Raising Kids in the Digital Age

I recently watched a movie on YouTube called Childhood 2.0.

A lot of the information shared was a reminder, but some of it was new and eye opening to me. ALL of it was very important. I have been recommending this free resource left and right since I saw it. Honestly, I feel like every parent needs to watch this!

I know it looks like it’s a fear mongering documentary, but it’s really about awareness and how to be on guard. I can’t shield my kids from everything, but I can be proactive about some of the imminent dangers that they face as kids and teens that I never did. Also, some of it helped me to see where I am struggling myself with addiction and insecurities that are social media based.

The video is an hour and a half long and I know how hard it is to carve out time for something like this, but to me it’s worth it. So much so that I watched it again and took notes. Side note, there are some “icky” images that they put in there to show how bad things are. Some of them are blurred, some aren’t. I could do without seeing that stuff personally, but it’s no different than what you would find on billboards or magazine covers.

My biggest takeaway is that most parents of teens grew up in the 70s or 80s (like myself) and it was a different era. We lived in a world where we spent most of our childhood playing outside. We learned about stranger danger and physical threats. Many parents are now using devices to keep our kids safe from those physical threats by location tracking or having 24/7 connection to them, but statistically speaking our world is much safer outside than it ever has been. Those physical dangers in most neighborhoods are much less likely to happen than the dangers that are happening online. As is stated in the film “We have traded a false sense of safety and security for actually putting our kids in riskier situations”.  

The movie talks about cyber bullying, suicide, pornography, depression, anxiety, addiction and more. One eye opening analogy that was shared was about pornography online. 27% of all video content on the unfiltered internet is pornographic. Imagine a coffee table that had four magazines on it and one of them was pornographic and three of them weren’t. Now imagine a parent had this in their home and just hoped that the kids didn’t look at the wrong one. That is what the unfiltered internet is today, only it’s in their pockets and it’s far worse than anything the former generations were ever exposed to.  

Again, this isn’t about fear or helplessness and I am not anti-technology or screens. My husband is a computer programmer who works on apps for a living. I am a blogger/influencer and it’s been my passion and side hustle for 14 years. My oldest son is a programmer in VEX robotics and competes in Esports which are video games!

We are the quintessential tech family, but I’m in the trenches trying to send out a signal flair to other families and younger generations. The hazards of kids and the internet are real but there is hope! There were several different experts that shared in this documentary. One of them was Patti Agatston, PhD, LPC who said “The best [content] filter that your child will develop  is in between their ears. So having an adult that they can go to that they trust is critical.”

Also Detective Richard Wistocki who works specifically with cyber crimes said,

“There is no bigger God’s gift than a mother’s intuition. When a mom knows something, feels something- there’s something wrong with their kids. God has given this gift to moms to protect their children.” 

I smiled at the end of the movie when it was noted that we have so many more resources than we did even five years ago! Many of the logos that popped up where resources I am very familiar with and can personally vouch for.

Protect Young Eyes


Fight the New Drug

Common Sense Media

Wait Until 8th

Also, the childhood2movie.com has a great community and discussion guide. Another one not mentioned but I get their newsletter and have one their books is Defend Young Minds.

I’ll end with a quote that is alarming but hopefully a wake up call. It comes from Joel Stoddard, MD MAS Pediatric Mental Health expert, he says

“Right now we’re effectively living in an experiment. How is this going to affect us? We’ll find out with the current generation.” 

By |2022-01-26T14:21:54+00:00January 26, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Grateful for 2021

My word for 2022 is Gratitude.

