Every Kid in a Park

Have you heard about “Every Kid in a Park?”  This is a government program that provides each child in their fourth grade year of school AND their families to have free parking admission into U.S. Parks and Historic Sites.  The government website says that everyone is within 2 hours of a park to visit, so start planning a trip today!

Every Kid in a Park Details

Your rising fourth grader can get his pass beginning September 1, 2016.  Official rules can be found on the government website here.  According to the website, fourth graders are chosen because the public school curriculum aligns with U.S. history and culture.  This seems like such a great opportunity, and the age is perfect to take kids to explore these places.

Every Kid in a Park ~ Free Admission for Fourth Graders

Every Kid in Park

 

 

For More Information

To obtain your child’s pass or for more information, check out the official site.  Mom’s Priority is committed to sharing the best deals and tips as we learn.  When you go, send us an email to momspriority@gmail.com with your tips so we can share them with the Mom’s Priority community!

Perfect Baby Shower Gifts

Top 5 Adorable Baby Shower Gifts

Summer seems to be baby shower season! So many opportunities to shower those we love with gifts for their baby!  Here are some cute brands to watch out for when you shop for baby shower gifts.

Adorable Baby Shower Gifts

Baby Shower Gift Ideas

Welcoming a baby into the world is one of the most special moments of life! The excitement and anticipation a mom-to-be feels before the baby is born is just beyond words. Everyone around her can sense that excitement, and the opportunity to shower her with gifts for the baby is special!  Baby Showers are incredible opportunities to love on the mom-to-be.  We’ve shared some of our favorite ideas HERE.  For the baby gifts, however, we have put together a fantastic list of perfectly adorable gifts.

Kickee pants

Kickee pants

    • Kickee pants – These footies are incredibly soft and fleece-lined on the inside, with rubber grippers on the feet to prevent slipping.  Almost organic, Kickee pants are made mostly of viscose from bamboo, with a little spandex for comfortable movement.  Available in a variety of colors and patterns, these footies are perfect for naps and play.  

 

 

  • RuffleButts

    RuffleButts

     RuffleButts – Adorable swim suits, diaper covers, pants, and outfits that are made of comfortable, quality materials.  The bathing suits, like this one, are UPF 50+, and the material stretches .

 

 

 

Baltic Amber Teething Necklace

Baltic Amber Teething Necklace

 

    •  Baltic Amber Teething Necklace – Anti-inflammatory, naturally soothing for teething and fussiness, these necklaces would make a great shower gift.  Babies love necklaces to help their gums.  This should be used only under supervision.
    • Baby Bandana Drool Bibs– These bibs are made of organic cotton so there are no harsh chemicals on the baby’s skin, particularly helpful for babies with eczema.  They also have adjustable snaps, so the baby cannot pull them off themselves.  The fabrics available for these bibs are adorable also!

  • Aden and Anais Swaddle

    Aden and Anais Swaddle

    Aden and Anais Silky Soft Swaddle 3 count – These 100% cotton muslin swaddle blankets have so many uses!  Never leave home without them!  They are so soft next to your baby’s skin, and can be used as a swaddle blanket, stroller cover, burp cloth, nursing cover, and much more.

 

 


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Summer Ideas for Kids

Summer Ideas for kids

How to Keep Boredom Away

It’s the middle of the summer now, and it seems no matter how busy we are, inevitably I will occasionally hear, “I’m bored!” In case you have heard these words before too, here’s one idea that worked for me.

Summer Ideas for Young Kids

When the kids were Preschool age, the best sanity-keeping idea I had was to have the kids decorate large popsicle sticks and then I numbered them and listed an activity on them that matched up with some project/activity/craft around the house that was pre-packaged and ready to do.  This gave me something to direct them to if they ever said, “I’m bored” or “what can I do”?  Having the whole project kit ready to go made it easier as well, eliminating the frustration of trying to find the items for a certain project!

Summer Ideas for Older Kids

As the kids have grown, no one wanted to paint popsicle sticks anymore, so I kept a list.  If they got bored, I’d say, Check the list for ideas!  Now, our kids are even older and when they find a minute without anything to do, they savor it!  Truthfully, at this age, we stay so busy that boredom doesn’t happen often!  But, it is nice to have options and ideas, because there are so many things we want to do in summer!  Sometimes kids just need a little direction.

