Saturday, May 23, 2015

15 reasons why you should serve as a family TODAY!

We all know that by serving others with our children is beneficial, but do we realize just exactly how beneficial it really can be?  

Before you start reading, I want you to think for a second... what's one thing you want for your kids?  (I'll wait...)

Got it?  Okay!  

I bet it will be covered at some point in this blog post.  

Permission granted to continue reading...


1. Strengthen Relationships and Create New Friendships
When we serve with our children, we are not only strengthening our relationships with them, but we are blessing them with the opportunity to strengthen their relationships and create new friendships.  We are also teaching them ways that they can do this on their own as they get older.  You are also strengthening your relationship with your family.  You might be surprised at how much better you all get along after working together to serve someone else!  


2. Hard Work Pays Off
By serving with our children, we are not only teaching them, but we are showing them the value of hard work.  We are letting them know that hard work is... well, hard, but that it will pay off.  Sometimes it seems like this world lacks people that know the value of hard work, but I can't think of a better way to encourage it, than by serving others by acts of kindness!  


3. Sense of Purpose and Fulfillment
Have you ever felt unfulfilled?  Have you ever wondered how to add purpose to your life?  By serving others, you can give the gift of that knowledge to your kids.  What a blessing to know your purpose and how to live a fulfilling life at such an early age!  


4. Building Identity
My number one tip to making service fun for your kids is to let them plan... this includes letting them decide who they would like to help.  If they pick areas they enjoy already, then they will enjoy serving others!  By letting your child pick, you are encouraging your child to build their identity.  


5. Being Present
By serving together, we are helping them to realize that we need to be present in life.  By this, I mean, we can't be focusing on something else (our cell phones, our problems, etc.) while serving others.  The same is in life; we are happier and more helpful when we are focusing on others.  By doing this, it can also help them to appreciate the small and special moments in life more.  


6. Happiness
The number one thing I get back when I serve others is happiness.  It's a happiness that can't come from anything else.  I want to let my children feel that.  I want to feel it with them!  Many people nowadays don't know how to find happiness in life.  By serving with our children, it helps them to feel and recognize this happiness and they will be able to find it again whenever they need to.  


7. Empowerment
By giving your child the experience of even the smallest acts of kindness, you are empowering them!  You are letting them know that they can make a difference in the world.  Something so many people lack faith in!  


8. Kindness
We all know that by serving with our kids, it helps them to understand how to be kind, but did you ever stop to think that if they understand kindness, then they will be less likely to be a bully?  They will also have the tools to stop bullying.  Or, we can think about it this way, if they serve often, they will be more likely to understand that the worth of every soul is great.  Every person has worth & deserves to be treated with love and respect.  


9. It will make a difference in the recipient's life!
I know, this is a given, but to see it in action, is a beautiful thing!  


10. It will give your child courage.  
When serving others, you are placed in a situation that might be different than anything else you have ever been in.  You might be out of your comfort zone.  That, my friends, is where learning is at it's best.  Depending on the situation, you will get courage to stand up for what is right, courage to help others, courage to be vulnerable yourself, courage to meet new people, etc.


13. They will see many people and experience new things.
I know this one is a given, too, but it's something that can be invaluable.  By giving your children the opportunity to serve others, no matter how often, they are instantly experiencing new people and new experiences.  It can form relationships that can last a lifetime!  


15. It will teach them (and you) many other values.  
Some of the many are compassion, humility, gratitude and empathy (and many more below).  I know those are things that I work on having every day.  I am imperfect with that, but love that serving others makes it that much easier to gain those values.  

In addition to the reasons above, I've come up with a list of values we can teach our kids as we serve with them... view the info-graphic below.





Even I was surprised as I was compiling this list, there are more benefits than I thought there would be!  Those are 15 invaluable gifts that you receive when you serve with your children as a family.  I don't know about you, but I would love every single one of those things to happen for my family!  So... I guess I'm off to serve!

Join the Virtual Kindness Summer Camp for easy acts of kindness to do together all Summer long!

Join me, by posting the reasons you serve with your kids on your social media.  Just use the hashtag #iservebecause and tag @trustmeimamom.  I will be sure to share as many posts as I can! 


