Coastal Cleanup

Coastal Cleanup

A few months ago, my son and I were walking home from the park. Although this path is normally pretty clean, we noticed several pieces of trash littering the sidewalks. It was that day that I came up with the game “Trash Patrol.” This game is pretty simple: it consists of singing a cheesy Trash Patrol song, giving each other silly names, and proceeding to rid the world of trash (i.e. grabbing and holding on to sidewalk trash until we reach the nearest trashcan).

I love doing things like this because it such an easy, tangible way for my son to help out. For our September project, we will be bringing the Trash Patrol to the beach for the 2015 Coastal Cleanup.

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want to do something like this in your area?

If you are in California, this project is easy!

1. Check out the website: here you can find links that will direct you to the cleanup nearest to you.

2. Save the date: In California, the cleanup takes place on the third Saturday in September, but check out this link to find cleanups year-round.

3. Make your move: sign the waiver, take your kids, some sunblock, some gloves, and get out there.

4. Share your Story (Optional): If you get a chance to do this project with your family, share your experience. You might inspire someone else to do the project too.

If you don’t live in California, you can certainly still serve in nature with your family. Check out this post for specific ideas on taking care of the environment.

Book

Going to the beach is a fun activity, but if you want to get your kids even more excited, check out this Kindle book:

Children’s Book About Beaches: A Kids Picture Book About Beaches With Photos and Fun Facts: This book by Madison Matthews is an easy read, and it contains fun facts about the beach. 

Video

This video, released in 2013, is a great reminder of why we are doing this. You may want to show this to your kids (or view it yourself) before heading to the beach.

I hope these ideas and resources have been helpful. Do you have any ideas about how to help our kids take care of the environment? Please let us know! Also, if you are interested, click here to start a club of your own.  Thank you so much for reading, and let’s go love people on purpose.

 

The Mom Quilt

The Mom Quilt

Hello, readers! I have really exciting news for you. Today, a fantastic ebook was published. The Mom Quilt was compiled by Becky Mansfield and Jodi Durr to benefit the Mercy House in Kenya, founded by Kristen Welch.

I’m excited about this book for multiple reasons, for one, I was honored to be selected as one of the 60 women to share my motherhood story as a chapter in this book. For another, 100% of the proceeds benefit an amazing cause.

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Let me tell you a little bit about the project. Mercy House is an incredible organization that empowers women in poverty. They currently need to build a well on their property, and the proceeds of this book will fund that well. In the ebook, mothers share their stories, their stories of hardships, their stories of hope, their stories of motherhood.

Crying over my keyboard, I spent some emotional evenings writing my chapter, reflecting on how losing my mother has effected my motherhood journey. Here is an excerpt from my chapter.

Motherhood hasn’t always been easy for me, in fact, it usually isn’t. My oldest, Paxton, is now 4, and when he was born, I was a total mess. One night when he was 6 months old, while he slept soundly in his crib, I cried desperately in my closet. I felt so lost, so alone. I love my husband, and I love my stepmom, but I wanted to talk to my mom. As a good student and successful teacher, I was used to feeling competent in my daily life, and I didn’t feel this way when I was at home with my infant son. I faltered through my first few months of motherhood feeling completely inadequate. How could I get my son to sleep more than three hours at time? Was it detrimental that he was taking every nap in the sling? Would I ever feel normal again? Would breastfeeding get easier? While many women would consult their mothers about these questions, I cried in the closet. My dad travelled a lot when I was growing up, and although he is an amazing person, he doesn’t remember anything about my early childhood. Did I sleep in a crib or in bed with my parents? Was I fussy or content? These questions remain unanswered, and for this and many reasons, I felt (and sometimes still feel) really clueless as a mom.

You see, I lost my mother when I was 17.

Writing my story was cathartic and challenging. 60 other women poured their hearts into their chapters as well, and I can’t wait to read my copy of the book. As I type this, $1000 has already been raised towards the goal of $40,000. The book is $9.99, and I can’t think of a better way to spend ten dollars.