For more ideas, check out Mom’s Priority’s pinterest page.

How to Encourage Kids Reading This Summer

As testing continues to accelerate in schools, parents and teachers are hoping that their children are well prepared and have acquired the reading skills needed to excel on their tests and be promoted to the next grade.  More than that, though, we want our kids to have a love of reading, so that throughout their lives, they have endless opportunity that is afforded when a person can read, comprehend, and use the information gathered to change their lives.  Good reading skills can certainly be life-changing!  Kids reading for fun is the way to increase comprehension and reading level.

Developing Reading Skills Should be Fun

Too much emphasis is placed on tests and evaluations today when what is needed is a love for reading and the ability to comprehend and use that knowledge for good!  This summer, we are focusing on reading each day with my kids, more than just at bedtime.  It will be good for all of us to enjoy good books this summer!  I was excited to read over this list of books put together by Amazon’s book editors : 100 Children’s Books to read in a lifetime!  There are so many good books that I read as a child, or my children have read.  There are many others that I want us to read, so this is going to be a great guide going into this summer!

Our kids will develop reading skills, but more than that, hopefully they’ll acquire a greater love for people, those who are different from us, those who have emotions, those in different situations, and those who have stories to tell!  Because at the end of the day, we are all living our lives and telling a story.  Books like Are You My Mother by Philip Eastman, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, The Borrowers by Mary Norton, and 97 other classics or ones that will be significant and warmly remembered through the rest of our children’s lives.  I want to share this list with our kids and see what they are interested in, or what they remember about these!!

Kids Reading Resources

To develop reading skills this summer, we’ll surely be going to the library, but also going online and ordering a few of these classics for our home library.  We’ll also be trying out Kindle Unlimited with a 30 day free trial, so we can read unlimited for free!  Also, our school system has joined Myon.com, so kids can use that online reading source for a variety of titles!  I am so excited for summer to get here, for the pace to slow, and for fun and relaxation!


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Wonder on Sale at Amazon!

Wonder

Wonder by R.J. Palacio is an amazing book that inspires children to choose kindness!  We’ve read it here at our house, have a copy, and it is one you don’t want to miss!  Auggie Pullman was born with a facial difference and has been homeschooled until now, when he’s about to enter 5th grade as the new kid in school.  Truly, a book to read and pass along.  The idea of kindness despite differences…is a timeless and particularly timely lesson in our current culture.  The hardcover version of Wonder is on sale at Amazon for $3.99 and is Prime!    Also soon to be a major motion picture!  Buy a copy today- you won’t regret it.


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How I’m Simplifying So I Can Live My Priorities (Again)

I hope you live a life you’re proud of.  If you find that you are not, I hope you have the strength

to start all over again.  – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Simplifying

I am re-reading this book Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist because it is like balm to my tired soul.  This time, I am reading it a chapter at a time, pausing to meditate on the thoughts she shares in it.  I found this book at just the right time; I just officially stepped down from leading our women’s ministry a few mere weeks ago, and my heart aches.  On the other side, in order to live my priorities, I know it’s what I had to do, what God is leading me to do. 

“As painful as it is, I know sometimes you have to let some GOOD things go in order for the BEST things to have a chance to GROW. ” – Shauna Niequist

Simplifying and Living Your Priorities

Simplifying and Living Your Priorities

Live Your Priorities

This F. Scott Fizgerald quote ties perfectly into “Mom’s Priority.”  The whole theme of Mom’s Priority is helping moms live out their priorities, or in other words, live a life you’re proud of.  Priorities vary from mom to mom and season to season, and there are so many good ones.  At the end of the day, you want to be spending your days and thus years, the way that brings God the most glory and you fulfillment as you follow His will.  

I wish I could give you this 10 step guideline to making your life perfect and always in order, but that’s not life.  Your priorities change, but having the tools (most importantly, prayer!) to help you simplify and keep your priorities in that season- this is what I hope we help you with.   

Ultimately, like Niequist said in this book, ” we decide where the time goes.  There’s so much freedom in that, and so much responsibility.”  

