Friday, April 29, 2011

Letting Go

   I'm sure this is just one of many posts of learning to let go as my children grow.  I've seen relationships damaged when mom just can't let go of her children and I am trying hard to not do that.  I never knew how hard that would be though until I had my own!

  I never understood how good it felt to be needed until I had my own little baby crying inconsolably and then comforted only by his mother's arms.  To walk in a door and not get a happy, "Hi!" but a high pitch squeal of, "Moooommmmyyyy!!!!!"  Even when all I did was take a walk alone around the block!  It's awesome!

  I've already let go of control or opinion in many things.  Obviously that happens naturally as our children grow. This though I think is my first "big" step and it is with Carter (13).  You gotta love the early teen years... or you at least have to let them live I've been told!  Carter is actually an awesome kid/young man.  However he is not immune to the typical teenage issues and right now that is his mouth!  Now he isn't saying nasty things or screaming but he is a master arguer!  Like I'm talking about Supreme Court debates.  And not over Civil Rights but things that seem to have no argument... like is the sky blue?  Honesty it blows my mind when I think about the things he can argue about!  Now as a woman (or maybe it's just me) it immediately scrunches my shoulders to my ears, my brow furrows, my voice deepens and my stomach churns.  Not over anxiousness but anger!  It then seems to turn me into a grumpy, not so nice lady after round 15 in a day.  Sharing my frustration someone shared this wonderful blog post with me called 10 Rules for Mothering a 13yo Boy.  It was very refreshing. (She has one for a 12yo girl as well).

   What really sparked my interest was rule #9.  Check it out when you get some time but the point of it is handing over issues to your husband.  You (mom) were never a teenage boy (thank goodness) and in my opinion something about mom arguing a son who is 4 inches taller than her... it becomes emasculating.  NOT that he doesn't need to obey and be respectful!  We talked to him yesterday and just told him Mom is handing over the reigns.  From now on he has two choices, obey respectfully or take it up with Dad.  He smirked and said, "Oh great."  I think the smirk was happy but the "oh great" was said like it was a huge bummer.  Why?  Because Dad doesn't argue, or feel bad.  He says it and he's done.  I don't often fold but I have been known to have (really) long drawn out discussions over why I asked for something to be done.  I can't tell you the weight lifted in doing this.  I've used my new line several times now and I feel lighter each time!

  Now you can ask if I totally trust my husband with this job.! Hence the letting go! He's too harsh I think at times, unbendable and doesn't consider the kids feelings or even why he's saying no sometimes.  But, he loves them and I can see no harm in being told no for no reason at times.  I see a lot of harm in Mommy being worn down and miserable over arguing (which is contagious just so you know...the arguing, unfortunately not being worn down...cuz then we could all nap!).  Our rules we made up are: 1.  We back each other.  He can totally overrule me if he feels I've asked too much but in general we are a united front.  2. That means I don't get to jump in and give my two cents (at least not while it's happening).  In his words I can't "cut his legs out from under him". 3. If Carter feels Dad is being incredibly, outrageously, unreasonably unfair he can come to me.  I will respectfully listen but he knows it would take something huge to make me go and ask Dad to reconsider.

  Today was a great example of using our new rule.  I assigned a rather large review for him to do before his first science test with a new curriculum.  I wouldn't normally assign so much but he doesn't know what to expect on the test.  He started the debate with the why and early negotiating of if he could do only part.  I started to explain and then stopped and said, "Ya know, you can do it or take it up with Dad."  Well, Dad happened to be working which made him think twice but then decide it was worth the risk.  He called him and explained what was going on and Dad told him he didn't think it was too much and it was time to step up his game a bit.  A few tears of frustration fell but now he's off doing his review and with no stress on me!

   So for now I let go a little.  Practicing loosening my grip on things a little at a time.  Releasing him to be the man and leader God has made him. In the words from "Auntie Leila's" post...

So this moment -- of permitting your own influence over your son to take its natural course while your husband's increases -- is God's way of getting you to realize that, while exerting the Herculean effort of organizing your family for the past dozen years has been indispensable, you must now re-adjust your thinking to allow for others' ways of doing things.

