How to fill your kids’ love tank (on Valentines and every day)

These times are difficult, and if you’re like me, you are struggling to balance work, home, and all of the different things you are currently worried about. Sometimes, even when I believe my children know I love them, I don’t always do enough to fill their love tank. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, but why do we tend to focus heavily on showing love on Valentine’s Day, rather than all year long?

The best thing we can give anyone is our time- and today I’d like to share some simple, fun and easy ways to fill your child’s love tank all year long.

1. Spend time with them

family making breakfast in the kitchen
Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels.com

Kids won’t care if you spend a lot of money. I always thought we had to buy something or pay for an experience for the kids to be happy. My kids are perfectly happy to play with us in the backyard or help cook dinner. Ask your kid what they enjoy doing the most with you and go from there.

2. Listen to them…actually listen

photo of woman and girl talking while lying on bed
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Sometimes, in the age of devices and screens, good conversation falls by the wayside. I try to have at least one good conversation a day with my kids- ask them about their day, what they think about a song playing on the radio, or something. Kids have lots of interesting things to say and sometimes they just want to know someone cares about what they have to say.

3. Snuggle

focused students doing homework at home
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Snuggling doesn’t have to be just snuggling. Snuggle up together with a good book or while watching a movie. Kids feel safe and loved when they’re near you.

4. Let them make a decision

calm stylish kid recreating in green garden
Photo by Allan Mas on Pexels.com

You don’t have to let them make a major decision- it can be something simple, like “What are we doing today?” or “What would you like for dinner?” Kids feel important when you let them choose.

Lastly, I try to get one good hug in with my kids and husband every day. It helps us connect to one another and feel loved. What are some ways you fill your kids’ love tank on a regular basis?

Life as a Lumber: What We’ve Been Up To!

This week, my husband asked for a sweet treat. I’ve been trying to cook and eat at home more. I tried making a pineapple cobbler for the first time. It doesn’t look very pretty but it tasted good.
We also made some tasty “from scratch” waffles on Sunday morning and they were really good. We will share the recipe soon! It’s super easy, cheap and super good…my three recipe requirements.
On my first school day of the new year, I managed to have a little bird fly into my classroom and entertain us for most of my first class. My principal managed to shoo him out.
School and dance started back and these little kiddos are keeping me busy.
This boy has been getting into all sorts of

Happy New Year! Catch us next week for these fun posts:

1. Green and clean in the pandemic (and a giveaway)

2. A new playground for the little lumbers

3. A fun Friday roundup

Five Friday Favorites: our favorite apps for staying organized in the new year

Most of us enjoy being organized, and others of us want to be more organized. Some of us fit into both of those categories. Better organization and a more simplified life is at your fingertips…look no further than your smartphone.

There are a few apps that have proven indispensable to our family and I’d like to share them with you.

1. Cozi family organizer (free, premium version available)

Do you have two or more children with several activities on the calendar? Do you struggle to plan meals, keep track of schedules and to-do lists? Cozi is for you!! We use it to catalog recipes, share shopping lists and keep track of schedules via the calendar feature. Each week, it emails all members of your family the events for the week.

2. Spotify Family

I was already a Spotify Premium user and I originally tried to share my account with family. This worked great until we all wanted to listen to something different at the same time. For less than $20, you can have up to five members on one account…not much more than one Spotify Premium account. We also take advantage of their under 12 account, where you can block explicit content and see what your kid listens to.

3. Poshmark

Are you cleaning out closets for the new year and getting rid of outgrown clothing? Make a few extra bucks by selling those clothes on Poshmark. You can also save a few bucks by purchasing gently used clothing for your fast- growing littles. We do!

4. My Macros

Take charge of your diet and fitness by keeping track of your daily food intake with My Macros! I have used this app for about a year and a half now and I love how easy it is to track my calories, fats, carbs and proteins. I highly recommend it.

5. Instacart

No time to grocery shop? Uncomfortable going into the grocery store? Give Instacart a try! I have been making a weekly grocery cart, adding to it throughout the week, and finalizing my order when it’s finished. Then, I arrange a pickup time, drive to the store, and pick up my order. I pay online so my stuff is already paid for when I get there, and they even load it for me. It saves me so much time.

What apps do you use to keep your family, food and fitness on track? Comment below!

What I learned in 2020…and why I’m not writing a typical “year in review” post.

Every year, I write a “year in review” post where I list the biggest and most important things that happened throughout the year. Since 2020 wasn’t a normal year, I’m not going to write a normal post.

2020 was a difficult year- I don’t do well with the unknown. I’m a planner and a control freak, so not knowing what comes next is super hard. As a Christian, we are called to trust God always, but sometimes it’s hard to let go of YOUR plans and trust in HIS plan. I learned some things from this crazy experience we called 2020.

  1. Things can change in an instant.

We were doing life and everything was great and normal, and then a global pandemic showed up. I thought we’d be out of school for two weeks. We went back to school eight months later. Then, all of our additional activities were shut down. We literally had nothing to do and nowhere to go but we spent lots of time together and we made it work. We even managed to have fun.

2. Be grateful for what you have.

You may not have everything you want. Most of us don’t. When you actually have time to stop, sit still and reflect, you will find you have more than what you need and plenty to be thankful for. 2020 taught me to be more gracious and actually make time to do so.

3. Find joy and beauty where you can.

bright blooming goldenrods on thin stems in field
Photo by Ellie Burgin on Pexels.com

I very clearly remember walking with my neighbor one day and noticing a goldenrod flower on the side of the road. Goldenrod is a weed, and it’s pesky, since most of us are allergic to it. However, the flower was a vibrant yellow and even thoughI typically regard it as a nuisance, I noticed just how pretty it really is. Have you ever seen an entire field blooming with goldenrod? It’s beautiful.

Put your hope in the right thing- JESUS.

Jesus is the only thing that can bring us out of the place we are in. Healthcare, vaccines and practicing good hygiene are all important, but they can’t save us. If there is one thing 2020 has taught me loud and clear, it’s that Jesus is the only thing in my life that is constant and certain. Everything else can change in an instant, but He will always remain. God has a plan, and while we rumble through this life not knowing his plan or why things happen, He knows. That’s sometimes hard for me to swallow, but it’s true.

Lessons aside, 2020 wasn’t all bad. We had to cancel a vacation, but we were able to save some money. We were finally able to complete a large remodeling project we have been trying to finish for seven years now. We were also able to spend a large amount of time with one another and enjoy each other’s company. We were adopted by a stray cat and a stray dog who have both become members of our family. We finally replaced our aging, no air-conditioning van. Some good things happened in 2020, too.

I genuinely feel like we learn something every year. 2020 taught us a lot. While it wasn’t all bad, I am sure I’ve never been so happy to see a year end before.

Happy New Year, friends. May 2021 bless you and bring you great joy.

Saturday Smiles: Life as a Lumber

We hope this post finds you well and happy. We had a blessed Thanksgiving, even if it was very different from our usual Thanksgiving celebrations.

We didn’t travel to see anyone but Zoomed with distant family members instead.

The girls wore some matching dresses and looked adorable.

We cooked a Thanksgiving meal for the four of us on Black Friday. It tasted great!

Those candied yams were delicious!
We also built a new swing set to accommodate two growing girls who are too big for our old one.
We rounded out our week with a trip to Denton Farm Park. We couldn’t ride the train, go in any historic buildings or visit Santa, but we could drive through some beautiful Christmas lights and see a live Nativity.

We hope you have a wonderful week!