God Provides

10 years ago, I became a mom and after 8 months of working full time/momming, my husband and I decided that I would take a break from work to spend time raising our baby.  I can’t tell you where all of that time has gone, but for me, raising our children has been the most rewarding, fun work I have ever done.  And because we prayed about it, planned, and were obedient, God has provided in chilling, absolutely amazing ways.  It hasn’t always been easy, but I am proud to be devoting my energy to being a mom.  I am thankful we simplified our lives during those busy early years.  (If you want to know how to start saving money, start here!)

Learning to Say No

But in the meantime, I have picked up a ton of extra jobs.  Volunteer jobs abound when you stay at home, even if you’re working while you’re home!  Because of my “responsible” personality, like she mentions in the book, I have stepped up too many times to keep on going forever!  Starting a Sunday school class, leading women’s ministry, leading a girls’ missions group, being room mom, volunteering at the school weekly, being married to a little league baseball coach … these were current volunteer jobs up until a few weeks ago.  But, a new season is arising, and all of these things can’t go on forever.  Her book talks about saying no, which is an important skill to learn.  As much as we need people to step up and lead, we need others to step back and give them that chance. And give ourselves time to breathe! 

When we were just leading Sunday School and I hadn’t yet stepped up to leading women’s ministry, I was more thoughtful and I intentionally prayed for friends and the couples in our class and the issues they were facing.  I made a point to reach out and check in occasionally and I considered it a joy to do so.  More recently, I have become frantic and overwhelmed with all of the growing responsibilities.  I’m not as fun with our kids as I used to be, and I no longer reach out as much!  God made it clear: It’s time to scale it all back and regain our focus. 

Staying Focused on Your Priorities

Granted, I didn’t make this change voluntarily; rather, it took a painful event to realize that it is all too much. With kids at home, the time flies by way too quickly and before long, they will be grown.  There will be time for other priorities!  But right now, our focus is on God and family.  He makes the others fall into place, and I honestly pray these tools here on Mom’s Priority help you save money and time so you can live your priorities.  I share what has helped us, because too many times you don’t know where to turn. 

The Frantic Epidemic

It seems to be an epidemic:  overcrowded schedules to keep up with little to show for it at the end of the day, or year.  More and more moms on medication for anxiety, insomnia, and other illnesses.  Families frayed at the ends because of endless demands of travel tournaments, kid activities, and often, work commitments.  I don’t think God planned it this way.  We’ve taken it all to the extreme because that’s what we do.  But, there is time to scale it back, simplify, and focus on your priorities.  God provides. 

Pruning

These resources shared are not an excuse to not serve, because Jesus commands us to love one another above all.  Instead, I believe it frees us to love and serve, as God leads us.  Tonight, I trimmed up a cherry blossom tree that had grown multiple trunks from the base.  The tree has been an eyesore as I drive past it for weeks (maybe months).  The additional trunks were dying, and the main tree was not growing properly because of the additional growth.  It reminded me, as oddly working in my yard often does, of my life, giving myself to too many good endeavors.  The end result is a mess, and not the way God designed it.  John 15 talks about pruning to keep the vine fruitful, and that is what I had to do with this tree. The same is true in life.  I’ve asked myself and will ask you, Are you living your priorities?  At the end of our lives, only what is done for God’s glory will last into eternity. 

Are you living your priorities? 

More Resources

The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst is a great book that reminds us that each decision is a turn in a direction. 

Andy Stanley is currently doing a sermon series on Breathing Room.  He says, “Sometimes we can’t enjoy anything because we’re trying to do everything.”  This sermon was perfectly timed for my car ride the other day, and I can imagine others will benefit from it as well.

Your Sacred Yes by Susie Larson is another book to help us discern between “man-made obligations and God-given invitations.”


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Make a Difference with Your Kids This Summer

Summer Activities for Great Kids Beyond Camps and Vacations

Make a Difference this Summer

Mom’s Priority List of Summer Activities for Great Kids Beyond Camps and Vacations

Summer is a time for kids to have fun and be kids, playing with friends and going on vacation, to camps and the pool of course!  Beyond that, it’s a time to make a difference and learn and grow!  For a few fun inspirational ideas, I’ve created a list!   This list is designed for elementary-age, but can be scaled to go younger or older.

