Family-digital-device-holder

We know that digital devices and screens separate us in our homes more often than they bring us together. This holiday season why not set your family up for success by intentionally investing in products and tools to help you connect to one another rather than tear you further apart.

Fortnite and TikTok may not exactly be furthering our family goals, so let’s purposely purchase things that will actually be beneficial to our family heading into 2021.

Here are 8 tools worth gifting your family this holiday season to bring you closer in 2021 and beyond!

1. Unplug Family Device Holder

Unplug-box-for-digital-devices

What I love about Cade and Birch’s Unplug device holders is that they provide us an intentional place for our screens to live overnight or whenever we want our homes to be screen-free.

Having an intentional (and beautiful) place to store our devices in our home helps our family members routinely unplug. 

Unplug-Technology-Family-Device-Holder

2. Conversation Starters

Togather-Conversation-Starter-Books

In my recent interview on The Boy Mom Podcast, Author Monica Swanson asked me what my favorite product for moms of boys was, and I said “conversation starters” with my current favorite being Togather’s unique sticker gamebooks.

Drivealogue-Family-Communication-Parenting-Tool

Another favorite is Drivealogue because these cards uniquely touch on tougher, yet vital, social conversations and are meant to use in the car while driving your sons and daughters to and fro. These conversation starter packs come in 3 different sets depending on the age of your kids.

3. Invest in a Local Adventure

Changing up our scenery throughout this pandemic has been life-giving to our family. We may not be able to travel far from home right now, but there is definitely a nearby adventure where your family can go refuel, while also supporting a local business during this hard time.

The-Strawberry-Inn-Arizona-Family-Fun

Two of our favorites getaways in Arizona are The Strawberry Inn and The Circle Pines KOA campground in Williams. We like to go where we can spend time quality time outdoors and reconnect as a family. Why not get really crazy and rent an RV with Outdoorsy?

4.  My Parent on Purpose in 2021 Printable Packs

Parent-on-purpose-in-2021-workbook

I created some printable resources to help parents make a plan to raise their children with more confidence, joy, and purpose in 2021 and beyond, despite the challenging circumstances we may be living in! We can’t afford to just wing it when parenting our kids in today’s complicated culture. My products are designed to give you ideas and tangible resources to strengthen yourself, your family, and your kids!

5. Fun Family Games

Left, Center, Right is a staple in our family. Most every holiday, and when we are traveling, we play this simple dice game with whoever is joining us. Forget the chips it comes with and use pennies or quarters to make it more exciting.

Left-Center-Right-Family-Game

My Parent on Purpose Amazon store features several fun family games and products that we enjoy!

6. Personalized Stationery

Personalized-Stationery-Pretty-Paper-Club

Why not invest in personalized stationery or thank you notes for your family members? That way there’s no excuse to write Grandma that loving note of appreciation!

Pretty Paper Club is my favorite local, Mom-owned source for our customized stationery needs!

7. Meaningful Framed Photo Display for your Home

Take the time to get your precious photos off of your phone and into a meaningful display for all to see on a regular basis in your home!

USA-Family-Framed-Map-50-States

Perhaps you want to create a one-of-a-kind 50 states framed map showing where you’ve been or where you’re going around the USA? I am in love with ours!  Thunder Bunny Labs has a map maker tool to easily turn your photos into the shapes of the states.

8. The White Envelope

white-envelope-project

It is far better to give than receive so why not start The White Envelope tradition. This year instead of buying family members material gifts that no one needs, choose to give back to a worthy organization instead. Write a letter to your kids telling them who you chose to donate gifts to this year and put it in a white envelope on your tree to be opened on Christmas. This Christmas we are purchasing sports equipment and giving camp experiences to KAA Kamps.

What organization or group of people could use your support this holiday season?

What are your family favorites that you would add to this list?

* A few of the links I have used are affiliate links which means I may make a few dollars off of your purchase. Please know that I would never recommend anything that I don’t use or believe in myself.

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The implications of our children spending more time on devices during this pandemic are nothing to ignore.

Right now, our sons and daughters may be in front of screens more than ever out of necessity, or desperation. It’s crucial that we, as parents, cultivate conversation and create boundaries in our homes to help protect our sons and daughters from the harmful effects of device dependency during this time.

We cannot stick our heads in the sand and hand over digital devices to our kids without understanding the ramifications of doing so.

Tom Kersting, a nationally renowned psychotherapist, speaker, and author just released his new book Disconnected full of information and tips we need to lead our children well when it comes to technology and addictive devices.

