Veteran MOPS Mamas Tell All!

Well, hello there, MOPS mamas! Who’s excited for Fall semester to start this Thursday?! I know I’m enthusiastically raising my hand while typing🙂

Today’s post is aimed at those of you who are new to MOPS at GBC this semester! Some of you probably attended the New Member Orientation and are feeling very informed about what Thursday (and the rest of this semester) will look like! If not, don’t fear. It’s easy and fun, I promise!

In the spirit of getting to know everyone, I thought I’d take it just a step further to help you prepare, by polling some of our veteran MOPS Mamas over the past few weeks. My question to them was:

MOPS BLOG 090616.jpeg

For some of them, it was simple stuff we all take for granted (see: “where’s the coffee?”). For others, it was about opening up and trusting the wonderful women you’re about to meet at your new table. But there’s definitely one thing we all have in common: no matter how many years you’ve been coming to MOPS, there’s ALWAYS excitement in the air on the morning you come back after summer!

So, as you read these tips below, I encourage you to take a deep breath, relax and reflect about what YOU hope to get out of this semester. Open yourself to becoming one of the Starry Eyed. You just might surprise yourself this year!

“It’s cold in that room! Bring a sweater or light jacket!”

“It’s ok to ask for prayers, no one will judge, they are there to pray for you and help you thru this season 😃”

“You are welcome to help yourself to the coffee kiosk in the back kitchen area. I didn’t know this my first meeting and thought everyone entering the kitchen area worked there and were getting things ready for breakfast.”

“You’ll get as much out of this experience as you’re willing to put in….if you don’t open up, others might not feel comfortable to either. Odds are that if you feel a certain way there is AT LEAST one other woman going through the same thing.” 

“Don’t forget about the Grace Cafe (here’s a link, so you can find it on Thursday). Also, if you have a noisy little one, the meeting will be broadcast on speakers into the conference center, so you can still hear the speaker even if you’re outside the meeting room.”

“Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there & speak up during table discussion. Everyone is nervous to meet new people, but the great thing about MOPS is that we’re all in the same boat. If you speak up, most likely you’ll find at least one mom at your table who can relate…. And she is probably relieved that she’s not alone!”

“There are styrofoam cups available in the coffee area, but I always bring my own big one from home so I don’t have to refill it during the speaker! ;)”

“Definitely make your meals simple when it’s your turn. Try to find something that you can make ahead. Then you can just throw it in the oven in the morning and carry on with your already chaotic morning. We’re all just happy to enjoy a meal that we didn’t have to make ourselves!”

“MOPS is the one day I have an excuse to get dolled up! Not every mom does this. You’ll find all kinds of moms; workout mom, comfy mom, going out mom, ponytail mom, baseball cap mom…every kind of mom is represented, so wear what you’re comfortable in!”

“If you don’t like to cook, Panera Bread and Marie Callender’s both have delish quiches! Panera’s are individual smaller ones that are hot and ready to eat and Marie Callender’s have whole pie pans that you just pop in the oven morning of and you’re all set!”

“If you see a fellow momma who looks lost or has her hands full, ask her if she needs help! You just might make her morning!”

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t know where to go or who to talk to! We’re all here to help! And don’t be afraid to open up and share who you are cuz it takes a village to raise these crazy kids and when you open up it’s a lot easier to find that village!”

“This may seem simple, but the restrooms are right outside the meeting room to the left! I searched around for it awhile and it was right under my nose the whole time!”

“If you’re not sure where your table is, there’s a poster board directly inside the entrance to the conference room that maps out the tables and whose is where. This made finding my table immensely less stressful.”

“GO TO ALL OF THE MOPS ACTIVITIES IF YOU CAN! I made some of my best friends at things like Bunko Night and the park playdates. It’s great to get to know your table at the meetings themselves, but the relaxed environment and kiddos getting to know one another and play makes it easy to become great friends outside of MOPS… and that’s the whole point!”

I hope you found these tips helpful, mamas! Some of you veterans probably did, too! Feel free to comment below if you read this and thought of other tips you’d like to share here with the group. And if you’re not already a member of our Facebook Group, please join us: MOPS AT GBC.

The countdown begins! Only two mornings to go until MOPS Fall 2016 Semester begins! I can’t wait to meet you all and I hope you love our group as much as I do!

