How to Host a Carousel Themed Party

One of my favorite memories as a child was ridding the merry-go-round with my parents. There is something so magical about the beautifully painted horses as they glide through the air with riders on their backs gleefully giggling with delight. Even as adults when we ride a horse, a bunny, perhaps even a lion or a giraffe carousel animal, we are instantly transported  back into some of our sweetest memories of childhood.

We have a wonderful park in our city that has stunningly maintained a beautiful carousel that was the theme for our party. I love how versatile a carousel theme party can be. From bridal showers and baby showers to a child’s, or even a sweet sixteen birthday party, and everything in between anyone who loves whimsical  parties can host a beautiful carousel themed party!

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I’m sharing some of our favorite design tips and how to DIY almost everything you see here! Including how I created stations around the house to keep the party guests flowing from room to room with different points of interest.

Our show stopper pieces were these huge mylar happy birthday balloon letters. There was no doubt you had arrived to a children’s birthday party. (If you were doing a different theme- you could easy change out these letters for a different party celebration.) We also kept the big toys like this fun ball pit and our daughter’s new rocking horse here so the adults could lounge on the sofa, recliner and chairs placed in the room while the children played together.

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The Decorations

A team of helpers makes every party to be more successful, and these handmade carousel horse silhouettes and the larger than life number two are the perfect example of this.

Each decoration is made from items you can easy purchase at your local craft store! Here’s what you’ll need to make a large number for a birthday party:

Supplies:
▪️Foam Board
▪️Modge podge
▪️Foam Brush
▪️ X-acto knife
▪️Tissue Paper
▪️Paper plate
▪️Ruler & Protractor

For the number we measured 8cm from the bottom of the board to make the bottom of the number two. Then measured from the top of the foam board a radius of 17cm for the circle of the 2. We made it a bit like one would make a cake by following the shapes. The only cutting we did was the outside shape. For the tissue paper we cute 2 inch squares and using the modge podge glued them onto the foam board.

Delightful Southern Moments (3)

To create these beautiful carousel horse sillouets we made them in stages, and the paint we let dry overnight.

Supplies:
▪️Foam Board
▪️Modge podge
▪️Foam Brush
▪️Yellow paint (can be spray paint)
▪️Glitter
▪️ X-acto knife
▪️Carousel Horse Templet
▪️Floral Foam
▪️Tissue Paper
▪️Empty gift wrapping paper tube
▪️Tule
▪️Ribbon
▪️Container for the Base

I drew free hand the horse design modeled after these coloring pages we printed out for the children. This was by far the most challenging decoration and will have to be followed up with its own separate post. Please send me a message directly if you have urgent needs and we can discuss further!

 

DIY Balloon Arch

This was so much easier than I thought it was going to be! If you’re interested in trying it- I would highly suggest do it for your next party!

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Supplies:
▪️Balloon Arch Tape
▪️2-3 packs of 12” balloons
▪️3-4 packs of 5” balloons
▪️ Helium tank
▪️Greenery
▪️Push pins or command strips

I chose several colors of balloons as my base for this arch, then added pops of accent colors. I followed this tutorial online, I think it was super helpful!

Note: This should not be made in advanced. Latex balloons have a short life and if you want this to float- be sure you build it as close to party time as possible.

Kids corner

The children had their own special area set up including their own kid-sized table and chairs and this cute buffet table!

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We ordered these Paper Mini Candy Pink Striped Popcorn Boxes to match our carnival theme and filled them with kettle corn! Most definitely a must have food for a fun carnival party! I also filled a fun flower pot with fruit snacks, and each child had their very own fun birthday cup with lid and straw at their seat at the table! (That was the cautious mom in me, ha!) When it was time to go home, everyone took home a goodie bag. I added the little gold horses to look like they each had a merry-go-round horse on their bag!

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At each seat was a coloring sheet and lots of crayons. Our birthday girl had a crown and special birthday pin! The balloon flowers were made same day, but the blue paper flowers happen to live up on our wall year round.