Take the time to listen to my discussion with Tom about his new book and what it is we parents need to know as we enter into this new school year on screens and beyond!

  • Get Amy’s Family Cellphone Contract HERE
  • Get Tom’s Book- Disconnected HERE
  • Listen to Amy’s interview- Intentionally Raising Kids on Devices- on Tom’s Reconnected Parent Podcast HERE
  • Check out Tom’s website HERE

Disconnected-Book

Carney-Family-RV-Trip-Zion

Our family was camping before camping was COVID cool.

Families are jumping in RVs and heading to campgrounds this summer in record numbers.

Six years ago our family spent seven months in an RV journeying around the United States. We needed to stop the chaos that was our everyday life, slow down, and enjoy one another and our lives for a little while.

Isn’t that exactly what the pandemic is making us do right now, whether we like it or not?

No matter if camping is part of your 2020 plan or it’s something you are considering in the future for your family, you will want to get this new book- See you at the Campground.

See-You-At-The-Campground-Book-Review

The Authors Stephanie and Jeremy Puglisi interviewed me about our RV Family Sabbatical on their podcast and when I saw they released another book, I had to check it out!

Whether you’re new to camping or a seasoned pro, See You at the Campground is an awesome resource containing everything you need to know from hiking with infants to navigating RV dealerships to mixing the perfect campfire cocktails. No seriously, anything and everything you want to know about camping is in this book!

Camping-quote-jeremy-puglisi

4 Ways to Choose Your Own Camping Adventure this Summer and Beyond

1. RV Camping Adventures

Are you an RV camper? Would you like to be?

As I said, we lived in this motorhome for nearly seven months of 2014. You don’t have to buy an RV to camp with your family, but it’s definitely not a shabby way to go. If you don’t have an interest in buying, you can certainly rent one on Outdoorsy and try it out for a little while.

Carney-Family-RV-Trip-Zion

#1 RV Rental Marketplace

2. Cabin Camping Adventures

Now that we no longer own an RV, our family camping preference is staying in cabins. To learn more about these types of camping accommodations you can check out my post from the San Diego, California KOA, and the Williams, Arizona KOA. Both locations even have fun alternate accommodations such as safari tents and teepees too!

Williams-Arizona-KOA-Cabin-Camping

3. Tent Camping Adventures

I’m not going to pretend that I am in the least bit a tent camper. I am not. But, the few times I have done it, have been awesome. I can’t imagine doing it with kids, but maybe you have more patience and tolerance than I do!

Havasupai-Falls-Arizona-Camping

4. Glamping Adventures

Lastly, Keith and I love taking “Glamping Getaways” such as this one we did last summer at Autocamp near Yosemite. Getting to stay in a fully equipped Airstream in the middle of the great outdoors is heaven to us.

Autocamp-Yosemite

For your chance to win a signed copy of the book, See You at the Campground, comment which of the 4 Camping Adventurers you are and WHY you need this book!

One winner will be randomly selected on July 28, 2020, and notified by email. Must be a US Resident for shipping purposes.

 

togather-family-fun-game

We want to be close to our family members.

We want our family to be deeply connected.

Yet, we struggle to find the time to be together.

We say we want a close, connected family yet we race around feeding our kids on the run, or we’re too exhausted to gather our people around the table for meals together.

What if I told you one thing that experts say strengthens kids and families the most, is gathering around the table for family dinner? Would that entice you to try and do it more this year?

The one thing our kids need from us, whether they are toddlers or teens, is purposeful time gathered around the family table talking regularly.

I wrote in my book Parent on Purpose, that research links regular family dinners to better academic performance, higher self-esteem and a greater sense of resilience as well as lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy and depression. Read more

It can be difficult to figure out what in the world to buy for our favorite female tweens and teens for Christmas. Here are some of my favorites! These links are Amazon affiliate links.

7 Gift Ideas for Your Tween-Teen Daughter!

1. ALARM CLOCK – $31.99

If you know me, you know I am all about kids using alarm clocks and not smartphones to wake themselves up in the morning! Here’s a great alarm clock for those heavy sleepers of yours!

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE alarm clocks for your kids!

2. ESSENTIAL OIL DIFFUSER 2-PACK – &29.99

My kids use these as nightlights and we diffuse oils when they aren’t feeling well. This is such a great price that you can keep one for yourself and give one as a gift! Want to order quality oils? Check out my Young Living site HERE

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THESE MOOD LIGHT ESSENTIAL OIL DIFFUSERS!

3. SMART LED LIGHTS TO DECORATE BEDROOM – $26.99

My daughter uses these to decorate her bedroom! She does not have them attached to any smart device as they work just fine without.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER DECORATIVE LED LIGHTS!