Challenge Contests

  1. Enter a reading contest for prizes – Your local library surely has contests for different ages. Also, check out Barnes and Noble’s Summer Reading Program- read just 8 books and write a recommendation for each and win a free book! For more details, see Barnes and Noble .
  2. Enter a building contest for a chance to have your masterpiece in the Lego club magazine! Or, use Lego’s Digital Design Software on their website to build a virtual lego invention and have it displayed on their website! Click below for Lego’s siteLEGO® Juniors: Introduce your child to the world of building.
  3. Write a story about Lego Ninjago and the winner will have their story published in an upcoming chapter book!

Be Creative

  1.  Paint with acrylics on pottery, watercolors on stained glass (from craft store), by number, with acrylics on canvas, on posters for lemonade stands, with dot markers, with finger paint, on ceramic kits from the craft store, with stencils, with sponges, on wood figures like crosses
  2. Create necklaces with macaroni noodles and string and beads, puppets with paper bags or finger puppets with felt, magnets with pictures, felt storyboards with felt and imagination
  3. Glue a tissue paper collage, sequin art, foam stickers

Get Healthy

  1.  Try new food and recipes, take a picture, and create a recipe book with your new favorites
  2. Plant a garden in your backyard or community and enjoy picking fresh fruit and vegetables all summer!
  3. Exercise as a family- ride bikes at parks or in the neighborhood, go swimming, play baseball or soccer in the backyard, play tennis or golf, help parents around the yard and in the house.
  4. Drink lots of water and get lots of rest, because summer days wear you out!

Make a Difference

  1. Set up a lemonade stand to raise money for your favorite cause
  2. Get a haircut and donate your ponytail to Locks of Love or your local cancer center
  3. Visit elderly family or senior center, bringing them beautiful artwork to brighten their walls and smiles!
  4. Clean out your closet and drawers, taking outgrown and gently worn shoes and clothes to your local church, rescue, Salvation Army, Goodwill, and stuffed animals to your local fire station
  5. Send a card to an out of town friend or family member to make their day brighter
  6. Send our soldiers letters and goodies
  7. Share a canned good with someone in need by taking it to your local soup kitchen
  8. Smile often, laugh a lot, and have lots of fun!

5 Ways to Save on a Family Trip to Disney

Disney Planning on a Budget~ 5 Ways to Save

Family Trip to Disney

Disney World on a Budget

Disney World is on many families’ bucket lists of places to experience with kids.  Truly, a family trip to Disney is an amazing experience for families!  Even if you can’t or won’t spend thousands of dollars on a vacation, you can still experience Disney World with these money saving tips.

5 Ways to Save at Disney

  1. Plan your family trip to Disney well in advance.  Hotels, while plentiful in Orlando, can book up with the number of visitors and conventions that are ongoing in that city.  Planning in advance also makes sense with regards to meal reservations and fast passes.  We’ll talk about that more below, but people start booking these up to 6 months in advance, so don’t wait!  You also can find out when is the best time to go to Disney.  We’ve found that November is a wonderful time- it’s already decorated for Christmas, the weather is very nice, and it’s not that crowded.
  2. Discover Hilton’s best promotions of the moment in Orlando. Stop clicking around & book directly at Hilton.com

Plan Your Itinerary

  1. Once you nail down the dates of your vacation, plan your days in detail.  Sound like planning takes away the spontaneous fun, right?  Well, time is money in Disney World.  One-day ticket prices start at $105/day per person and $99/day per child age 3-9, depending on the Disney park you are visiting and season!  The price seems steep, but only until you realize how much you get for your money, with all of the shows, parades, rides, and character visits!  But, if you spend your time waiting in line unnecessarily because you didn’t plan well, you will miss out.  So, plan your days.  Look at the crowd calendars available on touringplans.com and undercover tourist.  Decide which days you want to go to which park, based on the crowd levels and what features you’re looking for in your day, whether it be the electric parade which vary in hours at night or the extra magic hours that you can receive by staying at certain hotels.
  2. Once you decide your days, plan out your route around the park, keeping your meal reservations, character visits, and fast passes in mind.  Doing this in advance will make the day go SO much smoother when you’re in the park with your family!  You can book character meals up to 180 days in advance, and they fill up so often you need to check back before your trip to see if better times/days become available.  Also, remember if you have a really young one, you can do Rider Swap on certain rides, meaning the parents can switch without waiting in line twice.
  3. When planning your hotel and meals, consider a hotel that offers a free continental breakfast in the rate, and remember that you can bring in food and drinks.  You can eat breakfast at the hotel, pack PBJ’s, snacks, and waters and take in the stroller, and then eat an off-time dinner in the park, and buy a few fun treats/snacks like ice cream when you really need a break from the day or in the evening. We have stayed at the Hampton Inn near Disney World in Orlando, and enjoyed the free breakfast and free transportation to the Disney parks.  Save up to 15% off when you book early at thousands of Hampton by Hilton. Book early & save big! Another option is to stay at a hotel inside the park, making it easily accessible to return back for a midday break, and then you can go back to the park, particularly Magic Kingdom, and enjoy the nighttime parades and fireworks, hopefully avoiding the exhaustion and tantrums! We’ve done this also, and it was awesome, just much more expensive.

