Family Rules and Values

Family Rules and Values.jpg

Our kiddos are currently 4.5, 3, and 9 months old. They are an absolute JOY 90% of the time, but if I am being honest (and I think most of you would agree) that other 10% is tough! Parenting is hard yall. This post is a little wordy, but hopefully worth the read as we share our approach toward guiding our children and setting expectations for them.


A quote I heard recently (passed along from a dear friend) says

     “If your eyes ever see, or your ears ever hear the sin, weakness, rebellion or failure of your children, it’s never an imposition. It’s never an interruption. It’s never a hassle. It’s always GRACE. God loves your children; he’s put them in a family of faith, and in relentless grace he will reveal their need to you again and again so that you can be his tool of awareness, conviction, repentance, faith and change. And because in these moments he asks you to forsake your agenda for his, this opportunity of grace isn’t just for your children, it’s for you as well.” – Paul David Tripp

Conviction, right? I often find myself parenting out of frustration, instead of grace (especially during the witching hour!). But this quote reminds me time and time again that in parenting, it should always be grace first. What a HUGE privilege God has given us to love, guide, and teach HIS children. Because the truth is, they are his. He has allowed us to love them and asks us that we first and foremost point them to HIM. Remember we are significant in their lives, but we are not sovereign. (“…for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” -Phil 2:13) And hopefully, he has put you in a community of faith to help you along the way!

It is with this in mind that we try and parent our kiddos. Colossians 3:12 says “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” In our parenting we pray we are teaching our children compassion and kindness, humility and gentleness, and patience…among other things

A few things to keep in mind when you make your own rules or expectations:

  1. Let the kids be involved. This provides ownership.
  2. Keep the rules simple and make sure the kids understand them. Explain what it means to be respectful, obedient, etc.
  3. Your rules should be in line with your family values.
  4. Practice them. Role play goes a LONG way with kids.

When we created our family rules, we all sat together around the table and the kids were a part of making the list. We talked about what was important in how they treated us, each other, and friends. We talked about how Jesus calls us to behave in the bible. It was a group effort and I think that helps with ownership for them. Now, if they are sitting on the steps or on their bed for misbehaving, after discussing what happened we can talk about which rule was broken and give them a way to act/respond better next time. We also talk about the bible verse that corresponds to each verse and then ask for forgiveness, both from God and from whomever we’ve wronged. (And yes I said “we,” sometimes mom has to ask for forgiveness to when she is parenting out of frustration or jumps to conclusions!) 

Here are the verses I use, but you may find some that work better for your family.

  1. Obey your parents: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Ephesians 6:1
  2. Be Kind: “Be kind and compassionate, forgiving each other in love, as your heavenly Father forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
  3. Be Respectful: “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” Luke 6:31
  4. Share with Everyone: “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
  5. Tell the Truth: “The Lord delights in those who tell the truth.” Proverbs 12:22

The second half of the printable are our family values. III and I came up with these a while ago. These 5 values are things we feel are most important to help guide our family and instill in our children. They are great to have around when big decisions are being made. We can refer to them and discuss how the decision we are trying to make impacts our family values…I highly suggest sitting down and coming up with your own set of values. Knowing what is important to your family is a key to success! 

Ours are:

  • Love Jesus
  • Love Others
  • Be Generous
  • Work Hard
  • Enjoy Life

Parenting is tough and the responsibility is a BIG one. I’m thankful for the bible’s guidance, the example we both have in our parents, and our community of faith and friends to support/help us along the way! We are raising the next generation and my prayer is that they exemplify Colossians 3:12.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”  

3 Ingredient Funfetti Cookies

Three Ingredient Funfetti Cookies

Do yall remember when the two ingredient pumpkin cookies were insanely popular? During the fall I think they still are! These funfetti cookies are kind of like that, except there are three ingredients instead of two. For bible study the other night we were having a social gathering and I was looking for a recipe that everyone could enjoy! We have an egg, milk & peanut allergy in our group and so it is important to really watch ingredients. I found a recipe, but it had eggs so I did a little tweaking and these turned out great!

Egg, Dairy, Nut free cookies

All you need is a box of funfetti cake mix, unsweetened applesauce & vegetable oil. (The original recipe called for two eggs, so if you aren’t worried about egg you can use those instead of applesauce.) These best part of the recipe is I already had everything I needed in the pantry so III didn’t have to make a last minute run to the store. 