 

Food and Drinks

What type of food might you serve at a carousel themed party? Let’s start with the fun stuff! We already talked about the kettle corn, but there were also colorful jelly beans and yogurt covered raisins! I absolutely love macaroons. They’re on a later photo placed next to the cupcakes and cake. I love freshest strawberries in the spring and made a platter of the plumpest ones I could find. The favorite carnival type dessert was most definitely the amazing white chocolate dipped apple slices with sprinkles. I don’t have a photo of them because they were all eaten before I could take their photo! They were a huge hit!

For those that might actually be hungry and not want to dine on sweets only, I couldn’t resist making delicious tea sandwiches like these to go with our party theme. We also made our own super easy ranch dip by mixing a packet of hidden valley ranch seasoning packet with sour cream. Also, I have a new obsession with cocktail tomatoes. Have you ever tried them? They’re a little sweeter than cherry tomatoes and have a slightly thinner skin. We also had carrot chips and baby carrots with more cucumbers for dipping. For the main part of the meal my wonderful husband grilled four pounds of chicken seasoned with Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning. We offered guests the option to build their own chicken sandwiches- yum! For the kids we ordered a party platter of chick-fil-a nuggets with the chick-fil-a sauce because they really do it best- yum!

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The Sweets

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This birthday cake might just be my favorite part of this party. Our little girl just loves to ride the carousel horses and I knew this theme would make her so happy. The cake was the center of the party, and my inspiration. I’m blown away at the talent at our local Whole Food store. The entire cake is made from vegan-buttercream! This is their black and white cake, without the chocolate ganache on top (which is amazing if you haven’t tried it!).  The Cake Topper took me the longest to find. From the angle of this last photo, you can see there is some clear wrapper on the bottom and there is a slight gap, that’s because this is a musical cake topper! And will make the sweetest keep sake for years to come!

The cupcakes were perfect for all the little hands. Every child could easily help themselves when we placed them on the kids table! And the whimsical horses on top were the same ones I used on the gift bags! I was so fortunate to find them at the ThePinkPapermill and the owner Randee was such a pleasure to work with! The cupcakes are entirely home made using a Southern Living Magazine recipe! My daughter and I baked these ahead of time and I made the frosting the day before. Doing as much prep-work ahead of time can help you keep your sanity!

 

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Party Planning Tip:  How do you get a bunch of kids to come sit down to sing happy birthday when they’re so busy playing? Well, cake usually does it, but we wanted to have everyone sitting and what better way than to read a story aloud! Children love to hear stories, and this one happens to be our daughter’s favorite! We read On the Night You Were Born and all the children loved it!

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Here’s my favorite photo of the birthday girl ready to blow out the candles! 

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In addition to the party bags, we also gave away the ribbon wands we made in advanced that were on the dessert table. And on their way home, each little girl also got to pick a pretty little Party Ring to take home!

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I really hope you enjoyed our tips for hosting your own carousel themed party! Please let us know in the comments if you tried any of these decorations or delicious food ideas!

As always, we love to hear from you, you can find us on Instagram and Facebook, use #DelightfulSouthernMoments to join the conversation live!

xo,

Christine

My Spring Routine + Must Haves!

Spring is finally here! At least in our state, how are the temps where you are?

This week we have highs in the low 70s and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve been testing several new products that I can’t wait to share with you all, plus a few favorites I had to bring out again. Ready to rev up your spring skin care routine?

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I am so excited to share with you some of my new favorite skin and hair care products. Let’s start with my tried and true must haves! I have been using this Neutrogena® Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser For Sensitive Skin since my dermatologist recommended it. I love that it doesn’t dry out my skin, is strong enough to wash away makeup and sweat from the day, and doesn’t cost through the nose like so many other doctor prescribed cleansers. My best kept secret that I found a few months ago is this MARIO BADESCU Plastic Bottle Drying Lotion. I am not kidding when I say this is the best acne fighting product I have ever tried. Even the product the dermatologist recommended for me isn’t as awesome as this. And my newest obsession is this R+F MICRO-DERMABRASION PASTE. I found out about this through an online group I’m part of and I’m obsessed. As we age, our skin is slower to regenerate, and in my case removes excess tissue which leads to pore blockage. That is why I’m obsessed with this R+F paste. It helps remove dead skin leaving my face feeling so amazing. I use this once a week at most, it’s that awesome.

 

 

My Two Favorite Life changing Favorite Products.

