14 Ways to Love Your Wife Like a Girlfriend Again

Ok husbands…can we be real for a moment?  How have you changed since you got married?  Do you still woo your wife with cards, letters, flowers?  Do you still shower her with love and affection?  Or has kids, bills, stress, and life gotten in the way a bit?

We get it!

Well, here at Real Life Families, we believe very strongly in the power of teamwork in families.  And the best way to build a strong family team is to first build a strong marriage team.

Starting February 1st, we are inviting all husbands to join us in a 14-Day Challenge to love your wife like a girlfriend again by bringing some fun and romance back to your marriage in easy, practical ways.  If you’re not sure what that looks like, don’t worry.  Every day leading up to Valentine’s Day, we will send you a short email with a fun idea!

Let’s focus on our wives and build stronger families!




14 Ways to Love Your Husband Like a Boyfriend Again

How different were you to your husband before you got married?  Admit it…weren’t you just a little bit more flirty…easy-going…fun when you were a dating couple?

Well, Real Life Families is all about helping families work as a team and we believe that a strong family team begins with a strong marriage team.  But let’s be REAL for a minute–sometimes our husbands can take a back seat to the craziness of life–taking care of our kids, and the house, and the meals, and the shopping, and the laundry, and the laundry, and the laundry.  Is it just me?  Or do you ever look at your husband at the end of the day and think…”And you are???”

Well, no more (at least not during this 14-day challenge!)  Let’s focus on our man.  Let’s show him a little bit more love and attention.  Let’s take a little time to be more flirty and giddy and agreeable and available!  Let’s take some time to build that marriage team…14 days…14 emails…14 fun and practical ideas are coming soon!





The Giving Box

Using a Giving Box, you can work as a team with your family to teach the beauty of giving to others.  Giving is about love, thoughtfulness, and compassion.  Giving is about understanding that there is a world outside of ourselves that our kids can be a part of helping.  Giving is about God in motion.  We are His hands and feet and so when we teach our kids to give, not only are we modeling teamwork, but we are modeling a calling to give as we are able.

How to use The Giving Box with your family:

  1. Get a box, laundry basket, or large tub or storage bin. Attach a sign that says “The Giving Box.”
  2. Bring your family together and share how blessed that you are as a family to have each other and that people are more important than things.
  3. Let them know that together, as a team/family, you are going to see how many times you can fill The Giving Box with things from around the house.
  4. Choose a local charity where you will be donating your items. Research the charity together so you know how your things are going for the greater good.
  5. Work as a team to go through every closet, every cabinet. Clean out toys, books, clothes, shoes, hats, gloves, coats, pots, pans…everything you own should be gone through!
  6. Keep track of how many times the box is filled and do a family hug each time you’ve filled it.

The Giving Box–what a great way to get rid of things in your home, bless others, and be blessed as you work as a team to give!


Here’s to building better families-


3 Reasons Our Kids Need Routine

Kids need routine.  I’m not talking about planning out every single minute of their day to the point where you rob your kids of all creativity, freedom, or spontaneity.  I’m talking about having a plan that kids can follow during certain times of the day in order to help them be more productive and help your life be less crazy.

During the school year, it is especially important for kids to have routines.  In our home, we have a morning routine, an after-school routine, and a bedtime routine.  We have checklists everywhere to make sure that they know exactly what to do.

Here’s why routine is so important…

  1. Routine creates security:  When we do the same things over and over in the same way, kids feel more secure.  That’s why little ones ask us to read the same books over and over and over and over and over.  I had Brown Bear, Brown Bear memorized because no matter how many times I read it, my kids wanted me to read it again and again.  There is security in familiarity.  Routines help the day become familiar.  And kids become more confident when they know what to expect and when they can predict what comes next.
  2. Routine encourages responsibility:  It is important for kids to know what is expected of them.  Whether it’s chores or homework or what they need to do at bedtime, establishing a routine allows them to take the responsibility for getting the job done.
  3. Routine fosters independence:  It is not our job to do everything for our kids–after all, we do want them to grow up to be self-sufficient, responsible adults.  But it is our job to teach them what to do, how to do it, and then let them go from there.  We want them to eventually be able to do everything without our guidance.  And routine helps.  With a solid routine in place, kids feel more empowered to manage their own time and their own responsibilities.