I felt the Lord dropped it in my heart when I was feeling extra grumpy. It was a dreary day at the end of December and I was thinking about how I had such high hopes for redemption in 2021. What I was specifically hoping for was that the pandemic would be over. I thought for sure with the vaccine being out and so many people having natural immunity we would see most of the news, rage, and restrictions subside, but not much changed. I even went to my first Covid related funeral. So it’s been pretty gloomy year. In that moment of despair I also felt like I was personally failing in all kinds of ways. So I started in on the whole “woe is me” bit that I rehearse in times of weakness. I was ready to just cross off the past year and consider it a dud. Then I felt a little spark of gratitude in my spirit and the Holy Spirit give me a nudge to make a list reflecting on what was good about 2021. So I pulled out my phone and began to type out some of the good things that I accomplished in 2021. Here is what I came up with

  1. I finally got my hemoglobin on track after years of being anemic. This was huge!
  2. I successfully concluded a year of homeschooling and my kids are doing great (I was so worried that I was failing them).
  3. I finished the first draft of my memoir. This was also a major breakthrough for me!!!
  4. I launched a successful life group that is still growing strong and building lasting, edifying friendships.
  5. I got to see Guy Raz at a leadership conference which was kind of bucket list dream of mine. 
  6. I threw four super special birthday parties (to make up for a year of no big parties). 
  7. I upgraded my camera and photo editing software. It was expensive but I’m grateful for a side hustle that can cover those costs and capture beautiful memories for my clients.

Those are just some of what I feel like I accomplished. There are so many other major breakthroughs and joyous times that happened last year. Even though the enemy tried to back me into a corner with feelings of fear and inadequacy I can see for myself that 2021 was in fact a healthy, productive, and blessed year!

I love the song “Gratitude” by Brandon Lake. According to Spotify it was one of the songs I listened to the most in 2021. I really wanted to learn the sign language to the song and usually what I do for worshiping in ASL is google a video of someone that has already interpreted it. Only, in this case there weren’t any videos! That’s when it occurred to me that maybe I should be the one to fill that void. So I interpreted it over Christmas break and even got some help from a  dear friend of mine who is deaf and ASL is her first language. SJ and I have both been practicing and hopefully next week we’ll be ready to record a video and post it.

After all this focus on gratitude I got a belated Christmas present from a friend in the mail and I got choked up when I opened it.

It was a candle with the word gratitude on it. She had no idea that was my word for this year. The candle smells amazing by the way. It’s from a place called Thistle Farms which helps women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. Definitely go support that ministry! It’s amazing. But sorry, as of now (01/20/22) the gratitude candle is sold out!

So there is one more 2021 recap while we are still in January. I know I already shared my goals, but I wanted to share my word. Gratitude. It’s significantly shaping my outlook for this year.

By |2022-01-20T14:02:12+00:00January 20, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments

New Years Results and Goals 2022!

I love New Years Goals you guys. Nothing like vision casting on a blank canvas! Last year I had four main S.M.A.R.T. goals

I wanted to have the kids in age appropriate grades by the 21/22 school year. I am so happy to report that they are all doing fantastic in school. Some subjects are harder than others and obviously they all have strengths and weaknesses, but they are working hard, having fun, and getting all the help they need. Parent teacher conferences were so reassuring. I can put a big check mark next to that 2021 goal.

Another goal from last year was to continue our health journey. I had very specific things I wanted to achieve and let’s just say we did not limit our treats in 2021. I did exercise though, so that was a serious achievement since I have never consistently worked out. Ring Fit Adventure on the Nintendo Switch was what got me on track in terms of fitness and I wrote about that already.

I also went to the doctor for a physical for the first time in years. That ended up leading me down a path that eventually resolved my ongoing issues with anemia. That is a long story and I will blog about it eventually, I promise.

I also wanted to read 21 books which I exceeded and wrote about them in the blog post “21 Books in 2021” .

Lastly my goal was to cut back on phone time and I failed miserably at that one. There is a feature on the iPhone that can set limits on certain apps and phone usage but it doesn’t work on my phone! That’s no excuse though. This goal is going to roll over into 2022. I can do it!

As far as this year’s goals, I really want to focus on my writing. My book is my biggest goal. I know I have talked about it plenty! I’ve poured my heart into this memoir for years and writing a book is a lifelong dream of mine, so this is big. I wrote the whole first draft in 2021 and I was pumped, but I did hit a little bump in the road back in October and haven’t really gotten my momentum back since. I don’t want to loose steam though. My goal was to have to it done before my birthday (in June) and I am still aiming for that. So that is why publish book is NUMBER ONE priority for me in 2022. I also hope to have a website reboot for Messy Mom which is a big undertaking and to have new headshots. Don’t even get me started on how awful I have been about keeping up with that stuff.

