Life of a Real Mom

Unedited Mothering

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God is Love

“God is Love” by the Tabernacle Choir
Notice the love he feels in his near death experience.
Notice the love she felt from God.
This new Christian feels so much love and communicates it throughout his talk.
Abide in My Love by Elder D. Todd Christofferson
The Last Supper shows us of God’s love.

Today – June 8, 2019

You are what you think!

It has been difficult to know what to share with you lately, because I know I lack knowledge. I feel dumb and mistaken often.

I need to gain more knowledge! I have gotten to the point where I really am thirsty for it. The problem is that I didn’t know where to start. I have been reading 5 or more books at a time. Most days I don’t seem to have enough time to be consistent in my quest. BUT I have found a streak of interest that is shedding light on who I am and what I already know.

First, I am reading The Book of Mormon. This is the BEST BOOK I have ever read! Yes, I have read it many times already, but every time I read it – I love it more. HINT: Read it everyday with a pencil in your hand and a prayer in your heart. Write in your copy. Write in your journal. .. and do it every day. You will begin to understand more and more and love it more and more.

Second, I read As a Man Thinketh by James Allen. This book is free on your public library app. WOW! What a combination. I have notes from the impressions I had while reading this book that are making a huge difference in my life. Here are a couple things I learned:

  • Cherish loveliness.
  • The dreamers are the Saviors of the world. Aspire to achieve. To desire is wise and noble.
  • Condemn no one and you will be free. Be temperate, poised, self disciplined and full of faith.

Third, I am reading Steven R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This book is more than just a self-help book. This book is a must. It teaches you how to understand yourself, generate positive energy, and lead your life in the direction that will bring the most meaning to you.

Fourth, I loved the theme of these books so much that I am studying along the same lines, the works of:

  • Dr. Dean Kashiwagi
  • Dennis Parker
  • James Ure and Adam Hailstone
  • Brooke Castillo
  • Jody Moore
  • Charles Zulanas IV
  • Elder D. Todd Christofferson
  • Elder David A. Bednar
  • Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
  • Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf and many more.

Many of these sources touch or even focus on the concept of MIND MANAGEMENT. Did you know that you are constantly thinking? Your thoughts create your feelings and your feelings create your actions, which creates your life. So, to create the future and feelings you want (i.e. happiness) you must learn to control your thoughts. Let’s study this together.

From now on I will catch myself thinking “I am dumb.” This thought creates a discouraged feeling in me. I want to feel hopeful and fulfilled. I will change my story to “I am curious. I learn quickly. I am capable, I am a student of truth.”

Through the drop of knowledge that I have gained in my recent study, this fact is more clear than ever:

Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ LOVE YOU! I love you! Now, love your self. Nurture yourself through the thoughts and stories you tell yourself. As you fill your mind with goodness and truth from others AND YOURSELF, you will be happier.

Start With the End in Mind

I just read this in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” this morning. I paraphrase:

  • Figure out what is most important to you. In other words, what do you want in “The End?”
  • Plan how you will achieve “The End” in your mind and on paper.
  • Work forward with this “End in Mind.”

“The same is true with parenting. If you want to raise responsible, self-disciplined children, you have to keep that end clearly in mind as you interact with your children on a daily basis. You can’t behave toward them in ways that undermine their self-discipline or self-esteem” (Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, p. 106-7).

Teaching Family and Individual Resilience

I’m on the top right with the groovy barrettes.
Look what a courageous faithful couple can become!

My mom and dad are Tony and Lorraine Alldredge. They have raised their eleven children very intentionally. “By their fruits you shall know them,” right? One measurement stick may include that, each of their kids have received at least one college degree/certificate, some have gone beyond a Bachelor’s degree. Out of the 22 of us (children and their spouses) we have:

  • 3 Medical doctors
  • 1 Dentist and 2 dental hygienists
  • 3 Masters degrees
  • 2 PhDs with 3 teaching at universities
  • 1 Certified financial planner
  • 1 Attorney
  • 1 Engineer
  • Music composers and performers
  • Authors and teachers
  • 5 Business owners and many entrepreneurs

How did this (including the 58 grandchildren) happen? Well, it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t by mistake. We know how to “rough it,” because Mom and Dad told us “no” appropriately and we camped often, which taught, among other things, gratitude. We were taught how to take care for ourselves through carefully crafted responsibilities at home that we were held accountable for. We were taught to achieve goals and stick with a difficult task while learning to play musical instruments and more. All these aspects of parenting and more are found in the book my mom wrote, “So, What Can Kids Do in the Summertime.” In my opinion, this book is a mandatory handbook for all parents of young children. CLICK HERE (Only $10 during the 10th anniversary of it being published.)

To learn more about raising resilient children of faith CLICK HERE or watch what Harvard University says:

If you want to raise resilient children, my mom would encourage you to use your time as a parent, including summer vacation which should not be wasted, to “Grow. Learn. Set goals. Make memories.” Do you need a handbook for with practical tips on what and how to teach your kids life skills? Get “So, What Can Kids Do in the Summertime?” and be a courageous parent. Your child doesn’t deserve anything less than the best.

