Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What Are Your Rights...

   as a parent??  Do you know?  As Americans we are so proud of our freedoms.  We spout off our freedoms stated in the Constitution when faced with guns, freedom of speech and religion while seldom thinking twice about it.  But what are your Constitutional rights as a parent??  Surprisingly...none!

   This weekend we had the privilege of seeing The Child.  What an eye opening video.  You see our rights as parents have always been "understood".  We decide where we'd like them to go to school (private, public, Christian, homeschool), we decide when and if they will receive medical treatment such as vaccines and surgeries and we decide how to discipline.  Most parents make those decisions with much caution because WE as the parent have to live with the consequences!  Well, that could change soon and not for the better if we don't all become aware of what's going on in Washington and around the world.

  The United Nations has a treaty called Conventions of The Rights of the Child or the UNCRC.  I believe this treaty was probably established for good reasons, to help protect children from slave like labor, prostitution and gross neglect.  MANY countries have signed this treaty and on the surface it doesn't look too bad (although it's track record at making things better is not so great).  The problem is that in the United States if this treaty was signed it could overrule state law and because we have nothing in writing in the Constitution to state our rights as parents it would become the "law of the land" when it came to decisions of the family.  What that means is a panel of 18 "experts", none of whom are from the United States would get to decide what's best for our children and if challenged our judges would have to follow what they decided.  Other countries can choose to ignore parts of the treaty based on their laws but the way the United States is set up it would become the law.

  What could this look like?  Courts (or really the UNCRC) deciding what kind of school is best for your child, what kind of medical treatment our children "should" have, and it could even go so far as deciding what we can and cannot know about our own children's health so as not to show a "lack of privacy" to the child.  Two scary examples of this happening are both with teenagers. One boy's father brought him into the doctor (I can't remember what for).  While there, they asked if he would like the boy to have a urine drug screen.  The father decided yes he did and he, the father, had to consent to have it done.  When it was done he was then told that they could not give him (the one who had consented and who also has to PAY for the test) the results because that would violate his sons privacy.  If his son wanted to show him that was fine but the doctors could not/would not show the father.  ???? What??  Another example was during a short time that some ideas that are in this treaty were in place in the state of Washington.  A teenager complained to his school counselor he felt he had to go to church too often (3x's a week- twice Sunday and once Wednesday).  The counselor called it in and the child was removed from the home until the court could decide.  The judge then decided that one time a week of going to church was plenty!  That would be the kind of things we could see if this treaty is passed.  We tasted a small part of this in our family when Addison was a baby and H1N1 was going around.  A nurse at my doctor's office told me if I chose not to vaccinate my children with the new vaccine we knew little about, she would call the state on me.  I told her to go for it!  But think of the outcome if I was then taken to court and told I would lose my children if I did not vaccinate.  Take it one more step and say I then under pressure vaccinated and one of my children had a severe reaction and was severely brain damaged or died... who would be living with that??  Not the government who forced it, but me the parent. A parent needs to have the right to make decisions like these for their children.

   What can we do??  Get our rights as parents to decide what's best for our family and children IN WRITING and INTO the Constitution.  How??  Check out this website parentalrights.org.  There is a petition to sign and information on how to pass the word on and help get things moving.  Lets face it, not many of us are involved in the political process and I will be the first to say I don't know much!  What I do know is I do NOT want to sit on the sidelines complaining about the direction our country is going when I could be doing something about it.  There is no excuse for that! We should not be a spectator. We should not be a bench warmer.  The beauty of America is anyone who wants to play a part in how our country is run, can!  If you want to be heard you just need to speak up!  The first thing to do is get informed.  As this issue heats up you can guarantee misinformation will start to take over.  Know the truth.  Read the treaty if you want.  Read all the information on the amendment trying to be passed.  Know that sometimes what we think are our rights are not.  I'm sure our founding fathers did not see reason to say a parent takes care of their own child and makes the decisions.  It seems like a no brainer, but we need it in writing because apparently at this point in history it is not.

   Here is the proposed amendment-
Section 1: The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental right.
Section 2: Neither the United States nor any State shall infringe upon this right without demonstration that it's governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.
Section 3: No treaty may be adopted nor shall any source of international law be employed to supersede, modify, interpret or apply to the rights guaranteed by this article.