R+F MICRO-DERMABRASION PASTE and Perfect hair Day (PhD) Dry Shampoo

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If I could only buy two items, these are the two I could buy. I love this dry shampoo. It makes my life as a mom so much better. I’ve tried several dry shampoos including some good brand name ones. But none are as reliable as this one.

 

My second favorite mom-hair helper is this Caviar Style Satin Rapid Blowout Balm. I love that it cuts my hair drying time in half. And it plus my leave in conditioner makes my hair feel so silky soft!

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A couple of my other favorite new and tried and true beauty products are the Your Skin But Better™ CC+™ Cream with SPF 50+Double Duty Beauty Shape Tape Contour Concealer Light Sand , Gimme Brow+ Volumizing Eyebrow Gel and Lady Like ESSIE Nail Polish!

I can’t say enough about the CC+ cream, I love the coverage, color and feel of this foundation. This brow gel is my go to, probably because it’s so easy to use. I have a bare minerals eyebrow filler that I love, but when i don’t have time, for all that- I love to just use this gel. It’s that good. And can we talk about my favorite new under-eye concealer? I tried a new color, Double Duty Beauty Shape Tape Contour Concealer Light Sand  and couldn’t be happier with the coverage! I love how much it brightens up my dark circles, which due to genes I still have even if I sleep 9 hours at night!  I love this nail color, can we talk about all the pretty colors this spring? I love this color and I think this is a fantastic color that works for most skin tons!

 

Fertility

I was really struggling with posting this item. But I’m hoping it will open the door to other ladies that one to take control of their bodies, reduce their chemical intake and take charge of their health. Many of you may have read about our family’s loss late last year. Miscarriage occurs in 1/5 pregnancies, but there is still a lot of  fear (?) in speaking about. Even if you are not trying to conceive- owning your own fertility is so empowering. I’m so excited to use the Clear-blue Fertility Monitor this spring, and encourage you to find a way to connect further with your body.

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Forever in Love

The last thing I want to share with you all is something near and dear to my heart. If you and your loved one are ready to take the next step in your life and are looking for the perfect ring, I can’t speak highly enough about choosing moissanite for your gem stone. I received my hand-crafted beautiful rose-gold ring nearly 5 years ago and it still sparkles as it did the day I was gifted it. Diamonds may be a girls best friend, but I’d rather have something big and sparkly to share with all my friends.

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And that’s it- you now know all my secrets. What are your favorite spring skin care or beauty products I may have left off? I’m looking for a new blush and am always in search of a good lip color. Please comment below and share your favs!

xo,

Christine

 

 

Top Strategies for Your Family’s Tax Return

Let’s talk about about taxes, the good part, refunds! Did you know the average federal refund is $3,120, and eighty-three percent of returns result in a refund? We know good financial health is important, but where are the best places to put the extra funds your family may be receiving this year?

I’m so excited to share with you some helpful tips from my friend who is a finical planner. She’s given me some great tips to help make the most of your returns!

 

Top 5 Ways to Make your Money Work for You

1. Pay off a debit 

2. Open a Savings Account 

3. Invest in Yourselves

4. Invest in Retirement

5. Invest in a Business 

 

 

1. Pay off a Debit

  • If your can wipe out a bill like a high interest credit card, your student loan or your car loan this is the area to first consider. Any of these debts can be severely difficult on families, and greatly reducing, or completely eliminating them can take a lot of burden off monthly bill payments.

2. Open a Separate Savings Account

  • By opening a separate savings account, you’re more likely to use the money for its intended purpose. Use it to pay ahead your car insurance for the year, or set money aside for a vacation or trip for later in the year. If you don’t already have an emergency fund, this would be a great time to start it. If you’re a big spender for the holidays, put it aside for Christmas gifts for the end of the year.

3. Invest in Yourselves

  • Continuing education is so important, be a life-long learner. Now’s a great time to plan out the rest of the year to attend conferences for any continuing education credit needed to maintain any professional certifications you or your spouse might have. Even if you do not have a professional certification, perhaps there are courses at your local community college you would be interested in taking.

4. Invest in your Retirement

  • If investing in your retirement is an option, contribute to your Roth-IRA before you file taxes, or open a new Roth-IRA to take full tax benefits this year! Learn how to open a Roth-IRA here.

