Friday, February 29, 2008

Just for Mom Friday

Check out this video: Bad Pussy

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Wish there was a better title for this, but the lesson remains the same. 

Does your life ever feel like this?  
Just one more person wanting something from you?

As a stay at home mom, sometimes my days feel like one request after another.
"Mommy, I want more milk."
"WHAAAA." Baby needing to be changed.
"Mrs. ...., we're calling with a great offer for you today."
"Honey, can you pick up a few things while you're out."

And the poor cat... just one more person needing one more thing from me.

So where do I fall in all of this?
And what about my relationship with God in all this?

Not only is that were it all needs to start, but I'm actually doing my family a favor by putting myself first.  By putting my relationship with Christ first.

When I put my time with the Lord first, I'm putting myself in the position of drawing the strength, patience, and love I need to be a better wife, a better mom, and a better friend.  So that I don't feel like my husband and my kids are just looking for one more thing from me.  They become my mission field, my joy,  and as I've said before, I realize again that I was "Made to Love" those around me through my actions.  

While I'm the last to be an early riser, I sneak in a few moments each morning, closing my eyes and whispering a quick prayer while nursing the baby.  Another quick prayer while sorting laundry.  Another while preparing dinner.  And so on till I find that quiet place in the day to be alone with the Lord.  

One more person wanting one more thing from me...
One more person that I'm given to bless.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Around the Home Thursday

Need some more "green" ideas?  Here are some things to think about...

--Only run the dishwasher when completely full.  This is getting harder as the family gets bigger.
--Adopt a highway, stream, etc.
--Buy things with less packaging.  Examples: bulk spices, no prepackaged raisins, etc.
--Donate slightly used, unwanted items.
--Eliminate the words "paper plates" and "paper cups" from your vocabulary.
--Eliminate hidden energy suckers like the space around your door or an inefficient water heater.
--Keep your freezer as full as possible.  It will run more efficiently.
--Use the back of printer paper as scratch paper.
--Use recyclable batteries.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Activity Wednesday

This activity was recently featured on A Place of Our Own.  It's a lot of fun, lasting for hours on end.  Noah and I had a great time exploring and pretending in our kitchen for the afternoon.  

Clean Mud

What your child will learn:
Tactile Awareness
Following Directions
Eye-Hand Coordination

Cheese grater
Toilet Paper
Plastic Dish
Food Coloring
Plastic Animals

1. Grate 1 bar of soap into the plastic dish.  Older children can help with this step, along with some help from you.
2. Tear up 3 rolls of toilet paper into dish with soap.  This is a great step for toddlers to learn about following directions and tactile awareness.
3. Add one quart of water and mix together with hands.

May add 1 tsp of food coloring
May play with animals, making new adventures

This is also a great language development activity.  Ask open-ended questions and have your child describe what they are doing and what the "clean mud" feels like.  Is it gooey, mushy, or soft?  What color is it?  What are they building or pretending to do?  What does it make them think of?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Teaching Tuesday--C is for cards

Our letter of the week is "Cc" and it's already been posted on the refrigerator along with our "Aa" and "Bb."  This is a fun letter for Noah 'cause the two are so similar.

Some topics to explore this week include: circles, the circus, clowns, cake, cats, cards, castles and California.  Some things included in our meal plan this week that coincide with our letter are: cabbage salad, cantalope, Chile Relleno Casserole, Chicken and Rice Casserole, cereal, cottage cheese, and Apple Cinnamon muffins.

My son and I will also be spending cards to family and friends.  He loves receiving mail and particularly cards.  He proudly displays them around the house so I've invited him to help me send some to family, letting them know how much we love them.

Additionally, we have printed out a large letter "C" to glue cotton balls on.  Ask lots of open-ended questions, particularly about the texture and feel of the cotton.  Talk about the curved shape of the letter and how the large C and small c resemble each other.  Practice making "C"s with Play-doh.  

Shoot for lots of letter recognition this week with a list posted on the refrigerator, marking the "C" words that you come across in your daily life.  Point out words on billboards, shopping cards, magazine articles, etc.  And check out Clifford books from the library.  What a great character!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Menu Monday

A new week.  A new menu.  Some yummy looking new recipes I want to try out.

