• SWMO Moms List: Where to find Santa and Christmas lights this season
  • Mercy Urgent Care
  • Give Great Gifts: Gift ideas for HIM
  • Adventures of the A-Team: Does the Elf visit your house?
  • Health Help: Q&A with Mercy Sports Medicine (continued!)
  • Guys Tell All: Looking good! (for a mom…)

SWMO Moms List: Where to find Santa and Christmas lights this season

santa and lights, slider“Santa’s coming!” The Elf may just be one of the all-time best Christmas movies! We love this time of year–time with family, Holiday parties and fun Christmas traditions. For many of us, a trip to see Santa and driving around the area to see Christmas lights are two “must-do” Christmas activities.

While those activities are fun, it can be frustrating driving all around Southwest Missouri to track down Mr.Clause and twinkling lights. We have put our favorites in one easy to read list, just for you, momma!

Where to find Santa:

Just for fun! Download the Santa tracker app where you can track Santa’s progress around the world! There are plenty of free options and you just may be able to get those kiddos into bed early on Christmas Eve if they know Santa is on his way!

If Christmas lights are more your thing, we think these places are great:

Don’t forget to tag us in your Christmas photos using the #swmomommas.  We will be showing off Christmas photos from around SWMO in the next few weeks!

Give Great Gifts: Gift ideas for HIM

ford-christmas-sliderChristmas shopping for the men in your life can be a tad tricky! I must admit, while I love all the guys in my family, they are always the last to be checked off my Christmas list! You can only buy so many (insert favorite sports team here) t-shirts!

fordWhile it might not be in the budget this year to surprise your man with a new car or truck, our sponsors at Les Jacobs Ford can help you out with some pretty cool gift ideas for their current ride! After chatting with Darrin at Les Jacobs Ford, we discovered a few gift options that we think would be great!

  1. Oil changes: While getting your oil changed isn’t exactly a fun outing, it is an important one! Wouldn’t it be great to already have this very important task paid for! A basic oil change at Les Jacobs Ford includes both oil and service and can be done on most vehicles for approximately $40. Want to spend a little more on your man? How about oil changes for a year? I know my husband would be thrilled with this!
  2. Car wash: Gift certificates for car washes make a great stocking stuffer! While they don’t have a car wash at Les Jacobs Ford, you can swing by most local car washes and pick up a few for stockings! (Great girl gift or teen gift idea as well!)
  3. Car Detail: If your man likes a clean car, this is the gift for him! Full details start at $175 and include a deep clean and wax on the exterior of the vehicle and an interior shampoo, steam treatment and lots of elbow grease! If you want to make his car or truck shine like it’s new again–this is the gift you’ve been searching for.
  4. ford-accessoriesAccessories: While you can pick up vehicle accessories at other larger department stores, it is important that you only use accessories that are designed to work with your vehicle–the staff at Les Jacobs Ford can help you with that. A few popular items that they can help you with include spray in bed liners, mud flaps, tool boxes and tires! One trendy accessory that is popular right now are weather tech mats. They are made in America and perfectly fit the areas where you place your feet!

We know men can be tricky to buy for, but this year, no need to run around town trying to decide what to get him. Stop by Les Jacobs Ford and let Darrin and his friendly staff take care of all your car-shopping needs! You can reach them at 1.888.259.3009.
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Adventures of the A-Team: Does the Elf visit your house?

elf-shelf-today-tease-151218_ad4532b5c378f6cdacc1998b8e18de7c-today-inline-largeWhy Elf on the Shelf is not for me:

Hey guys–Mindi here. I have a Christmas confession. I refuse to allow a tiny little visitor at my house during the holiday season. That’s right. The beloved Elf on the Shelf is not invited to my house this Christmas.

Is that too harsh? I’m really not a scrooge at all and love all things Christmas. In fact, don’t tell my kids, but we own an Elf and he even has a name! He has only came out one Christmas season when my oldest daughter was a baby and has never returned.