Three Ingredient Funfetti Cookies
Yields 20
A simple three ingredient funfetti cookies that is dairy, nut & egg free
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Prep Time
4 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
12 min
Prep Time
4 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
12 min
  1. 1 box of Funfetti cake mix
  2. 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (or two eggs)
  3. 1/3 cup oil
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Combine funfetti cake mix, applesauce and oil. Mix until well combined (will be a little thick)
  3. Using a cookie scoop, place 1 in" balls on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
  4. Bake for 8 minutes.
  5. Cool on a cooling rack before adding icing (optional)
Adapted from from Pillsbury
Adapted from from Pillsbury
A Step In The Journey
Funfetti Cookies Recipe

They got a seal of approval from both adults and the kiddos at bible study. So next time you are at the store, grab a box of Funfetti cake mix and keep it in the pantry for when you need a quick, simple, allergy friendly dessert!

Easter Egg Bunnies | Toddler Easter Crafts

Easter Egg Bunnies

There is one day a week I get some special one on one time with my little man (or as he would say…I’m not little I’m BIG). Poppy is with us too, but she is still rocking the morning nap, so it’s usually just the two of us. And while he would probably prefer to be watching Thomas the train, I try and fill this time talking, crafting, learning or playing one on one. This week we crafted. His preschool class is called the “Bunny class,” so he was all about making these little Easter egg bunnies. 

If you would like to craft your own little bunny family, you will need plastic Easter eggs (make sure they are the kind with the two small holes in the top), a pipe cleaner, pom pom, googly eyes, Sharpie, glue & a pouch top. 

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I know the bunny is blurry, but he was so proud. #allthehearteyes

It feel like creating these sweet bunnies is pretty self explanatory, however, I did want to show you how we did the ears. 


It was great fine motor skill practice for Sprout. He poked each end of the pipe cleaner up through the holes on the inside of the Easter egg top. Then I folded each piece back down and twisted it in place to make the ears. 

We used hot glue (with much supervision) to attach the eyes, nose, and base. If your little one is more patient than mine, you could also use basic white glue, however there will be some drying time involved.


He couldn’t make just one….he wanted to make them for Chickadee and Poppy too. So he picked out what he thinks are their favorite colors and went to work. Sweet boy!
Toddler Easter Crafts

I love spending precious time with my boy. Can’t believe he’s almost three. Check out a few more Easter and Spring crafts below!

Poppy! Seven & Eight Months


If you are new to A Step in the Journey, our baby #3 is growing faster than we can imagine. She was 8 months old this week & I love documenting all of her latest growth, milestones & special memories. She has another name, but on the blog we call her Poppy! If you are just here for the crafts and DIY check out this post and this one too!


Giggles & voice practice has abounded these last two months. You continue to grow too quickly for us all and we are doing our best to soak it in. We have been praying that you love BIG like Jesus and as your personality continues to flourish we see the genuine love you have for others blossoming. Don’t ever let go of your Christ-like JOY.


Six to Seven months was a big one for you! For starters you started sitting up on your own. It has given you a whole new perspective of the world (which mostly includes watching your brother and sister play!) and now you feel like you are truly a part of all the fun and craziness that surrounds you. Just after the new year you tried your first bite of real food, apples. Chickadee loved taking part in slicing and dicing the apples before we steamed and pureed them for you. She also gave you your first bite and we aren’t sure if you weren’t a fan or apples or a 4 year old feeding you but your faces were priceless. After a few bites though you decided this “real food” stuff was pretty great. You gave bananas a try next and so far you have eaten: apples, bananas, pears, avocado, butternut squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, and baby pancakes. Your brother also slipped a little PB&J in there when mom wasn’t looking and at least we figured out you aren’t allergic to peanut butter. 

You have continued getting teeth and taking them like a champ. This month both of your top teeth have come completely through. At your six month appointment you weighed 15lb 14oz and were 26 inches long. You are in size 3 diapers and wearing 6-9 month clothes. Naps are still three times a day around 9am, 1pm, and 5pm. I always sing you “The Lord will find a way for you…” a camp song as I put you down and as soon as you hit the mattress you roll over and go right to sleep. Such an easy baby & a great sleeper. You have started waking up about once a night again, but I think maybe you are going through a growth spurt. I’m trying to cherish that precious middle of the night time where it is just you and me and the rest of the world is quiet. 

