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Holiday Movies and Family Traditions!

Because of the love I have for Christianbook.com, I’ve entered into an affiliate relationship with them.  This doesn’t mean I say anything that I don’t believe to be true.  I love what they have to offer and think you will too.  If you order from them through one of my links, they will pay me a small commission as a “thank you” for recommending them to you.  This will not effect the price for you at all, and I appreciate you trusting me to find great products and prices for you! 

Hey guys!  I was just thinking about Thanksgiving, Christmas, and all the fun traditions.  We have a lot of Christmas traditions, but not a whole lot on Thanksgiving.  Other than to eat, and eat, and then eat some more!  One thing we do though, is  watch Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.  I’m not gonna lie, my bigger kids think it’s boring, but I don’t care!  It’s a tradition!!  And actually, that particular Thanksgiving movie is educational.  So little emphasis is placed on learning from the character and struggles of those who’ve gone before us these days, that I really like a little something with a good History lesson in it!  Do you watch anything in particular on Thanksgiving?  Maybe the parade? We never catch the parade because we don’t have cable.  But I know that’s a big tradition for lots of people.  And of course, football! I haven’t seen this movie, Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade, so that’s one I’m excited to get and watch this year! 

What about Christmas?  We have a lot of movies that we watch every year leading up to Christmas Day.  Elf, Christmas with the Kranks, The Grinch….. And then on Christmas Day we usually chill out after opening gifts and watch whatever movies the kids happened to unwrap that day.  My mom and sister usually get each of them at least a couple of new movies for Christmas.  And since we’ve usually been watching Christmas movies for a really long time by time the big day gets here, it’s nice at that point to watch some “regular” movies! But we aren’t to that point yet this year, and right now I’m getting really excited about all the Christmas movies, especially since so many are on sale at Christianbook.com and some of them I’ve never heard of, so that will be nice to get to add in some new ones!  My favorite on Netflix btw, is Holiday Engagement.  I don’t know what it is about that movie, but I love it!  The kids and I also like Pete’s Christmas on Netflix.

Movie gifts for the whole family!  Rather you’re interested in rushing to order something to watch on Thanksgiving Day, or looking for some fun new Christmas titles, now’s the time to check out Christianbook.com.  But, even movies that aren’t related to the Holidays are on sale right now for their pre Black Friday sale!  They have lots of them including a whole section on their top sellers from 2017!  I’ve been browsing all day and I really think there’s a little something for everyone.  Movies are such a great gift because they can be watched numerous times, can be great for that person that’s hard to buy for, and because they cause little to no clutter!  And for that matter, any gift that can be ordered online makes life just that much easier!

Let me know what you find!  I’d also love to know, what movies do you watch every year, and on which Holiday(s)?!

Smile through the Trials,

Tiffany

 

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New Adventure!

I can’t wait to share my newest fun with you.  If you follow me on Facebook you alredy know.  I’ve decided to work with a relatively new company called Chalk Couture.  It’s so much fun and I can’t wait for you guys to give it a try!  I want to share the fun with you all so I decided to share it here and invite you to come along this fun, easy, crafty, DIY journey with me!

What is Chalk Couture:  It’s a company that offers transfers to make chalk boards, signs, etc very easy and fun!  The transfers are similar to stencils, but it’s more like screen printing, like you’d do on a t-shirt.  You simply take your chalk paste, and smooth it over the transfer, and when you lift the transfer you’re left with a perfect image!  It’s so easy and so much fun!

Why I joined:  I’ve got a lot going on.  And although crafting was always meant to be part of the focus of this blog, I was a bit concerned that another business would take up too much of my time.  But, as much as I love paper crafting, it tends to be very time consuming for me.  This was something I could jump in to that allows me to finish a project that I love with a much smaller time commitment.  And, speaking from a business minded point of view, it’s a great company to get in on right now.  It’s still very much a ground floor opportunity and I truly believe it has the potential to grow exponentially!  I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity!  Since it’s home decor rather that just craft/hobby focused, it does really well.  Almost everyone has signs, or chalk boards in their house, even people that aren’t “crafty”.

