Monday, November 30, 2009


I have been reading a copy of The New Strong-Willed Child, by Dr. James Dobson, which I rented from the public library recently. It has some very insightful things in it—even if your child isn't technically "strong-willed"—and I have been encouraged. The thing I find ironic is, I have never checked out a book from the library until now that has so many stains or remnants of food in it! (I've found at least 3-4 spots.) Apparently these strong-willed children are getting their grimy little hands on the book!!

Oh, excuse me.... I need to go take care of some business with my 4-year-old who is putting up a stink in his room because he doesn't want to take his nap! Hmmm... isn't the timing ironic?

Friday, November 20, 2009

8 things being killed by the Internet

I saw this little list in Readers' Digest this past month...

8 Things Being Killed By the Internet

► Polite disagreement
► Letter writing
► Memory
► Daydreaming
► Waiting a day for sports scores
► Footnotes
► Leaving your desk for lunch
► Concentration

[Original Source: Matthew Moore in the London Daily Telegraph]

Very interesting. Kinda makes ya chuckle, but kinda gets you thinking too. Like how, although the Internet has brought about many great things, there are some definite drawbacks... for me... like how easily it lures me away from things more productive (or important)—like tending to my kids, house-cleaning, reading a book, having a QT, etc. ......

BUT, self-control is one of those things God is always working on with me... and self-control is something I will always be working on with my boys too.... learning how to co-exist with modern distractions like TV, the Internet, texting, etc. What a different world we live in now than what I grew up in!

Following Jesus

Here is a great quote from 18th century theologian John Wesley—

Why has Christianity done so little good, even among us? ... Among them that hear and receive the whole Christian doctrine? ... Plainly because we have forgot or, at least, not duly attended to, those solemn words of our Lord: "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."

Oy! Talk about a challenge! I think, as a mom, that I am learning about this kind of sacrifice more than ever....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Good grief!" Thursday

Is it wrong to say, "I love my child, but..."?

Because I love my child, but he has an oral fixation that is driving me crazy!!! My 4-year-old chews on everything... his sleeves, his matchbox cars, the bindings of books... I swear, every time I turn around I find something new that has been chewed on. Puzzle pieces... K'nex... good grief! I mentioned it to my husband and he said, "Don't you remember chewing on your pen cap in high school??" No. I did no such thing in high school.

So this afternoon I was diligently working on our budget—which requires a great deal of concentration—while my son was supposedly coloring at the dining room table (around the corner, just out of my sight). When I went to check on him, he hid underneath the table—a clue that he is doing something he knows he should not be doing. I gently issued the command: "Open your mouth." Inside were yellow waxy bits of chewed-up crayon. Grrrr. Fighting my urge to yell, which would be of no profit and I would regret later anyway, I smiled and reminded him that we never chew on crayons...and sent him downstairs to watch Elmo.

And now I'm blogging about it! Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Homemade toys

Before I had kids, I scoffed at those who had every toy imaginable. Now that I'm a parent, I can understand the desire of a parent to give their child fun gifts—you just love your kids so much you want to give them everything!

Well, as a parent with a limited budget—and the understanding that a child having everything their little heart desires isn't the best for them!—I have learned the beauty of making stuff out of random household items, especially cardboard.

Here is a picture of my oldest son with some fun glasses I made for him a few months ago out of cardstock! (That's his fake smile... I think he's saying, "Cheeeeeeese....")

Another of Brandon's homemade favorites is a "car city" we drew with crayons on the back of a sheet of cardboard (wish I had a picture to show you)—complete with roads, grass, houses, stores, etc. He LOVES it. He covets it, in fact..... hides it from his little brother.... we're still working on the character quality of sharing. :)

And this weekend I made a stove/oven for Brandon using an empty diaper box. I cut out two circles of black construction paper and taped them to the top for the burners, and then cut an oven door out of the front of it. (Note the homemade chef's hat as well.)

He had a blast "cooking" for Grandpa & Grandma this weekend!

Oh, and speaking of money-saving... I am currently sipping on a Caribou vanilla latte... I bought a large today, which I divided into two or three portions to save for another day! :) La-tee-dee... la-tee-da... that's how us one-income families make it...

Enjoy this sunny autumn day! :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Money-saving tip

I did a little experiment this week. I hid the roll of paper towels that normally resides above the kitchen sink. They're too easily accessible there.

