The last couple weeks have been full around here. My nieces were in town for a week from IL. I had the chance to take one’s senior pictures. Hard to believe by next May all the toddlers in my wedding will be either in college or college graduates. Wild. My nephews are in town this week from CO and Corbett started 7th grade in a new (AKA INTENSE) program. Football practices have begun. Chris and I snuck away for a couple days together – hiking and rafting. We’ve been swimming, thrifting and working on projects. Of course, there has been mounds of laundry, breaking up fights, piles of dishes and the beginnings of longing for the school routine. We are soaking up the end of summer, but I’m ready for routine!


I came in the kitchen earlier this week to find my son adding a common “mom quote” from our house to our letter board. “That will be 10 burpees”. It made me laugh – I do say that almost daily. Sometimes (quite often) my kids need a little reinforcement to encourage them not to repeat a behavior. Not sure that it works, but the biceps in this house are getting remarkably ripped!

I posted the picture on Instagram and asked others to share things they often say or things their parents said. The list was too good to leave buried in Instagram comments. I thought some of you would enjoy these too (you can read them all on my IG).

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything!

Be kind or be quiet!

Why don’t you go take five laps around the house?

Parking lots are not a place to play, they’re a place to obey.

Take a breath.

Fold your hands (when we are in a public bathroom)

Watch your tone.

Is that how you’d want to be treated?

Stop and think.

You turkey!

Don’t be a turd.

You’ll have to face the consequences.

Don’t leave a mess for someone else to clean up… a blessing.

Be a helper, not a hurter!

Do you girls need an AA meeting? (AA = Attitude Adjustment ~ my mom contributed this one)

You can’t always get what you want.

Patience is waiting without whining.

Would you like it if it was done to you?

Somebody’s spicey! (Teenage boys are always spicey!!!)

For serious!!!

You can’t cuddle your way out of discipline.

If you’re going to be a turd, go lay in the yard.

You’ve lost the freedom to speak.

Be nice or be quiet.

**I** will be the mother here, thank you.

Hey, let me be the mom, you be the sibling.

Scoot your boot.

Hustle your bustle.

Anyone who makes it to the car before me gets ice cream on the way home

I understand. You’re too tired to obey. No problem. Let’s get you to bed.

Go to your bed and count to 100.

An attitude of gratitude.

Many hands make light work.

Eyes on me, ears turned on.

Be a blessing not a burden.

Let us oft speak kind words to each other.

I can be kind to everyone for that is right you see. (So I say to myself) remember this: kindness begins with me.

Obey the first time.

You lost that opportunity.

Thank you for choosing to obey.

Swing hard, run fast.

I’m not an octopus!

Use your power for good.

You get what you get and don’t throw a fit.

Use your words.

We all work til we are all done.


As the new school year approaches, feel free to add your own to the comment section to help the rest of us out (whether through laughing or simply wisdom in words).


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  • JenW - Reading that list made me smile. That’s pretty much the day in the life of a mother!

    I especially liked “Patience is waiting without whining”. I’m not sure I’ve ever defined patience for my kid. I’ll definitely be using that one.

    Also, I do believe that standing in the corner just became laps around the house!

  • Jenw - Also, I really like these type of posts. I like that I get a glimpse into other parenting approaches and people chime in with what works for them. It feels much more supportive than mom forums…which can get judgy and snarky very quick!

  • Cindy - “Go outside and get the stink blowed off you”. My best friend and I grew up in towns 250 miles apart, but both of our mothers said the exact same thing!

  • Southern Gal - My mom always said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” That made your list. She also said her daddy used to tell her, “I could ride to (close town) on those lips” when she pouted.
    My kids didn’t say this much (thank the Lord), but when they said,”That’s not fair!” my husband would always reply with, “Well, it’s not cloudy!”

  • Addie - I say this all the time…

    “fair? who told you life was fair? whoever told you that is a liar, life is not fair”

  • Juli - Do tell… what is the intense homeschooling program that Corbett will be doing this year? My son is also 7th grade, also just surpassed me in height, homeschools, etc…please tell me that your son’s feet stink to high heaven, too! My 15 year old daughter (who also follows your IG feed) and I were just discussing what good friends our boys would be if we lived anywhere near one another! We recently moved to a new state and no longer have the support of the co-op that he literally grew up in. I feel like I’m floundering, this year. I’d love suggestions of what program you use with Corbett.

