Faith, Health & Wellness, MONAT, Other, Parenting

Life is Changing

Raising a family and being a responsible adult is HARD!!!  Trying to make the right decisions based on my faith and keeping our kids in line with our values is HARD!!  No one ever said, “Wow this adult thing and having a family is a piece of cake!!!” ever in the history of people!  Some days are much easier than others but the hard days or hard situation or seasons are a challenge.

I have talked a lot in the past about staying home with my kids and being about to teach them and have more time to do family things and instill my faith into my kiddos.  That has become my focus.  That is my goal. I went from full time to part time at my current job last summer then went back full time during tax season.  Tax season is over and I will be going back to part time within the next month!!  As excited as I am it is still part time which still limits how the days can go and the things we can do.  I am not complaining because that is what is going to work the best for our family at this time and what I believe God has in his plan for us.

You might remember a few months ago I posted about a new journey I started the end of February called MONAT!!  MONAT is a naturally based, anti-aging hair care company.  Let’s get back to using the things God gave us to use!!  I have been in direct sales on and off my who adult life and I can honestly say that I have NEVER found any company like MONAT!!  You are truly part of a family once you join even as a customer.  MONAT has a sister company that has been around for 16+ years and is still going strong.  Because of that MONAT was able to start completely debt free with zero overhead.

Wow!!!!  Do you know what that means?

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That means they have an amazing compensation plan for their Market Partners (Distributors)!!  Not only is it great but they throw out spectacular deals and extra cash earning opportunities all the time!!  Due to rules and regulations I am not able to share exactly what I have made with MONAT but I will tell you that going part time this summer will be very different than last summer and by different I mean much better and easier financially!!

Watch this quick MONAT Video!

MONAT has great family values and they want each and everyone one of us to succeed!!  I have never been able to make the kind of money I have made with MONAT in any other company.  I have a team of 15 right now and I just started the very end of February but didn’t really start working my business until the second week in March.  I think my favorite part of MONAT is that people can try it before they buy and there is a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee!!!  Why not try the products!

A very unexpected blessing I have received since joining MONAT is the new twist it has created in my marriage!  As I said earlier, I have been in direct sales previously and my husband has never really been involved.  Not only does he love MONAT products for himself and our family, but he can see how it is blessing our family.  He knows how great the company is to us and he sees how excited and happy I am!  He sees the money I am making and the great leadership skills I am building.  He is more supportive than ever and it is improving our relationship.  We are kinda like business partners!  I just love what MONAT has done for my family. Oh and we all have great hair!!

I can see that MONAT is going to get very, very big and I am glad that I got in when I did.  This is a true ground floor opportunity and not only that but I am working toward Founder which will give me a part of the profit sharing!!  I am passionate about this company and helping people be able to reach their dreams no matter how big or small they are.  MONAT can get you there!!  Who wants to finally be able to go on that vacation you have been dreaming about or stay home with your family or pay off your debt?  I want to help you!!

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Contact me today to take your first step to financial freedom!!!

crystalstevenson.mymonat.com

rcworkshop2012@gmail.com

www.facebook.com/crystalstevensonmonat

God Bless

Crystal

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DIY, Holidays, Other, Parenting

My favorite Valentine Ideas!!

I don’t get all wrapped up in Valentine’s Day and the big deal the world makes it out to be.  It has become a day to spend a lot of money and as a mother of four I don’t like spending a lot of money.  But I do like making special gifts for others and expressing my affection towards the ones I love. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike Valentine’s Day.  I just don’t understand why only one day should be allotted for showing our love to others.

With that said, there are so many resources and great DIY projects out there but how do you pick which ones to do.  I have been on the look out for some really easy, inexpensive ideas for the big day.  As Valentine’s Day is fast approaching I want to share some of my favorite new finds.

1.     First and foremost, Who loves Big Hero 6??  Baymax is a huge hit especially at my house.  My younger three kiddos LOVED the movie!  We don’t go to the movie theatre very often but my husband and I thought the kids would like it.

