What’s your Parenting Superpower? Name it!

2015 April 13

{This is a sponsored post with AcornInfluence and Pampers UnderJams. #ConquerBedwetting}

Have you ever been asked: ‘What are you really good at, as a parent?’

Quickly can you come up with that ONE THING you do REALLY well as a parent? What's YOUR Parenting Super Power?I’m talking that ONE thing you REALLY really get right. Go ahead and think about it for a minute…
It might be hard to come up with your THING at first.

It seems like we remember every single failure.

All those times I was too tired for ‘just one more book, mommy’. The Thanksgiving turkey so undercooked my kids voted to call out for pizza instead. How about this one: Have you ever locked your kid in the car with the keys still in the car? ß I did that once… and I nearly went insane waiting for the police officer to arrive and help me. My toddler was oblivious the whole time. Just kept waving at me and drinking her sippy cup.

So why don’t the successes jump to mind as quickly?

Did you come up with that THING you rocked as a parent? Are you great at dealing with sibling rivalry? Are you amazing at teaching your kids to read? Did you teach your whole neighborhood of kids how to ride a bike?

A few of MY SuperPowers.

  • I can teach any kid to ride a bike. It’s true. Send over your 4 year old. I’ll have the kiddo riding a 2 wheel bike in a few afternoons. (Ask my friend Amy!)
  • We filled every minute of car time chanting and reciting all things phonics back when I had pre-schoolers in the car. “What sound does GRASS start with?” “Whose name starts with a duh-duh-duh sound? YES! Daddy!” and on and on…
  • My kids rarely fight or have sibling spats, because early on I learned when I stay out of their bickering (literally ignoring the ‘Mom—she did that’!, ‘Mom—he said that’!) they solve it themselves knowing mom won’t jump in, more often than not, only escalating the behavior.


Kids struggle in a lot of areas… there are plenty of things where being a great parent will only get you so far. You can’t prevent everything, you have to help as much as you can of course. And learn as you go.  Maybe they have a learning problem, maybe they find they’re bullied in 5th grade, maybe they have massive allergies or other health or mental health issues.

I’ve watched plenty of parents deal with all of the above. When your kid is struggling is often when you have to dig deep and find the parenting superpower called … Patience. Because YOU can’t do a whole lot of anything but wait and love and encourage in so many of children’s experiences.

 creating confidence to help #ConquerBedWetting with Pampers UnderJams

I’m working with Pampers and their Bedwetting under pants: UnderJams.

Bedwetting is one of those things as a parent you really can’t solve for them. 15% of kids have ENURESIS—the medical term for night-time bedwetting at or past age 5.

Finding a strategy that works for YOUR KIDDO is going to be your main job. I have 3 kids and have also had 2 foster kiddos in our home. And ALL of them were very different especially when it came to figuring out their night time ability to either hold it or wake up and find the potty on their own.

pampers underjams #conquerbedwetting Enuresis

I love the suggested Tips on this UnderJams graphic.

  1. Manage their pre-bedtime drinks.
  2. Work positively and help them see themselves succeeding!
  3. Use a product like UnderJams (you can find them at Walmart and other stores) so your kids can sleep confidently eliminating fears and nerves while you patiently work on the bedwetting.


{BONUS: Pampers UnderJams are low-waisted so any age kid won’t be stressed about wearing them or being visible above their pants or jammies.}


A few more Tips from this GoodNCrazy mom…

100_9774I offered sugar free gum on any mornings my little boy was dry. It was the PERFECT incentive for him. It didn’t solve his issue right away, but he was always so proud of himself when he woke dry.

And we also really emphasized other ‘independent’ behaviors he was mastering. Buckling and unbuckling himself in his carseat was a HUGE one for me, because as the youngest he had to get in and out of the car a bazillion times for the older kids’ activities. Or when he learned to tie his shoes, we darn near threw a PAR-Tay for him!

Brushing his own teeth, completing small tasks and chores around the house ‘just like the big kids’, pouring his own cereal & milk for breakfast were all simple steps that increased his confidence and eventually helped him understand that he WAS a big kid and it will only be a matter of time before the bedwetting is a thing of the past.


What DID or DID NOT work for your kids when you were working on their night time staying-dry success? How did you help your kid(s) #ConquerBedWetting?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post with AcornInfluence and Pampers UnderJams.



LDS Church History Pilgrimage | A Photo Travel Journal

2015 April 10

New England Church History Tour – An LDS Family Pilgrimage

LDS CHurch History map north east Kirtland Palmyra Fayette Harmony

We followed the map along the red arrows from left to right.


