Tag Archives: kids

“Wait…this is the holiday where we just eat that big bird?”

“Wait…this is the holiday where we JUST eat that big bird?”

Wow….that statement by Miss Missy really had me thinking. The hubs and I have dedicated so much time into making traditions in our family for each holiday. The children look forward to our Lenten Tea during Holy Week, our annual “Running of the Alleluia banner” on Easter Sunday, our “Kids in Charge” Day over the summer, and our vast Advent/Christmas traditions. 

How did we miss having traditions for this holiday? I don’t think we have. I just think we’ve tried different things each year and haven’t “secured” the traditions yet. I  guess for us…it’s about sitting around the table with family and just being “thankful”. However, for my children, they need something more “concrete” to connect to this holiday so….here are some of the things we have done in the past/ or have decided to add to our festivities to really stress the importance of this season of “thanksgiving”.

 

1.) Make sure the word “thankful” or “thanks” is clearly present in your home. The children should come to expect to see the word “thanks” around this time of year. These little signs and reminders can be great sources of inspiration to little minds.IMG_7927

2.) Create places in your home that are reminders of the holiday. Our house, typically, has several areas that we adorn for the holidays. If I am slacking one year, one of the older children will often venture downstairs and grab the corresponding tote for that holiday, just to nudge me into decorating. I love that they love decorating as much as I do. The children helped me pick out these little adorable gourds one year when we were picking pumpkins at a patch. I thought these would look adorable as a centerpiece during the week of Thanksgiving. (You also can’t beat the dollar tree fake leaves.)

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We also love to have holiday books in a basket by our fireplace. These are some of our favorites that we have been using every year.

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3.) Get the kids involved in everything!!!  I love beautiful decor. I really do…but I don’t think beautiful has to mean not “kid-friendly”. I choose to decorate our humble abode with decorations that our children can help with. If you cringe every time your child touches a decoration, you don’t need that in your house. (that’s my opinion).

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One year, we made these adorable placemats for our children’s table. Now, we have only had a “children’s table”when we are hosting more people than can fit around our table. We laminated these and the kids loved them. You can find the link for these here.

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We also made these adorable “cups” for our table one year. You can see the link here.

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This past Thanksgiving, I also let my two older girls design our centerpiece using stuff that I had in our Thanksgiving bin. I find it adorable that they included little pumpkin name cards on each person’s plate.

4.) Start a “thanksgiving” tree. (thankful treeThe kids and I did this a few years ago and loved it. We kept it up through the first week of Advent and it’s a great reminder of all those people whom we are praying for. We add our leaves right to the tree, and then i leave extra “leaves” on the base for visitors to add theirs, or if the children want to add others.

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5.) Write letters of “thanksgiving” to family and friends. We are spending some time today, the day before Thanksgiving, writing letters to godparents, cousins, grandparents, or anyone else the children want to write. You can read about a letter I wrote Sweet Pea last year…here.

6.) Make a special recipe that honors someone who is important to you. We are making my grandmother’s famous stuffing. It’s the hubs favorite thanksgiving dish and a huge “crowd pleaser”. We will take some time to talk about my thanksgiving dinners as a child and how my grandmother and mom would make this recipe.

7.) Spend some time together doing “Christ-like” acts for those in your community. Print out some of our “Touched By His Light” cards and hand them to people while you helping them load their groceries in their van. Or maybe consider buying someone a coffee behind you in line. Send the mail man off with a card and some baked goods. Don’t forget to share some love with the parish priest…baked goods are always a hit!

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8.) Spend some time before dinner praying and giving thanks for all your blessings. Encourage your visitors to do the same. We usually go around and say reasons that we are thankful for each person. We allow this opportunity to really reflect on where we were last year at Thanksgiving. For me, it’s about this man. I’m a daddy girl…which is why I’m sure I’ve raised a few. haha. Last thanksgiving, he could barely walk. He was recovering from multiple organ failure and almost died. It was such a tough time for our family. Today we are so thankful for the blessing of another year with him.

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9.) Spend time with family. Last night, the two little girls and I picked up my parents to spend thanksgiving with. Today we will be prepping food, baking, and playing endless games with grandmom and grandpop. The hubs will take the big kids tomorrow to weather the cold for the annual family Turkey Bowl game. A few years ago, the hubs lost his wedding band when he placed it in his shoe during the game. I’m praying this year that he returns with all the kids…hahaha. I will be nice and cozy sipping on a mimosa and watching the Macy’s Thankgiving parade….silently praying that my husband does not injure himself. (please, Lord)

I snapped these shots this afternoon as the children shared old photo albums with grandpop.