I guess in short I would say my goals are

  1. Less phone time (see last years post for more details on what that looks like)
  2. Finish my book
  3. Build a new website

There are a lot of other things I want to work on and accomplish, but those are three I want to highlight. To be honest, I am nervous about 2022, not because I’ll be “over the hill” but I am not looking forward to year three of COVID-19 (insert anger emoji here). I know the past two years have taken a toll on all of us! I’m choosing to stand on the truth and 2 Timothy 1:7 where it says “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” I looked into this verse which was written in a letter from Paul to Timothy when their lives were in imminent danger. I think the pandemic is stressful, but I can’t imagine how they must have felt as christians in a time where they were persecuted for their faith and methods of persecution were gorey and gruesome! It puts the verse in perspective.

Yesterday at dinner I had to announce to the kids that masks were mandatory again. I read them the email with the subject line *URGENT*. They all groaned and we had some discussions and we have continued to pray. Last year I thought for sure things would level off and that we would no longer be in panic mode. So far that doesn’t appear to be the case for 2022. I’m going off an a  tangent, here but even with all of that there is still so much to look forward to and be thankful for. Bring it on 2022. I am ready.

By |2022-01-12T13:16:05+00:00January 12, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Pain-Relief Strategies That Work (And Don’t Rely On Pills)

Many people find themselves living with pain for one reason or another. For some, it’s illness; for others, it’s surgery. But, it’s always a big problem. 


Here’s the issue: when you’re in pain, it’s hard to enjoy your life. You can’t be exuberant and care-free because there’s always this background tension in your body. You simply can’t enjoy yourself.


Pain-relief medications don’t really work either, as pointed out by experts, such as Sunshine Behavioral Health. They might numb it for a while, but create dependencies and addictions in the process. 


The trick here is to live naturally and find alternate means to dealing with pain, particularly if it is with you long-term. Medications should be a short-term strategy to see you through, not something you depend on all the time. 


Are you experiencing pain right now? Here are some of the things you might consider trying:


Therapeutic Massage Sessions


Some people experience pain because of chronic muscle tension. Either the muscle is firing when it shouldn’t be, or it can’t clear out waste products at a sufficiently high rate. 


If this sounds like you, you might want to experiment with therapeutic massage sessions. Masseuses use special techniques designed to help muscles recover and restore normal function. Some people find it extremely beneficial, but it depends on the condition. 


Music Therapy



If you’re experiencing pain after surgery or an accident, you might also try using music therapy. This involves listening to sounds played at certain frequencies through headphones, designed to help mask the pain centers of the brain and make you feel better. Generally, music therapy is distracting and encourages the pain to go away. 


Cold And Heat


Cold showers and saunas are good for your body in general. However, there is also ample evidence that alternating between cold and heat is good for pain management too. 


Cold has a numbing effect on the body. You’ll notice that if you take a cold shower, it hurts at first and then stops being as painful after a minute or so. This happens because your body essentially uses up all of its pain receptor chemicals quickly. 


When you apply cold compresses, it reduces inflammation, cutting swelling. 


Heat is also soothing. It’s often nice to apply heat after a bout of extreme cold. Heat gets deep into the muscle and helps to prevent it from becoming too stiff. 


Move More



Exercise is critical in most forms of pain management, particularly arthritis and fibromyalgia. The more you move, the better you feel. 


Lack of exercise can lead to a vicious cycle. You become too sedentary, and that makes pain conditions worse. 


If you really want to build flexibility into the body, do yoga and tai chi. These are spiritual practices and affect how your body functions. You find that you’re better aligned and more in touch with yourself when you engage fully in these activities. 


In conclusion, pain relief doesn’t have to be chemical-based: you can use many other strategies. Try these first before reaching for the pillbox under the direction of your doctor. 