My family (OK, I guess that would be my husband and me) seems to go through paper towels pretty quickly. At some point, I had this great idea—buy the "select-a-size" paper towels—after all, many jobs don't require a whole normal-sized sheet. That seemed to help some.

However, as I watch the price of paper towels increase—like $17.99 for a 12-roll package of Bounty (granted, according to the packaging, 12 GIANT rolls = 18 regular rolls)—it just made me go, "Hmmmm...I wonder if we could save money here?"

So I bought a cheap package of kitchen wash cloths at Target. At lunchtime, instead of grabbing a fresh paper towel every time my hands are sticky (which is a lot when you're feeding two hungry boys) I use a wet wash cloth. Same for the boys. Since I do laundry about every 3-4 days anyway, what impact would a few extra wash cloths have? Nothing too serious. And sure enough, it's working!! We're still working on the same roll of paper towels we started on last Monday! PLUS, it gives Brandon an extra little chore—help Momma fold the wash cloths. And we Mommas know that when our kids help with household chores, it gives them a sense of belonging and being part of the family.

It's hard to say how many rolls we were going through per month (I've never actually counted, although I've been tempted to!)—but if I ventured a guess I would say we probably spent around $10/month on them. Hey! That's $10 I could use for.... coffee! or Christmas gifts! or to help someone less fortunate than myself! Now that's much more productive.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Home Ec ain't just for girls

I receive a weekly e-newsletter called “The Homeschool Minute.” This week’s topic is “Teaching Home Ec During the Holidays” (click here to see the whole newsletter). Home Ec? I said to myself. I don’t even have any girls?! But as I read on, I realized two things—#1 it is an encouragement to me as a homemaker, and #2 my boys ought to be raised with some good serving and household management skills!

Here’s a snippit from one of the articles…

* * * * *
Mercy Every Minute (by Deborah Wuehler, TOS Senior Editor)

What is true home economics? Merriam-Webster's online dictionary ( says this term dates back to 1899 and means "the theory and practice of homemaking" while a homemaker is defined as, "one who manages a household especially as a wife and mother."

Managing a household is not a simple job. The tasks are endless, the pay slim to none, the rewards are not always immediately evident, the hours are more than full-time. So what keeps the homemaker home-making? Is it the constant demands or the ever increasing needs? Maybe it's the daily drudgery of habit, or the fear of a spouse coming home to a disaster. If those are the reasons, then the joy of homemaking may just be waning at your house, as it often does at mine.

But I am learning that if I am to be training my young ones in home economics, and I want them to have good attitudes about it, then I must plan to put more joy into it myself. Too often, "home ec" has been stressful and no fun. Let's plan to put more fun and joy into serving each other, and our extended loved ones, and at the same time, teaching the children that in everything we do, we do it heartily as unto the Lord and not man. (Colossians 3:22-24)
* * * * *

And along those lines, here’s snippit from another article in the same e-newsletter…

* * * * *
The Familyman (by Todd Wilson, Familyman Ministries)

I think we should all teach home ec during the holidays, but do we have to "schoolify" it and call it "home ec"? Can't we just view it as essential life skills that parents should teach their children?

Every child needs to know how to make peanut butter buckeyes, Chex Mix, stained glass candy, cheese balls, and of course, sugar cookies cut into Christmas shapes.

And don't try to add it to your already-busy school schedule… do it instead of your busy school schedule… and don't feel guilty, because you shouldn't!
* * * * *

I liked that. Go, homemakers!! Go, moms!! Raise those children up to be men and women of God, who can care for their homes and serve one another joyfully!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Humility goes a long way

During the boys' naptime today, I was listening to one of Mark Darling's parenting messages from his Getting Your Family to Mars series... and he said something that struck me kinda profoundly...
"You can't be a perfect parent—but you can be perfectly humble."

As in, saying you're sorry if you blow it, admitting you were wrong, etc. Because God gives grace to the humble.

And a verse from Psalm 25 came to mind: "He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them His way." It doesn't say, "He leads the perfect..." It just gave me another glimpse of God's grace for parents—because I struggle so much with feeling like I need to be perfect in order for Him to approve of me or bless me or be near me during the day in the midst of mothering—despite what I know the Bible says. Oh, to really grasp His love for me....!