Today brings us to the end of our big:


Have you enjoyed it? I know I have. I’m having a blast reading through all your responses to the giveaway prompts, and I can’t wait to see who goes home with the loot! (I’ll be announcing winners next week).

Speaking of which, if you haven’t entered yet…

Day 1: $75 to Lisa Leonard Designs

Day 2: The African Sunset Necklace from Noonday

Day 3: $75 from The Pleated Poppy

Day 4: $100 from Jo Totes


Oh, wait. Today is Day 5.

Which means it must be time to reveal that surprise, huh?

Allrighty then.

So, as I’ve been polling you guys about what you would like to see more of here at M is for Mama, quite a few of you have asked for: more Mama advice, more Mama stories, more Mama tips, more Mama everything.

And while I’m happy to oblige, I feel a little funny being the sole source of information on the topic. I may have 5 kids, but I’m certainly no expert on all things Mama. Don’t get me wrong. What we do works very well for us, and we’re very happy with it. And I’m glad to share both my successes and failures so that you can hopefully glean something from them. But Proverbs 15:22 says: “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.”

Thus, the idea of MOMbassadors was born. It’s a new interview series I am doing with fellow bloggers who are mamas or mamas-to-be that will help provide a “many counselors” perspective here on the blog. These are crazy-talented, sweet, funny ladies whom I think you’ll love and who have boatloads of great ideas and fun stories to share. 

i really hope that MOMbassadors will be a practical way to encourage you to shine your light—first to your own children and then through them and the way you treat them, to the world as well.

Ready to meet our first Mama?

jones design3

I am so excited that Emily from Jones Design Company is here. I’ve read Emily’s blog for over 3 years, and it’s one of the few that has continued to make the cut in my daily blog pit stop as life has gotten busier (and busier—hello twins!) over the last two years.

If you’ve never been to Emily’s blog, then you’re in for a huge treat. She’s a Mama of 4 cute kiddos, ages almost 10-almost 4 (3 boys, 1 girl, in that order, in case you’re wondering), and she and her husband Ryan work together to run Jones Design Company, which includes  her blog, her online shop, and JDC monthly.


Not only that, but she is a self-taught graphic artist and painter who offers gorgeous freebies like this Autumn watercolor print on her blog:


She’s also an Instagram junkie (as am I), and you can find all things pretty and fun on her feed.

Her house is dreamy (so much so that it’s been featured in Better Homes and Gardens), and her tutorials are always fun and easy to follow.

home better homes and gardens

And the best part of all: She’s nice. And down-to-earth. My favorites.

So, without further ado, let’s get to the interview, shall we?


Out of the possible matriarchal titles (Mother, Mom, etc.), which do you prefer? Any particular reason?

I love hearing mommy, but it is rarely said anymore 🙁 Once my oldest started calling me Mom, it stuck and trickled down to even the littlest. Sometimes a mommy will slip and it is a sweet, sweet word. I wrote a post about the difference between the two here:

I know you’ve said that you’ve always dreamed of being a mom and that you even wanted 4 children, which is the number you ended up with. How has the dream matched up with your reality?

It has matched my dream in many ways – the joy and pride in raising my kids and watching them become who they are, dressing them up for family photos {silly, i know, but always something that seemed fun to me}, coloring and puzzle-building, baking and trampoline-jumping with my little companions. These things are what I wanted in motherhood and it’s been fun.
What I didn’t know was how hard and continual days would be and how ill-equipped I would feel at times. It’s the most amazing refining process, this motherhood gig. All of my selfishness, impatience, particular-ness and rudeness is exposed and there’s no pretending when you’ve got 4 little people mirroring your behavior back at you. I wrote a love note to my babies on mother’s day last year that explains this a little better:

Best mothering moment? (Either ever or most recently)

My kids love to say “you’re the best mom EVER!” so anytime I hear that, it feels pretty good.