 I'm readjusting my thinking.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Nerf Cannon

  Ever wonder what two boys can come up with when given a challenge to beat their little brother at a Nerf battle?  Why a cannon of course!!

Our neighbor works on recreational vehicles and such and always has "stuff" laying around.  Thankfully he is awesome about helping out the boys (including his son) with their crazy ideas.  This "cannon" is a Nerf gun hooked onto a cart (with zip ties) used to move a trailer around.  They tied yarn to the trigger and Jarod's dad helped make metal stakes so they can stake it into the yard.  They can then go hide around a corner and pull the yarn and fire the "cannon" without ever being seen.  Some day I'll show you our lovely bunker dug into the side yard and their Nerf "tank" they are trying to build!  Little brother and neighbor kids are starting to think this battle is NOT going to be fair!  I'm not sure the battle will ever happen.  One thing I've learned as a mom of boys is they love to talk and plan and create but you don't really need to worry or even explain why their idea may not work or be logical because they usually lose interest well before damage can be done!  

Now as a disclaimer that is only true in "Phineas and Ferb" ideas like building a rocket ship or a roller coaster or... a Nerf tank etc.  If they tell you they are going to launch their brother off the end of the slide be VERY worried and pay close attention!!

Boys!!  Gotta love em!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


    One thing my oldest son and I have in common is writing.  We both have a lot of thoughts swirling around in our minds and like to put things on paper.  I like to write about real life and issues, Carter loves to make up imaginary worlds and adventures.  Over the past year or two he and his buddy have been working on a story.  They pass it back and forth every few weeks or months and take turns writing.  They are around 150-200 pages in and it's really pretty good!  So, I am really excited that tomorrow he and I will be heading out for a middle school writing conference at a local college.  We get to meet author Pam Munoz Ryan and hear her speak along with taking part in two workshops.  I've heard it's a great experience and I'm hoping we'll agree.  It will only be the two of us all morning and afternoon (well, the two of us and hundreds of other middle schoolers) so I'll get to enjoy it without 1yo drool and toys!!  Strange how that sounds welcoming and boring all at the same time!

   I found out about this conference from a friend.  I do find it slightly frustrating that there are great things going on around us and I often totally miss out just because I don't know about it.  I'm not sure how to solve that besides just plugging in when we find out and meet more people to share more ideas with us.  You can say a little prayer for us as we will be walking around a college campus and it's suppose to rain all day!!

Looking forward to a day outside our "norm".  What fun things are you doing for school?? 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Earning Privileges

   I mentioned yesterday taking advantage of some of the ideas from when my husband was a youth counselor.  Besides writing lines for discipline the other thing we decided to implement was earning privileges.

   You earn a grade for your behavior three times a day (or however many you choose).  We simply made a chart that says morning, afternoon and evening.  It's then divided into two columns, one for attitude and one for responsibilities.  It simply says responsibilities because those may change everyday and I don't want to list a million things.  Mainly, are you doing what you're suppose to be doing and with a good attitude??  They earn an A, B, C, D or E and the grades are worth points (4,3,2,1,0).  You can use the points for many different things.  We add them up and divide by what's possible to get a percentage.  There are certain things you cannot do if you don't have a high enough percentage.  We added a bigger kicker to it that we will take a weekly average for "video game Saturday" and their monthly percentage is how much of their allowance they get.  It sounds complicated but so far it has been very simple.

   Right now three times a day works well for school time, afternoon time with friends and family/bed time.  In the summer maybe we'll just do two times a day.  I'm not sure but for some reason this has clicked well for us.  It seems when we had chore trackers and such we'd forget to do them but attitude is easy to remember to keep in check.  We will still use our "Blessing Chart" to encourage the positive actions but this has helped us address behavior.

  It's been a great encourager for our kids.  They are really excited to maintain an A all day.  I'd like to think up some sort of reward in the evening for a really great day but I'm not sure yet what that will be.  We'll see how long we keep up with this.  Sometimes we have grand intentions and no follow through.  With this they will ask where they are for a grade often.  So for now... we'll run with it.

Sometimes changing up discipline ideas or even how we praise our kids can really get their attention.  Are there any changes you can make for the better??

