Summer Reading – The Bed She Made

Your Crazy Mom has a new book out now! Treat yourself to a break from your screaming kids and download The Bed She Made now! This is one of the hottest books to hit the shelves this year!


the bed she madeThe Bed She Made

Reformed bad girl Journey Durant has just received the news that her ex-boyfriend is about to be released from prison. She can’t shake the feeling that her troubled past is coming home with him. The town of Emerson, Georgia has forgiven and forgotten her involvement in the most publicized tragedy in the town’s history but only because of her three year absence, her prominent Southern Baptist family, and her marriage to the closest thing her small town has to a superhero.

Bullets and emotions fly, leaving Journey to realize that no matter what penance she has done for her past, the mistakes of her youth still carry unpaid penalties, and her father’s words reverberate in her mind: Someday you’ll have to lie in the bed you’ve made.




Kids Behavior Reward System – Success or Failure?

A few people have asked if the Kids Behavior Reward System was a success or failure.  So, now that my house is a little more peaceful, I thought I would post a recap.

First of all, the new glorious reward system was a lot harder to stick with than I expected it to be.  This kind of surprised me because when it comes to my kids and my kitchen pantry Im pretty organized and strict.  (Don’t judge me by the rest of my house.)  Once the “newness” of the behavior rewards kicked in, it was really difficult to stay on top of the bead system.  It was also a little difficult to keep track of earning and losing beads when we were out of the house or on vacation.  All in all, it worked pretty well, but I will probably revise the system for next summer.

One of my favorite moments in life came from the Kids Behavior Reward System though.  Let me tell you about the first time we had two little boys lose beads for fighting and miss out on reward day.  Reward day that week was to go to Bruster’s for ice cream.  This is a family (and especially a Mom) favorite.  Bruster’s Ice Cream is simply ridiculously good.  Like, I love it so much I actually looked into buying a franchise.  Anyhoo… it was a big deal that the boys lost out on Bruster’s.  It was much, much worse for me and Dad though.  I finally understand that old saying of so many parents “It hurts me more than it hurts you.”  We want our children to be happy and denying them the best ice cream on the planet and making them watch as their siblings (and their mom) scarfed down waffle cones was almost too much to bear.

As it turns out, it WAS too much to bear for our other three kids.  On the way home, hidden in the back of the minivan, all 3 of the older kids offered licks of their ice cream to the 2 boys that lost out.  One boy fell to temptation, but Big Will sadly shook his head and refused their offers on 3 different occasions.  Mind you, if someone hadn’t slipped up at dinner I probably never would have found out.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t know many adults that have that kind of integrity.  

Dad and I were so proud of him that I actually shed tears.  Real, big, momma-sized tears.  We let him choose one of the big rewards off of the reward board.  Guess what he chose?  Sleepover and Movie Night with Mom while Dad was on duty all night.  MORE BIG, FAT TEARS!  Love that kid…

So, I have to say that even though the Kids Behavior Reward System wasn’t as flawless as I had hoped, it was SPECTACULAR.  Our kids learned some important lessons this summer.  They know better than they ever have that making good decisions will make your life better and that having integrity and a good heart will always be rewarded in this family.
Now, go to Bruster’s and treat yourself to a 3 scoop waffle cone of Graham Central Station.  Tell them Your Crazy Mom sent you.  (Maybe they will give me free ice cream.)

The New and Improved Behavior Reward System


This morning I was awakened to the sound of children emptying the dishwasher and vacuuming the living room. An hour later, I am drinking coffee alone on the porch while they are making their beds.

Balancing a large blended family has never been easy.  It is even more difficult now that we are in a house that is about 1/2 the size of what we need.  But, we’ve always made it work by trying to keep to a schedule and having some sort of “behavior reward system.”  This summer, the system needed to be updated because of Dad’s crazy work schedule and to help save on finances. So far, it’s working brilliantly!  Here’s what I’ve done…

After I pulled an all-nighter putting together the new “behavior reward system,” all five kids woke up to the new system explained in this letter:

 We have a NEW AND IMPROVED BEHAVIOR REWARD SYSTEM!  Here’s how it works…

Each of you have a jar below.  Throughout the day you will have opportunities to earn beads to put in your jar.  Every weekend we will have a REWARD DAY!  You must have earned at least 30 beads throughout the week to get your REWARD.  You must earn your beads AND KEEP THEM!  Yes, you can lose your beads and miss out on REWARD DAY, so let’s not do that!  :)

You automatically CAN earn 6 beads a day!  6 beads multiplied by 7 days is how many, Addy!? :)  42, correct!  You can earn 6 beads a day by following the schedule and taking care of your duties during the day.  Beads will be awarded for:

  • 1 BEAD  in the morning for brushing your teeth, making your bed, and cleaning up your room BEFORE MOM CHECKS YOUR ROOM IN THE MORNING.  This means you will have to work together as a team!  :)
  • 1 BEAD for doing a good job on your morning chores without having to be reminded.
  • 1 BEAD for being quiet during rest time.  You can read, write in your journal, or take a nap!
  • 1 BEAD for getting your schoolwork done quickly and for staying on task!
  • 1 BEAD for doing a good job on your evening chores without having to be reminded.
  • 1 BEAD for brushing your teeth and getting into bed on time!

You may also be rewarded with beads during the day for being kind, being generous, being helpful, or doing extra chores without having to be asked!  Mom and Dad have the power to give beads whenever they want!

