Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Real Mom Confessions

Happy summer y'all! It's been over a month since my last Real Mom Confessions.

Today I write from our backyard, surrounded by beautiful flowers and the sight of my three lovelies giggling down the the slip and slide. It's sunny day perfection.

1. For my birthday I got some hip new sunglasses. I was feeling like pretty hot stuff until I realized that the UV rays sticker was STILL ON THEM at the pool.

My fashion sense is so hip.

2. "You can't smell people's armpits."

I actually had to say that.

3. Remember the "Charlie bit me" video that circulated from YouTube? Well, we showed it to our kids A LONG  time ago and they haven't forgotten it so last night when we are driving home from dinner Ava yells out her window, "Charlie bit me."

My husband's name is Charlie.


4. My girls want to go faster down the slip and slide so they just used BAR SOAP to make themselves slide. Basically they are taking a bath without me fighting them on the issue.

Score one for me :)

The kids think their first Flat Jesus will arrive to a lucky recipient in the mail today and are anxious to check the #HeLovesMeSo hashtag. I can't believe how excited they are about this. And, what a fun way to show Jesus' love?! Here's how your family can join in! This is the kind of thing that would be super fun to see balloon. What joy it will be to track Jesus' travels and see who He encourages along the way.

I hope your summer is off to a great start!

xx Melissa

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Monday, June 20, 2016

#HeLovesMeSo {Sharing Love with Flat Jesus}

Earlier this summer our youth pastor put together Take Out Church boxes for families to enjoy. Hot and ready, they allow families to taste Jesus' love when they are away for the weekend (or as desired during the week) through Scripture reading, directed discussion, a prepared activity, and prayer. The Nesdahl girls were all over it and couldn't wait to dig in.

Included in the box were a few Flat Jesus sheets to color and place in their backpack or take along when we leave our house, reminding the girls that Jesus is with them. The girls loved this, but they also decided they want to share the Jesus love. So, they made copies, colored them, each chose someone they wanted to encourage, and wrote in the upper corner a Scripture verse they wanted to share (on their still my mama heart). Grace informed me that Flat Jesus also needs the hashtag #HeLovesMeSo so that we can see his travels.

I wrote

Flat Jesus is here to remind you that you are loved. Read the verses on the paper and add one before mailing it to the next person. You can write verses on the back or attached sheets of paper too. If you wish, take a pic and hashtag it #HeLovesMeSo. Jesus is alive and active in the world. Who will you encourage.

And we got ready to mail them to their designated recipients.

They were so excited!

And, within minutes, others were excited about it too.


Here is an online printable of the same Flat Jesus. Simply write the hashtag below His feet and the note wherever you wish on the paper.

#HeLovesMeSo is a reminder the world is in need of.

Join us :)

*Thank you to Pastor Sami for your hard work in preparing Take Out Church boxes. I'm sure it consumed many hours, but it is already bearing fruit.

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

How to Encourage Fifth Grade Graduates (Or Any Student Changing Schools)

This week Grace received her final teacher match. I knew it was coming and imagined it to require all the chocolate. I’m not quite sure how my girl is already going to be a 5th grader.

It’s also heightened my awareness of the current 5th graders.

The other day I asked one in the hallway if she was excited for middle school.

“No. I just want to stay here.”

As one who doesn’t like forced changed this girl was speaking a language I knew and I felt for her.

No matter what we do in the way of sending prep and parties, transitioning from one school to the next brings with it some level of anxiety. New building layouts, teachers, and going from being the oldest to youngest is a big leap in a young life.

I immediately thought of a great quote that has inspired me-

“If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.” Unknown

And I went to work finding a butterfly bookmark at the local Christian bookstore. Perfect, it said “Believe” right below the butterfly and I sat down to write this girl a note with the quote and a message about how I believed she was not only maturing into something beautiful, but that I believed she would fly.

I didn’t stop there. Seeing this transition in a new way, I picked up more for some close 5th grade friends.

Each bookmark is intentional to something unique about the girl. Each card highlights what I see in them and how I know they will change the world.

My hope is that when they go to the new building they will see the bookmark in their books and remember what they read in the letter. That cardboard and a tassel might translate you are special and I believe in you.

I know it won’t take away the qualms but it might reduce apprehension.

So, whether it is a 5th grader leaving for middle school or 8th grader heading to high school or a senior packing their bags for college, I encourage you to personally encourage the students you love with an often seen visual prompt.