10.) Photocopy fun Thanksgiving activities for the children to work on while you prepare dinner. 

My crew loves to have seasonal stuff to work on while I’m cooking. These thanksgiving bingo cards have already been laminated and are ready to go. Thanksgiving mad lids are loved by all!!!!

Most of all, this holiday is about us being thankful for all the blessings of family and friends. I know that I am tremendously blessed with our little family. I thank the Lord, daily, for the blessing of a hard-working, and dedicated husband who is also my best friend.

I pray that we all can remember the precious things in our lives and be thankful for them.

Happy Thanksgiving!

God bless, Tammi

Brought to my knees by a plate of waffles….

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Have you ever been close to tears due to stress or being overwhelmed and then one little thing happens…and you lose your mind?….

like a sticky waffle…….

When I walked around to my daughter’s side of my minivan, yesterday morning, and saw this, I lost it. A plate of sticky waffles slowly dripping on the floor of my van….and that was my unraveling….

Am I crazy about waffles or something?!

Nope…it was just the final “straw” in being overwhelmed and underheard as a mother……

That waffle was the pebble that, once removed, started the deluge of rocks of thoughts and worries that have plagued my mind for the past few weeks…

Why can’t my kids follow my rules? How do I do all this? Why is my husband traveling so much?  When do I clean? Why are my kids so messy? Am I meeting the needs of all my kids? Why do I have so little time for myself? Why is my family plagued by medical issues?

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I literally feel like I am pulling this ricksha….most of the time…..uphill…. with five kids and a husband inside it…haha.

And most days I’m on level ground so I can carry my own…

and then some days it seems all uphill…..

As I picked up that waffle, I wiped away the tears from a rough few days. And under my breath, I said, ” lord, help me hold this together.”

I took a deep breath as I walked around the van…and all those memories and thoughts flooded my brain.

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  • the constant picking up of random kid items….(Lord knows they all have a place)
  • the weekly menu planning that I continuously struggle to finish

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  • The little annoying messes everywhere I look…(does no one know how to clean)
  • finding the time to scrub floors; wash windows; and do laundry
  • bills need to be scheduled and paid; registers balanced and budgets tweaked

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  • The daily schooling of five kiddos…(isn’t education overrated?)
  • the endless errands: extracurriculars, food shopping, clothes shopping, etc.
  • and then there’s the holidays….Halloween is less than two weeks away.

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  • the two molars pulled, this week, for Sweet Pea
  • the constant nagging of DDD to wear his retainer…
  • The ER visit on friday with the Fashionista for a seizure (um….what?!)

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  • So now we are in the process of appointments and testing to figure out what’s going on with the Fashionista…..

And…this was me…..DONE!!!!

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Yeah…it wasn’t pretty.

“Quit your crying, Taffeta”….haha

But...ugly cries are awesome.

It’s pretty cleansing…..

So…..I tossed out that sticky waffle and I cleaned up any remnants of it on my carpet.

And just like that….I know that I can get through this.

So if you can identify with any of those feelings, or you are at the end of your rope, I recommend a good old “ugly cry”….and then take it to the foot of the cross. 

Sometimes it just takes a “sticky waffle” to remind you that you need to get on your knees and be thankful for your “worries” and what overwhelms you.

Mostly because you have a God that is bigger than all of that.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”- Phillipians 4:13

As for today, God and I have this one covered.

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Our Summer Scrapbook…..a pictorial “update” of 11 ways we are enjoying the summer!

We are FULLY engaged in our summer over here at “Chasing Time…. ” and we are loving every minute of it.

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Unfortunately, that means less time “checking in” with my blog.

I thought a quick pictorial blog could give you an idea of what we have been up to.

Here are 11 ways we are getting the most out of our summer.

Enjoy!!!!

1.) Plenty of Outside Fun!!!

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Playing in the sprinklers….

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Washing the van….

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Playing in the creek and at the park…..

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2.) Blueberry Picking!!!!

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3.) Hanging by the Pool!!!!

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 4.) Imaginative Play!!!

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Billy the kid and an outlaw……

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Playing grocery store….

