Monthly Archives: October 2013

October Link Love

Another month gone. Here’s a handful of links from around the internet that I enjoyed clicking on this month.

Since October 31st is today, Halloween is on my brain. I appreciate purposeful decisions that families make. Let’s not just do something because that’s how you’ve always done it or because it’s what everyone else is doing. Whatever thought out decision you come to, I respect.

These posts are examples of families that prayed over and researched responses to this oftentimes controversial holiday:
My Take on Halloween: My Friend, the Witch – Mama Gab
On Halloween – TroubleFace Mom
What Should Christians Do About Halloween – Our Family for His Glory

Here is an educational and fun link (coffee, rivers, time zones, McDonalds, maternity leave. . .):
40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World

For you Moms:
Twelve Things Kids Should See Mom Do – ParentLife Magazine

In case you missed this link in my post on Family and the Church this is a worthwhile read (don’t worry, it’s short):
Don’t Segregate the Youth – The Gospel Coalition

I still have yet to cook a spaghetti squash, but this recipe looks delicious:
Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

 

What I Learned in October – Parenting Edition

Random parenting tips that I’ve gleaned or appreciated over the last month.

1. 5 minute pick up is one of my favorite housekeeping tools. The living room suffers greatly when we by-pass this rule. Most nights, after dinner and dishes are done we set the timer and my husband, myself and our 2 year old all race the clock to get as much tidied up as we can.

2. Bath time is the perfect time for reading. Put both kids in the tub and sit on the toilet and read as they splash away. No other time do they stay in place for that long unless asleep. Since I won’t leave them in the bath alone, I might as well read.

books

3. Libraries are a good form of entertainment, especially the ones with toys in the children’s area. My little girl never wants to leave. At least I can bribe her away with promises of new books to read and movies to watch at home.

library

4. 2 1/2 is a fun age for reading. My daughter still loves pop-up books with bold pictures but she’ll also sit through children’s books such as Frog and Toad with lots of words.

5. My daughter loves to help in the kitchen. She has to be the one to scoop the muffin batter into the tins. It takes her a ridiculously long time, but I decide that it’s just fine because it gives me time to get all the dishes done and the counters wiped down before she’s done.

helper

6. Babies feel left out. Sometimes my little guy is fussy and whiny, but when you bring him to be a part of the action and let him look at people’s faces he turns into a smiley and talkative baby.

7. Sleep and Plays are amazing. Why? Not having to worry about socks disappearing off of kicking feet.

8. Children are parrots. They pick up on everything you say and do. I have a habit of doing an exasperated sigh when I’m frustrated, irritated, or whatever. The 2 1/2 year old has started doing the same thing. Wow. Talk about a great reminder to watch what I say and how I respond.

Linking up to Teaching Tuesdays, Mommy Brain Mixer, From House to Home, Fellowship Fridays, Essential Fridays, Babies and Beyond, Teach Me Tuesday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Tending the Home Tuesdays, Welcome Home Wednesday, Thriving ThursdayMama Moments

Menu Plan and Goals

This weekend was busy but fun. A day trip to the near by city was a highlight. Our 2 1/2 year old loved the zoo – way more than she did even 3 months ago. The cooler weather may have had something to do with that. She ran around looking at animals and climbing on everything.

zoo collage

She never stops moving!

zoo2 Collage

We finished the day with a trip to Target and letting her do some more climbing and sliding at Chick-Fil-A. She wore herself out enough that the girl that no longer takes any naps fell asleep on the way home.

Saturday Shaun was gone from 11am on for work. It’s so much easier to not go grocery shopping with both kids by myself so my daughter and I went before he left. A perk to small town living is I can go to 3 grocery stores and still be done in less than an hour.