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I’m not very strong physically, and I am never much help on service trips that require manual labor. For this reason, I’m thrilled that I was able to use my passion for writing to support a worthy cause. If you are able, please, buy a copy of Mom Quilt, and please share this link with your friends. Thanks for reading, and let’s go love others on purpose.

 

 

 

Go Set a Watchman: An English Teacher’s Review

Go Set a Watchman: An English Teacher’s Review

Have you ever watched a sitcom for years and loved the characters like friends?  Have you ever felt that way about characters in a novel? I feel that way about Scout and Jem Finch. I’ve spent some time with these goofballs. A LOT of time. I’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird 18 times, and I’ve taught it for ten years. In moments of stress I’ve been known to listen to the audiobook to calm myself down; I have pages practically memorized. Reading Go Set a Watchman was a surreal experience for me. I felt like I was watching a “where are they now?” reunion show, witnessing up close who the characters became after Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow, after time passed. I just finished the book yesterday. Here are my initial thoughts.

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The Beginning

When I started reading, I greedily gobbled up information about the lives of the characters. I sped past some dry description, scanning the pages for more information about Jem, wanting to see how Jean Louise turned out. Her relationship with Henry seemed realistic, she was entertained by him as he represented a nostalgic connection with her hometown, Finch’s Landing personified. Although she felt connected to him, her tomboy ways and lack of desire for the domestic were consistent. However, I continued to read, and I started slowing down. Focusing on plot and characters at the beginning, I didn’t really notice that her style was comparatively lacking. Where were the spot-on absolute phrases? Where were the sentences replete with perfectly-placed prepositional phrases? Where were the incredible action verbs?

The Language

For those of you who aren’t grammar nerds like I am, let me give you an example of what I’m talking about.

When Jean Louise first sees Henry in Watchman, Lee writes, “He grabbed her in a bear hug, put her from him, kissed her hard on the mouth, then kissed her gently.”

When Jem pushes Scout towards Boo Radley’s house in Mockingbird, Lee writes, “The tire bumped on gravel, skeetered across the road, crashed into a barrier and popped me like a cork onto pavement.”

I tried to pick quotes from important points of each novel, and even though the first quote is descriptive, Lee uses adverbs like “hard” and “gently” to modify the verbs; whereas, in the second quote, she uses precise action verbs and doesn’t rely on adverbs as a crutch. The second quote is also more effective because of its parallelism. At the risk of boring you, I could elaborate on the syntactic and grammatical differences, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that I find Mockingbird stylistically superior because, in Mockingbird, language enhances content and meaning on almost every page.

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The Flashbacks

Along with the language, the plot and subplots in Watchmen weren’t as interesting to me. Although the flashbacks to her childhood were fun (I liked the one about Dill staging a religious revival), none of them stack up against lies about strip poker and indian-head pennies in the knothole of a tree.

The Racism

As for Atticus’s much-discussed “fall from grace,” this aspect of the book wasn’t super shocking to me. In fact, he makes a comment in Mockingbird which seems to almost condone the original klan, foreshadowing the fact that he may be somewhat sympathetic to racist causes as an older man. Also, although I wouldn’t call him a chauvinist, after Tom Robinson’s trial, he agrees with Ms. Maudie that women shouldn’t serve on juries because they would be too chatty. My point: Atticus was never a perfect character. He tells Scout in chapter 16 of Mockingbird that all people have “blind spots,” and I don’t think he should be excluded from that assessment. The fact is, as Uncle Jack mentions in Watchman, Scout always put Atticus on a pedestal, as many readers (myself included) are tempted to do as well, but, in reality, Atticus has something to learn from Scout in his old age, and I don’t think that ruins anything.

