Thursday, October 29, 2009

Two of the best sentences my ears will ever hear!

2 Sentences, 8 words

Dot has a dog. Dog has a hat.

Doesn't seem like much when you read it.

But when you hear your 4 year old daughter read it all by herself?

Utterly awesome, amazing and exciting!!!!!

I posted last Friday about kid milestones rarely mentioned. The 1st sentence they read out loud to you without any help, has got to be one of my absolute favorite milestones!!

I am especially excited for my daughter because she really and truly loves books and this big step into reading will unlock a huge world of knowledge and entertainment available to her for the rest of her life!

Find more Friday Funnies at Homesteader's Heart, Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life, 7 Quick Takes Friday at Conversion Diary.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

13 Ways God Has Spoken

Okay, I feel like I'm wading into deep waters here, but I'm going to share anyway.

One of my big reasons for keeping this blog, for investing my time in it, is because I hope it will someday, when the time is right, minister to my children.

There are many, many aspects of faith that my children are too young to digest right now. And the details around the concept of God speaking to them, like I shared in this post a couple days ago, definitely falls into that category of something I want to convey to them when they are older, but my diagnosis with cancer 5 years ago taught me (among many other things) that we have no guarantees about how long our stay here on earth will be.

I used to teach a Bible study for middle school kids, and I think that is just about the right age to delve into this topic in a very practical, real-life way.

So, to expound on my "God speaks" topic from earlier this week and record it for the day when my children are ready to hear it, here are 13 ways I feel God has "spoken" in my life:

1. His Word - this means the Bible. Open it, read it, study it. Over and over again. It is the biggest, guaranteed way God can speak to you. You will always learn something new! Use it to test all the other ways listed below to determine if God is really speaking. God will never "tell" you anything that contradicts what He has said in the Bible.

2. Daily Prayer Time - and not just once a day, but often throughout the day "talk" to God. Praising Him for good things and asking for help and wisdom for the hard things.

3. Nature - covered here on Tuesday, but nature reveals God in tons of ways.

4. Sermons - God has gifted and inspired many amazing Bible teachers. You can even download and listen to sermons from the Internet these days! ** Remember always test that what you are hearing is Biblical. The Bible warns that there will be false teachers (2 Peter 2:1-3)!

5. Circumstances - I prayed for my entire pregnancy with my 1st child about if I should go back to work after the baby was born. God showed me many subtle signs along the way, but spoke really clearly when at the end of my maternity leave it was pretty clear that if I returned to work as a consultant for the company I was working for, that I'd be staffed on an out of town project 2 time zones away from my home and my 12 week old baby. Those circumstances made it very clear that I was not going back to work!

6. Problems - As hard as they are, God does use problems to teach us.

7. Music - I cannot even count the number of Christian songs that have ministered to me!

8. Other people sharing what they have learned from God - again, be careful that you check everything against God's word, but God really can show you a whole lot through other people's wisdom. Seek out Bible discussion groups, blogs, Christian books, etc. that discuss the Bible and living as a Christian in today's world.

9. Answered prayer

10. Unanswered prayer

11. The Holy Spirit - some people refer to this as that "little voice inside" that tells you to do or not do something

12. "Coincidences" - strange things that happen, like praying about something and getting in your car and hearing a song that so perfectly relates, or sitting in church and realizing the sermon is on just exactly the topic you are struggling with.

13. Husbands - Girls, don't bark at me about this one, but I really believe, if you are married, that God is going to speak big things through your husband. 1 Cor. 11:3, "I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ." God has ordained men as the head of the household. This means when He wants to lead your family down a certain path, He will guide your husband, so you as the wife are to follow rather than trying to take the reigns yourself!

That last point is really a hard one to understand and accept, but so important. Just read Genesis ch. 16 for proof of how bad things can go when we wives try to take control of a situation that God has worked out between Him and your husband!

I know in my family I lead on daily things like what the children will wear to school, what we'll eat for dinner, and what kid birthday parties we'll attend. So it may appear that I "wear the pants", but for decisions that really affect the future of our family, I really try to just support my husband without voicing a strong opinion myself, so he is guiding the decision for our family.

A few years ago we faced a big decision about moving to a new home. We were happy with our old home, but it was not zoned to an elementary school we wanted to send our kids to. Instead of telling my husband that we should move, where we should move and just exactly what kind of house I wanted, I researched our options.