By |2022-01-10T13:16:44+00:00January 10, 2022|Natural Living|0 Comments

Poor SJ

One thing after another! Poor little SJ has been falling apart over the past two weeks! We went to Texas for Christmas break and she got poison ivy as always. She tried to be cautious but sometimes it feels like she could be a mile away from poison ivy and still get it. So her face was an itchy swollen mess. Oh well, I thought. She knows the drill and she’ll be all healed up in about 7 days.

Shortly after the run-in with a rash one of her cochlear implant processors stopped working. No big deal, I thought. We’ve had these issues before and they usually send a replacement part overnight. I called customer service and apparently this time the solid orange light on the malfunctioning device indicated that it was an unknown error. I was told it had to be sent in to be diagnosed and they will give a refurbished replacement. They just needed insurance approval. No problem, I thought and proceeded accordingly. Then I got an email saying that our request was denied because SJ has to reestablish care with her ENT in order for him to sign off on it. So I made the appointment, but it’s not until the end of January. At this point I had to take a deep breath. It’s okay, I told myself. She can still hear with her right ear. Everything is going to be fine. Hopefully. 

Then a few days before we were going to head back home SJ threw up. I figured she just had an upset stomach because she seemed fine otherwise. Then she threw up again, and again, and again. I lost count of how many times I rubbed her back as she retched every last bit of stomach bile into the toilet. Thankfully it was only one day. A curious thing about it all was that when she vomited her poison ivy resurfaced. It was all healed up the night before. Here is a photo of her.
But this was what it looked like after she puked. It didn’t itch, but every scratch mark was clearly visible again. She had petechia around her eyes (broken capillary blood vessels from all the pressure going to her face from puking) and at one point the poison ivy rash turned purple and was all raised. I still don’t know what in the world happened there. If you have any theories I’m open to hearing them! You can’t google this level of weirdness.

We finally made the trek back home and SJ was excited to be reunited with her chickens. She loves the hens.

Some might call it an obsession. They are her favorite thing to think about, play with, and talk about. Chickens are happiness in SJ’s world.

Yesterday was the last day of Christmas break and SJ was in the back yard with the chickens when Mary Cauna pecked her right in the eye! This was a total fluke. She wasn’t holding her or anything. We’ve never had any issues like this, but anyway her beak punctured her eyelid and broke through to her actual eye ball. SJ started screaming and covering her face. It was really intense. When she calmed down enough for us to examine it J saw that it wasn’t looking good. There was no blood, but he could see that there was  a piece of cornea missing and eventually when he showed me what to look for I could see it too. This picture is from when the doctor put colored drops that show where the damage is.

It all happened around 2:30. I know because this is when I called the doctor and we went in at 4:45. Then we were sent to see an ophthalmologist at the Cincinnati children’s hospital emergency room. While there, SJ was having episodes of intense pain. I didn’t know what it was. It looked like a seizure. A nurse from the children’s hospital saw it and took notes. I was told as long as she was responsive it would be okay. That didn’t really help calm my fear though. When your daughter feels fine one minute and then slides into a trance where her eyes roll back into her head and her eyelids start fluttering. It’s scary to watch. SJ said she couldn’t shut her eyes. She also couldn’t open them. The episodes happened about a dozen times yesterday and they lasted close to two minutes each, give or take. Even when all the vision and eye exams were over and they confirmed there wasn’t any severe or long term damage I was still worried about my little girl and I’m sad to say the ophthalmologist wasn’t really hearing my concerns. Thankfully a doctor came at the end to go over her case and I finally got some answers. It was explained to me that the eyes have tons of nerves and are very delicate. The good thing is because they are living cells they heal rapidly! The bad news is that eye injuries are extremely painful so SJ was experiencing blepharospasms due to the pain.  I still don’t understand all of it. I don’t know if anyone ever will, but the bottom line is she is going to be okay. She has antibiotic drops and anointment which alleviates most of the pain. She’s doing a lot better today and has a follow up appointment tomorrow. I am appreciative of all the prayers for SJ and I am believing we will get a good report tomorrow and that she can go back to school on Thursday. That girl is full of grit and she’s going to get through all of this! 

