Families With Grace

Helping Christian moms create homes filled with grace, love & faith

10 Ways to have a family life filled with grace, love and faith

How to create an atmosphere full of grace, love and faith

When I think of the perfect family life, I think of a family happily being together in a serene atmosphere. I envision lots of smiles and smells of homemade dinner wafting through the air. I can just imagine the delighted conversation the parents are having while the kids calmly play together. Everyone is well coiffed and put together.

But, in reality, our family life is different, because life isn’t perfect. Life is messy. You can look around my family and find one child hanging out in a messy bedroom and the other stretched out on the couch watching Minecraft videos on YouTube. My husband and I are working in the home office or scurrying around doing our household chores. The dog adds in his flare of barks for dramatic effect, and dinner is a frozen pizza stuck in the oven.

What we need most in the midst of that chaos is grace. I need grace from my husband and children when I get grumpy because I’m tired and overwhelmed. My kids needs grace from me when they are out of sorts. If everything was perfect, nobody would need grace!

Through the 21 years I’ve spent as a wife and 11-1/2 years I’ve spent as a mom, I’ve learned some things along the journey about how to create a family life filled with more grace, love and faith than irritation, grumpiness and grousing.

1. Pray for grace, love and faith.

Unsurprisingly, the first step of creating a happier family life starts with prayer. I cannot live a life filled with grace, love and faith on my own. Without God’s help, I’d be too irritated and annoyed to be loving and grace-filled. While we remember to pray for so many requests, we overlook this one.

One of my daily prayers is for God to help me be the kind of wife and mom my husband and children need me to be. I don’t believe that He put my husband and me together by accident or gave us the children we have without a reason. If I am called to be a wife and mother, I want to do it how God wants me to do it. I want to be who He created me to be. I can’t do it on my own.

On the days and in the moments when the day is lasting longer than our patience, we need Someone with more strength, grace and patience than we have to help us through.

2. Speak kindly to each other.

The words we speak reflect our hearts. They are so very important. My husband and I learned early on in our marriage to talk kindly to each other. We promised to not be passive aggressive. Instead of nagging and grousing, we ask each other for help and say “please” and “thank you.” Speaking in kindness goes a long way.

We have kept the same attitude with our children. Unless our kids are in danger, we start out kindly asking them to do things. We do our best to not start out with a stern or irritated attitude toward our kids. If that happens for no reason other than our own grumpiness, we also do our best to apologize.

We avoid teasing or making someone feel bad for something they prefer. My husband and I remind our kids often that anyone’s success in our family is a success for the whole family. We have to stick together and support each other — not tear each other down.

Think about whether you’d speak the same way to a complete stranger as you are to your family. I know. That gets to me! Sometimes we are more polite to someone we don’t know than to our family members who we love most. Of course we need to be free to have disagreements with our spouses and discipline our children, but we can still do so with a measure of kindness.

3. Listen to Christian music.

Listening to Christian music might sound like an odd way to improve your family life, but hear me out. Music is powerful. It can shift our moods and thoughts. Christian music can also help us focus on God throughout the busyness of life.

Being cranky with my kids is difficult when I’m humming or singing along to a song about God’s love! So many times I have heard God speak to my heart and been able to truly worship Him best through music. Making it part of our family life just makes sense.

(In fact, I feel so strongly about the importance of the music we listen to that I’ve created a Families with Grace playlist on Spotify and continue to add to it with songs I find inspiring and uplifting.)

4. Guard your family’s time and activities.

Because I’m an introvert who needs downtime to re-energize, I learned early on that I needed to be intentional with my family’s time and activities. I am protective of my time and energy because it’s limited. My chronic health issues impact how much of me there is to go around. I won’t say yes to something that will interfere with my relationship with my kids or my husband. After God, my family is my top priority, and I want to make sure there is enough of me left for them each day. Sometimes that’s easier said than done!

I am also protective of my kids’ time. I tell them that they have their entire lives to be busy. Childhood should be when they have downtime to just play or pursue a hobby for fun. For our family, that means limiting our kids to one ongoing extracurricular activity at a time during the school year. As they get older, that will evolve, but for now it’s what works best for us.

I’m doing my best to teach my children that it’s OK to say no to some things and not do absolutely everything all the time. Because if we are too busy to recharge and we are too overwhelmed by our schedule, then grace and love fly right out the window!

5. Put down electronics.

Pretty early in my motherhood journey, I realized I was more likely to snap at my kids when I was using my phone. While both my husband and I do work-related tasks from our phones, I do my best to limit any other activity on my phone when I’m with my kiddos. I want to be present in the moment with my family instead of caught up in a digital world that really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme.