These are just a few tips on creating a memorable family trip at Walt Disney World.  Check out these websites for more tips on a wonderful Disney vacation!

Other Disney Resources

All Ears

MouseSavers

Frommers

Undercover Tourist

Touring Plans

Disney

Disney by Age


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Organized Mom ~ Best Apps for Moms

Nobody has it all together, all the time, or if you’re like me, even most of the time!  These apps do help though.  Get organized mom!!  Here are the best apps for moms.  From organizing your spend, lists, errands, calendar, team sport, and more, these apps are amazing help!  I cannot recommend them enough so you can live your priorities.

Best Apps for the Organized Mom

  • AnyList makes grocery list making and shopping simple and easy to share with other family members!  Simply start typing the grocery item, and it fills in the rest, sorting the items by type.  When you add the item to your cart, simply tap the item name and it will cross it out.  The basic app is free, however, you can purchase a premium subscription and have more options.  With premium, Any List can be used with major recipe sites like Allrecipes, saving the recipe and automatically adding the ingredients to your shopping list!  This is a great app that is making my life easier!
  • Errands is a task manager that reminds you of the commitments you make and helps keep you organized.  I have used this app for several years now and it is super simple- just add a reminder like “call the vet”, set a due date (and time, if you need that), and a reminder will pop up on your screen, based on the settings you set.  Streamlined, simple, but very valuable.  If I’m in a conversation with someone and I say I’ll do something, it’s simple to add a reminder into this app.   It’s important for me to keep my commitments, and with so many distractions, I can easily forget by the time I get back to my desk or a notepad.  This app is so helpful for that!!
  • Cozi is a popular app that helps families stay organized… READ MORE HERE

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Encouraging Friends through the Seasons of Motherhood

DEVOTIONAL

Encouraging Friends through the Season of Motherhood

Motherhood is hard work. You start out cradling this tiny, amazing human that is completely your responsibility. Then you find yourself running after little chubby toddler legs as they sprint as fast as they can toward the most dangerous thing in the room, followed by the “I can do it by myself” stage where you find yourself constantly cleaning up spilled milk and scraping glue off the floor. And, that’s only the beginning! Because, then the little tiny human decides to keep growing and growing until eventually he or she becomes a grown man or woman – and how are we supposed to handle it when all of a sudden we have no say in their lives? It’s just hard.

That’s why, we encourage you to lift up all the mothers in your life- friends, sisters, co-workers and even the stressed-out mom you see struggling through the supermarket. And, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because we are called to do it. In fact, 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV) says “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” And then in Ecclesiastes 4:9 -12 (ESV), it says “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”

With these Scriptures in mind, we asked several DaySpring staffers to let us know how they encourage the moms in their lives. We hope these questions and answers will give you some ideas on how to lift up your friends during each season of motherhood.

What is your favorite way to bless a new Mom? 

A meal in week 6. This is the week where all the help is gone, the meal train ends and sleep deprivation sets in.  I also tell a brand new mom to trust her own instincts.  READ MORE @ Dayspring

 


Thank you to DaySpring for allowing us to share an excerpt from this devotional.  Advertising Disclosure: Some tips include links where Mom’s Priority receives an incentive per click or per purchase.  For more information, please see our Privacy Policy and Disclosure.