Early Easter: Teaching Your Kids About the Death and Resurrection of Christ

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Easter is early this year. It feels strange, shopping for chocolate bunnies and hiding eggs before the grass even needs to be mowed. Spring break has sent me into a tailspin of parent-overtime, keeping my kids from fighting and trying to make the most of our time together while maintaining my sanity (no easy feat!)

It's easy to get overwhelmed by everyday life, let alone the prep for a major holiday. I get easily distracted by the pastel brouhaha that Easter brings with it. One step into any retail store and you're practically accosted with spring fever.

With Easter being this early, I'm particularly overcome with the responsibility of appropriately teaching my children the true meaning of Easter. I get hung up on nuances of doctrine or which passage to read to them, then I get frustrated when they won't sit still and listen or if they change the subject back to bunnies and candy. I worry about whether the Scripture will sink into their hearts or if the power of the Resurrection will ever make its way past their ears and into their souls. I get anxious about the story being too scary, too gruesome, or whether I'm making it too child-proof for it to have the impact it needs. Good grief!

Do you have these worries? Do you second guess yourself enough that you avoid the topic altogether? You are in good company, friend!

When I get perplexed by where to begin, I take a breath, I give up, I thank the Holy Spirit for His presence and allow Him to actually do His job (which I have failed at yet again). I don't know about you, but I'm a terrible Holy Spirit! I so quickly take it upon myself to drive truth into the hearts of my children that I can completely discount the power God has on their individual hearts. I'm so glad I have the privilege of being their mother - and not their Savior! 

Easter may be early this year, but it's always the right time for truth. I absolutely believe that reading the Scriptures aloud to your children is wonderful and beneficial. But, if you're kids are squirrelly like mine and you both need a digestible way to learn about Easter, check out The Jesus Storybook Bible. Our church gifts this children's Bible when babies are dedicated, and I absolutely adore it.

For Good Friday:
I couldn't find an easy online version of "The Sun Stops Shining" chapter which is perfect for reading about the crucifixion, so, this is the best I could do... (credit to Zondervan for the material below and hopefully they don't make me take down these photos of their beautiful book)

For Easter:
But, I did find this video version (below) of the Resurrection chapter titled "God's Wonderful Surprise" that you and your kiddos can watch for Easter! ENJOY!

When you feel overwhelmed by the wonder of Christ's sacrifice for us - let your kids see that! It is normal to feel strong emotions when we reflect on the truth about Easter. I do my best to trust God to fill in the blanks where I fall short as a parent. I know I can't perfectly dictate His Words into their little hearts, and I'll never be the example of His love that Jesus was.

But, this early Easter, I'm compelled to TRUST - wholly and completely - in His power, His perfection, His plan. Thanks be to God for sending His Son, for the death and the Resurrection.

Happy Easter - He is Risen!

Introducing: Recommendations!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Check out the new tab above to see the latest PARDYMAMA RECOMMENDATIONS!

In a world where we all need STUFF, it can get confusing and frustrating to get a straight answer about what works. I'm here to lend my honest feedback about the stuff I use, love, and would recommend to any mama out there!

You won't see a lot of negative feedback on my site because frankly, if I don't like it, I don't waste your time with mentioning it. But, when I love something - I want the world to know about it!

I never get paid for my reviews, so you can know that when a product gets the Thumbs Up from me, I truly mean it.

You can always click on the Recommendations tab at the top to keep up to date with any new products that get my stamp of approval (and sometimes DISCOUNTS)!

If you think you know a product that deserves my attention, hit me up! Contact me here and I'll give you the details!

Go Green: Why I Love Pure Haven Essentials

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day! What better day to make a change and GO GREEN?

If you're like me, when you first hear the words "non-toxic" you might think "not as effective" or "too expensive"- (which is what I've experienced in the past with many so-called-natural products). It's just so hard to know what products to trust these days. Can you relate?

I often turn to my friend Jessica when I have questions about health and wellness for my family. Jessica Hodson is a mom of two, a strong Christian, and a friend of mine from way way back - which is why I trust her advice completely!

I'm super excited to introduce you to her, because she's also an Executive Leader for Pure Haven Essentials - awesome non-toxic products for your family!