I’ve also instated a policy when it comes to social media that has improved our family life. If I am on social media and come across a post that upsets me, then I log off of social media. Those feelings have a residual effect that then spills over in my attitude and how I interact with my family.

We also don’t allow electronics at the dinner table (unless we are watching a movie or show together).

6. Maintain a consistent routine or schedule.

I’m naturally predisposed to routines and schedules, because I thrive on them! I know not everyone is schedule-oriented, but having at least some non-negotiable times is a great idea. Schedules allow children (and adults!) to know what to expect when. Schedules also keep everyone sleeping and eating regularly, which helps maintain a happy family life because nobody feels like being full of grace and love when they’re tired and hungry!

My family does well with routines. The simpler a routine is, the easier it is to stick with. And sometimes you need to reassess routines to figure out if something isn’t working and needs to change. Through the years, for example, our bedtime routine has evolved and changed as our children have gotten older.

7. Have fun together!

Having fun looks different for every family based on what you like and enjoy. But its impact is the same: you make memories, have fun and aren’t grumpy. It’s not possible to have fun and be grumpy at the same time! While life isn’t all fun, find time regularly to have fun together as a family.

Figure out some small, everyday sort of things you can do for fun together. We enjoy watching movies, playing games and reading together. Of course we have bigger family fun, too, like trips to the zoo or an amusement park, but it’s the smaller activities with family fun that help our family bond most.

8. Communicate.

In creating a family life filled with grace, love and faith, you’ve got to have good communication. So many problems can be solved with communication. I know my husband can’t read my mind, so I tell him when I’m struggling. (Sometimes he knows based on how I’m acting or reacting!) I’ve learned to do the same thing with my children. If I need a moment alone to sit and read or just be, I tell them rather than assume they’ll figure it out.

My husband and I have learned we have to be intentional about communicating and connecting while raising our kiddos. We also have to be intentional about communicating individually with our kids. Since our kids were smaller, we have had one-on-one playtime. It was the best way to communicate with them. We’d set a timer for 20 or 30 minutes and each take a kiddo to play with one-on-one. When the time was up, we’d switch.

While we still do playtime like that every so often, now we’ve evolved into bedtime talks. Twice a week our 8-year-old gets to stay up with us past our bedtime routine to talk with us or read with us. And three times a week, our 11-year-old gets to do the same thing. We just finished reading through a book about middle school with her and are now reading a book about boys. We have had some great discussions!

9. Praise often!

When my children do something right, I try to praise them for it just like I would discipline them if they had made a bad choice. Everybody feels good to be acknowledged for what they’re doing. So when I see my daughter helping her little brother with something, I praise her. And when I notice my son doing a chore without being asked, I praise him. As a result, I have reinforced good behavior that improves my kids’ confidence as well as our family life.

I do the same with my husband. I tell him I appreciate the things he does around home. It can be as simple as saying, “Thanks for taking out the trash.”

10. Accept your family’s imperfections.

No matter what you do, you are going to fall short because you’re human. Your family is the same way. Your kids will behave badly. Or your husband will get grumpy. You’ll snap at all of them out of frustration. Give yourself and your family some grace. Of course do the best you can, but don’t put pressure on yourself to be perfect. It just isn’t possible.

Instead, show your family what it looks like to learn and grow from your mistakes. Even if you’ve made the same mistake 20 times already, the next time you move forward with something different, celebrate that. Just keep showing up and trying every day. Go back to square one when you have to. Press the reset button on a day after spending a few minutes praying for grace, love and faith. You aren’t on this journey alone!

This post is part of Realigned Motherhood: Juggling the Joys of Motherhood. Be sure to also check out the other posts linked below for more encouragement and tips!

Cultivating Connection in Your Home from Inspired by Family
14 Refreshing Bible Verses For The Struggling Moms from Mindy Jones
Self-Care Tips for Moms from Clothed with Dignity
What I’ve learned from Motherhood and Marriage from Life Notes Encouragement

Mother’s Day craft for kids 3 to 18

Free Mother’s Day craft printables to make gift-giving meaningful and easy for moms and grandmas

Affiliate links are used in this post, if you make a qualifying purchase via my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products and services I use and love. It helps support my blog, so thank you for your support! Read my full disclosure here.

Maybe it’s because my kids are still relatively young, but one of my favorite kind of Mother’s Day gifts to receive are those from the heart. I love when my kids make a Mother’s Day craft for me that includes a bit of sentimental stuff to boot.

Because I’m not a crafty person, my favorite kind of crafts to do with my kids are simple ones that are more content-based than art-based. A few years ago, I did a Mother’s Day craft with my early elementary Sunday School class and it’s one of my favorites.