So, how do you create strong routines in your home?

  • First of all, identify “problem” areas or times of day where your family would benefit from a routine.
  • Write down everything that you would like for your kids to do.
  • Create a short, simple checklist (use pictures for younger kids) to help get their routine in order.
  • Read through the checklist with your kids to check for understanding.  You can also ask them if they have anything to add (this makes them feel important getting to share their thoughts and opinions).
  • In the beginning, have them practice going through the checklist with your guidance.  Remind them to look at their checklist.  “Have you done everything on your after-school checklist?”  Check their “work”.
  • Once they have learned the routine, you can give them some space.  You may need to remind or encourage them every once in a while.  And by the way, it’s OK to let your kids forget things from time to time–there will be natural consequences–especially when it comes to school work.  Or for frequent forgetfulness, you may need to introduce a small, fair consequence to boost that responsibility factor.

Hopefully, with practice, you will be able to watch your secure, responsible, independent children flowing through their routines and checking things off their checklists.  And eventually, you will find that your kids will know their routine so well, they won’t even need the checklists anymore.

And then, maybe…just maybe, you will have more time to just sit back, relax, and enjoy a brownie!  🙂 Ha.

Here’s to building better families-


Back-to-School Prayer for Your Daughter

My daughter starts kindergarten this week and I don’t even want to talk about it.  My heart is breaking to send her out into this world.  It really is.

And every time I say: “But God, I want to keep her at home and protect her from this world forever.  I want never want her to experience a broken heart and I never want her positive, joyful spirit to be crushed.  I want her to do cartwheels, sing songs, and paint pictures just because.  I want her to ask me to “watch this” 50 times a day.  I want her to swing on her tree, play with her stuffed animals, and hold my hand as we walk to the park.  I never want her to be told that she’s not smart enough or pretty enough or good enough.  I never want her to feel rejected or insulted.  I never want her to be exposed to the negativity and hate in this world.  I need her at home with me all day every day and I never, ever, ever, ever want her to be out in this world, OK?”

But God says:  “I understand…but this world needs her.  Trust me.”

But that’s so hard especially when you’re a mama bear wanting to protect her cub, but then I have to remember whose cub she is in the first place.

We have to choose to trust the Lord.  We have to give our children to the One who created them, loves them, and chose them to be exactly where they are in this time and place.

Oh that’s hard.  Deep breaths.

Lord, bless my daughter as she goes into the world each day. Be near her
and help her to be strong. Remind her that in You there is no fear, but
instead there is the power to be confident, loving, and brave. Protect her
feelings and emotions. Help her to make good choices and give her an
assertive voice to share her own opinions and know that they matter. Help
her to be able to stand alone and always do the right thing and encourage
others to do the same. Give her a helpful heart and a kind spirit. Put
positive friends in her path, but also allow her to show love to those who
need You in their lives. Give her a heart to include others and encourage
them. Show her how to use the gifts that You have given her to be all that
You created her to be. Give her a healthy body image and allow her to see
her unique beauty and appreciate how she is wonderfully made. Protect her
each and every day. I know that You love my sweet girl even more than I
do. God, I give her to you. I trust her in Your loving, protective care.
In Jesus’ name…Amen!


A Prayer for My Daughter

Back-to-School Prayer for Your Son

I feel so powerless when my kids are away from me–especially when they are at school.  I worry about their safety (especially in the crazy world we live in).  I worry about their choices, their friends, their feelings.  I worry about if they are showing respect and if they are being respected.  I worry about them being brave to stand up for themselves and being even more brave to stand up for someone else.  I worry that they will focus too much on their appearance or “being cool” and forget that what matters most is what’s in their hearts even though I tell them this 100 times a day.  I worry that they will forget that they have the Creator of the universe living in their hearts and that through Him they have a very special purpose in this world that no one can take away from them.  I worry that words, actions, and attitudes of hate, intolerance, and entitlement will leak into their words, actions and attitudes.  I worry that I haven’t done enough.  Will they remember about showing kindness and love to everyone no matter what they look like?  Will they remember what we’ve taught them, what we’ve practiced, what we’ve encouraged in our home?  Will they take God’s light into this world or will they allow this world to extinguish their light?

