How to Respond to Whining and Model Behavior

I have heard people teach that the best way to encourage your child to read is for them to see you reading. I have heard the same concept about eating healthy, and being eager to learn or try new things, or being active… The list goes on and on. Children are very in tune to our actions and especially when they are younger they are going to mimic our behavior. It is safe to say that actions truly do speak louder than words and the best way to lead is by example.

The way you demonstrate self control and self regulation to your children will determine what they give back to you. 

OUCH! I have a hard time with this, especially when we are running late. Is it even humanly possible to be a positive example when we are running late?

As hard as it is, it is still an important reminder that no matter how much you try to train, teach, or bombard your child with these learning opportunities it isn’t going to amount to much unless it means something to you and you are living it out. One of my favorite quotes is from Naomi Wolf and it says

“A mother who radiates self-love and self-acceptance actually vaccinates her daughter against low self-esteem.”

I hear so many mother’s say they don’t want their daughters to be insecure like they are. So they lavish their little girls with compliments and then turn around and talk about their own bodies in a  way that is degrading. This method is INEFFECTIVE! You can’t just talk the talk honey, you have got to walk the walk.

My 2 year old is at the stage where he copies everything we say. EVERYTHING. It definitely makes us more aware of our words. My 4 year old, who is deaf, is more in tune to facial expressions so sometimes when I am trying to communicate with her it is like looking in a mirror. This video is from a  while ago, and I know I look ridiculous, but it shows what I am talking about.

How comfortable are you with your children mirroring your actions? All of this just continues with one of the main themes of Teachable Parenting, which is that we set the tone in our home by the kind of environment we create. One of my favorite techniques that I read from Love and Logic is “I will respond when your voice sounds like mine”. This is an extremely helpful line to use with screaming or whining. Not only does it defuse the situation by giving them simple instructions, but it’s always a reminder for me that Oh yeah, I have to watch my voice too! If I bark at them and scream “I said I would respond when your voice sounds like miiiiine!!!” Then that would defeat the purpose wouldn’t it? So it keeps me in check and it also reminds me that I am an example to them. This is also why I have a hard time saying don’t hit followed by a little swat on the diaper. I’ve done it, but the message seems conflicting.

Again, this is why it is so important to discipline with empathy and respect because you are showing your child how they deserve to be treated and how they should be interacting with others (remember the idea that you teach them what their inner voice sounds like). Teachable Parenting is about bringing a culture of honor into the homeThat doesn’t mean you are not in charge.

Modeling the ideal behavior is not going to happen over night, and we’ll never be perfect. For now I totally recommend trying that tip.

“I will be happy to respond when your voice sounds like mine.” It’s worth a try.


This post was originally written on October 13th, 2014 as a part of the 31 Day series Teachable Parenting.

By |October 2nd, 2015|Parenting Tips|1 Comment

Taking a Break From the 31 Day Challenge

In 2013 I joined up with a large group of bloggers who committed to write on one topic everyday for 31 days in October. It was an amazing experience. I did again last year. So much good has come out of both of these series.

The first was Lots of Hope in a Little Home which was about our family of 5 living in less than 800 square feet.


This series has encouraged and impacted more people than I could have ever possibly imagined! I give glory to God for using what could have been a very rotten time in our life and turning it into something to help so many.

The next series was Teachable Parenting.


Thanks to this series I have been able to connect with many other women for networking, prayer, and encouragement. I still hear wonderful feedback about Teachable Parenting and I plan to make a book based off of it one day.

I know I sound like I am being overly dramatic, but if it were not for the 31 day challenge my blog and therefor my life would be different than what it is today. That’s the truth.

This year I had a topic. I had written down many ideas and started drafting and outlining. I signed up and was ready to go. Then I started to pray and consider whether or not that is what I was supposed to be doing right now. It’s a lot of work you guys! In response I felt like the Lord started leading me in another direction and focus for October and since then I have just had a peace about not participating in 31 Days. So as much as I love everything about 31 Days, I called it quits for this year.