Cereal and fruit, milk
Egg salad sandwiches, salad, juice
Tortellini and sauce, cabbage salad, french bread

Creamy crockpot apple oatmeal, milk
Leftovers, juice
Potluck: Chile Relleno Casserole

Yogurt and granola, milk
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Tricuits, juice
Chicken and rice casserole, salad

Cereal and fruit, milk
Egg salad sandwiches, salad, juice
Sloppy Joes, cooked carrots

Toast and jelly, milk
Cottage cheese, fruit, salad, juice
Stuffed Stomboli bread

Apple Cinnamon muffins
Egg salad sandwiches, salad, juice
Pad Thai with chicken, salad

Pancakes, milk
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, c fruit (cantalope?), juice
Husband: staff meeting
Kids and I: Leftovers

Friday, February 22, 2008

Just for Mom Friday

If you're anything like me, you measure your day in routines, chunks of time, and naps.  Some days, I'll be nursing the baby, counting the minutes till she and my son go down for a nap.  Usually, he's just thrown his Lightning car or yelled at his sister for crying when she's hungry.  And she's crying 'cause I'm not feeding her fast enough.  And I'm crying 'cause my lunch is still sitting on the kitchen counter getting cold.  So I'm counting the minutes.
If you're anything like me, you have days when you remember how easy life was before kids.  The weekends you could sleep till at least 8 am, guaranteed.  The days when you could pick up and get in the car without locating several pairs of shoes, a couple of lovies, jackets, diaper bag, spare keys 'cause your toddler hid the first set, coupons for diapers, and the list goes on and on.
If you're anything like me, you have weeks that you just don't remember.  Some how they passed in a blur of diaper changes, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, potty training, birthday parties, menu planning, and trying to keep your family from going into complete debt.
But a few days ago, I heard a speaker talking about the importance of being present in every moment.  Allowing God to show us what he's doing in others and how that can only come about when we are living in "today."  And I realized that I'm missing the best parts of being a mom.  And not only am I short changing myself, but I'm short changing them as well. 
 What am I missing in my busyness of being a mom and homemaking?
I'm missing the little boy who is learning compassion for his baby sister.
I'm missing the little girl that loves to interact at such a young age.
I'm missing the little boy who has a wonderful imagination.
I'm missing the little girl who has a joyful spirit.
I'm missing the little boy who is struggling to understand potty time.
I'm missing the little girl that awakes with a smile, even at 3 am.
I'm missing the little boy who is learning worship songs on Sunday morning and in his own special way is praising the Lord.
I'm missing the little girl that is a gift from that same God, who will reveal her personality in his own time.
What are you missing?  

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Around the Home Thursday

Some friends and I were making a list of small things that an average family can do to help the environment.  While I'm not an expert by any means, these are a few small things that my family is trying to do to help out.

1. Recycle all cans, plastic, and glass--We take our CRV items done to the local recycling place on the corner.  Because the kids help me, we split the money receive and put it in their piggy banks.  Any items that cannot be recycled for money, go into the recycling bin for pick up.

2. Use canvas bags at the store--Some how we've received several of these lately and I try to keep them in the back of the car so they're there when I need them.

3. Recycle old plastic bags at you local grocery store--Our local grocery store has a bin.  I take a bunch each time I go to buy groceries.
4. Plug electronics into a power strip and turn off when not in use--I haven't added the VCR because I hate resetting the timer.  But everything else is plugged in and shut off when we're through.

5. Unplug cell phone, etc after fully charging them--trying to stop those silent energy suckers.

6. Turn off the TV--We watch more than our fair share of television, but from what I hear, this is one of the biggest energy users in a household.

7. Use CFL lightbulbs--nuff said.

8. Wear a sweater in the house and lower the temp--The kids and I are also wearing sweaters around the house and dipping the temp to between 65-68.

9. Do laundry after 7pm--If you live in Ca, you're already used to saving energy and trying to do lots of things after 7pm.  Don't forget to use cold water and try a new "green" laundry detergent.  Also I read that you should use an extra spin cycle and it will drastically cut your drying time.

10. Don't run the water when brushing your teeth--What a waste!

11. Run errands at one time--This is a hard one with little kids, but we try to run several errands at once and only make one trip from home each day.

12. Hit the farmer's market--Yes, you will spend a little extra money.  But you will be supporting the local economy and be saving the environment from the energy used to transport food to the local market

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Activity Wednesday

My son and I made a fun little craft this afternoon to go along with learning about the letter "B" and bugs.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.  This activity is for children toddler and up.

Handprint Butterflies

colored construction paper
tape/ glue stick

pipe cleaners
google eyes
pom poms

1. Trace child's hands--3x for each.
2. Cut out hands and let child color them.  These will be the wings of the butterfly.
3. Cut out body and head of butterfly.
4. Tape/ glue wings, head, and body of butterfly together.