I want to tell you about the PHE products I've tried for the past few weeks - because they WORK, they are LOVELY, and most of all they are HEALTHY for everyone in your family!
Check out Jessica's website for yourself to see what products might fit your family's needs!
Here are my favorites:
Dream Cream
Addicted! This thick lotion is yummm in a bottle. Seriously.  I'm kinda sensitive to scents, and this delicious cream is like vanilla-birthday-cake-meets-clean-laundry-on-a-warm-spring-day. So um, yeah, you're gonna want to try this.
It's no surprise this is one of the most popular PHE products - it's downright AMAZING. Between winter weather and breastfeeding, my skin has been extra dry. This Dream Cream has been the only thing I've found to keep my skin moisturized throughout the day without having to reapply (a little goes a long way!)
It also has a zillion uses! I also used it on baby Vivian's cradle cap, and it washed out easily, smelled lovely, and I haven't needed to use it again since!
How they packed all this into one cream truly is a dream! This gets my TOP recommendation, for sure.

Body Butter (This product is COMING SOON, but I got a sneak peek already!)
For those extra-dry spots, this is your answer in a jar. It's similar to the Dream Cream, but thicker and with a more "lemon-drop" scent. I like to apply it to my cuticles, elbows, and knees at bedtime for an extra boost of moisture. I love that it's safe to use on my kids (after playing outside all day, their skin needs extra TLC too!) and it's scent is gender neutral enough that even my husband can use it!

Lavender Bar Soap
Love me some lavender! I'm not usually a fan of bar soap, but when I saw this lavender gift set, I was so excited to try it! The soothing, calming qualities of lavender (great for sleep too!) are evident in this soap. It didn't dry out my skin (like usual soap does) and it lathered up nice and sudsy too. What's more, it didn't get all gunky on the bottom from sitting on my shower shelf! In a pinch, I even used it on my face a couple times and it never made me break out which truly attests to it's purity. If you love lavender, this is a must!

Moisturizing Hand Soap (This product is COMING SOON, but I got a sneak peek already!)
How many times has your husband commented on how good your hand soap is? Probably never, right?! Well, you can imagine my surprise when I hear my beloved from the bathroom say "Where did you get this hand soap? It's so nice and I love the smell!" Haha. True story.
This soap is a family favorite. It's clear, so it looks good filling any container, and it's soft scent leaves your hands feeling smooth and clean. It's everything you want in a hand soap, but with none of the harsh chemicals! Yay for clean hands!

Night Serum
This was a BONUS with the order I received (yes, there are tons of PERKS offered each month and ever-changing!) and I was thrilled to add it to my skincare regimen. I'm always timid about trying new things on my face, but this mild, sweet-orangey-smelling serum left my skin super soft by morning. I was fearful that putting "oil" on my face might make it break out, but instead the opposite was true!? I had a blemish vanish within two days of using it, along with some winter dryness on my cheeks. Better yet, it only took about HALF a pump to cover my face and neck, which means this little bottle will last me a long time.

For Babies
Baby Wash & Shampoo 
I always say it's impossible to spoil a baby because they deserve the very best - but, if you were going to try, start with this! This wash is mild enough for baby's delicate skin, and my Vivian loved splashing in the bubbles it made (many times "natural" products don't suds up the same as synthetic products). The scent is extremely mild too, very clean and fresh, but left my baby smelling like her sweet self and not some overly-powdery-bundle-of-joy. Most of all, it's incredibly reassuring to know I'm bathing my precious girl in something that will leave her truly clean, free from any chemicals that could possibly harm her.

Baby Lotion
DEFINITELY purchase the lotion when you buy the shampoo - it's worth it! This yummy cream is thick enough that a dime-size will cover your whole baby (I used WAY too much the first time!) and it absorbs completely. Many lotions I've tried have left a tacky residue, but this lotion leaves my baby's skin moist without being sticky. All the better to kiss!
The fresh scent is very gender neutral too, so it would make a great baby shower gift for anyone with a little one on the way.
100% honest & never paid
for my recommendations

Ready to shop? Want to learn more?
Pure Haven Essentials makes it easy to take a step towards non-toxic living because they offer products for your whole family! Jessica would be thrilled to tell you more about everything PHE has to offer, and you can contact her any time to find out more!

MARCH 2016 Customers can use Party ID 138824 and will receive a FREE SKIN TONER with their $95 order! There's a new special each month, so be sure to check out her Facebook Page to keep up with all the great deals!