You will LOSE beads for:
Not treating others how you want to be treated.
Having the most misplaced stuff in the basket at the end of the day.
… Or doing anything else to be a brat!  :)


Not only do you have the opportunity for a REWARD each week, once you earn 50 beads you will get to choose a BONUS REWARD FROM THE PINS ON THE BOARD!  The REWARDS are going to be awesome and you don’t want to miss out!
YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST KIDS ON THE PLANET!!! I’m so lucky and blessed to be your Mom.
Love you tons,

The jars are super-simple, made from some random Mason jars I had in storage:

The Bonus Reward Tickets can be whatever you want.  The key is to keep them fun, but easy and cheap for Mom & Dad so you can stay consistent with the system! Some of ours are: Out to Lunch with Dad, Redbox DVD Rental, 1 Hour of Uninterrupted Time on the XBox, etc.  You can even download the template I created here:  kid_reward_system_tickets.

Behavior Reward Day will be different each week. I don’t have them all planned out yet and the kids are helping me come up with ideas. I’m letting them help with ideas so they can work toward the reward THEY WANT. Some reward days will be Bruster’s Ice Cream Parlor, the movies, and a backyard campout.

I’ll say it again… the KEY IS CONSISTENCY.  This requires a little work on the part of the parent, but it is well worth the reward!  I can attest to that as I write in peace with my “Maurader’s Map” coffee cup… MISCHIEF MANAGED!  :)

Please drop me a comment if you have any other great ideas!

The Beer Drinking Angel – Other Stuff I Write About

Beer Drinking Angel

In case you are interested, I’ve started a new blog. The Beer Drinking Angel is going to be a lot of my personal life journey. Particularly my struggles with faith and religion. I hope you will stop by and engage over there as well. I will still be writing faithfully about my crazy life day to day on Your Crazy Mom.

Top Ten Things Not To Say to a Mother of Five

Top Ten Your Crazy Mom

There are a lot of “lists” out there detailing sound advice on matters of what not to say to your children or what not to say in a job interview… I’m going to give you a top ten list that could Save. Your. Life.

When you get married, the buzz question from well-meaning family and friends automatically is, “When are you going to have kids?”  When the baby finally comes along, the hype is a little less, but everyone now wants to know the ETA of baby number two.  After your second child, people sometimes ask if you want to have more, but two is an acceptable number of offspring and the masses, generally, leave the issue alone.

But when you have four, five, or more kids – EVERYONE has questions or commentary on the matter.

The Top Ten Things to NEVER Say to a Stressed-Out, Crazy Mom of Five:

10.  “Are they ALL yours?”
Why does it matter if each child attached to my hip was also once attached to my uterus? Must I have stretch marks and a loose cervix for them to all qualify as mine?  This question is particularly tacky in front of my children.  Here’s why: I shouldn’t have to label and distinguish them to you, particularly in their presence.  It makes me… and them uncomfortable.  I feed them, I sing them to sleep, and I am dragging them around the grocery store, suffering your inquisition.  Yes, they are mine.  End of story.

9.  “No wonder you look so insert adjective here (exhausted, stressed, homicidal).”
You are either stupid or very stupid to ask this question.  Because here’s the truth: I am exhausted, stressed, and homicidal a lot of the time.  Don’t be stupid.

8. “You look great for having five kids!”
I’m still trying to figure out if this is a compliment or an insult.  I mean, I look great opposed to what?  Would my current physique be a disappointment if I were merely a mother of two? Urrmm?  My second thought is, of course I look great!  It’s not like I have a whole lot of time to just sit on my butt, right?  There is ONE time that this rule is excusable: If I am in my bikini by a body of water.  If that is the case – bring on the praise!

7.  “You must be really fertile!”
Unless you are my doctor and you are discussing options of shutting my ovaries down permanently, you are never, EVER allowed to compliment or criticize my overly productive reproductive system. Period.

6.  “I hope you’ve had your tubes tied.”
Really?  Don’t ask this unless you want to see how it feels to have your tongue tied.

5.  “You know that is what got you into this mess.”
Not that Daddy tries to hump my leg in public or anything, but we are a very affectionate couple.  Trust me, we don’t need a reminder of the birds and the bees; our birth-control begins with the screaming for pancakes at around 7AM every morning.

4.  “Can you do insert favor here for me?”
No.  The answer is no.  You know why?  Because I have FIVE kids.  I’m resentful every day that I need to take a shower because I don’t have time to afford it.  The last thing I want – or need – is to do something for you.  I’m going to begin using this response – “Sure, if you’ll babysit.”  I’m sure that is a certain cure for neediness.

3.  Here’s the story, of a lovely lady…”
I’ve never heard that joke before.  You’re really funny.  Ha. Ha. Ha.

2.  “Imagine when they all go to college!  Yikes.”
My oldest kid is nine, and currently, my biggest financial fear is how much our health insurance deductible is because our youngest son was apparently born half human-half chimpanzee.  Please don’t remind me that I will have 5 children in college at the same time and that it is probably going to cost both of my kidneys to send them all.  Trust me, I haven’t forgotten.

And last, but unfortunately not least…

1.  “What’s one more?”
I’ll tell you what ONE MORE is.  ONE MORE equals out to somewhere around $216,000 over the next eighteen years, based on recent numbers posted by the ASDA, Expenditures on Children by Families.  This astronomical amount does not even include getting five through college and then sending the ONE MORE baby.  ONE MORE means, now that all five are finally able to wipe their own butts, I’m buying diapers and getting my pillows pooped on at 3AM.  ONE MORE means, now that all five are able to feed themselves, my boobs are utters once again and there are smashed peas slung all over the walls in my kitchen.  ONE MORE means, having a house-full of pre-teens and a terrible two-year old.  People who suggest this ludicrous ONE MORE theory, act as though we may be contemplating adopting another beta fish.

Are we contemplating it?  Not directly.  I’m currently contemplating if there would be enough Xanax in the world for ONE MORE.


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