Monday, April 25, 2011

Writing Lines

   My husband and I have been chatting about parenting strategies lately.  Not because anything horrible is happening but because in our life BC (before children) he worked at a home for delinquent and neglected youth, boys and girls generally ages 10-13.  Our two oldest boys are exactly those ages so we thought we'd think back to some ideas that worked and didn't work at the home he was at.  Everything there was obviously a bit more over the top than a "normal" house need be.  They had severe abuse backgrounds and severe behavioral issues.  But, the goal was rehabilitation not punishment and to help them think before they act which is really a goal for all of us.  Tomorrow I'll talk a little about how they "earned" privileges and how we are implementing that in a similar way around here but today I thought I do just a quick note on writing lines.

   If one of the kids was completely out of control they had a special "time out" room that was a safe room for them, but for the disrespect or small offenses between kids their discipline was writing lines.  My husband informs me that the staff would make up whatever they wanted them to write and then assign a number.  Generally 50, more if needed.  They were sent to their room and could come out and join people when finished. We are going to try to implement that this week  and see how it goes. I think we may just have them at the table instead of in their room but we'll see what works.  It seems we are often hitting times where the mouth is running and needs to reminded sometimes it's not WHAT you say but HOW you say it.  We're hoping this will slow them down and make them think before they speak or at the very least give them a chance to think, "Gee, that wasn't a very good idea."  This doesn't happen a lot around here but it does happen and I sometimes feel like I don't know how to react besides a long lecture.  This week we're going to try "A little less talk and a lot more action."

   This new stage of "bigger" kids is a ton of fun.  We want to keep enjoying each other AND find some ways to address little attitude issues without blowing them way out of proportion or ignoring them all together.  What are some ways you deal with issues like these??

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He Is Risen

He Is Risen Indeed!!

Matthew 28:6 (King James Version)

 6He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

All In the Attitude

   I've met a new friend through my boys Lego class (Hi Lisa!) and she has really inspired me when it comes to homeschooling lately.  You see I use to be really good at finding fun learning opportunities and fun materials.  As Carter grew older I guess I felt I wasn't doing a good job if we didn't do some good old fashioned "school".  Somehow I thought fun equalled not deep.  After talking with Lisa and seeing some of her ideas I am really excited to go back to some of our old ways along with finding some new ones to throw in there.

  I am changing up our schedule to include more time for read alouds (our favorite!!) and a half hour everyday to do a group activity.  I have some fun Brain Quest cards, a book full of tricky riddles and even a book that has you put things on the table and then gives them a timed challenge using only what you provide to create.  I have a great art program we have yet to use along with some really fun unit study ideas and possibly a co-op with friends. I am also rearranging so I can have daily one on one time with each child to just talk.  Talk about what they are reading or  what they are thinking about.  Time for them to show off to Mom what they know.  A chance to say, "Hey, show me how on earth you are doing these tricky math problems so well." or "Will you read to ME this time and let me enjoy this story with you?"  I want a chance to talk about what they've been reading in the Bible or to share what I've read and found interesting.  Not that we don't have these talks, they are just not intentional so they don't happen as often as I'd like.  I guess a chance to get back to the basics of why WE chose to homeschool and that was relationships.

  When people ask me about having my kids home and why I often reply, "Because I love them!".  This is not to say sending your kids to school equals not loving them!!  Please don't read that!  It's just I love being with them.  I love watching them learn.  I love helping them discover new things.  I love laughing over the story we are reading.  I love the inside jokes we have simply because we are together so much. I love doing silly things with them and making Daddy's eyes roll! Truly, I would miss them so much if they were gone all day and then had to come home and do homework and activities.

  I'm not sure that's been my attitude lately.  I think school has become something to get through to get on with the rest of our day.  In the past the only thing they considered school was math!  Everything else was just life because we were constantly learning and exploring.  We're going to work on getting a little of that back.  Step 1 is change the attitude... mine and theirs!  I'm hoping some purposeful one on one time along with some fun group activities will get us started in that direction.

