Monday, June 30, 2008

4th of July Fun--Part 1

Looking for a great desert to serve to your family for the holidays?  I found this wonderful recipe from "Down Home with the Neelys" on Food Network.  We have this one on our menu this week to try out.  To make it even easier, I think I'm going to pick up a pre-made graham cracker crust for the filling.  Let me know what you think.

Shepherding a Child's Heart: Chp 16

Every Monday and Friday, join us in reading "Shepherding a Child's Heart."  I'll post a brief synopsis of the chapter with a few highlights, as well as a few personal thoughts.  At the end of the comments, there will be 2-3 questions for discussion as well.  So join us in our journey toward becoming the mommies that God has called us to be. 

Chapter 16: Childhood: Training Objectives

Tripp uses this chapter to cover ages 5-12 yrs, essentially the years between beginning school and entering puberty, although that seems to come earlier these days.  Children are beginning to find their independence beyond their parents at this age, seeing to experience the world outside of their family unit.  While the focus of infancy was obedience, the focus of this age is character development.  Tripp states that "addressing the child's character places the emphasis on issues of the heart" (pg 165).    He believes that simply addressing obedience will only get them so far, and that developing character is what with keep them safe in their independence.

Tripp also outlines the elements of a three-pronged tool of diagnosis. He presents this as a tool for parents to evaluate where your child is in their "growth."  The three-prongs are these:
  1. The Child in Relationship to God- "The question is what you discern the nature of that relationship to be" (pg 167).  Does he recognize his need for a savior and his dependence on the grace of God?
  2. The Child in Relationship to Himself- "Your children need to accept and appreciate themselves as a unique combination of strengths and weaknesses- as persons who are exactly what Dod wanted them to be " (pg 168-69).  What is your child's attitude toward himself?
  3. The Child in Relationship to Others- the issue is how your child sees Christ in others.  How does he relate to others his age?
I think this is a great idea and one that I would encourage parents to address even earlier in their life of their children.  While the questions will obviously evolve over time, asking these kinds of questions of ourselves will keep us focused on how well we are showing Christ to our children, even at a young age.  

Questions for discussion:
2. How often do you sit down and analyze your children in terms of these three issues?

4. What are the specific character obejectives that you have been pursuing in your school-aged children?

6. Have you ever kept your child away from an activity because you were afraid he would not be able to handle himself acceptably?  What can you do to equip him to function well independent of your presence?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Menu Monday

Cereal or granola
Yogurt and fruit

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Jello and fruit
Fruit and dip


Tuesday: Potluck:
Greek Pasta Salad



Dinner at 4th Celebration

In-laws visiting



To see what others are making this week, check out Heavenly Homemakers.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Attention Bargain Hunters

Bath and Body Works is having a HUGE Semi-annual sale with lotions, soaps, and gels costing you only $5.  That's a savings of up to $7 a piece.  Fantastic!
Lip Flavors and a cute tote bag will also run you about $5.
Home Fragrances are BOGO, and Flip-flops are $5 online.
I am so excited to check it out this weekend.  If you live in my area, you'd better get there early before I do.  I'm thinking: "Christmas in June."
Never too early to start planning.
Or maybe a little something for me.

How are you staying Frugal?

Shepherding a Child's Heart: Chp 15

Every Monday and Friday, join us in reading "Shepherding a Child's Heart."  I'll post a brief synopsis of the chapter with a few highlights, as well as a few personal thoughts.  At the end of the comments, there will be 2-3 questions for discussion as well.  So join us in our journey toward becoming the mommies that God has called us to be.

Chapter 15: Infancy to Childhood: Training Procedures

Tripp breaks it down further into the "when," "how," and "why" of spanking in enforcing discipline in your home.  As he says, "A young child does not give proper weight to words alone" (pg 149).  

The "When" of Spanking
Tripps position is "When you have given a directive that he has heard and is within his capacity to understand and has has not obeyed without challenge, without excuse or without delay, he needs a spanking" (pg 149).  He encourages parents to be consistent in their discipline in order to see results.  As he finds, consistency is key.  

The "How" of Spanking  
Tripp lays out a very clear procedure for spanking:
  1. Discipline your children privately.
  2. Tell him specifically what he has done.
  3. Have him acknowledge what he has done.
  4. Remind him that spanking is to correct his behavior, not to satisfy your need for retribution.
  5. Tell him how many swats he will be given.
  6. Pull down pants or remove diaper.
  7. After spanking, remind your child that you love him.
  8. Pray with your child for his heart to be corrected.
The "Why" of Spanking
Tripp believes very clearly that spanking is necessary because "God commands it" (pg 153).

Tripp spends the rest of the chapter discussing some commonly asked questions.  The part that really stood out to me was "pray."  Such a simple idea, it's amazing how easily it can slip a parent's mind.  Not only in time of discipline, or frustration, but also in every day life.  How often are we praying for our children, or modeling payer for their own sin?  

I had a few personal questions in this chapter as well.  I can understand needing to preserve a child's dignity and this is why Tripp recommends spanking in private.  However, I struggle how to balance this with raising a two year old that needs an IMMEDIATE consequence.  I don't often swat his behind in public anyways, but when that is necessary, how do you follow through with this step?

Also with a young child this age how to you begin to communicate the reason behind spanking, to restore them into proper relationship with God?  How do they understand that?  I don't want my two year old to come to an understanding that God is constantly disciplining him.  What are the words here?

Questions for discussion: 
1. What Scriptural principles should guide the "when" of using the rod of correction?

2. What elements should be present in the "how" of using the rod of correction?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Summertime Fun

As a stay at home of little ones, I'm ALWAYS looking for fresh ideas in filling our days. While the park and pool are absolutely a hit, there's more to life and so many learning opportunities in everyday life. These are just a few ideas that I hope will help you and myself in raising these precious babies.

