Doing the best she can to raise happy, healthy children

Monthly Archives: November 2012

During the month of November at the dinner table, I ask everyone what they’re thankful for. This particular day, I took my daughter out for supper following dance. I’d forgotten to ask her and so we had our conversation while driving home. When I asked her response was this: Caleena (one of her preschool teachers) is thankful for all the cars and the city. Then she went on to say that she was thankful for God because he made all the cars and the cities. Noticing the trees, she went on to say that God made the tall, tall trees and listed off several things she saw as we drove. Finally she asked me, “Mommie, does God get tired? The trees are so tall and the cities are so big. That must be tiring to make all of it.”

I left this conversation feeling happy. In our house we do our best to talk about God, to reinforce that there is a God and the behavior that gives Him glory. She speaks openly about Him and it’s not uncommon for her to talk about God. This conversation was different. She wasn’t just stating facts or repeating things I’ve told her. From this conversation, I was re-assured that she not only thinks about what He’s done for us but she is grateful for what He does for us.

Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Mark 10:14

Ever since I started talking with her about God, I’ve been so impressed with her faith in Him. She has believed unconditionally that He exists and loves her. Her genuine belief is empowering and inspires me to be a better Christian. She loves to go to church. Her faith comes naturally. I’m certain God has great things in mind for her.

I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a  little child will never enter it.  Mark 10:15

Child-like faith. It was a concept I didn’t fully understand until I had my own child. They, without reservation, believe in all things concrete and mystical. If they are told it exists, it does. No questions or over thinking. He exists and that’s that. As we age, we become more skeptical of all things unseen. We question everything and almost seem to look for a way to not believe in God. Of all things my children have taught me, I believe this is the biggest lesson: believe in God and take Joy in Him as a child does.

My goal going forward is to be more child-like in my faith. I want to take Joy in the Lord. I’m planning to spend less time questioning and more time listening and following. I do believe God is working through my daughter. I believe she’s more accepting of His guidance because she’s less bogged down by worldly things. I will become less bogged down and take time to really listen and really thank Him for everything He does for us.

I challenge you to think about this too. How can you become more child-like in your faith? What is holding you back?

Prayer for childlike faith:

Dear God. Thank-you for the lessons brought to us by the smallest of people. Thank-you for providing me with my child who is helping me to see you differently. Please help me to look at the world with all the awe and wonder of a child. Help me to have child-like faith. Please continue to provide me opportunities to not only teach and guide my daughter but for her to teach and guide me. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

This year, as with every year, I have a lot to be thankful for. I have those typical things that we all are thankful for: great family, healthy kids, house, plenty of food, employment, and such. This year, I have spent a good amount of thinking what I’m most thankful for. Here is my list of 5 things I’m thankful for:

1) I am thankful for my scattered shoes throughout the house because it means my daughter admires me and wants to be like me. She tries on all of my high heels leaves the discarded ones surrounding the closet and then walks around in her chosen pair. As I pick them up or trip on them, I’m reminded that I’m lucky to be the mom to a very great little girl.

2) I am thankful for my sassy two and four year-old because it means they are growing up and trying out decision-making. It’s a challenge at times to hear “no”, “I don’t like it”, “I don’t wanna…”, but ultimately this is such an important phase for them to go through. To learn how to negotiate relationships and make decisions is essential for when they become adults. I am thankful for the opportunity to help them learn how to do both of these.

3) I am thankful for the constant rotating piles of laundry between folded, ready to put away, and ready to be washed because it means I’ve been granted the gift of a wonderful husband and two beautiful children. If I didn’t have the laundry back-up, I either wouldn’t have my family or have the all more important family time.

4) A busy holiday season because it reminds me that we are very blessed with family and friends. Although the holidays can seem extra busy and extra stressful, I am thankful for this time. It gives me time to spend with extended family and friends. It provides me with time to express my gratefulness to them for their love and friendship.

5) My broken snowman because it reminds me to look at the world like a child. Children are amazing little creatures. Everything can be transformed into a game. Their imagination is endless which is exactly how my snowman was broken. I watch them learn and play and feel very blessed to have them but I also am reminded to relax a bit and to play some myself.

