September 25, 2018

Easy, Delicious Lasagna

 What's for dinner tonight? Well today I want to share with you a fairly easy recipe that has taken years to perfect, but it's husband approved and kid approved too! My husband is Italian so we have Italian food quite often. He could eat pizza everyday and spaghetti every Sunday if I would let him. My husband grew up eating spaghetti every Sunday after church with made from scratch sauce and meatballs...it's so yummy, however I'm sworn to secrecy on the recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation. Although I won't be sharing that recipe today I am sharing the next best thing! I have to throw a little Italian variety into the menu because my kids are not a fan of eating spaghetti each Sunday. It doesn't bother me because I don't have to cook but the last thing I need is a protest in the house from the kids refusing to eat. The best thing about this recipe is it's simple and easy! So who is ready for some lasagna?

P.S. I promise to brush up on my photography skills


Step 1: Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles and set aside until ready to use. You only need six but I boil extra just in case they rip. 


Step 2: Meanwhile brown ground beef. After it is browned and drained add about a cup of spaghetti sauce. My husband likes a lot of sauce so that is why I buy the big jar of spaghetti sauce but if you don't like that much sauce you can buy a smaller jar. 

























Step 3: Make your Ricotta Cheese filling (recipe below) 

























Step 4: Cover the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish with spaghetti sauce to keep the noodles from sticking to the bottom. I normally don't use this glass one, however my daughter accidentally broke my favorite casserole dish. You could even buy the aluminum foil ones if you wish.
 
(No picture...oops) 
 
Step 5: Layer 3 lasagna noodles in bottom of dish.


Step 6: Put all your Ricotta Cheese filling onto the noodles in an even layer.  


Step 7: Put half of your hamburger mixture on the Ricotta Cheese layer and pour about a cup of spaghetti sauce over the hamburger mixture (you can skip this step if you don't like too much sauce).


Step 8: Top with about a cup of cheese.


Step 9: Layer with 3 more noodles.


Step 10: Layer with more spaghetti sauce until noodles are covered.

(no picture...oops)

Step 11: Add the rest of the hamburger mixture. 


Step 12: Add the remaining spaghetti sauce.


Step 13: Top with the rest of your cheese. 


Step 14: Bake for 45 minutes. You can reduce this time if you don't like your cheese that browned. My husband loves the crisp of the cheese so that's how I make it.


Step 15: Stuff yourselves full!


FOR A PRINTABLE RECIPE click here




INGREDIENTS
12 oz jar of Classico spaghetti sauce (or any sauce you prefer)
6 Strands of lasagna noodles
2 lbs of ground beef (lean)
16 oz of of shredded mozzarella/provolone cheese blend (or any cheese will work)
2 cups of whole milk ricotta cheese
10 oz chopped spinach (thawed and drained)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
DIRECTIONS
Set oven to 375°
1. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles and set aside until ready to use.
2. Meanwhile brown ground beef. When finished browning add 1 cup of spaghetti sauce. Set aside until ready to use.
3. For filling, combine 1 cup of cheese, ricotta cheese, spinach, eggs, and seasoning in medium bowl until mixed well.
4. Cover the bottom of 9x13 rectangular casserole dish with spaghetti sauce until bottom of dish is barely covered (approx. 1/2 cup).
5. Layer 3 lasagna noodles in bottom of dish.
6. Spread filling onto the noodles in an even layer.
7. Pour half of hamburger mixture onto filling and add about a cup of spaghetti sauce over hamburger.
8. Top with about a cup of cheese.
9. Layer with 3 more lasagna noodles.
10. Layer with more spaghetti sauce until noodles are covered (approx. 1/2 cup).
11. Add the rest of hamburger mixture.
12. Add the remaining spaghetti sauce.
13. Top with the rest of your cheese.
14. Bake for approx. 45 minutes or until cheese is melted.