Most recently, there have been a few moments with my oldest son that remind me that we’re transitioning into a new phase of parenting. He is almost 10 and is such a good kid. The other night, the kids were excused from the dinner table, but he was finishing up seconds so my husband and I sat at the table with him. We chatted, just the three of us, about nothing in particular, but it was a moment that doesn’t happen often. He told us about silly things at school that day, we laughed, asked a few questions and off he went. Ryan and I sat there afterward thankful that we’re building relationships with our kids and that they want to hang out with us and talk. My biggest goal as a mom is to keep that relationship strong and positive – always available to listen or counsel or whatever it is they need as they get older. I know the days of reading bedtime stories will soon come to an end, but I hope our consistent love and presence will instill in them the confidence in our relationships.


Goodness, there are a million. Sometimes I’m just so done and check out. Sometimes reading a bedtime story sounds like torture and so I say no. Sometimes I send them off to school in a sweatshirt they don’t like, and don’t let them change because in the store they said they liked it.  I bark at them when I see the messy state of their newly redecorated room and care way too much about very insignificant things like massive forts made with my good pillows and un-flushed toilets. These are my worst moments – the times when my desires and their little hearts collide and I’m not always as gentle and kind and graceful as I wish.

What’s your best piece of advice for mamas everywhere? (i.e. the one thing that helps you stay the sanest).

Three things:

1. find other moms to hang out with. Not just online, but in real life. Go to the park together. Take your kids to movies together. Borrow sugar from each other. We need one another.

2. make a monthly meal plan. Dinnertime is just plain frustrating if I have no idea what to make and four hungry kids are hounding me for food. It’s effort to make a plan, but everytime I do, this one thing reduces so much unnecessary stress.

3. have a creative outlet all your own. Write a blog, take photos, watercolor, bake, quilt, run, raise chickens, anything. Just do something that is separate from being a mom that brings you joy. You will be happier and in turn, so will your family.

Do you have a life verse or one that’s become especially precious since becoming a mom?

My life verse is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 Be joyful always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Now if I could just live it 🙂

Our family motto is: we are a kind and generous family. My sister actually made that up {post right here:}, but I am stealing it from her. It’s what I want our family to be all about. Kind and generous.

Quick! Don’t think too hard if you can avoid it. What are the first three “M” words that pop into your head that describe you as a mom?



how’s that for word association? 

I just looked up the definition of matronly: like or characteristic of a matron, esp. in being dignified and staid and typically associated with having a large or plump build.
That made me laugh.


Ha! That last one made me laugh too, especially since Emily is anything but large or plump.

I hope y’all loved reading that as much as I did. You can find out waaaaaaay more about her on her blog. Just don’t hate me if you lose a big chunk of your Friday browsing through all the beautiful goodness there.

And now as a fun little treat, Emily has picked out a few things that represent her personality to give away to YOU!


Aren’t those little letter stamps adorable? I may have to buy myself a set since I can’t win (sniff, sniff…these giveaways have been so amazing that I’ve been resisting the urge to enter myself under a fake name all week long).

The steps for entry should look pretty familiar by now!

Simply complete the following two steps! (3, if you want extra entries!)

step 1

Just enter your email address:

Enter your email address:

I pinky promise not to spam you! By subscribing, you are agreeing to receive updates about this giveaway and other blog updates (like my daily posts straight to your inbox). I will never share or sell your information. I am, however, requiring this as a giveaway entry, even if you already receive my updates elsewhere.

**Be sure to confirm your subscription when you see the welcome message in your inbox (or your entry won’t count) and then come back to complete STEP 2.

{Already a subscriber? Skip to Step 2}

step 2

Leave me a blog comment letting me know you have subscribed and completing the following sentence: “The best piece of Mama advice I’ve given or gotten is______________.” (If you’re not a Mama, then this can just be general advice that your Mama gave you about life). step 3

Fine print: Open to residents of U.S. and Canada only. Must be 13 or older to enter. a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I am a subscriber. The best piece of mama advice I’ve ever gotten is that “they won’t go to college in diapers”. My mom told me this when I was trying to help potty train my youngest sister- (there is a large age gap between us). I remembered this advice when I had my own children and it made the dreaded potty training so much easier. I have used the same phrase with many other parenting issues and it really helps put things into perspective for me.