No judgment for all your elf crazed mommas! I know my kids would LOVE it, but for me, the elf can stay in the box in the back of my closet. And here is why:

  1.  TIME! Between, Thanksgiving, Christmas and 3 of the 4 of us having birthdays between November 24-December 24, I am not interested in adding one more item on my to-do list. Momma is tired!
  2. I’m scared of commitment. I have a 5 year-old and 2 year-old and they remember EVERYTHING! If I dust off our elf and he stops by for a visit, even just for one year, they WILL remember and be upset if he doesn’t reappear next year. I’m just not sure I’m ready to commit to another holiday tradition that requires me to sneak around my house every night in December.
  3. My kids need to be good, because, well, it is the right thing to do. Don’t get me wrong, Santa still visits our house every year, but my prayer is that my kids learn to act and behave properly because it is the right thing to do, not because an elf may report back to Santa. I have been known to say, “Santa is watching you” from time to time, but I try my hardest to avoid that idea if I can! At the end of the day, I want my kids to know the only person watching them 24/7 is Jesus!

While I enjoy seeing all the fun ideas on Pinterest and Facebook, for me, Elf on the Shelf is a holiday tradition I am ok to skip. For you elf-loving mommas, more power to you! I respect your creativity!

Why my girls love Elf on the Shelf:

Hey guys–Kelli here. We LOVE Elf on the Shelf. Although I do understand why Mindi feels the way she does about the Elf I have a few different thoughts about the Elf.

Even though it does take a lot of time and yes, I do forget to move “Sparkle” the Elf on occasion even when they have been good, and it does take quite a bit of creativity.

Here are some reason’s why we love the Elf on the Shelf:fullsizerender1

  1. It’s all about the memories! I love creating fun and new memories for my girls. One day they will be grown and out of the house creating new memories with their families. They can then tell their children how much fun they had when “Sparkle” the Elf would arrive, and all the crazy places she would hide.
  2. fullsizerenderIt keeps the magic alive! Yes, Christmas is first and foremost about Jesus hands down. We always put Him first at our home, and my kids are well aware of the true meaning of Christmas. With that being said, isn’t it awesome seeing the magic in your child’s eyes when they run out and see what Santa has brought them. Nothing is sweeter than seeing your child’s face light up with pure joy. I want to hold on to that look for as long as I possibly can and the Elf helps us do that.
  3. It’s just fun! In some respects, I start to feel like a kid again. I love thinking of new ways to hide “Sparkle” and surprise the girls with her mischievous ways. They will talk about her all day and think of new ways she will come back to surprise them.

I seriously dread the day my girls stop believing in Santa, but I think they actually might be more disappointed to find out about “Sparkle.” So for now we are going to keep the Elf on the Shelf “watching” us and telling Santa how the girls have been. Even though The Elf on the Shelf gives me late night panic attacks when I forgot to move her. We really do truly enjoy it. It helps us hang onto the the magic of Christmas and see that “sparkle” in their eye all season long.

So what about you? Will an Elf make his stop at your house this holiday season?

Sunday Devotion: The gift your kids will love

9 I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing to You among the nations. ~ Psalm 57:9 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

If you’re racking your brain trying to think of a good present for that special child in your life, let Brother John help you out here. Buy a vintage Califone record player. You had a record player when you were a child, didn’t you? Did you like it? No, of course not… you LOVED it! So, why haven’t you bought your child one already?

CalifoneYou may be wondering what a “Califone” is. The Califone company made those sturdy, grey, “industrial” phonographs like the one your schoolteacher used when you were in the 2nd grade. They are great for children to play with because they were made to last; the ones that I have owned were made in the 1960’s and 1970’s and still work as well as they did the day they were manufactured.

Surprisingly, you can buy a second-hand Califone pretty inexpensively if you keep your eyes open. This past week I bought a Model #1035AV off of Ebay for $25.50 (plus $25.00 postage.) My goodness, can you even take your family to the movies for $50.50? Imagine my amazement (and joy) when the UPS delivered my newest Califone and I discovered that it was brand-new! (Evidently a school in Minnesota bought a record player 35 years ago, and for some reason it sat in a closet all that time without anybody using it.) Christmas surely IS the season for miracles….