   

September 24, 2018

This Journey We Call Life

 I have been fighting with this blog since 2013 and finally over the past week it came to me what I want to focus on. I am a stay~at~home Mom and the reason I created this blog was because this journey of life that I have been on, hasn't exactly been the journey I envisioned for my life. It all started when I started having seizures around the age of 12, then my parents divorced, then I got pregnant at 15 and was a single parent at 16, then I dropped out of high school, and the list continues and continues. At the age of 37 I thought at this point, my life would be easier and I guess in a way it is but with each new day brings a new journey that I have never been on. I've been a Mom for almost 21 years and each day I learn something new. You would think by now I would have this down...but it's a never ending journey. 


I've read and read blogs and it talks about all the great things about being parents. Although parenting is the best thing that has ever happened to me and it's rewarding, it's also the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. So I'm gonna have a blog post called "Just Keeping It Real." My kids ain't perfect, nor are my parenting skills and I'm going to be honest, I want you to relate to me. I can never relate to other blogs because I always feel that they've "Mastered" the whole parenting thing, but in reality, behind the scenes, there are the scenes that never made it to the screen. Yep, those are the things that nobody ever talks about in fear they will be judged. Well you no longer have to worry because I'm here to share with you the good, the bad, the ugly...I'm just keeping it real! There is no "perfect" way to parent (gasp), and you know what, I own the way I parent and I am proud of it. My kids may not be in bed by 8:00, saying their prayers, and getting straight A's...yup they are on their phones, on social media, up late, fighting with me, no clean room and the list continues. We eat a meal together, they have a bed to lay in, they are loved...and guess what, they are happy with my parenting skills and that's all that matters! I've learned you will always be judged, it's up to you to ignore it all and do what you think is best, even if it's not perfect...but really who is?


 The next thing I will be sharing with you is Recipes! Who doesn't love recipes? One of my jobs as a stay~at~home Mom is cooking. I love to bake and although cooking isn't exactly something I love, it is something that has to be done. My kids and husband pretty much eat any dessert I make, but the whole cooking thing, well I have three kids and a husband with all very different taste buds and it's not always easy to please everyone. So I'm here to share with you some "Dinners and Desserts" that maybe you can add to your menu. 

























I will also have some crafts and projects for you. Through the years of being a stay~at~home Mom I've had to find something to keep me busy and I find crafting fun. I'm able to save money by making mums/garters for the kids, corsages/boutonnieres, refurbishing, gifts for teachers, weddings, baby showers, friends/family, decor...I've learned to get crafty on a budget. So maybe you will find something that will help you save money or something that will brighten your day. Crafting can be very fun or very frustrating...but either way once I accomplish it, it's always rewarding.   
  

 Last..."Pastor Wife, Pastor's Life." The latest journey I've been on is becoming a Pastor's wife. My husband decided to pursue his calling in life, a Pastor. I had two choices, embrace it or hate it. Sometimes I struggle with it, but one thing I've come to realize over the last three years is that my husband needs my support more than ever. I have defiantly had my struggles being a a Pastor's wife, it's no easy journey, but I'm here to share with you that just because my husband is a Pastor we are not perfect and I think that is why people can relate to us.  I'm here to share with you some of the things that I've come to know through this journey. I will have ideas for the children, for the youth, adults, things that come with being a Pastor's wife. I'm going to share with you the struggles, the rewards, the life of a Pastor's Wife or should I say Pastor's Life?


 So kick back, grab some popcorn, laugh with me, cry with me, experience with me, this thing we call life. I'm not here just to share my Successful Secrets, I'm here to share with you the Failures as well, but you know what you can turn those failures in successes. Wouldn't it be nice to know that there is someone out there that isn't the perfect mother or the perfect wife? Wouldn't it be nice to have someone you can relate to, someone that can tell you that it is okay to be imperfect? Well guess what, you just found that person! If you are here to read a blog that looks perfect, the writing seems to have been written by an English major, the pictures look like a professional took them, and you are here for tips to become the perfect mother and wife, I'm sorry you've come to the wrong blog. There isn't nothing perfect about this blog. What makes this blog perfect is that it is imperfect and you know what my friend, your imperfections make you perfect! It's time to embrace this journey, the good the bad, the happy the sad, the highs the lows, it's time to enjoy life and stop trying so hard to be perfect because you will miss the best things in life...memories. Memories that someday you will look back on and think, that journey made me who I am today!      