My Concluding Thoughts

As some reviews have said, reading this book is an incredible behind-the-scenes glimpse into Harper Lee’s writing process. How amazing to read the book that she wrote before her masterpiece. How incredible to see her language improve. How fascinating to be able to reflect on an editor’s influence. Did I love Watchman? No. Am I glad I read it? Absolutely. My favorite thing about this book, honestly, is that it motivated millions to reread To Kill a Mockingbird, and, even if for that reason alone, I love Go Set a Watchman. So if you haven’t read it, you should! But if you only have time to read one Harper Lee novel, Watchman isn’t the right choice.

An Unconventional Way to Serve your Family

So, what is a book review doing on a service website? Good question, and it’s true, not all of my posts are about service projects, but remember how cool it was that Atticus always read to and in front of Jem and Scout? I’m trying to do that too. I read an article that mentions that “Scientists have found that children who have fiction read to them regularly find it easier to understand other people – they show more empathy and have better developed theory of mind.” I want my kids to be empathetic, and one way I can encourage this is by reading to them and modeling a love of reading. Modeling a love for reading isn’t to difficult when there is a new Harper Lee novel involved.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Seriously, I have been dying to talk to other people about this book as I have just started digesting it myself. (I may even have to write another blog post). Are you glad it was published? Why or why not? Please let me know, and if you’d like daily ideas on sharing kindness, follow us on Instagram. Also, if you are interested, click here to start a Family Service Club of your own. Thanks for reading, and for good measure, let’s all remember this classic: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” –Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Strong Women

Strong Women

My friend, Annie Rim, is writes a wonderful blog, and she asked me to write a post for her upcoming series about strong women. I was honored to do so, and I thought I would share it on my blog as well. In my opinion, being a strong woman is less about making millions: it is more about loving others. Here are my reflections on on the two strong women I was blessed to call mom.

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I’m pretty lucky because I have two mothers. My parents divorced when I was 12, and when I was 14, I gained the most wonderful stepmom, Kimberly. I believe God really knew what He was doing when he mended part of my broken family because just three years later, my mother, Alice, passed away unexpectedly when her lungs collapsed. And while it was incredibly hard, and while I would never wish divorce on anyone, I’m glad my parents divorced for one reason: I was able to have the two best moms a girl could ask for.

The thing is, my two moms couldn’t be more different.

My stepmom was a prime-time news anchor, a powerful woman that others all over the state looked up to and idolized, and they still do. She is a beautiful, successful woman who knows how to take control, to make things happen. She hosts incredible parties, and keeps up with my fast-moving father as they travel the world.  I love my stepmom: she teaches me how to be a grace-filled, working mom and how to take action steps to make the world a better place. She and my dad have done incredible things for people in third-world countries along with people in their communities, and they are constantly using their resources and influence for good.

My mom, on the other hand, was an unsung hero. She didn’t go to work when we were growing up, and while she was well-loved at church, she didn’t have a global sphere of influence the way Kimberly does. She didn’t have many friends, and certainly didn’t enjoy throwing parties. And while she wasn’t successful by the world’s standards, she was an incredible mom. She made our favorite foods on our birthdays, and left encouraging notes on my windshield once I learned to drive. She listened well and fought depression tooth-and-nail to put on a smile for my sister and me.

Reflecting on the two strong women in my life, I can’t help but thank God that I’ve been mothered by both of them. And although I love to write, I am unable to articulate the various ways in which they have shaped me as a person and as a mom. But I know that because of them, I strive to love people well. I want to make my kids feel valued and loved, and I also want them to believe that they can do great things.

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This past year, I started an organization called The Family Service Club. Both of my moms taught me that rising above myself in service to others is incredibly important, and I want to impart that lesson to my kids as well. With that in mind, I’ve started this group that empowers families to do monthly service projects together. Many times I’ve felt overwhelmed and out of my comfort zone, but I press on.

I want to be a strong woman: I want to follow in the footsteps of two mothers who have changed the world. I want my kids to see that whether their sphere of influence is large or small, they should strive to meet the needs of others, to love others well. I love my strong moms, and I hope that I pray that I can be a strong mom as well.