How you can join me:  I’d absolutely love to have you join me in this!  It’s so easy, just go to my website, tiffanysmiles.chalkcouture.com, and click on “join”.  It’s a $99 investment for $200 worth of product and then a $25.99 monthly membership.  (Totally worth it for your website, especially since it includes an early release transfer each month that only members receive!)

The best way for me to explain all of this, is really to show you!  Here’s the link to the video I did live on FaceBook.  Comment either there or here and let me know what you think!  This is going to be so much fun and I’m really excited!

Smile through the Trials!

Tiffany

 

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First child perfection

I could write so many posts with this same title… The experience of being a mom for the first time is like no other.  I know that if you are one, you think you’re not the “typical first mom”.  I thought I wasn’t.  I had a lot of experience with children so in that aspect, I wasn’t.  I wasn’t at all intimidated by holding a new baby, and things like that.  But I was very much a “typical first mom”!  I only know that now, so go ahead a re read this if you have more kids down the line and let me know if you realize you were one too!  Those of you that have more than one, can I get a witness?!  You learn so much with that first child.  But you learn all new lessons as you keep going down the line.  Even if your first child is your only child, your understanding of motherhood is ever-changing as you grow along with that precious bundle.  (That becomes not so precious when the pod people start to take over in the pre-teen years and then gain complete control in the teen years!) Regardless of how many we have, we always realize looking back that we were particularly hard on our first born.  It’s a strange mix of having babied them like crazy because they were our whole life, but expecting quite a bit from them.  I have a video of my oldest sitting as a very small baby.  Literally, an infant, trying to reach a bowl that was in the floor next to him.  I was saying “you can get it, don’t give up.”  I watch that video now like “Just give that baby the bowl!”  I mean, he did eventually get it, but mylanta, it was a bit obnoxious to expect him to!

I was trying to figure out why we are so hard on the first one and I think I know what at least part of the reason is.  I think it’s because we haven’t yet really grasped that our child is human like everyone else.  We really do think that child is perfect, and thus want to make sure everyone else realizes it too!  And not in a sense of showing off, just wanting people to appreciate how truly special our child is.  Now, every child is special, but as we get some parenting under our belt we realize our kids are gonna make bad choices just like everyone else.  Our kids are human and everyone else doesn’t see them as the center of the universe, even though we do.  If my oldest misbehaved in public I was mortified.  Actually my first or second. It’s a good thing I had my kids in the order that I did, because my littler kids are way more difficult than my first two, and I would have long decided I’m just the worst mom in the world had the 3rd and 4th come first.  Thankfully before they came along I had already started to learn, and accept the dreaded fact, that my children aren’t perfect.   That’s not to say I don’t still get anxiety over certain situations,  but I’m better at accepting it.  You see, then I also always felt like their behavior meant I was a good mom.  I now know that some kids are just harder to handle, and even if you are a consistent, just parent, you can not fully control some people.  So while extreme situations still mortify me, the simple wining in the store doesn’t make me feel like I must be doing something wrong because my kid isn’t acting right.  I get looks that imply that, of course (yeah thanks for that, as if the tantrum isn’t bad enough!) but I know that it’s not always my failure.

The oldest also gets the brunt end of the deal when you do have more because they’re expected to act right because they “know better”.  Isn’t it funny, my oldest was 7 when Gracie was born.   He seemed like such a big boy to me.  At that age, I expected him to act right and would say “you’re 7 years old.”  Now, looking back, she’s 6, almost as old as he was then.  But she doesn’t seem so mature to me.  And he still gets “you’re 13 years old, she’s only 6.”  Even though he was expected to “know better” at 7.  I’m not saying she gets by with everything, she doesn’t, I’m not dumb, I know she knows what’s what.  But he’s still the one that I expect to make the right choice in spite of everyone else because he’s the oldest.  I am very careful not to give him responsibilities that are unfair though.  So while I might ask him, or Carly (2nd child) to fill sippy cups before we leave the house, or grab diapers, I don’t ever hold him totally responsible for his siblings.  (except on the rare occasion that he babysits one, but that’s never more than 2 hours.) But in some homes the oldest has to take on that responsibility due to circumstances.  If that’s the case for you, please make sure to give that child some “down time” to just be a child.  And I think we should all spend a bit of our energy making sure our oldest knows how special they are to us, and that even though we might expect a lot from them, we are very proud of them and love them just as much as when they were that tiny baby that changed our life!

