Motivated Moms – My Favorite App (with Giveaway!)

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This post contains affiliate links which will generate me a small portion of the sale if you buy through them. I also was not paid for this post, though Motivated Moms did generously sponsor this giveaway. I’ve been a long time user of Motivated Moms and I truly believe in their app! 

Listen, ya’ll, I am not a neat person by nature. Cleanliness and order do not come easily to me. And being home with the kids all day and being responsible for a large part of the housework, I just didn’t know where to start. Drop me in a house and tell me to clean it and I’ll be instantly overwhelmed. Everything will seem like it needs attention. Then, I’ll just shut down and do nothing because that’s easier than figuring out where to start.Motivated Moms

It’s no secret that I have always found systems helpful. I systemize as many things in my life as I can. I even have a system for picking books from my to read list. So, I figured, I’ll just find a system for my house cleaning. I tried a lot of systems. I tried Flylady, which so many people swear by, but I found it overwhelming and frantic, so it fell by the wayside very quickly.

I tried lots of systems until I found Motivated Moms. That’s the last system I ever tried – because it stuck! I’ve been using this app now for quite some time and have seen it go through many changes and versions. But every change is just a step up for Motivated Moms – it just keeps getting better.

So, what is Motivated Moms? It is an app and a printable ebook – whichever format you prefer – that organizes your cleaning tasks. Some tasks are daily- like load/run/empty the dishwasher, sweep the kitchen and entryway, and clear/wipe the kitchen counters. Then tMotivated Moms task list here are tasks that rotate and repeat – like change the sheets in the master bedroom and clean the middle shelf of the refrigerator. You do the tasks and check them off and then boom, you are on your way. Let me tell you all the reasons I love this system.

It’s hard to screw up.

If you miss a task, it will come around again in a timely manner. If you are gone for a day, it’s easy to pick up where you left off.

It’s spread out.

I don’t do all my vacuuming or all my laundry on one day. Systems that have days devoted to one whole thing don’t work for me. I find that boring and daunting all in one. But with Motivated Moms, it’s spread out well. Vacuum the bedrooms on one day, vacuum the main rooms on another day. Bigger tasks get broken down into smaller, more doable chunks and I don’t feel like I’m spending my whole day cleaning.

It’s fun to check things off.

I don’t know about you, but there is something really gratifying about checking a task off. It makes me feel accomplished and like I got stuff done.

Motivated Moms is more than just chores.

It also includes daily Bible readings. You may not be interested in this and you can easily turn it off if you aren’t, but for me, this has been a great way to ensure that I am both taking care of my house and my spiritual life. I also love that it includes reading to your kids! I mean, no one has to tell me to do that, but reading to your kids is so valuable and it makes me feel like Motivated Moms really shares my values. It also encourages self-care, I feel like, with exercise being a daily task and pamper yourself being a weekly task, for example. I think we all know we should do these things, but having them on my list has helped me to recognize them as important things and not just things that get delegated to if there’s time.

It remembers how often to do things so that I don’t have to.

For example, when it comes to say changing the sheets, pre Motivated Moms I was always like “When was the last time I changed the sheets? It was recently, right? Maybe?” But Motivated Moms stays on top of that so that I don’t have to.

Their customer service is excellent!

The one or two times I’ve had issues with the apps – not very frequently compared to the years I’ve been using it – they also respond quickly and are able to get the problem sorted out. You can tell that they really care about putting forth a quality product.Motivated Moms Today's Tasks

As you can see, there are many reasons that I love it! The e-book and the app are both great. The ebook comes in dated pages that you can print off week by week, with spaces to check off the daily tasks every day and then the other side has the extra tasks broken down by day, things that need to be done less frequently than daily. This is a nice format for those who like to deal in paper.

I usually like to deal in paper, but I have to say, the app wins for me hands down. I like the ability to sort tasks by room and you can also assign tasks to people and color code them – the app will even sync across devices! I also love how easy it is to add custom tasks and how you can make them repeat at a chosen interval. For example, I always menu plan on Fridays and so I have it set up to repeat every week on Fridays. I like that it saves my data in my account so that when I switched phones, it was a seamless transition as once I signed in, it loaded all my custom tasks and preferences.

To buy, on your android or iOS device, you can get the lite version of the app for free, which has a demo of two weeks worth of tasks, so you can see if you like it or not. The initial buy of the app is $1.99 and includes 2 months subscription. Then, after that you have the choice of paying 99 cents for a month or $7.99 for a year. Really, you all know I am very cheap and can count on two hands the number of apps I have ever paid for in my 6+ years of owning devices that are capable of apps, but I have found this to be one purchase that is totally worth it. The ebooks are $8 (or $4 if you buy just have a year – a great way to get started!)

