, I don’t like anything complicated or too time-consuming. Well, I trolled Pinterest and found some really great easy and fun Easter crafts for kids that I wanted to share.

The 5 Easy Easter Craft ideas below been approved for the following criteria:

1- Must be good for toddlers as well as older kids – I have a almost 2yr old and an 8yr old. Both must be equally entertained with the same craft.

2- Minimal mess required – Even the most minimal activity can turn your table into a hotness express, so nothing here involves water, lots of small objects or more than 4 materials

3- For the love of unicorns, it MUST be fun for kids

4- Common household items – We have no time for impromptu store runs.

Most of these crafts require the same materials, which makes it easier. Let me add that there are some honorable mention links at the bottom of the page. Ok, let’s get to it!

Five Easy and Fun Easter Crafts for Kids

Easter Egg Collage

I really liked this idea from Toddler Approved – You can use practically anything to make this Easter egg collage.  We had tons of puffy stickers and fabric scraps to use up. You can also use stamps, feathers or buttons. Both my 8 and 20month old liked this one. I like setting aside a small amount of stickers, buttons, and fabric scraps for them to choose from. It’s super simple and you can “control” the mess.

Get instructions: Easter egg Collage 

Easy_Easter_crafts_toddlers

 

Pom Pom Easter Egg

This next one from Crafty Morning has to be one of my favorites! It’s Pom Pom Easter egg painting and it’s easy-peasy. If you don’t have Pom Pom’s you can use, cotton balls or cut up a sponge. Use bright paints and even add some sparkle with glitter. The glitter  does violate rule #4, but who doesn’t like a little sparkle?

Get instructions:   Pom Pom Easter Egg Painting

 

fun easter craft idea

   Picture Via: Crafty Morning

 

Q-Tip Painted Easter Eggs

I love this next one from No Time for Flash Cards. It’s a great opportunity for toddlers to discover colors and develop motor skills. I love this since it’s a quick yet interactive activity for kids of all ages. We are learning colors, so I stick with the basic red, blue, green, etc.  As they older you can incorporate different colors and even incorporate numbers into the egg design.

 

Get instructions:  Q-Tip Painted Easter Eggs

Easy_Easter_crafts

 

 

Easter Cross Craft

Here is another easy and fun Easter craft for kids from Happy Home Fairy that is super simple. This one uses paint but you can use crayons or chalk. However,  it will require you to make sure your little one fills the page completely so that the cross really stands out. Get the older kids involved and have them share what the cross symbolizes with their siblings.

Get instructions: Easter Cross Craft 

Fun_easter_crafts_kids_easter

All these crafts are simple and fun. These Easter crafts can make a great gift for the Grandparents or other family members.  I’m the one who usually throws the craft play dates for the kids so I enjoyed creating this post. These crafts can be an opportunity of learning, exploring, and getting messy (a little).

 

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to check out my Home/DIY posts for more fun!

 

April 10, 2017
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