Choosing Pure Haven Essentials for my family is a no-brainer; not only are the products highly effective, luxurious and completely safe, but they are products with a mission. A mission to change lives and a mission to change the world for the better. 
-Jessica Hodson, Executive Leader with Pure Haven Essentials

Breaking the Internet and the Hearts of Mothers Everywhere: Reposting My Open Letter to Kim K

Thursday, March 10, 2016

(This is a repost which is wildly relevant again today in light of recent events.)

Dear Kim,

Let me admit right off the bat that I have zero expectation of you ever reading this.  I understand you are in the one-zillionth percentile of celebrities who could probably care less about normies like myself who have an opinion about our perception of who you are.  This is more than a letter, it's a format for me to use my tiny space on the web to get the word out on how I feel about your recent actions.  So, let's call a spade a spade and get that out of the way.  Fair enough.

You broke the internet this weekend.  You posed for a cover of a magazine and fully exposed your derriere for the world to gawk at.  It's not the first time you've given the masses something to get bug-eyed about, and I'm certain it won't be the last.  But, you broke more than the internet - you broke my heart.

From what I can tell, you and I only have one thing in common - but, it's a big thing (no, not that big thing, my flat booty holds no contest to your curves).  We're both mothers of girls.  We're raising females in a world where individuals with money, looks, and power are considered "successful".

We're raising girls in a society that values dominance and accumulation over integrity and virtue.  And while you and I might stand at very opposite ends of these spectrums, I would gather that you know these things to be true even more than I do.  You're in it.  You're living it.  You are the proof that these things get noticed, shared, and applauded.

But, here's where we part ways.  I don't get how you can do use your platform in that way and raise your daughter in this world.  Why, Kim, why?

There's an astronomical amount I want to teach my daughters, and not one of them has to do with the size of her ass.  I want my girls to know they can be smart and beautiful, full of integrity and authoritative, compassionate and assertive, and while they can play with their Barbies and watch Disney Princesses fall in love, they hold so much more in their unique little hearts than their body will ever ever ever be able to reflect on the outside.  They are more than their booties.  More than their someday-breasts.  More than their clothes, hair, or perfect skin.  Barbie ain't got nothin on my babies!

Kim, you are more than your backside.  You may have first been noticed in the celebrity world because of your curvy booty, but you are greater than the sum of your parts (or one part in particular) if you'd give us a chance to notice that too.  We have NO IDEA who you really are, and you aren't helping us get to know you.  In fact, your backside is preventing us from seeing who you might actually be, and the platform you've been given in this life could be used for so much more for our daughters.

We live vastly different lives, no doubt.  But, you and I have girls who would laugh and play and share silly stories about tutus and dolls if we got together, I guarantee it.  They would color pictures, sing songs, and at the end of the day the glare of the world's view of their value would melt away in the sound of their giggles.  We're not just raising girls, we're raising future mothers too.  No matter what they grow up to look like - whether they have model curves or model noses or model waistlines, let's remember this - we're raising the next generation of role models.

If you could do me and mothers everywhere a favor and just sit on that truth (pun intended, of course) then maybe you can gain some perspective of how crazy and massive this whole parenting thing really is.  I'm not here to hate you cause you're pretty or bash on you cause of the choices you've made.  This isn't some call to judgement about why I think you're a terrible person.  It's an invitation.  An invitation to engage more than your looks and your power - an invitation to take a step towards empowering the girls we're raising to someday become leaders and rockers and artists and musicians and scientists and engineers who change the world for the better.

Then maybe we'll see magazine covers of women exposing their brilliance rather than their bodies.  Maybe it's possible.  Maybe you could help.


Emily Pardy

Little Women: 5 Myths About Raising Strong Girls

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Today is International Women's Day! As a mother of three girls, it's important to me to acknowledge days like today, taking a time out to pass on some gratitude for strong women who have forged the path ahead of us and helped paved the way for a more equal future for my daughters.

A lot of my friends, family and readers tend to cringe at the word "Feminism" thinking it is reserved for those with picket signs, narrow agendas, or just those conspiring to rid the world of bras. As a Jesus follower and a Feminist, I'm not interested in any of those things. I'm a strong-willed woman with a passion for knowing and loving Jesus and striving to raise my girls to seek their identity in Christ and know their value full well - equally, uniquely, beautifully. Celebrating women is a great way to encourage this!