That doesn’t mean that it’s going to be totally quiet around here though . I will be sharing my Bella Gravida maternity outfits for What I Wore Wednesday and I have another really awesome guest post opportunity. I also still plan to share a couple posts about Taming the Sugar Monster (which is what my series would have been) along with a mini series (probably a week long) called  Things I Want to Teach My Children Sooner. I am super pumped about that series and I think you’ll be inspired too.

There are still over a thousand women (and maybe a few men) writing for 31 days on some really cool topics. You can see all the categories and bloggers HERE. I encourage you to look around. There really is something for everybody.

Even though I am bowing out this year I am still excited about October and looking forward to these next 31 days!

By |October 1st, 2015|My Life, Uncategorized|9 Comments

Update on Baby #4

Yesterday I was trying to remember how many weeks pregnant I am.

Thirty-two. The answer is THIRTY-TWO! I feel like everything is hitting me all at once. I really want to meet and hold my baby. I can’t wait to see the excitement and joy of my other three children to get to meet their sister.

I am also nervous though. There is still so much left to do and even though this will be my 4th natural birth I am also a little scared about the labor and the post partum period. I love pregnancy and babies and all the emotional miraculous stuff that goes along with it, but it’s hard work. I always compare it to running a marathon, which for the record I have never done. You train, you prepare, you have great expectations. You love running (again this is just hypothetical none of this applies to me) and there is nothing that compares to the feeling you get when your first foot crosses over that finish line, but there are times of exhaustion that make you think you are crazy for trying. Times you need a cheerleader and a second wind.

Things are moving along though. J and I went to an orientation class at the birth center.  I was amazed at how geared toward natural birth it is. It’s actually within a hospital so I expected it to be a little bit more mainstream, but it wasn’t. Which I liked. The one thing I was shocked about was that they don’t allow video during births! I don’t know if it’s a legal issue or what. This was the one birth I was going to video tape and it’s the one birth where it is not allowed! Out of all the things to be frustrated about though, that isn’t really a big deal.

After the orientation we explored the city and made a date out of it. The last time we went on a date was in March when we took the pregnancy test so we were long overdue.


All of these photos are ones that J took that day. So these are the most current pics I have of my belly which is getting huge.


I am feeling really great. Lots of fetal movement. We have a name and it’s really hard for me not to say anything, but with only 7 weeks to go I’m going to hold off. I get the normal braxton hicks. Call me a weirdo, but I’ve always liked braxton hicks. It’s an empowering feeling to me, but as I already mentioned this time around they scare me just a little because my mind starts racing with the reality of it all. The baby is already head down so as long as she doesn’t flip that’s one thing less to worry about.

My iron is still really low and I do not want to give too much info, but if you don’t like to hear about gory pregnancy details you can stop here.

I have been trying to be good about taking my perscribed iron supplements (which they have now doubled the dosage on), but they make me constipated so that is really annoying. I asked my midwife what I could do and there was a range of answers, none of which I wrote down or have yet to try so I guess I can’t complain.

I should be getting my Bella Gravida maternity clothes in the mail soon and then I am going to bombard you all with tons of baby bump pictures because before you know it the baby bump will be gone and I’ll be able to bend down and pick stuff up again. I know most women can’t wait to be done with pregnancy, but it’s bittersweet. I am just trying to take it all in.


By |September 30th, 2015|My Life, Pregnancy & Birth|7 Comments

Farm Party Menu

farm party menu

I didn’t have time to get pictures of all the food because I was running so far behind schedule and luckily it was so delicious (thanks mom) that it went fast. Also, I spent the night before the party cleverly designing a bunch of witty printable labels which I was going to use clothes pins to display throughout the party (because I am just that crafty), but my printer ran out of ink. I should have planned all of this out better and had everything done sooner. I guess I can’t be in the pinterest perfect club after all. Oh well.