I looked into the magnet programs at other local public elementary schools that we could apply for our children to get into without moving. I looked into the costs of private school. As my husband and I talked over our 3 options of taking our chances getting into a magnet program, paying for private school, or moving to an area where we'd be zoned to a good school, I truly was willing to go with any of the options. I didn't have, nor express a strong opinion about any 1 of the options, and felt sure God would work everything out no matter which option we went with. And I prayed for clarity for my husband to ultimately make the decision.

My husband went to the computer, plugged in the odds of our getting into certain magnet programs, the cost of private school tuition times 3 kids, and emerged from the spreadsheet about 10 minutes later declaring, "We've gotta move!"

I am so thankful he lead with that decision and many others in our 10 year marriage!

My husband needed a new car (as in his wouldn't even pass inspection) a few months ago and I said, "Go, get whatever you want." The salesperson was incredulous that my husband was able to buy a car without his wife so much as seeing it!

And now as God is steering our family down a particular road for our future. I am confident that it is God speaking because He is speaking through my husband. And do you know what? It is louder than I've ever heard Him speak directly to me!

Find more Thankful Thursday here and Thursday Thirteen here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Toddler Meets the Pumpkin Monster

When Toddler meets "The Pumpkin Monster" it is "The Pumpkin Monster" who should be afraid!

He lost 2 gloves and possibly some stuffing during his encounter with my little guy!

Find more
Wordless or Wordful Wednesday.

Yummy Icing You Can Freeze

I love this buttercream frosting recipe (click on the words to get to it on! It is really yummy and makes a ton, so the last time I made it, I froze some.

This week I wanted to make Halloween sugar cookies with the kids, so I thawed out the icing. The kids and I whipped up the cookies and baked them. And then added some food coloring to the icing to make it orange. The kids had so much fun turning the white to orange and icing the cookies, and of course eating them!

It was a very easy (well as easy as baking with 3 little kids can be) baking project with the kids because the frosting was already made! I am amazed that the icing froze and thawed without losing taste or texture!

Now I'm going to keep some of that frosting in the freezer at all times for whipping up easier batches of cupcakes and cookies!

Check out more Works for Me Wednesday.

Monday, October 26, 2009

God Speaks

This past Sunday I taught a 4 year old Sunday School class the story of 1 Samuel 3. That's the story where God talks to Samuel as a little boy while he is sleeping -- you know the one where he keeps running to Eli thinking Eli called him, until Eli finally tells Samuel God must be trying to talk to him.

The kids loved watching me pull on a pajama shirt over my clothes, lay down on the floor with my pillow and blanket and pretend snore, while they shouted out, "Samuel! Samuel!" And I pray they left having internalized the concept of listening to God and obeying Him.

But seriously, the whole concept of God speaking is hard for adults to grasp!

Actually the topic is one I've thought a lot about over the last few years. As a Christian you hear people often say, "God told me. . ." or "God showed me. . ."

But, really, how does that happen? Do you believe it does? Does God speak to people in this day and age like he did many people in the Bible?

I believe yes. I don't think God has ever audibly spoken to me as He did to Samuel. But His message is so loudly spoken, even so.
In Genesis ch. 9, God gave Noah and his family and their descendants (that's all of us) the rainbow in the sky as a sign of the promise that He will never again destroy the whole earth with flood waters.

As I was thinking about God speaking to us through nature 2 weeks ago, I reread that Genesis ch. 9 account of God putting the rainbow in the sky. And, I was thankful that God still gives us that beautiful display of His promise and reminder that He keeps His promises.

Then just a couple hours later, my 4 year old daughter suddenly started running a high fever that came on with no warning. With the Swine Flu going around like crazy, I immediately called the pediatrician, who said we could come right in.

I hauled my 3 kids through the rain to his office. At 4PM they took my daughter's temp., it was even higher -- 104.2!

The doctor was pretty sure she had flu and did the rapid test. As I waited the 5 minutes for the results. I began to feel a little panicked.

I mean with all the headlines of kids dying of H1N1, it is scary!

But before I could hyperventilate in the pediatrician's office, I looked out the window and guess what I saw?

A rainbow!

A beautiful, vivid rainbow across the entire sky!

I pointed my 3 kids to the window and as they all gazed in amazement, I thought, "That rainbow being there right now, only 3 hours after I read and reflected on the rainbow given in Noah's time, is no coincidence. It is supposed to remind me that God keeps His promises. And He is in control of this situation. I am just to trust Him.

