We thank you for taking the time to visit our blog.

My husband and I are a young, growing, Christian, military family. My husband is a Captain in The United States Marine Corps. I am a former Elementary school teacher. We are first time parents to a beautiful little two year old boy, with twin boys on the way! I am a stay at home Marine wife, who loves to bake, cook, sew and craft! I enjoy being a Domestic Engineer. The purpose of this blog is to document the story of our life and adventures as they take place.

We are honored to be serving our country and ask for prayer in our upcoming adventures. We have been blessed tremendously, and thank God everyday for all he has given us!




Thursday, December 15, 2011

Coffee Talk & Christmas KiDs

Today, I finally sent out my last Christmas card. I am so glad to have them done and another check on my Christmas To-Do List!

Later, in the morning, Robbie and I met my girlfriend Amanda and her little sweet pea Paige for a Coffee play date. The coffee for us Mamas that is! :) My other sweet friend Vanessa was going to join us with her precious little boys Jacob and Luke, but something came up.We missed you Nessa! I ALWAYS enjoy our play dates with these two wonderful ladies and their sweet babies! Good conversation, GREAT Friends and super yummy coffee, thanks for the play date Amanda and Miss Paige!

Speaking of children,the holidays are coming! We all know what that means . . . The Christmas decorations  are popping up everywhere, on the tree, on the house, at the stores. Holiday music is playing in stores. People are planning turkey dinners. Families will be traveling to visit family and friends. Parents may be stressing out just a little! And kids, well the kiddos are beside themselves with excitement and joy!!!

The last thing anyone wants to deal with is a unruly child. When I look back to my teaching days, I can remember dealing with a classroom full of 30 second graders. Taking them on holiday field trips, planning and putting on the annual Christmas pageant and so on. It was always 30 of them against one of me!! You know what? It always worked out, and it is because of these helpful little tips from Emily Post.

 Your Child's 5 Step Manners Makeover For The Holidays

"Parents ask me, “What can we do? The kids are wild, and we’ve left table manners by the wayside. Is it too late?” No, it’s not too late to spruce up the manners you want your children to know before the craziness sets in. You can help them by sharing a five-step manners makeover before Thanksgiving and Christmas. " Emily Post

Each step is designed to be a “spruce up the manners” lesson.

Step 1: Table Manners
Practice setting a simple table setting: fork on the left, knife and spoon on the right (knife next to the plate), glass on the right above the knife and spoon. (The kids can help with the table decorations – make holiday place cards, ask the kids to make up a seating plan, create a special holiday centerpiece – not so high you can’t see over it!)

Then review the basics and practice, practice, practice:

1.Wash up.

2.Napkin in lap.

3.Wait until all are served or the hostess begins to eat.

4.Please and thank you.

5.Hold utensils properly.

6.Chew with your mouth closed.

7.Offer to help clear.

8.Thank you to the cook!

Step 2: Table Conversation
The art of dining includes several things: the table setting which brings order and beauty, the menu which delights the taste buds, and the conversation that brightens the day! The following tips will help your children learn the art of table conversation.

•Talk to people on both sides of you and across the table.

•Volume: Not too loud; not too soft.

•Don’t talk with your mouth full! (If it’s a problem, try putting a mirror in front of your child during a meal, so she can see how it looks.)

•The art of small talk: Suggest topics like the weather, sports, local events, school and then practice. Avoid questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” Instead use who, what, where, when, and how. Here are some practice questions. Help your kids make up their own:

◦“What did you think of the ball game last night?”

◦“What was the sledding like after that snow storm?”

◦“I heard you won the state spelling bee last week! That is so cool…What comes next?”

◦“Mom says you went to Spain last summer. Can you tell me about it?”

•Avoid talking about personal family issues.

Practice at each meal this week. Who knows? Maybe you’ll learn something about your children you didn’t know. And, better yet, maybe they’ll learn something about you!

Step 3: Gifts You Don’t Wrap
We all love to wrap gifts, but some of the things we can give at the holidays can’t be wrapped.

By spending an hour with your children and talking about this concept, you will raise their consciousness about these special gifts.



•Helping out

Preparing for company


Helping with shopping

Cleaning the house

As part of the discussion you have with your kids, create a list of these special gifts that they would like to give. Include the “gift” and who it’s for, when and how they’ll give it, and how they think it will be received.

Step 4: Greetings and Handshakes
Greetings and handshakes are social skills...

...and like every skill it takes practice to get them right and to feel comfortable using them. Also, it’s much easier to learn and practice with someone you know well so try out that greeting and handshake in familiar settings with friends and family.

Let me say it again! Practice with siblings, neighbors, and dolls and stuffed animals – every day!


Look them in the eye and SMILE!

Speak clearly

Say the person’s name

Add a “Glad to see you” or “How’s it going?”

If it’s a relative or close friend, add a hug.


Right hand to right hand – palm to palm; thumbs up

Firm grip – not too tight; not too limp

Two to three pumps then release

History of handshake: In olden days, knights extended a hand to show it did not hold a weapon and they were approaching as friends not enemies. The other person responded showing he didn’t have a weapon either. The handshake was a gesture of friendship in the olden days and still is today.

Greetings and handshakes are skills that will serve your children well far beyond the holiday season so take this opportunity to be intentional about teaching them. It’s really a gift for them from you!

Step 5: Giving and Receiving Gifts

Gift Giving
In order to help your kids learn the joy of giving make the time to have them participate in gift shopping or making gifts they will give during the holidays. Then practice these interactions:

1.Look at the person and smile.

2.Hand them the gift and say clearly, “This is for you. I hope you like it.” Or “Here, I made this especially for you.” Help your kids with the language of giving.

3.Watch the person open their gift and feel the delight that comes with giving.

Gift Receiving

Remind the kids that when someone has given them a gift, she has spent some time picking it out, wrapping it, writing the card, or maybe even making the gift. It’s important to show your care and respect by opening the gift with a sense of joy and then expressing thanks!

1.Look at the person giving you the gift and smile.

2.Focus on the person and the gift – not something you opened just before.

3.Thank you, thank you, thank you. We don’t express our appreciation enough and you can’t stress it enough with your children! If you can’t thank the giver in person send a note right away!

4.(If they don’t like the gift, teach them to find the positive thing they can say, to say it, and then to say thank you. “This shirt is the best color blue. Thank you so much.”)

Five days; five lessons – with these basics your children will do well during the holidays. They know what’s expected and they have the skills to meet those expectations. They know what they can expect from others. There is a confidence that comes from the knowledge.

Approach this time together positively. Engage your kids in conversation about ways to make things smooth with people they know well and people they are meeting for the first time. You be making the holidays less stressful for yourself and your children.

Happy Holidays from all of us at The Emily Post Institute!

No more than one hour a day. Make it fun. And talk with your kids about manners. Ask them why manners are important and which ones they think make the most sense. Help them understand this isn’t about “rules,” it’s really about how we get along with each other. The goal is to make this a positive experience and then to enjoy the holidays

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