What about you??  Could a change of attitude or schedule help pull you out of a rut you are in?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Positive Parenting

  I posted on this when I first started blogging and I decided to add to it a bit and re-post because it really sums up our parenting.  I wrote it on a day I was having an incredibly lovely day because of my tricks "parenting techniques" and had to share...

  I recently heard Michelle Duggar (mom  of 19) say she tries to praise her kids as often as she can and her husband added that it multiplies the praise by the number of people in the room.  So to praise your kids in front of others just makes the praise all the bigger and better!  I also know through experience that praise works so much better than punishment. 

   A few years ago I created our Blessing Chart.  On this chart I made a section for each child and did a little grid to check off.  Then, on the grid I put some of the things they love to do but we don't always have time to do or don't want to do all the time.  For example: staying up late with Mom and Dad, a date with Mom and Dad, painting Hannah's finger nails, taking a walk with Mom, gaming with Dad... on and on it goes.  When I catch them doing something above and beyond I'll give them a "blessing mark".  Each thing has 10 boxes to check before they earn it (this prevents the problem of getting the blessing but being a bad time to get the reward, we can prepare when we see they're one or two away).  Date with Mom and Dad takes 20 and that equals a dinner OR movie out or a dvd and dinner in (depending on the budget and time).

Here are the rules for getting a blessing mark-
#1 You can't ask for one yourself.  If you feel your being missed you can bring it up but you can't just run around doing tasks and asking for a blessing.  You have to be "caught" being good.
#2 You can ALWAYS tell Mom and Dad when your sibling does something to bless you and they WILL get a blessing mark for sure!
#3 After you earned a reward you can't repeat that same one until you've done all the others (this prevents them going for the date night over and over until were broke!)
#4 Mom and Dad can limit the blessing marks :0)  Some days they'll get on a roll and be overly fantastic all day!  We'll praise and encourage them but the goal is not to fill all 10 in a day or two.

  I made the chart on the computer and just hang it in the kitchen cupboard so it's easy to mark.  We sometimes forget about it for awhile and then when I notice things heading south in behavior or attitude we'll start using it again.  I reprint it whenever I feel like it and that opens already done rewards back up again.

   To add to the Blessing Chart we also try to repeat any compliment we get about our kids to them and congratulate them. We often throw out high fives and tell them,"We fooled em' again!" if someone comments on how perfect they are.  If we go away we tell them specifically what we expect before we get out of the car and praise them when they do well. For example every other Sunday we go to church without Dad because he's working and I say the same thing before we get out, "How many kids are there?" They answer, "5".  "How many Moms?" "1!" "What does that mean??"  They all answer in a jumble of voices, "Stay close to Mom, help carry bags, help with Addison and Hannah, be respectful."  So then if I'm left with 3 bags and the baby to haul out to the car I can say, "Uh, guys... what's wrong with this picture?"  But my hope is I can say, "You guys are awesome!!  Thank you so much for helping!  You made church a blessing for me today!  I'm so glad we went!  I wouldn't be able to do it without you. You are a delight to my soul." 

  It helps that Paul is great with this too.  Sometimes he needs a gentle nagging reminder but usually does well.  During the Lego Robotics competition this fall and for many days following it he would tell the boys, "Have I mentioned how proud I am of you?"  The fun part was he'd say it about 7 million times and they'd keep saying, "Daaaaad!! Stop!"  BUT they'd say it with the hugest grins on their faces. It's feeding them.  It's joining our hearts.  They want to please us and the Lord and we want to help them.  We do not want to be a stumbling block to them by pointing out everything they did wrong. Now don't get me wrong, there are times for discipline and consequences for sure, but you'll find the more praise you give the less discipline you'll need to give as well.

  When you praise your kids the whole atmosphere of your house will be different.  I find myself walking around thinking that they truly are a delight to my soul!

Psalm 127:3 Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.

Proverbs 29:17 Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Are You Kidding Me??

   Remember me saying I was sorting summer clothes last weekend???  This is what greeted  me out my window this morning...

And this is where I sat watching my kids play while it was 80 degrees... SEVEN days ago!!!

What on earth??  I usually love snow but I called my cousin this morning and told her for the first time in my life I'm on her side and ready to move somewhere warm!!  Crazy!