By |2022-01-04T20:31:09+00:00January 4, 2022|Uncategorized|3 Comments

3 Things to Consider Before Investing in Property

When it comes to investing, putting your money into property is almost always a smart move. There’s significantly less risk involved compared with other forms of investment such as stocks and crypto, and over time your investment will grow much more than money simply being left in a high interest savings account. While the housing market fluctuates, there’s always demand for places to live, meaning your venture will never become obsolete; simply put, an investment in bricks and mortar is ‘as safe as houses’. Providing you’re properly insured to protect the building itself from damage, your investment in property is something that could be passed down through generations, or could be sold whenever you like or need. So whether you’re looking to flip houses and sell them on to earn money, or build an empire by renting them out, here are a few things to consider.


Financing the project

When it comes to investing, it takes money to make money. First things first you’ll need a way to finance your initial investment, whether that’s the deposit for a buy to let mortgage, or funds to purchase an auction property upfront ready for renovating and selling. This could be anything from an inheritance lump sum, savings or a bank loan- but consider how you’ll pay for the actual investment itself so that it can start earning you money later on. If you’re financing using a loan then you’ll need to factor in how the interest rate will affect your profits until it’s paid off.


Research, research, research

Getting clued up and doing your research is the best way to go about any financial decision, and investing in property is no different. It’s not as simple as purchasing a property you like the look of, you need to have a strategy in mind. For example, if you’re going down a renting route then flats and apartments in busy towns and cities tend to do well with young professionals, and allows you to start with a small property to begin with. If you want to appeal to the student market then a large property you can rent by the room that’s close to a college or university is your best bet. When it comes to renovation for a property like this, you’d want robust and easy to clean without the need for luxury fixtures and finishes. If you’re buying and selling for a profit then knowing about things like ceiling prices and building restrictions is going to be essential research. Be sure to seek expert advice for anything that requires it, if you’re going to jump into property and get it now then a real estate agent will let you know the ins and outs. 


Which direction will you go in?

The direction you go in with property investment will depend on everything from budget to experience to personal preference. The available time that you have will also play into things, if you’re doing this full time vs in your free time that will affect the type of properties and investments you should make. From holiday rentals to flipping houses, developing your own properties and more, there are so many things to consider so think through your strategy and the route you’re going to take.

By |2022-01-03T09:48:48+00:00January 3, 2022|Home, Lifestyle|0 Comments

School Dress Up Days

I have been so busy with all of the Christmas happenings that I have no time to blog at all! Even now I just barely have  enough time to do this quick photo dump, but I am determined! Excuse any typos please).

We didn’t decorate this year (except for the tree for Elle’s party) and we aren’t going to see Santa, bake cookies, or even drive around looking at lights. So in order to avoid being labeled a grinch I decided to participate in the kids’ elementary school “December to Remember”. It’s optional challenge in December where everyday leading up to Christmas break in  is a different dress up day. The line up of 13 themes was all based off of popular Christmas movies.



We managed to dig through all of our stuff and pull off some fun outfits. Get ready for a whole lot of fake smiles, especially the further along in the month we get.

Day 1, White Christmas, wear all white. Day 2, Jingle All the Way, wear a Christmas accessory. Day 3, Frosty the Snowman, wear a scarf

Day 4, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, wear Red. Day 5, The Grinch, wear green. Day 6, Mickey’s Christmas Carol, wear anything Disney. Day 7, Charlie Brown Christmas, wear a winter hat. Day 8, Elf wear something that represents your s’elf.



Day 9 Christmas Vacation wear sunglasses and Santa hat. Day 10, Home Alone, wear a Christmas sweater. Day 11, A Christmas Story, wear plaid. Day 12, It’s a Wonderful Life, wear black and white. Day 13, Polar Express, wear Pajamas!