  • Have a picnic: who says peanut butter and jelly sandwiches don't taste better on your front lawn? So pack up the juice boxes and snacks, head to the nearest park or simply the back yard, and enjoy the sun and changing seasons.
  • Try a new food: take your kids to the grocery store and decide that you're going to learn to cook and enjoy a new food. Or, if you have older children, check out that local restaurant that you've always been interested in. Decide to just order anything off the menu.
  • Write a letter: I can't find a place for all the coloring and drawings that Big Boy does. There's just not enough room on the fridge. So until he can write, we send drawings to friends and family. For older children, encourage them to write letters to friends in other areas or grandparents.
  • Retell a story: encourage your child to retell a story in their own words. Break out some sock puppets, draw pictures, act it out, or just sit down and ask questions during their retelling. This helps them solidify the story and make it their own.
  • Allow kids to help plan a trip: show them how to read a map and allow them to plan some of the stops or activities on your trip.
  • Volunteer at a local charity or your church: take your kids to serve a meal at a shelter. Allow them to see how fortunate they are. Take them to visit a convalescent home and visit with the residents. Make them aware of the world around them.
  • Go on a mission trip: there are many opportunities for a variety of ages and abilities. I would encourage you to move beyond your own experiences and comfort level. Younger kids may do well serving in the states or Mexico. Older kids will be better equipped to handle the stress and experiences of serving in a foreign country.
  • Take photos and create a scrapbook: hand your camera to your kids and allow them to document their summer vacation through their eyes. Create a scrapbook celebrating all the fun times you experience together.
  • Watch something grow: whether it's vegetables for the dinner table or a tree for the back yard, your child will learn lots from growing something themselves.
  • Go to the fair: visit the 4-H barns, pet a cow, and ride the zipper. Remember what it's like to be a kid and allow yourself to show that to your children. Let them see you laugh out loud and crave a funnel cake.
  • Pull out a blanket and stargaze: get out into the warm night air and remember when the world was full of possibilities. Learn some of the constellations together or just sit in wonder at the beauty before you. You may be surprised by how your kids open up.
  • Make sure you do get outdoors: visit a park, go for a walk or swim, hike in a local national forest. Encourage your child to look for local birds, animals, tracks, and plants.
Whatever you decide to do with your days, remember to hug your kids and tell them you love them. Create opportunities for them to grow and stretch and learn. But remember to just love on them this summer. Even on those days that can seem so long, snuggle on the couch and just embrace being Mommy. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

Big Boy loves Egg Salad sandwiches.  And I love how easy they are.  Especially know that I've learned how to make the perfect hard boiled eggs.  So simple.

Just put your eggs in a large pot of cool to lukewarm water.

Put your pot on the stove and bring to a boil.

Place lid on pot once you reach the boiling point and turn off the burner.

Allow to sit for 10 minutes.


You can let them sit longer but the shells will stick more and be harder to peel.    to help you peel the eggs, remove the shells while holding them under running water.  That easy!

That's what WORKS FOR ME!

Summer to do list

What do you have on your to do list for the summer?  We've found that planning a few special "to-do's" keep us focused on what we hope to accomplish over the next few months and not allow others to "steal" our time over the crazy summer months.  So here are just a few special things that we're looking forward to:
  • swimming lessons
  • camping with my family
  • camping on the coast
  • spending some time with grandma
  • picking blackberries
  • visiting the farmer's market
  • check out the water feature at the local park
  • go to the pool, a lot
  • visit Turtle Bay at least once a week
  • go kayaking at Whiskeytown
So what's on your summer list???

Teaching Tuesday--T is for Turtle

Big Boy has been interested in turtles lately so I'm taking advantage of it and doing some studying on turtles.  I can't tell you the number of questions I've received that I haven't been able to answer: "What do turtles say?"  "What do turtles eat?"  "Do turtles have babies?"

We've looked up the following resources:
We've also looking up books from the library:
  • Old, Older, Oldest
  • Heron and Turtle
  • Salamanders
  • The Fisherman and the Turtle
  • Turtle Rescue
  • Turtle Tide
  • Franklin, the turtle
Furthermore we're making Tuna spirals for dinner tonight and may sneak in a few minutes of Thomas the Train.  All in our pursuit of the letter T.

Tackle it Tuesday-- in the kitchen

Big Boy and I will be trying to spend quite a bit of time at home this week, hoping to make some progress on this potty training business. He's been using the potty forever, but just at his own convenience. So we'll be more home bound this week, hopefully with good results. However, I've still got a couple of projects that need attention.

We've been attempting to make our own granola bars (with good results) and I'll probably be making another batch of either the recipe we've tried or a new one. Also I really need to get some baby food made for Baby Girl. Poor thing hasn't ventured far beyond rice cereal so I'll be working on making peas today.

Other than that, we have things to put away from our weekend away. I have blogging to catch up on and the house needs to be put back together. There are a few phone calls to be made and emails to be sent. And always dishes to be done.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Shepherding a Child's Heart: Chp 14

Every Monday and Friday, join us in reading "Shepherding a Child's Heart."  I'll post a brief synopsis of the chapter with a few highlights, as well as a few personal thoughts.  At the end of the comments, there will be 2-3 questions for discussion as well.  So join us in our journey toward becoming the mommies that God has called us to be.

Chapter 14: Infancy to Childhood: Training Objectives

Tripp uses this chapter to discuss the numerous changes your child goes through from birth through age 5.  Socially, intellectually, etc, the only constant of this age is that there is no constant.  Beyond all the changes that occur at this age, Tripp focuses on a few simple objectives, not the least of which is training your child to understand that they are under authority, under GOD'S  authority.  