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Filling up the shopping cart….

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gymnastics…..

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one really “tall” 3 yr old….haha

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Playing “hospital”….

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Diving lessons……

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Getting a little gangsta….haha

5.) The Fashionista’s Birthday!!!

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Enjoying her birthday “Mega” donut….

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Ready for her party……

6.) Six Flags!!!!!

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image7.) Summer Reading

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8.) Growing our Garden!!!!

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9.) Getting Healthy!!!

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10.) Lake Time Fun!!!

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11.) First Ice Cream Truck Visit!!!

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We are cramming as many things as we can into this last month of August.

I pray you are enjoying this summer with your littles as well.

Join us in making memories!!!!!

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Seeing motherhood through the eyes of a child…..

When I was a child, I use to love to play with my sister. She was about 2 years older than me and always had great games we could think up. We would run the gamut of different careers in our imaginative play time in our bedrooms. We often were doctors, nurses, secretaries, lawyers, fashion designers, etc. We would spend long afternoons “dreaming” about what our lives would be like when we were older.

It seemed simple enough…..

We would have the most “put together” outfits…..

We would change our nail polish everyday to match our outfits…..

We would have four or five perfectly behaved kids…..

And a large home with a corvette….

In essence, we were barbies…..haha.

If you were to ask us what our mom did, we would say she didn’t work. She just sat around all day.

We never “saw” any of the work that she did. As far as we were concerned, she was just “hanging out” all day like we were. But “somehow”, we arrived at school dressed and ready; ate meals; and participated in extracurriculars. Now don’t get me wrong, my mother wasn’t the “Joan Cleaver” type but she made sure that we were taken care of.

The summer that I spent on my bed, memorizing the paisley pattern of my mattress, I would have said that my mom enjoyed watching me be miserable. That she would “find” things to correct me for. I was a “martyered” and “tortured” soul. My mom loved seeing me “sit on my bed and miss all the fun”.

What was her problem? Why was my life so unfair?

“I can’t wait to be a mom….and boss people around. I’m going to do whatever I want…whenever I want!”

The tears would stream down my face….until my mom would let me out of my room…and then I was off to do the next troublesome thing.

I mean…how hard could it be to be a mom?

I truly had no idea how tough this thing called “motherhood” was. You really have to have a huge heart…..the thickest skin….and a great deal of confidence. And a wine cellar in your basement wouldn’t hurt…..hahaha
But…seriously?! What other job could monopolize your every waking and sleeping moment; completely drain you of everything; and yet….be so extremely rewarding??!!!

I am currently in a few different phases of my parenting vocation. I am battling the independent strong-willed three year old…..I am trying to calm the fast-talking, no-one-listens-to-me five year old….I am searching for ways to show the middle child that she is loved and adored….fighting off urges to strangle my ever-teasing, constant prankster son….and deal with the parental blows of pre-teendom and puberty. God help us…..we are “chasing” a lot of wine.

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However….even with all the hard work that goes into mothering this brood daily….my love for each one of them never wavers.

 Being a mom is like “having a piece of your heart walking around outside your body”. Boy…is that ever true. Our children will never truly understand how deep our love for them is. However, it is our God-given duty to make sure we tell them. To make sure that it is so ingrained in their being that they could never challenge that notion. We can’t just tell them….we have to show them. And we can’t just show them, we have to tell them. We have to write them embarrassing notes on their school napkins. We have to scream their name and yell “that’s my son/daughter” when they score that soccer goal. We have to be the first one ready to greet them off the bus…and the last one to kiss them goodnight. They have to know that there is nothing that can separate them from our love.

One afternoon, Mini Me was agonizing over having to clean up her mess of barbies in our school room. As she did the “walk of shame” kicking and throwing her body next to the mess, she stated “I can’t WAIT to be a mom. I can’t wait to boss my kids around.” And I will admit….my first response was to think defensively but then I realized that this was a great opportunity to really help her understand.

“Really?! I said. Because….I hate having to correct you. It’s the worst part of my day.”

She looked utterly shocked.

“Yep. Yelling at your kids, having to punish them, sending them to their rooms….all that….makes me sad as a mom.

“It does?” She said……(mind blown)

“But….do you know what I LOVE about being a mom. I love taking you to the park and swinging on the swing next to you! I love getting big huge hugs that make me fall down on the floor. And….I like having a BIG bowl of ice cream, when you are in bed, just because I am the mom. And I think those are all the things that you will LOVE about being a mom too.