It feels so weird not having Z included in these photos. Last year was his first year in Jr. High, but he was homeschooled so it didn’t feel any different. Part of me is a little, sad but I know that it’s healthy and good for him to grow up and gradually move on. Now I am going off on a tangent, back to the December to Remember. The kids and I are definitely excited for Christmas break and I hope you and your family are having a wonderful holiday season too. I will post our Christmas card reveal soon!!!

By |2021-12-16T13:33:42+00:00December 16, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Five Things That They Don’t Warn You About Living in the Country

Have you ever felt the need to throw your hands in the air and pack it all in? Maybe move to the countryside and start fresh? You are not the only one. Now that we have the option to work from home, more people are thinking about throwing in the towel on city life and living it up in the countryside. But what should you know before you pack your life up and run away? Here are some things you should consider before moving.

There will be mice and rats

The countryside is known for being filled with animals, and this is great. What is not great is when they come inside your house. Mice are one of the biggest concerns as they tend to vacate the fields as soon as the tractors appear to harvest crops. Let us be very clear, if you see a tractor heading off into the field to harvest, you need to shut your windows and doors. If you do find yourself with an infestation, you need to look for pest control near me to help manage any unwanted visitors. They can be tough to handle if you have never lived in the countryside before but you will get used to stopping them all getting inside.


Nature will move you

In the city, the seasons don’t seem to flow. You might not realize it but the city never changes. The countryside is very different and the seasonal changes will make you more in tune with your own body and rhymes. It can be hard to get used to the change of the year,especially as it will be in your face for the first time. But once you are used to it, you will find that you sleep between and could have improved mental health. It might take a few years for you to truly understand the effect that the clear country air is having on you. 


Internet is intermittent

When you live in the city, you have access to great internet speeds. Ok, they might not be great all of the time but they can be a lot better than you would get in the countryside. The signal for the internet and phones can be troublesome. If you are planning on working from home, you will have to check the internet service for the area. Sometimes, you might get lucky and find an area that has recently been upgraded. Unfortunately, some areas have bad internet and there is not much that can be done about it. It might be necessary to have a backup plan or find a local cafe with decent wifi.


It’s oh so quiet

Moving to the countryside for peace can be a great idea in theory. However, once you get out there, it can be unnerving. The countryside is very quiet. There will be no sounds of cars in the distance. There is no noise from people moving about. There is a stillness that can be frightening for the first few weeks. The countryside is also very dark. There is very little light pollution and you might find yourself being able to see the stars from your back door. The silence of the countryside can take a while to get used to but it is worth it. Your biggest problem might be the silence being broken by the cockerel in the morning but it is better than the sound of the bins getting emptied.


Nipping out is not an option

Have you ever run out of milk and needed to pop to the shops before everyone gets up looking for their breakfast? Ask yourself, how long did it take you to pop to the shops? At the most, it was probably a 10 minute round journey. If you live in the countryside, you can expect at least a 10 minute drive to the shop and there is a good chance that it will not be open. 24 hour luxuries are no longer a thing, you will be lucky to find a late night shop. When it comes to planning your day, you will need to plan more carefully. Otherwise, you might find yourself having to go without milk in the mornings. It is wise to keep the cupboards before you head out in case there is other stuff that you need. Although you can still go to the shops, it is a lot easier if you are better organised and don’t need to nip out for milk and bread at bedtime.


By |2021-12-01T21:13:58+00:00December 1, 2021|Lifestyle, Natural Living, Simple Living|0 Comments

21 Books in 2021

At the beginning of the year I set a goal to read 21 books in 2021. The year is not over yet, but I did reach my goal! Here is what I read.

  1. Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs ⭐⭐

This book was written by the daughter of Steve Jobs and is a memoir about what life was like for her. It was interesting for sure, but it was a very odd story. It wasn’t for me.

2.  If You Lived Here You’d Be Home By Now by Christopher Ingraham⭐⭐⭐⭐

I loved this book. It was cute, funny, and lighthearted.

3. To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Hahn⭐⭐⭐⭐

I didn’t ever go on to read any of the other books and I haven’t watched the show, so I’m certainly not a super fan. But if you are looking for a sweet and easy YA fiction this is a good one.