FIRST STOP: Kirtland.

Working somewhat backwards on our North East Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints history spring break tour… we drove from Charlotte to the Cleveland area. Who heads NORTH for Spring Break? Next year I’m already planning on FLORIDA.

Just north of Kirtland a few miles is Lake Erie…  and at the end of March it was STILL frozen over and yeah. COLD.


Mormon North East church history pilgrimage Lake Erie

In the early 1830s, the small LDS population moved from Western New York to the North Eastern corner of Ohio. As many as 1500 ‘saints’ were there by the end of the 1830s when they felt compelled to move further west. (The Mid-West version of a church history tour and pilgrimage is hopefully next on the Roger’s future travel plans!) But at the time the first church members arrived Kirtland was a small frontier town. And the winter weather in the mid 1800s was MUCH colder than it is now. We were freezing. Imagine showing up with nowhere to live?!


Mormon North East church history pilgrimage Whitney Store Historic Kirtland

The LDS church has slowly been purchasing historic homes and stores in the ‘Historic District’ of Kirtland since the 1930s. Refurbishing original buildings like the Whitney Store above. We were told it is about 80% original. And the Whitney home is just left of the store… below.


Mormon North East church history pilgrimage Whitney Home Historic Kirtland

I was fascinated with the furnishings of the store and the home. All the period pieces carefully located and placed just so. In a museum fashion.


Antique furnishings in LDS mormon church history restored buildings whitney store, Whitney home

In the center image is the ACTUAL table owned by Joseph Smith and very likely something he would have used while studying and writing down Revelations later canonized into the Doctrine & Covenants. (The translation of the Book of Mormon was complete by this time point.)

Here we are listening to two Sister Missionaries (young women who opt to volunteer for 18 months on a mission for the Latter-Day Saints Church). When you first stop in to Historic Kirtland, you first enter a Visitor’s Center where you will be greeted by Missionaries for the Church. And you can watch a 15 minute video about the Kirtland area, featuring the Whitney family. They are your tour guides and can answer lots of questions about the history and the Church Doctrine as well.

They lead you through a spiritual journey asking questions and encouraging you to imagine life during this time and contemplate the spiritual nature of the area.


Mormon North East church history pilgrimage historic Kirtland

The Church more recently built a working replica of a Wood Mill in the site where one once existed. All the pulleys and levers were fascinating. (And I love the lighting in the mill working room, where they would have built the more intricate pieces for the Kirtland Temple.) THAT WINDOW LIGHT!? WOW.


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Which leads me to the actual Kirtland Temple.

It’s such a fascinating building. And its history is just as fascinating. Early church members built the 3 story structure more than 175 years ago. It was the largest building in North East Ohio for most of the 1800s. The ‘Saints’ left the Kirtland area just a few years after it was built and dedicated. Abandoning their beloved temple and yet again heading further West to avoid persecution. Around 1500 members lived in the Kirtland, Ohio area by the end.


The Kirtland Temple, Mormon North East church history pilgrimage Kirtland Temple LDS

The Kirtland Temple after several years of little use and mis-use was claimed by several splinter Latter-Day Saint groups. Eventually the Reorganized LDS church began using it and by 1901 was granted title by adverse possession. Later the R-LDS Church changed their name to The Community of Christ. And they currently own and operate the Temple. They offer tours for $3/person just after you watch a well done documentary about the Temple and their faith.

It is a beautiful building and has undergone massive refurbishment. For example: none of the outer windows are original and have been replaced. As well as parts of the cupola. And the outside of the building was more blue/grey originally not white. We were respectfully asked to not take photos inside the temple.


Kirtland Temple LDS Mormon Ohio church history pilgrimage GoodNCrazy photography

The tour of the building was well done, but I was slightly surprised at the tour guide’s animosity towards my family. She was very knowledgeable about the building but she also made a lot of assumptions about us and kept saying things like: you already know… THIS or THAT etc… and several times she yelled at us as we inadvertently leaned on something inside the building. I kept thinking, you could just tell us to be careful not to lean on something before we were near it, instead of yelling at us the second you ‘caught’ us. I got the feeling she was waiting for us to make a mistake the whole time?

It was a weird experience to say the least. And a big contrast to the previous experience down the hill in Historic Kirtland, where the young Sister Missionaries were kind and willing to listen to us and answer anything we asked.