Do you have some strong women in your life? I’d love to hear about them! And if you’d like daily ideas on sharing kindness, follow us on Instagram. Also, if you are interested, click here to start a Family Service Club of your own. Thanks for reading, and let’s go love others on purpose.

Support Local Heroes

Support Local Heroes

One of the coolest parts of being a part of Family Service Club is connecting with other people who are serving others all over the world. For example, Megan Livingston just started a new chapter of Family Service Club in Pennsylvania.  Another service group doing great things was started by my friend, Robin Roach. She runs a Facebook group similar to ours called The Kindness Club in Arizona. Robin’s group did a project earlier this year that we are going to adopt for our August Project. This project focuses on supporting and serving local public servants, local heroes. We are going to visit and bring cards and snacks to people we look up to in our community. We are following some easy steps to get this project going, and we hope you will to!

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Want to do this in your area?

1. Ask your kids to focus on a person or group of people:  Talk to your kids about the different people who make your community a better place. Remind them about police officers, firemen, librarians, linemen, teachers, doctors, post office workers, etc. Ask them which group of people they would like to encourage.

2. Contact the people you want to support: This step is super important. After you and your kids have decided who to support, get in touch with a point of contact so you can make a plan. Ask that person when you can visit and what types of snacks would be most appreciated.

3. Prepare to serve: Put the date on you calendar, and start getting your kids excited. Write cards expressing gratitude, bake or buy the treats requested, and read books or watch videos about the people you are serving (see below).

4. Go love people: Make your trip to the station, library, school, etc. and do your best to connect and thank the people you are there to visit. The most important part of service (in my opinion) is loving people, so give your family time to talk and listen.

5. Share your Story (Optional): If you get a chance to do this project with your family, share your experience. You might inspire someone else to do this project too.

RESOURCES

I love using books and videos to help my kids get excited about serving. Here are a few resources that might be helpful in preparing kids for this project. If you know of any others, please share them!

Books

1. A Day in the Life of a Police Officer by Linda Hayward: This book is written for new readers, and it is a great way to show kids about all the things Police Officers do each day. We are going to be visiting a police station, so this book is a great one for my son. This series also includes A Day in the Life of a Firefighter and A Day in the Life of a Builder.

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2. The People in your Neighborhood by Naomi Kleinberg: If you have younger kids, this Sesame Street book would be a good way to start talking about local heroes you might choose to serve.

Video/App

Community Helpers Play and Learn: This video walks you through an app that focus on different community helpers and what they do for the community. Watching this video or downloading this app would be a good way to raise awareness of all the people who work together in your community.

When I talked to my son about this service project, his response was “hooray”! I can’t wait to get started on planning, and I hope all of you and your kids are excited too. Let’s all work together to make people feel acknowledged, loved, and supported. If you have any thoughts on this post, or if you have other ideas about how we can show love, please let us know. Also, if you are interested, click here to start a club of your own.  Thank you so much for reading, and let’s go love people on purpose.

 

Sara’s Story

Sara’s Story

Recently, I started following someone really inspirational on Instagram: @SaraSmilesJoyRides. She is a master at enacting and encouraging random acts of kindness, and I love following how she is changing the world, one gesture at a time. I’m honored that she agreed to guest post for us today. Check out her story below.

Sara’s Story

What you do matters. It’s something we all need to hear, sometimes even on our best days. So, this year, I made a New Year’s resolution that I intended to keep: I would take weekly “joy rides”. (Not to be confused with a speedy journey, but instead, a ride to bring joy via sweet treats, a gift card or any creative gesture that affirms worth.)

“Joy rides” are a grassroots effort to honor people…just because. They’re spontaneous, authentic gestures, that anyone can execute – all you need is a willing heart, some creativity and hopefully a cell phone to capture the moment.

SaraSmilesJoyRidesTo date, I’ve taken 16 “joy rides”, everywhere from a souvenir shop on the busiest end of tourist Orlando, through a toll booth and inside an emergency room. I firmly believe that birthdays and funerals aren’t the only time that people in my corner of the world should be recognized.