So, this year I took that idea and expanded on it. I created some free printables for kids to express their feelings for both their moms and grandmas. I broke them down into age groups to best match kids’ skillsets. And I’ve also included a free printable craft that I’ve done with my kids as toddlers and with my son’s entire kindergarten class a couple of years ago. It’s easy and adorable!

All About My Mom worksheets for preschool through 2nd grade

Mother’s Day crafts that have kids thinking about their moms and what she likes as well as what they like about her are my favorites! While some kids are writing up a storm throughout at least parts of this age group, others aren’t as much. My daughter loved writing from the first time she could figure out how to do so. My son, who is a current 2nd grader prefers drawing. So the preschool through 2nd grade All About My Mom worksheet is designed so that kids can do either.

You can totally do this for a group of other kids to give to their moms. But, you could even print it out or pass it along to your husband and let your kiddos do it on their own. I’ve got to be honest that I’m totally going to print these out for my kids just to see what they say. I have one kid in each age group!

There is also a sheet for grandmas designed the exact same way. It makes a great Mother’s Day gift that you can include with a nice card, a photo or even in a picture frame.

All About My Mom worksheets for 3rd through 12th grades

I didn’t want to leave out older kids by any means. I started this worksheet at 3rd grade, but definitely pick whichever one would best for your child and what they like to do as well as their skillset. For this Mother’s Day craft, I went a little deeper and made boxes for the kids to write in.

Yet again, there are versions for both moms and grandmas. Especially with this worksheet, you could easily print it out and let your big kids have a go at it by themselves. While we want them to come up with their own ideas for gifts, sometimes a nudge is OK. After all, you are still going to be surprised by what they write. I can pretty much guarantee it won’t be anything you expected!

I Love You to Pieces craft

And then there is this I Love You to Pieces craft. Along with the All About Mom (or Grandma) worksheet, this works for a card, especially for younger kids. I have done this with my own child when he was a toddler and with his entire kindergarten class. Basically, you print out the sheet, let your kiddo tear up some pieces of construction paper and then use a glue stick to attach the pieces to the heart. Don’t forget to include your child’s name and age as well. It’s a great Mother’s Day craft that moms and grandmas will love!

Picture frames

To kick up these Mother’s Day crafts a notch, go ahead and frame the printouts to make a nice keepsake. I found a few picture frames that would be great for these.

Looking for more Mother’s Day ideas? Check out these posts as well!

Pandemic fatigue and moms

The exhaustion many moms are feeling more than a year later

I can’t speak for all moms, but I can speak for myself. And I can attest that pandemic fatigue is real. Yes, it’s real for everyone. No, I’m not saying any one population has it worse than another. But, I am saying that it is darn hard for moms with kids at home. I am one of them, and, quite frankly, I’m exhausted and weary. Maybe you are, too. Even if not, I promise you know a mom who is. Because we are out there, working every moment of the day to survive and take care of our homes, families, work and more.

What is pandemic fatigue?

Much like it sounds, pandemic fatigue is quite simply being tired of the “new normal” of the pandemic. It’s being tired of wearing masks and socially distancing or isolating. It’s just plain tiredness of anything related to the pandemic.

According to the American Medical Association, symptoms of pandemic fatigue can include feeling tired in spite of sleeping eight hours a night, struggling to have hope or be positive, and feeling ineffective. The problem with all of that is not only poor mental health for those dealing with feelings of pandemic fatigue but also the increased risk of developing bad habits or starting to be lax about taking COVID-19 precautions.

The mental load of pandemic fatigue for moms

Again, I’m not saying that pandemic fatigue is worse for moms than anyone else. But I am saying it is definitely a challenge for moms. Probably from the days of Eve, moms have dealt with exhaustion and burnout. We carry a heavy mental load in the best of times. We are always on alert to dangers to our family. Often, we are responsible for coordinating pretty much everything in our families and households, and it’s exhausting.

I remember waking up in the middle of the night early on in the pandemic thinking of meals I could easily make and what supplies our family needed — really needed — in order to be at home all the time. I worried whether I’d be able to get those supplies. While supplies are more available right now, I still spend time each week (and often each day) taking stock of supplies and making sure I order what we need. For us, if we don’t get something in this week’s grocery pick-up order, then I have to figure out a way to pick it up or have it delivered without going into a store. Otherwise, it just has to wait until the next week’s order.

Then there are the concerns about the pandemic itself. Moms aren’t just thinking about themselves when it comes to COVID-19. We are thinking about and responsible for our children’s health. While I may be more inclined to take a risk on my own, I’m not nearly as inclined to do so for my children. I’m also not inclined to take a risk harm to myself that would mean I wouldn’t be able to care for my children, potentially for the rest of their lives.