Breakfasts:

  • Granola and yogurt (me)
  • Pumpkin Pancakes from freezer (daughter)
  • Smoothie popsicles (daughter)

Lunches:

Suppers:

  • Taco Salad (Still sticking to salad Mon-Thursday. Makes my life so easy, I don’t know if I’ll ever want to quit)
  • Chicken Stir Fry (great way to use up veggies in the fridge) Might use an adaptation of this recipe
  • Braum’s Burgers when daddy is gone
  • Chili cook off with some of Shaun’s coworkers at our house

Snacks:

  • Muffins
  • Fruit
  • Almonds

Goals:

(Everything from last week got accomplished!)

  • Vitacost Order (affiliate link)
  • Apples, apples, apples – applesauce, dehydrate, freeze
  • Make cookie plates and deliver to some people at church
  • Run 25 minutes 3 times
  • Read 4 days at least 30 minutes

What’s on your menu this week? Any goals you want to accomplish?

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday

 

When You Feel Like You Can’t Do It All

Today I’m excited to have my first guest post published at The Purposeful Mom! This post is for all of us moms who get overwhelmed and feel like we can’t do it all.

As a mom, wife and homemaker, it’s easy be overwhelmed and feel like I can’t do it all.

Dishes need to be done. Laundry is waiting in the dryer to be put away. A child needs to be disciplined. The baby is crying. Your husband would like to eat.

Those are just a few of the responsibilities within your family. Then add in minimal outside commitments: church activities, volunteer work, dinner with friends, and work activities.

You can't do it allSo many times I feel like I’m in over my head. There’s no way I can do what I need to accomplish and do it well. I stress about not being the kind-of parent my daughter needs, not holding my little guy often enough (way less than his older sister was held), not having time to relax and enjoy downtime with my husband, and having to say no to good opportunities.

Head over to The Purposeful Mom to read the rest!

Linking up to Mommy Brain Mixer, Thriving Thursday, Fellowship Fridays, Faith Filled Friday, Living Proverbs 31, Babies and Beyond, Teach Me Tuesday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Tending the Home Tuesdays, House to Home, Essential FridaysMama MomentsTGIM

Steps to a Productive Day

Steps to a Productive Day

Some days seem to vanish before I have had time to get a single thing accomplished. (Well, I guess feeding and changing the baby is something so maybe I should say a single extra thing accomplished.)

Days rarely go as planned. Things come up, kids get cranky but there are certain things we can do to increase the possibility of a productive day. Today, I’m going to share what has been working for me.

Planning is essential. You need to have direction. When you go on a road trip you know where you are starting from and where you want to end up. You have a map or gps to assist. Getting in the car with no planning or gps will make for a stressful day and probably means you won’t arrive at your destination and definitely not as soon as you thought you would.

Take Steps to a Productive Day

  1. A Strong Start.

    Begin your morning with God and exercise. These two things will get your day off to the right start. Some mornings will be especially crazy or your kids will wake up early. On those days, just do what you can and try not to stress remembering things rarely go perfectly.

  2. A Strong Finish.

    End your day with thanks. Have a journal to write a few items you are thankful for from that day. This will help keep things in perspective and complete your day on a calm note where you realize how blessed you are.

  3. Plan the Night Before.

    This is essential to set yourself up for success the next day. Make a list and write right down your:

    • Must Dos
    • Should Dos
    • Want to Dos
  4. Big Stones First.

    When the next day comes make sure you tackle the most important things first (Must Dos) and fill in with the smaller non-essential items as you have time. It will feel good at the end of the day to have the biggies checked off the list.

  5. It’s okay to put fun things on your list!

    Don’t feel guilty putting reading for 30 minutes or playing piano on your list.

It’s okay if you don’t get everything checked off of your list. Each day is a fresh start and you can re-evaluate what you want to get done. Living life takes priority over a list, but most days utilizing these steps will help you enjoy your time more.