  

August 5, 2018

Teens Defining Discipleship

(This logo is one that I created, please do not copy or redistribute)
I have mentioned before that my husband is a Pastor and this year I decided to do something new with the youth. Unfortunately these days many churches struggle to find devoted volunteers and for our church we have been unable to find a volunteer youth pastor(s), therefor if we wanted a youth group my husband and I would have to do it despite our hectic schedules.  Our church denomination rotates pastors on average every 3-4 years, so when we moved here there was no youth group. Having 2 teenagers it was important to me implement a youth program which we have been doing, however it is hard to keep them interested. Youth groups are not the same as when I grew up.

Bringing youth into church is one of my top priorities because of many different reasons. In today's society teens continue to be labeled as disrespectful, lazy, selfish, violent and the list continues and I was unhappy with this label because not all teens are are this way. I was ready to prove to society that teens are not "worthless," in fact with the right guidance they can remarkable people. As an adult and as a church I feel it is our job to guide and direct these youth to be children of God and to be the best that they can be, not just for themselves but in society as well. I find it more important than ever to establish a youth group because of the problems that many youth endure. I wanted them to have a "safe haven" where for a moment they could just be teens, not worry about the struggles they are going through, in some cases the lack of family support or neglect, and have someone they could count on. You never know the impact you can have on a teenager and I find it imperative to be a good role model and be someone they look up to because they may not have that in their life. 

Church is a place to shape people into loving Christians and I have found that even without parents who go to church, youth thirst to find this relationship with God. We have several youth members whose families do not attend church, yet the youth are there...what does that say? It definitely does not say that they are lazy, selfish, etc. it says that families are failing to direct their children to be children of God and this is why our youth a being labeled, not because of who they are but because no one has guided them in the proper direction.

Now this does not apply to all families however being in the counseling field I know that youth are lost. The second leading cause of death in teenagers ages 10-19 years of age is suicide and it breaks my heart. This is why it is my mission to have an impact on youth.  So this year I came up with TEENS DEFINING DISCIPLESHIP. I wanted to bring youth into church and listening to a lesson each week doesn't exactly motivate them to come each week. So this year our goal is to love one another by impacting our community. Each month the youth will create a project and give it to someone in need, the elderly, or someone who needs their day brightened. This year our TEENS will DEFINE DISCIPLESHIP and show the world what discipleship is really about! These teens are Disciples of God and they can make a difference in this world. 

I am sick of adults complaining that teens are vile instead they should be doing something about it. If you are so worthy then you should be the one to help them be the best that they can be because not every child has a good upbringing. If your child has had the "luxury" of a stable upbringing (as my children have had) then they should be the ones who set examples, be encouraging, lead other youth, and most importantly love all youth, you never know whose life they will impact. I'm not saying this to be hateful but sometimes I find that adults are the biggest hypocrites. I am ready to guide and direct these youth to be the best that they can be and I challenge you to do the same.
I would love to hear what you or your church has done to keep the youth interested in church. 
 
Stay tuned to find out about our first project that our youth are doing! We are super excited for our new program! 


August 1, 2018

A Real Eye-Opener

A couple of weeks ago I was trying to get things organized before I start back to college. I was behind on doctor, eye, and dentist appointments for not just myself but my kids and it had been years since I had seen a gynecologist. I had serious issues years ago and was seeing one all the time. After 5 years and a new gynecologist he found that I had precancerous cells and during the "scraping" process he found out I also had Adenomyosis and Endometriosis. I had a partial hysterectomy and I felt like a brand new person after years and years of pain. Feeling wonderful I failed to make my yearly appointments. I tend to make appointments only when I feel bad, which many of us tend to do. However, now days doctors, insurance companies, and employment are encouraging yearly checkups to catch any early signs of heart disease, diabetes etc. and discovering early issues is a lot cheaper than advanced issues.