Of course the lovely Easter dress both my girls picked out are sleeveless... nice!  Course with this weather you never know, it could be 80 again by Sunday!  If you're somewhere warm, soak up some extra sun rays for me today!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

So Funny!

   Ok, I am totally NOT making this up!

   Have you ever been in one of those situations where something happens and it is sooooo funny but ONLY because it was NOT your kid?  No harm came of it and it will be the greatest story ever when she's older but I don't want to be her tonight.  Who's "her"?  A darling little girl at our church (whom my 10yo has his first crush on btw).  She made a strange choice today.  For some reason, somewhere in her 10yo little mind she thought... well... I  don't know what she thought.  Perhaps she thought it would be a funny trick no one would ever know.  Maybe she thought she would show everyone after service and have a good laugh.  Whatever it was, wherever it came from I don't think it's ever been done before...  She decided to bring her two pet BIRDS to church with her... in her PURSE!!!  What she didn't think of was that her purse might be a little warm and the birdies may decide to hop out for a breath of fresh air and proceed to tweet and hop about under people's chairs while our associate pastor taught.  It was hilarious seeing people's faces.  We were sitting directly behind them and Hannah was the first to notice and whispered to me there was a live bird in church!  I thought one may have flown in but when I looked down I saw a pretty bird like this

   The mom was trying to not freak out and blow a gasket while the daughter tried to quietly follow the bird.  After an amazingly small commotion the bird was caught and at that moment the pastor caught on to what was going on and commented, "Now that is not something you see often!" and just kept right on going with his talk!!  It was so funny.  Luckily for the little girl the mom had a whole sermon to calm down and she started to see the humor in it by the end of service.  I never did get a chance to ask the little girl why she brought them.  I'm not sure there would be a logical explanation to that one!!

Again I will say this was only funny because it was not my child... at least not this time!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Best Memories

  One of my favorite parts of having kids are the adorable things they say or do. I've shared some before and how we save those memories here.  Well, they keep coming and leave us on the floor laughing... well later they do.  At the moment I just grin because I don't want to embarrass them but they are SO cute.

  Hannah has been watching her cousin play hockey this winter and as the Zamboni comes out she yells, "Mama! Look!  The BAMzoni!."  Elijah (7) still uses his shirt like a portable napkin and when he was told to change the other day we all got a good laugh remembering the summer he was 5.  He wanted to go to the video store with Daddy but his shirt was filthy and he was told to change.  He went quickly and joyfully off and was back grinning in record time.  I thought it was odd he was so fast but didn't think much of it.  He and Daddy turned to leave and that's when it all clicked... he had simply turned his shirt around!!  From the front he was good as new, from the back a filthy mess!  Soooo funny!

  Our latest thing is too new to laugh for Caleb but in a few years he will see the humor.  He and Carter took Addison for a walk to our corner store to pick up some chips to go with dinner.  Daddy told them what kind to pick up and Carter wasn't sure he remembered so Caleb feeling big and grown up stepped up to the plate and went into the small convenience shop to buy the chips.  He looked everywhere and couldn't find the bigger bags and being 10yo he either didn't think of or want to ask anyone for help so he thought he'd just make do with what he could find- just like Mom and Dad do at times.  This is what he came home with...

Two snack bags to feed our family of 7!

   We all laughed and he got so embarrassed but it was so cute.  He was trying to do his best to provide for the family. When we pointed out that wasn't much for our size family he said, "Well... maybe I should have gotten one more."  LOL!!  Poor kid, when he's older he'll never live this one down. 

 I love days like this and find it immediately puts me in a praise and thanksgiving mode.  As our whole family giggles together I feel more blessed than a millionaire.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

So Sweet

   As I'm cleaning and enjoying my sweet smelling house I got another sweet thing to savor.  Elijah (7) came in and told me how great the room looked and gave me a big hug.  And then he says, "Mama, thank you for working so hard for us."  And off he went zipping through the kitchen while I stood grinning from ear to ear!  Can I tell you how much I love having this kid around!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dirt Stinks!