We worry about whether our kids are socializing enough or whether they are going to have permanent struggles with anxiety thanks to the pandemic. And we also try to figure out what activities are safe for them to do. We try to balance all the balls, yet, many (most) of us moms feel like balls are falling down all around us and we are tripping over them.

Dealing with work and school

While many of these things don’t seem super overwhelming by themselves, adding in the layers of work and school kick pandemic fatigue up a notch for many moms. When schools closed in March 2020, parents became teachers or at least education facilitators. It was overwhelming.

But, here we are more than a year later, and I’ve been virtual schooling my children ever since then. My life runs by the alarms and reminders set on my phone to make sure my second grader gets to his video calls on time. I spend the rest of the school day helping him with his assignments.

I’m not alone in this. I know other moms who are dealing with the same scenario for a variety of reasons. When my children were younger and home all the time, I didn’t do nearly as much work for a reason. It was hard to find the time. Now, I’m back in the same position, yet my work has increased and its demands haven’t stopped just because my second grader needs assistance reading his assignments or my fifth grader needs art supplies picked up from school stat.

And so we moms do what moms do — we put our children first. I deal with school all day and then switch to my work. I stop in time to make dinner. After the kids are in bed, I do a bit more work some evenings. Over the weekend, I also do work. I spend Saturdays and Sundays catching up on work and chores and everything else. On Mondays it starts all over again.

Yet, I also know I’m fortunate in that I have a flexible job and work schedule. I am blessed to be able to choose to continue virtual schooling my kids for a variety of health reasons. I am grateful for that. Still, I struggle with guilt about whether I’m spending enough fun or downtime with my kids. And, I am also tired. Very tired.

Why pandemic fatigue is so draining

Combining the mental load of pandemic life with the demands on work and child care is a lot. Just like so many other moms, I spend much of my day multi-tasking. Writing this blog post, for example, has been interrupted by or done in conjunction with making lunch, helping my son finish an assignment, keeping track of the time he’s spent doing gym, listening in on my son’s reading call with his teacher, answering a question for my daughter and talking with my husband about what still needs to be done for school and our household this afternoon. And that’s just the past hour. (We won’t even go into what all happened between writing, editing and making graphics.)

Multi-tasking and hopping from one task to another without feeling like we can even complete a thought is exhausting. However, it’s just reality. One little slip-up in the well-oiled machine can be overwhelming and easily become our tipping point for an internal meltdown. Yet, there also isn’t time for melting down or even crying. We have too much to do!

Finding a way through pandemic fatigue

I don’t have the answers to making it through pandemic fatigue. When I dealt with caregiver fatigue in the past when my children were little, I could occasionally go out solo to dinner with a friend or peruse the grocery store on my own. None of those things are possible right now. The last time I ate inside a restaurant was March 10, 2020. I do all shopping online and pick it up. I don’t have an escape, per se.

My 11-year-old daughter told me recently that her room felt a bit like a prison sometimes as she was stuck in it doing schoolwork all day. I certainly can relate to that feeling. Because we are home all the time. Even as introverted homebody, I am still ready to be out of the house. Or at least have that option.

Many times, I’m too busy and tired to think of the things that I miss. I don’t sit around dwelling on missing being at church in person, running into Target or going out to dinner. But sometimes it hits me, and it is difficult.

I know hope is on the horizon a bit with the vaccine. Next week, my husband and I get our second doses, and I’m so thankful for that. However, I also know that pandemic fatigue won’t end just with being vaccinated. My schedule won’t change. We’re close enough to the end of the school year (and really will be once our vaccine is in full effect) that it doesn’t make sense to send our kids back to school in person. We have high hopes they’ll be able to return in person next fall.

I know I still have five weeks left at this pace. And then we’ll be into summer and the summer guilt of wanting to make sure my kids get to do some fun things begins. I’ll yet again figure out how to balance that with getting work done.

Faith in spite of fatigue

This isn’t my first experience with difficult times. It isn’t even my first experience being stuck at home more than usual. But it is definitely my first experience with a pandemic and virtual schooling. I’ve learned through the years and hard times I’ve faced that I’m not going them alone. God is with me every step. He doesn’t abandon me and, thankfully, He doesn’t get fatigued from taking care of me.

I have been blessed by music reminding me of His love. I have struggled throughout much of this pandemic to see His love shown in some people who are supposed to be His followers. And, honestly, it’s left me broken-hearted more than once. God reminds me, though, that He is perfect. More than anything, I want to be seen and understood, and God sees and understands me better than anyone. He knows my struggles and heartache. He knows my fears and worries. My Father gives me strength and patience when mine has long since run out.