This year is the first year I’ve thought much about doing the Elf on the Shelf. I’m not thinking about it for the reason of conning my kids into behaving rather for building a new tradition and adding some more magic to the holiday season. I love traditions and that magical feeling I remember associated with Christmas. I remember the excitement building once December 1st arrived and I knew it was only weeks before the BIG day was here.  As the days and weeks went by, my excitement grew until it was barely contained Christmas Eve.

Growing up, we didn’t have a whole lot in the way of traditions. The few I remember mostly revolved around the actual Christmas Eve and Day. Very little tradition included the days building up to the holiday. In general, beside my internal excitement, my parents did very little to build-up to this momentous holiday. I can’t help but to wonder how much more special the holiday would’ve been if there were traditions that occur throughout the holiday season.

Now as I raise my own children, I want to have traditions built into their memories. I want those traditions specifically to revolve around holidays. Most importantly, I want them to add to the excitement of the holiday. I want them to have positive memories that make them feel nostalgic when they’re in their 30’s and raising their own kids.

Current traditions in our house: Thanksgiving we stay at home and have our own dinner. I shop Black Friday sales starting at Midnight then the day after Thanksgiving we travel to my husband’s family. We stay one night and return on Saturday. Our Christmas tree goes up either on Saturday or Sunday. This year we are returning to the Festival of Lights on Sunday (I’m planning this to be an annual event again). The month of December mostly just includes taking the kids Christmas shopping, watching every Christmas special we can, and seeing Santa at the zoo. For actual Christmas, we go to Christmas Eve services and the kids can open 1 present Christmas Eve, Santa comes, and we open the presents in the morning. Stockings have an orange and apple in the bottom for breakfast. Then we will go visit my mom on Christmas Day. Of course, both Christmas and Thanksgiving includes a huge meal.

So, Elf on the Shelf, or no? Do you do it and if so, do your kids get into it? What other traditions make your holidays special?

My daughter is sweet, nice, energetic, compassionate. Her daycare teachers tell me frequently she is nice to everyone and compliment her on her friendliness. I must say that I’ve very proud of this. I want her to grow-up to be a nice girl, I want her to be wholesome. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not perfect, but I try hard to instill in her its important to be nice to everyone.

We had a playdate with an old neighbor, our girls are the same age. They’ve played together since they were less than a year-old. I and my friend talked as the girls played. I was telling her of an incident at daycare a couple of weeks ago. My little girl reported another little girl had been mean to her. And had continued to tell her she had bad breath. I’d given her the advice of telling the other little girl she wasn’t being nice and she didn’t have to play with her if she was going to be mean.

After we talked over my daughter’s situation she told me about her friend’s daughter who was 8 and was having difficulty with a couple of kids in school. Over the weekend, I met with yet another friend and again we got into the social network of little girls. Her daughter is in first grade and had a small concern with her “best friend” the week before at school. My friend told me of a friend of her’s whose daughter is in kindergarten and the girls where having so many issues there was a parents meeting to discuss the kindergarteners behaviors. Really, kindergarten!

My heart sinks realizing that my little girl may run into the “mean girls” much earlier then I remember running into them. Raising girls is difficult. Girls are mean and catty from very young ages. They find things and pick at it. It got me to questioning, how do I raise my daughter to be a nice girl and yet stand up for herself? How do I keep her from being one of those dreaded mean girls? How do I teach her to negotiate those relationships?

The truth is, I can’t keep her from running into such girls. I can prepare for the world. I can teach her through my actions on how to navigate the world. I help her to understand that she is a strong, beautiful girl. Most importantly I want to teach her, even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right (Proverbs 20:11). I want her to know that she’ll be recognized by her own actions. And those actions speak more than words. I further more want to teach her that even though I’m not right beside her, I will always be here for her. Not only, am I always here for her but, most importantly I want her to know that God is always there. When things get tough, I want her to know its OK to come to me and to spend some time on her knees praying. I want to teach her to lean on God when she doesn’t know what to do or where to go.

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint (Isiah 40:30-31). 

I would really like her to find 2 or 3 really close friends. Friends she could tell anything to. I can imagine her in a tight-knit group of girls, like the penguins above, chatting away and being silly. My hope is that these close penguins (hopefully not real penguins) could then grow-up together and depend on each other. That is my wish for my growing up to fast little girl.

