Advice, Family

    3 Steps to Having the Best Summer Ever!

    Before summer ever arrives I go through these 3 Steps to make sure we have the Best Summer Ever!

    I know a lot of people that start to get a little anxious about summer coming!  “How am I going to keep my kids entertained and happy?” So… I had an activity tonight where I shared with a group of women how I think and plan fun activities.  Having the best summer ever starts with lists, planning, and managing expectations.

    Step 1: Create a list of ideas

    Sit down with your family or friends and write down any idea that comes to your mind. Think about anything that you want to learn… gardening, surfing, sewing, or a new language.  Think about places you want to go… Museums, National Parks, games or concerts.  Think about things you want to do… roast marshmallows, fly a kite, ride bikes, or have a mud fight. What do you want to teach your children?  This is your chance to do anything you can’t usually do during the school year! Write down ANYTHING!

    Step 2: Plan it out

    Shop it! I usually start by looking for fun free activities or free days at museums. I love Goldstar and Groupon I like to go on there just to get ideas for fun activities that I can do with my family.  Once you figure out dates of different events get everything on your calendar.  One example is we love to go to the Hollywood Bowl Tchaikovsky Spectacular with fireworks and it’s only on Aug 24 & 25 this year.  I’ll get that on the calendar and we won’t plan on going camping that weekend.  I, also, love to make fun activities a part of my routine. So, I might make Monday’s Museum day and Thursday’s beach day.  That way you don’t even have to think too hard about what you are going to do, it’s planned for you.

    Step 3: Manage Expectations

    Ask people in the know about what to expect. Is it going to be crowded? Is there going to be traffic? Are you going to need cash? Are your kids going to be tired?  And honestly… Expect the worst!  Then visualize how you can handle it… pack a snack, listen to an audio book, bring a friend, bring jackets or cash… etc.  Then once you’ve planned the best you know how, enjoy the fun that it is! And WHEN something goes wrong just roll with it.  I’ve found that sometimes the things that go wrong are the fun memories you’ll remember forever!

    My rule is that everyday we are going to learn something new, do something fun and organize or clean something.  They can totally overlap too!  Like teach your child how to do laundry.  See what I did there?  Cleaning and teaching/learning we’ve got to raise these independent children, right?  Or if your kid wants to learn how to bake brownies it’s something fun and learning something new.  If you do that every day you will go to sleep and you can look back and see that whatever good or bad things happened that day you achieved those three things. At the end of summer it will have been the best summer ever!

    I created a PDF handout to pass out to the group of women if you’re interested you can download it here! Summer fun

    Best of Luck!

    Advice, Family

    I talked to my small children about pornography, here’s what happened…

    I got the phone call from a friend one day and she was on the verge of tears.  Her and her husband were separating after years of marriage and multiple children. All due to her husband’s pornography addiction that had started when he was 8 years old… my jaw dropped.  I thought to myself “I have an 8 year old” and pornography is waaaay more accessible now than it was 30 years ago!  

    Why I decided to teach my little children about pornography.

    Since that conversation, I have heard story after story from close friends and family members of pornography exposure at young ages and how that has completely ruined their loved ones lives. The most horrifying was to learn that a woman’s son had been exposed to it at the age of 6, became completely addicted, and the Mom found out when he was 17 that he had been molesting his younger siblings for years! These are all from good Christian families! Can you even imagine!?!  Here I am trying to keep my children safe from the “creepers” of the world and by neglecting to discuss and prepare my kids to turn away from pornography I could actually be raising said “creepers.” That horrified me!

    So I researched… I asked friends and family members, I read books, found resources online and I decided I was going to do my best as a parent to teach my children the dangers of pornography. A good friend of mine recommended the book Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids by Kristen Jenson and I pulled out my phone and immediately bought it.

    I talked to my kids about Pornography!