Blessings,

Erin

Creating TIME In Your Marriage

Last week we heard Pam Ferrell speak on the topic of Red Hot Monogamy. I really enjoyed when she challenged us to look at our TIME. How we could date our spouse and create time to foster intimacy with one another on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. Though this may be a great goal for our marriages it can feel daunting and near impossible when we have littles at home.

Here are some creative ways for those of us with littles and tight budgets to still be intentional and yet not feel like we are breaking the bank or asking grandma to babysit every Friday night.

  1. Co-op babysit with other couples– This is a great way to not pay the $1 million dollars for a sitter, and bless your friends at the same time. PLUS, your kids will be playing with other kids and it’s just a win all around. Ask your friends first, “Hey! What night can I watch your kid(s) so you can get a date?” You’ll be amazed at how quickly they find a day! This is a wonderful way to let your friend know how much you care about her and her marriage.
  2. Go out for happy hour/mid-week dates– Happy hour isn’t just for drinking. There are a great many places (Wokano, Lazy Dogs, LARSONS!!) that offer amazing prices on appetizers and small plates during their happy hour in the bar. You can choose a high top table and order soda, then enjoy all the other benefits of the half off or better prices. Plus, no kids in the bar, so you know you’ll have a kid free date!! Choosing a mid week date rather than Fri/Sat means less wait time and crowds, that means less time you are paying your baby sitter. You can also choose to go and just have dessert! My husband and I have done that a few times and it’s so fun! We never have dessert in the house let alone something fancy like a Sisley’s cannoli!
  3. Go somewhere you could spend $0-$5 only– We love to go to Barns & Nobble. Getting to walk around and look at books and magazines makes me feel like a grown up again. There’s also a Starbucks in side most, so if you wanted you could get a coffee (decaf!) and maybe a cookie to share. This way, you are only paying for a sitter. (or if you do #1 then you are paying nothing!!!!! Winning!)movie-night-pin
  4. Have a back yard movie night– This could be so much fun! Pop some popcorn while he gets the mattress and blankets set up, surprise him with his favorite candy, and stream a movie you’ve been wanting to see on the lap top or tablet!!! So easy, so fun! We just might try this one this summer!! 32d7515fc162c407239273adc110b258
  5. Sit outside and make s’mores– One of our table leaders shared how she loves that her husband will make her a s’mores almost every night! You can make them over the burner in the kitchen, a fire pit, or even in a pot outside! Make this fun with cookies instead of graham crackers, Reeces or Nestle Crunch instead of standard chocolate! Then while you sit outside enjoying the kid free treats you didn’t have to sneak in the bathroom, TALK TO EACH OTHER!
  6. Cook together– In our home, I do the majority of the cooking. This does not mean that my husband is not a fantastic cook, just that he doesn’t have the time to cook for us during the week. Why not plan a grown up food menu and evening where you can cook together? Put the kids to bed early, turn movie on in the other room and just enjoy cooking a recipe you found in Souther Living, or watched the Barefoot Contessa make. You can make this more fun by adding a movie and theme. Make an Italian dish together and then watch the Italian Job. Try your hand at Indian food and watch Eat, Pray, Love. You get the gist!
  7. Take Out and Red box– We love going out to eat. However, we have far too many people to take to a restaurant and it never ends well. Most of the time they changed their mind between the time they ordered the mac n cheese and it arrived. Now they want a hamburger. You know how this will end. So, we stopped going to restaurants. Instead, once a week or every other week, my husband and I order take out from one of our favorite places to enjoy after our kids are in bed. This really helps with the bill too! Kids are expensive to feed, and if you are in the restaurant you’ll probably get an appetizer and dessert. We also love movies, but these days it is far too expensive to go see all the movies in the theatre, so now we red box them. It’s so much easier. We get take out and can watch the newest blockbuster or Oscar nominated movie in our pjs. Which is great because after I’ve had my full of Grand Panda I really need my stretchy pants.
  8. Ask for date night gift cards for Christmas– We’ve been doing this for years. Whenever the grandparents or anyone asks what we, my husband and I, would like for Christmas we say movie tickets or restaurant gift cards so we can go on a date. The cost to hire a baby sitter can be a biter pill to swallow, so this helps afford more dates!
  9. Take a staycation– When Pam mentioned getting away a few times a year I know that sounded impossible. If the budget is super tight, one option is a staycation. Drop the kids off at grandmas, or split the kids between the grandmas like we do, and then go home. NO CLEANING, just enjoying one another and saving money on a hotel. Save your money for a few months so you can drive out of town to a nice restaurant to still feel like you “got out of town” but save the hotel fee by sleeping at home! Sleep in (sweet Jesus I don’t even know what that is!), go to brunch (Hey! Plan this over your birthday, then eat at Egg Plantation and your your meal is free! Winning again! BOOM!), see a matinee, walk the mall, drive to the beach with a picnic, all while you haven’t had to pay to go away! Who cares if the kids had chocolate for breakfast and watched Cailou? It happened at grandma’s house and it’ll stay at grandma’s house!