4. 2020 BUBBLE WRAP CALENDAR – $24.95

My daughter received one of these for a gift last year and she just loves it!

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A BUBBLE WRAP CALENDAR!

5. WET BRUSH- $9.99

Who couldn’t use another Wet Brush? Makes for a perfect stocking stuffer!

CLICK HERE TO BUY A WET BRUSH!

6. BURRITO-TORTILLA BLANKET – $26.99

Have a burrito-tortilla lover in the family? This makes for a perfect gift! Also, comes in Belgian waffle and pizza styles too!

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TORTILLA BLANKET!

7. High Waisted Pattern Leggings – $26.99

I purchased these for myself and love them! Daughter dear has asked several times to borrow them and I purchased a solid pink pair for her as well!

FORGET LULULEMON PRICES! CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THESE BUTTERY LEGGINGS!

What are your Amazon favorite purchases for the female tweens and teens in your life?

 

 

Thank-you-Notes-Teach-Kids-Value-of-Gratitude

No parent sets out to raise an entitled kid, yet it’s happening. Our sons and daughters are growing up in a culture that tells them that they should get what they want when they want it, and they don’t have to do a whole heck of a lot in return either.

Gratitude is the antidote to entitlement; therefore, we must purposely take the time to teach this essential value in our homes by expecting our children to handwrite and send thank you notes.

Thank-you-Notes-Teach-Kids-Value-of-Gratitude

It’s easier to live out the values we say are important to us when we invest in the proper tools to help us. That means if you want your kids to write thank-you notes, then you’re going to need to provide them.

And what better way to do that then to turn to Arizona based Pretty Paper Club to help us express our appreciation and keep connected with loved ones on a regular basis. “Everyone knows the feeling of receiving a letter in the mail from a loved one,” says Pretty Paper Club Owner Natalie Meszaros. “I like to think that your friends and family deserve more than an email or text message now and then.”

kids-need-to-write-thank-you-notes

Take the time and make an effort to teach your kids the importance of sending handwritten thank-you notes by mail.

“I think people mistake writing letters as a chore and sending a text message as more convenient,” says Meszaros. “However, I have found that having a stash of notecards, stamps, and pens handy makes letter writing quite easy.”

5 Reasons Your Kids Should Write Thank You Notes

Pretty Paper Club offers one-time stationery purchases as well as a subscription club sending out unique themed stationery kits on a monthly basis. Meszaros started her company because of her deep love for all things paper. She and her childhood best friend, Julie, wrote thousands of letters to one another as they lived apart from one another before the days of email and cell phones. Sadly, Julie passed away at the age of 33 from breast cancer, but her legacy lives on through Pretty Paper Club. 

Pretty-Paper-Club-Personalized-Stationery

Give the gift of gratitude this holiday season by purchasing personalized stationery or gifting a monthly subscription club membership to someone you love!
Jessica-Lahey-Gift-of-Failure-and-Amy-Carney

We know that strength of character is built by learning through setbacks, mistakes, and miscalculations, so why is it so difficult to allow our kids to experience failure today?

We can thank our child’s school online parent portal app for starters.

As a loving and helpful parent, we open the grade portal to check in on our child’s academic progress, only to see that our son forgot to turn in his homework yesterday, and our daughter bombed her latest math quiz. How are we supposed to react now that this information is in our hands?

Are we really to look at it, shrug our shoulders and go about our normal existence without bringing this knowledge to our child’s attention?

That will never happen because we care about our kids. We care about how our students are doing. And even though we know that our child learning through their mistakes is healthy, we cannot help but communicate with our child, our disappointment in their choices and expect them to do better.

How are we supposed to let our child fail when this portal gives us timely information to help our students better succeed?

The online parent grade portal was never made as a tool to help us embrace failure, but instead, its presence in our lives and on our phones heightens our fear of our child messing up. (We are naturally drawn to the red lines telling us our kids aren’t up to par.)

We can also thank Life360 or the other tracking apps we have on our phones.

Of course, a loving parent would put a tracking app on their child’s phone to keep tabs on their loved one while they’re out navigating the world without us. With it, we’re even able to see how fast our new driver is going since he now takes himself to soccer practice. We set up notifications that tell us when our dear offspring arrives at the field and when they depart as well.

And all the while, we can’t help checking the app throughout the day creating anxiety and stress when we see that our child is not where they’re supposed to be or that they’re driving 9 miles over the speed limit, knowing that they could get pulled over at any moment.

