Doing the best she can to raise happy, healthy children

Monthly Archives: February 2013

Last night I tried two new recipes for supper. I think I may have gotten a bit over-confident. I’ve always been one to say that I didn’t mind trying and failing because there’s always lessons in failure. In my mind, the greatest failure is to never try or to give-up. Right? That is what I believe? I think. OK, well, maybe its easier to say that when I’m not so close to a failure. It’s easy to say when you’ve not failed recently or are one of those few people who seem to be great at everything they do!

Two years ago because of my son’s food allergies (you can read about here), I started cooking more along the lines of “whole foods”. OK, we still use pre-packaged pasta and pasta sauce but I’m doing no meals-in-a-box and cook most of our meals from “scratch”. When I first started doing this I had several failures but recently I’ve gotten quite good with my cooking and baking. I’ve been confident in my ability to turn-out good and nutritious food for my family. My expectation was that my dinner last night would go smoothly.

Here was the menu with the new recipes bolded: Baked Chicken, Razorback Potatoes, Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots. I was so excited about this menu. I couldn’t wait for everyone to get home so we could eat which is probably why the sense of failure hit me so hard.

The Baked Chicken turned out amazingly! The skin was crispy and the chicken was moist. This I will be repeating due to its awesomeness. If you want that recipe, it will be posted (eventually) in the blog linked above.

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As soon as my family got home, I ushered them into the already set table with the food laid out like Christmas Dinner. My daughter and son were super excited about dinner and everyone quickly sat down. The food handed out. My husband tried the potato first. His first and only real comment (without being asked) was “The potatoes aren’t cooked”. I was hurt and at first denied it. Truth was, they were undercooked.

The potatoes will be repeated. As I mentioned above I don’t fail often and really HATE failing! I’m no good at it. And the flavor was good, I really just needed to cook it longer. I learned from this two valuable lessons, 1) cook the potatoes longer 2) Failure often comes when we least expect it.

Here I was confident and feeling good about my success in the kitchen. And then I failed. I most definitely wasn’t expecting to fail at such a simple task of baking a potato. After all, I’d accomplished allergy-free baking, how could I actually fail at a potato? Its simple truth that failure comes when we least expect it. And failure is good, it grounds and humbles us. I now have a new focus. Its to succeed but to be mindful of overconfidence.

Embrace failure as it not only teaches us a lesson to prevent it in the future but it helps humble us. Have you failed at something recently? What lessons did you learn? Was it humbling?

Linked-up at Our Simple Country Life,  Serving Joyfully, and Whole Hearted Home

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Two weeks ago I was telling my husband about someone who we use to know quite well. I finished the story with, I don’t think she has many friends. I was relaying this story during supper. My four-year old daughter looked up from her dinner plate and looked at me with her big, brown eyes. She said quite simply, “Why don’t you be her friend Mommie?”

It was such a simple statement spoken very innocently. It got me to thinking, why don’t I try to be her friend? I had lots of reasons, some good reason, some not so good. And then, I felt guilty. My four-year-old was a better person than me! She saw this person’s need for friendship and she openly welcomes the friendship. Simple as that. Well, the next day I did open an invitation for lunch. I figured that was a good starting point.

As last week continued, I thought more about this situation. It reminded me a bit of the woman at the well. The woman at the well is a story that demonstrates God’s love and acceptance. At the time, the Samaritan woman was an outcast and was judged harshly by those living around her. She was a woman so scorned by others that she couldn’t even fetch water in the cool air of the morning. Instead, she went during the hottest time to avoid other woman.

Jesus crossed those boundaries and reached out to her. Not only did he speak to her but he treated her with respect. He broke Jewish customs by speaking to the outcast woman and drinking water she served him. He revealed himself to the lowliest of woman. He knew her history was less than desirable.

Now, back to my experience, my daughter was correct. It is right to reach out to all people, even those who seem very different from us. My daughter reminded me that it is our job to reach out to everyone. It is right and good to befriend those who need it the most. Her simple statement, “why don’t you be her friend Mommie?” reminded me of Christ call to us all.

Do you know someone who could use a friend? Is there someone being harshly or unfairly judged who could use a friendly face? Start simple with an encouraging smile followed by an invite to coffee. Work-up to inviting that person to lunch.

A new command I give you; Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34


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Being a mommie is something young girls dream about. We start pretending we’re mommies with our first dollie. For my daughter, she was a little over 1 when she first pretended to care for her Annie, one of her dollies. Now at 4, she pretends to feed, bath, potty train, scold and discipline her dollies and younger brother. Watching her simplified version of mommiehood, made me wonder, why is so complicated now that I’m older. When DID this natural thing become so complicated? Should it be complicated? Yes, my kids are real and not dollies, but shouldn’t mommiehood be natural?

