Archive for December, 2013

Committed: The Ties that Bond

with Angella Dykstra

I'm a mom of three, a professional accountant, and an amateur photographer and writer. I am not a marriage expert. But my husband and I take "Til death do us part" seriously, and here I'll be sharing how we keep our marriage strong while we both do that insane work-life juggle.

Check out my Work It, Mom! profile and my blog, Dutch Blitz.

Family Resolutions For The New Year

Categories: children, family, holidays

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I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, and have been pretty vocal in the past about how I think they are dumb. Why rely on a new year to vow to make changes? I’m one who constantly assesses my life and make a commitment for change. After running my first half marathon in September, and reading about someone who runs six miles every day, I committed to upping my running routine. I run three days a week, with the minimum distance being 4 miles. One of those three runs was 6 miles long, and I committed to running six miles for two of those three runs. I told my readers my plan, and that held me accountable to stick to my goal. I’ve been doing that for two months now and I see no signs of it stopping.


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Fun Family Activities In The Winter

Categories: family, family activities, holidays

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Winter is in full force (Blizzards and ice storms and power outages, oh my!), but it doesn’t mean that your family is relegated to watching television or playing on electronics for the next four months. There are many things you can do outdoors, and have fun together while doing them.


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What’s Your Gift Limit For The Holidays?

Categories: children, holidays

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Christmas is only a few days away and while we believe that “Jesus is the reason for the season”, we also buy presents and fill stockings and have a “Santa present” for our kids. We have a chalkboard advent calendar that the kids cross off and a bowl of candy that they can take a piece from each day.

But let’s get back to the presents. It’s my natural inclination to buy my kids so much, because I love them so much, and for many years I thought that they should have a lot of gifts to open on Christmas morning. Then we had a few years where the mix of presents from us and their grandparents (and aunts and uncles) got to be ridiculous. It was a free-for-all and not at all what we want Christmas to be about.


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Where Our Family Christmas Traditions Came From

Categories: children, family, holiday, holidays

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Everyone has Christmas traditions, if they celebrate Christmas. When I married my husband, we discovered that we shared many of the same Christmas traditions, and created a few more of our own that we participate in with our family of five. With the Christmas season in full swing — and our kids at the age where they know what our traditions are, and look forward to them — I thought I’d share our family’s Christmas traditions.


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Fun Ways To Celebrate New Year’s As A Family

Categories: children, family, holidays

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New Year’s Eve is only a few weeks away! I say that with more enthusiasm than I feel, because I’ve never been one to go to big parties and stay up until midnight and blow noisemakers. In fact, I think the last time I stayed up until midnight on New Year’s was December 31, 1999, when (the crazy) people thought the world would end the second it became the year 2000.

That said, I love an excuse to get together with friends and family and celebrate. We usually have an appetizer/movie night with our family of five and have a great time and are in bed long before midnight. This year, both of my husband’s siblings will be here with their families and we’re going to have a bonfire and sled and play games and watch movies and then have a huge sleepover.

There are definitely some fun things to do with your family instead of paying through the nose for a babysitter and staying up past your bedtime:


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When Should Your Kid Get A Cell Phone?

Categories: children

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My oldest child turns eleven this month, and he started sixth grade in September. Our school district is one where there is an elementary school (Kindergarten - fifth grade), a middle school (Grades six through eight), and a high school (Grades nine through twelve). After two years of having all three of my kids at the elementary school, now it’s just the younger two, and my eldest is across town at the middle school.

He takes the bus by choice, as he likes the time with his friends. But there have been days where something comes up and I need to come and get him, and there is one day a week where he walks to our church for youth group after school. Ski season is also about to start, and he likes to go on runs that I don’t, but I hate not being able to reach him (or for him to be able to reach me). It would be great to be able to text him (and he to text me) sometimes, is what I’m saying.


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How To Keep Your Cool During The Holidays

Categories: holidays

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Every November, I’ll take a peek at my December calendar and feel my shoulders clench. The Holiday fairy throws up all over it and it is quite the mess. Christmas parties, school productions, end end-of-the-year activities. Once December actually hits, even more events start popping up and I feel like I’m playing a whack-a-mole game in my attempts to get everything done. It can get a little stressful, is what I’m saying.

All of the hustle and bustle doesn’t have to bring you down. You can (and you will!) get through it alive, and you may even get through it without a meltdown. Here are a few ways to help you keep your cool.


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What Boundaries Do You Set On Screen Time?

Categories: children, discipline

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My husband is not a gamer, and never has been. Many of his friends are, but it’s something he’s never been drawn to. When our kids were wee, he was adamant that they would not become those kids who spent all of their days staring at a video game. I agreed.

A few years ago, we got a Wii, and there are a lot of games that we play as a family. There are also some games the kids play without us, be it on the Wii or the iPad, and I can see how easily it would be for them to blow away all of their free time on Minecraft and other such games that they are drawn to. The thing is, I want them to continue to do well in school and to foster a love of reading and of enjoying the outdoors.

I get the draw to electronics (she says, while typing this post) and we’re in a different era than the one I grew up in. That said, my kids need to learn how to balance online and offline, as that’s the world we’re living in.

Here are a few things we’ve instituted:


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