4. Alone in Plain Sight by Ben Higgins ⭐⭐

I heard Ben Higgins on a podcast and fell in love with his sincerity and transparency, but unfortunately the book didn’t stick with me.

5. Meet Mrs. Smith by Anna Smith ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I LOOOVED reading this book. It felt like I was sitting across from Anna Smith drinking some coffee together and hearing about her life. If you aren’t a Delirious fan than pass on this one, but it was so delightful for me as a mom and the wife of a worship leader.

6. I am Restored by Lacrae⭐⭐⭐

I really loved Lecrae’s book Unashamed and I would read it again. This book wasn’t bad, and there were parts that really stuck out to me, but that’s about it.

7. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis⭐⭐⭐

No review needed for this classic! This was my second time reading it (this time was with the kids). I know it deserves five stars, but if I’m honest I’m just not a fan of fantasy. Not my thing.

8. Millie Maven by Ted Dekker and Rachelle Dekker ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I said I am not a fantasy fan and this book is, but I loved reading this series with the kids (there were three books total). We all enjoyed it and it is such a good metaphor for the things we face as believers. The character in this story really resonated with me.

9. Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I know I am late to the party on this one and I haven’t ever seen the movie, I enjoyed the book though.

10. Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford ⭐⭐⭐

This is some heavy material. I did appreciate hearing about this woman’s story though.

11. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I’m a sucker for entrepreneur success stories and this was a good one.

12. The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell ⭐

This book came highly recommended with thousands of five star reviews so I know I am the odd one out here, but I hated it. I read it to the very end and it was so disturbing. I felt like I needed to find an emergency memory erasing station to wash the ickiness away after reading it.

13. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave ⭐⭐⭐

Thriller is not my usual genre, but it was entertaining to me.

14. That Sounds Fun by Annie F. Downs⭐⭐⭐⭐

This audio book felt like listening to a long podcast which was perfect for me. I loved hearing from Annie F. Downs.

15. Raising worry Free Girls by Sissy Goff ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I have recommended this book to so many people and took a gazillion notes. I need to own a copy of it to be honest.

16. Finding God in the Waves by Mike McHargue⭐⭐⭐

This book is not written from the perspective of an evangelical Christian. It’s written by a guy (someone I heard on a podcast) that lost his faith and became an atheist, but where he is at now and why. Very interesting.

17. Never Unfriended by Lisa Jo Baker ⭐⭐

I loved Lisa-Jo Baker’s book Surprised by Motherhood. This one had little bits and pieces that I gleaned from it, but I can’t say that I loved it.

18. Believe It by Jamie Kern Lima ⭐⭐⭐

I heard Jamie Kern Lima at a leadership conference and loved her! She’s so awesome. The book started getting a little boring towards the end, but I did enjoy it.

19. It Starts at Home by Kurt Brooner and Steve Stroupe⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is a book study I did with the mom’s group I’m a part of. Great for parents who really want to raise their kids in a Christ centered home.

20. Everybody Fights by Kim and Penn Holderness ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I can’t believe how much I loved this AUDIO book. I felt like they were so playful and candid during the audio version it’s hard to say how much of that was spontaneous.

21. Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson⭐⭐⭐⭐

I read this book the same time my daughter did. It was crazy to see the similarities to the year 2020 and the Coronavirus pandemic.


I may read a book or two before the year ends. If you have any recommendations please send them my way!

By |2021-11-23T12:24:44+00:00November 23, 2021|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Ten Low Budget Frozen Party Ideas

I just realized that every tip, creation, or family activity I share on Messy Mom has the word budget in there somewhere! With four kids in a one income home we are always working within a strict budget! That doesn’t mean we don’t have fun though! I honestly was ready to go to one of those places that host parties for you, but every on I looked into was over a hundred dollars and that doesn’t include, food, drinks, and cake. Plus, Elle really wanted a Frozen party so I decided to just pick up some Frozen plates, bake a cake and call it a day. But did I keep it that simple? No, I did not.