5. Invest in a business you want to start

  • If you’re really ambitious, invest in yourself by starting your own business. Women owned businesses account for 31% of all privately held firms and$1.7 trillion in sales as of 2017! “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This statement is often attributed to the ancient Chinese teacher Confucius.

 

Top Strategies for Your Family's Tax Return

 

Maybe this year will be the year you take control of your financial future. I wish you the very best and would love to hear your strategies for contributing to your family’s financial health! Please comment below.

xo,

Christine

The Loudest 2nd Birthday EVER 🌸

We had the best time celebrating our friend’s 2nd Birthday. She had a really fun, loud, color-filled Trolls themed birthday party! My friend really out did herself!

If you’re looking for inspiration for a really fun Birthday party for your toddler, my friend Kristyn of Carolina Fireflies party is sure to inspire you! It was like stepping into the most fun trolls party house ever!

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When you first walk in, a huge rainbow, lots of treats and things hanging from the ceiling greeted you. And how gorgeous is this dessert table? The Trolls popcorn was so much fun to eat, and I’m sure it was hard to make it and not sneak a few bites! If you want to try some yourself, check out this recipe. Trolls Popcorn is sweet, salty, delicious and full of chocolate candy and pretty sprinkles. This treat might just get you showered in Troll Hugs!

Another easy and fun treat my friend made were these yummy pretzel flowers! A little salty and a little sweet, your kids are going to have a hard time eating just one!

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There were so many cute details!

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These flowers are all made by hand and a huge labor of love. Pinterest is filled with patterns and tutorials on how to make them. This huge rainbow flower was completely done by hand, including the pattern my friend used to make the flowers.

 

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Lots more flowers and balloons! I loved how she incorporated the trolls theme throughout her decorations. Now who’s ready for hug time?

 

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Unfortunately this is the only photo I took of the balloon rainbow my friend made. Of course it’s the photo of the birthday girl and my little one getting into mischief, right? I’ve linked a similar photo, and a how to by abeautifulmess!

WeddingDecor Ideas

The party was filled with lots of music, silly dancing, hugs and of course lots of eating. There were fruits and vegetables served on trays in a rainbow of colors. For your own party you might want to try making jello in rainbow colors to put out for the kids! I hope you’ll be inspired by this party to have your own Trolls Themed Party!

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xo,

Christine

 

Put a Spring in Their Step

I received these products complimentary for testing purposes.

We have an older rescue dog who is starting to slow down. At her last vet’s visit it was suggested to help her lose a little weight to help with some joint aches and pains, and I was reminded that it would help her with knee pain as well. In addition to changing her diet and avoiding all those extra treats our toddler happily shares, her vet recommended adding extra glucosamine to her diet. We spoke to a friend who recommended trying Walk-Easy.

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We have been feeding the Walk-Easy twice a day along with her dry food and her regular glucosamine tablet for almost a month and we have noticed a huge change!
She no longer has “sliding hips” as the vet calls them (where her legs would kind of slide out from under her when she’s sitting). And has been more bouncy and playful as well, much like her breeds traditional characteristic, and her younger self! One thing I love about Walk-Easy is that the actual tablets are really small, so I can mix it into her kibble and she hardly seems to notice its in there! You could purchase some type of treat to “hide” the tablets in, but I would suggest trying it first without.

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I would highly suggest trying this product for your pets if they have joint discomfort or are getting older.

The second product we love is called Pets-at-Ease, also a homeopathic supplement, this helps dog ease tension and remain calm in stressful situations. Prior to using Pets-at-Ease our dog would bark, whine and make a big fuss when we took her to the park. She loves the park, and really wants to play with the children, but dogs are often not allowed on public park playgrounds.

The actual tablets are really small, so I mixed it with a teaspoon of almond butter and put it in her regular meal bowl before we got in the car to go to the park. She had a great time at the park later that afternoon! She didn’t get anxious when the children pet her (she often gets very excited and starts barking) and seemed more content to watch us play while she waited patiently for us to continue our walk around the park.

 

I’d love to hear from you! What are some of the things you do to help your pet relieve stress while you’re at work, or perhaps during their trip to the vet? Comment below!