One of our favorite things you have started doing is the #PoppyWiggle. I wish I could figure out how to upload video, but know it’s recorded and shows up on Instagram now and again.


The biggest milestone of this month has to be that you were baptized at church. Oh what a special day sweet girl. You were surrounded by family and friends as we all promised to teach you the love of Jesus and pray for you daily to know him deeply. What a gift from the Lord you are and we are so thankful he has entrusted us with being your parents. Your light reminds us daily of Jesus’ love for us.


And now you are EIGHT months. How can that be?

You’ve added two more teeth to your collection and are up to six. Folks always comment on your mouth full of teeth. You continue to be a great eater and enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner in addition to nursing four times a day. You are still about 16lbs, wearing the same clothes and on the same schedule. You have started sleeping through the night again, so we are ALL thankful for that. You want to be “on the move” so badly. You spin around in circles on your belly and are constantly rocking back and forth on all fours, but you haven’t taken off quite yet! If we prop you up you are pretty good at “standing” and we know your legs will continue to get stronger.

eight months

Your favorite toy and a shape sorter. You love taking the blocks in and out and of course chewing on them. No longer do you ride in the carseat on walks, but have moved up to riding in the seat of the stroller. You are pretty content going for walks around the neighborhood or duck pond. You are also sitting in highchairs at restaurants and in the buggy at the grocery store. Seriously, time is flying by.

Your babbling and “squealing” is out of control. Poppy you are quite chatty and you are really finding your voice. And I think you are realizing in this party of five it needs to be a loud one if you want to be heard. You have been playing with voice volume a lot and I think your favorite place to practice those high pitches are at restaurants and the library. Everyone always knows we are there :)

eight months 2

We celebrated your first Valentine’s Day a few weeks ago and you became part of our annual book giving tradition. It’s was called If Animals Kissed Goodnight and we listed all the things we love about you at this age inside. You also met, Gertrude, your Ugandan sister when we went and heard her sing with the Sozo choir. You were teething and didn’t make the best first impression, but she loved on you like crazy anyway!

Keep smiling baby girl! Keep giggling and snuggling! You light up our world and we are so thankful to call you ours!

Glitter Sensory Bottles


If you have been around A Step in the Journey for a while you know that I love sensory play. Anything from finger painting to rice buckets to play dough, we do it all around here. A little while back we did a sensory bottle filled with rice and hidden treasures. It was a hit, so I thought I’d try something similar. Sensory bottles are wonderful for toddlers, big kids, and even adults. These magical glitter bottles are designed to help soothe, relax, and calm down a over excited, anxious, upset or stressed child (or even adult for that matter). They are perfect to place in the spot you send your child to “cool off!” And are also fun to play with while waiting on lunch or in the car. 

It’s a simple activity and completely customizable. The three supplies you will definitely need are color or clear glue, warm water, and a clear bottle. The custom part can be what color/type of glue you use (Elmer’s makes all kinds…we used pink and purple glitter glue) and what you choose to put in your sensory bottle. I used sequins, but you could also use small beads, legos, or buttons.


First, you will need to rinse our your bottle. 

Next, Fill your bottle about a 1/4 of the way filled with the glitter glue. (If you items that you wish to float are heavier than sequins you might want to add a little extra glue to slow their fall.).

Then, fill the rest of the bottle (almost) full with warm water. Now, SHAKE! Like a lot. You will need to break up the glue and get it to mix completely into the water. The kids really got a kick out of this step!   

Once the glue is all broken up add in your sequins, legos, buttons, beads, etc. Whatever you chose! If a little water spills out that is okay. After adding your items, if you still have space in your bottle, add a little more warm water. 

Dry off the rim and hot or super glue the top on. 



Your kiddos can know shake up their sensory bottle and watch the items and glitter fall! The items will fall in about 15 seconds to start with, but as time passes and the water and glue become more dissolved in one anther the fall of the items will slow down to about 30-45 seconds. The glitter will take much longer to fall to the bottom. Ours takes about 10 minutes. 

As I mentioned before. These are really great when you child is upset or having to “cool off.” Sprout will take his with him to the steps and shake it up. As he watches the sequins and then glitter fall he calms down. It also gives me a chance to calm down before I go over to talk to him. Win! Win! 

Check out my I Spy learning bottle if you are looking for more sensory bottle ideas!

Other sensory play ideas are these rice bins and mess free painting!