Guess what?

They did and so did Mom and Dad!!

One of my new favorite blogs, Shortcut Saver, has a very cool idea for a Baymax valentine to share with others.  Check it out here!

Baymax Valentine's

2.     What do you do when sending just one valentine message to your loved ones just doesn’t feel like enough?

Then you create some very special “Open When…” letters.  This is such a cool idea.  I think I am going to try and do this for each of my children in their birth month.  I am really loving how you can change it up to fit your personality!  A big thanks goes to the very awesome blog, Bravely!!!

Open When...Letters

3.     Valentine’s Day appears to be mostly geared toward the female gender.  But we don’t want to forget the men in our lives, whether that be our dad, brother, boyfriend, husband, best bud or any other guy in your life!!  Here are some practical ideas for the boys for valentine’s day from Bravely!

10 mens valentine's gifts

4.     Since having children and being a mother for the past 15 years I know how much kids love valentine’s day.  My kids like making gifts for others instead of buying the pre-made cards to hand out.  We have purchased them in the past to use but they enjoy making things for others much more than just buying for others.  I really like these Valentine’s Day Magnets from The Life You Live!

Valentine's Magnet

5.     How about a gift the kids can make all by them selves and you only need two inexpensive ingredients?  That is right up my alley.  Check out the Glue Valentine Cards from Sarah Titus at Saving Money Never Goes Out of Style!  These are very cute and you can let your creative side come out to make them your own.

Glue Valentine Cards

 

So there you go.  When you don’t know what to get that special valentine and you want to something different check these out.  I want to thank all the creative folks that came up with these ideas!!!!  Happy Valentine’s Day!

God Bless,

Crystal

Faith, Other, Parenting

Day 27: Reading the Word

Day 27 of 31 days of Consistency & Children

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There is one area that I am not consistent with my children on and pray that I can be.

Reading God’s Word is a passion that I have recently found.  I find deep peace in reading the Bible.  I am not consistent in reading each day but I am working on that.  I long to read from the Bible each day to my children as well.  I want them to hear God’s word and to want them to read the Bible for themselves as well.

Each one of my children has their own Bible (well my 5 year old will have his own on Christmas).  My 3 year old has a childrens Bible and we have numerous Bible stories.  I feel it is very important for them to have their own Bible so they can read it, make notes in it, and whatever else they choose to do.

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I pray that God can help me teach my children his word and that I can carve out the time to do so.  I don’t really have a good method or plan to reading it myself and I would really like insight on a good reading plan.  I would love to read the Bible in a year but I am much more passionate about reading it daily for myself and reading it daily to my children.  I welcome any ideas or suggestions.

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Thank you in advance!

God Bless,

Crystal

Faith, Marriage, Other, Parenting

Day 26: Peer Pressure

Day 26 of 31 days of Consistency & Children

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How do you handle peer pressure with your children?

All children face it at some point in their young lives.  No parent wants to see their children hurting or struggling with decisions to do the right thing or to follow their friends.  How do we teach our kids not to “Fit In?”

This can be challenging because we want our kids to be liked and to have friends and not to be picked on but we don’t want them to sacrifice their values.

I don’t think God wanted us all to do the same thing.  I am pretty sure God wants us to be our own individual which is why he created us all unique!!

My husband and I try to express to our children that they don’t have to do what everyone else is doing especially if they know it is wrong or if they feel led to do something else.  We all feel judged by others at times and that is hard for kids to experience.

Lynn Cowell is a wonderful woman that will help direct you to raising wise daughters!!!  My two oldest children are girls so I like to use her resources.  I have yet to find a great resource geared toward boys but I am still looking.  If you have any suggestions please share them with me.  I like to have go to Christian resources for ideas!!

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How do you handle peer pressure in your house?  What do you do to prevent your heart from hurting due to the mean things people can say or do when we don’t fit in?

Remember that God is the only one we have to please!!