  2. The best piece of Mama advice I’ve given or gotten is to ask your children for forgiveness. Thank goodness His mercies are new every morning. Lord knows I need a do over button daily 🙂

  3. I’m not a mother, but the best piece of Mama advice I’ve given or gotten is to act out the behavior you want your kids to emulate. My mother is the most incredible role model. When I’m learning a life lesson, you can get she’s already been there, done that, and can help me along the way with grace and humility.

  4. The best piece of breastfeeding advice I got was to feed the baby in the AM first and then pump as soon as I could as well. I did this as soon as my duaghter was about a week old.

    I still had plenty of milk for the next feeding, established a great milk supply and had a great stash for when I went back to work.

  5. The best piece of mom advice I’ve ever received… wow, that’s a tough one. How about the one I’ve been chewing on lately which is don’t respond unless (or rather until) you can speak gently. 🙂

  6. I subscribe via email. I told my daughter to remember right or wrong I would always be there for her and I would try very hard not to give my opinion unless asked for it.

  7. I think the best piece of advice that I can think of is something I’ve been reflecting on a lot lately… Always make love your number one priority; first to love God, second to receive His love and third to give it to others, especially my kids and husband. Don’t let legalism or the things that you think need to get done get in the way of that number one goal. Because when all is said and done what matters more, the love and memories you shared with your family or completing your agenda whatever that may entail.

  8. The best advice I’ve received is to major in the majors and minor in the minors. AKA don’t make a huge deal out of something small 🙂

  9. I subscribed! The best piece of Mama advice I have received is to take people up on their offers to help. We think we have to do everything but then we become exhausted and impatient. When we allow others to help, we get a break to breath and they feel filled by giving.

  10. The best piece of Mama advice I’ve given or gotten was when my daughter was born and i was struggling with breastfeeding. “It is HER first time too!” was something a friend said to me. immediately i took a deep breath and relaxed. it was so much easier after that!

  11. Love this interview!! Best momma advice? Definitely to believe that you are a good mom because God has already said that you are. When you begin to believe it you become it!

  12. I subscribed and would certainly enjoy this prize,,,also the best advice given to me is always go by your gut feeling.TY

  13. The best piece of advice I’ve ever *learned on my own because a lot of advice is from folks who just like the sound of their own voice….many don’t even HAVE kids….*

    Is that we ARE good moms. The very fact that we care if we’re good moms or not is testament to the fact that we *already are*….

    So relax. Stop doubting yourself. Stop beating yourself cause you lost it and kicked the proverbial cat last night when the kids wouldn’t eat dinner or take baths or go to bed for the 19th night in a row…

    In the end, it’s not the individual things that your kids will remember… it’s the bigger picture. The one you can’t see yet. Because that picture hasn’t even been taken yet. So stop trying to…. Just relax. And let life happen…

    And trust me… in the end, you’ll see. You, we, us… We are all good moms…

  14. The best piece of mamma advice I have is: When you’re out and about, and someone has a meltdown/temper tantrum/whathaveyou, don’t let yourself feel self-conscious or like you’re being judged by the other people in your vicinity. 90-95% of those people aren’t judging you, they’re sympathizing and wishing you strength and patience. The other 5-10% don’t matter.

  15. Stay in the moment. We are all busy trying to get through our days it is hard to stop and smell and smell the proverbial flowers. However that small moment could mean the world to you child.

  16. I’m subscribed…

    I don’t have children yet, the most popular advice that I hear is most agreeable amongst the many, many mommas I know is to do what works for you and your child. There is no way for everyone to be good doing the same thing as everyone else and no child is the same so figure out what works for you and stick with it! Although I don’t have children yet, this seems to be practical and most intelligent.

  17. I’m a subscriber. Best piece of advice was from my mom when I was trying to figure out the whole nursing thing with my first. She said, you got to give it 6 weeks. Turns out that is the case for everything mommy related. Just keep at it for 6 weeks…whatever it is.