I know that He will continue to do so for however long this pandemic lasts. No matter how weary I am or how much pandemic fatigue I feel, God is faithful and good. And that, I know, is the information I need to make it through this time.

10 Things to do when you’re bored

Ideas to keep you having fun when you’re bored out of your mind

Listen, 2020 was rough. We could barely do anything and were probably bored out of our minds — at least I was! So, to prevent that from happening again, I thought of some things you can do when you’re bored to have fun. If you are still stuck at home or just bored, here are some ideas so you don’t make friends with spare shampoo bottles.

Write a novel.

This is for all of you with wayyyy too much time on your hands and who enjoy writing. I’m currently one of these people, and I’m trying for fantasy. Anyway, just to get you started, here are some ways to write your story.

First you need to have a world for your characters. Is there time, and how does it work? Is there racism, is everything equal? Maybe frogs with wings walk people with horns in leashes? Religion? Rules? Law? Make your characters. How do they develop? What are they afraid of, and what do they love?

So much goes into making a book! I suggest that you do some of your own research first, that is always helpful. However, this is a long-term, fun and time-consuming activity for those of you with lots of spare time.

Make a fidget toy.

I don’t know about you guys, but my hands almost always have to be doing something. Fidget toys are something almost everybody has nowadays, so what not make your own? It’s a fun way to pass the time when you’re bored

You can use some string and 3-12 beads. 

Fold the string in half, tying a loop on the fold. You should have two ends of string hanging down. Now take a bead and move the left side of the string through the bead. Feed the right piece of string through the same bead facing the opposite way. Repeat. You should eventually stop, and leave 1-3 inches before tying another loop. Then, you should be able to pull your beads up and down the string.

I honestly find it fun and satisfying. However, you can also use this to keep track of things like how much water you drink or how many holes in one you got in golf. These can be used for many things.

Write a song.

Ok, I’m not the most musical, but if you are, this is pretty self explanatory. Write some kind of song! Just like with writing a novel, you can do some research online about what makes good songs. Then just write about something you’re passionate about or is on your mind.

Start a YouTube channel, blog or podcast.

People use YouTube all the time. You can start your YouTube channel by doing bunches of research or by easily just picking your niche and uploading. It’s totally up to you! For no video appearance, start a podcast and just talk! And finally, you can start a blog if you would rather write.

(Before posting anything online, please talk with your parents and get their permission.)

Clean — hear (..or read) me out!

Cleaning stinks! No one wants to do it, and if you do, I would like to test to see if you are in fact human, or some race of elf. If you are human, then good for you, I guess?  Anyhow, it does always feel good once you get done with it. When you’re bored can be a great time to take on organizing your closet or room that has been driving you nuts.

Tackle THAT!

Everyone has THAT thing they have been meaning to get done. DO IT! Usually whatever it is you’ve been putting off has gotten shoved to the back of your to-do list because you didn’t have time. Now is a great time to do it!

Learn a new skill.

Everyone has something new they can learn! From makeup to how to write those novels I talked about earlier, find something that interests you and learn all about it.

Read your Bible.

With all this time on your hands, what better to do than spend time with the Lord of creation Himself? Take time to really get into God’s Word and study what it says. Look for a devotion book to add to it if you want. Pick out some favorite Bible verses to write out and hang up in your room.

Call your friends.

Mine always have something to say! And you can even video chat and play games together or whatever you guys like to do.

Cry about being bored because you won’t accept any possible ideas, so…

What else do you want me to tell you!?! Come on, when you’re bored you might as well try a new idea that’s way more fun than crying — I promise!

Girls with Grace, a tween blog written by a tween girl, has new posts on Tuesdays two to four times a month. Find out more about Girls with Grace:

White and milk chocolate chip cookie recipe

With two different kinds of chocolate and optional Cadbury eggs, this cookie recipe will satisfy your sweet tooth!

Affiliate links are used in this post. If you make a qualifying purchase via my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products and services I use and love. It helps support my blog, so thank you for your support! Read my full disclosure here

One of my favorite desserts to make — and eat! — is cookies. I’ve shared a couple of family favorite cookie recipes before like my peanut butter cookie recipe and my toffee chip cookie recipe. This white and milk chocolate chip cookie recipe, though, is perfect for springtime. I first made it eight years ago. Then I sort of forgot about it. I made it again this year and I’m trying to not eat my weight in these cookies!

I also LOVE Cadbury eggs. And I know. People either love or loathe them. I’m 100% in the love category. Their creamy goodness makes me happy. I’ve haven’t been as much into the mini, hard-shelled Cadbury eggs, though. But this recipe has changed that. You can totally make the recipe without the Cadbury eggs to enjoy it year-round. However, the Cadbury mini eggs make a nice addition to the cookie. (Pick some up on sale after Easter and toss them in your freezer to enjoy them year-round!)