Linking up to Mommy Brain Mixer, Fellowship Friday, Babies and Beyond, Welcome Home Wednesday, Homemaking Link Up, Essential Fridays, Mama Moments Monday, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Faith Filled FridayMindful Mommy MondayLiving Proverbs 31Teach Me TuesdayTitus 2 Tuesday, Thriving Thursday, House to Home, Motivation Monday

Menu Plan and Goals

I think this week ushered in the beginning of fall (and a few days felt an awful lot like the beginning of winter)! The cooler temperatures are making me appreciate the remaining days of pleasant weather we have coming our way.

The weekend was spent at home, but it was busy. Our church finished up a remodel/addition and yesterday was our first Sunday back in the facility. Shaun has spent many hours the past week at the church getting trained on the the sound system and getting every thing hooked up the way they want. The service went smoothly and I think everyone enjoyed being back “home”. Personally, I like it because I will once again be able to walk over with the kids in the stroller Sunday mornings. A lot easier than loading them up in the car.

Well, we had a few better sleeping nights this week and some that were still crummy. Some is better than none at this point.

Breakfasts:

  • Yogurt and granola (me)
  • Pancakes/muffins from the freezer (daughter)

Lunches:

  • Pasta from the freezer (leftover from the staff party last week)
  • Nachos
  • Leftovers
  • Sandwiches/Picnic lunch at the zoo

Suppers:

  • Egg and Bacon Biscuit Sandwiches (using Good Cheap Eats recipe and adding Amy’s folding technique)
  • Popcorn, cookies, whatever (sometimes Sunday nights just call for easy)
  • Asian Salad (yep, we are doing it again this week – yummy and easy)
  • Trip to the zoo

Snacks:

  • Fruit
  • Almonds
  • Carrots

Goals:

  • Complete Azure order (Due Wednesday. Hoping to get apples for applesauce, dehydrating, and freezing)
  • Run 25 minutes 3 times (Got this done again last week. I’m going to have to rethink what I wear with this cooler weather. My hands got cold!)
  • Read 30 minutes 4 days (Let’s see if I can do this 2 weeks in a row)
  • Schedule and do family pictures
  • Plan and take a trip to the zoo

How was your week? Anything yummy cooking up on your menu this week?

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday

How to Be A Blessing to Those With Children in the Service

I started out talking about why family time is important and age segregation in the church. Earlier this week I discussed why I keep my children in church with me and gave some suggestions to help your children make it through the service. Today we are finishing the series by covering a few ways you can be a blessing to those who keep their children in the church service.

Blessing

Jesus loves the little children. We can make them welcome and parents not feel bad for having a squirmy toddler sitting next to them. How much better to make those with children in the service feel accepted and supported rather than exiled and uncomfortable.

(I am fortunate to be a part of a church family where many people love my children and offer to hold and entertain them and say kind things, even when my toddler is throwing a fit.)

How To Be A Blessing to Those With Children in the Service

  • Give them a smile.
  • Leave seats in the back and end of rows for families to sit. (Having an easy exit if a child gets too loud makes our lives much less stressful).
  • Say something kind and encouraging to the parent and  child
  • For the Church: Welcome children from the pulpit and in your written communications. (Don’t only publicize children’s programs)
  • Offer to hold a baby or help with a toddler (especially when a spouse is missing) but don’t be pushy about it. Sometimes we might need it and other times it’s easier to manage our kids on our own.

How have people been a blessing to you as you’ve had your children in church?

Linked up to Mommy Brain Mixer, Fellowship Friday, Essential Fridays, Welcome Home Wednesday, Mama Moments Monday, Babies and Beyond

The Why and How of Keeping Your Children With You in Church

Last week I discussed the importance of family time and how often the church segregates the family by age.

Today I am going to delve into why we have decided to keep our children with us during the worship service each week. You might wonder why I would even want to do such a thing! Most weeks it’s a lot of work and some of those Sundays I find myself asking the same thing. I’m confident that it’s the best thing for my family. My children can learn Bible knowledge and memorize scripture anytime, but there are so many things they can only learn and experience from this hour on a Sunday.