Parenting Tips and Tools

by Lorraine J. Alldredge, mother of eleven successful, happy children. Illustrated by Kristin Shaeffer (me) 🙂

  • Frustrated by bored children watching too much on Netflix?
  • Upset because your kids are spending too much time on video games?
  • Looking for ways to strengthen family ties and teach life lessons to your children?
  • Wondering how to make the most of school vacation without breaking the family budget?

Below are excerpts from Lorraine’s must-have book “So, What Can Kids Do in the Summertime?” (CLICK HERE to buy). Listed below are practical ideas, nearly all of which she has used and enjoyed, for building your family unit through summer learning and fun. 

The most important rule is to do things together regularly – fun and productive things. Teach your children. Don’t give up. Do what works for you. With a little creativity school vacation can be enjoyable and productive for you and for your children.

“If you need to control TV watching and video gaming, and most families do, I recommend that you first make notes on what you watch and analyze what you have found.  Discuss as a family how TV can be good and how it can hurt, paying particular attention to its effects on the youngest children. Next, set a period of abstinence (I have done this), perhaps a week or two. …  (see chapter one of “So, What Can Kids Do in the Summertime?” for details and helps).

“A Summer Goals Program can be a great help to you and your children (and to a caregiver if you are working). With a little preparation, you can use school vacation to teach your children key life skills like cleaning, cooking, sewing, managing money, reading and writing and have them practice and perfect those skills. Home is often the only place young people can learn these skills and working together, even in a modest way, builds your relationship…. (see chapters two to five in “So, What Can Kids Do in the Summertime?” for more).

“One of our daughters, the mother of her own five children, says, “My kids love Summer Goals. They look forward to them. To the children, Summer Goals are not chores – they are a list of fun things to do. We have accomplished so much more during the summer because of them.”

“One of the challenges of school vacation is travel. There are many activities and ideas that can make this time fun and productive, saving money at the same time, including the Alphabet Sign Game, Fruit Loop Necklaces, finger weaving, basic crocheting, and Scavenger Hunt for the Car. Idea boxes, Child Car Organizers, emergency 72-hour kits and a positive attitude also make a big difference. … (see chapter seven of “So, What Can Kids Do in the Summertime?” (CLICK to buy) has detailed instructions for each of these activities and ideas).

Most of all, believe in your family. They can be your greatest joy, your closest friends, and your greatest accomplishment. 

To order your copy of “So, What Can Kids Do in the Summertime?” CLICK HERE 🙂

Baby Language Milestones

Easter Egg Hunt with Mommy


Speech: Baby coos, gurgles, babbles, responds to voice

Signing: May recognize and respond to signs, Babbles and plays with hands, Might make first sign


Speech: Has increased range of vocalizations, Mimics sounds (Lyla does this already at 5 months)

Signing: Recognizes your signs, May make 1-10 or more signs 

12-18 MONTHS

Speech: May say first words, communicate by pointing, can follow simple one step directions

Signing: May make 1-50 or more signs, May begin combining signs into simple sentences

18-24 MONTHS

Speech: May say up to 20+ words, Jabbers incoherently at times, Follows simple instructions

Signing: May make 100+ signs, Combine spoken words with signs, Combine signs into simple sentences, Has increased range of vocalizations

Baby Sign Language

Sarah’s Baby Sign Practice – EMOTIONS

My friend Sarah has taught her 3 young children sign and Spanish while keeping their primary language English. Her middle child is the best talker and singer in my nursery class at church! All three of her littles seem to be ahead of their peers in many ways. It is a handful, but teaching sign language to your children has many benefits. 

Research shows that sign language speeds up speech development, reduces frustration in young children by giving them a means to express themselves before they know how to talk, increases parent-child bonding, and lets babies communicate vital information, such as if they are hurt or hungry. LEARN MORE at Educational Playcare.

She writes: 

“Hi baby signers! Here are the latest videos which should get us all up to date on all the vocab and songs that we did in class.  Please excuse the fact that they aren’t very professional videos (I am technically and logistically limited in many areas) but I wanted you to have something to refer to in your practice at home.  

“Here you go”

“For those of you with babies between 9-12 months that is when they are most ready to be signing back to you and will pick up signs very quickly so sign to your babies, good luck, and have fun. 

“- Hasta Entonces, Sarah”

I love her cheerful articulate caring way of including everyone. I even went to a few of her classes with my granddaughter Lyla. Enjoy Sarah’s instructional videos of many children songs and words, which are HERE. I hope that learning even a few signs with your baby will aid them in communicating with you in order to alleviate frustration and to increase the joyful moments you share with your children. Happy signing!

Sons Need Respect

Have you heard of the book, “Men are from Mars and Women are From Venus?” Sometimes it really does feel like Duncan speaks a completely different language than I do. If understanding the difference between men and women can help our marriages, then it makes sense that understanding the difference between boys and girls would help our parenting. It also makes sense that since sons are little men, then some of the same principles that help us communicate more effectively with our husbands could help us communicate with our sons.