One of my favorite “joy rides” unfolded at a Wawa near The Walt Disney World Resort. I had purchased a gift card to give to someone, and while perusing the people at the pumps, my eyes fell on a mother with several young children playing in the car. I approached her, and shared my usual encouragement, and before I could even finish, her eyes welled up with tears. “You don’t know the day I’ve had,” she shared, “This means so much.” This woman I’ll probably never see again moved me to tears too.

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My list for future “joy rides” is growing every day, and little by little, friends and acquaintances are joining in, and adding “joy riders” to the fold. It’s humbling to see how little things can make a big difference! Here’s to changing the world, one “joy ride” at a time.

About Sara

Hailing from Northeast Ohio, Sara is a quirky bundle of sunshine who’s sure to spark a smile. She loves Converse tennis shoes, baby animals, musical moments and any avenue to brighten someone’s day. By day, she’s a writer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Her little yellow rocket ship (a FIAT) serves as the perfect joy mobile.

 

Follow @SaraSmilesJoyRides on Instagram and @TakeAJoyRide on Twitter for the latest “joy ride” updates, or add her blog, SaraSmiles.org, to your quick links. (Photography credit: Katelynn Carlson Photography)

thanks for reading

I hope you enjoyed Sara’s story as much as I did…what a great movement. Have you ever been part of a “joy ride”?  If so, we’d love to hear your story, and you can also follow Sara (and Family Service Club) on Instagram for ideas and inspiration. Also, if you are interested, click here to start a Family Service Club of your own. Thanks for reading, and let’s go love others on purpose.

Serving Children in Africa

Serving Children in Africa

Years ago, I was able to visit Kenya to serve African students for a week. Teaching pronouns to an attentive group, I developed a love for African children. The kids I met were joyful, kind, and funny. Since I’ve been a part of the Family Service Club, I’ve been trying to think of ways to help my kids gain awareness and compassion for children in 3rd world countries, and when a club member suggested this option, I jumped at the chance. This month we are supporting an awesome organization called Sole Hope that helps children in Africa by providing them with closed-toed shoes to protect their feet as well as teaching them to make shoes themselves. There are many ways for children and adults of all ages to get involved.

Want to do something like this in your area?

1. Go to Sole Hope’s Websitethey will get you started so you can host a shoe party.

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2. Invite friends over: ask them to bring any kids who are old enough to cut as well as some blue jeans. Sole Hope will provide you with a shoe-cutting kit that explains how to trace and cut your jeans so they can be made into shoes. Get to work! When you finish, send your cut-outs as well as $10 for each pair of shoes for shipping and assembly. Sole Hope will finish the process, and these shoes will help kids in Uganda from getting jiggers on their feet. If your friends can’t come, you can also mail or give them the pattern to cut out jeans at home.

3. Getting the littles involved: If you or your friends have younger kids, there are other ways they can get involved. My kids and I are going to have a lemonade stand to raise money to donate for shipping and assembly of shoes. We are also going to bake cookies for the volunteers meeting at the shoe party. My kids can’t cut well yet, but they can still help out!

4. Other options: If you are short on time or blue jeans, you can also donate to the organization itself. They accept money, as well as Foot Washing and Jigger Removal supplies and other items. Here is their wish list:

  • Stickers for the children
  • Large Safety Pins
  • Surgical Gloves
  • Cotton Balls
  • Medical Tape
  • Antibiotic Cream
  • Gauze
  • Band Aids

5. Share your Story: If you have a chance to work with your family to bless kids across the world, share your experience. You just might inspire someone else to get involved too.

Books

One thing I love about doing these projects is the opportunity to help my kids grow in awareness of the world. While I hope to travel on service trips with them eventually, right now, books are a great way to help them learn more about the world. Here are two books that I recommend:

1. A is for Africa by Ifeoma Onyefulu. This book is a beautiful way to help kids learn more about Africa and the people there.