When I feel stressed out as a parent, it’s because I’ve made it too complicated. Yes, me. Not the kids, not the schedule, not my husband. But me. I’ve over scheduled us or not slept enough or not played enough. I consider myself a pretty relaxed parent. I have things I want done a specific way but mostly I’m relaxed. My kids play, they make a mess, they move on. I enjoy letting them learn about the world by exploring and not reading about it in a book (although there’s a lot of book reading going on too). We giggle and love. My son tackles me and we wrestle on the floor.

My house resembles my laid back approach to parenting. If you stop over unexpected or pretty much anytime for a casual visit, the house will appear “lived in” (you know toys on the floor, jackets on the couch, bathroom in need of scrub, dishes in the sink). It’s not dirty or unnecessarily messy, but its is “lived in”. I’ve got kids and my home reflects this and my parenting style.

I know moms struggle with maintaining a home, being a good mom and being a loving wife. Moms worry about having well-behaved children. They want the house to sparkle.  I see moms worry and focus so much on those things, their relationship with their children suffer. They spend so much time trying to make their children “perfect” they’ve taken the child away. They stay up all night cleaning just to be cranky with their spouse and kids. Or, they spend all day cleaning that they’ve barely said one positive word to their children. Don’t get me wrong, all of those desires are noble and good. I mean after all, who wants their kids to be horribly behaved or missed an opportunity to help your husband? No one! But there must be a balance.

Kids thrive on their parents attention. Kind words such as “I’m proud of you” or “You did a great job!” can set a kid up to succeed. But just as easily stated “Later, mommie’s doing dishes” or  “Sit down or else” heard too often can leave a child feeling unloved and not needed. Hearing “I’m too busy” too often will result in a child no longer coming to you. You will have achieved what you desired, to be left alone to complete your tasks. And then, what good influence can you possibly have on your child?

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What is the answer? Simple, embrace parenthood. Except that kids are kids, they will run, get dirty, be naughty, and cause a mess. They will interrupt you, slow you down and make life a bit more challenging. Sure your child needs to be disciplined, but remember they are children, not little adults. Laugh with them, tickle them, and let them tackle you on the floor. Play with the blocks with them. Because what you’ll get from each other will always outweigh what you’ll get from chores and perfectly behaved children. And, if you stop when they need something, you will never be the last person they will go get for the little or big things in their lives. Embrace parenthood for all the messy chaos and I promise you, life will be good! Now go, hug and love on your children, let those dishes sit for a few a bit!

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven    Ecclesiastes 3:1


My kids like bugs, well, use to like bugs, when we ordered these. They’ve now decided bugs are gross and scary. Just a few weeks ago, my daughter was in the bathroom frightfully calling me. I went in there to find her bare bottom perched on the edge of the tub with her legs on the edge. Yup, there was a lady bug on the floor, close to the wall. One it was a lady bug, completely harmless and two, she easily could’ve walked around it. However, at that moment in time, she was completely and utterly terrified of the vicious beast known as the ladybug.

As I said we originally ordered this when they loved catching bugs and we thought it would be a great activity once the weather warms up. Now, I think it’s a great activity because I’m empowering them to catch the bug and dispose of it. At least, once I convinced them the bug won’t hurt them once it’s in the catcher. Now they run around looking for bugs to catch which proves difficult since it is winter. Once it becomes summer, I’m certain they’ll be outside looking too.

We found these adorable bug catchers on Kickstarter. If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, it’s a website for people who’ve got ideas and/or inventions and need to raise money. You basically donate money to them to start-up their dream and then get “prizes” or “products” depending on how much you donate. If the item doesn’t reach its goal, then no money exchanges hands and you both go on your merry little way.

Well, without further ado, I present to you the bugalien. I think it looks kind-of like a fish/frog. So I took some pictures next my lucky bamboo that has frogs on the stand.

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Besides the cuteness, the product seems durable and is very easy to use. My two year-old can easily open and close the mouth (see below) using the clasp in the back. Once the bug is inside, you “let go” or “release” the clasp and the bug is inside the frog/fish mouth. It’s a clear plastic so once its in there you can examine the bug and use it as a teaching opportunity. I imagine this would be useful as a classroom tool for homeschoolers or parents like us who like to teach their children about nature.

Here’s a few more pictures:

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Here’s a view from the side, the back tail is the clasp that you use to open the mouth. Note there’s two in the picture, one on top of the other.

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The mouth open and ready for bug catching!

I can’t wait for summer so we can use it more. I’m certain we will have lots of science lessons this summer!