The other nice thing about this white and milk chocolate chip cookie recipe is that it makes about 8-9 dozen cookies, which is double with a “normal” batch of cookie dough makes. In fact, since I wasn’t feeding a huge crowd, I baked out half the dough and put the other half in a flat gallon size zip-top storage bag in my freezer to bake later.

Dealing with the candy

If you’re going to use the mini Cadbury eggs with the crunchy candy shell, start there. You also opt for another milk or white choclate-ly candy if you find yourself with a lot of something else. Just follow the same steps. (If you’re not using any candy, skip this step and move on to the dough.) The recipe calls for one 10-ounce package, which looks like this:

You need to crush or rough chop the candy. I put it in a zip-top bag and hit it with my rolling pin. You can also use a spoon. My 8-year-old son helped me and quite enjoyed hitting and banging around in the kitchen.

You want the candy in small pieces, but not totally crushed. It should look something like this:

Moving on to the dough

Next, turn your oven on to 350-degrees to preheat. If you’re using candy set it aside for now. It’s time to get the dough going. Start with two sticks (1 cup) of slightly softened butter or margarine. I used butter this time but used margarine before and both work just fine. You want them ever-so-slightly soft like this:

One of the best ways to soften butter is in the microwave in about 30-second increments at about 30-40% power.

Put the softened butter into your mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer if you’re using one. Add in both the white and brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy. I used my stand mixer and started at “stir” until they were combined, then I worked my way up to level 6. After about 2 to 3 minutes, the mixture looked like this:

Next, mix in each egg one at a time and then add the vanilla. Get a second mixing bowl and stir together the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder until they are combined. Slowly add the dry mixture into the wet mixture and let your dough come together until everything is incorporated. It should thicken up and look like this:

Now it’s time to stir in the goodies. I stir in the white chocolate and milk chocolate chips first. Then I add the Cadbury mini egg pieces. If you are using other candy, stir it in last like the Cadbury eggs. If you are using only the chips, then do those. You can add extra white or milk chocolate chips if you’d like. One of my favorite things with this cookie recipe is that it has so many chips that each bite ends up with at least a chip of some sort.

Baking the cookies

Now you’re ready to start baking. I use parchment paper on my cookie sheets because it makes clean-up way easier and the cookies never, ever stick to the pan. I highly recommend it! No matter what, you want to form the dough into approximately 1-inch balls. I used a cookie scoop for mine because it is faster and easier. Place the dough balls on your cookie sheet.

Bake the cookies in your preheated to 350-degree oven for 10 minutes until the edges are slightly browned. Take them out of the oven and cool on the baking sheet for about a minute before transferring them to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Do your best to let them cool enough that they won’t burn your mouth before enjoying them!

Store them in an airtight container. I use gallon-sized zip-top bags. These white and milk chocolate chip cookies stay fresh for about a week.

White and chocolate chip cookie recipe

Servings 8 dozen cookies


  • 1 cup butter or margarine softened
  • 1-1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3-1/2 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 12- oz. package white chocolate chips
  • 1 11.5- oz. package milk chocolate chips
  • 1 10- oz. package Cadbury mini eggs with hard candy shell optional*
  • * You can substitute the Cadbury mini eggs for other white or milk chocolate candy you have more white chocolate chips, more milk chocolate chips or just omit them completely. The recipe is full of yummy flavor even without the adding candy or chocolate chips!


  • Preheat the oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If you're using the Cadbury mini eggs with a hard candy shell (or other candy), put them into a large zip-top bag. Use a rolling pin or spoon to crush the candy into pieces around the size of chocolate chips. (Some bigger pieces are fine if that's what you like.)
  • Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl or with your stand mixer until it is light and fluffy. (It took mine about 2-3 minutes total.)
  • Add in the eggs one at a time and mix well after each.
  • Add in the vanilla and mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Stir until combined.
  • Gradually add the dry mixture into the wet mixture and stir until incorporated.
  • Add the white chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips and prepared candy.
  • Roll the dough into 1-inch balls or use a cookie scoop. Place the dough balls onto a cookie sheet. (I cover mine with parchment paper for easier clean up.)
  • Bake at 350-degrees for about 10 minutes until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let them cool for about 1 minute on the cookie sheet before removing them to a wire rack to cool.
  • Once cooled, store them in an air-tight container or zip-top bag.

Makeup for tweens and teens

Light facial care and makeup tweens and teens will love

Affiliate links are used in this post. If you make a qualifying purchase via my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products and services I use and love. It helps support my blog, so thank you for your support! Read my full disclosure here

I have always been interested in makeup. I would play it as a young kid — and end up looking like a clown. Now that I’m a bit older, I get to look human instead! But I want the makeup to look natural and my skin to be healthy. I know I’m not alone, so I’ve put together a list of makeup for tweens and teens that are reasonable and light. I even included some perfect face care product ideas as well.

