Bedtime Theater Winner #1

I love giving away fun stuff! If you don’t see your name below….stay tuned…..
Because I’m giving away TWO MORE of these amazing gift packages from Goodnight’s Bedtime Theater valued at $175 in the next couple of months!

Congrats to Michelle of I Don’t Believe in Grammar!!!

Make sure you check out the Bedtime Theater Iggy’s Next Adventure contest! Help write the next chapter in Iggy’s great adventure and you could win a $2500 trip for your own family adventure!

How [NOT] to Kill a Bug

I am not scared of bugs.
I am also not a fan.
I don’t harbor ill will towards the multi-legged creatures, I just don’t want to live with them.
My problem is not in the killing of a bug, it’s in the crunch. I simply cannot stand to hear (or feel) the crunching under my shoe. It makes me shudder. [Shuddering now just typing the word].
So. On Saturday, my hubby went across town to pick up our camera from a repair shop and that’s when the biggest, baddest, CRUNCHIEST water bug decided to come out of hiding. I’m not kidding, it was the size of mouse.
In moments like these, my seven year old son likes to be the man of the house. I called him in to do the job and when he saw the massive creature, he started screaming like a girl. And I know girl screams.
My toddler and oldest daughter joined in (the screaming), while I randomly yelled and waved my arms around, “kill it! kill it!”
The man of the house grabbed the broom and whacked it a few times. I think the bug liked it and said “a little to the left.” Every time it moved, more screaming ensued.
It ran under the washing machine and I grabbed my camera because such Saturday entertainment must be digitally recorded.
Here’s the trap my kids set up:

According to my kids: The broom was placed to block the way of said giant bug. It could also be used to sweep it into Abe Lincoln’s top hat. My toddler went and got Febreeze from the kitchen which she deemed “bug spray.” I tried to convince them to get shoes on to crunch it, but they take after their mother [shudder].
So, they waited.
Here’s what I captured when the bug came out:
Oh, and my toddler got so excited she aimed the Febreeze and squirted herself right in the eye. Maybe her mother should put down the Flip video camera.
Of course, the bug ran back under the washing machine and is still mocking us……
And probably waiting for it’s next surprise appearance when my hubby leaves for work in the morning.

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I Don’t Want My Children to Be Happy– Every parent needs to read this.

This baby needs a MIRACLE-will you stop what you’re doing and pray for her today?
Quest for Compassion-this is such a great online game for kids that teaches them about global poverty and how to have a compassionate heart for the poor. My kids fight for a turn to play!
Pick a Brick Lego Necklaces-my kid’s Etsy shop
Women at Risk– eye-opening information on women in the US being trafficked.

DIFO Project #3 World’s Largest NERF Party

(DIFO Project #2 is still going on, there is still time to cut out shapes with your kids for African Sunday School classes! This needs to be sent to me by the end of February).
I am thrilled to be a part of next month’s (March) do-it-for-others project! Several months ago, I received an email from a mom. She had stumbled upon an old post about my son’s Nerf birthday party.
She was in the early stages of planning a party of her own, but not a birthday party. I learned that her 7 year old son, Mason, had been fighting cancer since he was 2 years old, five long years. He is just finishing his last round of oral chemotherapy and he wanted to celebrate this huge accomplishment with his family, friends and town. (You can read this beautiful post by Mason’s mother to learn more about this amazing boy).
His dream is to have The World’s Largest Nerf party. Mason’s mom asked me if I had any ideas. Why, yes, yes, I do. Because I know some amazing people, my blog readers love doing stuff for others!
Thru the power of Twitter, I found a Nerf representative and she hooked them up for their local Nerf party on March 20:
Mason’s mom has worked so hard on making the local party a success. But in order to make it THE WORLD’S LARGEST PARTY, we need YOUR help.
On Friday, March 19, I’m going to be hosting a linky party in Mighty Mason’s honor for you to link up pictures/post about your own family/friends NERF PARTY. You can just include your own family or get friends and neighbors to join you in a battle.
Not only will you help make one special little boy’s DREAM come true, all the participants in the MARCH 19th LINKY will be entered to win some VERY COOL Nerf products!
This can be as simple as a Nerf battle between your kids or a big party for the neighborhood!

(Ages 8 years & up/Approximate Retail Price: $39.99/Available: Fall 09)

Gear up and go with the new NERF DART TAG FURYFIRE 2-Player Set. Complete with two new rapid-fire FURYFIRE blasters featuring auto-advance barrels that hold ten darts, two redesigned scoring vests, two sets of VISION GEAR eyewear and 20 DART TAG DARTS, the NERF DART TAG FURYFIRE 2-Player Set inspires engaging, energetic team play.