My daughter tested negative for flu, but apparently that rapid test only catches about 50 % of the cases. The doctor treated her with Tamiflu anyway, in addition to antibiotics, and steroids for her cough (that also came on super suddenly). She didn't run any more fever after that day. I kept her home for a week as a precaution.

I found out 2 days later that a boy in my daughter's preschool class had tested positive for H1N1, and several kids were out sick, so likely she did have the Swine Flu.

My 2 year old started with the cough and fever 4 days later and by then, very thankfully, the pediatrician treated the rest of our family with Tamiflu!

I'm thankful for a pediatrician that always sees my kids right away when I call, thankful the H1N1 was fairly mild in our household.

And thankful for a God who speaks!

This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge.

Check out Gratituesday and Tuesdays Unwrapped.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

You wouldn't believe it if I told you!

Somehow we are never at a loss for Not Me! Monday blog material around here! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have NOT been doing this week!

At our house:

When I walked into the playroom one day last week I did NOT step in hundreds of tiny, multicolored, grain-like things. As I scanned the room that was coated in the stuff, I really couldn't for the life of me figure out what it was! I looked at Toddler and asked, "What is all this stuff?" Toddler did NOT explain it all in one word, "beanbag".
Oh yes! A beanbag game was recently introduced into our playroom and a beanbag did NOT meet its demise. It is NOT absolutely amazing how many grains fit in one small beanbag!!

Considering the morning beanbag mess, Toddler absolutely did NOT again coat his room in powder during his naptime that afternoon! I did NOT have to laugh at the sight of the powdered truck, despite the mess. And considering that my toddler has pulled the coating-his-room-in-baby-powder trick before, there is NO WAY I accidentally left the powder on top of his tall dresser again after a diaper change, rather than putting it in the top bathroom cabinet where I've been keeping it since the last incident!!!

My daughter did NOT create all these crafts during one 3 hour stay at preschool this past week. Talk about crafts gone wild! I don't think I could make that much in 3 days, much less 3 hours!

And my 4 year old daughter did NOT get yet another gift from The Boy Friend. This gift was NOT created at his home and delivered to my daughter the next morning on our way into preschool. It was NOT in a homemade gift bag and did NOT appear to be a crown and jewelry that he made for her! My husband is NOT having a hard time with the idea of his 4 year old daughter getting jewelry gifts from a boy!!

I did NOT encourage her to write him a thank-you card and thus create another young love scene at preschool the next day when she handed him her homemade card in the hallway!

Sunday Scripture Sharing - Pumpkin Family Devotional

Today's Topic is:

Having a joyful heart and a cheerful face!

Together with your children make faces for your pumpkins. Either carve them, or if your kids are too young for knives, or the mess scares you, use stickers to create different kinds of faces (you can do two faces per pumpkin, one on front, one on back).

Proverbs 15:13a, "A joyful heart makes a cheerful face"

Ask your kids what kind of faces the pumpkins have -- scary, silly, happy, mad? Ask them to demonstrate the different facial expressions themselves. Then ask them what kind of face they like to see other people make at them. Chances are they'll answer "happy". Let the kids know that having a "happy" or "cheerful" face is a gift, a blessing, to everyone who sees it. Read the Bible verse, Prov. 15:13a. Then talk about what makes a heart joyful. My son answered things like birthdays, or getting toys that he really wants. But, I challenged him with how he could be joyful even if he didn't get a toy he wanted.

Dear God, help us to have joyful hearts and cheerful faces. Amen.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

7 Kid Milestones Rarely Mentioned

All the parenting books and magazines talk about the kid milestones of rolling over, sitting up, crawling, walking , and talking. But I hardly ever hear about these 7 milestones that are really quite life-changing from the mom perspective:

1. They can be in a forward facing carseat
When: 1 year old and 20 lbs
Why it's golden: much easier snack or toy hand-offs, and for long car trips the baby can now face the DVD movie his older sibs are watching
2. They stop putting everything in their mouths
When: depends on the kid and teething, usually between 12 and 24 months
Why it's golden: a little less worry about all the small pieces to older sibling's toys lying around and all the germs swapped during playdates
3. They can buckle themselves into their car booster seat
When: around 4 years old
Why it's golden: one less kid to buckle and unbuckle
4. They can buckle their younger siblings into their car seats
When: 5 or 6 years old
Why it's golden: less kids to buckle and unbuckle
5. They can shower themselves
When: 5 years old
Why it's golden: less labor intensive bedtime routine

6. They can get the keys from you and unlock the back door
When: 6 years old
Why it's golden: No more fumbling to unlock the door while juggling bags, cups, and a toddler
7. They use a napkin instead of wiping their mouths on their shirts
When: not sure, my 6 year old is still not there
Why it's golden: less scrubbing of clothes with the stain stick and a toothbrush!
**Please note: The age estimations on these milestones are not at all scientific, unless you call my observation of my own kids and some friends' kids scientific, so please don't quote my statistics to your pediatrician!

