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Purposeful parenting amid a world of sugar, screens and schedules.

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A Beautiful But Eventful Outing and How I Said YES…On Accident

Yesterday was a gorgeous day.  We went to a nearby wildlife refuge with some other homeschooling preschool families.  It was a fun time and a beautiful day full of sunshine and smiles.  But it was also a little crazy.

As I was driving there it occurred to me that I didn’t for sure know where I was going.  One of my downfalls is that I’m so used to knowing how to get everywhere that I sometimes forget to look up the little details and then I make a mistake and get lost.  It doesn’t happen often…which is probably why it happens at all!  I just normally don’t need any help.  It’s at those times though that I wish I had a smart phone.  I have an ipad but need wi-fi to use it. So it doesn’t do me much good on the road.

I remembered seeing signs for the refuge so I decided to just go for it and follow the signs.  It worked for the most part.  I would have been able to get there that way with no problems but it’s kind of a big place and I got a little lost trying to find the exact place I was supposed to meet my friends.  We made it there though!

IMG_0553When we first got there the first thing Big Sis asked to do was climb a tree.  I looked at the tree she was pointing at and said, “It’s not really a climbing tree…there aren’t any branches.  You won’t get very high…but sure.  Go play.”


So I’m talking and taking pictures and then Big Sis says, “Look at me!”  She had climbed using the deep grooves in the bark of this big tree.  She wasn’t super high but she was quite a bit higher than I thought she’d be able to get.  I started walking over there to help her down because I could tell she would need it…and she fell.  She fell hard.  She was fine and there were no visible wounds other than a few scrapes but she didn’t want to walk and spent a lot of time in the double stroller with Little Bear.  Good thing I had it.

But she felt better pretty quickly and by the time we were stopped for lunch she was running around with her friends and climbing more trees.


My friend was just commenting to me how impressed she was that Big Sis had gotten over any fears she may have had and got right back into another tree.  I was agreeing as I heard, “Look Mommy!”


All of the moms sitting there chatting looked up to see Big Sis really high in a big tree and clearly thinking about going higher.  In the picture above the bird feeder is about level with my head so she’s pretty high.  I enthusiastically told her how awesome it was, took her picture, told her not to go any higher, and started talking with her about how whenever we climb UP we need to have a plan about how to get DOWN.  Had she thought about how she was going to get down?  That made her a little nervous.


We checked the visitor center to see if they had a ladder.  They didn’t.  So all the adults circled around where she was and I climbed up as much as I could.  But again, she had climbed a tree without many branches by putting her tiny hands and feet into the grooves of the bark and that was not going to work for me.  So I reached as far as I could and talked her down.  She didn’t have to go too far before I was able to reach her feet and was able to help her climb down by supporting her feet.  Once she was at a safe distance from the ground she did the rest on her own.

She told me next time she wants to get down all by herself.

Next time?

She might give this mama a heart attack….haha

Big Sis thought it was so awesome.  She kept telling me how proud of herself she was and how she wants to do it again.  I admit that her independence and bravery…traits I want her to have….are starting to scare me.  I don’t want my own fears to hold her back so I am going to try to find a balance.  Letting her do things but in ways that are safe.  I haven’t made any set rules yet but I’m thinking no climbing trees unless she asks…and no climbing past a certain point without me right there with her.  At least until she’s older.

Do your kids do risky things like this?  What are your rules?  How do you balance their freedom to challenge themselves, explore the world and try new things…with the fear every mom has for their child’s safety?

Thanks for reading!


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I Said YES To Climbing Trees

I have always been an advocate for tree climbing. But I have always worked with bigger kids. Having little kids is tough. They want to do everything and they are not always ready for those things. But we have one tree that is pretty small and easy to climb…and Big Sis is a cautious kid. So I let her climb as she pleases, even though I am not standing right next to her. If she needs help, she calls for me. Even then I don’t usually help though. I just walk her through it, suggesting where to put her hands and feet. I want her to figure problems out and have confidence in herself rather than just doing things for her. I love the look of pride she gets on her face when she ends up being able to do it herself.

Do you have an I Said YES story to share? Send me your story and a photo and it might be featured in my blog. 

Thanks for reading!

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Lana Said YES to Weeding and a Mud Bath

Lana likes to let her son help in the garden, but usually she only lets him do easy things like watering.  This time she said yes to letting him weed the garden with her.  This was the result:


Whoops 🙂

Then she said yes to a mud bath!  What a lucky kid!


Sometimes saying YES involves casualties…like tiny little carrots mistaken for weeds….or clothes.  I come from a family of hoarders (that’s right Mom and Grandma, I said hoarders! 😉 hehe) and they saved almost all of my old clothes and toys to be passed on to the next generation.  So sometimes I find myself about to say no and stop my kids from taking toys outside or getting their clothes dirty.  But then I remember that kids are meant to play.  Really nice clothes and some special toys should be protected, sure (I just love watching my kids play with my favorite, special toys from childhood.  And it’s so fun to have my girls take 1 year photos in a dress that both my mom and I wore when we were one.)  But otherwise, I think toys should be played with and enjoyed fully and clothes are just things we wear on our bodies as we live our lives…and our lives should be full of dirt and paint and laughter and fun.  I have to remind myself of that sometimes.

Stories like this are so encouraging!  Thanks for sharing Lana!  Way to say YES!

Do you have an I Said YES story to share?  Let me know and you could be the next one featured in my blog.

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I Said YES to Helping in the Kitchen

When I let my kids cook with me, messes are bound to happen.

Kids Helping in the Kitchen

I had my computer up for a recipe and had the brilliant idea of letting Big Sis stir some flour right next to it.