(A caveat here: Whatever you do, don’t buy your kids one of the portable record players that companies manufacture now. They are made out of dog-hair and molasses elvis recordand will break before your kids get the rest of their presents opened. Then they will never get to hear Elvis sing, “Rock-a-Hula Baby.” But, I digress….)

Anyway, if you buy your children a Califone, I think you’re going to be very surprised. You’ve introduced them to a very engaging and inexpensive hobby that will keep them busy for years to come. Thrift stores (that support ministries) always have stacks and stacks of records to look through, and many of them sell for one dollar (or even less).

There are so many good things about Califone phonographs. But the best thing about them is that they are portable. They are little suitcases (of music and joy) that children can carry with them wherever they go. And wherever they go, people smile and feel kind of happy.

I think there probably would be more happiness in the world today if more people had phonographs. Or maybe we just need more Christians to spread happiness like a Califone! :-)

Note from the mamas: The Rockwood kids have a Califone record player and they LOVE it. It’s fun for kids (and parents) to find old records to add to the collection.

rp_john-l-cash-212x300.jpgDr. John L. Cash has spent the last 30 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher’s son said that Bro. John should get a tattoo of a Califone.) Their kids include Spencer (age 24), his wife Madeline (age 24), and Seth (age 21). You can send him a note at brotherjohn@ilovechurchcamp.com .

Health Help: Q&A with Mercy Sports Medicine (continued!)

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mercy-sports-medicineLast week, we introduced ya’ll to Mr. Jim Raynor with Mercy Sports Medicine He answered a few of our questions, but in true “mom fashion” we have more questions! =) To read last weeks post about everything from football safety to the history of Mercy Sports Medicine, click here.

We asked readers to let us know what they would ask a sports medicine provider if they had the opportunity to ask them about sports safety. Here are a few of your questions!

Moms ask: I have two sons and for convenience, we have allowed my younger son to play with older kids on my first son’s sports team. Does this put my youngest son at an increased risk for injury?

Answer: To answer your question with a question, is your second son physically and emotionally on par with the older kids?  The answer to that question could be much different from “is his skill level the same.”

Moms ask: How much is too much for my elementary aged child? How many nights a week should a child be participating in sports?

baseball-1534338_960_720Answer: Too much?  Every child has a threshold.  The difficulty that most parents have is identifying how much their child should participate.  In the medical field we can’t talk from both sides of our mouths saying we have an inactivity and obesity problem and also we have kids that have too much activity.  We would encourage all parents to be observant of their kids desire to participate in their activities.

The number one indicator to watch for is enjoyment.  But joy is very dependent on the individual.  What gives your child joy during their athletics?  Being a part of the team?  Competition?  Friends?  Winning?  Making their first goal?  Starting? Etc….  If your child is not having fun and/or you find your family centering all of its planning around a sports schedule year round, a family discussion is warranted and priorities should be identified.  Sometimes the toll of too much sports participation is felt by the parents and other members of the family rather than the athlete

Moms ask: My child is very active and I sometimes worry he is not getting enough calories or nutritional food. Any advice?

Answer: To keep it as simple as possible, nutrition will be the most difficult aspect of your child’s development over the years.  There are constraints on time, financial, and understanding of good meal planning.  A simple rule of thumb that we provide to families is to minimize fast food (not eliminate), minimize pre-packaged, pre-sweetened,  pre-flavored, and pre-colored food.  If you are concerned that your child is not getting enough calories, chocolate milk is a great addition to their daily caloric intake.

Our thanks again to Jim for helping us out! If you would like to make an appointment with the Mercy Sports Medicine, you can reach out to them directly by calling 417.820.5010. They are located at 4331 S. Fremont in Springfield.Mercy kids logo