SECOND STOP: Niagara Falls

Technically the Falls have no real bearing on our church history trip. But the early members did utilize the Erie Canal for their journey from Western New York to Kirtland. And the Canal ends just upstream from the falls. Plus Buffalo (a few miles south of Niagara) is pretty much on the route from Kirtland to Palmyra where much of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints gets its roots. Where the Smith family farmed and where Joseph Smith had his first vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ as two separate beings. Later he would also see Moroni, a resurrected prophet from the Book of Mormon times and where he was directed to locate the Gold Plates, which he would translate and became scripture: The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ… and the reason for the Church’s nickname, The Mormons. Palmyra is south of Rochester.


Niagara Falls in Winter

It was around 10AM on a blustery late March day and believe me… people will literally SHOUT AT YOU to view the Falls from the Canadian side… we figured we better do as people suggest! Plus all the main attractions on the US Side … Maid of the Mist and the Caves are all closed this time of year.

We had a short border crossing and found easy parking on the Canadian – AKA Looks like the Vegas Strip – side. Due to the freezing weather and little bit of snow there were very few people around. And I’m sure the Falls have a very different look in Summer, the winter wonderland ice scape definitely had it’s own beauty. I was struck by the turquoise colored water at the bottom of the falls? They definitely weren’t frozen over (something that hasn’t happened since the mid 1800s btw) but all the snow and ice at the bottom of the Falls was confusing? It looked like it would dam up the water, but didn’t.

The overcast sky and lack of really any greenery made it seem like a black and white painting. And as far as photographing it I thought it was wonderful! But I must say I’ve seen bigger prettier water falls in my travels.

Still. I can finally say: I’ve been to Niagara Falls.


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Mormon North East church history pilgrimage-27

But beautiful.


Niagara Falls in Winter

Such a gorgeous FROZEN view at the bottom of the Falls.


Palmyra is several hours east of Niagara Falls through miles and miles of vineyards and wineries (which is slightly ironic since Mormons don’t drink alcohol…). But it was pretty countryside even in the dreary last throes of winter. We got off the freeway for an hour or so to enjoy the small towns and Victorian homes dotted along the route.

We first drove in to the town of Palmyra to see the famed ‘burned over district’ as the whole of Western New York was referred to in the 1820s. Because of the all the Religious fervor. There are 4 different church denominations on facing 4 corners here to prove it.


Mormon North East church history pilgrimage Palmyra the burned over district LDS

We missed it this trip but the Church now owns the original Grandin Building where the Book of Mormon was first published there in downtown Palmyra.

Only a few miles south of Palmyra is the location of the Joseph Smith, Sr. Family farm. There is a visitor’s center, the original site of the family log home (rebuilt on the original foundation), the original frame home the family built but only lived in a few years as well and a threshing barn and coopers barn both built more recently as they would have looked in the 1820s.


Mormon North East church history pilgrimage-Smith Family Farm Log House

The log home rebuilt on the original foundation.


Mormon North East church history pilgrimage-39

The Smith Frame Home about 80% original, refurbished by the Church.


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This is the view out the back window of the log home… likely facing the wooded area Joseph Smith, Jr. described when he went to utter his first prayer aloud and where he would first see God the Father and Jesus Christ… telling him to join none of the churches.


Mormon North East church history pilgrimage-40

We walked down the path into what Church members think of as ‘The Sacred Grove’. Not knowing for sure where young Joseph knelt in prayer, there are several paths and benches throughout the grove. And the overall feeling is calm and contemplative. We were there on March 30. His vision would have taken place in spring not long after.

It’s worth coming back to the Palmyra area in late summer when the Hill Cumorah Pageant is running. Just down the street from the Smith farm is the Cumorah Hill where the Gold plates were located and another large Visitor’s Center is there as well, plus the newly built Palmyra Temple as well.


Mormon North East church history pilgrimage-41


The Peter Whitmer Sr. Farm, where the first Church meeting of the Church was officially held.


Peter Whitmer Farm LDS Church History Sites

Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery lived here for some months while finishing the translation of the Book of Mormon. David Whitmer was one of 5 sons of the Whitmer family and his family graciously allowed the two men to live and complete the work here.

This building is not the original building but the acreage of farm is the original spot. The logs and boards were donated to build the replica from a local in the area who we learned later joined the church.


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This upper room space would have been something like where Oliver and Joseph completed the translation.


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This space on the main floor of the building is where the Church was first organized.

FIFTH STOP: Susquehanna River over the border in Pennsylvania.