Feel free to use these free printables, just fill in the blank!




Oh, and PS... Serving with your kids is easier than you think!!  Don't believe me?  Sign up for emails below, and I'll send you easy ways you can serve others together each month!


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Utah Giveaway! This is the Place Heritage Park Family Membership



In just a few short weeks kids will be out of school for the summer which means parents need to figure out ways to keep them entertained. In Utah, This is The Place Heritage Park is the perfect daytime activity for the entire family!

I know I have been trying to schedule activities for our Summer already.  I figure if it's on the calendar, we'll be more likely to do it and have more fun.  This would be the perfect place to put on the calendar!

In case you haven't heard of This is The Place Heritage Park, it contains over 50 historic homes and structures to visit and countless fun activities to help visitors learn about history and step back in time to see how things used to be. Activities include:
  • Train rides (there are three)
  • Pony rides
  • Petting farm animals
  • Panning for gold
  • Playing in the splash pad
  • Shopping in the gift shop
  • and much more!

All the activities are included with your admission ticket so you can enjoy and entire day of fun without breaking the bank! Right now is baby animal season which makes it the perfect time to visit! In addition to all the fun activities, you and your family can grab a bite to eat at the Huntsman Grill and you can also find other tasty treats like Brigham's Donuts at the Social Hall and soft serve ice cream at the Ice Cream Parlor. With so much to do, there is no reason you won't want to take the kids there several times with summer. Now with that being said, you all know how much I love hosting giveaways so... This is The Place Heritage Park is giving away a 1-Year Basic Family Membership to the park! This is a $100 value! That means the winner will be able to visit the park all year long plus receive:
  • Unlimited FREE general admission, Pony and Mini Train Rides
  • FREE admission to Mountain Man Camp, Liberty Days, Pioneer Days, & Little Haunts
  • Monthly "This Is The Place Messenger" e-Newsletter
  • 50% discount to Haunted Village
  • $20 per person admission to Witches' Ball
  • 10% discount on purchases at Heritage Park Gift Shop and ZCMI Mercantile Store

To enter this awesome giveaway just use the rafflecopter widget below. Giveaway ends 6/1/15. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This blog is not responsible for prize fulfillment. The giveaway is sponsored by This is The Place Heritage Park.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Apraxia Awareness Day Link Up!

This week, on May 14th is Apraxia Awareness Day!

When I think back to when we first found out about Paige having Apraxia, I was really overwhelmed.  It seemed impossible to soak in all of the information I was learning about it.  Although, it helped tremendously to join Apraxia Facebook groups and connecting with other moms who had been there and understood what I was feeling.  They were able to answer questions in simple, easy-to-understand terms.  I was and still am so grateful for those women!

That is one of the main reasons why Laura (from SLP Mommy of Apraxia) and I joined forces once again to bring you the Apraxia Awareness Day Link Up!



Please feel free to link up any of your blog posts about Apraxia.  It can be an update on your child, your feelings about Apraxia, or anything Apraxia related!

Let's share our stories so we can raise awareness and connect with each other!

xo



Other links about Apraxia that you might like:
Apraxia iPad Apps We Love
Speech Therapist Recommendations for Apraxia
The Beauty of Apraxia
Ways to Celebrate Apraxia Awareness Day



Thursday, May 7, 2015

Five Tips for Parenting With Presence


I had meditated from the time I was sixteen, so as I approached motherhood, I was certain I would be spared those dramatic, stressful moments I saw frazzled parents having with their children. Yelling or shouting? I would be too centered to succumb to that level of frustration. Trying to rush my child to get where we were going? I was confident about my ability to slow down and live in the moment. 

Ha!  

In theory, parenting with presence sounds easy enough. Putting it into practice in real time with real children is another thing altogether. No one can push our buttons the way our kids can — ignoring repeated requests to come to dinner after we’ve made something healthy and tasty, or refusing to stay in their beds when we’ve run out of steam and desperately want to go to sleep. Sometimes we lose our cool, and our way.