Here are what the printables** would have looked like. farm party menu

Label for the Pigs in a Blanket-


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Label for the Deviled Eggs-


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Label for cheese tray-

Cheese food label


Label for the hay stacks-


Label for the Chicken Salad-


sheepThis last label was for the wheel barrel where the presents and goody bags went. So they would have been cute, but there are always some aspects of the planning that fall through. At least I get to share them on here! 

Now for those that are interested in the actual food menu recipe links here you go!

Veggie Plate

Deviled Eggs

Little Pigs in a Blanket

Michigan Chicken Salad*

Corn on the Cob


Pig Cupcakes

John Deere Cupcakes

Hay Stacks


This was a fun menu to put together and it’s easy because most of our food (hopefully) comes from farms anyway so that helps.  Oh, and one last frugal tip is to fill a basket with fruits and vegetables that still have vines on them like they just came from the farm. For example tomatoes, carrots, pumpkins, and corn with the husk still on. You can use them as decoration, but still eat it after the party is over.

I hope some of these ideas are helpful for anyone planning an event similar to this. I’ll be sharing more party details soon!


*** I use pinterest when preparing for parties. All of this and tons more are on my pinterest boards. If you want to follow me my account is Messy Mom

** The graphics for the printables were all original Messy Mom designs, let me know if you are interested in any files. I get my fonts from and the images are from Pixabay and Open Clip Art Vectors

I can’t give the recipe to the Michigan Chicken Salad because it’s my best friend’s secret recipe and she has a restaurant so it really would be like giving away the farm. However, I substituted using the increments from this recipe and tripled it to feed 20 people if that helps.

By |September 29th, 2015|Crafts, Frugal Living, Parties|3 Comments

I Dream of Pig Parties

“I think I’ll combine the boys birthday this year and just keep it really simple because it’s going to be so close to when the baby is due.”

I distinctly remember having that conversation with my family. Z and Ezie’s birthdays are less than a month apart and I DO have a lot going on, but what can I say? I love to party!

Here are some behind the scenes details about the Ezie’s third birthday this weekend.

The original idea was Three Little Pigs theme which I thought of last year (these are the kind of things I think about when I can’t sleep). Since Ezie is turning three it seemed fitting, but the idea has evolved into more of a full blown farm theme with some 3 Little Pig touches.

First I inquired amongst friends and family for hay, costumes, decorations… anything farm related that I could borrow (trying to keep costs low here). It was looking pretty bleak, until I called my aunt who is not on Facebook and she had so many awesome things that I will be integrating.


Not to mention I got to visit her in the country while the leaves were falling AHHHH, and Ezie got to feed a horse and pony and pet some other animals. It was like a mini surprise before his birthday even started.

Next I looked everywhere for farm theme party stuff. I spent the day going from Party City to numerous craft stores with Ezie in tow and I was exhausted. I made one final stop at a random Dollar Store and JACKPOT! I found farm theme party paper goods and for $1. I was stoked.


One of the 3 Little Pigs idea I had was to have a “House Building Contest” where families team up using cardboard boxes. So I called up my local Kroger which really came through for me when I needed free boxes for packing. This round was a little small than I had hoped, but I was grateful and hauled a load home. Then J told me they have tons of huge boxes where he works (the place he started this week) and he brought some home yesterday.What are the odds!?


Lastly, my aunt had an old saddle that she just wanted to give to us. So J joined in with his creativity by crafting a wooden “saw horse” so that the kids can sit on the saddle.


Needless to say I did not keep things simple this year, but it’s all coming together and I feel great about it. Ezie didn’t have a party last year and he is about to loose his status as baby of the family so what better time to celebrate him. Not to mention I just love autumn and farms, so this is very therapeutic for me. I am just really looking forward to the family time. I think it’s going to be fun for all ages. After this I’ll be ready to get down to business because before you know it our latest addition will be arriving!