With such ‘helpful’ not helpful parental tools at our fingertips, how are we, as a loving parent, to embrace failure as a gift when we can so quickly help our loved one succeed at every turn instead?

We can start by removing these ‘helpful’ apps from our phone and reading the book The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey, where the author helps parents learn to step back and embrace their children’s setbacks along with their success.

Jessica-Lahey-Quote-Gift-of-Failure

Parents want to raise resourceful, persistent, innovative, and resilient citizens yet, culture has us confused about how to do that, and Lahey’s book is the perfect aide to help us get back on track.

Thanks to modern parenting styles and technology, we are launching kids into adulthood without the proper skills and mindset they need to be successful. If we continue to parent in an overbearing manner, our son or daughter may become ill-equipped to deal with ordinary life experiences or cope with everyday disappointments.

We must decide to step back and allow our children to struggle more because it’s what’s best for them. We must choose to remove the ‘helpful’ apps from our phones and let our sons and daughters fail and make mistakes. Lahey helps us shift our mindset to welcome the errors our child will make as a regular part of growing up.

Jessica-Lahey-Gift-of-Failure-and-Amy-Carney

In The Gift of Failure, Lahey teaches us how to purposely lead our child into discomfort, strengthening their character and resolve. She guides us to understand how to be interested, yet not intrusive. Lahey helps us grasp why we must allow our children chances to step up, try, fail, and try again until they get it right. She also teaches us how to enable our children to survive their failures, earn their triumphs, and expect them to contribute to the family household.

The Gift of Failure has targeted advice for handling homework, report cards, social dynamics, and sports. The book helps parents understand why they need to step back and embrace their children’s setbacks along with their successes so they can thrive and grow into independent, confident adults.

I met Jessica at Mom 2.0 Summit, and she gave me a copy of her book The Gift of Failure to give away to one of my lucky readers! For your chance to win, leave a comment below on why you need her wisdom. One winner will be chosen at random on Oct. 18. Winner must be a resident of the USA for shipping purposes.

Check out my favorite parenting books at my Parent on Purpose Amazon Store!

Grown-&-Flown-Book-Review

As a parent of three sons on the verge of adulthood, one daughter right behind them and one son in middle school, Grown & Flown is one of my favorite websites for all things parenting older kids. Not only have I gained wisdom and insight from this popular online parenting resource, but I have also been blessed to write for G&F as well.

Grown-&-Flown-Founders-Lisa-Heffernan-Mary-Dell-Harrington

Lisa, Mary Dell and I at Mom 2.0 Summit in Austin!

Grown & Flown cofounders, Lisa Heffernan and Mary Dell Harrington, have expanded on the online content from their #1 site for parents of teens and young adults and compiled all of their wisdom for those of us following in their parental footsteps into this beautiful hardback book.

The Dynamic Duo teamed with physicians, psychologists, educators, and writers, to produce this essential guide for building strong relationships with our teens and preparing them to launch into adulthood successfully. I love that both of our books feature a paper airplane on the cover too. Great minds (and great publishers) think alike!

Grown-&-Flown-Book-Review

The book Grown & Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family and Raise Independent Adults is a one-stop resource for parenting teenagers, leading up to- and through- high school and those first years of independence. This 335-page book is packed full of advice and wisdom from professionals and parents who have gone before us. You will want to dig through and take what works for you and leave behind what doesn’t.

The book is organized by topic: family life, mental health, academics, college admissions, separating and letting go, college life, and more. The unique chapter topics make it easy to decide what you want to read, depending on your current parenting stage.

Grown-&-Flown-Book-Review

7 Messages You May Need to Read in the New Book Grown & Flown:

  • Why you may want to trust your teen instead of track them
  • 5 signs you may be overparenting your student
  • How to demonstrate loving support to your student instead
  • Why we want and need, to raise intrinsically motivated students 
  • 15 valuable lessons from a high school teacher
  • Why you may want to rethink the 4-year university path for your child
  • Our parental role in helping our child choose a college

In the book, there is an excellent resource that I am saving for next summer on 50 Questions to Ask Before You go Dorm Shopping. I thought I would buy a Bed-in-A-Bag and call it a day. Apparently not. So, I look forward to digging into this section of the book when it’s time to send our sons off to college next year!

If you are parenting teens or college-aged kids, let me know why Grown & Flown’s new book would be an excellent resource for you. Leave a comment below for your chance to win your very own hardback copy!

Winner will be chosen by random on September 17, 2019. Must be a US resident to win for shipping purposes.

Don’t want to wait? Order your copy at a discount off Amazon HERE!