 I had known about a program through our insurance that rewards you for "being healthy," so I decided to look into it some more. I really didn't care much about the rewards, it was more for motivation. In November of 2017 I started riding a stationary elliptical/bike for 20 minutes each day and if I had time I also did some strength training and yoga. I did a good job and on average missed 5 days out of a month but come May things got extremely hectic and I quit. As I looked into the program it was definitely motivating and it was a daily tracker of many different things (you could choose). For example you can track how much sleep you got, if you worked out, how many steps you took, healthy eating and so much more so I decided to do it. One of the things you can do is have blood work done for free and they pay you. I really didn't care about that part (however it is very persuasive) but I was interested to see how my health was looking since I'm nearing the 40 mark. So I convinced my husband to go and Monday I received my results...not good. 

Results showed that my total cholesterol levels was not at a good point. They like it to range between 125-199 mg/dL and mine was at a 206 mg/dL. I was shocked but not shocked since I was at my highest weight ever, 144. Some may say that isn't bad but yes it is, it is not healthy. At 5'2" I was beginning to look like a matryoshka doll. You know those Russian wooden stacking dolls that decrease in size and can be placed inside of each other, yup I was beginning to look round. At the most I should be at 130 even when I reached that I felt huge because from high school until about 5 years ago I was at a steady 117 pounds. It was a good 117 pounds because I worked out and ate healthier, now my newly formed bad habits have caused my cholesterol to be high, but I'm ready to change that. 

I had already decided before this I was going to start my workout routine back up but with this new news I had to make new adjustments and cut out the candy and unhealthy snacks. I'm not a diet person I'm more of the type that believes that natural foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and meats are the best type of diet and cutting out processed items. I've never really tried diets because there are so many expects that contradict each other it's hard to decide who to believe, so sticking to natural foods is what works best for me. I really only drink water and black coffee so there is no adjustment there however I'm terrible at drinking water or anything at that. So my goal is to increase my water intake, exercise, and eat healthier and soon I should shed some pounds and hopefully get back to a good cholesterol level. 

Now for the picture that I really noticed my weight was becoming a problem. The one on the right was me 5 years ago the one on the right was a month ago. I looked at that picture and couldn't believe I let myself become so unhealthy. It's so shocking, embarrassing and eye-opening at the same time. 


  
So today I woke up with a new mindset (another post for another time) and I'm ready to get back to me, the healthy me. Look for a future post on the adjustments I have made to ensure I'm reaching my goals. Have you had any eye-openers and what did you do to hit your goals? 

July 17, 2018

What Is A Budget?


School is just around the corner and I had hoped I could start blogging again. I have wanted to get back into blogging but it seems like I always have something going on and can never get into a routine of it. Today is the day, I'm not sure if I can keep it up but I hope too. I have some great things planned for the upcoming months and hopefully I can share them. The first thing I wanted to share is my new budget plan.

I have started to look more into my futures, which I think is natural the older you get, you tend to reevaluate things in life. As you get older you naturally stop living on the edge and start planning your future. I'm at a good place in life and although obstacles can be thrown at me at any given moment things have began to slow down especially now that one daughter has graduated and living on her own and the other two are older.

My first change I have made is to live on a budget. My family and I have never lived on a budget and I decided it was time. It was time to start putting money into savings, pay off debt, and start saving for the future. My husband and I took Financial Peace University a couple years back, and although it had some good information it is hard to set strict budgets when you have kids (or at least it was for us). Recently I took it back out of the box and went through it again. I sat down with my husband and we really dug deep into it and took it seriously. We went through all our bills, added cost for everything and came up with a budget. So far our first month is going well. We are right on target budget wise, which I thought was almost impossible. It's kind of exciting figuring out how to categorize things and budget for them.