We hope you feel encouraged and excited to try a new date night idea! Do you have any great ideas for dates, or ways to help create intimacy in your marriage?? Comment and let us know!!!

Speaker links

We’ve had some amazing speakers this semester and so blessed to hear their words of wisdom. There were many who had books to sell and websites with great resources.

If you weren’t  able to pick up a book or lost the flier with their website, you are in luck! We’ve got a list of the speakers and their sites for you!!

February 18- Kristie Chrisite “Eliminating Entitlement: Raising Compassionate Kids” kristiechristie.com

March 3- Leanna Tankersley “Finding Breathing Room When Life Feels Overwhelming” leannatankersley.com

March 17- Amber Lia “Angry Mom: Biblical Gentle Response to Your Trigger” motherofknights.com

April 7- Jim Burns “Teaching Your Children Healthy Sexuality” homeword.com

April 21- Pam Farrell “Red Hot Monogamy” love-wise.com

If you’ve missed any of the speakers check out our speaker downloads and listen at home while you wear your yoga pants and drink your microwaved coffee!!

Welcome Back!!

Ladies! Mops is back. I don’t know about you, but it was long awaited over the holidays. So glad to see the familiar faces and some new ones.

As the semester gets rolling we will be doing blog posts and sharing them on the Facebook site and our Instagram account. This way you’ll never miss a thing!! Oh, wait, you didn’t know? We have a new IG account. Search for us, our account name is gbcmops! Both ways are great for keeping in touch with your fellow mops moms at your table and the group as a whole.

Our first speaker’s talk is up on the new link for the semester. Feel free to share with friends, family and those at your table who might have missed the talk. You can find it under the ‘speaker downloads’ page or click here. Let your friends and family know that due to microphone difficulties the audio cuts in and out for the first three mins, but to keep listening because the entire talk was recorded.

We hope you will feel blessed and a sense of community at MOPS! We love walking along side of you and can’t wait to see what this semester holds!

Registration is live!

Hello ladies! Ready for a new semester?! This year we are using an online registration system to help streamline the process and to conserve our resources.

This will also allow you to pay with a credit/debit card.  If you choose online registration, the complete payment is due at the time of submission.  You will only list the children in MOPPETS/homeschool room, not all of your children, which is a change from Fall registration. Here is the link to register!!
If you prefer to turn in a hard copy of your registration instead, you can definitely still do so. We have emailed around a copy of this document, and I’ll also attach it here:
Spring meeting dates are: 2/4, 2/18, 3/3, 3/17, 4/7, 4/21, 5/5, 5/19
Can’t wait to see you all in the spring!!

What to Do Wednesday – Sylmar Wildlife Learning Center

What to Do Wednesday posts are meant to give you fun ideas for things to do in and around SCV. Grab a MOPS friend and try out these great places!

Today’s activity-place is not in Santa Clarita itself, but its *just* outside, in Sylmar. Plan for a 15 minute freeway drive. The Sylmar Wildlife Learning Center is a tiny, cute animal attraction focused on educating the public about animals you’d often find in a zoo. I particularly love the mid-sized cat exhibits, though they also have a bald eagle, sloths, and (one of my favorites) fennec foxes!

DSC_0100

Groupon always has deals for this place, because they’re trying to increase attendance in order to help pay for larger animal exhibits. Right now its $9 for two people, kids 2 and under are free. Last time we were there, we paid a little extra to do a “Fennec Fox Experience” and we got to pet and “hold” one of those cute little critters.

DSC_0186

I like this place because it takes about an hour to get through all the exhibits, the animals are right in front of you and not lost in huge enclosures, and the staff is dedicated to protecting and preserving the natural habitats of endangered species. Go check it out and let us know what you think!

Here’s the address: 16027 Yarnell Street, Sylmar, CA 91342
Website:  http://www.wildlifelearningcenter.com/

Please note that we are not affiliated in any way with the Center. We just thought it was a fun place to go!