You know what I really love about these milestones? They are not likely to make you feel all weepy about your babies growing up too quickly. I mean who ever looks back and says, "Remember when the kids used to use their shirts for napkins? I really miss that!"

And seriously, you people with kids in college or beyond, don't comment and tell me you miss that! Your sweet, cuddly non-crawling, non-walking, non-talking babies? Yes, absolutely you miss all that! But the shirt napkin? No way!

Find more Friday Funnies at Homesteader's Heart, Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life, Hooked on Fridays at Hooked on Houses, 7 Quick Takes Friday at Conversion Diary.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How many do you have in your pantry?

Prepare yourselves. There is an utterly informative, riveting, edge-of-your-seat, exciting post to follow this message. Seriously, you are guaranteed to be left asking, "We care because why?"!!!

13 Cereals in my pantry right now
  1. Cranberry Almond Crunch
  2. Kashi Go Lean Crunch Original
  3. MultiGrain Cheerios
  4. Honey Nut Cheerios
  5. Life
  6. Kroger Brand Granola cereal without rasins
  7. Shredded Wheat
  8. Rice Crispies
  9. Dora the Explorer Cereal
  10. McCann's Irish Oatmeal
  11. Cream of Wheat
  12. Cracklin' Oat Bran
  13. Grape-Nuts
We do love us some cereal around here! I even eat it twice a day -- breakfast and late-night snack (like right now at 10:46PM while I type this!) Everyone has 2 or 3 or 4 kinds they like to rotate among times 5 people living here and only a few of our favorites overlap, thus the reason for the endless variety. I know, you were thinking I just haven't clean out my pantry in a year or three, and that would be a good guess, but no, not the reason for 13 different kinds of cereal in my pantry, right now.

Now I'm done, and I'm thankful you stopped by and very sorry I can't give you back the 2 minutes of your life you just spent reading this useless information!

But if you are a cereal addict like us, please share your favorite and just how many do you have in your pantry?

Find more Thankful Thursday here and Thursday Thirteen here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Getting your kids to play together

My kids are 6, 4, and 2 years old. They are each other's favorite playmates, and I love that! I want them to play well together, to enjoy their siblings, but I have noticed they kind of have to be taught or conditioned to play well together.

It is not all bliss, we are still figuring it out, but here is what I have noticed works to help siblings play well together:
1. Give them opportunity - I think this is huge, you must allow time for unstructured play among your own kids. If they are constantly in school, other activities, or with same-age friends, then there is no time for bonding with their brothers & sisters.
2. Let them play alone some - Give your kids some space to play without you in the exact same room all the time. Leave them in a child-proofed area and go work on something in another room where you can still hear what is going on with their play. Often my kids work things out better when I'm not right there. They attempt to solve their own disputes rather than coming right to me.
3. Ask a lot of questions - When there are disputes I don't take sides right away. Rather I ask them a lot of questions like, "What happened?" "Did you ask him nicely to give it back?" "Did you ask her nicely if you could have a turn?" "Was that kind?" "How would you feel if your sister did that to you?" Or in the picture above my older 2 kids turned the bottom bunk bed into a tent, but were not allowing their 2 year old brother to play in it with them. He came crying to me and all I had to ask the older kids was, "Did you build the tent on his bed?" They did and that question was all it took for them to realize they needed to let him play!
4. And then there is my favorite question - "Can you guys work it out or do I need to work it out for you?" Of course, my working it out would be not fun, like taking away the contested toy so nobody could play with it.
5. Another tactic - if there starts to be a lot of squabbling, it becomes chores time. I do not usually directly say, "Since you are fighting so much, you must do chores." But I think subconsciously they realize the cause and effect -- "hmmm, if we play nicely Mom let's us play; if we argue, she makes us fold laundry with her."
6. Last, we talk a lot about what a blessing it is to have siblings to play with. "Isn't it so special that God gave you a sister and a brother?"