Our butterfly was pretty basic.  We didn't have a lot of craft items at home.  However, you could also add pipe cleaners for antenna, google eyes and pom poms to the body.  This ended up pretty cute and my two year old really enjoyed making it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Teaching Tuesday--B is for Bugs

Our letter this week is "B."    So again, I'm posting a giant "Bb" on our refrigerator next to the "Aa" from a few weeks ago.
Some topics that we will be exploring in our home this week include: bugs, butterflies, birds, bees, beach, bake, bears, blue, balloons, bubbles, buttons, basketball, blueberries, books, boxes, etc.  We will be serving blueberries with our meals this week.  We're also blowing bubbles in our times outside and talking about bugs in our library books.
Besides coloring a "B", I've set aside some dried beans for Noah to glue on another coloring page.  There's another "B" word: beans.
Other activities that I have planned for this week include: gluing "B"s from magazines onto a "B" page and gluing strips onto bee cutouts.
Again, I'm using coloring pages from  the point of many of these exercises is letter recognition.  So we are presenting the letter as many times as we can throughout the week.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Menu Monday

We didn't make everything on last week's menu so some of this is repeats.

Oatmeal, peaches, milk
Tuna sandwiches or leftover potato soup, Triscuits, juice
Lentil Tacos
Cheerios and berries, milk
Egg salad sandwiches, carrots and ranch, juice
Potluck: Macaroni shrimp salad or Chile Relleno Casserole

Cream of wheat, milk
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, granola bar, juice
Beef and Barley Soup, salad

Oatmeal and fruit, milk
Veggie Quesadillas, juice
Aztec Chicken, salad

Cereal and fruit, milk
Tuna sandwiches, bell pepper, fruit, juice
Chicken and Rice Casserole

Gingerbread waffles, milk
Egg salad sandwiches, Wheat Thins, juice
Stuffed Stromboli bread

Leftover waffles
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or Quesadillas
Tortilla soup, bread

Olive Garden Recipes

Want to enjoy your restaurant favorites without the restaurant price?  Check out this website for Olive Garden and add a new family favorite to your meal planning.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Just for Mom Friday

The dream is fading, now I'm staring at the door
I know it's over cause my feet have hit the cold floor
Check my reflection, I  ain't feelin' what I see
It's no mystery
Whatever happened to a passion I could live for
What became of the flame that made me feel more
And when did I forget that...
I was made to love you
I was made to find you
I was made just for you
Made to adore you
I was made to love
And be loved by you
You were here before me
You were waiting on me
And you said you'd keep me
Never would you leave me
I was made to love 
And be loved by you

The dream's alive with my eyes opened wide
Back in the ring you've got me swinging for the grand prize
I feel the haters spittin vapor on my dreams
But I still believe
I'm reachin out, reachin, up, reachin over
I feel a breeze cover me called Jehovah
And Daddy I'm on my way
"Cause I was made to love...

I was made to love you
I made to find you
I was made just for you
Made to adore you
I was made to love
And be loved by you
You were here before me
You were waiting on me
And you said you'd keep me
Never would you leave me
I was made to love
And be loved by you

(Partial lyrics to "Made to Love" by TobyMac)

I've had this song playing on my "My Space" page for about a week and I'd really caught in my head.  It has a great tune and gets my toes tapping.  It's a new favorite.  
What does it mean to be "made to love?"  If you're anything like me, the day in and day out of being a mommy can become quite monotonous.  Especially with a two year old.  I find myself not "loving" in the tasks that seem to drag on: potty training, dishes, laundry, making dinner.  But this song has been a faithful reminder that even in those things, I am to be showing my love to my husband, my son, my daughter, and those I invite into my home.  I wasn't made for these "tasks", but rather to love those around me.  So how am I showing that when the household chores are piling up and my patience is at its end?  And where do I draw that love from to get me through the day?
As I write this, my son is screaming in time out.  And why did he go there?  Because we love him and want what's best for him.  And how will be continue to love him through these turbulent years of toddlerhood?  By drawing on the source of love, Jesus.  
So as you go throughout your days, remember that you were made to love those around you.  And if that means having a two year old help you with dinner, and cleaning the inevetable mess that will accompany it, embrace it.  And draw that love from the one source that can continue to supply it even when you think it's at its end. 