  • Tiffany - This is a fave of mine too: Use your power for good!

  • Sayonada Y T Laeng - Ha ha — love these. Some things I already say, and some I will be adding to my repertoire. Things I also say are:
    – Let’s go back to bed and start this day over.
    – Keep your hands and feet to yourself.
    – Six feet on the floor (4 for the chair and two actual human feet).

  • Amy D - I find myself saying these two a LOT:
    “Worry about you” (similar to “Hey, let me be the mom, you be the sibling.”)
    “Make Good Choices” or “You have a new opportunity to make good choices now”

  • Katrina - Words, not bodies, please. (for our little guy who likes to communicate by hurling this body at you!)

    Do I need to call the waaaambulance? (for instances of extreme whining.)

    Is anyone bleeding? No? Then go work it out. (for sibling tattling)

  • Trista - The phrase that seems to help my 4-year-old the most is “You get what you get, and you don’t pitch a fit.”

    If you say it in your best Southern accent (which I possess naturally), it rhymes…

  • Molly - I often say “cooperate and appreciate!” and “be kind!” and “go with the flow.”

    I really like your list!

  • Katie Thomassen - My absolute go-to phrase that I have used around the house and now with my swim team…”Suck it up, Buttercup”. My swimmers even got me a t-shirt with the saying on it. I have it hanging on at least two walls in my house. The secret comes in practicing what you preach, however, and it can be a vicious circle! Also, you have to be sure that the smallest ones know what you are implying by the term “suck it up”…my smallest swimmers kept sucking in their little guts every time I would say it until I explained that it meant they were just supposed to endure a little discomfort (aka “toughen up”)in the name of getting to their goals! (but I still laugh about that!)

  • Brittany - One I hear come out of my mouth a lot is “When I ask you to do something I actually mean it!” ??

  • naama - when i was young and complained to my mom that i’m bored, she used to say: well, bang your head against a wall until a good idea comes out…

  • Chris - My Dad used to write letters to me in college and always included the saying “you can’t soar with the eagles if you hoot with the owls”.

  • Carrie - “Leave it….” Then the kids reply “better than you found it!”
    “Work before play” then the kids reply “makes for a happier day!”
    “you were made for hard work!”
    “Those who do not work… not eat!”
    “Think before you speak”

    Love these! So fun to read what other moms say!

  • Mary - “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”

  • Jenn - I love this. One I think a lot but haven’t said (yet):

    Do not start with me. You will not win.

  • Anne Marie - I love these! A few things I say that my 4 boys will probably remember…
    “What’s the magic word?” {“Please”} – My Dad always said that to us & now I say it to my kids.
    “Quit crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.” – Another one from my Dad!
    “Once was one time too many.”
    “You don’t talk to your Mama that way!”
    If I ask a question and they say “Yeah” or “Yes” I say “What?” or “Excuse me?” until they say “Yes, ma’am!” (We’re Southerners, y’all!) ?

  • Stephanie - You are old enough your wants won’t hurt ya. (My dad said it all the time when I was growing up!)

  • Debi - I think my kids would say the phrases I say ALL the time would be
    ***People are more important than things. (if something is being fought over, or something gets broken… the relationship is ALWAYS the priority)
    ***Kindness costs you nothing. So be kind.
    ***Assume the best. (of each other! Your siblings are NOT always out to get you!) HA HA HA! Or are they??? :)

  • Suzie Bauman - There are ALWAYS consequences for our actions. Both good and bad.

  • Amber - I think I need to adopt, “I’m not an octopus.” Love it!

  • Cindy B - “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride!”

  • Ezzie3 - How about some Japanese proverbs:

    “Even monkeys fall from their tree sometimes.” (everybody makes mistakes)

    “After the rain, the earth hardens.” (adversity builds character)

    “Stumbling seven times but recovering 8.” (perseverance is better than defeat)

  • Karen B - I have no idea what my children remember that I said to them. But I sure wish I had this resource when they were growing up. There are some great ones!!