Go, Kids, Go!

We went to see the movie Wreck it Ralph last weekend. It was super cute! The kids loved it. If you’re a gamer and/or if you played as a kid, there are a ton of references that you’d love! It was amazing the amount they must have paid to get rights to put in some of the old school characters. Just awesome.

Down falls to the movie: a lot of toilet humor. My daughter loved it because that’s whats funny to her. In her mind there is nothing funnier then to call someone a diaper head. Throw dirty in there and you’re a riot. So, in the sense she was very entertained, the humor was just right. However, as a mom trying to get her 4 year-old to stop talking about diapers, yeah. It was a bit much. The only other negative I’d say about the movie is the end there was a clown/spider thingy that was scary for me. I felt my daughter who was on my lap tense up, it obviously scared her a bit too. I don’t get why they have to ruin a perfectly good kids movie by throwing in scary stuff. UGH! Anyways, after he was down for the count, she was fine and it didn’t cause any nightmares. So I guess it must not have been too traumatic.

Beside the overall enjoyment from the gaming references, cute little girl, and family time, the biggest bonus of the movie was my husband’s creativity leading to the kids have diaper (I bit ironic….) box go-carts. They were really excited to get them until they realized they didn’t actual move. Yeah, that was disappointing for them. But then they conned their dad into pushing them around in them. Fun in a box! If time allows this weekend I’m going to see if they want to decorate them. I have some construction paper. Hopefully there will be enough to cover both cars. If we do it, I’ll post a f/u blog entry with updated pictures.

Go, Kids, GO!

The Second Thrifty Thursday. This is a planned ongoing blog series to include ideas and tips on ways to save a little each month. I’ve always tended toward a thrifty nature but since having kids and the economy crash, saving has become so very important for us and, I suspect, most of America. My ideas are not all new, and many of you may be using these ideas already. If you are, please comment, share your thoughts on the ideas. Please, share if they’re working for you or not. Especially if you are able to attach a dollar amount saved. I personally hate math so I won’t have figured out the dollar amounts every time.

Major bulk Stores, you know the Coscos and Sams Clubs;  I use to hate those places. Yup, I hated them. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the concept, buy in bulk and save. However, I never thought they actually worked. I dislike Walmart, they’re company policies, the feel of the store, shopping environment, etc. So that pretty much ment I disliked Sams. However, because of my son’s multiple severe food allergies our grocery bill effectively doubled. I was in despite need for saving some money.

My cousin convinced me to go into Sams with her, she was convinced I would love it. After going there a couple of times, I started doing some research on the non-health food items we purchased regularly. I compared the price per unit at Sams to the price per unit at our usual grocery store. What I discovered was good and bad. Well, the truth I found out was this, there really is something to this buying in bulk. Not everything in bulk is cheaper or better even. But there was enough that I knew I’d save money if I sucked it up and got a membership. I then became the bulk shopper. I now can buy more than a month’s worth of meat, a months worth of toilet paper, a few odds and ends for right around $200.00.

Two months ago I bought 15 pounds of ground beef and that was a bit too much and has lasted so far through this month’s menu (I’ve got a couple of pounds still in the freezer). So, bonus, I didn’t buy any ground beef so far this month. I was able to buy some Steak from our regular grocery store (on sale, great price). I buy 2 bags of frozen chicken breast at about 10 pounds two months ago and found out that we really only need a little over one bag. Again, the second bag is still going strong this month. The TP was 90 rolls which lasts at least a month. We purchase a 22 roll package of paper towels which again will last the month. We also buy individual pizzas every other month for my husband’s and mine lunches. Each of these products were less than buying them at Target or our grocery store.

Two months ago we spent right at 200.00, this last month we were under by about 30.00 since we had some carry over. What I don’t buy bulk: Soda, no clothing items (unless I really like it knowing I’m not saving any money), junk food, foods we won’t finish before spoiling. Some of their fruit is a good price, but not always. They’re typically priced very much the same as I would normally buy but I’m forced to buy more. There is an occassional exception to this rule being strawberries, the price is often times less per unit compared to my usual grocery store. Bananas I’ve found to be basically the same price.