Find more Works for Me Wednesday and Wordless or Wordful Wednesday.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Toddler Tackles the Cookie Jar

I love the mind of the toddler. How it works, how they learn, the things they think of. While the toddler stage is exhausting and messy, you cannot help but smile, because they are so cute and so hilarious! I am grateful to watch as they become "real people" with voices and abilities and opinions and wills and desires and plans.

I don't usually have a cookie jar. When I bake cookies they go into a covered cookie pan or tupperware container. It is a very rare day (as in once or twice a year) that I will buy the Oreos or Chips Ahoy at the store, so there is typically no need for a cookie jar.

But a few years ago I received a Halloween cookie jar as a gift. My husband and kids had fun over the weekend dragging out a few decorations, including the cookie jar.

So yesterday I filled the jar with the Halloween candy I've already bought. And today?

Well, today we did not talk at all about the cookie jar or candy, but after we returned from picking my 6 year old up from school, Toddler walked in the house straight for a breakfast room chair. He had a mission.

I noticed the determination and confidence in his step and stopped to watch what he was up to.

He drug the chair right over to the counter with the cookie jar, climbed up, and reached his little hand out and lifted the lid!

At that point I had to grab my camera to catch the cookie monster, or candy monster in this case, in the act.

And that my friends, is yet another reason why I admire the mind, the spirit, the determination of the toddler.

And also why I don't usually have a cookie jar!

This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge.

Check out Gratituesday, Tackle it Tuesday, and Tuesdays Unwrapped.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Good Thing It's Just A Game

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have NOT been doing this week!

Around our house. . .
It's NOT me who set up a picnic lunch in the living room in front of the TV for my kids, just so my husband and I would not miss a minute of watching a big football game on Saturday!

It was NOT my 6 year old who suited up in the opposing team jersey and helmet and gleefully cheered that team on to the irritation of his daddy. Our son is NOT at all a rebel child even at the age of six!

When his big brother put on the helmet, my toddler did NOT start fussing, "Where's my helmet!" over and over again. Since Toddler does not have a football helmet, we were desperately trying to think of something to stop the fussing. I did NOT have the idea that maybe he'd be happy with his bike helmet. It did NOT work like charm!

A picture of my toddler NOT watching football in his bike helmet!
Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Worth Checking Out!

Click on over -- you'll be glad you did!

1. These girl's boots are on sale at Target right now. I got these for my 4 year old daughter a few weeks ago and she loves them! It has not really been cold enough in our part of the world to wear them yet, but my girl has not let that minor detail stop her. I must say the boots are really cute!

2.This post of Lysa's is so incredibly funny and yet leaves you with an amazing message of faith. And yes, I absolutely believe in demons disguised as chips and salsa posters!

3. Complete Organizing Solutions has some great kid room & bathroom inspection checklists you can download. And I thought my son was the only elementary-aged kid that needs to be reminded to flush!

4. Here is a super message from Antique Mommy on gratitude and contentment.

5. Remember I'm trying to buy less processed food, well, Quaker Chewy Granola bars used to be a staple around here, but I made these homemade granola bars recently (yes, while my toddler was licking Cayenne Pepper) and they are really yummy. They could completely replace the store-bought if I could just make the time to whip up a batch every few days!

6. Speaking of made-from-scratch, I've made these whole wheat crackers a few times now and they really are easy and good!

7. Last, but not least (my 4 year old just used this phrase today, hilarious to hear her say it!), this post from a long time ago on SimpleMom, completely changed my organizing life! I realized my exact problem. I was failing to organizes spaces in my home because I didn't think I had the time or money to do it perfectly. Now, I strive to just make it a little better and I find I'm tackling a lot more projects due to lower expectations!

Find more Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life and 7 Quick Takes Friday at Conversion Diary.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Want to be thankful for your problems?

In 13 words I give you a new perspective:

A Chinese proverb: “Well-fed people have many problems, hungry people have only one.”

Find more
Thankful Thursday here and Thursday Thirteen here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Great Toys

Can you believe it is already mid-October? The Christmas season will be here before we know it! I don't know about you but I'm always looking for ideas of great toys to get my kids, so money is not wasted on a toy that will just become clutter in the house.

To me great toys are toys that my kids really play with every day for years, toys that last & don't require batteries, toys that evoke imaginative play, and toys that I will not mind seeing around the house.