Smile through the Trials,

Tiffany

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Halloween costumes for teen/preteen boys, that aren’t scary.

So, I told ya’ll that I don’t let my kids dress up as anything scary for Halloween.  I wouldn’t anyway, but especially not since I have very little children as well and don’t want them to be scared.  But with older boys it can be hard to find costumes that aren’t scary.  I thought about that and wanted to offer a few suggestions.

  1. Darth Vador-  Darth Vador is great because he’s kinda “scary, but not scary”.  He’s a scary guy, but the outfit and mask won’t be giving anyone nightmares.
  2. Other Star Wars Character’s- Light sabers are cool and fun.  I don’t care how old they get!
  3. SWAT, police officer, or military- My son had a SWAT hat and vest last year that was meant as an adult costume from Walmart,  and it was a good “dressed up, having fun, but not too all out because I’m not a little kid” costume, in my opinion.  I think anything you can grab at an Army surplus store would bring the same effect.  I’m sure Walmart would also have something that would do the trick in these cases.  And boys of all ages feel cool when they dress up as these real life heroes, even if they don’t admit it!
  4. Detective/FBI-  Similar to above, but can totally be home made.  And he can pull off acting like he’s not dressed up if he sees anyone that he suddenly needs to be “too cool to dress up” in front of! (wink, wink)
  5. Martial Arts- if you want to be specific he could be the karate kid, or Jackie Chan, even Chuck Norris (If he knows who that is!). If he’s in Martial arts he has a quick easy costume ready to go already!
  6. Shrek-  I just think this would be fun!  And hey, he’s an ogre, so he’s another good “scary, not scary” choice.
  7. The State Puff Marshmallow Man- My cousin is such a good sport.  Her little boy is going as a Ghost Buster, and he was so excited that there was a State Puff costume!  So, yup, she’s doing it!  She’s dressing up in it just for him! That being said, I think it’d be fun for a teenage boy, especially if he has younger siblings going as Ghost Buster’s as well!
  8. Skate boarder/athlete- This could be as easy as carrying a skate board or a specific type of ball.  Or go a step further by dressing as a specific athlete.
  9. Doctor/nurse- easy to pull off with a stethoscope and scrubs or just a white lab coat.
  10. Hip hop dancer-  He would get to dress “cool” and act like it aint no thing!  Bonus if he can break out some cool moves!

My son hasn’t decided what he is going to do this year, but these are definitely some suggestions that we will be considering.  He did tell me that he’s probably just going to wear that SWAT vest and stuff that he wore last year to the Halloween party at Tae Kwon Do.  Works for me!

Smile through the Trials,

Tiffany

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The Mom stress of kids making friends…

I love seeing my kids play with other kids.  The laughter, the fun, the imagination.  I love to just listen to them talk and play.  The stuff they come up with is always so funny!  (And often enlightening to how they perceive the world, if you pay attention.) Isn’t is funny how we get nervous for our kids when they go some place new?  I never knew that when I was a kid.  That nervous feeling inside when you are going into a new place, and have to face a new group of children that you know nothing about, and wonder if they will like you or not.  Or if you’ll be able to make a friend…  Yeah, I never realized until I had kids of my own that I would feel it for them too every time.   I remember when my oldest was in pre-k.  We went to the first parent teacher conference and we could walk around and look at things they had made, and the little play areas, etc.  There was a couple near me that started to talk to the teacher.  She was telling them about their child’s behavior and such at school (good report, not negative) and the mom anxiously interrupted her and asked “Does she have friends?”  It was interesting to me.  Of course we want them to have friends.  It’s lonely for a kid to be at a place with lots of children yet feel alone.  And that whole “just be yourself” bit makes complete sense to us once we are grown, but it’s not so easy for the young and insecure.  I guess the best we can do is teach them confidence and hope it takes.