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Around the Home Thursday

Looking for an inexpensive way to celebrate Valentines Day?  How better to show your spouse that you can than to take the time to plan a romantic evening at home?  Make your relationship a priority today and every day and your family will be the better for it.  
Can't find a sitter on short notice?  Plan a family evening together and get a sitter for Saturday. Either way, make some time this week for your spouse and re-ignite some romance.

Here are some ideas to help you get started:

*do you and your significant other have a special meal?  Something you made when you first got together?  A special dish that he/she enjoys?

*create some ambiance with candles, flowers, soft music.  Create a playlist of songs from your dating, your wedding, or marriage that mean something to you as a couple.

*use your best linens, silver, and china.  Treat each other like a special occasion.

*look in each others' eyes and tell them specifically why you fell in love with them and why you continue to love them.

*invest in some body paints

*remember the food essentials: oysters, strawberries, champagne, and of course, chocolate

Other ideas:
poetry books
aromatherapy candles
champagne/sparkling cider/cocktails
bubble bath
massage oils

Romantic movies:
Pretty Woman
Return to Me
Sleepless in Seattle
Roman Holiday
An Affair to Remember
The Shop Around the Corner
You've Got Mail
Beauty and the Beast
The King and I
Sense and Sensibility
Bridges of Madison County
Dirty Dancing
Pillow Talk
Message in a Bottle
The Cutting Edge
A Walk to Remember
A Walk in the Clouds
Notting Hill
Never Been Kissed
Bed of Roses
Fools rush In
Forever Young
The Wedding Singer
While you were sleeping
The Lake House
At First Sight
As Good as It Gets
Hope Floats
Sweet November
One Fine Day
Where the Heart Is
Family Man

Feel free to comment and tell us your creative and romantic ideas for Valentines!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Activity Wednesday

Happy Valentines Day!  
Well, almost.  Here's a fun craft to do with your little one this week.

Stained Glass Hearts

2 sheets of waxed paper for every heart
pencil sharpener
heart shape to trace

spread out newspaper to protect craft area and make clean up easier.  Trace heart shape on wax paper and cut out.  Have child to sharpen crayon in sharpener, allowing shavings to fall on hearts.  You may do this ahead of time and have child scatter colors on the heart.  When finished, stack the hearts, matching up the edges.  Set the iron on low heat and press the hearts together for 5 sec intervals.  Repeat until all crayon shavings are melted and the hearts are secured together.  Tape to window or hole punch and hang with string. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Teaching Tuesday--Valentine's Day

How did Valentine's Day sneak up on us so fast?  We don't have a lot planned for the week, but I wanted to plan a few things to commemorate it with Noah.  We've been coloring and making Valentines for family this week.  I've included some sites.  I've also been trying to plan a "red" menu for Thursday night.  I forgot to plan in the menu for the week so here's what I've been thinking:
Red cabbage salad
Red Velvet cupcakes
Fruit punch

There are also a variety of books to be checked out at the library:
Valentine Mice
Clifford's First Valentines Day
Aurther's Valentine

Look for a fun craft idea to come soon.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Menu Monday

Here we go for the week:

Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Deli Sandwiches and Potato salad
Take N Bake Pizza

PB&J Toast, Applesauce, Milk
Egg Salad Sandwiches
Taco Ring, Green salad

Scrambled Eggs, Pears, Milk
Tuna melts and wheat thins
Bruschetta Chicken Bake, Zucchini,

Oatmeal and fruit, milk
Egg Salad Sandwiches
Dinner out, waffles for kids

Toast with PB&J, juice and milk
Veggie Wraps
Beef and Barley stew, fresh bread

Cereal and milk
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit and crackers
Lentil Tacos

