My Favorite Fathers

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These 3 guys are my favorite fathers on earth!  From left to right, my brother-in-law, Jeff, my husband, Chris, and my dad, Tom.  All 3 of them are dedicated dads, hard workers, great husbands, spiritual leaders, & they are all totally funny!  They always have a good time when they are together!

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I am so thankful for a husband who loves his daughters with an amazing kind of love!

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Who prays with them over FaceTime while at military training.

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Who is willing to picture text clothing options when his daughter is sick!

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Who sits in a warm hyperbaric chamber so that they aren’t frightened.

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I’m also thankful that he loves our nieces & nephew like they were his own!

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And that he is never afraid to be silly!

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I’m also thankful for Jeff!  I’m so thankful that he came into my sister’s life when my oldest niece, Rebecca was a year old.  He has been an amazing dad to my nieces & nephew and you only have to be around them for about 5 minutes to realize that they are CRAZY about their dad & that the feeling is mutual!  

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When my sister went through cancer years ago, Jeff never left her side & I never stopped thanking God for bringing him into our family.

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And then there is my dad!  He has been such a source of encouragement to me and to my sister for our entire lives!

He is silly!

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He is competitive!

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And he is always a helper for Skylar!

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But I must say that one of the things I love the most about my dad, is how much he loves my husband!  He has been a spirtual mentor to Chris and he is one of the first people Chris goes to for career advice.

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And it sure doesn’t hurt that they share a deep love for the Arizona Wildcats!

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I can’t convey enough to you how blessed I have been by these men!  I am so thankful that the Lord saw fit to place each and every one of them in my life.  

Happy Father’s Day!

Make it great!

JuJu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wishing You Love, ALL Year Long!

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So those of you who know me well, know that I am not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. Why is there ONE day during the year to show your loved one that you really love them?  I totally believe that it is a day that merchants can charge $100 for a boquet that you would normally get for $15.  Don’t get me wrong…I love flowers, chocolate, and tokens of affection as much as the next person, but it means a heck of a lot more to me when Chris brings me those things on a whim, in July!  I am extremely blessed to have a husband who shows me and tells me that he loves me every day of the year.  For that, I am truly thankful!

Now that I have all that out of the way, I do like to do fun love themed things for the girls around Valentine’s Day and now that they are being homeschooled, I try to still do Valentine’s with them as that was one of their favorite things to do at school. Since they are not getting a ton of individual cards this year we made sure to get them a fun card.

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I will also admit that Valentine’s brings some of our favorite candies packaged together.  What other time of year, besides Halloween, can you get Twix and Snickers together in fun-sized packages?

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I have an entry table that I decorate around the different seasons throughout the year and during the month of February I do decorate it in a fun love theme.  The subway art hanging above the table came from the lovely ladies of Eighteen25.  I love their blog and all of their fun ideas.  I actually have a subway art for just about every season, holiday, etc.  They all are housed in the frame and I just open the back and rotate them.

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Each year I add to the mix and this year I made these yarn-wrapped LOVE letters. You can find the tutorial HERE.  I will just say that they were not as quick and easy of a project as I would of liked, but I do love the finished product.  The frame with the “love u” art also came from Eighteen25.  That frame also houses multiple 4×6 sized holiday themed prints.  This makes a really fun gift that keeps giving all year long! You can find the links for the subway art and 4×6 framed art HERE.  The heart shaped candy dish is just a bowl from Target that I adhered to a candlestick that was given to us as a wedding present.  I glued them together with E6000, which can be found just about any place where craft items are sold (Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, JoAnn’s, Wal-Mart).  That was another really simple idea I saw on the Eighteen25 blog.  Their blog is truly one of my favorite, go-to places for projects.

This year we actually put a box of goodies together for my sweet friend, Heather who is experiencing her first Valentine’s without her husband.  As many of you know, going through a year of “firsts” after the loss of a loved one is so very hard.  We wanted to shower Heather and her kiddos with love as they go through this day without Buddy.

I do hope that you have a beautiful day with your loved ones, but most importantly, I hope that you shower those loved ones with love and affection all year long!

Make it great!

JuJu

The Power of Words!