Tripp find that this is accomplished through submission to parental figures and that submission is defined by two things: honoring and obeying.    He defines them as such: honoring is defined as treating parents "with respect and esteem because of  their position of authority" (pg 136) and obedience is defined as "willing submission of one person to the authority of another" (pg 138).  He further finds that obedience is "without challenge, without excuse, and without delay" (pg 138).  

Tripp also outlines a "process of appeal" (pg 140).  He finds that this appeal process saves you from two things: it keeps the parent from making hasty decisions and allows the child to have some control over non-essential directives.  The appeals process can only be inacted after the child understands that obedience is required immediately.  

I found this chapter very helpful in understanding the appeal process and the teaching of immediate obedience.  We've been dealing with working to find a compromise when our son has reasonable requests.  How do you hear them out and yet remain consistent?  Funny enough, my husband and I had that conversation the night before I read this chapter.  It gave us a basis for making better decisions and being more apt to admit when our requests are somewhat unreasonable.  

It also made me think about why I make decisions.  Sometimes as parents we find ourselves making decisions "because I'm the mommy."  But Tripps conclusion is that we are merely agents of God and our decisions should been made in an effort to continually be discipling our child.  How often do we believe that's what we're doing when we're actually pulling a parent powertrip?

Questions for discussion:
2. What promises does God make to those who honor and obey parents?

5. Why is giving room for appeal so important in the parenting process?

10. What areas do you need to clarify to establish authority in your home?

Menu Monday

Bagels and cream cheese
Oatmeal and fruit

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Tomato soup
Fruited jello
Carrots and dip

Monday: Woods bringing over dinner
Tuesday: Potluck: Tuna spirals
Wednesday: Chicken fried rice, wontons???
Saturday: Community BBQ
Sunday: Pizza

(no cornflakes)

See what others are cooking up this week at Organizing Junkie.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Shepherding a Child's Heart: Chp 13

Every Monday and Friday join us in reading "Shepherding a Child's Heart."  I'll post a brief synopsis of the chapter with a few highlights, as well as a few of my personal thoughts.  At the end of the comments, there will be 2-3 questions for discussion as well.  So join us in our journey toward becoming the mommies that God has called us to be.

Chapter 13: Shepherding the Heart Summarized

This chapter concludes the first half of Tripp's book.  This first half has focused on the philosophy of shepherding your child and laying the groundwork for the application process.  Tripp reinforces his main points.
  • Your child is the product of guarded shaping influences and Godward orientation.
  • The heart determines behavior.
  • You have God given authority to discipline.
  • The chief end of man is to glorify God.
  • Biblical goals must be accomplished through biblical methods.
  • God has two methods of child-rearing: communication and the rod.

Shepherding a Child's Heart: Chp 12

Every Monday and Friday join us for reading "Shepherding a Child's Heart."  I'll post a brief synopsis of the chapter with a few highlights, as well as a few of my personal thoughts.  At the end of the comments, there will be 2-3 questions for discussion as well.  So join us in our journey toward becoming the mommies that God has called us to be.

Chapter 12: Embracing Biblical Methods: Appeal to the Conscience

Tripp moves in a direction that I didn't see coming: addressing your child's sense of right and wrong.  His thought is that "when the offended conscious is aroused, correction and discipline find their mark" (pg 119).  His main illustration is taken from an interaction between Jesus and the Pharisees, in which Jesus leads the Pharisees in a line of questioning whereby they implicate themselves in their own sin.

The thought that really hit me was this: "The focal point of your discipline and correction must be your child seeing their utter inability to do the things that God requires unless they know the help and stregth of God (pg 123)."  As an adult, I need to remind of this daily.  How often do we go through life, while not consciously thinking it, but actively living as though we can accomplish the things of God without depending on God.  

Wow!  This statement completely threw me for a loop.  While all so simple and obvious, how easily it slips our minds.  Are we truly living our lives in such a way that our children see our utter dependence on God?  How can they know unless we model it?

Questions for discussion:
3. Are you focusing your correction and direction on behavior or on attitudes of the heart?  Do your children think of themselves as sinners because of what they do or because of what they are?

6. Do you ever find yourself yelling at your kids in such a manner that would be impossible to stop and pray for Christ to help them?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Developing a Bedtime Ritual

Do you struggle to put your baby to sleep without nursing or a bottle? Is it an ordeal to tuck in your toddler at night? Do you find yourself returning to their bedside time after time each night?

We have been there and there is a better way. Although it's a refining process, and there will be ups and downs, developing a bedtime ritual will save you a lot of heartache in putting your children to bed at night.

Try to chose a time of night (or daytime nap) that is consistent with your child's sleep needs. If you try to put your child to bed too early, he will be frustrated by still needing to expend energy. And if put to bed too late, your child may be agitated and find it hard to settle himself down from exhaustion. Take note of when your child starts to become cranky. Is there a consistency from day to day? Try to put your child down 5-10 minutes before that crankiness each day. And remember to put a baby to bed when she is calm, but not asleep. This way she will learn to self-sooth and not depending on you to put her back to sleep when she wakes in the middle of the night.

Evaluate what you value. For our family, we value reading, dental hygiene, and some prayer time. So our bedtime ritual looks something like this:
  • Using the potty one last time
  • Snuggling up with 2-3 books with Mommy and Daddy
  • Brushing teeth
  • "Rock a bye baby" song
  • Prayers
  • Tucked into bed
The whole thing takes about 30 minutes which may seem like a long time, but it helps us accomplish all the things that we find important. And there are a few variations. When we're away from home, we can't do prayers in the rocker. But we still try to keep as many of the elements in place as possible.

Remember the comfort items. My son has a couple of lovies and a special blanket. While he'll always sleep better in his own bed in his own home, having these few select items with us makes bedtime easier. I can't count the times I've heard him say, "I want my lambie" on a long drive as he's ready to doze off in the car or climbing into bed.