There are a lot of moms out there who struggle with this concept, and I invite you to continue struggling! Wrestling with questions and doubts is what makes us seek change and it motivates us to keep learning and praying. I hope that we can encourage one another as mothers to raise our children up in a world that respects differences and welcomes the opportunity to involve the strengths of others.

Here are 5 common myths that many mamas deal with when it comes to raising strong girls, I hope my words offer you a good hug and a high five if you are in the midst of it just like I am!

5 Myths About Raising Strong Girls

1. She needs to be good at things "boys do".
False. The world wants us to believe that particular strengths are gender-based. So maybe your daughter is good at sports, and maybe she's not. Maybe your girl is great at baking cookies, and maybe she hates to help in the kitchen. Not everything is a competition, and your daughter is simply going to have preferences all her own as an individual. While we have hurdles to conquer in getting more girls involved in things like science, engineering, and math, the voice of a strong woman should make a mark in all facets of society.  So, help her grow wherever she plants her feet! Simply ASKING what she likes and why she likes it is a beautiful way to encourage your girl towards discovering her unique gifts and allowing her to use them wherever the road leads.

2. She can't see me as a role model if I'm a stay-at-home mom.
False. If you are home in this season, congratulations. You've chosen an admirable profession for the time being, and it's most likely not forever. Thrive where you are, and use your time and presence with wisdom and gratitude. You are wearing MANY hats right now and have the opportunity to showcase what feminism truly is: freedom to choose what is best for you. If, on the other hand, you are working outside the home in any capacity - you also bear this responsibility. You are no less a mother just as you are no less a woman because of what you do. Share with your daughters why it is important to you to be doing whatever you are doing! Teach her that each person has something worthwhile to contribute and work for.

3. She'll believe she can really be anything she wants.
False. Some parents have this fear that raising a strong girl will give her a skewed view that she's fantastic at everything or deserving of more than the world can actually offer. This belief falls somewhere between believing all women are naive and all women are spoiled - neither of which are accurate. More girls struggle with knowing their true value than from being too vain. If you think you shouldn't nurture your daughter's worth because you're worried about her being too full of herself - stop worrying. For most, the world will take us all down a notch or two when we least expect it. As her parent, limiting your daughter ahead of time only hinders natural progress. Faulting on the side of support, on the other hand, will show her you are there for her whether she succeeds or not.

4. She'll become a bitch.
False. Sorry for the language, but of course you worry about this. Yes, someone in her life will call her that, guaranteed. But, if it's because she is speaking truth, choosing love, or showing kindness, she will be the kind of woman who can withstand the taunt. If you are worried that helping her stand up for equality will turn her into a harsh, snarky, pantsuit-wearing, she-devil then you have probably just watched too many movies from the nineties and you have bought into a stereotype. "Career-minded" is actually not a social death sentence for many successful women, and the world only benefits when women make strides in leadership. A strong girl needs to see equal examples of integrity, respect, and humility from men and women in leading positions. When that's done well she will know that kindness can truly drive action.

5. She'll believe she won't need a man and not get married.
False. Is your goal for your daughter to simply marry her off? I doubt it. If raising a girl with a smart head, a kind heart, and a loving spirit is too intimidating for a particular gent, then by all means let him keep walking. While I pray for the potential sons-in-law I may embrace someday, I know that a husband is not a requirement for what's best for my girls. Every characteristic I possess as a wife I hold on my own as a person first. The fact that I'm married simply allows me to express those same qualities in a way that's unique to my spouse. Marriage is not a safety net to co-parent your daughter in her later years. Remember this when you are playing dress-up or dolls and watching Disney movies. Relationships of all kinds benefit and grow us in extraordinary ways. Your daughter will not be "lesser than" if she doesn't find a spouse and let you plan the wedding of her dreams (which she probably won't let you do anyway, so just let that go!) Help equip her for success regardless of what's in store - teach your daughter about finances, safety, vehicle basics, and household repair tasks, allowing her to thrive beyond gender role constraints. As she develops her worldview, she'll be able to look beyond the complements of a partner, seeking out traits like honesty, integrity, trust, and respect that matter in all relationships.

We don't live in an easy world, but women from every walk of life bring beauty and strength to the diversity around us. A woman's voice benefits everyone - so don't be afraid to use yours! When we speak the truth in love, we break down barriers far greater than gender inequality.

Happy International Women's Day - and many blessings to you and the strong girls in your life!
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