In our household of 3 kids under 7 (2 boys and 1 girl), we have found some toys that I definitely classify in the "Great Toys" category. I'm going to share a few today and more in future posts.
  • Manhattan Toy Baby Stella Doll in Peach - this very sweet baby doll has a completely soft body and very cool magnetic mouth so the pacifier sticks on. You can also buy a magnetic bottle with the separate feeding set. There are clothes and accessories sold separately so you can add on later. My daughter and my niece both LOVE their Baby Stellas!
  • Doll Changing Table - I had no idea how much my daughter would love this when I got it for her, but at least once a day she changes a doll on it!
  • Viking Toy 15-pc. Chubbies Bucket - these very durable vehicles are so fun for little ones. They roll really easily, can be attached to make trains, and travel easily in their bucket. I often take this plus some action figures to entertain my boys during my daughter's dance class. They drive around their "guys" for the entire hour!
  • Little Tikes Classic Pickup Truck - This very cool looking ride-on was a birthday gift for my oldest when he turned 1 and it has been very well used by him and the 2 younger siblings behind him. We had the truck inside for a while and now it is on the back patio. The kids love to get in and out over and over, pretend going to church & the grocery store, and haul things in the back (in the picture below my little guy is hauling swimsuits!) Another child often rides in the back bed of the truck making it a 2 person toy. This truck is a hit with all my kids' friends that come over, too!

What great toys have you discovered in your home?

Find more Works for Me Wednesday here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lessons Learned Sooner Rather Than Later

This picture was taken around 8:35PM last Thursday night.

Do you see that orange folder there on the chair?

It's my 6 year old's homework folder filled with his homework packet that is due back at school the next morning. A packet of 8 worksheets that came home on Monday, to be returned on Friday. He worked on it a little each day all through the week, very diligently without my nagging him.

After finishing the last worksheet, he put the homework packet into his folder, but didn't put the folder in his backpack.

Now he is in bed and I am staring at the folder.

My son and I have talked several times about setting up his backpack with everything he needs for the next day, the night before.

I know the folder is in danger of being overlooked there on the chair in the hustle and bustle of the morning.

I want so much to swoop in and fix the situation.

It would be so easy, only taking about 2 seconds of my time, to put the folder into his backpack for him.

It might even feel good, like I was taking care of my baby, protecting him from a potentially bad and uncomfortable situation at school without his homework.

But I don't do it.

Because I don't want to have to do it for the next 11 years.

Because someday he'll go off to college and I won't be there to do it for him.

Because the consequence for forgetting 1st grade homework is so much more bearable than the consequences for forgetting a high school term paper, or important notes for a key client at his grown-up job.

Because I remember the one time I didn't have my homework at school. I was mortified and it never happened again.

Because sometimes the consequences life can deliver teach the lesson so much better than a mom can.

Because I believe sometimes being a mom is about the things you
don't do for your kids.

Will he be grateful someday?

Probably not, but this mothering job is not about thanks!

Check out Gratituesday, Tackle it Tuesday, and Tuesdays Unwrapped.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

If Christopher Columbus Were a Homemaker

In honor of Columbus Day and Not Me! Monday, (a blog carnival created by MckMama for everyone to showcase what they have NOT been up to this week), I am listing discoveries Christopher Columbus would surely have made if he had been a homemaker.

The following new-worldesque discoveries were NOT made by me in the past week:
  • A bag of grapes under the 3rd row in the vehicle. Exact age uncertain - more than a few days old, less than a few months old.

  • A pair of toddler-sized Crocs in the pantry, right next to the granola bars!

  • The exact crockpot recommended by Consumer Reports on sale for $35 at Target when it is regularly $50 the very same week the old crockpot developed a crack and needed to be replaced!

  • A toddler with extremely gooey, greasy hair and his 4 year old sister holding the Aquaphor ointment (really thick lotion)!

  • Columbus was nothing if not a problem solver, so after a shampooing with Dawn dishwashing liquid and regular shampoo, if Toddler's hair were still greasy, Columbus would definitely have just covered it with a hat for the next few days!

Happy Columbus Day! May your week be filled with exciting new discoveries, hopefully of the less hair-raising variety!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Boy friend or Boyfriend?

My 4 year old daughter has a boy friend. Not a boyfriend, but a friend that is a boy. To protect the completely innocent I will not use his real name but just call him "boy friend". He is in her class at school and they play together every day.