By |September 25th, 2015|Frugal Living, My Life, Parties|4 Comments

Mini Van!? Help!

What is significant about September 24th? For me it’s that my due date is November 24th and that means 2 months from now I will more than likely be holding my baby girl. So things are starting to get real and now that J has a job, getting a mini van is our next priority.

I love my Toyota Highlander, but we cannot legally pack one more child into my car. 


So it’s time to upgrade! We haven’t even started the hunt yet, but we have some ideas in mind. 


We bought J’s 2000 Toyota 4Runner in 2007. It’s hard to believe we weren’t even parents yet in this photo, but I was pregnant with Z. J just recently hit the 300,00 mile mark on his car and we’ve been very happy with it. Out of our two vehicles it’s the only one with a tow package and we own a trailer, so this is our truck and we do not intend to trade it in anytime soon.


About a year after falling in love with the 4Runner we bought my 2002 Toyota Highlander, which my husband refers to as the “glorified minivan”. That’s what he calls any SUV that isn’t really sport utility material.

All though it’s seen better days aesthetically (thanks to my messy clan) I have loved this little gem we found on Craig’s List 8 years ago.


Needless to say we are Toyota fans and so we would like to stay in the Toyota family for this next upgrade. We also have had success with purchasing USED, but staying around 6 or 7 years old. So we are thinking about a 2008ish Toyota Sienna minivan. We aren’t set on that though! A Honda would probably be our next choice in make, and it doesn’t have to be a minivan, but you would really have to talk me out it. I look forward to the day the doors slide open and I don’t have to panic about my children leaving dents in the unfortunate cars parked next to us. Also, gas milage and safety rating are things I definitely like to consider.

So I would love any and all feedback about vans, brands, amenities, you name it. Both of our cars are paid off and we like it that way so we’re definitely wanting to keep things somewhat simple while still upgrading. Because if things continue the way they’ve been going for us we won’t be thinking about another car for a close to a decade. It’s such a big decision! Alright, let me hear your thoughts and I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

By |September 24th, 2015|My Life, Simple Living|11 Comments

The Next Big Thing In Maternity Fashion

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Bella Gravida. I received a complimentary subscription and promotional item to thank me for my participation. 


Today I am 31 weeks pregnant and at a time when I should be feeling my most BLAH, I am actually ready to rock this baby bump like never before because I get chance to introduce to all of you a brand new revolutionary service for renting maternity clothes.


You can find all the latest fashion available in maternity styles at It’s brilliant really. Why spend tons of money on something that you are getting such a limited use out of!?  

1782045_599311656836084_7477942312591678720_n Bella Gravida means Beautifully Pregnant in Italian and I am starting a subscription service that will last through the remainder of my pregnancy. So get ready for lots of photos because in October I’ll be blowing up my IG feed and Messy Mom accounts with all the fun stuff I find!

The cool thing about renting through Bella Gravida is that there is a flat monthly fee with plans starting as low as $39 a month.


It’s free shipping, unlimited exchanges, and thousands of designer maternity AND nursing outfits. So you can utilize the service from the time you are barely showing all the way to wearing maternity/nursing clothes after the baby is born. By the way, if you are a first time expectant mother be prepared to still wear maternity clothes for a while after the baby is born. It’s completely normal!

The best part is there are no return deadlines, you get unlimited exchanges, and laundry service is included. Do I need to keep going? I don’t think so, although I could because there is more. I’ll just let you go to and see for yourself. 11012779_687274231373159_8235411844444194926_o

By |September 22nd, 2015|Pregnancy & Birth|12 Comments


I have a major announcement that has been years in the making. Today is a big day for our family and it makes me so happy to get to share this with all of you.

I know that most of you have already heard our story probably 10 times over, but I also have so many new readers and subscribers so I’ll try to get everyone caught up with a tiny little nutshell version of the past 4 years.