When it comes to makeup, you want the right amount. You don’t want too much. Instead, you want to enhance your natural beauty. It’s something we all have! If you’re interested in makeup just because YOU want to wear it, ask for permission from a parent or guardian. I put together lots of options that are great ways to get started with makeup.

None of these are like some of the crazy full coverage, expensive makeup tutorial that I know you have seen online. Whilst in some situations these may be helpful, nobody is actually going to wake up at 5 a.m. every single day to apply primer and foundations 1, 2 and 3, and then add concealer, highlighter, bronzer, blush, eyeshadow, lipstick, etc. There is literally no point, and you don’t need to do all of that! So without further ado, these realistic and practical makeup ideas for tweens and teens to help you use makeup without looking like a clown.

Foundation options

Instead of full-on foundation, other products are great for younger faces. Whilst foundation is nice and all, if you are under age 17, you probably shouldn’t be using high coverage foundations. There are other alternatives though

Tinted moisturizer

Whilst you are still evening out your skin tone, your skin still shows so that you aren’t masking your face. Even better, go for tinted moisturizer with SPF to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

Light concealer

Concealer may be a good option if you only need to cover small blemishes. Pick a shade closest to your skin tone.

My favorite option for concealer is this Neutrogena skin clearing blemish concealer because it also treats pimples to help them go away. Double duty!

Mascara options

Mascara can also be heavy, but fortunately other options are available.

Petroleum Jelly

It doesn’t get much more basic than petroleum jelly, which lengthens your lashes with just a small amount. Keep it around for treating dry skin as well!

Clear Mascara

Clear Mascara doesn’t add any harsh color, and gives a much more natural effect. My favorite is e.l.f. clear brow and lash mascara.

This is my mom’s favorite mascara, though she uses black instead of clear. She’s been using Maybelline Great Lash mascara since before I was born!

Lip color options

Lipstick is intense and not exactly perfect for teens. A few other options can add a bit of color without overpowering your face.

Lip gloss

Lip gloss is nice because it adds a nice shine and, depending on the kind, even some color to your lips.

This L.A. Colors high shine lip gloss comes in clear and 17 other shades.
This Neutrogena lip soother not only offers a shiny tint in three shades but also SPF 20.
This lip gel from NK Makeup comes in three different options to help moisturize and care for your lips. You can buy them in a variety pack of six or packs of six with only one type.
If you’re looking for both tint and clear, check out this super affordable 5-pack of NK Makeup’s lip gel.
Burt’s Bees lip shine is all natural and available in five shades.
This Rimmel Stay Glossy lip gloss has 29 different shades.

Tinted Lip Balm

Tinted lip balm adds color without adding any heaviness. It’s also a great option if you are newer to adding any color and just want to try something light.

This Chapstick Total Hydration is available in at least six shades.
This Covergirl tinted lip balm comes in 10 shades.

Tinted lip oil

Tinted lip oil is great if you want a bit of hydrating gloss, as well as some color.

This Almay lip oil-in-a-stick comes in six shades.
This Burt’s Bees tinted lip oil pen comes in six shades.
The tinted lip oil from e.l.f. comes in two shades.

Other face care and makeup for tweens and teens

Other things you may add to your makeup routine include:

Face cleaning wipes:
Yes to clear skin
Neutrogena oil-free
Dickinson’s with witch hazel and aloe

Moisturizer (unless you use tinted):
Neutrogena oil-free acne moisturizer
Cetaphil daily hydrating oil-free face lotion with hyaluronic acid
Clean & Clear morning burst gel moisturizer for acne-prone skin
Neutrogena soothing clear Tumeric gel moisturizer

Acne cream:
Burt’s Bees spot treatment
Clean & Clear persa-gel-10 spot treatment

Bioré clarifying toner
Neutrogena oil-free acne stress control toner
Dickinson’s Enhanced Witch Hazel Hydrating Toner with Rose Water

Hydrating lip balm:
Aquaphor lip repair ointment (for chapped lips)
Burt’s Bees moisturizing lip balm
Chapstick Total Hydration

Makeup brushes:
Bestope 16-piece makeup brush set
Luxaza 15-piece makeup brush set
Syntus Makeup Brush Set 16 Makeup Brushes, 4 Blender Sponges and 1 Cleaning Pad

Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer
Maybelline Master Bronze Kit
Rimmel Natural Bronzer

Profusion Cosmetics on-the-go blush palette
Covergirl Cheekers
Physicians Formula Happy Booster Glow and Mood Boosting Blush