2. We All Went on Safari by Laurie Krebs. This rhyming story is a fun way to talk about African names, animals, and climates.

Video

This is video shows a glimpse of what Sole Hope is doing in Africa and how the children respond. This is a great one to watch if you are thinking about hosting a shoe party.

To be honest, it is hard for me to think about the things that children in 3rd world countries are dealing with on a daily basis. I also have a hard time knowing how to help with young kids of my own at home. I can’t wait to participate in our upcoming party in a couple weeks, and I hope this will be the beginning of many more projects like this in the future. Do you know of any helpful organizations serving kids in impoverished countries? Do you have strategies that help your kids to be empathetic to situations and people far away? If so, please let us know. Also, if you are interested, click here to start a club of your own.  You can also follow us on Instagram for daily ideas on sharing kindness. Thank you so much for reading, and let’s go love people on purpose.

 

Sitting with them through the Pain

Sitting with them through the Pain

I wrote this post awhile ago, but I haven’t shared it for some reason. As I was rereading it today, I thought someone might need to hear it. Thankfully, I haven’t been changing as many sheets recently, but the main idea behind this post is still something that I need to remind myself of.

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On Saturday, my son woke up from his nap, ninja turtle sheets and shorts soaked with pee. Shortly after I dried him off, we were sitting at the counter discussing our afternoon plans. My husband told Paxton that we wouldn’t have time to go on a family outing that afternoon. Without any warning, my son broke down, I mean totally broke down. I haven’t heard him sob that loudly since he was little. The thing is, I don’t think he was crying because he couldn’t go to the beach. Unfortunately, the he has had several accidents during nap time at school recently, and I know he has been trying to play it cool, like it doesn’t bother him, but I know it does. He spent all of last week waking up embarrassed to be wet in front of his friends–I know this because his best friend mentioned it to me repeatedly. So, on Saturday, when he woke up wet again at home, he lost it. His sobs and screams pained my eardrums as I held him.

When he first started crying, I weakly started to ask “do you want to watch a video to help you calm down?” And then, I stopped myself. A mentor at church has been emphasizing the power of “sitting with our kids in their pain” instead of trying to distract them or take their pain away all the time. Apparently, this practice helps kids to become more resilient; it helps them learn how to calm themselves. Sitting with my son in his sadness was difficult for my heart and for my ears, but I tried to focus on how good it felt to hug him, and I tried to send him the message that he can let it all out at home. As much as I would love to, I can’t help his body to stop peeing while asleep, but I can hold him and help him feel supported as he deals with the difficulties of life.

I felt compelled to share this story to remind myself and others what true service can look like. We don’t always have to visit a homeless shelter to serve. Sometimes we just have to sit with others in their pain, to empathize, to hug, to hold.

I look forward to the day that I’m not washing sheets so frequently, but until then, I will try to love him with compassion and empathy. As Mother Teresa said, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”

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I love my son, and, often I try to distract him from his struggles or remove them if possible. Do you have any strategies that help you sit with your kids or others through their pain? If so, please share, and if you’d like daily ideas on sharing kindness, follow us on Instagram. Also, if you are interested, click here to start a Family Service Club of your own. Thanks for reading, and let’s go love others on purpose.

 

Pumpkin PB2 Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin PB2 Chocolate Chip Muffins

Although she is only 19 months, this morning my daughter gobbled up a large waffle and an egg. Her cute, protruding belly bears witness to her favorite pastime: eating. My son, on the other hand, is more selective about his eating, and since he randomly decided that he didn’t like eggs, I’ve been struggling to find ways to get protein into his diet, particularly his breakfast. To this end, I’ve modified a recipe that I love from some of my favorites, The Meal Makeover Moms. I’ve added some peanut butter in the form of PB2. If you haven’t tried this stuff, it is awesome. This super convenient powdered peanut butter is easy to add to the dry ingredients of any recipe. Of course, if you’ve got a nut allergy in the family, you can always substitute sunflower seed butter. You might be thinking that  the pumpkin/peanut butter combination sounds a bit odd, but trust me, along with providing great vitamin A and protein, this combo is delicious.  I’ve also made these muffins vegan since my husband is dairy-free. All of us love these muffins, and I hope you will too.