In 2011 we felt the Lord laying it on our hearts to move across the country to Kentucky which is where I am originally from. J left his job as a worship pastor and we said goodbye to our church family that had been there for us since we got married in 2000! It was a HUGE leap of faith unlike anything we had ever experienced. We sold our house and many of our belongings and at the beginning of 2012 the four of us moved in with my parents almost a thousand miles away from what we had always known as home.

The next month we found out about our surprise pregnancy (with Ezie), and the month after that we learned that SJ was deaf. Fast forward to 2013 where we moved in with my brother and his wife in Northern Kentucky so that SJ could go to a special school. Not long after that we moved to Ohio.


Through all of this J did what he could to provide for our family. He worked many different freelance or temp jobs over the years, but nothing substantial. Nothing that was going to be a long term solution for our growing family. So J went back to school for his computer programming degree and it has been a very intense season, but he really flourished in all of his technical classes and aside from some co-op hours he recently completed his degree.

It’s been a James 1 season of trials and testing. I think back over the past 4 years and I could just about pass out because it’s so overwhelming, BUT GOD. He has been so faithful and I could tell endless stories of provision. Just one of many example is how J had the opportunity to be an interim worship leader at a time when we really needed that job while J was in school full time. It looked like it was coming to close at the absolute perfect time because J was finishing school. Except then a couple months went by without getting any legitimate job offers.


So J met with his professor who is a christian and asked for guidance. His professor told him to hold out for just one more month. He said to J, Maybe God is giving you this chance to have a break in-between school and work to be able to make up for some lost time that you need to reconnect with your family. You could trust Him and enjoy this or waste it all panicking and taking matters into your own hands. 

During that season, all of the kids school fees, clothes, backpacks etc. have been miraculously provided and we got a free months rent for chopping down a tree in the backyard and a relative sent a check in the mail not knowing any of what we are going through! We also have been able to spend time together as a family and I’ve seen some really positive effects in Z’s life thanks to getting some much overdue father-son time. It has been AMAZING!

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Then on Friday J did a follow up meeting with a company that was hiring a web developer and they offered him a job!

When he told me the news there was some jumping up and down. There were some happy tears. There was some Praise You Jesus being lifted up! So today J took off to go to work with some amazing people that we know were divinely placed in our lives.


There have been so many times throughout the past 4 years that I have blogged about our situation and I have reached out for prayer and encouragement. I have repeatedly cried We need a miracle. It’s hard to take anything for granted when you go through what we’ve been through and my heart is full of gratitude.


Of course there is a lot more to it. It’s not like that’s a wrap. The end. We’re all set! But it is a big breakthrough and I can’t go on without declaring His goodness.


By |September 21st, 2015|My Life|24 Comments

More Laundry Headed My Way

With a family 5 I do my fair share of laundry, and I am about to do even more.

First of all I’ve got these itty bitty baby girl clothes to wash.

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Aside from the items I got from Carter’s all of this stuff came from a yard sale I went to last weekend. They had a two year old girl that was born in the winter so the stuff was perfect for our baby. The deal was all you could stuff in a grocery sack for $5. Well, call me Doc McSTUFFINS. I was all over it and now we should be set for the first 3 months of clothes.

I am also excited about pulling out the cloth diapers again. Every time you use a cloth diaper the cost per wear goes down and that makes the pay off for the initial investment even better. My cloth diaper stash paid for themselves a long time ago so now it’s just the cost of soap, water, and electricity.

And get this, the cost of soap and dryer time is even lower now since I’ve discovered Eco Nuts.

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I had never heard of this unique product before, but they sent me some stuff to try and it’s perfect timing for me! I’m not going to lie I normally just pick up whatever is on sale when I’m grocery shopping. The one time I am picky about my detergent is when I have baby. I don’t want to ruin the absorbency of my cloth diapers and I don’t want to irritate the delicate newborn skin so I have always been particular about what I use with a newborn.