The hardest thing is groceries. I challenged myself to have a $350.00 spending limit on groceries for a family of 4. This will take a while to accomplish with ease but I have taken some steps to make sure I can accomplish this each month. The first major step was to make a budget planner for Sam's club of all the bulk items I buy there. In the planner I have the date I opened the item, the date I finished using the item, what the item is, and the cost. The reason why I included the time I open it to the time I finish it, is so that in the future I will know what month to budget it into our monthly grocery bill since it is bulk items. I also did the same for personal care items, cleaning supplies, and kitchen items that we purchase at Sam's club.

The next step will be setting up a grocery list for items we get at the grocery store or Walmart. Those items won't need a beginning and finishing date because the food will be specifically used for that month. Once I put together a grocery budget with all the prices, eventually I will be able to enter my menu plan and the cost to know my overall cost and adjust my food menu to ensure I meet my $350.00 budget. It will take a while to have all my cost plugged in for each meal but when I do, it will be worth it. If I have extra money left over for the month I can either save it or throw in something special for the kids.  I have also set up the Ibotta and Coupon app which I have used in the past, it has certainly changed, but I look forward to using them.

I think those are good budget starting goals or as Dave Ramsey says "A quick start budget." With school coming up I have a planned budget for clothes and supplies, but don't have a set price yet. We also have an upcoming trip so I want to make sure that I plan for each of those accordingly. Other things I have done is committing to not buying any new clothes or shoes for a whole year. I have a closet full of perfectly good clothes so I know it's more of a want than a need so no clothes spending for one year! Eventually I want to rid using paper plates, plastic forks, spoons, and knifes, plastic cups, and bowls. Not only is it eco-friendly but it will save a lot. We have also set a limit on eating out. One of the most intense goals means giving up a lot of wants and sticking to needs. I know that it will take a lot of planning each month when it comes to grocery and household items but I'm sure it will be well worth the extra time.  

I created my Sam's grocery item in office excel on a pre-made template and adjusted the categories to meet the layout that works for me. Click here to see an example of what it looks like. I still have some places I have to fill in but once I make another trip to Sam's Club I will look at the prices and fill them in.

So what do you do to budget and how has a budget changed your life?



January 15, 2018

Minion Valentine Party Favors for Kids


Who is ready for Valentine's Day? Well not me exactly but it's always nice to be prepared ahead of time so I thought maybe I could help with some ideas if you are one to jump on top of projects. 2 years ago I was in charge of gift bags for Zane's class (2nd grade). I have this little problem called crafting, so when I do something it can be time consuming. As I was making all the stuff, my husband said, "Why do you take so much time to do all this"...I then said "look at Jaden she is already 18 years old, we only get our children for a little while, it is well worth the time and effort." At that time our oldest daughter was 18 and now she is 20 and I am still having a hard time grasping the fact she no longer lives with us

So here are some ideas for classroom parties...I did a Minion theme since my son loves Minions.

So the items in the gift bag were homemade Minion mask, Minion Twinkies, bottle cap necklaces, homemade slime, bubbles, and a cupcake parfait.


 You can find these awesome Minion wrappers at HaleGrafx  HERE and HERE
You can also find the heart saying I attached to the back at examiner.com HERE 



 I found a Minion mask on google and used it as a pattern to make these. I then printed up the little saying May I mask you out Minion Valentine?


 For the homemade slime I made I printed up  Slime yours Minion Valentine for the girls and for the boys I printed up Be my Valenslime Minion



 For the bubbles I printed up Just popping in to say Happy Valentine's Day for the girls and for the boys I printed up You blow me away Valentine



 For the bottle cap necklaces/bracelets I found them on google put could not tell you from which website.




 This cupcake parfait consisted up chocolate cupcakes, ganache, banana pudding, banana buttercream frosting, drizzled with chocolate, topped with chocolate covered banana chips and these cute little Minion gummies I found at Walmart.
You can find the cupcake wrapper printable at Oh my Fiesta in English I just added some hearts and a couple of sayings...I'm bananas for you Valentine and on the other side I added You make my heart go bananas Valentine. 



 Here is my handsome little Minion 




And here is the classroom full of Minions! 