The party monster in me had to take things to the next level. It wasn’t that hard to pull off though and it definitely cost us less than a hundred dollars. Here are my top 10 ideas for this Frozen party along with links and details for those who are in planning mode.

1. Use the TV

My computer (that I am typing on right now) happens to be in our living room, but this idea could work with a smart tv just as easily. I loaded a screen saver to rotate photos of the birthday girl (we do this for all the kids on their birthday month. It’s so fun to look back). The music playing was the Frozen 1 & 2 soundtracks on Spotify.  I also used the monitor to show the new Frozen shorts that are on Disney+. This was a huge hit with the girls and a great way to pass the time while awaiting all the party guests.

Lastly, I used the monitor for Kareoke. SJ has a karaoke microphone and all of the Frozen karaoke songs are on Youtube!

2. A Frozen tree

Since we are so close to putting up our tree anyway we got the big and miniature artificial trees out and decorated them exclusively with “snow” and icicle ornaments! It really set the mood for a winter wonderland just like in Frozen.

3. Cake

I wanted to bake a cake myself and I have all the ideas on my Pinterest board, but in the end it was a better choice to order one from Walmart. It turned out super cute. For $23 I got a cake that served 12 and 12 cupcakes with rings and a topper that is a little keep sake. Baking cakes yourself is a great way to save money, but this was a great thing to splurge on this year for my sanity’s sake.

4. Printables*

I printed out food tents for EVERYTHING! It makes the whole theme so festive. I love this kind of thing. For the record, we don’t even have a colored printer. I just go to the library and spend a few cents per page! *Scroll to the bottom of this post to access my printables. We also had this hilarious sign on the bathroom which my older daughter made.


5. Frozen decor pack

Similar to the cake, this is something that I did not DIY. I just bought a pack of Frozen party supplies  on Amazon for $28.99 and it came with this awesome photo backdrop, a pennant banner, table cloth, plates, napkins, forks etc. I just used plain cups, plates, and napkins to fill in since the party pack didn’t cover it all.

6. Elsa punch

I looked up a recipe for blue lemonade and put it in this drink dispenser that I have. The problem is it has to be elevated so we sat it on top of a flour container and covered it with fake snow cloth! I eventually moved it to the kitchen counter but it served it’s purpose.


I wanted to buy a kit that makes 10 gallons of a snow like substance, but my practical husband drew the line there and I’m glad he did! Ha! Instead, we just made snow flakes from paper and used a cheap can of spray snow and window clings for the windows. It was so pretty!

8. Snowflake cookies

The night before the party we made sugar cookies with a snowflake cookie cutter that I already owned.



The blue sprinkles and frosting made it the perfect Frozen party craft!

9. Elsa Costume

I actually got this costume free from IKali Costumes as part of a blogging collaboration, but she has worn it so many times that even if I had spent money on it it would have been worth it. I had the photos from when I did the ad fro Ikali and used them for the welcome sign and her evite (also free and they have a knock off Frozen invitation design!)

10. Tiara and Makeup

I don’t usually let my six year old wear make up but my mom gave her this present on her actual birthday (a couple of days before the party). It was on her Amazon registry (another birthday tip if you are looking for an easy way to get birthday lists out and make sure there are no duplicates). Anyway it’s not official Frozen, but it’s still what Elle has repeatedly described as the best present ever. So there is a gift idea of little Frozen fans.

That’s it. We ate lunch, cake, and opened presents. Elle thanked me over and over for the party and I had fun throwing it. To buy everything licensed Frozen could have been a pricey, but because it was also a snow theme it made it doable, especially this close to Christmas.

Hope these Frozen tips are helpful. I know it’s a bit of a hodge podge (I am the MESSY mom, it will not be precise), but if you happen to need some free printables, *click here for a downloadable PDF of what I threw together for the food tents. The free font that I used is called “Ice Kingdom” and some of them were free printables from other blogs.


By |2021-11-16T11:36:47+00:00November 16, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments
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