Not far south of Fayette where the Susquehanna River bends and dips across the border south into Pennsylvania is an area where Joseph Smith was living with his Wife Emma and about a year before the Church was formerly organized in the Whitmer Farmhouse.

At this time, Joseph and Oliver were translating and reading about the Priesthood. They retired to the woods near the house and prayed for an answer. Once again the heavens opened and John the Baptist appeared to them. He explained that he was sent to bring back – or we say: RESTORE the Aaronic Priesthood. As in the same priesthood that existed in the primitive church when Christ was on the Earth. Nearby after the vision the two baptized each other in the Susquehanna River. Later that same month Peter, James and John – The first presidency of the primitive church, also appeared and restored the Melchizedek Priesthoood… or the Higher Priesthood.

A marker near the river marks the area for people to see. And for a long time there was nothing much else to see in this area. However the Church is in the process of building structures near the marker to commemorate the Priesthood Restoration event and a visitor center as well.

This completed our North East Church History Tour. People also travel to Sharon, Vermont a sleepy little town where Joseph Smith, Jr. was born. The family moved to the Palmyra area of NY a few years later.


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A ‘Road Trip’ Picture along the route in Western New York.. Pretty much what MOST of the Western State looks like!

church history 2015 family vacationOverall it was an 1800 mile journey for us and we were able to visit friends in Virginia on our way home.

My oldest will graduate this year and we kind of felt like it might be our last ‘Spring Break’ trip together. So it was fitting that we spent it on a family Pilgrimage to Church History sites. Plus this year in Early Morning Seminary (read more about what that is) — I am teaching and my daughter is studying; Church History and the Doctrine & Covenants.

Taking Fabulous Headshots | 9 Close-Up Photography Tips when you have no idea what you’re doing.

2015 April 8

Oh my gosh what was I thinking?

Why the heck did I say yes I would take your headshot??!

Who knew there is a psychology to taking close up headshots of people?

9 Tips to take GREAT headshots featuring Kate and Kelley charlotte bloggers #GoodNCrazy carissa rogers

Every so often my inner research scientist rears its cooped-up head and forces me to dig in and REALLY try to understand and learn how to do something new. Something Hard.

People don’t like having their picture taken.
Well most people don’t.

But people REALLY don’t like having a close up head and shoulders shot taken.
Especially women.

9 Headshot Tips from a total Amateur Portrait Newbie! — Or — if I can do this YOU can do this!

  1. Bring friends and shoot as a group. Do each other’s make up, help each other step out of their comfort zone. Be a cheerleader during the photo shoot. And just laugh.
  2. Plan to go out to dinner afterwards. If you have somewhere to go you’re more likely to enjoy getting dressed up and pretty yourself right?
  3. Remind everyone even if the posing feels weird this is just the head and shoulders… nothing else will show anyway.
  4. Learn from their selfies! People take selfies they like better than close up photography by someone else. Find out why? Look at their favorite selfies and note which side of their face they like better (hint, it’s usually the side they part their hair on).
  5. Get them to trust you. Show a few of the first photos on the camera screen so they will see.. WHOA? These look great and I NEVER like photos of myself! And keep showing them when you see something that is amazing.
  6. FIX their hair and point out anything weird about their make-up. They’ll relax knowing you are their new BFF watching out for them and aren’t going to let anything stick out or look crazy.
  7. Find the best lighting. I spent 15 minutes wandering around my friend’s house and backyard looking for strong but not harsh light. We ended up crammed into a stair landing but the lighting was PERFECT even if I had to do some acrobatics to make it work! Kelley kept saying.. THAT really IS great lighting. Who knew… right here on my stairs?!
  8. Posing. It’s all about the lean and then the shadows you can manufacture around the chin. I’m way too amateur to get this perfect. But for a first attempt I was very pleased with the results and I’m eager to try again pushing even further for the perfect lighting angle. Peter Hurley pretty much OWNs the science of the perfect headshot. If you do nothing else, watch this video… see what I mean: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qe3oJnFtA_k
  9. Let them know exactly how much post editing and touch-ups you’re willing to do. I’m not going to remove any God-Given attributes (your mole stays)… but I WILL soften forehead wrinkles if their smile emphasizes them and I’ll happily remove any acne or blemishes. And…heck yes I will make your eyes pop!

The rest of the Story…

My local blogging friends Kate and Kelley (above) asked if I would take new headshot photos of them. I thought it would be lots of fun and happily agreed. We’ll make a party of it! And then realized I don’t know the first thing about close up portraits. I’ve been researching family, group and couple shots lately.