If your child is in daycare, try to establish a naptime routine that is consistent with your childcare providers routine. Many daycare providers will darken a room, run a fan, or play music. Check with your child's teacher and work out a routine that will work for you.

And be consistent. It's hard on the weekends or those mornings when I really need to run several errands. But being as consistent as we can be with our kids pays off in dividends. We have happy, confident, secure child because of the time we've taken to be consistent and provide the predictability they crave.

So what will be a part of your bedtime routine?
Bedtime rituals work for me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Activity Wednesday

Looking for an easy science lesson for your preschooler?  Here's a quick idea that will cultivate patience, problem solving, hypothesizing, and observation skills.

bag of bird seed
package of herb seeds
potting soil
plastic clear container
watering can
shovels, scoops, etc
notebook and crayons, pencils, etc

  1. Reading a book about growing things.   Research an age appropriate book that talks about how things grow.  Discuss how different seeds grow different plants
  2. Present items to child.  Talk about how different tools will be used in the project and how to appropriately use them.
  3. Have child scoop soil into bin, counting how many measuring cups full we use.  Allow child to sprinkle seeds in bin, talking about where they land, patterns, etc.  Sprinkle with soil on top.
  4. Water seeds and check every few days to see the progress.  Ask child to hypothesize about how the seeds will grow.  Ask them to predict the outcome.  Problem solve for problems with drought or over watering.  Encourage cooperation in planting.
  5. Document observations in a notebook.  Encourage children to draw, write, and explain what they see or think will happen.
One suggestion I've heard is to use grass seed as well as it's fast growing and will help with impatient toddlers.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tomgirl's Make-up Tool

I am a self-confessed tom girl.  Fancy hairstyles, complex make-up regimes, and all things girly can quickly overwhelm me.  "Besides," I reason, "who needs such things when I'm sitting at home with a 2 year old and 6 month old?"  However, a few months ago, I discovered a wonderful little tool that even a tom girl like myself can understand and appreciate:

This is quick, simple and I'm out the door in no time.  While I like the look of makeup (when applied by someone else), this feels very nice, doesn't look "made up," and is extremely lightweight for the fact that it takes the place of three products: foundation, moisturizer, and SPF.  

While it's not for everyone, it does provide a very "clean" look for running errands or just when you need a little pick me up in the middle of changing diapers and clean spit up.

This product made for a tom girl definitely Works for Me.

Teaching Tuesday

Engaging your child's social skills

Why are social skills just an important part of your child's school readiness and how do we begin to develop them?  This problem was addressed in a recent episode of A Place of Our Own, a great resource for parents and teachers alike.  These are just a few highlights from that discussion.

Why are social skills important:
  They begin to help child in interacting appropriately in their environment.  Appropriate social skills will not only help them in school, but also later on in life as they interact with employers, family, and society at large.

What social skills are we looking for in preschoolers:
  • Sharing
  • Taking turns
  • Expressing feelings and concerns
  • "Hearing" other's feelings and concerns
  • Cooperation
  • Problem Solving
While these areas will certainly not be mastered by kindergarten, they should be explored at an early age.  

So how can be begin to develop these all important social skills in our child:
  • Providing for opportunities to play with other kids
  • Teaching them appropriate communication skills
  • Modeling play with adults
  • Helping them build their confidence
Let's brainstorm!  What are some great ways to expand your child's social network?
  • Play dates: These work great for me as they provide me with an opportunity to get out of the house as well as develop my child's social time.  They can be hosted in someones home, at a local park or aquatic center, or at an indoor play place, to name a few.  They provide the opportunity for parents to receive feedback on parenting questions as well as allow the children to interact and learn from each other.  Some things to consider: the parenting style of other parents, the ages of the other children, and your child's temperament.  Shyer children may wish to be in smaller groups while you may wish to have your child to interact with older, or conversely younger, children.
  • Sport activities: Many parks and rec. organizations will offer activities for children starting as young as 3-4 years old.  These allow your child to develop a skill as well as taking direction from another adult as well as interact with other children of the same age.  Check out your local YMCA.
  • Church and religious activities: Whether your church provides a mom's group or simply a Sunday School class, your child will have the opportunity to interact with other sharing similar religious beliefs in a safe environment.  
  • Library story times: Many local libraries will provide a story hour during the week specifically geared toward younger children.  Our has three: baby, toddler, and preschool.  Each has age-appropriate stories and activities as well as a time for the child to complete a craft and time for the parents to interact as well.  These crafts may involve problem solving, creativity, and cooperation.
So how do you provide social context for your child to flex their social skill muscles?  Leave us some ideas and encouragement.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tackle it Tuesday--preparing to go out of town

Well, we're headed out of town for a long weekend. My husband is going to be a groomsman in the wedding of a very dear friend of ours. And while I'm excited to be going to the wedding, taking care of details here first is proving to be overwhelming. While I'd like to say that I'll get all of this done today, there's no way. I just hope I get it all done by Thursday. Here's what I have on my plate.
Pack for the kids
Pack for me
Return library books and pick up new stuff for the drive
Reorganize the diaper bag
Schedule blogs for here
Blog a couple of entries on family site
Finish making and packaging wedding gift
Download pictures on computer
Charge camera

This along with the usual of grocery shopping, taking of two little ones and keeping this house going.

Wish me luck!

What are you tackling today?

Shepherding a Child's Heart: Chp 11

Every Monday and Friday, join us for reading, "Shepherding a Child's Heart."  I'll post a brief synopsis of the chapter with a few highlights, as well as a few of my personal thoughts.  At the end of the comments, there will be 2-3 questions for discussion as well.   So join us in our journey toward becoming the mommies that God has called us to be.