Why and How

Why I Keep My Children in the Church Service With Me:

  • We can worship as a family and teach our children how to worship.
  • Children can observe the offering plate being passed and even place their own money in it.
  • They can participate in singing and praying and watch the adults around them do the same thing.
  • As communion and baptism happen children ask questions and you can have great discussions (even a 2 1/2 year old wonders what is going on).
  • To learn from the sermon. You’d be surprised what little tidbits a 2 1/2 year old can pick up and remember. My daughter can hear something once and repeat it weeks later.
  • The children learn to sit. (This comes in handy for concerts and weddings as well.) They don’t need to be constantly entertained and catered to.

I’m still right in the midst of figuring out the best way to get a toddler to sit through church but I’ll share some things that have worked for me so far. Even if your children don’t sit in church with you on a regular basis, hopefully you’ll get some ideas for the occasions  they do.

Hints To Help Your Child Sit Through Church:

  • Have them participate as much as possible. Stand when everyone stands, sit when everyone sits. Teach them to bow their heads and close their eyes (my daughter likes to make sure that I’m doing this too).
  • They can place money in the offering plate.
  • Pack some quiet activities. (We like some of these Lari Toys.)
  • Have a pad of paper and writing utensil (or a mini magnadoodle). They can scribble or copy you taking notes.
  • A picture Bible is great for little ones to look at during the sermon. (We are using The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name)
  • Bring out a quiet snack for later in the service if your child has been well behaved.
  • Be willing to leave. I’ve had to go and sit outside or in the foyer when my child got too loud. However, she still had to sit. I didn’t reward unruly behavior by allowing her to run around and play. (That would only make it harder to get her to behave the following week.) One week we went and buckled in the car and waited for church to get out.

Some Sundays are harder than others but I feel the benefits outweigh the drawbacks and will tell you from experience it gets better! We went through some rough Sundays when we were adjusting to little brother but are now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and have actually sat through church 3 Sundays in a row. Hooray for progress!

Come back Thursday to read some ways you can be a blessing to those with kids in church with them!

Do you have your children with you on Sundays?
What suggestions do you have for getting a child to sit quietly for over an hour?

Linking up to Fellowship Fridays, Essential Fridays, Mama Moments, Welcome Home Wednesday, Mommy Brain Mixer, Thrifty Thursday

Menu Plan and Goals

I’m eagerly waiting for a good night sleep to happen and at the same time trying not to anticipate its arrival coming soon. :-) I’m thankful that the past few weeks have been low-keyed so it’s okay that I’m walking around with minimal functioning brain cells. One of these days my daughter won’t wake up needing to be re-tucked in and I’ll get more than 3 hours asleep before the baby wakes up to eat.

One fun thing we finally accomplished this week was replacing all of the white knobs and pulls on the kitchen cabinets with oiled bronze ones. Hooray for small updates that make a big difference (especially ones that are easy to boot)!

Breakfasts:

  • Granola and Yogurt (me)
  • Pumpkin Pancakes from freezer (Toddler)
  • Green Smoothie popsicles (Toddler)

Lunches:

Suppers:

  • White Bean Chicken Chili
  • BLTs (I haven’t made bread for a long time so this will be tasty!)
  • Asian Salad (Yummy!)
  • Pizza (My husband was excited about the return of the weekly pizza night)

Snacks:

  • Fruit
  • Crunchy Almonds

Goals:

  • Run 25 minutes 3 times (I jog slow, but hooray for getting this goal accomplished each week)
  • Order name badges for our concert series organization
  • Read 30 minutes 4 times (Umm, last week I don’t think I picked up any books other than the Bible and reading to my daughter)
  • Write 3 blog posts (Hopefully I can beat my one from last week)
  • Plan Warm Your Walls party

Here’s hoping to a few good nights sleep and knocking off all of my goals. What’s cooking in your house this week?

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday