Doing the best she can to raise happy, healthy children

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Last night our school had a fundraiser at a local restaurant. I took my daughter and we met one of her friends and her mom. The place was busy and noisy. The girls were giggly, loud, and squirmy. The service was slow as expected due to a great turn out for the fundraiser. Despite having to reel the girls in a few times, we all had a good time. Then it came time to leave. My daughter knows we don’t go running out of a store and towards the parking lot. I’ve reinforced her the need to stay close to me. However, last night all the excitement had gotten to her and I was a little worn out and tired from the day. She and her friend took off running out of the door and toward the parking lot. I yelled gently at my daughter and she kept running. So, I yelled firmly using her whole name. I rushed to her because she was running to far for my comfort zone. I immediately scolded her for her behavior.

Her punishment was to get into the car while I and her friend’s mom finished our conversation. We were trying to plan a time that we could get together next with the girls. After I finished the conversation and helped my daughter find her missing doll, I reconfirmed to her that I loved her very much but her behavior was inappropriate. I told her that her actions were not safe and even if we were having fun we had to be safe and listen.

And then the tears came. Huge crocodile tears were pouring down her cheeks. She was upset and sad that she’d disappointed me. She was embarrassed she’d gotten in trouble in front of her friend. She felt very, very bad for be disobedient (her words). And then my heart broke. Even this morning she said to me she was so sorry for last night.I reassured her we all make mistakes and that I loved her so much.

She is my sensitive one. She is the one who likes to push the limits a bit. I knew she was sensitive but I still scolded her harshly. I felt horrible. I wanted the lesson to be taught, but was I too hard? Had I let the situation with her behavior go to far all night that I was at my frustration point? How can I keep that from happening again. I felt like the worst mom ever.

I’m certain I’m not the only one that’s been there. Said something to their child either a little to harsh, handled things poorly or reacted without thinking. We all make mistakes. Despite wanting to tear myself up over this, I will not. I will take it as a learning lesson. I will have a better in plan in place before we do our next friend’s outing.

In fact, I already know what I will do before next time. 1) I will tell her ahead of time of the expected behavior 2) I will tell her she will hold my hand when leaving the store/restaurant/etc as we normally do.

I know I’ll stumble as I continue down this parenting path. New things and situations will come up. I will make more mistakes but I will learn from them. I find ways to move forward and to do things better the next time.

How have handled a parenting mistake or when you’ve over reacted? I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Proverbs 9:9 Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. 

 


Wow, this year has been amazing! I’ve had the opportunity to  grow and do so many things! So far this year I’ve jogged two 1/2 marathons and am working toward a 3rd. My youngest started preschool and my oldest first. I’ve celebrated 12 years of marriage. We explored St. Louis as a family. I’m certain there are more things that I’ve not listed.

A few months ago, a very dear friend told me she was getting married. She lives in Japan and I was invited to her wedding. I’m extremely happy to say, I’m planning my very first overseas trip. Not only is it my first overseas trip, but it’s my first trip without my little darlings. I will be away from them for a whole 10 days. I’ve not been away from them for more than 2 days since they were born. And even then, I left on a Saturday morning and returned on Sunday, so really only 1 night.

So you see, I’m extremely excited to go. In fact I’ve purchased new luggage and a travel purse. I’ve been watching the cost of tickets multiple times a day hoping to get an awesome deal. Have no doubt, I’m excited. But a part of me isn’t. A part of me thinks I”m being silly going on vacation without my kids. A part of me worries about what might happen while I’m gone. I wonder, what if my plane crashes? What if I’m unable to return home? What if something happens to a kid? What if…..?

Despite my worries I will go. I know this will be good for me. After all, I use to be very daring. I joined the military at 17 and went to basic training at 18. I’d never flown before when I got onto that plane. I went knowing no one and uncertain of my future. I use to be very daring. Things like that didn’t make me worry or stress. I looked at it as an adventure.

I need to go to connect again with my daring past. It will be good for me. It will be good for my kids to see their mom exploring the world and coming joyfully home.

I will pray that my trip will be safe, that my kids will have a good time with their dad while I’m gone (and behave well….), and I pray that God will oversee the planning, as well as, my trip itself. My rationale mind tells me it will be fine. It’s my irrational mind that paralyzes me.


This year, we’ve been introducing some chores into my children’s lives. My oldest just started 1st grade and last year was her first year of some responsibility before school. My son just started pre-school and he too has some things he’s responsible for before school.

Our implementation of chores has been a slow process. My kids have always loved helping me with household duties such as cooking and setting the table. I used their natural desire to help to direct them to appropriate duties. So, I guess one could say, they’ve been informally doing chores for a long time now.

My 1st grader’s before school routine- what she’s responsible for:

1) Getting dressed

2) Brushing her teeth

3) Making her bed and putting her pajama’s on her bed

 

My Preschooler’s before school routine- What he’s responsible

1) Dressing himself with supervision

2) Brushing his teeth

 

Saturday morning chores for both children- my preschooler with more supervision

1) Put away all folded clothes

2) Pick-up their room

Our chores are simple. None of them too difficult and some may say too simple. However, implementing chores at this age to me is more about teaching the children to be part of the family and to assist the family. I don’t want chores to have a negative connotation. I want them to think that chores are no big deal, it’s just what we do. Because, really, they will have chores to do all of their lives. No reason to make it a negative experience at such a young age!

Do your children do chores? What age did you start? What was your approach? Was it successful? Leave a comment, let’s talk chores!


My last post was all about how the family dinner seems to be quickly fading into the past. I have memories of eating as a family. Family dinners in my house are a priority. Highschool kids these days, I can’t imagine will have the same types of memories. Instead, they’ll have the grabbing McDonald’s on the way to the ball game or dinner waiting to be warmed up as each person has a moment memories. Dinner tables across the country are looking like this:

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Are you one who wants to add more family dinners in but am not really sure how to do it or feel it’s impossible? I’ve come up with some ideas that may make the transition easier.

Prepare for starting the family dinner by: 

1) Ask Why not? Find out the root cause to why you’re currently not having family dinners. Are there too many activities? Do have time issues? What barriers do you have? Once you’ve figured out what’s holding back from having a family meal, you can find ways around those barriers. For example, your child has sport practice right after school until 5:30 with games on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Or, you’re a full-time mom of a toddler who wants to eat right away when he gets home.

2) Get Organized: This will take a bit of work at first but once you’re organized it will be easy going forward. I recommend putting together a family or kitchen binder. Buy or make some dividers with tabs and buy some of those plastic page protectors. Label your tabs: Menu, Recipes, Want to try, Shopping List, Coupons. Add the page protectors behind each tab. Search online or create yourself some templates for Menu, Recipes, Shopping list. You may have some luck here: Pinterest. Consider which days of the week have evening activities that will affect eating times. Consider that toddler’s rumbling tummy and have a small snack handy when you pick him up.

3) Keep it Simple: This is especially true if you’re trying to newly implement this. Every meal doesn’t have to be a fancy 8 course meal. In fact, not every meal has to include home-made dessert. If your family likes chicken nuggets and french fries, do chicken nuggets and french fries. Remember, it’s the experience of the family dinner that’s way more important than a gourmet meal.

4) Plan ahead: This is one of the essential steps to regular family dinners. Well, it at least is one that I feel takes the stress out of the family dinner. I highly recommend menu planning and shopping according to your menu. I always keep a few easily made items for those days that don’t go as planned. For us that is chicken, BBQ sauce and french fries. I also love my crockpot for days I know we’ll be busy in the evening. If you know you’ll be eating later because of an activity, put together snack bags and carry them with you. It will fight off the hunger and decrease the chances of grabbing food on the go.

5) Try and Try again:  If this is a life change for you, it will take time and practice. Don’t worry if this week was a fast food week and not one of menu plans actually worked out. There’s always tomorrow or next week. That’s one of the best things about life, you can make changes slowly and try again when it doesn’t work the first time.

Are there ideas you’d add to my list? Have you found something that works well for you? Please share I’d love to all about your family dinners.

You can read the first of these posts here.


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My oldest is in kindergarten. I believe I’ve said it before, Kindergarten has been a BIG adjustment for all of us. One of these adjustments has been my daughter’s need for independence and decision-making. At first, as I write this, I think of course a parent would embrace this. However, her attempts at independence has been less than desirable.

The pull for independence continues throughout childhood. It starts with those first few precious steps, continues into toddlerhood and goes on to adulthood. Often times lack of maturity has children pulling for independence in challenging ways. For example, I’ll listen to you but will choose when I will follow through with your request. This causes some extra chaos and reminders from mom as the little one wants desperately to be in control of her decisions.

The example above is what we’re dealing with right now. She knows what she’s suppose to do, she just isn’t ready to do it. This has manifested itself with extreme slowness getting ready to go to school or at school picking up her toys only after playing for a few more minutes.

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Independence will be very important life skill for her to learn and master. She must learn to think independently to not be pressured into unsafe situations. She must learn to assert her independence appropriately in her future career. It is my job to help develop her growth. My responses to her independence will either help or hinder that growth.

I say, embrace this independent streak and don’t be in too big of a hurry to squash it in hopes of a compliant child. Don’t get me wrong, discipline should follow when she’s being defiant. However, be kind. Give your child choices when she can have them. Let her make some decisions for herself. Be upfront. In our case, getting out the door and to school on time is not negotiable. So, I put consequences in place for her not listening and getting dressed on time. However, I don’t really care what shoes she wears. So, she can pick out her shoes every morning. And if she gets ready timely, she has an extra reward of watching some television before we leave. I expect her to listen to her teacher at school and come home with a good daily report. I do let her have some time in the evening where she decides what she will do.

Embrace the independence, set realistic expectations, and appropriate discipline and your house will be a happier one!

Do you have a child going through an independent growth? Please share your stories! I’d love to hear how you handle them.

Train up a child in the way he should go, And even when he is old and he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 ASV


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Now with 2013 behind us, my focus is on 2014. I’ve made a couple of resolutions this year as I always do. Last year was the first year I choose a word and Bible verse for the year. I really liked having both the word and the verse as it helped keep me focused.

This year I chose the word PerseverancePerseverance is a continued effort to do or achieve despite difficulties, failure, or opposition; steadfastness.

I picked this word for many reasons. I’ve started out making changes in my life just to fall short when life gets busy. I was doing a great job reading my Bible every morning just to stop when our schedule changed to include Kindergarten. I do great with my diet for several months just for vacation or the holidays to make me fall behind. You see, in many aspects of my life, I’ve fallen very short of Perseverance.

In the new year, I look forward to persevering through our (hopefully) changing food allergies. I know these changes, although positive, will take my focus and energy. I will have to maintain a new diet. I’m also planning to persevere in reading my Bible once every day. I feel more at peace and relaxed when I have this time. Last year, I put together a cleaning schedule and really worked to improve our household management. But, that all fell apart during the holidays, this will be better this year.

I also need perseverance this year as I train for my first 1/2 marathon. Yes, I said it….I’m training for a 1/2 marathon. Last year I did several 5Ks with much success and a 10K. This year, I got the crazy idea and very impulsively agreed to do a 1/2 marathon. This alone will challenge me in so many ways. Not only the challenge of completing the miles but staying on tract with the training, family life, work life and social life. Ok, as I type this out, I feel a bit overwhelmed. Yeah, I’m gonna need some perseverance!

My official New Year’s Resolution are the following:

Jogging Resolution: 1/2 Marathon: I will complete this! 10K: I will do at least one of these 5K: I will do a few of these

Weight: I will weigh-in under 190 lbs at the end of the year

Social: I will make time this year to see people outside of social media

That is it. I’m keeping it simple this year. I don’t want to get bogged down in multiple things to work on, I just want to persevere.

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may mature and complete, not lacking anything James 1:4


This is our first year at Kindergarten. It is the first of many years to come. Adjusting to Kindergarten life has been a challenge for all of us. All of our schedules have changed. We have a new morning evening routine. There are earlier and stricter bedtimes. We have weekly reading minutes and Bible verses to memorize. Our days are busier and sometimes I find myself landing in bed at night wondering what time I’ve spent, really spent with my kids.

Kindergarten has been good in many ways. My daughter has learned so much from school. She is now reading, well share-reading with me and I fully anticipate her to be a reader by the time summer comes. She’s become more outgoing and has made some new friends. She’s becoming a bit more independent. This life change has done us some good!

With our new hustle and bustle schedule, I’ve grown attached to the early outs. I pick her up during my lunch and she hangs-out until I’m off work. I have an activity ready for her and she’s allowed to watch a movie or television. She loves the television time as she’s in complete control of what she gets to watch. She loves to do art and craft projects so she also loves it that I have something ready, just for her.

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The final activity to our early out is cooking dinner. Sometimes she wants to pretend we’re a restaurant for our guests. Other times we just cook together. She helps scrub potatoes, mix ingredients, add-in ingredients, etc. She also helps set the table and pour drinks. And when we are playing restaurant, she helps seat the guests (my husband and son) when they arrive and ensure they have everything they need as they wait for dinner.

I love this time that we get to spend together. I especially enjoy making dinner with her. Spending time teaching her basics of cooking and teaching her to enjoy doing these things. I’m setting the ground work for her future. I’m teaching her about nutrition, math, chemistry, meal planning, and so much more. I’m helping to prepare her for when she leaves my house. I’m setting her up to be successful.

More so then all those lessons, I”m getting to know her. This is our special time. We laugh and talk. I learn all about her school and friends. I’m investing in her. I’m certain she enjoys our time together as well. Often after we’ve had our early out, she wants to snuggle a bit more, listen a little closer, and asks to help out a bit more. These are signs that my kindergartner enjoys our time together.

What sorts of things do you do that’s just yours and your child’s? How do you know he/she is enjoying it?


Recently I’ve heard and read of stories about loss. Lot’s of loss. And, for whatever reason, I’m fixated on those stories. I do this every once in a while. Most recently, a dear friend of mine has been fighting terminal breast cancer. She has young children and it seems like her illness just keeps kicking her. She’s usually quite positive and hopefilled. I’m forever impressed with her. A friend of a friend just suddenly and somewhat traumatically lost her husband. Again, they had younger children. Finally, another friend lost a dear friend to a car accident. And, guess what, young, in this case very young, children.

Some of these children are young enough memories of their mom or dad will be quite limited. And in all except my dear friend with cancer, they lost their parent expectantly, meaning there was no time to plan “fun” memories. These children will be dependent on their daily memories and those already built. And those others around them share with them.

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This got me to think, if I would tragically be taken away from my very precious family. What will the remember of me? What do I want them to remember? I know, a bit morbid, right? But, this is so important to me. Because even if I don’t die (heaven forbid) tomorrow, and I live to see my grandchildren, I want my children to have positive memories of me. I want them to laugh and tell stories about the things we do together. I would love it if they remembered little “daily” things too. Not just the big trip or vacation or the trip to the pumpkin patch. Although these are important, it’s not the only thing I want them to remember.

I want my children to remember (in no particular order):

My love for them

Snuggling on the couch

Fun in the mundane

Giggling and tickling

Dinner around the dinner table

My love of life

My love of coffee

My love of God

What I don’t want them to think when they think about me:

They were not a priority

Housework was more important than them

Cranky and tired mom

Question if they were loved

Boredom

So, how do I make sure I’m making the impression I want to make? How can I ensure my children’s memories are positive?