God Bless,

Crystal

Faith, Marriage, Other, Parenting

Fitting In

Fitting in is so much easier than not fitting in, right?  Peer pressure is hard to handle!  Young kids are not the only one who face peer pressure.  Unfortunately it never goes away, no matter your age.  That is depressing but there is hope.

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My husband and I try to teach our children that they don’t have to fit in to be loved.  That is much harder said than done.  Trust me, I know and that has been an issue I have (I would like to say “had” but I still struggle at times) to deal with each and every day.  I will say that since becoming a Christian it is easier because I know God has plans for me and they don’t always include fitting in with others or with the ways of the world.

As we address this topic with our children we have to remember to keep our heads and hearts in check and in line with the Gospel.  My devotion today was a perfect reminder.  Check it out here!  As my daughter struggles with making decisions that feel right in her heart versus what people will think of her decision this can be a comfort to her as well.  In the end it will not matter what others thought of us!!

Another topic I have talked about lately is Santa.  This kind of goes along with the following others and the fitting in issue if you really think about it.  We don’t want to be different but what about being different when we know it is right to be different?  That is tricky!  I have been battling with myself on this very topic.  I enjoy Santa and have since I was very young.  I see the excitement in my kids around Christmas when Santa is mentioned.  On the other hand there are things about Santa I don’t like.  I don’t think that he should only come if the kids are “good”.  I think too much emphasis is put on that aspect.  What child is going to be “good” all the time just because a big jolly guy will bring presents to them?  As parents are we really going to stop Santa from coming at the first sign of misbehavior?  Why do they only have to behave shortly before Christmas rolls around and not year-round?  This is nuts to me!!

Santa

Our children know the real reason behind Christmas and they will tell you it is not truly about Santa but about Jesus.  We talk about Jesus and his birth and why we celebrate Christmas in our house.  We also talk about Jesus, God, and share the Gospel year-round, not just in December.  I am pleased to hear my children praying and talking about God in their daily lives!!

A great friend of mine knew just what I needed and sent me a wonderful message and included a very well written blog post about another family that had the same Santa struggles as I.  Read about it here! I feel more at ease after talking with family and reading this post.  I think a little tweaking will make me feel more comfortable with this whole Santa thing.

So with all that said, we don’t have to fit in to be loved.  God loves us just as we are and he is pleased with our decision even if our “friends” are upset with our choices.  In the end, God is the one judging us not our peers!

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God Bless,

Crystal

Faith, Other, Parenting

Day 28: Creating Traditions

 

Day 28 of 31 days of Consistency & Children

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I don’t know if you get into Halloween or not.  I used to get much more involved than I do these days.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Halloween and my kids love dressing up and going trick or treating!!

Haley Halloween
Haley as a baby/grandma??
Halloween
Haley and I goofing around!!
Kids Halloween
Lathen-Spider, Olivia-Witch, Blake-Batman
Me Halloween
We get to dress up at work so I went as a bee!

When my husband and I had only one child, we used to decorate the house and outside and I would get excited about carving pumpkins.

Carving pumpkins was a big tradition while I was growing up.  I think my dad liked it more than my sister and I did but nonetheless it did become a tradition.  I wanted the same for my family.  I even remember when our daughter was about two years old and my husband came home from being gone all week with a pumpkin that Haley could have fit into!  It was huge but it was the coolest thing!

As I got busier with more children and working full time outside of the home, the decorating part had slipped.  I wanted to decorate but the thought of digging everything out of the basement was daunting.  I didn’t seem to have the energy and then to think that I would have to turn around and pack it all up again, YUCK!!

The sad part is that I know my kids love decorating as they look forward to helping grandma decorate each year.  I really should just suck it up and do it.  Maybe next year:)  Halloween is already this week.

Don’t go hating on me yet!  We do stick to the carving pumpkins tradition and I do enjoy that.

Halloween 2014 Halloween 2012-Dad and Lathen

I will post more later.  Lathen is the only one who has carved a pumpkin yet.  The rest of the pumkins have already rotted:(  Dad will get more tonight so the rest of us can do our pumpkins!!