Parenting shows us just how human we are. Humbling, yes, but if we relax into the experience rather than resist the difficult moments, it can be one of the greatest opportunities we will ever have to learn how to love more deeply, live more fully in the moment and become more open-hearted versions of ourselves. A blessing of untold magnitude, but one with a never-ending invitation to stretch and grow.

Here are a few of the things I have learned about parenting with presence:

Be good enough. Our children don’t need us to be saintly or enlightened. We just need to be good enough. Don't allow mean, critical voices in your head to tell you that you're not adequately conscious or evolved. That voice -- the one telling you that if you were more "spiritual," you wouldn't yell at your kids-- is not your friend. It is only with a heart that is at ease with our imperfections that we can truly embrace the opportunities for spiritual growth that come with being a parent. When you lose your way, touch your heart with a “There, there” as you would comfort a child, and begin anew.

When your buttons get pushed, look beneath the surface. None of us like being ignored or dealing with tantrums. But when we feel especially triggered by our child’s unpleasant behavior, unfinished business from our own childhood may be rearing its ugly head. If your child’s anger makes your blood boil, it may be rekindling memories of a parent’s explosive temper. If you feel painfully disrespected when your kids pretend they don’t hear you, it may be activating the hurt of being ignored as a child. Our children can be invaluable beacons of light, illuminating our emotional dark corners to catalyze deep healing and open us to extraordinary dimensions of love and acceptance.

Commit to moments of full engagement. Most of us juggle the demands of our lives by giving partial attention to each activity without being fully present for any of them. We listen halfheartedly to our child’s story about Show and Tell while our wandering mind thinks over the emails we need to send. We rush our kids through brushing their teeth, counting the moments until we can fall wearily into bed. When our kids sense our divided attention, they often generate chaos and drama to bring all of us into the room, even if their behavior results in threats or punishments. Focus on the one thing you're doing, whether it's serving a snack or changing a diaper. Investing even a few moments of fully-engaged time with your kids can bring greater joy to your parenting life.

Challenge fear. Many parents are driven by anxiety. What will happen if she doesn’t finish her homework? What if he refuses to eat dinner…again? When we are ruled by fear, we tend to come across to our children as desperate and needy, effectively putting them in charge of our happiness. Make friends with the worst case scenario so it has less of a hold over you.

Unplug. These days it is nearly impossible to visit a park and not find parents checking their devices while the kids play, or strolling their baby while chatting on their cell phone. Rarely do you see families in a restaurant without at least one person—often a child— on some kind of digital device. We all know that the digital revolution has brought amazing things to our lives, but our children need regular doses of our presence. Yes, it’s great that you can reach out for the support of your cyber-tribe when you’re feeling isolated with little kids. But the next time your cell phone beeps, try staying a little longer in the 3D world.

My now twenty-four year old son walks into the house as I’m finishing up this article. I feel the tug of my writing, but the pull on my heart is stronger and I stand up to share a hug and a few moments of “How’ve ya been?” as we catch up after not seeing each other for a few days. 

I have enjoyed many soul-nurturing experiences in my life but to this day, seeing my son still splits open my heart like nothing else can. Through the many rough patches and the countless days when I fell miles short of being as conscious as I had hoped to be, this love remains. Pure, perfect and miraculous.

.....


Susan Stiffelman, mft is the bestselling author of Parenting with Presence and Parenting without Power Struggles. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist, a credentialed teacher, and the Huffington Post’s weekly “Parent Coach” advice columnist. She lives in Malibu, California where she is an aspiring banjo player, a determined tap-dancer, and an optimistic gardener. Visit her online at http://www.ParentingwithPresence.com.


Based on the book Parenting with Presence: Practices for Raising Conscious, Confident, Caring Kids ©2015 by Susan Stiffelman. Printed with permission of New World Library. www.newworldlibrary.com

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Enter to Win a Southern California Vacation!

southern California vacation giveaway.jpg

My family is planning a trip to Southern California next month & we are all so excited about it!  Who doesn't love Southern California?  They have the Beach, Disneyland and several other theme parks!  I can't wait to take my girls for the first time so we can make memories together.

That's why I am so excited to be teaming up with Simplistically Living and Get Away Today to be giving away a Southern California Vacation Package to one lucky family!