And I’m fortunate to be giving away Motivated Moms app or e-book to one lucky reader! Already have Motivated Moms app or want to buy it and get started right away? If you win, you can choose a subscription extension as your option. So basically, anyone and everyone should enter! What have you go to lose?

Motivated Moms Giveaway!

Motivated Moms

Skunk Tales Review

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I am so sorry I have been away from my blog for a bit! The weather is getting nicer and I’ve had some (sometimes stressful) personal stuff going on, as well as hosting a Bible study in my house, but I’m hoping that the #ETHANProject will help with some regularity this summer and that I can put some of this craziness that has been May behind me. I’m hoping June will be much better. That being said, let’s dive right in!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. As always, what you are reading is 100 percent my opinion and it hasn’t been influenced by receiving this book. 

Name of bookSkunk Tales: Making Sense of Scents

Author: Lynn Marie Hurtado

Summary: Lynn Marie uses her many life experiences (including with skunks!) to help teach children to see God all around them in their lives and how he can work out challenges for our good in this family devotional. Every devotion has a fun fact, discussion questions, scripture Skunk Tales Making Sense of Scents by Lynn Marie Hurtado book cover verses, song suggestions, activity suggestions, practical application suggestions, an idiom to learn about, and a prayer idea. 

Rating: 5

Reason for rating: This family devotional has 36 lessons, each one equally charming and purposeful. I honestly loved this book. The writing is simple without seeming dumbed down. The devotions are relatable, sometimes humorous, and always leave me with a smile on my face. It doesn’t feel fake like some well meaning devotion books that I’ve read where the situations come across very scripted. It feels very real and genuine – which I’m sure is because they are true stories! The sections at the end of every one are totally awesome too. I sometimes struggle with figuring out the practical application of God’s word, so kid friendly suggestions that I can use to help my kids see the connection between God’s word and our every day life are so helpful to me. As well as the discussion questions, it helps make for an interactive listening rather than just a passive listening. I think in the future, I might even tell them the idiom and what it means ahead of time so they can listen for it while I’m reading – that’s just one example of something I could do with it. At the back it also has a topical index that could be super helpful if you are looking for a devotion on something specific. The only bummer is that it is slightly too long for Dominic’s attention span presently. That’s normal – he’s 3. But I think in a year or two or if we read it while we are eating, it will be just perfect. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a family devotional. I would especially recommend it to homeschool families, as all the extra content makes it especially suited to learning. Fellow WELS friends, I have not read all the content, just about the 10 or so I have done with Dominic to get a feel for the book (I feel that is better suited for a review of a devotional book – as most of the time, one does not sit down and read a devotion book straight through), but I have not found any doctrinal issues in what I have read so far. It really is a lovely book and also a fun book and it does both those things while also packing a lot of meaning. 

Find Skunk Tales on Amazon

Find Skunk Tales on Goodreads

Visit the Skunk Tales website!

#ETHANProject Blogger Kit Review

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Disclosure: I received a copy of the #ETHANProject Blogger Kit for free in exchange for my honest review. As always, this opinion is 100 percent mine. Ethan Project Logo

I’m very excited to bring to you a great opportunity for other bloggers and for my non-blogging readers as well!

I am sure you are all probably wondering what the ETHANProject is. You may think that ETHAN is a name, but it’s actually an acronym that stands for Enjoy the Here and Now. And the ETHANProject is designed to help you do just that. It’s a ten week challenge to inspire you to enjoy the here and now with your kids.

I don’t know about you, but for me at least, the summer months hold a lot of intense pressure to do allllll the things. Especially in Wisconsin where you spend months cooped up because of the snow and cold weather. You want to make it a memorable summer, but you don’t want to go insane either.

Well, two lovely bloggers, Sarah and Sammi, who blog together at Grounded & Surrounded, have put together a kit to help blogger moms Enjoy the Here and Now this summer and still create great content for their blog. Sarah and Sammi are friends in real life and they blog about about all things HEALTHY! Heart, Home, & Habits. You can definitely see in this kit their hearts and I think the idea of pre-planning now so that you can have a more enjoyable summer is a good habit to set up. If you can streamline your blogging that’s more time you have to spend with your kids.

This kit is awesome. First of all, everything, and I mean everything, is laid out there for you. Writing prompts, ideas on how to use the writing prompts, social media strategy, freebies for your readers, and anything else you could need. I’m especially excited for the social media strategy, it’s laid out with tons of ideas for every single week, and that’s an area I could definitely use some growth in. I am great at managing my personal page, but I’m often at a loss for ideas when it comes to my blogging page. And the social media strategy that’s including isn’t just a one size fits all approach for all the platforms – they offer ideas specifically tailored to individual platforms. Which I really, really appreciate. Twitter is very different from Facebook in a lot of ways, for example, and social media strategy needs to take that into account. It’s also not just about the kit when you buy it, but there is a community as well – and that community and support surrounding it will make it all the more worth it. And just look at this schedule, doesn’t it sound like fun? Ethan Project Schedule

If you are a blogger mom, you should definitely consider getting this kit. At just $9.95 you are getting a steal. If getting a kit interests you, you can get one for yourself here. They also have a free sample on that page that you can download if you need to see some more for yourself.