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I have fond memories kindergarten and elementary school. I can remember the largeness of the gym/lunchroom to my six-year-old mind. I can remember the rug my grandmother had purchased for me to lay on during rest time. I can still remember the smell of the milk cartons for afternoon snack. And, I most definitely remember those colorful large clothes pins that denoted the special jobs for the week and most importantly, the line leader. I did so much enjoy kindergarten.

So, why is that now on the other end, sending my little 5 year-old off to kindergarten seems so sad to me. Sad, isn’t exactly the right word. It’s more, bitter-sweet. It’s very exciting to watch her grow and learn new things. It’s fun to see her achieve new accomplishments. But, there’s a sadness to it to. I’m saddened that I know my days with her being my baby are limited. I know her days and life will slowly become a bit more complicated. Maybe not this year, but slowly those little moments of snuggling and cuddling will disappear. It won’t happen overnight, but the start of school is certainly the beginning.

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Dear Miss Adams, please remember I’ve left in your procession my darling daughter, my world. Remember to be kind, to listen, and treat her with respect. Be firm when it’s needed but quick to give hugs and high-fives. Know that I will do my best to prepare her everyday for learning. Remember to communicate often with me and well before any little concerns become a problem. You’ve been left with a huge responsibility, please don’t take it lightly.

She gets out early today so I’ll pick her up and we’ll go to Starbucks and have a snack. She’ll tell me about her wonderful day and all the friends she’s made. I’ll feel relieved knowing her day went well. She will once again remind me how much more I worry than she and how resilient she is.


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This gardening experience has been so much fun. The kids have really enjoyed it. My son every morning and evening goes out to check the progress of our labors. He excitedly exclaims “there’s one!” as he finds the growing cucumbers. My husband checks things over and was the first one to notice the little ones growing on the vine.

Not everything has gone well with our little experimental garden. Here’s a few things that could use some improvement:

1) No herbs grew. Not. One. That was a huge disappointment. I love, love, love cooking with fresh herbs and couldn’t wait to cook with ones I’d grown. It can’t get any fresher than grabbing it out of your very own garden! But, that hasn’t worked out for us.

2) Our volunteer plant. Now, it was great to have a volunteer zucchini plant from our compost pile. Downfall however it not only grew right over our onions but also got the grubs. Yeah, not fun. So, not only did several onions die/not grow but so did the volunteer plant.

3) Organic Seeds were a bust. The first time I went shopping for seeds I was with my sister-in-law. She’d favored organic seed and I didn’t have a preference. So, I purchased organic. I went back several weeks later and purchased a few more seeds. Luckily I did otherwise we’d have nothing in our garden. Yup, the organic seeds never grew.

There are a lot of amazing things going on with our garden. Here’s a few of those.

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1) Cucumbers galore! Oh boy did our cucumbers take off! My husband is very much looking forward to some home-made pickles and I’m excited to try out canning this year!

2) Just enough tomatoes. We have 4 tomato plants right now. Two are quite small and are on the verge of the cucumber hostage situation become a complete take-over. The largest plant has a couple of green tomatoes on it. I’m certain the second to largest will have some soon with the smaller plants following shortly after.

3) Watering is relaxing. I love watering the garden in the evenings. The sun is going down and I’m out there alone. The neighbors all retreated into their homes. It’s just me and my little garden.

4) Family enjoyment. As I mentioned above, my kids love the garden. In fact last week when we picked our first few cucumbers, my son was a bit overzealous and picked one early. They squeal with delight as they look for more veggies on the vine. That enjoyment is priceless.

5) Educational opportunities. Growing the garden has helped with educational opportunities. Not only do we talk about the fun of growing our own food but the importance of doing it. We have the chance to add a little science to our life by discussing why worms are important to gardens.

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We’ve learned a lot this year so far with our garden. So much it would be hard to narrow it down and make a list. However, the top two things at this moment that I’ve learned is this: 1) it’s not nearly as difficult as I once thought 2) Joy of a garden outweighs any heartache (or body ache).

How’s your gardening going? What challenges have you faced? What benefits have you received? I would love to hear from you!

 

This entry was linked-up at Graced Simplicity.