  18. Not a mom, but I’m a 24 year old with a 7 year old brother that I take care of a lot (as in helping at his school and keeping him after school for a few hours daily), so I feel semi-qualified. Best advice is just to not sweat the small stuff. Life isn’t perfect, so don’t expect kids to be.

  19. I subscribed!

    “The best piece of Mama advice I’ve given or gotten is (Mom always said) Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

  20. Subscribed. The advice that I’ve recently been trying to apply to my parenting is to say yes more and no less. I feel like we’re all happier when my answer to everything is not an automatic no.

  21. I am not a Mama yet, but I hope to be in the next couple years. The best piece of Mama advice I’ve ever gotten is to buy the following books: Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler and of course What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff. I have already read most of both of these books and I am not even pregnant, lol! They are SO informative- stuff I never learned from my mom or even from the internet, lol. I highly recommend both of them!

  22. The best piece of advice I’ve gotten is from my priest (not a Momma yet!): Live your life NOW and practice the habits NOW that you want to have when you are raising your children. Building the good habits and being the good role model long before you have children will make it all second nature when it actually happens.

  23. The best piece of advice I’ve received is something to the affect of: God made you the best mom for your child and you know what’s best.

  24. Hm…advice? I think the friend who told me to get my babies on a routine/schedule really knew what she was talking about! Everyone is happier when there’s good sleeping!

  25. “Shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist” Being a mom can be tough sometimes. Even just a quiet half hour at our local thrift shop can help 🙂

  26. I breastfed my first two kids easily, but my third I struggled and he lost almost a pound from his birth weight and I was feeling overwhelmed and my friend looked at me and said, “It’s not good moms breastfeed and bad moms formula feed. Good moms feed their babies.” It’s so easy to have expectations of ourselves and we see ourselves as failures if it doesn’t all work out. There are a million ways to be a good mom as long as we are loving our children and doing what is best for them. I have been able to share the advice I got with other moms struggling to breastfeed and everyone I have told, has appreciated the advice, just as much as I did.

  27. “The best piece of Mama advice I’ve gotten is always eat as a family, its one time your kids can rely on your quality time when you cant focus on quanity. now this doesn’t always happen but somthing we strive for, even the baby in her bouncer is with us lol we have table talk cards we pick up from church monthly and do a couple a night 🙂

  28. I am TRYING to become a Mama, and the best advice I’ve gotten so far is… be patient. Wait upon the Lord. <3 I that works for pretty much every aspect of life!

  29. The best advice I ever received came from a male cousin of mine- you never know! In our drive to be “perfect” parents- the kind who do it all right down to the last hair and then pin about it on Pinterest!- reality hits and we are overwhelmed and exhausted- just remember that at the end of the day, all you have to have done is LOVE them! Best advice I ever gave- if you teach your children nothing else, teach them that He is enough- no matter what is going on around them or in their lives, He is always enough.

  30. I subscribe! The best piece of Mama advice I’ve given is that children are a blessing and a gift from God, so treasure the short time you have with them to mold them into Godly people of good character while they are still under your care. That and, trust your own instincts above all other opinions. There’s a lot out there!

  31. I think one of the best things that my husband and I have stuck with in disciplining our children (four of them, ages 12 down to 6) is to ask ourselves the question, “Is this an eternal thing?” Often times I find myself getting upset or frustrated about something that has no eternal significance. It may be something like your guest Mombassador shared about the fort building. In times like these, that one question can help calm me and the kids can just enjoy being kids. Who cares what the house looks like, right?

  32. The best piece of Mama advice I’ve given or gotten is to not sweat the little stuff….life is to short to be miserable over something temporal. Think Eternity….THAT is what really matters.

  33. I subscribe to you! I’m a pediatric nurse, so I see a lot of kids in vulnerable, scary situations. The best piece of advice I could give after seeing a lot of different parenting styles is that kids do best in all types of situations when their parents are relaxed and when they give them the freedom to explore and figure out who they are. Holding on too tight to your children is detrimental to their growth as the little people God designed them to be! Give them your “ok” to be who they are. 🙂

I love hearing from you guys!