Have I done enough?

The worry cycle spins in my mind–round and round like clothes in a dryer, and I feel so dizzy and disoriented trying to sort it all out.  The more I worry…the faster and more blurry everything gets.  AAAAAAAHHHHH!

The bible tells us to worry about nothing and pray and praise God about everything, but that’s sure hard!  But at some point, we have stop the worry cycle–literally turn it off or better yet, just unplug it, and give the entire load to Him.  He will help us sort it, fold it, and put away in His Mighty, Loving Hands.

Breathe in.  Breathe out.  And pray.

Lord, bless my child as he goes into the world each day. Be
near him and help him to feel Your presence. Help him to be
brave and strong and courageous. Help him to feel confident
as he learns new things. Protect him, God, against
discouragement, frustration, and negativity. Guide him in all
he says and does. Give him a very strong conscience to help
him make the right choices, and give him an assertive voice to
share his opinions and know that they matter. Help him to
stand up for what is right even when no one else does. Put
positive friends in his path, but also allow him to show love to
those who need You in their lives. Give him a heart to include
others and encourage them, and show him ways to love, to be
helpful, and to be kind. Guard his heart and his mind against
the bad things that are in this world and show him how to use
the gifts that You have given him to be all that You created
him to be. Protect him each and every day. Be with him
wherever he goes. I know that You love my son even more than
I do. God, I give my son to you. I trust him in Your loving,
protective care. In Jesus’ name…Amen! 


A Prayer for My Son

Stop the Mealtime Madness: How to Get Kids to Eat Anything…and Be Grateful for It

Getting kids to eat can be so frustrating, but don’t let your kids ruin your mealtimes.  Mealtimes are meant to be about eating healthy food, spending time with your family, and being grateful for whatever food is on your plates…period.

  • If you’re thinking…”What is this crazy person talking about?”
  • If mealtimes make you want to pull your hair out.
  • Or if you’ve just plain given up on any sense of peace at mealtime…

Let us help you.  We have three kids who eat anything…who are grateful for their food…and who enjoy spending time together at mealtime.  I know.  It sounds impossible.  And I will have to be honest and say that it wasn’t easy, but it’s been so worth it for our family and it will be so worth it for your family too!

You can have kids who eat anything.  You can have kids who are grateful for whatever is on their plates.  You can have family mealtimes that don’t look like feeding time at the zoo.

We have put all of our methods, strategies, ideas, tips, tricks, and sanity-saving secrets into a free resource for parents. Download this free resource to find:

  • no-nonsense strategies to encourage your kids to eat anything.
  • clever ideas to help your kids choose to eat healthy food and be more grateful.
  • creative ways to enjoy family mealtime together!


BUY IT ON AMAZON (All proceeds goes to Real Life Families)


Stop pulling your hair out and finally enjoy mealtimes together!

Here’s to building better families together…

Family Fun Summer Challenge

Truly, they may drive you crazy–as my kids already are and summer break has only just begun—but taking time to connect with your family and have fun together can make a big difference.  My kids love our “Family Fun Summer Surprises” as we call them.  We write them on our calendar once a week and don’t even tell them anything about them.  We make them wonder what we are going to do and where we are going to go.  Building memories together is what it’s all about and Real Life Families wants to help your family do it too.

Starting June 6th, we will send you a short and sweet email once a week for 10 weeks throughout the summer with a super simple family fun idea to do each week.  That’s it.

Are you ready to connect with your family this summer?

Summer Date Night Challenge

Making time to date your spouse will only make your family stronger.  Why?  Because your kids need to see you and your spouse having fun…connecting…being silly…making each other laugh…and more importantly, making each other a priority.  That means: “We love you, kids, but you’re going to bed early so mommy and daddy can spend some time together WITHOUT YOU!”