   Please check it out.  There's lots of info at the site and places to ask questions if you have them.  Please do not trust all the bloggers of this world to get it right.  Check it out for yourself.  You can purchase The Child to show in your area or look online to see where it may be showing around you.

   We know our country and times are changing.  It is up to us not only to preserve and protect our rights but to think of how this will affect our children parenting our grandchildren.  It's time to step up like our grandparents showed us!  To be proud not only to BE an American but to be PART of how our country grows and flourishes.  I know it can be scary... but not nearly as scary as the alternative!

   Forgive me for the repetition and sounding like an infomercial here but please go to parentalrights.org to see how you can be involved.

Monday, May 30, 2011


   So in case you were worried, we have returned from 1989 and yes the New Kids are all still AWESOME!!  We had a ball!  First of all it wasn't sold out (shocker!) so when we got there they upgraded our tickets twice!  We went from nosebleed sides to front row center of the upper bowl!  Here was our view before the show started-

    And this is how happy we were...

It was very fun!

If you want to read a review that totally sums it up (which I'm SURE you do!!) you can check it out here.

After talking to someone I do feel the need to clarify something.  My cousin and I were the most naive and innocent girls you ever met (at least at the time we loved the New Kids!).  Someone told me they went with friends to the concert and as an adult they were horrified at the gestures and words coming from these grown women.  That did happen there but not from us!! The only words that came out of our mouth's were, "Ahhhhhhh!" and  "Wooooooo!!" and a couple "Oh oh oh oh, oh oh o-oh, oh oh o-oh-o. The Right Stuff".

So, now... back to the real world... until next time!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Proverbs 31

   I use to hate that darn chapter of Proverbs!  Everyone has their own understanding of Scripture and one that helped me was from an older woman sharing she believed Proverbs 31 was a portrait of a godly woman's life over time.  For a season she rose while it was still night (maybe to nurse or care for a baby), for a season she had a "career", for a season she stayed up late (maybe having heart to hearts with teenagers).  I loved that thought. 

    I also think there are ways to look at it with fresh eyes.  Servants??  We don't have servants right?  Well,  yes we do.  Another wise woman taught me that!  My washing machine is a servant, my bread machine, my answering machine!  Heck, even my oven.  I do not need a servant to help scrub and beat and wring clothes or grind my grain and knead my bread.  I don't need a secretary for messages or someone to go chop wood so I can cook.  What wisdom there is in getting our "servants" started early and making a breakfast (which we have learned is the most important meal of the day) for our family.  

   And her attitude...it is one of willingness.  The poor &  needy need cared for... how I can help with that?  If I can save money by going to Aldi but it's in the next town... I can be that "merchant ship bringing food from afar" if it helps my family.  Can I do ALL these things today?  Probably not!  But I can be loving and kind to my family.  I can seek to help my husband and not harm him by my attitude or unwillingness to step up if needed.  Back to Proverbs 14:1, we can build our house and not tear it down by speaking with wisdom and instruction not aggravation and negativity.

    Does that make sense??  There are a few moments in the last 13years of parenting I've had a child "rise up and called me blessed" but lets be honest, that admiration and respect often comes with age and understanding.  That's another reason I think a life is represented in this chapter... not a day or a week.  Remember Psalms 127:2 says "It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late" so to expect a noble woman to stay up late and get up early over and over is...vain, futile, not how we were created.  But we can laugh in the face of fear knowing God will provide.  We may need to just sit back and watch or we may need to work with strong arms and plan ahead.  We can strive to make our attitude one of love, trust, gentleness and a willingness to get done what needs to get done.

...preaching to the choir over here! 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Guess Where I'm Going???

    So you're going to find this out about me sooner or later, so I might as well just confess and get it over with!  I was a New Kids fan all through high school!  I was one of those screaming teenagers with posters like this all over my bedroom wall!

    So you may think that's not so bad.  You can forgive me for poor judgement when I was 15 right?  Well, here's part two... I STILL am a NKOTB fan!  Not a twitter following, poster hanging fan- but a fan all the same.  I'm not alone in this little teenage fantasy.  My cousin and I were best friends in high school and we were in love!  We were going to marry them and live in a duplex together!  We still laugh... I guess we didn't think of being rich and in a mansion, we wanted a duplex so we could still be together all the time!  LOL! We are still partners in crime when we hear they will be on a show or do a concert we text and call each other all giddy and silly.  I must clarify, this does not fill our days and thoughts... we're not that crazy!  But if they're going to be on Dancing With the Stars, you better believe we will be watching!