At first when my daughter began talking about this boy I wondered if the liking was one-sided. But then I saw boy friend's mom before preschool pick-up and mentioned that my daughter had been talking about playing a lot with her son at school and before I could even finish the sentence, his mother said, "Oh my goodness he talks about her all the time! It is so cute!"

It is getting pretty serious. He made her this picture and gave it to her last week.

My daughter is sandwiched between two rather close-in-age brothers, one older, and one younger, so I rationalized that it is totally normal for her to feel more comfortable around boys and thus strike up this best-friendship with a boy rather than a girl in her class. And reminded myself (and my husband) that it was a boy friend with a very definite space in between the two words. The difference is a finer thing! A friend that just so happens to be a boy. I mean they are 4!!

But then, after I helped my daughter get ready for school the other day in an outfit complete with a new pink headband and sparkly princess barrettes (I couldn't convince my daughter to choose either the barrettes
or the headband, she insisted on both!), she looked at me with all seriousness and asked, "Do you think boy friend will like my outfit?"

OH MY WORD! If this is 4 years old, I know I can't handle 14!

We will now begin researching all-girls schools to send her to for the rest of her schooling!

Find more Friday Funnies at Homesteader's Heart and Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Because a Child Needs You

November is right around the corner and it is National Adoption Month. November 8th is Orphan Sunday.

13 Reasons to use these next few weeks to DO something:

13. There are 143 million orphans in our world.

12. There are as many orphaned and vulnerable children in Ethiopia as there are people in greater NYC.

11. Every 18 seconds another child becomes an orphan, without a mother or father.

10. Every 14 seconds a child loses a parent due to AIDS.

9. Children are profoundly affected as their parents fall sick and die, setting them on a long trail of painful experiences often characterized by: economic hardship, lack of love, attention and affection, withdrawal from school, psychological distress, loss of inheritance, increased physical and sexual abuse and risk of HIV infection, malnutrition and illness, stigma, discrimination, exploitation, trafficking, and isolation.

8. On any given day, 500,000 children in the US are living in foster care because they cannot live safely at home.

7. Each year, an estimated 20,000 young people “age out” of the U.S. foster care system. Many are only 18 years old and still need support and services

6. James 1:27 says, "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction."

5. Romans 8:15, "For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"

4. Isaiah 1:17, ". . . Defend the orphan. . "

3. Matthew 25:40, "And the King will answer them, 'I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.'"

2. If only 7% of the 2 billion Christians in the world would show hope to a single orphan, looking after the child in their distress, there would effectively be no more orphans. We can each do something.

1. Thankfully there is hope! It only takes one caring individual to make a life-long difference for an orphan!

Organizations that can show you how to be a difference:

Show Hope
Orphan Sunday
Court Appointed Special Advocates
Child Advocates Forgotten Children Campaign
Hope for Orphans
Children's HopeChest

Find more Thankful Thursday here and Thursday Thirteen here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

All By Herself

An accident waiting to happen?


Does that white floor need to be mopped every day, anyway?

Most definitely!

Does letting her do it by herself actually lessen my household chores?

No, because 1 out of every 3 times she'll spill and I'll have to help her clean it up.

So why do I let the chaos continue?

Because she's getting better at it and someday she may even be up to my 1:10 spills to no spills ratio.

And then?

I retire!

That's what it's all about, my friends, this parenting gig, working myself out of a job!

Check out more Wordless or Wordful Wednesday.

Stain Fighting Strategies

In my 6.5 years of having kids I've learned a thing or six about clothing stain removal.

My first tip is to avoid the stain to begin with. Bibs. I have my kids wear these to eat until age 4 or 5. And really I'd send them off to kindergarten with a bib tucked away in their lunchboxes if I thought I'd get away with it! But until age 5 you can get away with forcing the bib issue. If they want to eat, they wear the bib!

My 2nd tip is crucial -- you must give your best effort toward removing the stain before it goes into the washer (or maybe it's just my dark ages top loading washer that isn't up to the tough jobs)!

Try treating it with the Shout Advanced (and yes, it does seem to work better than the regular Shout, and no, I'm not compensated to endorse Shout). Let it sit for 10 minutes or so and then scrub, scrub with a toothbrush, rinse with water and scrub more if needed. Repeat the process, if needed.

If the stain is still not out. Apply some liquid Tide to it and let it sit for 30 minutes or so. Repeat scrubbing described above.