This is a $1,500 value! 

About our Sponsor: Get Away Today has helped more than 2 million people enjoy vacations to Disneyland and beyond. Almost like magic, they have become one of the world's leading providers of Disney vacations, family vacations, discount vacation packages, and adventure vacations. I personally use Get Away Today whenever I am booking a vacation because they offer the best rates and customer service around! Whether you are looking for a quick weekend getaway or a few weeks away from home, Get Away Today has the perfect destination for you!

Current offers from Get Away Today:
  • The Disneyland Resort celebrates 60 years with their diamond celebration.
  • Save up to 30% off rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels
  • Pay Adult at Kids' prices on Disneyland park hopper tickets
You can see all the current vacation offers and specials from Get Away Today Here.

Giveaway Time!

Now it's time for the giveaway! 1 lucky family is going to win a Southern California Vacation Package valued at $1,500! The prize includes:
  • 3-night hotel stay
  • 2 adult and 2 child 1-day tickets to two theme parks of the winner's choice! (Think Disneyland, LEGOLAND, SeaWorld, and more!)
How to Enter: Enter using the rafflecopter widget below. Open to US Residents only. Must be 18+ years of age to enter. Good Luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure: This blog is not responsible for prize fulfillment. This giveaway is sponsored by Get Away Today.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Postpartum Depression

The reason I have been MIA from this blog for a bit is mostly because I have been suffering from Postpartum Depression. 

(luckily I have mostly been able to keep up with the Mommy & Me Monthly Service Challenge and some other behind the scenes things)

Although, I feel very blessed to have it mostly under control, it still affects me on a small-ish level daily.  I decided months ago to simplify as much as possible to help me through this challenging time.  I removed as much as I could from my life so I could focus on myself and my family.  This has helped tremendously, but I feel ready to jump back in the blogging game.  

I have completed my first "come-back article" and it has been published on FamilyShare!  I am excited to share it with you.  It is called 8 lies that are keeping you from recognizing you have postpartum depression.  I am hoping by debunking these myths, more people will realize that there is help for them.  

postpartum_depression_lies_myths
8 lies that are keeping you from recognizing you have postpartum depression

I didn't realize I had PPD and I was surprised to hear the nurse tell me that it sounded like I had it.  My main symptoms were feeling overwhelmed, snapping in anger at my oldest daughter and beating myself up in my head.  I was my worst enemy.  

(read more about my postpartum story here)

I hope to be posting some 'silver linings' from my postpartum depression, soon... things I have learned from having PPD.  

Until then, I am excited to be back blogging... I've missed you!  

(you might also be interested in reading Ways to Reset When Suffering from PPD)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Christmas for a Deserving Utah Family

Last year I was more than humbled to participate in our sub for Santa activity last year - the Christmas for a Deserving Utah Family.  It was amazing from start to finish & I've thought about it all year long.

The family was incredibly gracious and they were (as I was) blown away by everyone who helped in one way or another to make sure they were able to have a Christmas. 

Christmas for a Utah Family Nominations

Brittanie (from Bargains with Brittanie) and I are excited to host this again this year!

Christmas is such a magical time of year, but to some it just brings sadness of what they cannot give to their sweet kids.  Every parent wants to give the world to their children, but as we all know, it's not always possible.  Sometimes we run into some big bumps in the road that set us back financially.  We would love to change this for one family (or more, if possible), this year.  

We're reaching out to you for help finding another special family who has the need of receiving help this Christmas season.  

So, here's how you can help!  
  • If you know of a deserving family that has kids and lives in Salt Lake County, nominate them here or on the form below.  We will be accepting nominations until Sunday, November 16th at midnight MST. 
  • If you want updates on what our 'deserving Utah family' will need via Email, once the family is decided, email me at michelle at trustmeimamom dot com with the subject "Christmas Updates" so I don't overlook you! 
  • Lastly, you can donate items, gift cards, or money via PayPal!  (email me for details)
Thank you all so much for helping with this special event!  We're so excited to do it again this year, and hopefully it will bless another amazing family & relieve some stress from them!  






From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!!!
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