Hey, Mom. You’re Doing OK.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure statement for more details.

This is a sponsored post in conjunction with JOHNSON’S Baby and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.

You're Doing OK, Mom.
source: Paul Hocksenar

I had this conversation with a friend tonight. We had a small group game night, enjoying snacks, fellowship, and a lot of laughs. My friend has a little boy just a few months older than Joshua. He is her first child, though, and Joshua is my third. And she’s a little bothered by his whining and fussing and how he is an angel for everyone else but her.

Oh, I’ve been there. Libbie is the Queen Mother of only misbehaving at home. She’s been in preschool all year and has never had one of her behavior “coins” removed. Her preschool teacher gawks if I tell her some of the things Libbie says at home.

But you know what? As I told my friend, I think it’s the better way. It means my child feels safe at home and believes I will still love her no matter how she tests me. Some days, it drives me to the brink of insanity. But still, I’d rather she test me than drive her teachers and others crazy with misbehavior.

I don’t think my friend, the first-time mom, had ever heard that theory. And it seemed to relieve her – just as it does me.

Sometimes we just need to hear that our parenting journey is not so abnormal. I sure don’t have any answers, but I do have three kids now, so I’ve been through the baby phase thrice in the past six years! Whether it’s good advice or not, I have some to dole out. And whatever awful thing your kids has done, I bet one of mine has done it, too.

In honor of Mother’s Day next week, I want to tell you: YOU ARE DOING OKAY. Way better than you think.

JOHNSON’S Baby wants you to know that you’re doing a great job, too. That’s why they created this adorable video. And for every view of the video on YouTube, they’re donating $1 to Save the Children, up to $50,000.

When has someone told you, “You’re doing OK, Mom!” and it meant a lot to you?
Here’s one of my favorite stories about that.

#SIMPLEgiving: Because Giving Really Can Be Simple

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure statement for more details.


I would like my life to be characterized by giving. (Because I want to be like Jesus, and who is God if not the Great Giver? Read 1 Timothy 6:17.)

Since I made the decision to give away the money I make blogging here, I have felt much more free when it comes to my life as a blogger. I love taking opportunities, because it means I will be able to make more Kiva loans, send more money to my Compassion children’s families, or donate to a cause that my readers recommend. (You can see the places we’ve supported here.)

That’s why I jumped at the chance to be involved and spread the word about the #SIMPLEgiving project going on through Champions for Kids right now. I get to tell you about it, do my own project, and plus I get to donate the stipend they give me! I think it’s only fitting we use this check to help stock the shelves of a food pantry, don’t you think?

Champions for Kids wants to bring attention to the hunger problems we have here in the U.S. Just read this.

Did you know that 9.8 million kids – more than ever before – get free or reduced price school breakfast on an average day, but 10.6 million eligible kids go without? Hunger has a huge effect on how a child performs at school. (And the numbers are even worse during the summer.)


So as an organization they are challenging people to commit to a lifestyle of giving. And really, giving can be SIMPLE.

First off, until May 5, there are big purple bins in 1400 Wal-Mart stores where you can donate nonperishable items. The donations go to schools in that school district.

Secondly, Champions for Kids is challenging you to do your own #SIMPLEgiving project. Help collect breakfast items and donate them somewhere that helps kids – a school, a food pantry, a daycare, a homeless shelter.

Breakfast items #SIMPLEgiving

I decided to collect food for a ministry here in Chattanooga that I work with and support, Angels of Mercy Ministry. It is run mainly by one retired couple out of their home, but they are able to help SO MANY people in need in our own city. It’s been a joy to see their ministry.

So I started by asking my small group if they would bring some breakfast things to our last meeting. Two couples remembered – that was a start! Then I asked the dorm boys if they would be willing to give a dollar or two. I didn’t get much, but every bit counts, right?

To you, this might seem like a small amount, but to the people who receive it, to the kids who get to eat breakfast that day, it is love. It is knowing someone cares.

This project opened my eyes some, too. I think many people want to help others, but they just don’t know how. When Angels of Mercy was desperate for heaters this winter, I asked on Facebook if anyone could help, and was able to buy four space heaters. It can never hurt to ask!! It’s easier than you think to bring people together to help others.

I’d like to ask you to join me in giving today, too. I created a wish list on Amazon for Angels of Mercy Ministry. Would you consider spending a few dollars helping them? Or find your local pantry and donate!

Go out and give! It’s SIMPLE.

And because I’m interested in how your family gives, how are you teaching your kids about giving? What places do you support?