If stain is still not out or you are just tired of scrubbing, the last resort is to soak it in warm water and Tide with Bleach Alternative overnight.

Also, if the stain is on a white portion of the clothes, you can treat it with my friend, the bleach pen.

Oh, and I just learned this one, but for grease stains, treat it with some liquid Dawn dish soap.

That's all I have. May all your clothes be stain-free!

Find more Works for Me Wednesday here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Homemade Bagels are Not so Hard!

I've made it a goal to make more things from scratch, buying less processed food. My new made-from-scratch success is homemade bagels.

So yummy!

And all very basic ingredients you probably already have on hand.

Click on
this link for the recipe I used.

My 6 year old has a history of not eating the lunches I so thoughtfully pack and send off to school with him, but one of these bagels with some cream cheese? All last week it never returned home uneaten!

And I am so grateful because opening that lunch box at 3:15 PM to find all the same stuff I put in it at 7:15 AM in exactly the same state, only 8 hours older? Doesn't really give me that warm, fuzzy my-work-matters-and-is-appreciated feeling!

Check out Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Gratituesday, Tackle it Tuesday, and Tuesdays Unwrapped.

The Joy of Toddlerhood!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have NOT been doing this week!

Around our house. . .

While I was making some homemade granola bars on Saturday, my 2 younger kids pulled chairs over to the pantry so they could open the lids of the spice jars to smell them. Knowing a spice spill was eminent, I shooed them down, but failed to move the chairs back. A few minutes more into the granola bar making the toddler ran over to me crying and wildly wiping his tongue with his hands. I looked over at the chair in front of the pantry. I saw an opened cayenne pepper jar and some pepper scattered across the chair. Toddler did NOT apparently lick a handful of cayenne pepper and a few minutes later sum up the whole experience with, "Pepper's too spicy, I don't eat it, 'gin." Some lessons you have to learn the hard way!

The same 2 year old toddler did NOT come over to s
it in my lap recently and say, "You look like my mommy!" or actually it sounded like this, "You wook yike my mommy!" Hmmm, could it be because I am your mommy?!!

I did NOT allow this toddler to "go com
mando" (meaning no diaper and no underwear under his shorts) for several different errands last week because it seems to help him not have accidents during the potty-training! NOPE, NOT ME!

And after I blogged about a toddler-induced powder mess last week and moved the powder even higher in the room, there is NO WAY I walked into the toddler's room ye
sterday (after only a couple minutes of him playing alone in there while the rest of us were in the next room) to find this. . .!

And in light of all the above mentioned chaos going on around here, there is NO CHANCE I accidentally grabbed the Butter Buds sprinkles instead of the Fruit Fresh sprinkles and coated the apple slices for my 6 year old's lunch in buttery-goodness, not realizing the mistake until later when I noticed the Butter Buds on the counter! In my defense, I got out both containers to show just how similar they are. . . or not!

Find more What I Learned This Week here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Kids are funny!

7 Kidisms heard around our house recently:

My toddler walked into the room and exclaimed, "Who made 'dis mess?!"

Hmmm, wonder where he learned to ask that question!

My daughter was play grocery shopping when she told me, "I have twenty-nine things and soon I'm going to have twenty-twelve things!"

During lunch the other day my 2 year old cried out, "I bit my tongue! Mommy, kiss it!"

On a recent Saturday morning the kids woke up pretty early and were attempting to be quiet in the living room because they knew they'd be sent away if they came into our bedroom that early. I was lying in bed listening to their not-so-quiet conversations when I heard my 4 year old daughter say to my toddler, "Come over here so I can smell your diaper!" Then there was a small pause before I heard, "Ew! Yuck! You're poopy!"

The same 4 year old little girl was making a necklace for her daddy with her bead kit and for necklace-making purposes, she asked him, "Are you a boy that likes pink?"

I walked into the playroom where my 3 kids were happily playing together, busy with activity. I asked, "Whatcha guys doing?" My 6 year old son eagerly told me, "She's a doctor, he's a plumber and I'm a millionaire."

Ah, yes, the millionaire career, it's a tough job but somebody's got to do it!

And last, we are in the throws of potty-training the toddler and yesterday he ran over to me and demanded, "Help my pee-pee come out!"

They grow up so fast! I'm hooked on enjoying the kidisms while I can, a finer thing on this parenting road!

Find more Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life, Hooked on Fridays at Hooked on Houses, 7 Quick Takes Friday at Conversion Diary.