Oh I know how hard it is.  Raising kids can suck every ounce of energy and motivation you may have and just simply getting through the day can be something to celebrate.  I get it.  I really do.  But, this summer, Real Life Families would like to invite you to get a little boost of energy and a teeny tiny bit of motivation to date your spouse, and we will make it easy for you.  For the next 10 weeks, we will give you 10 simple date night ideas for you to try and we challenge you to do one idea just once a week.  We know that your marriage will be totally blessed by it!

Join in the date night fun!  It starts June 6th.

Bedtime Sticker Chart–Plus, 4 Tips to Make Bedtime Easier

Sometimes I love bedtimes with my kids–books, snuggles, songs, prayers, hugs, kisses and lights out.  And sometimes I hate bedtimes with my kids.  Why is it that everything seems to hurt…at bedtime?  Why is it that suddenly everyone is dying of thirst…at bedtime?  And why is it that bowels seem to need to move…at bedtime?  AAAAAAHHHHH!  It’s enough to make you scream…JUST GO TO BED ALREADY!!!

I have three children and all three of them have had very different bedtime needs.  My husband and I have had to crack the secret code with each kid to figure out what would be the right combination to not only get each child to bed, but keep in child in bed!

Along with prayer, here are a few tips I’ve learned to help bedtimes be less crazy.  I hope these help you too…

  1.  Have a routine:  This helped each of our children get into a bedtime rhythm.  We try to keep bedtime close to the same time every night too and as early as possible–around 7:00pm or 7:30pm for little ones.  It always helped our kids to know what to expect which brought them security and a flow at bedtime.  After dinner, we clean up the house together, do baths, do some family special time like a quick game or a pillow fight or read a book while we have a little snack.  Then it’s go to the bathroom, brush teeth, and get tucked in bed.  In bed, we do the 4-Bedtime Questions–(if we don’t just do these quickly in the car or while they brush their teeth) which gives our kids a chance to talk about their day.  We rub their backs, sometimes sing a quick song or lullaby, say prayers and light out.  Do we do all of this every night? No.  Do we try? Yes.  And that’s all you can do too.  Try to keep bedtime as consistent as possible.
  2. Slow Down:  I’m right there with you.  At bedtime, you just want your kids to freaking go to bed, but I’ve also learned that they sense that which somehow triggers them to recharge and run around the house like goblins.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had somewhere to go after bedtime and those were always the nights where my kids get bit by the Extra Bug–can I have an extra song? an extra hug? an extra drink of water? an extra blanket? an extra stuffed animal? an extra backrub? When I rush, bedtimes don’t go as well.  Slowing down and connecting has really made a positive difference.  
  3. Find what works:  My oldest needed a sticker chart (download below) to help him learn to go to bed when it was time to go to bed.  He would fight bedtime with all his might until we got him a sticker chart.  Every night that bedtime went well, he got a sticker on his chart and got a special tickle time with daddy.  My daughter had trouble staying in bed all night long.  Sticker charts didn’t interest her, but she loved to be tickled.  So every night that she stayed in her bed all night, she got 200 tickles the next day.  Every child is different.  Find what will work for yours.
  4. Build a positive relationship even before bedtime begins:  Prayer, routine, bedtime questions, sticker charts and even 200 tickles can help with bedtime, but making sure that our kids have our time and love throughout the day can be helpful at bedtime too.  Whether you see it as a time bank or a love tank, kids need to feel full with our love and affection.  If they feel empty at bedtime and we’re trying to rush them through the process, they may act out simply to get our attention–even if it’s negative.  However, if we are intentional about filling our kids up throughout the day with giving hugs or encouraging notes or playing catch or helping them with homework or playing a game or reading a book, they will not feel so depleted when it’s time to close their eyes at night.  In fact, we want them to feel as full of our love as possible at the end of each day.  Investing time into our children will always be worth it!

Even though there may still be many “Whack-a-Mole” nights,  it is my prayer that you will be able to work as a team with your child to crack the bedtime code and discover the right combination for unlocking a beautiful, peaceful, and memorable bedtime for your family!


Bedtime Sticker Chart-Boy

Bedtime Sticker Chart-Boy

Bedtime Sticker Chart-Girl

Bedtime Sticker Chart-Girl