A little high five can go a long way :)

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Popsicle Praise: Our Sweet Summer Family Faith Activity

The Nesdahls have completed Pouring Acts of Faith and summer is right around the corner. Once school ends we pretty much say "Adios" to defined agendas and find success in summer freedom - closing out the pool, getting sweaty at the park, jumping on the trampoline, watching a movie in our pajamas. Whatever. Each day looks a little different based on temperature and energy levels and what sounds fun.

So, when we decided it would be fun to do another faith forming family activity I knew it was important to be a low stress activity that could happen at anytime of the day anywhere.

Our recent activities have been focused on God sightings and the Holy Spirit in action. Now we're going to get into the Word because Scriptural knowledge affirms us, arms us, and lays the foundation for life.


Popsicle Praise.

What can I say. Our kids love popsicles so they were fresh on my mind.

Each Sunday the kids will draw one popsicle stick - well, that was my original plan but then these foam popsicle stick shapes were much cheaper for way more and they actually look like popsicle colors so they won out. I'll be able to use the many remaining for projects down the road, I'm sure.

On each stick is some most adorable washi tape because it makes me smile and looks cute, but even more importantly there a verse reference. For the most part, these are very short scriptures. I think we need to start small so that the girls realize they can do this.

Here's our winning line up.

1 Chronicles 16:11 "Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always."

John 3:16 "For God so loved thew old that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Jeremiah 29:11 "'For I know the plans I have for you' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"

1 John 4:19 "We love because he first loved us."

Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."

1 Timothy 4:12 "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young but set an example for the believers in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity."

Proverbs 18:10 "The name of the Lord is a fortified tower, the righteous run to it and are safe."

Psalm 56:3 "When I am afraid, I put my trust in You."

Psalm 119:105 "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path."

2 Timothy 1:7 "For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline."

1 Thessalonians 5:17 "Pray continually"

Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."

Luke 6:31 "Do to others as you would have them do to you."

Proverbs 13:20 "Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm."

My goal with the selected short Scriptures is that they will know that God loves them, is always there for them, and empowers them.

Within these verses I see place to discuss God's goodness, how the Lord is near, that our love is an overflow of experiencing Jesus' love for us, and the importance of our friendships + ability to not only make good choices but be a difference maker.

There are 14 popsicle praise sticks for the 14 Sundays we have in summer. Wow, that makes summer sound lengthy! Then we will recite the Scripture as a family each day to cement it in our brains.

The nice thing is we can do this around our dinner table or in the car or when sucking on popsicles during the 10 minute break at the pool, naturally fitting in to our different looking days.

And all these items only cost a few dollars.

You could easily use this activity within homes or Sunday School classrooms and the Scripture choices can be adapted to accommodate your kids' age, capabilities, and what you aim to teach.

Our kiddos are pumped about the pretty jar.

I'm excited for our family to have these sweet Truths to forever fall back on.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Real Mom Confessions

Hey, friends! My broken finger is finally healing - albeit still swollen - but it's no longer stopping me from typing OR dancing. Last weekend was the dance recital. My girls were incredible and I kicked it like cool cats with 32 other alumni. Clearly Jesus did not deem the fish nets reason to return :) All the Nesdahl ladies had a blast.

Though my computer work was on hiatus funny mom moments were not. Let's get to some real mom confessions.

1. "Some people only sleep in underwear," This is what one of the girls told one of our pastors. Why? I don't know. It had nothing to do with the conversation and both myself AND my husband sleep in pajamas. They do not see this in their life or the TV shows they are allowed to watch so why they decided to verbally vomit this to our pastor of all people I do not know. Jesus, be near.

2. The fire department visited the neighbor's house the other day because their carbon monoxide detector went off and Ava serenaded them with "Happy Birthday" as they made way into the house. It was no one's birthday.

3. One of the girls' dance teachers is pregnant. Ava told me she wanted to go say goodbye to Miss Amanda so we go up to her and Ava says, "When that baby kicks, how is it going to get out?" Ummmmm, WHAT happened to "goodbye?!" Thankfully, she found herself some juice on the way out and completely forgot about her question.

4. I love my robe and pajamas. Like maybe to a weird degree. So, in the winter, it gets dark at like 4:30 here, which means when we get done with our daily activities I can just come home and get in my PJs. I'm not going out in the dark. Well, now it is light until 9ish so I'm going to have to change my tune but this habit is not easy to break. Feel for me people. I will be the crazy mom if I have my PJs on when kids are still in my yard. Since the girls' bedtime is 8pm I thought that was a safe transition time but apparently not. My man put down new mulch last night and wanted me to see it at 8:45 so guess who checked out the spruced up front yard landscaping in her robe and pajamas? That's right, yours truly.