    I sat down with Chadburn first.  We curled up on my bed and began to read.  The book is a story about a mother teaching her son about how the brain works, what pornography is, how it affects us, and what we should do when we see it. He had so many amazing questions.  We snuggled and discussed the entire book for over an hour. It was an incredibly bonding experience for the two of us! At one point he said “Mom, can I bring this book to share at school? I think there is a lot of really good information in here that everyone should learn.” Oh sweet child, I love that he wants to look out for his friends! We probably can’t share this book at school but we should definitely let as many people know about it as possible!

    This fall I sat down and listened to the author on The Mom Conference.  And she talked about why she created the book and that she also just released the book Good Pictures, Bad Pictures Jr. for little children.  It wasn’t on Amazon Prime at that point so of course I ran out and bought that version, at Deseret Book,  to read to Clark.  Once again, we curled up on my bed and began to read.  He loved looking at the pictures and finding the hidden cameras.  He thought it was fun to practice “Turn, Run, & Tell”  He liked whispering in my ear and telling me a secret.

    Thankfully none of my kids had been exposed to pornography that they could remember. I’m so happy that at the end of the book it has ideas for parents to teach their children ways to forget bad pictures once they do see them because they will see them.

    Protecting my kids is my job as a mother!

    I was realizing that my kids are spending more and more time on computers for school work and kindles for fun.  Chadburn had an assignment for school and decided to look up pictures to help him draw a brochure that was due.  I realized a few minutes after the fact, that he was searching the word Fox.  We have parental settings & filters on our computer but I was realizing that certain innocent words could still possibly come up with soft pornography tossed in. Thankfully, nothing inappropriate popped up.

    I think it’s easy to think that our house is safe, we have filters, good books, good shows… but they aren’t always home. They are hanging out at friend’s houses where there may be older siblings & their friends with phones or laptops.  My son has friends at school that have their own Instagram account.  My husband and I have had more friend requests of scantily clad women than we care to count. Kids are curious and they are going to share what they find with their friends. Honestly, I was exposed to pornography when I was 14 and babysitting at a house that had their x-rated movies on the same shelf as their Disney movies.  It’s going to happen! When they leave our house they need to be taught and prepared for the dangers in the world.

    Let’s be careful with our kids! Let’s prepare them and give them the tools to succeed! Let’s prioritize teaching our children about pornography! It’s not a matter of if they will see pornography but when!  

    I love these books so much that I reached out to Kristin Jensen to see if she would be willing to give one of these books away for free to one of my readers.  Follow me on Instagram to see how you can win!

    Here are a few websites and resources that I love!

    • I absolutely love this article. It’s a well written article from a psychiatrist about the science behind pornography.
    • This is a great video for younger children that is based on the Good Picture, Bad Picture books! 
    • This is Kristen Jenson’s website Protect Young Minds she is a wonderful resource on how to protect our kids!
    • Fight the New Drug is a great resource overall!  I really read through and used it when preparing a lesson for the teenagers of my church.
    • This is a fabulous little video about the dangers of pornography for an older child.

    We took our own good picture at 10:30 at night after our awesome discussion!


    Advice, Family

    That One Time a Lady at Costco Said, “Do You Have Any Idea How Big Your Carbon Footprint is?”

    Deciding to have a lot of kids was just something I always wanted.  I came from a smaller family in comparison to other families in my neighborhood.  I have two older sisters and one of them is nine years older than me, so she was in college when I was still pretty young.  When I looked at the camaraderie among my friends siblings. I knew that I wanted that for my own kids. I looked up to some of my friends parents so much!  They were incredibly talented, fun loving people who had tight relationships with their kids, something I didn’t have with my parents. So, I decided at a young age I wanted to be that parent and have that kind of a relationship, but with 8 kids (yes, I do think that is crazy town now).

    The First Day I Braved Costco with Three Kids Five and Under

    A few months after Clark was born,  I braved Costco.  I loaded everyone up drove down and did my shopping. Everything went really smoothly.  My kids were happy, people were smiling at me, and I got everything I needed. It was perfect! Until, I was standing in the line to exit Costco… Chadburn and Jack started to lose it and Clark started to get fussy in the carrier I had him in.