Other items we buy less than monthly:


Protein Shakes (for working out)

Vitamins- kids

Diapers and Pull-ups

Thinking about bulk? Do some research first. Find out what you can save money on and what just looks like a good deal. Here are some websites to get you started.

Leave a comment, tell me what you find to be a good money saver at the bulk stores. Happy shopping!

This is the very first Thrifty Thursday. This is a planned ongoing blog series to include ideas and tips on ways to save a little each month. I’ve always tended toward a thrifty nature but since having kids and the economy crash, saving has become so very important for us and, I suspect, most of America. My ideas are not all new, and many of you may be using these ideas already. If you are, please comment, share your thoughts on the ideas. Please, share if they’re working for you or not. Especially if you are able to attach a dollar amount saved. I personally hate math so I won’t have figured out the dollar amounts every time.

Toothpaste. Everyone uses it. Have you ever thought about how much toothpaste gets stuck in the tube and never comes out? Do you just waste that toothpaste or do you try rolling the toothpaste tube trying to force out the last bit of paste? Well, in our house we do both. We try the rolling it up and forcing out what we can. But then end up just tossing it because of not wanting to put so much effort into it.

Thanks to my sister-in-law who stayed with us a couple of weeks ago, I’ve discovered a cheap product that helps you get that last bit out of your toothpaste tube. Oh, do you have expensive creams/ointments in tubes? This works with it too, thus very quickly saving you money!

This tube squeezer is found at the Dollar Store and costs, 1.00. Great deal! It goes easily on the tube and has a knob on the side to move toothpaste out of the tube. As the bottom of the tube empties, it curls up inside the tube squeezer. Directions for putting it on the tube is on the back.

It’s a simple little contraption but boy is there savings in it. We use it on our ointments to help decrease the number of times we’re filling it. Its increased the amount of toothpaste we get out of our tube and decreases my frustration of fighting with the tube. Over all, this is a great, simple product and saves us money!

Yesterday was  the preschool fall party and I signed up for do the craft for the party. I do love arts and crafts and like to consider myself crafty. My husband, now he’s an artist for real, his college degree is in fine art and graphic design. Since he’s actually trained in art, I sometimes get a bit, well, self-conscious about my creativity. Since I know what he’s capable of, I just say I’m crafty.

Anyways, back on topic, I signed up for this art project two plus months ago. I was super excited to find something for them to do. So, of course I started searching and saving everything I could find on my Pinterest.  I spent the last two months slowly gathering up supplies and did nothing to prepare until the night before the party night. Yeah. I can procrastinate with the best of them.

I’ll admit, last night at 11 pm when I and my husband (he’s a good sport when I get in over my head) finally finished the prep-work, I was have some fall party blues! Despite those blues, I believe the model one for the teachers and helpers to go off from today is pretty cute. I was hoping to include the one my four-year-old made at the party but she told me that they were drying in the class room.

There are many very well-educated and not so educated people advising anyone who will listen to them on the politicians running for office. Don’t worry, I have no intention of telling you who to vote for or even attempt to sway your vote one way. Ultimately, you will vote for whoever seems best for you and your family’s situation. So, if you want to read a post about who I think is the best candidate, please stop reading because you won’t find that here. If you want to read a post about my opinion as to why elections are so very important, keep reading but remember, it is my opinion. You won’t find a whole lot of facts or statistics, just opinion.

The right to vote is one that history has proven people will fight and die for. People desperately want to have their voice heard, they want to have a say in their countries direction. Strangely enough, the right to vote is one that many in this country either neglect to assert or go through the motions. Too many focus on a specific party and vote year after year for that party’s candidate without examination. I say, that’s a vote wasted.

Since I’ve become a parent, I’ve taken my job voting very seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve voted in every Presidential election since I turned 18. My first election I was a senior in high-school and was a very well-educated voter on the issues and candidates thanks to the senior year government class. The next election I was fresh out of college and will admit, I listened to someone who seemed well-educated and voted for a candidate not Republican or Democrat. I felt voter regret when I saw the candidate that was elected and voted against him the following election. So, you see, what I’m going to suggest, I didn’t always do.