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

November 5, 2016

Cookie Monster's Birthday Celebration

Hello Blogger Friends!

It has been such a long time since I have been on here...the reason being is in the Fall of 2013 I decided it was time for me to go to college. My last child started school and it was lonely being home alone during the day so I knew it was time to pursue my calling in life. I have officially finished my classes and now I am working on my Internship and will graduate in December!!!

My blog needs a lot of updating because a lot can happen in 3 years and that is exactly what has happened, so bare with me while I make changes over the next few months. I still can't devote a whole lot of time on here because of my busy schedule but I do hope to blog at least once a week. So let's get started!

If you hadn't heart this past Wednesday (November 2) was Cookie Monster's birthday. Back in March Zane had to have his tube in his ear replaced and had to have his adenoids removed, as a we got him a bear to help him recover. Not too long after that my niece gave him a Minion and then my husband got him a Cookie Monster so we had to celebrate. A while back on FB I had watched a video on how to make Cookie Monster bark (sorry I have no reference as I don't remember much about the video). Anyways I decided to give it a try but a little different. 



 The ingredients I used I picked up from Walmart: Store bought chocolate chip cookie dough (gasp..no I did not make from scratch, that would be too easy especially after a long day at work), mini oreo cookies and chocolate chip cookies, eyes, and blue candy melts

 Press the dough into a 9 X 13 pan (I used a cake pan) and bake according to cookie dough instructions (mine took about 5 minutes longer to bake)

 Take out of oven and let cool


 While you are letting the giant cookie cool put the candy melts into a bowl and melt in microwave in 30 seconds intervals until melted

 Now spread on giant cookie


 Add eyes anywhere on cookie

 Now add mini cookies and stick in freezer or fridge until candy melts harden


 Now it's time to celebrate....HAPPY BIRTHDAY COOKIE MONSTER


 Now cut into squares and enjoy some cookies!

Thanks for stopping in! Come back soon!


December 9, 2014

For All The Elf on the Shelf Haters

Wow it's almost been a full year since I have blogged! When I started this blog I had the intentions of posting all the time and committing to it. My youngest started school and I was a stay at home Mom, home alone, with "nothing" to do. Last year I made the decision to go to college and that has pretty much consumed my life. Well that and being a Mom, Wife and all the other fun stuff. So what brought me back you ask? Well I have been seeing all these negative post about Elf on the Shelf and well you guessed it...I have a Elf on the Shelf and I wanted to voice my opinion as to why we enjoy our Elf on the Shelf!

(The kids were so happy when we got an Elf on the Shelf
 that they drew pictures of him)

It all started 3 years ago when I seen the idea of Elf on the Shelf and liked the idea of it. So I bought one and he showed up on our doorstep all wrapped up, sent from Santa himself! How excited the kids were to read the book and name him. The kids decided on the name "POOF!" You wouldn't believe how good the kids started acting knowing that Poof was reporting back to Santa. Each morning the kids would wake up (even my 15 year old at the time) and search for him and each morning I was greeted with much excitement and hey the kids were getting up on their own and getting ready for school without being grumpy! What a great bonus!

 (How could waking up to snow angels and snowballs/truffles not be exciting?)

 So why did I decide to jump on this bandwagon????....because I knew it would be exciting for the kids. I mean what could be so bad about me waiting until the kids fell asleep (I am awake anyways) and hide or do something creative with Elf on the Shelf that would bring excitement to the kids? My kids are only with me for a short time, in fact this is the last year my oldest will be under the age of 18. Yes I will have my first official "adult-child."

 (Look at the joy Poof brought to my 16 year old on her birthday...
even a teenager joins in on the fun)

When I look back on my childhood I don't really remember much about Christmas because it was the same thing each year. We would wake up on Christmas (1 day) and unwrap gifts and then it was over just like that. With Elf on the Shelf we get so much more memories for 25 days (or more). My kids can reminisce such as the time that POOF tried to give our oldest a makeover, or when he turned on the movie ELF and made elf spaghetti and we all laughed. As family we gathered around, popped some popcorn and watched the movie ourselves.