Creating traditions for your family to follow each year is important for the kids.  They will always have those memories to cherish and hopefully carry on with their families.  My husband and I have stuck with a lot of traditions that our families had over the years.  The issue we have faced is that my husband’s family and my family had variations to the same type of traditions.  It seems that both our families had similar thoughts or ideas passed down but with a little bit of a difference.  When we first started these traditions with our children we were not sure how to implement them but over the years we have agreed on our own ways of doing them!

We have traditions for Easter and Christmas as well as Halloween but these have changed over the past year or so in our family.  Easter and Christmas are not just holidays to me which is one reason I dislike the saying “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings”.  These holidays are based on Christian events and I want my children to know what Easter and Christmas REALLY stand for.  Last year we started doing things a little different.  Instead of the traditional things people do on these holidays we have changed it up a bit.  On each day and the days building up to Easter and Christmas we talk about what those days mean and read biblical books and right from the Bible.

On Easter we make a cool (and very yummy) treat called Resurrection Rolls.  I also purchased a cool Easter egg hunt idea from familychrisitian.com called Resurrection Eggs.  This follows the traditional egg hunt idea but inside each egg is a symbol.  There is a booklet to explain what each symbol represents.  The kids really enjoyed this last year.

Christmas presents are such a huge deal.  Society has taught kids that more is better or bigger is better.  WRONG!!!  I don’t want it to feel like a competition or that we have to buy just to give a gift.  That is not the message of Christmas.  Don’t get me wrong, we still get our kids presents.  But we only give them each three presents.  This represents the three wise men and the gifts they gave to baby Jesus.  Jesus got three gifts and our kids get three gifts.  They did not quam about it at all!!

Those are just some traditions we do and how we are changing them to fit our lifestyle.  I would love to hear what you do and how it works for your family.

God Bless, Crystal

Cleaning/Organization, Faith, Other, Parenting

Day 21: Designated Areas

Day 21 of 31 Days of Consistency & Children

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Since doing the 31 days challenge I have really been thinking about how my children need a lot of direction.

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They need to be given very strict boundaries and very clear directions in all their daily activities. When too many tasks are left for them to interpret things can go haywire very quickly!

My kids have a toy room and a bedroom and then I thought it would be nice if they had a spot in the living room for some of their toys but I have quickly changed my mind. It is funny how ideas change rapidly when a person is thinking about the issues that can arise from such ideas.

My living room turns into a disaster.

living room

The toy room has been hit by a massive tornado.

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Their rooms were demolished by a tidal wave in a matter of minutes!!

tidal wave

Too many areas for them to “play” turns into more work for mom. I have changed my mind!!!

I completely revamped my living room.  NO more toys!  NO more books!  Not in my living room!

I have decided to get their toy room under control as well.  That room will be the only room for their toys and books.  They can have books in their rooms and maybe a few toys but the majority of the stuff will stay in the toy room.   My kids spend most of their time in the toy room anyway so why not keep that the designated room for toys!!

So the consistent part of this is that each and every night they will have to pick up the toy room and any other things that they have gotten out and put it back in its place.  I am sooooooo tired of picking up then turning around to pick up again.  This momma is not going to keep stressing about picking up because I am not going to pick up their stuff anymore.  My kids range from 3 to 15 which is more than old enough to be responsible for their own items.  If they are left out of place I will take it and they may not get it back.  I don’t want to sound mean but I have plenty of other tasks to do each day.

What do you all think?  Please tell me you have similar problems.  What have you done to create less stress for yourself?  Comment with your thoughts, ideas or suggestions!!

God Bless, Crystal

Faith, Other, Parenting

Day 20: On Fire for God

Day 20 of 31 Days of Consistency & Children

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I long for my kids to be on fire…on fire for God that is!!!

I pray that my kids have a strong passion for God and for spreading the Gospel message to others! I talked about relationships yesterday and the best, most important relationship is with our Lord!!