It’s definitely easier when you just take your kids with you to a friend’s house who has kids.  Funny because we just expect them to get along with our friend’s children.  I guess it makes ok sense though.  It’s almost like family, and you expect them to get along with cousins in the same way.   It also happens in reverse sometimes when we start talking to their friend’s parents.  We become friends too and then they get to see them when we get together.  I’m glad I’ve liked the moms I’ve met so far.  That would really stink if your child formed a really great relationship with another child and their parents got on your nerves, or you just flat didn’t like them! I would assume that will happen to me at some point, but I’m thankful it hasn’t yet.  Although that might be something I’ll ask some people about and write a future post on, because I think it would cause some interesting scenario’s!  I guess not if you don’t spend much time with, or talk to, their friends parents.  But I can’t, in good concience, let my child go anywhere with an adult that I know nothing about.  Sometimes you can feel a bit goofy.  Like it’s no big deal and you’re being “the weird one” but I don’t care.  I take safety very seriously, and though I do realize you don’t truly know a person by having a few casual conversations with them, I still like to try to get to know them at least a bit.  Of course you can also have that difficult situation where you know and trust the parent, but you know they are just enough different than you that you worry about the influence when your kid’s there.  That’s a hard one.  I’m ok with my children being around people that are different that me, that’s like, living life 101, right?  But I’m pretty conservative in a lot of ways and being around people that think the things I worry about are no big deal, could influence my child in a way I’d prefer not.  Of course if another adult ever told my child that I’m wrong and being too strict, my kid wouldn’t spend time with them with out me anymore!  But they can still pick up on little attitudes and stuff.

It’s hard isn’t it?!  We can’t keep them in a bubble, we want them to enjoy life and get to have fun and have friend’s.  But man, there’s so much to think about!  I probably over think it.  But I’m a mom, that’s my job! LOL!  Anyway, do you have any helpful advice you give your kiddos about making friends and being a good friend themselves?  And what interesting situations have you encountered involving your child making friends?  I’d love to know!

Smile through the Trials,

Tiffany

 

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I’m back! And I’m ready to help you to find that smile!

Guys! I can’t believe it’s been a year since I’ve posted! I’m so excited to announce that I’m officially back!! I’m hoping to post with consistency again and get to reconnect with all of you!! So, I’m going to resume posting a family/mommy post every Sunday, late morning. I’ll probably go slow with getting back into the groove and sharing all the exciting things that I have planned, so for at least this third quarter of 2017 that might be all that goes up. But soon there will be a different type of post through out the week. (Still focused on being encouraging and helpful to you…) I’m not sure what day yet, if you have a preferred day feel free to let me know in the comments. The look, menu, colors, etc might all change a few times, as we at “Team Smile” have A LOT of fun things in the works, and it might involve a bit more tweaking. I just couldn’t wait any longer to tell you all that Smilesntrials.com is totally a thing again! And this time with a bit more to offer. 😉 Bare with me if I miss a step here or there, but my goal is to be able to talk with you at least weekly again on here and be here for what I started out to be here for; to encourage you to “Find your smile” in the trials of life!! If your new to my blog feel free to stick around a while and read some of my previous posts! I’ll link a few of the most popular for you down below to get ya acquainted with the site!

Balancing “Mommy Time” with Mommy’s time 

7 things to remember when your child doesn’t want to talk

When you just don’t want to put your productive pants on

I’d love to connect on social media.
I haven’t been real present on periscope but I plan to get back to that as well, and you can find me on there as @smilesntrials
I’m getting my FB page for my blog all set up and it’s also  @smilesntrials
Instagram was my first love (though my Insta is technically fairly new too)  and I never left it! LOL! Find me there @tiffanysmiles_

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Christmas in July wrap up!