Chapter 11: Embracing Biblical Methods: The Rod

Tripp uses this chapter to cautiously approach the idea of physical discipline.  As he says, the idea of spanking is not a popular on in today's society.  Thus this is a difficult subject to approach.  In exploring the nature of sin, Tripp makes the following points:
  • Children are not born morally and ethically neutral (pg 105)
  • It is a question of authority.  Will the child live under the authority of God and therefore the authority of his parents, or under his own authority--driven by his wants and passions? (pg 106)
  • (The rod) provides an immediate tactile demonstration of the foolishness of rebellion.  Properly administered discipline humbles the heart of a child (pg 107)
Tripp finds that spanking should under the following circumstances:
  • in a parent-child relationship
  • as an act of faith--because God commanded it
  • as an act of faithfulness-- expressing love
  • as a responsibility--acting as God's agent
  • in a physical manner-- in a "careful, timely, measured, and controlled" manner (pg 109)
  • as a rescue mission--saving your child from sin
Tripp also warns against "distortions of the rod:"
  • venting anger
  • venting frustration
  • as retribution
  • associated with anger
He urges consistency, calmness, moderation and love in spanking.  There is so much more to this chapter.  I can't even cover it all tonight.  A must read.

My husband and I were just talking about this tonight and I sit on the fence all the time.  I think some tasks can be conveyed without spanking; however, with the arguments made here, I am torn as to the role of spanking in our house.  At this time, I'm seeing as valuable in some situations and even necessary.  However, using it judiciously as to not spank for silly things.  

How do you draw this line in your household?

Questions for discussion:
1. What is the problem in your children that requires the use of the rod?

2. What is the function of the rod?

6. How would you describe the relationship between communication and the rod?  Which method is easier for you?

(Participating in an online devotional Works for Me)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Menu Monday

Short week for us this week. My hubby is in a wedding this weekend so we'll be at my in-laws part of the time. But here's what we have going on...

Gingerbread waffles
Toast and jelly
Cream of Wheat

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
Tomato Soup
Fruited Jello
Carrots and Dip

Monday: Taco Soup

Tuesday: Potluck: Asian Noodle Salad

Thursday: Visiting friends in Sacramento

Friday: At in-laws

Saturday: At the wedding

Sunday: Dinner on the road/ Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese (if home)

(No Cornflakes)

I feel like we're stuck in a rut. Anyone have ideas for us? Post us your favorite family recipe. I want to push my 2 year olds palate and get him into all kinds of food, but also find economical recipes suitable for a family. Any ideas???

Check out what others are making at Organizing Junkie.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Book Club Note

It has been a joy for me to read "Shepherding a Child's Heart" by Tedd Tripp with you.  I've learned so much through this study and am glad we took the time to read together.  Upon reviewing the number of chapters we have left, it should take us about four more weeks to finish the book.  I'd like to read another book on this blog and am looking for suggestions on what you might be interested in reading.  Please leave me a comment with the name and author that's on your "to read" list.  I'd like to have something picked out in a couple of weeks so we could all pick up a copy.  Thanks!

Shepherding a Child's Heart: Chp 10

Every Monday and Friday, join us for reading "Shepherding a Child's Heart."  I'll post a brief synopsis of the chapter with a few highlights, as well as a few of my personal thoughts.  At the end of the comments, there will be 2-3 questions for discussion as well.  So join us in our journey toward becoming the mommies that God has called us to be.

Chapter 10: Embracing Biblical Methods: A Life of Communication

Tripp discusses how communication must become a lifestyle and not an isolated event in our parenting.  This chapter talks about the cost vs. the benefits of such a lifestyle.  Some of the costs include: active listening, mental stamina, and being present in the moment.  Some of the benefits include: fulfilling parent-child relationships, preparation for relationships outside of the family, and sensing God's redemptive plan in the world, as well as character development.

Some interesting points from the chapter:
  • Communication not only disciplines, it also disciples. pg 93
  • You will never have the hearts of your children if you talk to them only when something has gone wrong. pg 93
  • Children long to be known, understood, discipled and loved. pg 96
  • (communication) means seeing character development as more important than short-term gratification. pg 99-10
Tripp leaves us with the question is it worth the cost???  That's a question that each parent must decide for themselves.

I loved the premise of this chapter: reminding us that parenting is not temporary.  That once you have kids, parenting is for the rest of your life.  How easy it is to forget to keep practicing the skills that we are learning.  I've truly found these chapters on communication to be very helpful.

Questions for discussion:
1. If you were to have the kind of communication with your child outlined here, what would the cost be for you?  Are you willing to pay that price?

4. What are the sanctification issues that you would need to address in order to lead your children in the ways set forth in this chapter?

Book Club Note

Hey ladies.  Up for a challenge???  I was looking at the chapters for next week and had the following thought.  Let's read Chapters 11-13 next week.  Chapter 11 will be posted on Monday and chapters 12 and 13 will be posted on Friday.  Chapter 13 is only a page long so it should be easy to push through.  Hope you're getting a lot out of this book.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Father's Day Gift Ideas

Looking for some frugal Father's Day ideas?  Well, look no further.  Here's a few tried and true ideas that are sure to delight the dad in your life.