Jesus Christ has done more for us than any other friend could ever do.
He died for us!
He died for you.
He died for me.
He died to pay for our sins!
Do you know anyone else as awesome as that??

I didn’t think so!

I want my kids to be excited about that relationship. To have a soul on fire for Jesus. To have a soul on fire for the cause. Not any cause but THE cause.

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In February I was blessed to join our youth group at a Dare 2 Share event and it blew me away!! What an amazing, glorious, eye opening time I had!!!

dare 2 share

To see so many teens excited about their faith was probably one of the most astounding times of my life.

dare 2 share 2

I want to expose my children to Jesus as much as I can. One way is by attending Awana at our local chapel. I love the message Awana teaches and how they incorporate scripture. When my children walk around the house reciting scripture it makes me so happy!! I knew nothing about God growing up but wish I had so I love that my kids are learning much earlier in their lives!

I will continue to teach my kids about Jesus and what an amazing relationhip they can have with God. I will continue to Start a Fire in their hearts!!

God Bless, Crystal

Cleaning/Organization, Faith, Marriage, Other, Parenting

Day 14: Consistency Update

Day 14 of 31 Days of Consistency & Children

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I just want to update ya all on how our routines are going.

My morning routine that I talked about in Day 1 is not going well at all!  I am being honest and telling you that I is HARD to get up early especially when I am TIRED!!!  Now part of that is my fault and I know that.  I have a hard time going to bed early but last night I was in bed with the lights out at 9:30 and my goal is 10:00!!!!

Finally I can go to sleep and get a goods night rest, right??

NOT!!!

At 10:30 I woke up and I can’t even remember why!

11:30 the dog was barking like crazy!

At around midnight my youngest was coughing so hard I thought he was going to throw up!!

Needless to say I almost slept through my alarm which I changed in the middle of the night to 7am instead of 6am:(

On a happy note, the morning routine for the kids is going well in part because we have been picking their clothes out the night before like I talked about in Day 2!

I get them up at 7am and they get dressed.

Then they eat breakfast.

Teeth and hair come next.

Last they get their shoes on and watch for the bus!!!

This works pretty well most mornings except when they have poor listening ears which is mentioned in Day 4!

So they last thing I want to talk about today is the bedtime routine.  Day 10 lays out the plan for that.  It is going okay!  We had a very busy weekend so that was a challenge but we are working.  Each night gets a little easier!

I just told my dad a few minutes ago that he needs to give it all to God so I am going to take my own advice and give all the worries and issues over to God because I know he has this.

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AMEN!!!

God Bless, Crystal

Cleaning/Organization, Other, Parenting

Day 11: Keep Them Busy

Day 11 of 31 Days of Consistency & Children

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Children like to stay busy! They will always find something to do even if you don’t give them something to do and when that happens you may not like what they pick!

They will find entertainment like when my 3 year old was cutting paper which was a wonderful learning time to work on fine motor skills until he decided it would be cool to cut his own hair!

hair cut

What I forgot to mention is that they should be supervised while doing these things. I know! I know! That is a good time to do a quick load of laundry or some dishes or jump online quick but they should at least be in your sight!

I have learned a lot since going from full-time to part-time! My kids love doing crafts, art work, reading or really any activity. They like doing things that are monitored with direction which surprised me a bit. It is funny how much I didn’t know about my children! That breaks my heart because my husba n d and I had these little people with no intention of having someone else raise them. I am enjoying what I am learning about each one of them!

So I have been online looking for simple, cheap ideas to do with them. I figure the key to this is to pick a few times each day to work on such things. Consistency! See how I threw that in. Sneaky, right??!!!

Another good resource is the Family Fun magazine. I had subscribed to it years ago and cut out the ideas I liked and created a binder for the such ideas. I put them in categories so I can easily find a holiday or season project to work on. I can finally use these cool ideas because I am with my kiddos much more often which makes this momma happy!

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God Bless, Crystal