She smiled the biggest smile.

And as I helped her clean up the barbies, I continued to explain to her how it was my job to teach her all the things she needed to learn to be a good mom.

“Do you know how I learned to clean the house? I had to clean up my toys like you do. I learned to make my bed by doing it when I was your age. Why do I have a close relationship with God? Well…. I learned to love God with my heart by reading bible stories and listening at Church….much like I ask you to listen at Mass. And when I correct you for saying mean things or throwing a temper tantrum, I am trying to help you become a loving mommy and a nice lady. Mommy’s job is to help you be the best you!!! It’s not always fun to be told to do things…but God has plans for you and needs mom’s help to get them done!”

And for the past few years, as I focus on “motherhood”, it has made me question my relationship with regards to my own mother. Maybe God wants me to remember that she too was being judged through the “eyes of a child”. That maybe some of the “issues” that I have had with my mom, in the past, were ready to be “retired”. She too, deserved some praise for loving me and doing her best to raise me in love and in my faith. That, as a mother, God was granting me the ability to forgive my mom and realize her own inadequacies. God was allowing me to see this cycle of mother/daughter/mother.  In time, I would be able to see that my own mother was being judged too harshly with the same naive “childish vision”. That as an adult, I must re-examine my thoughts and feelings from my childhood and see through those experiences with new “adult vision”. To seek forgiveness for the times that I was quick to judgement and slow to forgive.

Are you looking at your mom with this “childlike vision”? Are you holding her to “ideals” that are just too unrealistic? What about your family? Do you seek to fill your life with opportunities to love your kids?

Our time with our kids and loved ones is so fleeting. Gather those whom you love in your arms and squeeze tight. Tell them that you love them and show them. Let us, as mothers and fathers, remember that our children may judge us and question us but with that same passionate “child like” vision comes a true lack of clarity. May we as adults cling to the virtues that we struggle to instill daily. And when our days are met with resistance and comments about how “mean” we are, that we may remember the long journey ahead of us and push onward.

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It’s coming!!! Snow day prep….chasing wine style!!!

I love snow days!

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I love watching the magical white fluffiness fall from the sky!

I love bundling up my kiddos for the 30 minutes of outside time..haha. Well….the big kids last a little longer than that.

And I love the shear excitement of planning for the snow to fall…teasing the news coverage about the actual accumulations that will far verses what is predicted.

I remember, as a kid, getting up early and waiting for the snow closings at the bottom of the TV screen…getting lathered up with Vaseline on my face to handle the chilly wind as I ran outside with mix-matched mittens. I remember waiting for the right moment to “accidentally” knock my little brother face-first in the snow….hahaha….

great memories….but the joy only gets better as a mom.

So…here’s what went on this week and today to get ready for the snow tomorrow:

Laundry

Momma is doing TONS of laundry today…like 3/4 loads so I can chill out tomorrow. Gotta make sure we have plenty of our favorite sweatsuits, and comfy blankets cleaned for cuddle time. We will spend the next few days in fluffy socks and sweats so we need to make sure everyone is set! Plus…I want to be able to go sledding too, so I’m maxing out my work for today.

Grocery Run

The kids and I hit the grocery store on Sunday for the essentials: milk, eggs, bread, cereal. But when I got a text from the hubs offering to make a quick grocery run on his way home from an appt….you better believe I hollered…”heck yeah!” We need two cans of condensed milk (for snow cream, of course), a few boxes of hot chocolate mix, American cheese for grilled cheeses, and momma needs more ….Prosecco!!!!

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I definitely see these in our future!

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Library Run

The kiddos and I hit the library on Friday to grab a few new books. Right now, the Fashionista is plowing through the Junie B. Jones series, and she begged me to load her up.  The littles are enjoying Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter Collection.

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There is nothing better than being cozy on the couch with a new book after playing in the snow. We were delighted, as well, to see these new little friends there too! Looks like they have no worries with the upcoming snow!

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Work-less meals

Snow also means pulling out the good ole crockpot! Whether I am going to be sledding or reading 20 books to the little ones, I won’t have to be caught in the kitchen. So the next few days will be about making use of the crockpot. We will wake up to some apple cinnamon oatmeal, and then dinner with include this awesome balsamic chuck roast! I might have to add in this chicken taco chili that one of my girlfriends had on her FB today too.