1. Car Wash Kit:
  Sturdy bucket filled with the following:
  • New rags
  • Tire cleaner
  • No streak cleaner
  • Windex
  • Nozzle for the hose
  • Homemade coupons for Mommy and kids to wash the car
2. Fishing Kit:
  • Gift certificate for the bait shop
  • New hooks
  • New flies
  • Fishing line
  • Homemade coupons from Mommy for a Saturday morning off without the kids
3. Grill Kit:
  • New grill brush
  • Silicon baster
  • BBQ turner
  • Smoke chips
  • Gift certificate for dinner of choice
4. Coffee kit:
5. Homemade meal and dessert:
  • Favorite childhood meal
  • Summery drink: sun tea, lemonade, etc
  • Favorite decadent dessert: chocolate cake, bars, etc.
6. Yard work:
  • Pull weeds
  • Mow the lawn
  • Prune the hedges
  • Prune trees
  • Plant a new rose bush
7. Tea Lover's Kit:
  • New mug
  • Tea Press
  • Assorted teas
  • Honey
  • Sugar in the Raw
8. Book Lover's Kit:
  • Used books (bookstores and library sales)
  • Book light
  • Homemade bookmarks
9. Planting Kit:
  • Bag of Potting soil
  • Seeds, seedings
  • Rose bush
  • Feeding spikes
  • Planter
10. Wordsworth Kit:
  • Pen
  • Homemade cards
  • Stamped stationary
  • Stamps
  • Envelopes
  • Book of quotes
  • Address book

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Money Saving in the Kitchen

If you're like me, you're always looking for ways to trim the fat from your grocery bill.  Especially with the rising costs of food these days and the current state of our economy.  Here are just a few tips to hopefully help you stay on budget.

  • Make a meal plan.  If you've done much looking around my site, you'll find that I try to post a new menu every Monday.  This serves a couple of different purposes.  It helps at 4:30pm when the kids are running around and I still have no thoughts of making dinner.  But it also helps me to better plan and utilize the food in our refrigerator and pantry.  Perhaps I bought several boxes of Rice a Roni when it was on sale.  This way, I have a resource of ideas on how to use it.
  • Make a list. Base the bulk of your grocery shopping on your list and base your list on your meal plan.  This will keep you from buying unnecessary items.  Of course, you may deter from this if there is a great sale on common items.  However, for the most part, try to stick with it.  Cross reference this with items already in your pantry before you leave home.
  • Clip coupons.  As many of my local stores don't accept Internet coupons, I don't do much clipping.  However there are many shoppers who have great success with this.  Check out Money Saving Mom to start.
  • Don't shop on an empty stomach.  This can be hard if you're shopping with kids, going with their schedules, and just trying to get out of the house whenever you can.  But if that's the case, pack an extra snack to eat on the way there.  You will over shop if you shop hungry.
  • Know where to look.  Avoid end caps and eye level shelves.  The most expensive and brand name items will be at eye level.  Try looking above and below for better deals.
  • Buy generic.  For the most part you'll find that you  won't notice a difference.  The taste and quality is often just as good.
  • Be a discerning shopper. Read labels.  I do have a few exceptions to my generic policy.  For example, when reading labels, I found that generic granola bars are higher in fat and sugar.  Buy generic is more costly if it affects your health.
  • Limit snacks.  Snack food is costly and unnutritious.  With a toddler in our house, it's inevitable; however, we limit it to a few "essentials:" granola bars, rice cakes, raisins, and graham crackers.  Occasionally, we buy a bag of chips, but we've found that cutting out cookies, chips, and soda have saved a significant amount on our overall grocery bill.
  • Buy in season.  Produce is a large chunk of our grocery spending.  Buying in season may keep us from buying cantaloupe year round, but it exposes my kids to a variety of our fruits and vegetables that they may not have otherwise experienced.  Produce in season can also be bought at a significant savings.
  • Get a club card.  For the most part, Safeway is the most expensive place in our area.  However, upon watching their ads, I find that I can get fresh produce at a significant savings if I have a Safeway card.  I recently purchased Mangoes 4/$1 while other places were selling them at $.60 a piece.  This price was only available with a club card.  Additionally, we are able to purchase gas at Safeway at a $.03 discount with our club card.
  • Avoid impulse buys.  Cookies, gum, and magazines are at the checkout for good reason.  While you are waiting to pay for your groceries, they are an easy temptation.  Look at the price and think of how you could better use that money, such as an extra pound of grapes, or a loaf of french bread.
  • Do allow yourself the occasional spurge.  When I'm having a bad day and I've braved the store with two kids, I'll pick up bottled soda to chill at home and enjoy during nap time.  I consider this cheaper than therapy.  It allows me the occasional spurge and keeps me focused for the next time I have to stick to my budget.
These strategies Work for Me.

Teaching Tuesday

Clothespin Letters

Twine or clothesline
26 clothepins

1. Print 1 letter of the alphabet on each of the clothespins.
2. Hang clothesline.  You can also hang smaller sections and work on fewer letters at a time.
3. Have your child order the letters from A-Z on the clothesline.

Advanced Option:
1. Make additional letter pins with commonly used letters.
2. Have your child spell out common sight words.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Tackle it Tuesday--watch you grow!

There's always so much to do around here that I'm not sure where to start. Hummm...

I am a photo fanatic!

I have two kids, ages 2.5 yrs and 5 months. They are beautiful (says a very humble mommy). So I'm constantly taking pictures and excited to take the kids for professional photographs. However, that means I have a stack of photos that just came back from the photographer that need to be framed and hung. So I'm making a quick shopping run, framing and hanging photos today.

Wish me luck with the two little ones in tow.

Shepherding a Child's Heart: Chp 9

Every Monday and Friday join us for reading "Shepherding a Child's Heart."  I'll post a brief synopsis of the chapter, with a few highlights, as well as a few of my personal thoughts.  Add the end of my comments, there will be 2-3 questions for discussion as well.  So join us in our journey toward becoming the mommies that God has called us to be.

Chapter 9: Embracing Biblical Methods: Types of Communication

Tripp shows a figure displaying our usual pattern of rules, correction, and discipline.  He finds however that we should follow the patterns of communication in: encouragement, correction rebuke, entreaty, instruction, warning, teaching, and prayer.  These are based on the idea that I Thess 5:14 teaches us to use different types of correction in different situations.  These forms of communication, interwoven, will provide a richer form of communication between you and your child.  Let's break them down.