I panicked. Kate said the last time she had ‘professional’ headshots created she ended up in tears and hated the photos. Kelley is more relaxed but bless her, she’s 8 months pregnant! How brave is that?!

Yeah, I was feeling freaked out.
But at worst, I told myself, they won’t use the photos right?

Still. I did a LOT of research. I read no less than 20 blog posts about posing for headshots. I watched several Peter Hurley videos. (I’m now his biggest fan.) I arrived prepared with a bunch of example Pinterest headshots that were NOT celebrities, just regular people with a great headshot.

And we totally practiced the Peter Hurley ‘turtle chin’ thing before we got started.

Oh and ‘squinching’.
It’s a thing.
Google it.

I’m happy to say the evening was a success, at least I think so!
And dinner was super yummy too. (If you’re ever in Fort Mill, SC please… try out the Local Dish Restaurant. Think: funky, yet traditional southern food in a farm-to-table atmosphere. Try the Chicken and Waffles. You’re Welcome in advance.)

Surprise! There’s a new restaurant in Charlotte. F2O, in the Pineville Mall.

2015 March 27
Surprise! There’s a new restaurant in Charlotte. F2O, in the Pineville Mall.

‘Fast Casual’ is the buzzword for this type of dining.
Fresh to Order, new restaurant in Charlotte. (Trust me, try the chicken fingers!)


How can I Help my Soon-to-be-College Student with Her Financial IQ?!

2015 March 26
How can I Help my Soon-to-be-College Student with Her Financial IQ?!

In this brave new world where college students graduate with a degree in one hand and the equivalent of a home mortgage (student loan) debt in the other… here are 7 Suggestions to help your college kid become financially smart and less dependent.


Blueberry French Toast Casserole | Be Careful, This is Ridiculous!

2015 March 24
Blueberry French Toast Casserole | Be Careful, This is Ridiculous!

This is getting to be a problem. There’s no redeeming breakfast left in this breakfast. Do NOT attempt on a diet. If you want healthy for brunch… go ahead, click away from this recipe.


Join The #StraightTalkonSteak Twitter Party March 26th!

2015 March 20
Join The #StraightTalkonSteak Twitter Party March 26th!

Win an Omaha Steaks ‘Eating Well Combo’! Join me in a #StraightTalkonSteak Twitter Conversation!


Would you be Upset if you Found Out A Website is using Images of YOUR KIDS on Their Products?

2015 March 4
Would you be Upset if you Found Out A Website is using Images of YOUR KIDS on Their Products?

Whoah! What should I do!?

Here’s where the story gets good.
I can ask them to remove my kids’ image and they say they will. Apparently they are genuine about what they are doing and raising awareness. See several images have already been removed from the homepage.


Pink Lemonade Bundt Cake

2015 February 26
Pink Lemonade Bundt Cake

I LOVE easy cake mix recipe ideas…
This one starts with a Lemon cake mix and YOU turn it into Pink Lemonade Cake—KA-POW!


World’s Best French Dip Sandwiches {According to my Kids}

2015 February 12
World’s Best French Dip Sandwiches {According to my Kids}

Are you thinking French Dip Sandwiches are just too hard for a weeknight meal?

Easy Slow Cooker French Dip Recipe goodncrazy

Can you turn on a Slow Cooker? Because…

If you can, then you can make the BEST EVER French Dip Sandwiches. Because seriously. That’s all it takes.


We Think You’ll Love Butter Braid® Brand Fundraisers

2015 February 12
We Think You'll Love Butter Braid® Brand Fundraisers

Raise your hand if you LOVE Fundraisers!

Raise Your Hands if you Love Butter Braid FundraisersGo ahead, don’t be shy.
Anyone? Any…One?

Yeah I’m pretty sure no one wakes up and thinks…


All About Hand Lettering Lately? Me Too! #GoodNCrazyInspired

2015 February 10
All About Hand Lettering Lately? Me Too! #GoodNCrazyInspired

I’m in love with all things hand lettering.
And Etsy shops are FILLED with inexpensive cards you can purchase.

Valentine’s Ideas? oh yeah. They’re all OVER that.
Or CUSTOMIZE your card with a name or phrase you love.


Best Group Gift Ideas For Teacher Valentines or Teacher Appreciation Day

2015 February 4
Best Group Gift Ideas For Teacher Valentines or Teacher Appreciation Day

I have 3 kids in 3 different schools this year. I have no time for amazing crafts. Or time to run around gathering money and donated items. I love the idea of creating group teacher gifts.

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