So how was your Christmas in July?!  Mine wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped, but I did get some things made for gifts, and I’ve started on some plans for making it less costly this year.  My daughter made some of her gifts too!  I might try to continue to do a project here and there until then, but like I said, I don’t want to get burnt out on it.  I love Christmas and wouldn’t want to make it a negative experience in any way.  Being that I’m due with my 5th child in November, and my daughter and my step daughter’s birthdays are also in November… I’m pretty sure my Holiday Season will be a bit of a blur, so I’m going to appreciate any thing that I’ve accomplished in advance!  I hope you were able to use at least a few of my suggestions and that you are able to be at least slightly more prepared for this Christmas!

Smile through the Trials!

Tiffany

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My 3 best tips for saving money for Christmas!

If you are participating in Christmas in July in any way, I’m sure the Christmas budget has crossed your mind.  We talked a little bit last week about ways you can start shopping early, which could help to offset that a bit.  But today I want to talk to you about saving money for Christmas time.

  1. Start a savings account.  If you search “Christmas savings plan” on Pinterest a number of savings plans will come up.  Some start in January, which would be hard to adjust to today.  But some start in June and it’s not too late to jump in on one of those!  I do recommend opening a separate bank account that’s just for Christmas, because it’s too easy to use the money for something else if it’s not in it’s own place.  I found a plan that I like that starts you on June 6th.  You start your account on that day, with just $26.00.  A week later, on June 13th, you deposit $27.00.  And so on, adding $1.00 to your deposit each week until the 28th of November.  Following this, you will have saved $1,001.00 by Black Friday!  This was obviously not written this year, as Black Friday will be the 25th in 2016, but it’s still close.  The most you deposit in one week is $51.00.  You could maybe combine the last two weeks to get to the desired amount.  We are $203 behind on this plan as of today, so if you want to catch up, deposit $203 and the resume the plan at $33.00 going up one dollar per week from next week on.  If you prefer to save $2,000, you would start at $52.00 and add $2.00 to your deposit each week.  (Of course in that case you would be $406 behind, and after that initial deposit you would pick up at $66.00) If you don’t want to make a large deposit to make up for lost time, you can start at $33.00 and you will still save $798.00 by late November.  Still totally worth the effort in my book!
  2. Get paid to shop.  Join a rewards program.  I like Swagbucks. I just started, but I know some people that have done really well with it.  It’s essentially a search engine that rewards you for using it.  You simply log in to your Swagbucks account first, and then go to whatever site you want to visit from there.  I’ve earned like, 500 points (SB) in a short time just by ordering things that I was going to order anyway!  You can also earn by logging in and taking their surveys, searching through their search bar, watching videos on there, etc.  On occasion you simply redeem your points (Swagbucks/SB) for gift cards.  You can choose lots of common places, such as Amazon, Starbucks. etc.  You can redeem your SB for as little as a $3.00 gift card, if say you just want an occasional free cup of coffee.  But if you save your points until you can get larger amounts you can use those gift cards to help with your shopping, or give the gift cards themselves as gifts.
  3. Share great info with friends.  A great example is Zulily .  I have shopped from Zulily for a long time.  Its very quick and easy to set up an account, and they have great prices on almost anything you can think of.  I buy almost all of my girls’ Dollie and Me outfits there because they are much less expensive there than I’ve found anywhere else.  So yes, I recommend making an account to shop, but, if you invite your friends, you can help yourself a bit more with that Christmas budget!  You can email them an invite, invite on FaceBook, etc.  When you do this, and they sign up, you get a $15.00 credit after they place their first order.  And you can do this as many times as you’d like!  Since Zulily sells such a variety of things, and includes some neat stores you may have never heard of, along with many very common ones, you are sure to be able to use those credits to do some of your shopping!  There are other apps, websites, etc that reward you in some way for sharing.  I don’t think you should just sign up for everything under the sun and push it on people.  But if you use it, and do love it, your friends will appreciate the tip!

I hope you are able to take advantage of something that will help you to save money for Christmas.  What a blessing it will be to lighten that burden a bit!

This post does contain some of my personal referral links.  I genuinely appreciate you trusting me to find info for you. 

Smile through the Trials!

Tiffany

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Fun flash sales with Close to my Heart!