  • assess reasons for frustration and disappointment
  • help them understand promises of God 
  • find courage and hope (85)
  • beyond saying the right things
  • reaches to the attitude of the heart
  • remedies something wrong (86)
  • corrects behavior
  • conveys strong feeling: shock or alarm (86)
  • involves pleading, soliciting, urging, begging
  • earnest
  • example: talking with your child about the dangers of drug use
  • lesson, precept, information
  • teaching them as they grow
  • example: identifying emotions and how to deal with them
  • "A warning is simply a statement that A leads to B" (pg 89)
  • understanding, embracing, and internalization are the goals
  • imparting knowledge
  • understanding oneself and the world around him
  • allowing them to hear you pray
  • giving them insight into your relationship with God
  • praying for them
  • getting insight into their own relationship with God
Does anyone else better understand the difference between instruction and teaching?  I'm a little confused on that one.

Questions for discussion:
2. When you find problems at home, do you expect to solve them with a new set of rules and punishments, or with richer forms of communication?

5. How would you encourage your child who had failed miserably but seemed genuinely to desire God's help?

6. Of the eight types of communication mentioned in this chapter, at which ones are you most proficient?  At which ones are you least proficient?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Menu Monday

I haven't thought a lot about this week so we'll see what happens. Any ideas???


Cottage Cheese
Scrambled Eggs
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins


Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Ramen Noodles
Egg Salad sandwiches
Jello and fruit


Monday: Spaghetti and french bread, salad

Tuesday: Potluck:Pasta Salad

Wednesday: Crockpot Cream Cheese Chicken (trying for a 3rd week)

Friday: Stirfry with chicken, fried rice

Saturday: Rosemary Potato Pizetta, salad

Sunday: Grandma Gisi's Lasagne or BBQ--Hubby's choice

For more great ideas, check out Organizing Junkie.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Homemade Popsicle How-To

Here's a great homemade treat that we've taken up as Big Boy is getting older.

Homemade Popsicles

One frozen container of juice
One box of jello in a coordinating flavor

  1. Mix the box of jello according to the directions. It's important to dissolve the jello first or it will not dissolve in the juice.
  2. Mix in the container of juice, adding the appropriate amount of water.
  3. Most call for 3 juice containers of water. I add this amount despite the water in the jello as my little guy is still small and I tend to dilute his juice anyways.
  4. Pour into Tupperware molds and freeze until hardened.
These are nutritious and a great snack on a hot summer afternoon.
Some flavor combinations that we've tried are:
  • Pineapple juice and strawberry jello
  • Orange juice and strawberry jello
  • White grape juice and raspberry jello
  • Pineapple juice and orange jello
What are your Frugal Friday tips?

Shepherding a Child's Heart: Chp 8

Every Monday and Friday join us for reading "Shepherding a Child's Heart." I'll post a brief synopsis of the chapter with a few highlights, as well as a few of my personal thoughts. At the end of the comments, there will be 2-3 questions for discussion as well. So join us in our journey toward becoming the mommies that God has called us to be.

Chapter 8: Embracing Biblical Methods: Communication

Tripp breaks down biblical discipline to two elements: communication and "the rod." Chapters 8-10 will deal with communication. He feels that communication is so important because it teaches your child to understand his own emotions. Come to think of it: how can we expect our children to understand their emotions if we don't help them?

Tripp provides several dialogue examples. One includes the parent asking the child this question:
"Why did you hit your sister?"
"I don't know."
This is a typical response from my toddler and makes sense. He doesn't understand his emotions so how can I expect him to control them?

These are some highlights from the chapter:
  • Communication is a dialogue, not a monologue.
  • "You must engage your child to understand what is going on inside" pg 77.
  • "Your question in correction is this: 'What is the specific content of the abundance of the heart in this circumstance?'" pg 77.
Tripp's point in the chapter is helping your child to understand and express their own temptations and emotions (pg 79). We must learn to facilitate conversations in which we encourage self-reflection and knowledge. As the premise of the book has been that behavior springs from the nature of the heart, we must teach our children to examine their hearts in order to change their behavior.

So what do you think? It gave me a lot to think about in how I communicate with my son. How can I expect him to understand his emotions without guiding him in self-reflection? And although I haven't fully expected this of him, have I made much effort in disciplining him in this area?

Questions for discussion:
2. What should be your first communication objective in responding to a problem with your children?

3. What are five or six good questions for drawing out what your child is thinking or feeling?

4. What changes would you have to make in your conversation style if you were going to have a conversation like the second example about the new sneakers?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Bee Sting Remedy

Looking for a quick and easy way to take the sting out of a bee sting?

Meat Tenderizer!

Make and apply a paste of meat tenderizer and water to the sting. Allow to dry. Remedy will reduce sting and swelling at the site quickly.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

ABC Illustrated Flipbook

Here's an idea for learning those ABC's:

ABC Illustrated Flipbook

Old Magazines
Glue Stick
Construction Paper
Hole Punch
Old Shoelaces, Ribbon, or Ties

  1. Start by cutting out the letters of the alphabet. Then cut out the pages of your book from construction paper. You may want to do this ahead of time, depending on the age of your child. Don't forget that your pages will lap over each other so you will have to do a little compensation for the size of your pages.
  2. With your child, place your pages, stacked together, and punch three holes down the spine. Lace together with old shoelaces, ribbon, etc.
  3. Adhere one alphabet letter to each page in order.
  4. Cut photos of objects starting with each letter. For example, airplane for A, berries for B, or car for C. Be creative, but make sure the pictures you use are clea in what they are representing.
  5. Adhere photos under each letter.
  6. Make a nice cover with your child's name and special title.
You can do this in an afternoon, or just do a couple of letters at a time, depending on your child's attention span and recognition of the alphabet.