Loyal readers, I really hope you share in my excitement. I’ll be doing a more specific intro post in a few weeks, but I want you to know that each and I invite every one of you to participate along with me. I’ll be inviting you to share your stories and your pictures (and I may even feature them on the blog!) There is a Facebook group you can join here if you’re interested. You can read more about the challenge as a reader mom here.

As you can see, I’m so excited about this and I hope you are too! Definitely check it out and stay tuned!

Counting to 1000 Gifts: 131-140

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131. That I have a Savior who loves me enough to die for me on this Good Friday

132. That that same Savior also rose again, conquering death

133. Electricity

134. Rice play

riceplay

135. A little helper

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136. Getting a decent amount of sleep

137. That yesterday was a gorgeous sunshine-y afternoon

138. Neighbors

139. This is kind of the same as neighbors, but I am grateful for community

140.  Tasty food

What are you thankful for on this Good Friday? List some gifts of your own! 

This Is Love

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“A brother is a friend given by nature.” – Legouve

Yesterday had some rough moments. There was lots of not listening and bad decision-making and tears and I don’t mean just with my kids either. It was rough all around.

But when things are feeling rough, I just have to look and remember how blessed I am. God is good all the time and all the time God is good.*

And one of the ways I feel so blessed is that I have these two little boys who not only love me so very much, but they also love each other abundantly.

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I have a million examples I could give you, from the way Dominic always wants to know where Allen is and what he is doing and how he cares about what he needs when he’s crying. How he wants to hug him and say good morning and good night to him and how he asks to hold him almost every day. The way he wants Allen to come over to his toys so Allen can watch and play with him. The way Allen smiles at him when he sees him. The way Allen loves to watch whatever Dominic is doing.

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I think the best example I have of this happened last week. I buckled Allen in his car seat first and Dominic had gotten distracted by something in the garage and so while I was trying to convince Dominic to get in the car, Allen started crying. As soon as I got Dominic in his car seat, Allen looked over at Dominic and stopped crying.

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I just think when I look at them, this is love. I can see it in their interactions. Dominic is always so gentle with Allen and even when Allen may whack him in the face excitedly, he doesn’t get upset or anything. I am truly blessed for having Allen in my life also, but I just can’t believe how much having Allen around has blessed Dominic in his life. I always hoped they would be close when they were older, but I never imagined that such closeness could start when Allen was still so little. After all, it is hard sometimes for adults to connect with babies who can’t talk yet and who don’t do a lot. And in the beginning, Dominic just ignored him, wanted nothing to do with him. But now? There is just so much love and it fills my heart to bursting.

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People always wonder how you can love your second kid as much as your first. That love just grows I tell you, that love just grows.

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*Yes, I watched God’s Not Dead earlier today. That line stuck with me.

Kids Are Capable of More Than We Give Them Credit For

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. . . but yet we send them mixed messages and treat them like they are incapable.

Hopefully today’s post will be a little shorter 🙂 Also, thank you for all your positive comments yesterday. I was worried and it appears as though I didn’t need to be.

So let’s talk about kids and capability today. Because, you see, I think we underestimate the capability of kids, especially in today’s helicopter parenting world.

We tell kids that they can grow up to be or do anything. I realize the good intentions behind that statement, but it’s not exactly true is it? I know we want to encourage kids to be and do their best and that they have a lot of potential, but how do we say it in a way that is encouraging but also honest? That if they work hard they can accomplish a lot of things, just not everything. I don’t want to crush their dreams, but I also want to be honest and genuine with them. So many kids, for example, dream of growing up and playing pro in whatever their chosen sport is, but the number of kids who actually grow up to be professional athletes is very little. I used to dance when I was little and I was decent at it, but I was never going to be the next Misty Copeland. I played soccer but no matter how hard I worked I was never going to be the next Mia Hamm. And I know we don’t want to burden kids with reality, but I think there has to be a better way of being both encouraging and genuine. Maybe something like “Dream big, work hard, and learn to love the life you have.” Or maybe I’m just a cynic for thinking this way – tell me what you think.

But even though we are telling our children they can do everything, we’re not acting like it. We’re simultaneously telling them they can do everything and then treating them like they can’t do even the most basic tasks of their lives. A survey found that 43 percent of parents admitted to doing their child’s homework. Not just helping, but actually doing. And I heard on NPR the other day that a small percentage of parents are actually going on job interviews with their children. And less than 25 percent of parents insist that their children do chores (used to link to a Boston news article – now broken as of 2/8/14 – such is the nature of the internet).