This is a sponsored post in conjunction with Champions for Kids and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own. 


This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure statement for more details.

This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them.

Donating a Photo via Johnson & Johnson
source: Mark Pilgrim via Flickr Creative Commons

I’ve donated a lot of stuff. Especially in the last few months since I finished the 7 Bible study, we’ve tried to clear out closets and trinkets. We still have a long way to go. But we’ve watched books, items of clothes, household goods, toys, anything and everything go out the door to find a new home. This past weekend we even donated our old couch and dining-room table to a family who needed it.

I have a dream that one day I’ll actually be a minimalist. I may have to boycott Target to get there. (I love you, Target. But your orange stickers are too tempting.)

You know what I’ve never donated, though? A picture. Because really, who would want my old photographs of 7th grade summer camp or the last day of 11th grade? I’m sure they’d get a laugh over my hair and braces … but I’m not sure those pictures would sell at the thrift store.


But Johnson & Johnson is doing a neat thing to help you donate to good causes with just a picture. Through their new Donate a Photo app,  you can choose to “donate” one photo every day to add to their galleries (never to be used in ads). For each photo you donate, they will donate $1 to a charity of your choice – places like Shot@Life, Operation Smile, Save the Children, and the American Heart Association.

Through this program, J&J wants to connect you with causes, and help you bring awareness to needs in the world. And I think that’s pretty awesome! You can get the app for i-stuff or Androids.


Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson also has a whole bunch of printable coupons for products like Neutrogena sunscreen, Johnson’s baby lotion, and Visine through their Healthy Essentials site. You can save up to $55 on these essentials. We can just consider it a donation to your pocket. I’m sure your child, like mine, goes through Band-Aids like they’re water.

 Would you consider donating a photo?

Let’s Pretend It’s Really Spring: Win a $50 Carter’s Gift Card for Your Little One’s Wardrobe!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure statement for more details.

I participated in this program on behalf of Carter’s and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.


Is there an easier brand to love than Carter’s when you have little kids? I’m thinking no. We’ve always been thrilled with the quality of their sleepers, onesies, dresses, bibs, and more! I mourn the day Libbie grows out of Carter’s sizes (although now they’re going up to size 12! Woot!).

So you know when Carter’s offered me free money to go shop at their store – plus a gift card to give to you – I was all over that offer!

Carter's gift card giveaway

Right now is a pretty fantastic time to shop at Carter’s. Here’s why!

  • Their 50% off Baby and Kids Sale is going on, so pretty much everything is marked down! Plus there were some great clearance items.
  • On top of that, you can use the 20% off a purchase of $40 or more coupon below!
  • For every $40 you spend, you get a $10 reward certificate {the clerks at my Carter’s told me this is a special promotion because it’s usually $50}. And you can redeem those in the next month. Unlike some other places, you don’t have to spend $20 or $50 to use your $10 off – it’s just $10 off. Woohoo!
  • There are some adorable new collections (that were 25% off in store). Check out the Spring into Pink and Little Mate collections in a store near you.
  • These deals are good through March 4.

Carter's Spring Coupon

{click on coupon photo to open in a new window, then print}

I was really loving the items from the Mighty Cute collection. I have a thing for whales, apparently.


And here is what I found for my own kids to wear for Easter this year!


Joshua and David will be wearing these sweet oxford shirts with cuffs in yellow and mint green. We’ll use khakis we already have (which are probably Carter’s anyway!). Libbie’s chambray dress will match their cuffs and is so stinking adorable and girly! I love that Carter’s has stuff for LITTLE GIRLS, not teenager stuff shrunk to size 6.

So now that you’ve listened to all my ramblings, want to win a $50 Carter’s gift card for yourself? OF COURSE YOU DO! I am going to go old-school and say just leave me a comment! Tell me what you would buy with your gift card and who it would be for. For an extra entry, you can follow me on Facebook or Google Plus – just leave me another comment that you did so. The winner is Jay Dee! Congratulations!


Small Touches

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure statement for more details.

Valentine's Day - February 14th
source: Kid Gibson

Warning label: This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

We don’t plan big nights out for Valentine’s Day. We have a little family now, and honestly, we’ve never been big V-Day people. For several reasons, for years we didn’t really celebrate at all other than a bouquet of (grocery-store) flowers or a batch of cookies.

And now my kids love Valentine’s (AKA Balance Time AKA Valance Time) way more than we do. So this year I’ve just planned a nice dinner at home with special dessert and a family game night.

But still, I want to make things a little special for my husband, since he does love me and it is Valentine’s Day. I find it’s in the little touches here and there. You know what I mean?