(Ages 8 years & up/Approximate Retail Price: $34.99/Available: Fall 09)

You’ll have to use your stealth and speed to win NERF’s adrenaline-pumping twist on capture the flag. Complete with two redesigned scoring vests, two STORMFIRE blasters, six DART TAG DARTS and a new Electronic Flag, the NERF DART TAG CAPTURE THE FLAG Set offers an advanced way to enjoy classic DART TAG action.

If you don’t have a blog, I’d still love for you to participate! Just email me a picture of your party and I’ll post it on my blog!
You can also send Mason a Congratulations card to this address:
Mighty Mason
7334 S Shawnee St
Aurora, CO 80016

Let’s unite on March 19th RIGHT HERE for a Nerf Linky party to make this a very special event for Mason!
Please leave a comment if you’ll be able to take a few pictures/write a post to link up/ to help Mason celebrate.

Encouraging Our Children to Face Fear {Giant Giveaway}

I’m not sure if it’s genetic or some parental accident, but both my older kids (and I expect my preschooler to follow) have gone through separation anxiety.
And I’m not just talking about the kind that babies experience when Mommy tries to drop them off at the church nursery. Because there’s that. But also a season of extreme fear-fear of being left (like while I’m at the mailbox in the front yard), being forgotten (accidentally leaving them somewhere), or just simply never coming back.
I like to think they just really like us.
But I know this fear is very real, nearly paralyzing. As a parent, I cannot imagine doing any of the above. I’ve assured, convinced, promised and reminded. For my oldest, this terrible time was healed with the exchange of special necklaces-two halves that equaled a whole. Whenever we were going to be apart, we would both wear them. My girl would touch her necklace and instantly be reminded that it was a promise. I would return.
Although my son is in the middle of this season, he is facing his fear head on. He knows with his head that we will be there and he’s learning it with his heart. He is being very brave and even wants to go to summer church camp. He’s tackling his fears.
I’m so proud of my children. They are learning to conquer their fears, one at a time.
This is one of life’s difficult lessons. There are so many on the road to growing up. I’d like to introduce you to a new resource that is there to help during those bumpy times: Bedtime Theater.
Tell me something your kids (or you) are trying to overcome (or have) and you’ll be entered to win this:
  • 2GB Silver iPod Shuffle
  • Logitech Speakers
  • $25 iTunes Gift Card
  • Brookstone Cuddle Blanket
  • Patagonia Bag
A prize package worth approximately $175
Click here to read more about Bedtime Theater Iggy’s Next Adventure contest! Help write the next chapter in Iggy’s great adventure and you could win a $2500 trip for your own family adventure!
Goodnights offers trusted resources including the NightLite Panel discussion boards and information.
Disclaimer: I have partnered with GoodNites® Sleep Pants for the Bedtime Theater program. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program, which includes developing the Iggy’s Next Adventure story, sharing the program information with my readers, tweeting my blog entry and judging the Iggy’s Next Adventure contest entries. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive sentiments towards the GoodNites® products.

He Said/She Said (6): To Every Woman Who Walks This Road

She Said:

Four years ago: During random arguments in the first ten years of marriage, whenever my hubby would toss out “maybe we should go to marriage counseling,” it would make me furious! We argued over silly things, just like everyone else. I hated the thought of going to a professional, especially since we were pastors and people came to us!
It’s called pride, in case you were wondering. And I had it bad. Little did I know that his desire for marital counseling was one of many cries for help from my spouse.
The morning after his confession, I was desperate for a counselor. Our marriage was a disaster, I was a hysterical mess and my hubby was racked with guilt (he did feel better about confessing, but I picked up the giant load he laid down and put it on my back).
I’ll never forget our first session. I was there so the counselor could fix my husband. He listened to my hubby tell his story, while I sat on the couch, wearing my mask of grief, hot, silent tears soaking my hands and lap.
I wanted to bury my head. I’ve never experienced more shame and embarrassment than in that first session, listening to my husband, the love of my life, vocalize his sin struggle with a stranger. Beside humiliation, I felt something worse: guilt.
He gave my hubby some practical tips in “bouncing his eyes” and building a house to put all the harmful images in (see last week’s vlog).
And then he turned to me. I couldn’t even speak. He waited and waited. He leaned in, put his hand on my arm, “tell me” he coaxed.
The raw pain of the last few days poured out of me. I sputtered and hiccuped and blew snot bubbles. I spoke of my ignorance, my shame, of guilt and regret. I spoke of love for the man, weeping silently beside me, of hope and healing and freedom. I dreamed of a future.
I’ll never forget what he said to me, “Your husband is a good man. He just needs tools to fight this enemy. He has just scratched the surface of this dark vast world. He will be victorious. He has sinned, but he is forgiven. But now, I want to talk about you.”
I remember thinking, “What, me? No, please help him, please, we can’t leave without you fixing him….”
He touched my chin, like my father would do and looked deeply into my eyes, “Kristen, this is not your fault. You are not responsible.”
I sobbed. “But I’m so naive…I could have helped him.”
“You are exactly what God created you to be: beautifully naive, unscarred by the filth of the world, innocent, pure. Do not apologize for this. Can you help your husband? Yes, you can. But first, you have to stop blaming yourself.”
I can’t tell you how this helped me. I couldn’t possibly help my husband until I stopped blaming myself. Next week…how you can help your spouse.
He Said:
Thank y’all so much for your outpouring of love and support to my hubby and I . We are strengthened by your emails, comments and love. Please keep praying for marriages that are struggling.

WFMW: Tips for Raising Strong-Willed Children

Please mark your calendars for the March 3 & 10 temporary move of WFMW. While I’m in Kenya with Compassion Bloggers, Shannon of Rocks in My Dryer will be welcoming you all back to her place as she hosts WFMW for two weeks! There will NOT be a special theme for March 3, link any tip you’d like!

I think God must really love me.
Because He gave me not one, but two strong-willed children to cherish and raise.
(Not sure if your child is strong-willed? Take this quick learning test).
Having determined won’t-take-no-for-an-answer children is a blessing. You know those leaders in your life that you admire, or the amazing strong friend you respect and turn to in crisis? Odds are, they were strong-willed children too.
But sometimes even blessings can be complicated.
Here are some tips that are working (mostly) for us from various resources such as The Strong-Willed Child by James Dobson and this helpful article from Christianity Today:
1. Add the word “ok?” at the end of a request. So, instead of saying “Go clean your room!”, Say, “Go clean your room, ok?”
Wow, this has made an enormous difference for us. Strong-willed kids like to have control. And even though your request is non-negotiable, it is heard as a choice. If they say, “but I’m thirsty,” respond with, “Get a drink and then clean your room. Ok?”
2. Rephrase your requests. If your child needs to make their bed. Instead of saying “Go make your bed!” Ask “Have you made your bed yet?”
3. Don’t yell or nag. (The good Lord knows, I’m working on this one.)
4. Have a keyword. I’ll be honest, sometimes our discussions get out-of-hand with our oldest. She is a strong beautiful girl, but she knows what she wants and sometimes it’s much different that what I want. Instead of battling head-on in that heated moment, we’re trying out a keyword. Whenever I say “dolphin” it’s time to step away. She can go to her room and we can talk about the subject later. (I haven’t used this yet, but we do have a keyword. I thought about picking a fight to try it, but thought better of it).
5. This is the most important: Choose your relationship over getting your way. God really spoke to me about this. Sometimes I’m so determined to see obedience (over small things) that I harp and nag and hurt my relationship. I’m learning to offer grace, just like God offers me.
Thank you for joining me for WFMW! {You can read the guidelines here.}

Have a Works-For-Me Wednesday tip you’d like to share? I’d love for you to join us! Please note that the links will close on Thursday, in order to keep away the spammers!
Was your link deleted? Click here.

(This post appeared in my January edition of The Family Room (my parenting newsletter).

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My Valentine’s Gift (Announcement)

I think I’ve made it clear that I’m married to an amazing guy. Not only is he the bravest man I know, he’s a quiet artist. He delights our kids with his unbelievable Play-Doh sculptures and pencil portraits and occasionally keeps himself awake in church sketching our pastor. (I never said he was perfect).
He has an eye for color and loves making things with his hands.
With a bit of copper, a dab of silver and more love than I deserve, he made this necklace for me for Valentine’s Day–a big surprise:
The word Upendo in Swahili means love.
He made this sculpted African copper necklace in honor of my upcoming trip to Kenya.
We also hope in the future to sell these gorgeous handcrafted necklaces to help pay for…….
our future adoption.