Apple Cinamon muffins
Lunch out
Grilled cheese and tomato soup

Friday, February 8, 2008

Just for Mom Friday

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him.  I Samuel 1:27

I have this scripture on a small plaque hanging in my kids' room.  It was given to me by a friend when I was pregnant with my son.  At the time, it has a different meaning for me than it does now.  But I've come to find that it has a much deeper and richer meaning now that I'm a parent.
This has been a long week.  I went back to volunteering at the YMCA after my maternity leave was up.  My son started play gym classes again.  And we've all come down with the flu.  So this mother's patience has been in short supply.  I didn't realize how short till yesterday afternoon.
Despite the flu and colds moving through our house, I was attempting to go through baby clothes and set some aside for a friend.  The baby was laying on the floor under her gym, and my son was playing in the toy box.  The phone rang and picked it up.  While talking with a friend, my son decided to LAY on his 7 week old sister.  Knowing that he was simply trying to play with her, I removed him and gently reminded him that she isn't as tough as he is.  However, his rough housing continued till I got off the phone and put him in time out.  Once there, the battle didn't stop, as he tried to walk away from time out several times and the baby suddenly wanted to eat.
In the midst of this toddler struggle while nursing, I glanced at the wall and saw this scripture.  "I prayed for this child..."  In the heat of the moment, I read it sarcasitcally.  Yeah, I prayed for this child, but I didn't pray for this behavior.  It was then that the Lord convicted me.
 This was the child that I prayed for.  This was the child that the Lord had granted me.  And he gently, but firmly reminded me that he would never give me more than I could handle.  So this was it.  He also reminded me of all the good things that have come from being a mom to this fiesty two year old: a gentler tongue, more consideration for other people, doors that have opened to share my life and faith with complete strangers, not to mention the joy, excitement, and unexpected surprises that my son brings to our family.
Nothing was left for me to do but plow through the power struggle, give my son a hug afterwards, and tell the Lord, once again, that I will trust him.  This is the child I prayed for.  I may not see it everyday, but the Lord knew what he was doing when he blessed us with this little boy.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Around the Home Thursday

Wow!  We've been hit by flu.  So in an effort to conserve energy and help you fight off the flu this season, I'm posting a link for some homemade cleaning products that are safe for the environment.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Activity Wednesday

This activity goes along with our letter of the week: A!
Apple Print Craft
Paper Towels
Shallow Dish
Construction Paper
Cut the apple in half.  Experiment with your apples by cutting them different ways.  Cut through the top and out the bottom to make a "traditional" apple print.  Cut through the middle to make "star" prints.  With Valentines Day coming, why not cut your apple into a heart shape?  An apple cut in quarters will give you a new print
Fold a paper towel into 4th and lay it on the bottom of your shallow dish.  Pour paint into the center of the paper towel to make a stamp pad.  Use red, green and yellow to represent the different kids of apples.  Dip the cut side of the apple into the paint.
Dab it around on the paper towel to wipe off excess paint, and then press onto paper.
Try using other fruits as well: oranges, lemons, pears, etc.
You can also use fabric paint and make prints onto T-shirts, towels, etc.
You can find this activity at:

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Teaching Tuesday--A is for Alphabet

It's all about letter recognition in our house these days.  Noah can sing his ABC's with a little prompting, but has no idea what he's saying.  So we've started working on "The Letter of the Week."  I post the letter on the refrigerator and we continually review it as we go about our day.
Our letter this week is, of course, "A."  To begin, we posted our letter on the refrigerator at Noah's level.  It's also close to his LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Toy.  As we go about our day, we identify words that start with the letter "A": Annie (our cat), apple, avocado, accident, Alaska, etc.  We identify the word and the "A" sound.
We incorporated some of these items in our daily life this week, including apples and avocados, reading the Alaska book, playing with Annie, etc.  We've also taken a trip to the library and borrowed lots of "Arthur" books by Marc Brown.  Noah loves them.  So ever couple of pages we read, we point out the "A"s on the page.
There are numerous websites where you can find coloring sheets for the letters of the alphabet.  This is one we used this week:

Monday, February 4, 2008

Menu Monday

I find that I always end up going to the store, buying a ton of groceries, then getting home with nothing to make for dinner.  I forget one or two essential items for every recipe and we end up ordering pizza.  So in an attempt to curb our spending habits and actually cook in my kitchen, I try to develop a menu at least every couple of weeks.  This is our menu for the week:

cream of wheat, banana, milk
tuna sandwiches, wheat thins, carrots
Bowtie pasta with chicken and peas, salad, 

Toast with jelly, peaches, milk
Grilled cheese sandwiches, oranges, 
Chile relleno casserole, corn, salad

Yogurt, granola, milk
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, avocado
Pea soup, french bread

Cream of wheat, pears, milk
Egg salad sandwiches, tricuits,  tomato
Lentil Tacos

Oatmeal with berries, milk
Tuna sandwiches, tomato, cubed cheese
Homemade pizza, salad

Gingerbread waffles
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, yogurt, bell pepper strips
Messy Guisseppes, salad

Apple and Cinammon muffins
Grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup
Stuffed bell peppers

Cottage cheese
Wheat Thins
Granola bars
Graham Crackers

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