1606-cc-flash-saleHey guys!  June is gonna be an exciting month!  Close to my Heart is having a flash sale every weekend all month long! Once the sale is announced you will have until the following Monday to order whatever it is and that’s it.  Time will be up and the offer will no longer exist!  They will announce each sale at 3:00 pm (MDT) on Friday and it will close the following Monday at the same time.   And… you might not even have that long because it will also be a “while supplies last” deal.  I’m getting really anxious for them to announce today’s sale and I’ll let you all know what it is asap!  Check my instagram @Tiffanysmiles_  It will be on there as soon as I can get it up there.  I’m hoping I’ll be able to announce it on periscope as well (@smilesntrials) but I never know how well live broadcasting will work out around here!  But if you make sure to follow me on, you’ll know if I pop on!  I’ll list it on here too, with the proper links to make it easier for you to grab the offers as quick as possible.  You can click the ‘shop with me’ tab up top on here to go right to my website where you can find more info as well.  I think this is gonna be a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see what they’re going to offer!  Stay tuned guys, and happy shopping!

Smile through the trials!

Tiffany

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As our seasons change…

Hey friends!  How have you all been?  I’ve missed chatting with ya’ll!  So… I suppose it’s time to announce my big news!  I am 9 weeks pregnant!!  Yes, yes, it is the 5th time….  Yes I know what causes it, yes we have a tv…  And whatever other funny little questions people ask when you tell them that you’re pregnant for the 5th time… 🙂  I’m not gonna lie it came as quite a surprise.  But, you know, you get use to the idea. And then it just becomes part of your life, and launches you into a whole new chapter that is totally different than the one that you thought you were embarking on.  I have been so so sick, it’s been ridiculous.  I have honestly barely been able to function some days.  Mornings are by far the worst so taking my kids to school (a 30 minute drive each way) has been miserable.  But, it’s slowly starting to get better, for which I’m very grateful.  So, if you’ve wondered why I’ve been MIA, now you know!

It’s funny how life changes paths so quickly some times.  For me, I was at a point where my little ones were getting easier.  Everyone can buckle themselves into the car, brush their teeth, etc.  All but the baby, who’s almost 3, can dress themselves, and basic things like that.  I’ve literally been in tears in the grocery store at times because my younger two are extremely hyper and very hard to control.  This isn’t due to lack of discipline (although lots of people give me awful looks, and make comments that make me feel like it is- another post for another day) but really is due mostly to very busy personalities.  My little girl is almost 5 and has gotten much better so I was looking forward to being past that stage.  I was also very excited about building my blog and online presence.  I was getting on periscope (@smilesntrials) consistently and had started a public instagram (@tiffanysmiles_) to be able to connect with many of you.  I was also on a search for a mic to fix my sound problems and start making those video tutorials I’ve been promising you all.  And then it all came to a stand still.  I pretty much stopped even getting on here, or any social media.  I was simply too sick.  For that matter, all of my planners have been blank for weeks!  Blank!  I haven’t even had the energy to plan, or at least make them pretty.  It’s been rough.  I’m not saying all of this for sympathy, just to explain how drastically what I was doing and planning to do changed.

But if you’ve been reading here for very long at all (Can’t be real long, my blog is still a baby itself!) or you know me personally, you know that I am very big on balance, and on accepting the seasons of life as just what they are, a season. Some seasons are wonderful, and some are very hard.  Often times the hard ones feel like they’ll last forever.  I was beginning to feel like all my hard work was going to be wasted and I’d have to start all over, or give up on it all together.  But I don’t want to do that.  I had to remind myself that this is just a season, and in the grand scheme of life, it’s not even a really long one.  So, my season that I thought was going to be one of pushing, working, connecting, networking, and making things happen… Is going to have to be a slow one of doing what I can when I can.  And that’s ok.  This may have taken me by surprise, but it didn’t take God by surprise, so I’m trusting him to guide me through it.

So, my friends, I hope to still talk with you all, at least weekly.  Hopefully more as things get more into some kind of normal.  But I won’t commit to it.  I can’t promise how often I will be around.  But I hope you’ll stick with me because I have lots that I still can’t wait to share with you!  Thank you for you patience and for your friendship!

Smile through the trials!

Tiffany