I hope you've had an amazing few weeks. The school year is coming to a quick end so I'll be returning tomorrow with what our family is going to do for a simple summer faith activity.  Be sure and check back if you're looking for something to do in your home :)

xx Melissa

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Real Mom Confessions

Happy Wednesday, y'all. I had something special planned for today but I need to limit my typing due to what will be the first real mom confession. Let's get going.

1. I think I broke my pinky finger playing tetherball. I LOVED the game as a kid and the older two girls play it at recess now so we thought it would be fun to have a Nesdahl family tournament. In the match against the my stud muffin I was beating him *awesome* when I hit the pole due to my super strong follow through. My whole hand went numb and I galloped my way out of the circle, writhing in pain. My man? He was so focussed on victory he FINISHED THE GAME OUT before checking on me to ensure the win. Whatever, man. Watch out. When I come off the injured reserve I will be unstoppable. In the meantime, I taking Motrin and limiting pinky movement. Being a fun mom is risky business.

2. I put in a call to our pediatrician office and didn't hear back all day. This is weird. They always call right away, so I was venting my frustration + surprise and a friend said, "Check your blocked calls?" What blocked calls is a thing? Apparently. And sure enough, I'd missed like seven calls over the year. I totally came clean with the pediatrician's office the next morning but everyone around me at dance got a pretty good laugh out of the deal. Now that I know I can block calls, you better believe I'll be using it for unwanted spam calls. It was a mixed bag discovery.

3. Yesterday Ava turned five. I remember when they placed her in my arms and now my baby celebrated the "kindergarten right of passage" birthday so don't even ask me how I felt about that. In true girl form, she woke up asking to go shopping for shoes and with a fancier lunch request. The good news for us is that no date will be able to afford her before we give our blessing. Bonus. Anyway, it was a crazy day and we didn't get her gift wrapped before she informed us she wanted to do cake so you know what we did? "Hey, Ava, close your eyes and when we say 'surprise' pop your eyes open to find out your present."

We can't be awesome all the time and there were perks. NO CLEAN UP NECESSARY.

I hope you had a great week and if you have a little one that might enjoy learning about God through nature make sure you get in on the Owlegories giveaway! And, to all of you that messaged me about how the free Date Makers & Breakers printable created good discussion in your home, I'm so very humbled. Keep up the good work of invested parenting!

xx Melissa

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Owlegories Review & Giveaway: Theowlogy Your Kids Will Love

Today the kids got out of school early. Since it was unseasonably cold outside, the girls and I used it as opportunity to snuggle up on the couch and preview Owlegories, a gospel-centered DVD series that encourages children to grow in relationship with God through five adorable owls.

Are they not the cutest?

Gus, the overall-wearing, pancake-loving, witty-speaking one is totally my favorite. Not surprising for a food-appreciating, sarcastic girl like myself.

In each episode, the delightful owls go to theowlogy school to find out their learning assignment – always found in nature. Upon hearing from the professor what they are to study, they fly out into the world and begin. DVD 1 covers the sun, the seed, and the water. DVD 2 inspects the ant, the fruit, and the butterfly.

Their experiences are cute and funny, but the lessons are priceless.

There are three takeaways for each nature element to help youth better understand God and trigger living a more faith-filled life as they spot the item in their everyday.

I love that!

It helps children connect the dots between faith and life in a way I’ve seen no other Bible series do.

The girls had to cut away from watching to go to dance but the second we got home they asked to watch again, going right from one movie to the next. It was fun to see them get so excited about a film I knew would help them see The Lord in a new way.

Anything that can help nurture our children’s closeness with Christ is a win in my world and Owlegories effectively does this by offering new perspective through the world in which they live.

I get to bless all of you with 25% off anything in their online store using the code NESDAHL25.

One of you is going to be the lucky winner of DVD volume one. To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment about why you’d like to win this. For additional entries, share this post on Facebook and/or tweet the link, creating a maximum of three entries per person. Please be sure to leave a separate comment for each of these shares.

I will use to draw a winner from the continental U.S. If your name and email is not attached to your profile, please add it to your comment so that I can reach you.

Entries will be accepted through 9pm on Sunday, May 8, 2016.

Thank you to Owlegories for asking me to be a part of your blog promotional tour. It was a joy to watch with my girls!

* Pictures provided from Owlegories. All opinions are my own.

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