Our words are SO powerful!  They have the power to build someone up or to tear someone down.  I have been on the receiving end of hurtful words more times than I can remember.  Sadly enough, I have been on the giving end of hurtful words more than I would care to admit.  I recently wrote about Words & Their Consequences.  You can read about that here if you missed it.  Today I want to focus on the power of using our words to encourage others.

Over the years I have learned that my girls do NOT respond well to raised voices.  In fact, Hailey will completely shut down if she gets yelled at by anyone. When I was a school nurse, one of the perks of my job was that I got to choose Hailey’s teacher.  I didn’t have a choice with Skylar as she was in the inclusion class. I was always blessed that, overall, she had great teachers. Many of those teachers are some of my best friends today!  Picking a teacher for Hailey wasn’t as easy a task as you might think.  She works at her own pace.  She doesn’t get in a hurry for anyone!  When Hailey was in Kindergarten, her teacher lovingly said that “Hailey runs on Hailey Central Time”.  I remember thinking that was a perfect description!  I’m pretty sure that all of her past teachers would agree with that!

When I chose her teacher for the following year I had many criteria, but the most important thing was that the teacher was firm, but loving.  Following that criteria has NEVER failed me.  When I think back on all of her teachers from preschool until now (5th grade) they have all been women who were firm, but very loving and motherly towards her. They were also women who were great encouragers! For that, I am eternally grateful!

Years ago I read a book by Gary Chapman called the Five Love Languages.  He also wrote a book Five Love Languages of Children.  There are also a bunch of other versions (teens, men, etc.). Basically there are 5 love languages (gifts, quality time, acts of service, physical touch, and words of affirmation).  Hailey’s love languages are definitely: words of affirmation & quality time.  I honestly believe that Hailey would rather hear us tell her we love her or that she is doing a great job than get a new toy or game.  She also loves to have one on one time with me or Chris.  Skylar on the other hand would take a new video game any day of the week!

We tell the girls that we love them probably 30-40 times a day, but I’m always looking for new and creative ways to love on them.  Earlier in the school year I put a rice crispy treat in Hailey’s lunch.  This wasn’t anything new, but it was one of those treats that is pre-packaged with a space to write something on it.  I decided to jot a quick note:  “Hailey…I think you are AWESOME!” on it.  The next morning as I was packing her lunch, she said “Hey mom, did you write a note on my rice crispy treat yesterday?”  I of course told her that I did.  She then said “I really loved that!”  Well that got me thinking on what other things I could do to tell her or show her that I love her. Last year, I saw a really neat idea on Becky Higgins’ website and decided to implement it in our own home.

I purchased these really awesome “I love you because” prints made from kikicomin. She sells them in various sizes, but I purchased 8×10 prints.  I put them in frames I bought from Hobby Lobby and hung them in our entry way.  I use a dry-erase marker and write directly on the glass. I love that I can just quickly wipe off the glass and write something new.  She also sells them as part of a set you can download, print off, and slip in your kids’ lunch boxes.  I LOVE that idea!!

Just a little side note:  Kiki sells these for a discounted rate if you buy multiples, so I bought 8 of these and gave 4 to my sister so that she could use them for her 4 kids.  I hung the 2 in my entry way, but I am planning on using the other 2 so that Chris and I can write notes to each other as well.  I just sent her a quick e-mail telling her what I needed and she was super quick in getting back to me.

I had NO idea that this would become such a hit with the girls.  Hailey especially loves them!  Every morning when she comes upstairs, the first thing she does is look to see what I’ve written on the frame.  And let me tell you, if I haven’t changed the saying, she lets me know!  She has even brought the marker to me and said “You need to change my frame mom!”

It’s been really fun to come up with different reasons for why I love them.  I try to do a mix of funny and heartwarming.  Sometimes it is a simple as “I love you because….you took the laundry to the laundry room”  or “I love you because….you changed out the toilet paper roll”.  The key is to show your loved ones that you love and appreciate them.  It has definitely been a wonderful addition to our home!

So today I am challenging you to find a new way to show your family that you love and appreciate them!  It can be something big or something small.  But remember, even if YOU think it is small, it could be HUGE to them.  Just like the rice crispy treat!

Make it a great day!

JuJu

*Don’t forget about my giveaway that is going on through Sunday for a set of Goosie Cards.  Click here to read about it!