Family Time

Nothing says snow days like family time! There will be plenty of time for family charades, movie nights and board games! The hubs has been teaching the kiddos the games of Monopoly and Risk. They are loving it!

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 Whatever you do….live it up!!! The snow won’t be here for long!

Before we know it, we will be basking in the sun!

God bless,

Tammi

Thank you, Lord….counting my blessings!

“Chicken Day”…

Miss Missy has been walking around for the past week asking me if it’s “chicken day” yet. She has been seeing this colorful turkey that I drew on our dry erase calendar, and she knows it must be important !

And, it is!!!

Turkey, Stuffing, and Gravy….oh, My!!!!

I love so much about this holiday. I love having an excuse to make a huge meal.

I love looking in my binder over what traditions we did last year and what we want to change this year.

I love setting a beautiful table and having the kids take delight in using real wine glasses and nice napkins.

But, when I sat down at my computer, I quickly became overwhelmed with the “LIST” in front of me : the chopping, the beating, the cooking.

How to get it all done without growing in frustration or impatience..

And then this prayer came to mind, “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. I want to see you…”

As I look at my list, It is overwhelming.

But….when I see Miss Missy’s list of “I am thankful” items, it is a practical reminder of all the blessings in my life.

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Thank you Lord:

For the gift of my husband, who reminds me daily how loved I am,

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For the gift of my one and only son, who brings me such joy……

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For the blessing of four princesses, who show me true beauty inside and out….

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For the blessing of a home, and the warmth that it provides….

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For the blessing of sharing every day with this amazing crew and watching them grow…

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For the food that will adorn our table, and the blessing of never knowing hunger

Lord,

 May my life be lived in thankful gratitude for all that you have given me.

May my hands seek to reach up in thanksgiving, and out to those who need me….

May I never take for granted the blessings in my life.

For in Your Divine Wisdom, you have made everything perfect, tailored to me.

Happy Thankgiving to you and your family!

Because I’m thankful….

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How do you say “thank you” when a simple note isn’t enough?

Well…I guess you try and think of the ultimate “loveletter” for that person.

My life is full of blessings. There are so any things that I am thankful for….However, today’s post is about my amazing daughter, Sweet Pea.

When my husband started a new job in August, we were really not sure how it would change our home environment… But we have found that these initial orientation months are requiring more travel and longer work days. The housework still needs to be done. All the errands and activities continue just without another adult in the home. Saying that it can get overwhelming is an understatement. And… that’s where Sweet Pea comes in! From making dinner for her siblings; reviewing flash cards with the toddler; and making me hot cups of tea, she is truly been a blessing to me.

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She has such an amazing heart and can always tell when I’m at my breaking point. I can’t tell you the number of times that she has taken it upon herself to make lunch for the kiddos so I could finish a grocery list or gotten one of the littles dressed so I could grab a shower.

She was on my heart a lot when I was feeling especially sick this past Friday. Her cousin had asked her to spend the night for some much needed “girl time” and I was more than happy to see her go.

She had definitely earned it.

As I thought about that, I decided to surprise her upon her return.

What could I do for her that would be a “relief” for her?

Which brought about this…..

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The reorganizing and cleaning of her closet……

This closet NEEDED to be tackled soooo bad, however, I knew she had no idea where to start.

As the oldest, she always needs a new seasonal wardrobe….it’s just hard to tell exactly what she needs since her closet had various sizes in it.  Just looking in it, it seemed as though she had plenty of clothes, however, I knew her closet needed to be purged.

One trash bag later…and two bags of clothes later for the basement storage, it was done!!!

Then after the closet I moved on to her bed…

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I changed her sheets, febrezed her mattress, scrubbed her headboard, and remade it with her favorite quilt.

Then, I vacuumed her room and lit one of my favorite Yankie Candles to fill her room with a sweet clean smell.

Then I pulled out a new journal I had bought her…..and wrote her a little note. (pictured above)

Words can not tell you enough how proud I am of you and the great help you are to me. So I thought, maybe I can show you. I hope you enjoy your ” newly organized” room. Thanks again for all you do.

Love, Mommy

If you have someone like this in your life, celebrate them this week……

It’s a great time of year to be “thankful” for those tremendous blessings in our life.

Have a blessed week!

God bless,
Tammi