  So as I mentioned I'm spring cleaning here and I don't have a lot of time but I would like to say... dirt stinks!!  I'm REALLY cleaning right now.  I'm wiping down walls, washing curtains, waxing our hardwood floors, sweeping ceilings and cleaning ceiling fans.  If Paul is home he's keeping up with the little one but if not the older kids are playing with her someplace I'm not.  As they come to the room I'm cleaning to check in they all say how good it smells.  I'm only using vinegar and water but they're right.  It smells so clean!

   If it makes you feel any better about cleaning I will say I can't remember the last time I cleaned this well.  It may have been during our remodel which was now 5 years ago!  My walls and baseboards were really dusty!  My biggest problem now is that the rooms that are done look and smell so good I don't want to keep on track of doing one room a day.  I want to tackle it all... NOW!  That's my normal way to go about things.  So far I'm holding myself back but if I'm not exhausted tonight I may add another room to today instead of vegging out in front of the TV.  My most dreaded rooms... the kitchen and the boys bedroom.  The kitchen just seems so big to tackle although I don't need to scrub the floor since it's brand new, that's a bonus!  The boys room, well, it's a boys room and it smells like boys.  Does anyone know how to end that without selling the boys??  I'm not big into those perfumey (yes I made up that word) plug in things cuz they bother my nose but having a basement bedroom with three boys in it... phew!

   Well, off to finish my front room.  I figured while the wax dried I type this.  Now it's back to work!  Have a good day ;0)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring Cleaning

  Now that my clothes are sorted it's on with the rest of my 2 week spring clean.  I plan on taking two hours a day on each room over the next 2 weeks and get as much done as I can.  After that I will start keeping up with Flylady's daily mission assignments you can find here.  I love these little jobs to do each day but somewhere over the last year I have fallen behind and I need to do a quick once over to feel better!  I also need to go through toys and get rid of stuff we've outgrown.  Having little girls as my "littles" now I no longer have a need for keeping Hot Wheels and things like that.  I do need to figure out what I want to keep for when other kids come to play and what is not needed.  I think I may try my hand at Craig's List too and see if any one will find treasure in our old play things.  I've never done it before but figure it's worth a try right?!  I have to add I cleaned out our garage Saturday to surprise my hubby too.  I am in the mood to clean and running with it!  It helps that it's our school break and feels like spring! Only bad thing is I notice things now that normally don't bother me, like the dings and scratches in our white painted doors or of what terrible need our baseboards have- they REALLY need a new paint job!  The boys room needs painted... on and on it goes.  Someday I'll have time for that I guess.  Right now I want to enjoy living life with my kids and smiling and laughing in a house that passes for decently clean and as germ free as possible with 5 kiddos and a life!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sorting Clothes

   I decided it was as good as time as any to sort through clothes for our twice a year switch.  It was nice and warm today and I figured we should just get it over with .  My totes were very unorganized and it took me ALL day!  9am-5pm with a short lunch break.  I was finding what summer things fit, what winter things were officially too small and trying to organize to make things easier in the future.  This is what I started with...

Then of course it always looks worse before it gets better.

Why yes there is a little girl in the midst of that mess!  It got a lot worse than this for awhile but at that point I lost my phone so I couldn't take a picture!

Once I found all of a certain size and season I bagged them and labeled the bag like this...

Then I recorded on an index card what was in each big tote.  The only catch is since it's hand me downs things don't always fit to size.  That's why it takes so long, you have to try everything on.  We also went through closets and drawers so it was a LOOOONNNNG process.  I have 2 bags for my baby niece, 1 bag for my soon to be born baby nephew, 3 bags for my 4yo nephew and at least 4 bags for Goodwill.  That doesn't include the stuff I literally threw away because it was so bad!!  It feels good to be done and let stuff go that we don't need anymore.  It's a little sad not packing baby stuff away for the next one... a new season indeed. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spring Break!!