    People around me started to turn and glare at me.  Others were just staring at me and whispering to the person next to them. I was just trying to calm my kids and keep them quiet.  Finally, after a few minutes, a woman, who I had noticed watching me earlier, walks up to me and in not the nicest voice says “Do you have any idea how big your carbon footprint is?”  Everything seemed to slow down after those words exited her mouth and I remember thinking “Wait, did she really just ask me about my carbon footprint?  While my baby is crying? She’s not offering to help?” I turned and looked at her and without a beat responded in an upbeat voice “Someone has to raise the future leaders of our country! Who better than an educated, christian women, that loves her children.”  Miraculously, the exit line moved to a rapid pace and I just walked away and didn’t look back.  The woman never responded.

    I Took That Home with Me!

    Once we got in the car, I handed my older two Kings Hawaiian rolls, and pondered those words in peace. I am raising the future leaders of our country.  The lessons I teach my children now, the choices I make now, are going to effect my children and their success. This will subsequently effect my grandchildren. I’ve thought about that experience so many times over the past few years. “Someone has to raise the future leaders of our country” became a mantra I have on days when “I don’t want to adult today.” It’s what pushes me, it motivates me to be a better person. What I’m doing as a mother is important.  I may not be a CEO of a large corporation, a leader in a government position, or any high profile person but I’m a mother and I can have an incredible influence for good to my children, and like my friends parents, I can be a good example to my children’s friends that might not be blessed with that kind of relationship.

    We are raising strong, independent, Christian children that are going to do incredible things! Don’t let anyone let you think otherwise!

    Advice, Family

    My Biggest Tricks for Raising Independent Children

    Raising independent Children

    Any luck with handling temper tantrums last week? It makes me so happy when I slow down and keep myself in that analytical mindset! This week I thought I’d share about the biggest contributors to raising independent children.

    Two years ago Chad was hit by a car and was in the ICU for 11 days. This was when our oldest was six years old and in 1st grade. Us, as parents and this sweet little boy had the greatest lesson in what shapes independent children. Opportunity and Trust!

    Each morning, for those 11 days, I would wake up at 4:30 in order to get to the hospital by 5:00. That way, I could be there before the Dr’s made their morning rounds. Chad was so groggy and medicated he could never remember what the Dr’s said. So, I made sure I was there to get his updates and what his next steps were.

    This left my 6, 4, & 2 yr olds at home with Grandma who was getting ready for work. My 6 year old would wake up, get dressed, pour himself a bowl of cereal, pack his own lunch, and be ready in time to be picked up by a friend to go to school. Now, my sweet boy would even make himself a Turkey sandwich with mayonnaise, mustard, turkey, cheese, pickles, and spinach. People were shocked at my independent children!!!


    When people asked me how this was happening I told them, I trusted my son.  Even before my husbands accident.  I had raised him in a way that allowed him his independence.  If he wanted to help me make breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert I had him on the counter, helping alongside me, giving him assignments and trusting him.  I’d guide him lovingly when he was about to make a mistake.  I still trusted him to do it, instead of taking the job away from him. Sometimes it made prepping meals a little bit longer but it was fun!

    One friend told me she couldn’t trust her child to do anything.  When we talked further we learned that it was because she  never gave her child the opportunities to try. When you start out an activity explaining the dangers and how you are putting a lot of trust in them. They get excited, empowered, and they just might try to impress you.


    Kids really need to be given the opportunity.  We were forced into a, not so ideal, situation that required us to allow our children to take care of themselves.  Thankfully, because we trusted our children at a young age to help with things around the house like cooking, cleaning, and laundry they were able to step up and do what needed to be done.

    I was talking to a friend the other day that has two children a 5 and 7 year old.  She asked me how I do it with my four?  When I started to explain everything my kids are expected to do by themselves she was shocked.  She did everything for her kids like making them breakfast, snacks, lunch, and dinner… always.  Washed and folded their laundry herself and helped pick out their clothes and get them dressed each morning. She put their dirty clothes in the laundry basket and picked up their toys at the end of the day when they were in bed. The way she described her household, I pictured her children treating her disrespectfully and like their personal slave. They expected everything from her with very little gratitude in return.