 

xo,

Christine

 

 

Getting Back on Track

I received these products complimentary for testing purposes.

We all know we should eat a healthy diet and exercise for a healthy life. But let’s face it, as busy professionals, stay at home moms with busy children, working college students, or whatever your day-to-day looks like sometimes we need a little help achieving balance.

Here’s another reality, spring break, summer vacations and fun trips to the pool are right around the corner. I’ve teamed up with my dear friend Jennifer to help you get ready for shedding all those winter clothes and feeling your best!

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Drinking my Morning Smoothie

Good Guts

The best place I’ve always found to reset myself after the long holiday eating season (you know, Halloween candy to Super Bowl Sunday foods) is in my gut! I can hear you groaning already, stay with me! Our small intestine is where the magic happens. All the delicious food you’ve eaten, the burgers, curly fries, nachos, your kids veggie sticks, yummy red velvet cake, you get the idea, creates a yummy slug in your gut. And without the proper cleaning, it makes it really hard for your body to digest the good stuff! You know, the green salads you’ve been eating all January. Two things: Probiotics and Cleanse.

I have been faithfully taking probiotics for over six years. My very favorite CCN (Certified Clinical Nutritionist) ‘sold’ me on the idea of them years ago. I love her explanation best, so I’m going to share it with you. Envision a bicycle, now imagine the spokes of the tires are covered in slug- they would move slowly, right? We have got to clean the slug of the spokes of the tires can get them moving again! “Parasites and ‘bad’ bacteria can flourish, leading to gas, bloating, and infection and skin issues like acne.” -Kimberly Snyder, CCN

Wait- I can hear you saying “what about yogurt?” Yes, yogurt does have probiotics, but it is dairy, and if you want to go that rout, Kefir is a much better product to consume for live bacterial yogurt cultures. You could also make your own at home! Not ready to go that route? I can say I’ve tried, and find this probiotic by Genesis to be just as good as my other favorite brand.

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Now that we’ve established why gut health is important, let’s go back to this season we’re in, the post- holiday eating season. While we’re building up our good gut health, we can help move those unwanted bacteria out of our system a little faster with a Non-Fasting Cleanse. I used the HealthTrim Cleanse for the shortest recommended time, four days. And lets just say I felt a lot lighter. Yep, I went there. But hey! Good gut health is important. And moms with little ones, you know we’re always inspecting those little ‘presents’ they leave for us. Let’s not make it taboo to talk about our own bowl movement health! (Yes, its an important topic to discuss with your health care professional during your annual physical.)

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I’ve you’re still with me, pat on the back for you! Let’s talk about one of my favorite seeds, the Chia seed! Yes, that kind like the chia pet that we all had and loved in the 80’s. I had a sheep, which one did you have? Kidding aside, Chia seeds are actually an amazing little super food. Packed with protein and fiber, 1 table spoon of the stuff is fifteen percent of your daily fiber! While Chia seeds themselves aren’t flavorful, there are tons of recipes and ways to include them in your daily meals. As a busy professional I use to sprinkle them with some nutritional yeast on my salad at lunch time! Now my favorite way to eat them is like a puddling. That’s right, I said puddling. Remember how they use to get sticky and that’s how you added them to your clay ‘pet’ so they could grow hair. I know, you’re laughing- but it’s true! You can make really good puddling if you add them to coconut milk and let them sit. Search it on Pinterest, I promise you’ll find tons of recipes! While you can find them at most health food stores, Mila chia seed pouch is pretty special because they dice the chia seeds up! No embarrassing chia seeds stuck between your teeth to worry about at your after lunch meeting, or during playdate at the park.

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Good Vibes

Let’s talk about stress. Our lives are so busy, we’re constantly being pulled in a multitude of different directions. Being a mom is so rewarding, but also comes with it’s own challenges. As does being a successful professional, a busy collage student- let’s be real, everyone has stress in their life. go-yin is a delicious way to help balance yourself. I’ve taken St. John’s Wort before, and found it to have similar effects. My temper seems to be a bit move even, and I have more patients for toddler temper tantrums.