  It's not our official Spring Break this week but we crammed extra school last week to give us a chance to play with friends.  So for this week I'm not doing anymore posting... I'm living life with my kids!
Have a great week!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Simplifying Meals

   Paul has been trying to drop a few pounds to get ready for cycling this summer.  Something about a stationary bike in your basement just doesn't cut it!  Using both the exercises and the eating plan in  8 Minutes In The Morning  is how I lost my weight after Elijah was born and I pulled it back out for the exercises after the cardiologist recommended weight lifting with high reps and low weight to help my blood pressure.  The exercises are really easy to stick to but also produce good results.  Paul decided to give the whole thing a try and chose to buy a Kindle version just for ease and ended up getting this version instead because it had a different eating plan.  The plan in the original is eating x amount of protein a day, x amount of carbs etc.  The new one is so simple, is working great for him and has simplified meals over here a lot!

   The basic idea is for your main 3 meals a day you have a 9" dinner plate (average size) and fill it half with veggies, 1/4 with protein, 1/4 carb and a fat equal to a tablespoon of flax oil.  You can check out the book for the full plan, serving sizes and the recommended snacks etc.  There's a bit more to it, but what I love is the simplicity of the meal.  It's a great guideline for anyone.  Now I look at all meals in those easy terms.  What will be our protein?  What will be our carb?  And what will be our veggie?  Maybe other people think that way but I just looked at a full pantry or fridge and thought what are we going to eat.  I also never thought about a half plate of veggies.  My younger kids have smaller plates but instead of a 1/4 of it full of veggies it's now 1/2 full and they know they can get seconds of anything once their veggies are gone.  The funny thing is they don't seem to notice it's more veggies.  We've always had the eat your veggie rule but never gave so much.  Maybe because all the plates look the same??  I don't know but it's working.

  Here's a sample of a few simple meals we've had:
Breakfast- A chopped apple (takes the place of a veggie at breakfast), 12 walnuts (fat), a slice of our homemade coffee cake (carb) and a glass of milk (protein)

Lunch- Leftover rice (carb), leftover salmon patty (protein), salad (veggie) with oil based dressing (fat)

Dinner- Chicken cooked in the crock-pot with a marinade (protein), steamed  green beans

We were afraid this would really up our grocery bill but surprisingly it hasn't.  If anything it's lower.  Maybe because we are eating less snacky type things???  I don't know but I'll take simple and healthy any day!

Friday, April 1, 2011


   This is an odd post because it's mostly just me complaining!  I had time to search the web today and checked out a lot of different sites and instead of encouraged I felt very annoyed.  It seemed every page claimed to have the answers to parenting, homeschooling or living.  They all wanted to share how they found the perfect way to do x.  It, of course they say, was all only because of the glory of God that they found it, but they all seemed to imply you'd be a fool for not following their way.  I felt very frustrated when I was done.

   I do have to question at times- who do we think we are?  Who are we to tell another person we have all the answers?  Doesn't it seem as Christians, because we know the ultimate truth in Jesus Christ, we sometimes take that to a new extreme?  If what we are doing works and is in line with God we somehow think we have found the answers.  I'm not sure where the line of encouragement and sharing crosses with the know it all attitude.  I pray you never feel that way when you read this blog.  I DO NOT HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS!!  Let's be honest here, I don't have hardly any answers!  As someone shared with me before, I am just another hungry begger who happened to find THE source of daily bread.

    I understand we want to help people but doesn't it seem we are often caught up with teaching and condeming each other as Christians and totally missing the unsaved world right in front of us?  Maybe in our own home. I am part of a family history that has had great missionaries preaching to the unsaved while their own children choose not to walk with the Lord.

   When I was sick last year and overwhelmed with life the only thing that got me out of bed was the small whisper of God telling me all I had to do today was love.  That was all He was asking of me.  I didn't need to solve my illness, family stresses, homeschooling concerns or how on earth I was going to write thank you cards to all the people who helped (I never did by the way).  All He wanted me to do was love.  I truly believe that  if I worried less about  how to do things "just right" and focused more on showing love to all.... ahhh can you imagine?

   What would happen if we all did that in our own family?  What if we focused on showing  Chirst's love to our spouses and children first and most everyday?  What if instead of keeping a happy face for people at work/church but coming home and being crabby and moody... what if we started at home?    

Today seek Christ and love your family more than anything else. And if/when you look around at a child mistreating a sibling or a spouse doing something that drives you crazy, CHOOSE to react in LOVE.

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