Eye shadow:
U Can Be eye shadow palette
Revlon Color Stay eye shadow palette
Rimmel Magnif’eyes eye shadow palette

Makeup remover wipes:
Garnier Skin Active

Face masks:
Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Peel Off Face Mask
Yes To Cotton Comforting Paper Mask
Bioré Charcoal warming clay mask for oily skin with natural charcoal

Girls with Grace, a tween blog written by a tween girl, has new posts on Tuesdays two to four times a month. Find out more about Girls with Grace:

When I fail God, He remains faithful

Even though I fail God, He doesn’t fail me! (Plus 10 Bible verses for when we fail God)

A couple of weeks ago, my son had a difficult spelling list. As soon as I saw the list of words on Monday as we worked on assignments, I knew it was going to be rough. My 8-year-old has some additional challenges that make spelling a very difficult subject for him, to say the least.

We worked on those words all week. One day, we sang them. Another day, he wrote them. We played assigned games with them. As we worked on other spelling assignments, we repeated the spelling out loud. I saw my son trying. He did his very best as he took the test. But then his face fell when his grade wasn’t what he wanted it to be.

As a mom, my heart breaks when things like this happens. We moms don’t like for our kids to have struggles and heartache. It hurts us deeply.

I spoke with my son and reminded him that no matter the score on his spelling test that day, I was proud of him. I knew how hard he’d worked. I saw him do his best and that’s all I can ever as of him. His best was enough.

When I fail God

Later, as I was thinking about the day, I thought about all the times God has seen me struggle. I’ve worked on life lessons and done my best and still come up short. I put my faith into practice and then stumble right over it, yet again. In my head, I think of God as a stern Father, unpleased with me.

But, I realized He is like I was with my son. I am His beloved child. He wants what is best for me. My Father wants me to try and to work. He wants me to trust Him when I can’t handle things. However, when I fall short and fail, He doesn’t get upset. His heart aches because He sees my potential. Maybe He has a slight smile because He knows what I’m going to learn from that failure. He doesn’t want to heap on more chastisement. God loves me and supports me every single step of the way.

I’d never have been stern with my son about something I knew he had worked hard on and done his best. How much more is God the same way with us if only we trust Him and relax in the knowledge of what His is doing! He will hold us and comfort us when we fall short. I am so thankful for that.

Bible verses for when we fail

When I feel like I fail God, I not only have this picture in my mind of Him treating me like I do my children when they fail, I also have His Word to remind me that He is ever faithful and true. The following five verses remind us of Who God always is — even when we fail and fall short.

Psalm 73:26 (NIV)

This verse reminds me that I’m human and I’m going to fail, but God will give me His strength if I just trust in Him.

“My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.”

Proverbs 24:16 (NIV)

I love this verse, because it reminds me to keep going, even when I fail God. With Him I have the strength and ability to try and try again.

“For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,
    but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.”

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

This is my all-time favorite Bible verse. I love it for the promise God makes to strengthen and uphold us, even when we do fail. And I love it for the reminder that I don’t need to fear, because I struggle with that.

“So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

Just like I won’t ever give up on my children when they try and fail, never will God give up on us.

“…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 145:14 (NIV)

Even when I get so overwhelmed and off-track that I fall flat on my face, God is right there with me to put me back together.

“The Lord upholds all who fall
    and lifts up all who are bowed down.” — Psalm 145:14 (NIV)

Bible verses to remind us of God’s faithfulness

Going right along with being able to trust that God won’t leave us when we fail, we must also remember God’s faithfulness. Even when I fail God, He remains steadfast and true.

Psalm 119:90 (NIV)

While I am so thankful for God’s faithfulness to me, I am even more so for His faithfulness to my children. And this verse reminds us that God is faithful through ALL generations.

“Your faithfulness continues through all generations;
You established the earth, and it endures.”

Hebrews 10:23 (NIV)

This verse reminds me that I can hold onto hope no matter the situation because God is always faithful. He is even faithful when He says “no” to what I ask, because not for one minute does He leave me!

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He Who promised is faithful.”

Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)

These words come from Moses as he was telling the Israelites that God was going to clear a path for them and bring them through to the Promised Land. While I’m not wandering in the desert facing armies, I am facing battles in my life and trust fully that God will be with me every step of the way until I read the heavenly Promised Land.

“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

God is always faithful and nothing can come between us and His love!

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Lamentations 3:22-24 (NIV)

This verse I picked to end with, because I love the reminder that each day is a new day. God’s love never fails me, even when I fail Him. And even though I might have failed today, tomorrow is a new day when I get to try again!

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

Content © Written Creations, LLC 2023