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Pumpkin PB2 Muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 2 tbsp. PB2 or peanut butter (or more if you like)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup 100% pure pumpkin
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or sugar of choice)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (or oil of choice)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life vegan chocolate chips (you could also substitute dried cranberries if you want to leave out chocolate chips)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini-muffin tin with coconut oil spray (or whatever nonstick spray you like)

2. Combine the flour, flaxseed, PB2 (if using regular peanut butter, save for step 3), baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.

3. In a different bowl, combine pumpkin, egg, applesauce, coconut sugar, almond milk, oil, and vanilla.

4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients.

5. Stir in chocolate chips.

6. Place batter into muffin tins. Bake 15-18 minutes. Enjoy!

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AN UNCONVENTIONAL WAY TO SERVE YOUR FAMILY

Here at Family Service Club, we focus on service. Sometimes we serve others with our families, and sometimes we serve people in our family. When I have time, I love serving my kids by baking them treats that are relatively healthy. I’ve made many, but this is the most requested and loved. If you try this recipe, please let me know what you think, and if you’d like daily ideas on sharing kindness, follow us on Instagram. Also, if you are interested, click here to start a Family Service Club of your own, or if you live in the Conejo Valley area, we’d love to have you join our local chapter. Thanks for reading, and let’s go love others on purpose.

 

 

 

The Magic of Tidying

The Magic of Tidying

I know what you are thinking: seriously, another person is talking about this book? Yes, yes, I am. Like many others, I’ve been reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. You may have heard mixed reviews, but I’d like to share my thoughts with you as I’ve been obsessed with this book (and Kondo’s decluttering method) recently.

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When we moved into our home a few years ago, my son was a toddler, and we didn’t have time or energy to organize our house very well. Since then, my daughter was born, and things have gotten even more chaotic in our home. As a result, we didn’t really have a working organizational system, and there was clutter everywhere. Of course, it was contained clutter, multiple “junk” drawers and overflowing cabinets. As a working mom who isn’t awesome at large-scale cleaning projects, I had no idea where or how to start tidying up.

Enter Marie Kondo’s book. When I started reading it, I was immediately convicted that I needed to start discarding. She asks her clients (and readers) to get rid of items that don’t “spark joy.” Although time-consuming, this method of decluttering is surprisingly easy and intuitive, and I found myself able to give away things that I have held onto for years.

I’ve also benefited from her admonition to assign everything a specific place. Now that I have fewer items, and now that my shoes, t-shirts, and hair ties have a place, maintaining order seems much more manageable.

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And although I don’t always relate to her emotional connection with material objects, I like her practice of “thanking” her items for their service when she puts them away. This practice of gratitude has helped me have a better attitude while folding laundry.

For about five consecutive nights, my husband came out of my son’s room after putting him down to find me systematically going through drawers, cabinets, and closets. I made some big messes on my way to tidiness, but I can say without a doubt that it has been worth it. I honestly feel more comfortable in my home, and although I’m not totally done organizing, I can see a huge improvement already.

If you are already super organized, you probably don’t need this book, but if you have even one or two chaotic closets or drawers, this book may just revolutionize your home life. I found it to be life-changing.

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AN UNCONVENTIONAL WAY TO SERVE YOUR FAMILY

As I’ve mentioned before, one way my husband and I serve each other (and our kids) is by trying to keep the house relatively clean and clutter-free. My family and I have both benefited from the Konmari tidying method described in this book, and I hope yours will too.  Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?  Do you have any strategies you use to organize your house? Please share them with us, and if you’d like daily ideas on sharing kindness, follow us on Instagram. Also, if you are interested, click here to start a Family Service Club of your own. Thanks for reading, and let’s go love others on purpose.