So we may be telling kids they can do anything, but our actions are saying they can’t. That they’re not good enough to do it themselves. Or that they take too long and we can do it faster. Or that they need our help to succeed – even after they’re become adults. And while I do believe in helping them, that’s different than doing it for them. How do they learn and grow if we never give them opportunities to? Sure they may not do it as well as we can or as fast as we can, but did we start out doing it perfectly and speedily every time? We had to start somewhere. But doing everything for our children may help them (and us) in the short term, but where does it get them in the long term? Are parents going to go to work with their kid too? (Assuming, of course, that going along to the job interview wasn’t completely off putting to the employer.)

What we need to do is to show kids that they are really capable of doing things themselves. Will it take them a while? Probably, but it is time well invested. Will they fail sometimes or not do as good of a job as we wanted? Probably, but those failures give them opportunities for growth and to learn from the experience. Letting your child fail to finish a paper they’ve known about for weeks but haven’t started on helps them learn not to procrastinate and start earlier. Encouraging your child to try things where they might fail helps give them courage to try other new things. Practicing something they struggle with or do imperfectly will help them do it better. And the confidence they gain from succeeding on their own is not something you can give them in any other way.

We have got to start letting our kids do the hard things because that is the way they grow and learn. All I have to do is see the look on Dominic’s face when he accomplishes something himself. “I did it mom.” That face says it all.

Kidsarecapable

 

 

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Kids Are Humans, Too

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. . . but yet we often treat them as if they were some trendy accessory.

So this post was really the springboard for the whole series on how we view kids as a society. It came out of a conversation that I had a few days ago on my friend Raina’s status about modamily and started with just this post but as I was outlining I realized I had thoughts and materials for a whole series of posts. Shout out to her for being awesome. Anyways, I don’t want to get too distracted, so let’s get down to business. (Side note: can anyone write or say “let’s get down to business” without thinking of Mulan? Now I’m really side tracking myself aren’t I? Haha)

I’ve rewritten this intro several times now because I don’t want it to sound harsh but I also don’t want to sugar coat things. But I think many people have children because of what it will give them – happiness or love or a status symbol or because it’s what they are supposed to do or want to do or because they just got pregnant or fill-in-the-blank. Mostly decisions to have kids are made involving us and our feelings – and that’s not necessarily wrong or evil – I will admit to having kids because I wanted them -but I think it trickles down into the attitudes we have about kids.

Because I think we can very easily objectify kids. And turn them into nothing more than the latest thing to get, a now-I-have-it-all mentality instead of thinking about the gravity that you are bringing a human life into the world. A life.

But then we treat them like any special or important object we might buy. Because when children exist merely for our happiness, then they have to look and think and act a certain way, regardless of who they are as people. They’re treated as disposable – thrown away in abortion, abused and murdered after birth, adopted but then given back when they fail to fulfill our desires for what a child should be. Because again, we’ve made it all about us.

We should have a relationship with our children. An object doesn’t have feelings. You can take it out and use it and then put it away for a week and the object doesn’t care. It doesn’t have feelings. But children do have feelings. Think about it this way – everyone has that one friend who only calls you up when they want or need something and the rest of the time it’s like you don’t exist. How does that make you feel? Because it sure doesn’t make me feel good – it make me feel used. In the same way, children aren’t some shiny toy you can just put on a shelf and then take down and play with only on your terms and then put away. They need a real, living relationship with you – not a one sided relationship when it works for us as the parent.

Let me give you another example of that. A few days ago I was reading a magazine article and it suggested that to reward your kids for good behavior you should give them something they like, like 10 minutes of your undivided attention. I was shocked at reading that. Our children are human beings and we should want to have a relationship with them where we want to give them our undivided attention. Would you stay friends with someone for very long if they never gave you their undivided attention or they only gave it to you when you did the things they wanted you too? Probably not, because you would feel like they didn’t want to be around you if you weren’t important enough to warrant their attention. Why do you think our kids would feel any different? Most people give their cell phone more undivided attention than they do their children.

I think the biggest way we treat children as accessories is that we expect that we can treat them however we want and they will always be there for us, the same way that we do with objects. I mean, maybe we treat them “good enough” so they don’t break, but the difference is that you can replace an object you break, but you can’t replace a kid. As the saying goes, they broke the mold with that one.

I hope I’ve explained myself well. I just feel like we’ve reduced children down to being something we show off rather than someone we love. And maybe I am guilty of this sometimes too, but I try very hard not to be. I try very much to have a two-sided relationship with my son. And to recognize his human-ness. I’m still working on how to explain myself in this area but I hope you get the idea.

Tomorrow I’m going to be talking about how we should treat our children with basic human respect.

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