Want to read my work online at Grown & Flown? Click HERE!

 

 

For-Purpose-Kids-Do-Good-Starter-Kit

Be Kind. Do Good. Make the World Better.

For Purpose Kid’s simple motto is one we should all strive to raise our kids by today. 

How can we habitually make kindness and goodness an authentic part of childhood despite the self-serving culture that we are raising our kids in?

We must decide that it’s important enough to live these important values out regularly. Thanks to the value-based Toolkits from For Purpose Kids, parents now have tangible tools to use to teach younger children important character traits.

It’s a parent’s duty to purposely instill the pertinent lifelong values that will develop children of character who can go into the world and make it a better place.

Michelle-Borba-Values-Quote

Founder Misty Castañeda started imagining how different the world might look if we, as parents, consciously raised kids to be kind and caring, so she created an interactive learning program known as For Purpose Kids.

The For Purpose Kids Toolkits inspire children 5 to 10 to learn about being kind and doing good for people, communities, animals, and the environment through activities, books, and events. Built upon a subscription model for ongoing, interactive learning, the Toolkits engage young kids in meaningful conversations using multicultural characters and stories.

Misty graciously sent our family the Do Good Starter Kit, so my youngest son and I kicked off summer break by opening it up and talking through its contents.

For-Purpose-Kids-Do-Good-Starter-Kit

In our family, we focus on showing kindness and love, so this subscription box fits the values we are already authentically trying to live out.

My son cut out the characters and had the idea to write their names on the tops of them. We were able to read through the descriptions of each character, and he decided that Deepu was his favorite because of his love for animals.

For-Purpose-Kids-Do-Good-Starter-Kit

The journal was our favorite product in the box. Even though you can buy a journal anywhere, this Yoobi one felt special because it was specifically designed to use for our journey in showing kindness. We thought it was a perfect idea to write down our Random Acts of Kindness that we already authentically do in our lives. It will be even more fun now having somewhere we can log all of our fun and kind moments together.

Read my post on For Purpose Kids – Why We Need to Prioritize Serving With Our Kids!

This journal will be a great tool to help my son work on his writing and storytelling skills. He is excited about the journal because it came in this subscription box. If I had pulled out a blank book and said he was going to write in it, I’m sure this opportunity would not feel as fun.

For-Purpose-Kids-Do-Good-Starter-Kit-Yoobi-Journal

For every For Purpose Kids Toolkit purchased, five meals are donated to kids at the Sunnaay Foundation, an organization in New Delhi, India that provides basic education, nourishment, and support for underprivileged children. For Purpose Kids is not affiliated with any non-profit or religious organization, so you can incorporate your personal beliefs and faith alongside what is provided. 

In our family, we added Biblical scripture to further discuss why we live a life of kindness and love to others.

1-John-3:8

For Purpose Kids is offering my readers a 15% discount code until August 31 using ParentonPurpose.

The-Essential-Summer-Calendar-Helps-Parents-Purposely-Plan

Summer fun doesn’t plan itself!

With our busy family schedule, I was thrilled to find The 2019 Essential Summer Vacation Calendar. It’s the perfect tool to help me visually lay out how we are going to spend the kids’ nine weeks of summer break.

When do we have scheduled summer camps or organized activities?

When do we have time to fit in some family adventuring?

What about time away alone as husband and wife?

Do we have pockets of downtime in between organized activities for boredom and free play?

The Essential Calendar- Summer Vacation Edition- is a perfect tool to help anyone who wants to be organized and make memories this June, July, and August.

The-Essential-Summer-Calendar-Helps-Parents-Purposely-Plan

The 2019 Essential Calendar Summer Edition runs from the weeks of Memorial Day through Labor Day. Featuring easy-to-read bold type on lightweight 18″x 24″ sheets, this simple calendar runs $15 and allows you to purposely plan your precious summer season.

9 Ways to Deliberately Design Your Summer

I had so much fun sitting down to colorfully decorate our calendar with what our busy family of seven already has scheduled. It’s perfect to post on the wall for all of our family members to see so no one has to keep asking me when they leave for summer camp or when we’re headed to California. It’s all there for them to see. They can also add anything to the family calendar as well!

Save Your Sanity with a Screen Time Strategy

The Essential Calendar owners, Crystal and Lindsay, are graciously giving away a summer vacation calendar to one of you, my lucky readers! Just comment on this post WHY you need this calendar to help you purposely live out your 2019 summer for your chance to win!

One winner will be randomly selected on June 9! Winner must reside in the United States for shipping purposes.