(How is this not a good memory, I laugh every-time) 

 Christmas is the best time of year. We celebrate the birth of Jesus, this should be a month to remember, and we do and we make memories with Elf on the Shelf. Sure I could do it without Elf on the Shelf but I'm pretty sure if I laid out a plate that has dog bacon and dog cookies on it telling the kids that I tried to make them bacon and eggs and that the cookies would not be a good idea to feed to Santa, the kids wouldn't find it very amusing.

(These are just some fun times to brighten our morning)

 So let's talk Elf on the Shelf and how we do it! Well on the morning of November 30, the kids receive letters from Santa and Poof. Each of the letters include "magic beans" (tic-tacs) that the kids plant that night in sugar and that is what brings Poof to life the next day. When the kids awake they find that the magic beans have sprouted into cookies!

 (The kids look forward to planting their seeds each year and waking up to 
these cookies and Elf milk which is green milk)

Each day after that something magical happens. Most of what Elf on the Shelf does I would do anyways for example buy Christmas ornaments, instead Poof hides and when the kids find him he has the ornaments. Or Poof brings a gingerbread house, we do one anyways why not make it even more memorable by letting our little Elf bring it. The kids were never excited that I bought a gingerbread house (they loved to put it together) but when Poof brings it, its a whole other level of excitement.

(Each year we make Gingerbread houses why not let Poof bring them for a little bit more excitement, it's fun to see the joy our Elf brings) 

BUT CHRISTMAS ISN'T ABOUT THAT...IT'S ABOUT THE BIRTH OF JESUS....
This is very true, but let me guess you don't do Santa in your house (yeah right)? There are not many people I know who don't do Santa so what's the complaint? I mean my husband's parents the most Godly people I know and who's Dad is a Pastor did Santa for their kids. Of course it is understood in our family what the true meaning of Christmas is but Santa has become a part of Christmas and now in our house so has Elf on the Shelf. Did I mention that Elf on the Shelf is Godly? Let's see when Santa sends letters the letters stress the importance of the birth of Jesus. Poof has brought The Nativity (I highly recommend watching this movie around Christmas, or anytime for that matter), brought crosses for the kids to paint (did I mention I have them hanging on the wall and each time I walk by them I have great memories) and that's to only name a few.  So no Poof doesn't just play hide and seek he also reminds the kids the reason for the season. So not only do they get to hear it from my hubby and I, at church, it also comes from Poof!

 (There is so much that Poof does for our family to make sure that the kids remember the true meaning of Christmas...look how happy they are to watch an amazing movie that little kids might not be so excited to watch had our Elf on the Shelf not brought it)

These memories are made because I bought this Elf on the Shelf. I must admit had I not bought Elf on the Shelf I would not be doing some of the things that I do and I would have missed out on some of the most memorable times with my kids. Poof has brought memories to my house that will never be forgotten and I have pictures to remember them. Each year the kids talk to each other "remember when Poof did this," "remember when we watched that movie Poof brought us?"

 (There are so many memories and pictures I have of us as a family enjoying the long lasting fun that will always be remembered each Christmas season)

All I can say is maybe Elf on the Shelf isn't for you, but why do you have to bash it? My kids enjoy waking up to their Poof and I enjoy watching them and how excited they are each morning. I even made my sister jump on the bandwagon by buying my nieces an Elf on the Shelf, and when my sister found out she was not happy, but if I called her right now and asked her if it was worth it she would say the memories will last forever! So why is Elf on the Shelf everywhere??? Because it brings happiness to the kids each day. Sometimes our Elf does something so simple as to hide in a cabinet, other days he does something creative, other days he brings gifts, but most of all he brings joy to my kids!

(This year we added a new friend, Jingles and the kids absolutely love her just like they love Poof and  we will have many more memories for many years to come...I call those blessed memories. If Poof had not became part of our family our Christmas would consist of waking up on Christmas and that's it. Now it consist of family time together all month long)
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