    What Can You Do Now?

    Start your children as young as you can.  Give them simple tasks that they can do. My Clark (3) and  Zoe (20 mos) help put their folded laundry in the drawers. Okay, I give Zoe one folded shirt and I carry the other shirts but she knows where all of her clothes go.  If she ever decides she wants to dump out a drawer I make it a silly game to have her put everything back in the drawer.  No way am I letting her get away with dumping and running. They put their shoes in the shoe bin and toys in the toy bin. When you have an organizational system in your house teach your kids what it is. They will start doing it without you needing to ask.

    If you have older kids, start giving them simple tasks that they can do.  If you fold the laundry make them put the folded laundry in their drawers. Start simple, even if they complain.  I actually like when they don’t want to do it. My favorite is when they complain for example “I don’t want to put my clothes away” I’ll give them an alternative  that’s harder. Say something like, Okay, you can either put your clothes away or I can teach you to scrub down the bathroom toilets AND you can’t watch shows for a week. If you give an ultimatum like that, you actually have to follow through with it or be sure it’s something that you can enforce. So be careful what you choose.

    Let them do it!

    I have to say, I have the hardest time watching other people struggle with something.  I just want to say “watch out, let me just do it!”  With kids, I’ve learned, they just have to do it!  They have to struggle.  They have to problem solve without your help. If you are as impatient as I can be, walk away, say “I’m going to let you practice that, I’ll be right back” or look at something else while they try.

    A lot of times my kids learn how to do things because they are impatient.  If they want some string cheese, for example, but I’m helping someone else, I tell them they can try and open it or wait until I’m finished doing what I’m doing.  It either teaches them a lesson in patience or a lesson in independence. They’ll either try immediately by themselves, get bored of waiting and try themselves, or they will wait patiently until you can help teach them and let them try to do it. If it’s way to difficult for them to do then just talk them through what you are doing so one day they will be able to do it.

    The Parenting Breakthrough: Real-Life Plan to Teach Kids to Work, Save Money, and Be Truly Independent was the first book that I read as a parent about creating independent children. I loved that it gave you ideas of what your kids are capable of doing. It really empowered me to be a better mom! I hope something here helps you raise more independent children!

    That car accident a few years ago has completely influenced the way I teach and raise my children.  When a tragedy strikes I always want them to be able to step up to a challenge and face it head on!

    Let’s Elevate!

    Family, Shop Gear

    Why Every Kid Needs a Training Pocket Knife

    Why Every kids needs a training pocket knife

    I wouldn’t say that we are a big knife family but we have them around.  My husband always has a pocket knife on him and we have pocket knives in every one of our cars. Why? My husband is an Eagle Scout and the Boy Scout Motto is “Be Prepared.”  So we have pocket knives where we might need them.  Which means every one of my kids will have a training pocket knife and will be taught the proper way to use and respect a knife. Read more…

    Advice, Family

    How to Survive Temper Tantrums, Both Children & Adults!

    How to Survive Temper Tantrums

    How did it go last week? Did you have any good experiences? Did you slow down and take things as it came? One day at a time? This week I want to tell you about how I keep myself sane in crazy moments. How I survive when my child is throwing a tantrum or just acting inappropriately.  I also want you to know how to apply it to the Adults around you.  Whether it’s a mom at the park, on the sports team, or on the PTA. Read more…


    Easy Family Service Project: Sunshine Boxes and Care Packages

    Sunshine box care package

    A few weeks ago, I met with a group of women at my church for an easy service project! We put together six care packages for women whose husbands are currently deployed.  The boxes were decorated in yellows, oranges and blues and titled “Box of Sunshine.”  We filled them with gift cards, notebooks, pens, hairbands, recipes, lotion, bubble bath, and little goodies! Each of these sweet women are either pregnant and/or have small children at home and we wanted to send them a little love and appreciation for the sacrifices they are making. Read more…