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Despite the name and the appearance of Eco Nuts they are not really nuts. Though they are called soap nuts they are actually berries from a Sapindus mukorossi (Soap Berry) tree in the Himalayas. Inside the shell of these berries is something called saponin which is a natural cleaning agent that truly does work as a laundry detergent. I have been trying it for a couple months now and I don’t know if I am still used to how out of the ordinary it is, but it does get clothes clean.

You just put 4 or 5 berries in the little sack that is provided and you use the same berries up to ten times.

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They have a guide on their website that is more specific. Don’t worry you don’t have to keep a chalk board and tally each time you use one, you will be able to tell by the way the berries look.

I also got to try out their liquid detergent and wool dryer balls.


I LOVE the dryer balls because I am pretty much a fan of anything reusable. Also the kids have gotten a kick out of helping with the laundry since I’ve incorporated balls and soap nuts.

Now for the downsides. I know it’s natural and all, but I do miss that artificial perfumy smell that comes with liquid soap and dryer sheets, but I would have gone perfume free when the baby came anyway.I always do.

I also don’t particularly like the hassle of having to make sure I don’t throw the berries in the dryer. HOWEVER, there is a solution to both of these legitimate complaints.

  1. You can add essential oils to the dryer balls if you want fragrance and then you get to pick exactly what scent you want!
  2. The bags usually fall to the bottom of the load on their own making them easy to find (like coins). However it is possible that they could get tangled in with the clothes especially if you are like me and toss your wet clothes into the dryer by the arm full. If you do accidentally dry your soap nuts it’s not going to hurt anything. I have only done it twice. So out of all the benefits of Eco Nuts that really is a small inconvenience.

There is so much more I could say about these products and if you are like me you probably have some questions. The Eco Nuts website is full of information. They have videos, savings comparison chart, cloth diaper details, and local retailers (which makes even more savings when you don’t have to pay shipping). Speaking of savings, right now there is a offer that allows you to get 10% off with the coupon code EcoFall2015 .

If you want to know more go to . It’s all very fascinating and worth looking into even if you don’t decide to go the organic soap nut route. I am looking forward to see how it works with the baby clothes and cloth diapers and I’ll be sure to keep you posted.IMG_4800

Our Pretty Little Girls

This was my status update last night on Facebook.

“Today Sedona found a penny and two nickels. Tonight when she prayed she said “Dear Jesus, thank you me find three dollars so I can go shopping in Jesus name.”


Now for a little bit of background to this story that will make sense to those that follow my blog.

Here is an excerpt from something I wrote a few weeks ago

“when my three kids are going to sleep (they share a room for now) I lie there in the dark with them for a while and Ezie says he wants to pray. After he finishes he wants his sister to take a turn. I tell him SJ can’t hear us right now because she doesn’t have her implants. If it were light it would be different because she reads lips so well, and with her implants she is just communicating non stop, but the next night we went through the same thing and Ezie said SJ needed to get her implants.”

The good news is since writing that I realized I needed to be more intentional about this special time of prayer with the kids. It’s kind of embarrassing. It’s not that I have never prayed aloud with SJ in 5 1/2 years. She knows what prayer is. But between bath time, pajama time, and her own exhaustion the cochlear implants are always off before we do bedtime prayers and because she just now has started really talking I never thought about having her pray out loud other than a “repeat after me” type prayer. Anyway, all that to say as we are going through our evening routine and wrapping up story time we do prayer time before she shuts down her hearing for the night.

Even though I know she doesn’t quite understand yet, she has had some fun little prayers such as “God is great, God is good. Merry Christmas. The end.” I know that each word blesses the Fathers heart and it makes me so happy too.

I just wanted to share that breakthrough and document how one of her very first prayer was about shopping (in Jesus name). So cute. Raising girls is truly a different ballgame than boys.

Today I have the opportunity to write about our story and share some encouragement that I have learned through SJ’s journey.


The guest post is featured on Our Pretty Little Girls and I would love it if you stopped by and said hello.


By |September 17th, 2015|Family, Special Needs|2 Comments