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Some of my favorite ways to keep stress levels down include:

  • Gentle Yoga Sequences
  • Herbal Tea (women’s raspberry or lavender)
  • A Soothing Soak in the Bath
  • Taking a Deep Breath and Counting to 10 before Jumping into a Situation
  • Going for a Walk
  • Writing down my Thoughts/ Feelings

What are some of the ways you keep your stress level down? Do you listen to music or maybe a podcast? Please share in the comments below!

So Much to Do, so Little Time

Moms are busy, very busy chasing those little legs. How is it that they’re so fast, but still so little? Staying hydrated is important, keeping up with the kids is important, these energy packets you add to water help you do both! Available in Lemon, Mixed Berry, Island Splash, Watermelon, and Grape flavors.

 

I received the variety pack to try, but my favorite by far was the Lemon and Island Splash. I felt like they did a good job of quenching my thirst and boosting my energy level. Depending on how much caffeine you currently drink daily, I would suggest sipping on these, and use chilled water when you mix in a water bottle or a reusable drinking cup. I was a little jittery if I drank one of these too fast.

My other two favorite drink mixes are the GPS Hydrate and GPS Energize. Both remind me a bit of gatorade, but that’s where the comparison stops. I actually feel so much better after I drink the GPS Hydrate, hydrated, and reenergized. And it tastes good! The GPS Energize is recommended as a pre-workout drink. I find that it works well as a pre-work out drink, especially if that workout includes chasing after a toddler at the playground!

 

This is Part 1 of a Two Part Review. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the rest of the products I’ve been testing on my next post. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve tried any of these before and what you thought of them!

xo,

Christine

Sisterhood, more than just Friendship

How may times have you wondered if what you’re doing is really making a difference? Women have wrestled with thoughts of doubt, longing, thankfulness, heartache and desire for millennium. As mothers, daughters, sisters, our hearts are made to be open to love, and service. If you’re a mom, you know what I’m talking about. But who can we turn to for support? Our spouse can be a single source of love, encouragement, and partnership among many other things. But our spouse cannot be everything for us. We need relationships outside our marriage.

Sisters, whether by flesh or friendship, can provide us with such great joy, comfort and be a huge support system. New moms especially need a circle of women they can trust. In some cultures that circle includes family, mothers, sisters, aunts, and other relatives. But in the US we often have miles between our closest relatives. Mom tribe, sisterhood, moms and tots, whatever the group might be called, they are all the same. Women helping other women.

 

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In the age of the internet, it is so easy to feel like you have a mom tribe in a FaceBook group, Instagram mamas or other social media group. But there is nothing like spending time face to face with the same women week after week for an hour or three. We’re humans and most of us crave human interaction. (Yes, even introverts like some time with groups).

If you don’t have a moms group you’re part of, I’d like to encourage you to “make space” in your life for one. Look on FB, it’s ok. Try out a mom group through your local church. They won’t be judging you for wearing yoga pants, or having a milk stain (I think that’s what it is) on your shirt or not brushing you hair that day. You know why? Because they are going through the same thing as you. They can relate. Even if you only have a chance to order a coffee and pray that your kids play nicely for 30 minutes while you try to remember the other moms names, I promise it will be worth it. The stories I’ve shared, and had shared with me, the advice I’ve received, and lovingly given, have forged bonds that I know will last a lifetime.

Moms, we need each other. We can’t do it alone.

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Children are such a blessing, and they look to us for guidance, for us to be a model the type of behavior we wish of them. And yes, motherhood is a mountain we climb each day. But the small feet that follow us, eventually share the view of sunlight at the top. I promise you it is worth all the daily struggles.

And it’s totally ok to humble ourselves and say we need help.

 

If you’re looking for more models, women in scripture are our real-life models of prayer, penitence, adoration, thanksgiving, and praise- our sisters of faith.

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I’m hosting weekly LIVE hangouts on IG, if you’re interested in joining, pick up the devotional here: She Who Believed Lent Devotional / Journal

I’m hosting Mondays at 8pm EST you can click the link to join, or go to www.instagram.com/dsm_blog I would love for you to join me and our discussion.

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As a bonus, I’ll be giving away a Devotion this week. Yes, for FREE! Follow along on Instagram and FaceBook so you don’t miss your chance to win!!

 

xo,

Christine