  • jw - “I cannot hear whining” When he was younger it was “I cannot hear whining. Try again in a different voice”. But now I can just say I cannot hear whining”. Nothing pushes my buttons faster than a child whining at me!

  • Angela - Patience means waiting for things you want without being angry or upset.
    We don’t eat until everyone has been seated and everyone has been served.
    You can do hard things.
    Are you being a first-time listener?
    Do what you have been asked to do the first time, the right way, and with a happy heart.
    Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. (Aka You are not getting a reward EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. lol)

  • Angie - My husband often tells my daughter, “only you can control your attitude.”

  • Katie - Our family mantras are “Celebrate your sibling/sister” (meaning, be happy for their successes, blessings, and cheer them on), and “Rainbows, not rain” (when we have little ones that wish to “rain on their sibling’s parade”, or qualify their success/good experience)

  • jules - Oh my gosh… love them all! Makes me smile and giggle and know that I’m not alone in raising kids. Thanks for sharing some of those – very original. My favorite: If you’re going to be a turd, go lay in the yard.

  • Sharla - Love the list. I need to add some of these! :) As a child I would always tell my dad (when I was saying something that I didn’t want his feedback/response to) – “I wasn’t talking to you.” and my dad always responded, “I’m talking to you.” I find myself being my dad a lot!!

  • Hannah - I have to tell my kids alllllll the time…”Use your words, not your whines.”

  • Casey - this is fun, I’ve said many of the things on the list to my kids!

  • Kerry - Making sure they hear and obey;
    Me “what do you say?”
    Kid “yes mom”
    Me “that’s yes who?”
    Kid “yes, sir mommy”
    Me “thank you”

  • Sherry - “Every action has an equal and natural reaction [consequence]. Choose wisely.” Perhaps that was as much for me, to remind myself to let her “suffer” the consequences without rescuing her or fixing things for her. Sometimes so hard to do!

  • Carla - Ashleyann, can I please ask do you use a specific planner? you seem to have so many things on the go and with your love of pretty paper whether there is anything you recommend to keep my world in some sort of order?

  • Happy Friday! - From China Village - […] mom quotes to remember for when Maya’s older. I really loved be kind or be quiet. Goes well with When […]

  • { l y d I a } - “Tomorrow starts tonight

    I think I’ll go embroider that on a pillow. ?

  • Rachel De Haven - I have said so many of these… including don’t be a turd! Hahaha, whatever works, right?

  • Alix - I didn’t realize but I say well that is just the way life is. My 4 year old repeated this back to me one day when I was telling him I was annoyed about something. Well mom that is just the way life is sometimes.
    I also say a phrase my grandma use to say. “Tute sweet” it means hurry up. It just rolls off with a sweeter sound than hurry up.

  • Pam - Get it together!

  • currently : september - […] these “mom” (mum) quotes via under the […]

A year ago my friend Ruth’s boys gave my boys a new book…Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction. I know the name might raise some eyebrows, so lets move past that. Really it is a book for little MacGyvers! Page after page is full of ideas of how to take everyday items and turn them into something small and fun. My 10 year old recently ordered a second book by the author and every table in my house is a reflection of how much they are enjoying both books.

8.16guycrafting-01The boys made me a list of items they needed. Most we found around the house, but we did head to the dollar store to pick up a few more. Their building process includes a scroll saw, hot glue guns, matches, box knives…not necessarily things for tiny guys, but perfect for my crew. It is pretty awesome to walk around a corner and see them working together and creating.8.16guycrafting-038.16guycrafting-048.16guycrafting-058.16guycrafting-068.16guycrafting-078.16guycrafting-088.16guycrafting-09From experience, I know it can be hard sometimes to find things boys enjoy that are outside the realm of nerf guns, legos, video games or books. If you have a boy (I’d say 8 years old and up) you are looking for a fun gift for…I’d recommend one of these books accompanied by a gift card to an office supply store!

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  • Abby - My boy would absolutely love those books!

  • Emily - Thanks for this! You recommended King of Random a while ago and it’s changed my son’s life for the better. He and my husband have worked together on so many projects. I will definitely pick up these books!

  • AshleyAnn - Emily – if they like King of Random, they will definitely like these!