My sister Carol shared this amazing interview with Emerson Eggerichs with me today, which teaches true principles in order to help moms and their sons improve their working relationship. CLICK HERE for “Recognizing Your Sons’s Need for Respect.” It ends up that his ideas come from his study of Love and Respect in the Family. I highly recommend watching one of these videos. I look forward to reading his books.

One golden nugget I gleaned from Emerson Eggerichs so far is that if we find ourselves in conflict with our sons, improved vocabulary may help our sons respond better to our council. Among many suggested, some phrase include:

  • “I am disappointed.”
  • “I am not trying to dis you or dishonor you.”
  • “I don’t respect what you did, but I respect you.”
  • “I sometimes wonder if you believe in yourself as much as I believe in you.”
  • “How are you going to solve this problem?”

Boys need respect and love. Girls need love and respect. I don’t understand this as well as I hope to, but I am glad for the times I have remembered to trust my kids. They are smart, capable, REAL people. They will make mistakes and they need to own them. I try to let them do that. They also own their successes and I am super impressed by the many excellent choices they make. Since our kids are made in the image of God, they deserve respect.


You may have to be old to appreciate this kind of humor, but have you heard of Jeanne Robertson? She is a white-haired Southern comedian who calls her husband “Left Brain” and wears sequins. My mother introduced her to me and I can’t help but share it. CLICK HERE for one of her many hilarious stories. Why do we need to laugh?

According to, “Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.” Is that why sometimes I crave a funny movie? Is that why I love hanging out with my mom, who is funny and thinks I am funny? We can laugh for a long time.

Well, I don’t doubt that for a minute. If we need a good laugh every-once-in-a-while, so do our kids. Here are some ideas to infuse some laughter into your ordinary REAL LIFE day:

  • Have a tickle match.
  • Do something unpredictable, like eat under the table as a family.
  • Play a board game – almost any game will bring laughs.
  • Play charages, hide-and-go-seek, sardines, musical chairs or another old fashioned classic.
  • Don’t be so serious. Look for funny things your kids do and enjoy it. Enjoy them. I need to take all this advice myself!
  • Play a harmless prank. Tell a joke. Use funny words.
  • For more ideas go to “Make-em-laugh.”

My kids are so funny! I know your kids are too. Laugh! Have fun! Breathe easy! God wants us to be happy. Relax and enjoy your real life. <3

Vegetable Rich Recipes

Full of Veggies

I am not vegan or vegetarian, but I have been cutting out dairy and sugar. I also try to eat meat sparingly. You can see that my husband and kids still want milk for their addiction to cold cereal. You can ALSO see my almond milk (that I made) in the jar at the top right next to my green smoothie leftovers that I will enjoy this afternoon for a snack). We have ground beef for, of course, hamburgers this weekend.

I have recently been introduced to Ellen Fisher. What an inspiration! You can go to her site for her recipes. I will share just a few of MY veggie recipes one-at-a-time.


  • whole wheat pita bread
  • seasoned black beans (garlic powder, cumin, and freshly ground pepper for example)
  • alfalfa sprouts or shredded lettuce/cabbage
  • diced tomatoes
  • diced green onions
  • sliced almonds or other nut
  • salad dressing of choice or salsa

Whole Wheat Pita Bread is easy to make!

  • 2 c. warm water
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 T. yeast
  • 5-6 c. whole wheat flour

Dissolve yeast in the water. Add remaining ingredients. Mix all gently. Add flour as needed to gain a tacky but not sticky dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, about four minutes. On a floured surface, cut the dough into 12-15 sections. Roll each section into a ball. Flatten each ball with a rolling pin into a 5 to 6 inch circle, starting from the center and being careful to leave the edges with some body (not pinched with the rolling pin). Place on parchment liners to rest. Cover with a towel.

My rolling pin, which I made with my father-in-law years ago, has a crack in it, but it still does the job.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Bake 3-4 pitas on a stone for 4–6 minutes. Remove to a plastic bag for five minutes, which causes the pitas bubble to deflate but keeps the pocket in tact. ENJOY!

Not perfectly round, but perfectly delicious!

The salad dressing I used today was:

  • 2 T. tahini, 2 T. maple syrup, and 1 T. dijon mustard. YUM!

Other veggie dishes on my menu with the items I currently have in my fridge are:

  • Eggplant Parmesan with marinara sauce
  • Grilled Veggies (bell peppers, parsnips, yams, potatoes) served with a Spinach Salad
  • Vegetarian tacos (with warm corn tortillas refried beans, sautéed veggies, lettuce)
  • Asian noodles and stir-fry
  • Curry, potato and coconut gravy over rice
  • Pasta tossed with stir-fried spring vegetables, oregano and olive oil
  • Bean Burritos

I HIGHLY recommend checking out Ellen Fisher, who has been VEGAN for 9 years while having three healthy babies. She is a great master of how to make vegetables delicious! She also has a youtube channel HERE.

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