Valentine's Day

Here I’m modeling my small touches look. Mostly I am going for a MORE THAN JUST A MOMMY theme! I’m not just a mommy – I am my husband’s wife, and that is important!

  • I’m wearing my hair down, which I rarely do because Joshua yanks it out of my head. Ditto for dangly earrings.
  • He hasn’t seen this shirt a million times. It’s a Peter Nygard top I bought from Gwynnie Bee‘s shop for under $15! I love the purple and green and knot detail.
  • My shoes are sparkly, not practical.
  • And I’m wearing make-up!


Johnson & Johnson and the Motherhood sent me two new make-up products to try out: Neutrogena’s Healthy Volume Mascara and MoistureSmooth ColorStick (for lips). I really like the mascara, which has a nice wand. It seemed to curl my eyelashes and didn’t clump at all. The ColorStick was peach, which isn’t my favorite color for lips, but I liked how it smelled like peach and went on smoothly. I was expecting more of a rough crayon, like a lipliner, but it’s nice and soft. I would like to try it in a deeper color (I like reds!). Using this ColorStick is supposed to make your lips softer in three days – even when you’re not wearing it! – because of the fruit oils. So I may just wear the peach around the house and see how that works!

[You can get a printable coupon for Neutrogena and several other Johnson & Johnson HEALTHY ESSENTIALS products at HealthyEssentials.com.]

In marriage, it’s good to spice it up every now and then. Valentine’s Day is a good day for that! And with an out-of-the-ordinary look, I’m way more likely to spend the night flirting with my husband instead of feeling like a Professional Diaper Changer.

This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them.

What IS Healthy, Anyway?

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure statement for more details.

Healthy Essentials logo


This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them.

I kind of skirt around this issue here, but the word healthy is pretty bothersome to me sometimes. Recently I wrote an article for a magazine that will run in September about “healthy back-to-school lunches.”

And honestly, I didn’t know where to start. What IS healthy? It depends entirely on whom you ask! My pediatrician might say it’s unhealthy that I’m still giving my 5-year-old daughter whole milk and that I tend to avoid low-fat dairy. She might think it’s unhealthy that I usually rarely feed my babies cereal or give them vitamin supplements.

And yet my friend Michele, the president of our local Weston A. Price Foundation chapter, would probably think it’s unhealthy that I ever let my kids have sweets or genetically-modified corn things. (Not that she would ever say anything to me; she’s WAY too sweet for that. I’m just saying her definition of healthy doesn’t include these things.)

I had a difficult time with the article, finally deciding to go with the approach that “healthy” is real food, food that grows from the ground or comes from an animal. In my heart, that’s what I believe and what I want for our family. And I make strides toward it sometimes, and then take steps back at other times, too.

Something I think we can all agree on is that it’s healthy to take care of your body from the outside as well. You know, take a bath or shower, wash your hair (whether it’s with shampoo or vinegar, whatever!), brush your teeth, and so forth.

Johnson & Johnson is helping you do those things this January with their Healthy Essentials program. You can get $45 of coupons for their products by visiting HealthyEssentials.com – where you can also finds tips and tools and some neat apps.

And if you have time, come join me on Twitter for a party this Tuesday, January 14th, where J&J will be giving away some wonderful gift packages. Here’s the info!

Ring in the New Year with Healthy Essentials at the #Moms4JNJConsumer Twitter Party

We are excited to join Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies for a Twitter party to talk about HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® for the New Year, resolutions, family wellness and how to score great deals on health and hygiene products! Learn how HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® can help you reach health-related goals for 2014.

When: Tuesday, January 14, 1 p.m. ET

Hashtag: #Moms4JNJConsumer

Prizes: We will randomly award 15 prizes throughout the party, from all eligible correct responses to trivia questions. Each prize includes an assortment of Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® products with an estimated retail value of $50.

Prize Eligibility: No purchase necessary. Entrants must be legal residents of the 50 United States + D.C. 18 years of age or older. Void where prohibited.

Hosts: @theMotherhood, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann, @TheMotherhood25

Want to go to 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™? Visit HealthyEssentials.com and see if your wish could come true. Plus, get tips and coupons to save on your favorite products for the New Year.

All you have to do is share a picture or story of a moment of caring in your life and you could scream “GOAL!” from Brazil.

Visit www.healthyessentials.com for more information on this amazing opportunity!

As always, thank you for supporting these and other charities by not getting disgruntled at sponsored content here on Vanderbilt Wife.