  • Shannon - My two boys will love these books! Thanks for sharing – I’m going to have to look up King of Random too

  • Byron - WHY?!? Why were these not available when I was a boy? Life is so unfair…. 😉

  • Lisa M. - What a great book! My son would love this. Thanks for the recommendation!

    Also, maybe sometime you could do another post about your IKEA cabinets? I know you did a detailed post about them at one point, but I’m having a hard time locating it here. Thanks!

  • Tonia - Question for you… we have had this book for several years but I’ve put it away while we try to replenish every simple household item that the boys have disassembled to use to create. This was my biggest frustration. It seemed that every useful tool in the house was garnished for a project… all the pens taken apart, all the pencils destroyed, all the paperclips bent, and books cut apart. While I LOVE the creativity, I couldn’t figure out a good system. Do you keep a stash of “trash to treasure” items that they can only use to work with? We love this book, but it just needed to take a little time out while I gathered my thoughts. :)

  • Emily Bartnikowski - oh my goodness! We LOVE these kinds of books! The Don’t Let The Pigeon Finish This Activity Book was a huge hit after Christmas and I’ve been snatching up everything I can see that might be similar since then. We’re currently making a sit-in airplane out of shipping boxes from a book that is called (I believe) The Cardboard Box Book….my guys are 6 and 4 — so maybe that’s a good one for your girls? I’ll add these MacGuyver books (I LOVED MacGuyver!) to our TBR list for when they’re a little more confident with sharp objects. Thank you!

  • Amy Arroyo - Perfect timing! We have a birthday party coming up. Used your link and just placed an order! He’s going to LOVE this!!

  • MH - Got it at the library today. It’s terrific! Thank you for the suggestion.

  • Lacey Meyers - SO fun! My boys were looking over my shoulder as I read this post and they all agreed this is a book they MUST have. 😉 They love to make creations on their own so I’m excited to see what they come up with with some guidance! :)

For the past several years my sister has drawn on a large chalkboard in my living room. Usually it is a short quote I want my crew to be reminded of or think about often. I leave the quotes up for a long time (typically over a year) because I am guessing Lesley doesn’t want to come over every week to change it up and my handwriting isn’t so pretty. When I saw letter boards by Letterfolk – I thought it would be such a perfect addition to my house AND I could change it often – you know I like change!

letterfolk-01letterfolk-02I wanted to hang the board up immediately when it arrived, but goodness it took a while to get all the letters out! Using small, sharp pair of scissors will help you get the tiniest specks of extra plastic off. I need to get a plastic compartment box to organize all the letters.letterfolk-04The kids have been discussing what they want to put on the sign. Right now it looks like our board will be full of humor and wit. We can never have too much laughter in our house!letterfolk-06letterfolk-07Every now and then I get something that I know will become a family treasure. I have a feeling (and hope) for decades to come this board will be full of messages that cause my crew to look at a life with a little more humor, inspiration and hope.  I think I might attempt to take a picture of it each time the message is changed. Wouldn’t that be a fun photo book to look back on one day?! I’m not too good with keeping up with projects, but I am going to give that idea a try.

You can find Letterfolk here:

Website | Instagram | Pinterest


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  • Laura J - I think it would be fun to give each of the kids a turn and let each one decide what to put up there. I suspect you might have a week or more about beans or gas…?

  • Cathy S. - Ashley I like this idea. Was wondering what size your board is?

  • Jennifer - You could just always make sure you take an Instagram photo every time you change the board, then do a chat book! ?

  • Jenn - love this. thanks for sharing where you got it. quotes are fun.

  • Amanda - Yes, always remember to share on Insta! :)

  • Deborah Melton - Yes, I would like to know the size of yours as well


  • Maureen - I really like this idea! I’d like to get my Grands involved in something like this and some sort of photo book. Lovely share- Thanks!

  • Jenny B. - Love these boards! I’ve been wanting one for a while. I might need to put it on my Christmas list. :)

  • AshleyAnn - Deborah – it is the Writer

  • AshleyAnn - Cathy – it is the Writer

  • Roxanne Blunier - Sorry you probably get tired of questions like this but can I ask what color you painted that awesome green piece of furniture? Is it a color I can purchase somewhere or a color you mixed up? I love it! Thanks!!