This is what Works for Me when my child's bored.

Mean Green Spears

Asparagus is a great vegetable. I found the following stats in a recent Parenting magazine. Check it out!

Half a cup of cooked asparagus has 20 calories, 2 g fiber, 57% daily value vitamin K, 33% folate and 18% vitamin A.

Looking for a couple of great ideas on how to prepare it? Try the following:

Roast asparagus spears at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder.
Chop into 1- in pieces and add to omeletes, rice, soups, and salads.


Blanch asparagus spears (paraboil for 4 min then dunk in cold water).
Dip in a mixture of light mayo mixed with orange zest, a splash of OJ, and a dab of honey.

Teaching Tuesday--Preschool Revisited

After asking for some opinions on preschools, I found an article in American Baby from the April 2008 issue.  It offered some helpful ideas and I thought I'd summarize them here.  These are just a few concepts that should be developed in the early years of preschool.

Two year olds:
  • focus on social skills: sharing, group identity, making friends, taking turns in conversation and in activities, respect for each other
  • develop pre-reading skills
  • fine motor skills developed by coloring, painting, etc.
  • exposure to print-rich environment
  • polishing on potty training
Three year olds:
  • developing the world of friends
  • writing develops further, using a variety of elements: crayons, pens, finger in the dirt, etc
  • understand permanence of words and meaning
  • recognize rhyme and beginning sounds
  • understanding that numbers have meaning, begin counting objects
  • putting items away
Four year olds:
  • identify beginning sounds of words
  • rhyme words
  • begin understanding how letters are formed
  • increased attention span, following rules and directions
  • planned out play: "you're the mommy and I'm the daddy.  We're going for a walk in the park.  Let's go to lunch at the restaurant."
  • increased empathy

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tackle it Tuesday--Letters to the Kids

Wow! The days go by so fast. I turn around and Big Boy is getting even bigger, while Baby Girl is quickly rushing through babyhood. So today's tackle...

Break out the baby books and write letters to my kids.

Besides the baby books, I once read of a woman who wrote letters in a notebook to her kids every Friday. While I'm sure I won't be that disciplined, I'd like to do something like that once in awhile. I do keep small $ store notebooks for the kids with little tidbits. When they started sleeping through the night. What their first foods where. What their favorite toys are. Letters to my kids about how their father and I feel about them would be the perfect addition. I'm actually really excited about today's tackle.

What are you going to tackle today?

Shepherding a Child's Heart: Chp 7

Every Monday and Friday join us for reading "Shepherding a Child's Heart."  I'll post a brief synopsis of the chapter with a few highlights, as well as a few of my personal thoughts.  At the end of the comments, there will be 2-3 questions for discussion as well.  So join us in our journey toward becoming the mommies that God has called us to be.

Chapter 7: Discarding Unbiblical Methods

 Tripp finds that the following methods "have one thing in common: The human mind is the standard" pg 61.  These are the approaches that he mentions:
  • "I didn't turn out so bad"--This approaches demonstrates a parent using the same means of discipline that his parents used without examining it's effectiveness or ineffectiveness, or it's basis in biblical parenting.
  • Pop physcology-- This includes bribery and contracts.  Tripp finds that these types of methods teach children to look out for themselves.  By trying to "earn" something, he believes that parents are promoting self-interest pg 63.
  • Behavior Modification-- Praise for good behavior and criticism for negative behavior.   Again he believes this promotes self-interest.  
  • Emotionalism-- This includes such things as shaming a child and, from what I discern, time-outs.  
  • Punitive Correction--Yelling, spanking, grounding, hitting, etc would fall into this category.
  • Erractic Eclecticism-- This is when parents bounce back and forth between types of discipline, confusing their children.
These are a few of Tripp's thoughts from the end of the chapter (pg 69):
  • When the experts tell you that you must find what works with each child, they are saying you must find the idols of the heart that will move this child.
  • Addressing the child's heart unbiblically plays to the corruption of his heart as an idolater and provides him with functional idols around which to organize his life.
  • (My favorite) The gospel is not a message about doing new things.  It is a message about being a new creature.
I'm finding that I had a hard time with this chapter.  Again I'm struggling to understand Tripp and wrestle with whether or not, I'm too lost in my unbiblical methods to grasp what he's saying.  We generally use behavior modification and a little emotionalism.  My son is still young so we do some bribery for things like using the potty, etc.  And as far as emotionalism, Tripp doesn't come right out and say that he isn't against time-outs.  But that seems to be part of what he's talking about in that section.  I'm not sure what I would do with a two year old if it wasn't for time-outs.  We still talk about why we have to listen to mommy and how God would have us behave.  But the time-out is his consequence for his behavior.  

Needless to say, I'm anxious to see what he has to say as we get further into the book.

Questions for discussion:

2. Which of the unbiblical methods above have you seen yourself use?  Can you think of any other common unbiblical approaches to discipline and correction?

3.  What is wrong with these unbiblical approaches?  State it in your own terms.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Menu Monday

Yogurt and granola, milk
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, salad, juice

Cottage Cheese and fruit, milk
Tuna sandwiches, salad, juice
Potluck: Cabbage Salad

Scrambled eggs and veggies, milk
Leftovers, fruit jello
Dinner with the Gaido's

Bagels and fruit, milk
Chicken and Veggie Quesadillas, salad

Yogurt and granola, milk
Peanut Butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit jello

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, milk
Leftovers, salad, pudding

Leftover muffins, milk
Leftovers or sandwiches

For more great meal ideas, check out Organizing Junkie.
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