Now, as a parent, I fully understand the importance of elections. These are the leaders who represent us to the world. They are out there in the publicly and say, “This is what the United States’ people believe”. They are direct reflection of us to the rest of the world. They create polices and legislation that will directly and indirectly impact our children and their future. Their actions and in-actions will determine our country’s safety and security.

I want to urge you to step back from your political party affiliations and to evaluate what are your values and the important issues to you. Also consider the type of world you want to have your children live in. Is it a world where everyone is taken care of, a world of equality and in a country that values education? Do you value culture and promoting immigration? Do you believe the wealthiest individuals in this country not only have the means but the power to change and grow this economy and most importantly, that they will? Where do you want to see Medicare in 15 years or 20?

Take a minute and to write all of these thoughts down so you can review it later. Then start your research. Look at both candidates’ positions on those issues. Write those down. Don’t stop there. I urge you to look at the candidates’ records beyond what their ads say. Actually get into the history and write down what you find. Examine these candidates on consistency in their message and where they’ve aligned themselves. Evaluate how they’ve raised their funds. Look at what those who’ve worked with them say about them.  I urge you to put some time into research looking beyond with their political parties say about them and searching for unbiased information. Again, write it all down. Once you’ve completed your research, compare it to your first list and choose the person who matches your views and goals for the country. If you do this, you will be educated.

It’s a lot of work, but when you look at the importance of elections for our future and our children, isn’t it worth putting in a little bit of effort? Especially when considering that these candidates seem very polar in visions and policies.

Oh, and here’s one site to get you started. It compares Romney vs Obama on some of the issues.

I have a 4 year-old, she listens most of the time. In fact, just Monday I received compliments on how well-behaved my little ones were. Tuesday morning, though, not so much.

Our morning started off very much as any other morning, wake-up, get the kids up, dress them while they watch a few minutes of television, I get the food ready for my son, hugs and kisses, and then out the door with daddy. This particular Tuesday morning, my 4 year-old decided listening was completely over rated. We struggled with her to put her clothes on and then further more struggled with her to put her shoes on. Then it came time for the coat. She just laid on the floor and refused to move to put a jacket on. I warned her that I was not going to repeat myself and if her jacket wasn’t on quickly, she would be going outside without one. She remained on the floor, heels dug-in.

So, I gave my husband my daughter’s jacket and informed both that she would be going to the car and into daycare without it. I was done repeating myself and she needed a reminder that listening to her mommie was in her best interest. Keep in mind it was chilly but by no means was she in danger from the cold; it was about 40 degrees outside. My husband called me later to inform she would be listening to me going forward, because she’d been cold.

This, as with so many things we teach our children, wasn’t just a simple lesson, Listen to your Mommie. Don’t get me wrong, I want her to listen to me. But, more importantly I was teaching her there are consequences to our actions. I believe this is something as a society we forget to teach our children. Sometimes we must obey authority and do as we’re told. If not, there are unpleasant consequences directly related to that action. In this case, not putting her coat on lead to her being uncomfortable and cold.

I have friends who are teachers and those with older children. We talk about children today and I believe we have a whole generation of children not learning this simple lesson. We have children in schools who are abusive to teachers and other students with parents who provide excuses and “save” their kids from due  punishment. In reality they are do a grave disservice to their children.

What’s the result of such careless parenting? A society with a very little moral compass. Failing college students not because they are incapable of the work but because they don’t do the work. Children turning into adults who believe they are above rules. And often times, these adults have a very difficult time being an active, productive part of society. After all, when you’re an employee, you are expected to follow the rules. Eventually, I believe most people will figure out that sometimes they are wrong, they too must follow the rules. Why should we put our children though the tougher lessons when their adults when we can teach them when they are young?

In life, my daughter will be told to do things, I want her to know that she must obey authority (given that it’s not illegal, immoral, etc). She’ll be given homework and assignments that may not be pleasant. But, I hope, because of this lesson and many more to come, she’ll realize there is an importance to everything, even the little things. I hope she’ll know that mistakes happen and so do consequences. None of us are above these things. I hope she’ll continue to accept them and go forward learning from each of these consequences.