Sometimes more eating and playing gets done than helping.

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chocolate cake batter


“Look mommy, I have a beard!”

But sometimes Big Sis is actually a really big help.  Knives make me super nervous, but when she asked if she could help in the kitchen and all I had for her to do was chop things….

I said YES!  

I got out a butter knife and gave her a pile of mushrooms and asparagus and let her have at it (after a lot of practice we can move up to a sharper knife, but we’ll stick to a butter knife for now!)  She did great.  Some pieces were a LOT larger than other pieces but that’s ok.  Not only did she enjoy doing such a big girl job, it really did help me and save me some time….and she also was more interested in trying her food at dinner time.  Win-win-win!

I Said YES to Letting my Preschooler Help in the Kitchen


Do you have an I Said YES story to share?  Let me know and you could be the next one featured in my blog.

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Jason Said Yes To Climbing a Ladder

While my husband was rigging a rockin’ pulley system in our garage to store things up high, Big Sis got really excited about climbing up the ladder.  Jason said YES and taught her to safely climb up and down the ladder.  Then he climbed up with her and she “helped” him work.  She was so excited and she made it clear to us that she felt like a big girl and felt special to be able to help her daddy.  She was very cautious and liked to show us how safe she could be.  Love that kid!

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Do you have an I Said YES story to share?  Let me know and you could be the next one featured in my blog.

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Jacey Said YES to Playing With Knives ;-)

Jacey writes:

“This past weekend we went camping. The highlight of the weekend, for the kids, was carving sticks with knives. Now, this isn’t the first time that they’ve carved before, but they still need supervision, especially my youngest who is seven. To be perfectly honest, knife carving raises my blood pressure a little. The kids can’t be left alone with the knives… well at least my daughter can’t. My son is getting a lot better.

“There were plenty of times that we had to take the knife away from my daughter and make her take a break because she wasn’t behaving properly with it. That brings me to the whole reason why we let the kids engage in a somewhat dangerous activity. My husband and I want the kids to learn how to take risks, how to learn about danger and to handle it respectfully and responsibly, and to do so in a safe environment where we can help them. It’s also important for us that they learn to be trustworthy, and we learn to trust them.  If we try to shelter our kids all the time, then they won’t be equipped to handle danger and risks as teenagers and adults. Now is the time to teach them, in a safe and supervised way. Instead of sheltering them from knives and telling them they are dangerous, without teaching them how to deal with that danger, we try to embrace it and let them learn. By the third day we didn’t have to take the knife away from my daughter once.

“Along with knife carving, we let the kids go play by the lake by themselves, roast all their own food (maybe that’s a given when camping), and go off on trails around the camping area far out of our sight. It was a great weekend. Interestingly enough, given more freedom, and more responsibility, the kids got along better with each other, fought less and behaved more. It was a great weekend.”

Thanks for sharing your story Jacey!  And way to say YES!



Do you have an I Said YES story to share?  Let me know and you could be the next one featured in my blog.




I Said Yes to Picking Flowers on a Nature Walk

This might be a no-brainer to most of you.  (That’s why I like hearing so many different kinds of I Said YES stories from all of you!)  But as a kid I became somewhat of an environmentalist…passionate about conservation and keeping nature beautiful for years to come.  My mom and I refused to buy gas from places that had been responsible for big oil spills and not done a very good job at cleaning up after themselves.  We spent as much time as possible camping and hiking and hanging out outside.  I would play with sticks and collect rocks and even make little “dams” in the streams, but one thing I almost never did was pick flowers.  I knew that once a flower was picked it would die.  And I wanted them to be there for other people to enjoy.  When I was in high school I was camping with some friends and I actually remember this really sweet guy picking me some wild flowers and instead of taking them and saying thank you and giving him a winning smile, I told him my thoughts on how we should not pick wild flowers.  hehe  I’m lucky I ever got married.  😉


Since then, I have learned to relax on this topic…although I still believe in respecting our surroundings and leaving things for others to enjoy later.  But I want my children to LOVE nature, to enjoy it and truly experience it with all of their senses.  One or two flowers out of a whole bunch of flowers being picked are not going to hurt anything and the joy it brings to my daughters is HUGE.  Not only does she love picking them and enjoying their beauty, but she loves giving them to people and seeing the joy on their faces when they see the pretty flower.

So now I SAY YES when my kids ask to pick some flowers.


I liked THIS article that I found on pinterest and the article that she linked to.  “Leave-no-trace can wait. For now, throw rocks, pick flowers, be wild.”  You can see why it caught my eye.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

I was thinking about it and it’s like buying a child a china tea set and telling them they can only look at it.  Toys are meant to be played with.  This beautiful world was meant to be lived in…to be experienced…to be enjoyed.  I love getting off the trail to find the perfect “thinking spot” by a creek or a cool rock to climb or the perfect swimming hole.  I don’t know that I’d love nature as much if I hadn’t been allowed to explore it and really enjoy it.  That being said, (warning…rabbit trail…) I don’t condone just anything in the name of enjoyment.  If you’re going to drink beer as you float the river (I’ve always questioned the cleverness of this choice…hanging out in a place where there’s a slight chance of drowning and doing it while intoxicated…) I sure hope you make sure to get all of your beer cans out of the water.  And on and on.  You know what I mean 😉  I don’t think this is only applicable to nature, although it might have a more negative affect in nature.  We should just all be respectful and clean up after ourselves and be nice to the things around us.

We veered off the flower picking topic a bit and the I Said YES post (and sort of turned into a Children in Nature post), but the blog post I linked too was related and had gotten me thinking 🙂


Do you have an I Said YES story to share?  Let me know and you could be the next one featured in my blog.