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Large Family Gift-Giving

Do you find yourself spending way more money than you want to spend on Christmas gifts for the “larger” families in your life? I always overspend my budget when shopping for my sisters and their families, because they all have multiple kiddos, plus I like to get presents for the grown-ups too. This year, I’m going with (1) family “have fun” baskets, (2) family memberships, and (3) restaurant gift cards, gifts that everyone will dig. I look forward to saving money on individual gifts.

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Discipline Your Child with Time IN

Sure you’ve heard of Time Out, but have you heard of Time In? It’s a positive disciplinary tool that’s starting to make its rounds in the parenting world. Unlike the traditional Time Out method, Time In does not send the child away, off to some lonely, dusty corner of the room or some remote area of civilization! In fact, studies have shown that the old-style Time Out technique can leave a child feeling abandoned and rejected, and often confused. If you give this idea some thought, you might find it easy to draw this same conclusion.  That’s why I was excited to learn about Time IN -  a good alternative to Time Out. Here’s the gist: 

When your child is having a difficult time behaving or obeying, request that he comes to sit or stand somewhere near you. This requirement likely moves him away from any “trouble” he’s currently into, and it allows him to settle down and reflect on negative behaviors, all the while still being accepted and loved by you. You can hold his hand, sit him on your lap, require that he stands next to you while you finish washing dishes, etc., as long as you’re bringing him in rather than pushing him out. As mom, feel free to continue your current activity – a phone conversation, knitting, loading the dishwasher – with  little one nearby, but eventually make time to address the details of the situation.

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Your Family's Cinco de Mayo

Are you having a fiesta for Cinco de Mayo? As a mom who homeschools, I always intend on doing something really cool for the holiday, and then it comes and goes so quickly that I forget! This year, I’ve begun planning early. I see bright colors, Mexican food and music, hat-making and more in my future. Are you interested in doing something fun and cultural for your family for Cinco de Mayo too? Whether it’s an evening time dinner celebration or an all-day extravaganza, these are some ideas to help you pull it off.

Nachos for all! 

Even if you don’t know your way around a kitchen, Tex-Mex is an easy cuisine to put together. A taco salad, nachos (melted Velveeta cheese mixed with milk Rotel, and add ground beef if you’d like), enchiladas (they’re super easy to make!), tacos, perhaps some margaritas for the big kids, tamales, and the list goes on. Cinco de Mayo is the perfect day to make your famous homemade guacamole (or if you don’t make your own, pick up the delicious stuff at H-E-B). You might also consider grabbing a party pack of fajitas from Lupe Tortilla, Chili’s, Pappasito’s or your favorite Mexican restaurant.

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Strike up the convo – Here are 5 Mommy-Friendly tips to help you meet other moms

Some women are natural conversation starters, and some of us need more help. If you want to know how to make small talk with strangers,  WoodlandsMommy.com has some tips for you! Here are 4 mommy-friendly ways to strike up a great conversation with just about anybody, whether you're super shy or bursting with confidence.

Conversation Tip # 1: Introduce Yourself.
This is one of the simplest ways to strike up a conversation. Be straightforward yet friendly. Walk up to the person with a smile and introduce yourself. Relax and let everything else follow. This strategy works even for those who are not as confident as others. Just make sure you know what to say next before making your move. For example, once the person introduces himself or herself back, you can ask them a question like "So how do you know the birthday boy?" or “How long has your daughter been dancing here?”

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"Keeping It Simple" - Editor's Post

This summer, with my husband being out of a job, God has gifted our family with the magic of a dwindling bank account. And what a gift it is.

"How are you keeping your kids busy this summer?" my friends want to know.

Well, truthfully, I'm not. These days, we aren't keeping "busy" much at all.

And I've never been more convinced that by not having a summer of frills and thrills planned for the girls, they're developing in incredible ways. They're sewing pillows, entertaining us with math riddles and brainteasers, building forts, having tea parties with their stuffed animals, writing short stories (more than 20 combined since the beginning of June), experimenting in the kitchen, and more.

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