  We were thrilled beyond words when the did their reunion tour 2 years ago.  We were there!  It was so fun!  It was like a time warp.  Once you were in and the music started it was like being 15 again.  Even the New Kids sang with smirks on their faces.  I'm sure part of them thought we were all nuts and the other part had to enjoy reliving their glory days with people being willing to go there with them!  Honestly, I left and my face hurt from smiling so much!  It was just FUN!  Some "girls" (read that 30 and 40 year old women) even wore their old concert shirts and did their bangs up high in true 80's fashion!  In reality I was 34 and 36 weeks pregnant with my 5th child but in my heart, I was 15 and screaming with the rest of them!

   Fast forward two years and I get a phone message one night from my mom that says, "Tami!!  Tami!!  It's an emergency!!  New Kids on the Block are coming to town!  Call your cousin right away!"  while she laughed hysterically!

  See EVERYONE who knows me well, knows I'll go!  They seem to feel free to pick on me about that but I think they are jealous that I'm willing to be stupid  care free without worrying about what people think!  Now it's even better because the Back Street Boys will be there too!  I've never been a huge fan of them but I always appreciated them carrying on the boy band tradition!  I know a handful of their songs and truly I don't care who is with "my boys" as long as it gives them an excuse to tour again!  I can't believe they are for the most part in their 40's and still dancing :0)

   Anyways, if you're looking for me Thursday night I will be getting a very grown up dinner at a coffee shop with my cousin and then stepping in my time machine for a few hours to sing and dance my little heart out.  Don't worry... you don't have to come if you don't want to. You can just "Hang Tough" at home and keep doing "The Right Stuff"!  Ahhhh Hhhhhaaaa ha!  I crack myself up!! .

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Sea of Orange!

   So Sunday was one of our family's favorite days of the year!  First of all it was my baby's 2nd birthday... sniff sniff.  Even though Addison is very important, that's not what made my kids excited to get up in the morning.  We were excited because it was....


  Once a year our church has our "Faith in Action" Sunday.  We meet at church... but we leave the building to serve our community.  Everyone has orange shirts that say "Church Has Left the Building" on the back and we head out to be the hands and feet of Christ.  As we gathered together I had to take a picture because this is what our sanctuary looked like-

   Because we have such a big age range of children in our family and we want to work as together, we usually choose roadside clean-up.  We have a stretch of road our church has committed to cleaning and our kids take great pride in making sure it is clean.  As we drive by throughout the year they'll comment that it looks great or needs some more work.  

   There are many choices though.  Some will visit shut-ins or go sing and visit at local nursing homes.  A group heads out to our local biking and running trails and hands out water bottles and talks with people out on their morning runs.  Another group heads to a trailer park and plant  flowers, mow lawns and ask people if they need help with anything.  I think one year they helped fix some one's porch and often help haul trash and things for people.  Still another group heads to laundromats throughout our city and they give coloring books and crayons to the kids sitting and waiting with their parents and give quarters and laundry soap to people washing.  There's still more!  A group stays back at church and prays for everyone the whole time we are out! Some stay back and work the nursery for those with little ones and last but not least some stay back and prepare lunch for all the hard working hungry people when they return!

   This year we had business size cards printed to hand out.  They say our church name and "Church Has Left the Building" on one side and on the other it says "Mark 10:45" and "Called to serve our community in Jesus' name." It's in English and Spanish.  They are to hand out as we are so often asked, "What is going on???" when people see all the orange shirts!  We love this day.  When we come back for lunch everyone has a chance to share stories of their adventures and we sing some praise music before we eat.  We love being at a church that teaches our kids it is NOT all about ME!  We are not here for ourselves but to serve others. We also love that it is emphasized that the church is NOT the building but the people in it!  We indeed ARE called to serve.

Mark 10:45 (New King James Version)

45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Great Commission

   I think I'll be sharing a little more often what I'm learning/thinking while studying Scripture.  I don't claim to have any great deep knowledge but I do have a passion for parenting my children in the way of the Lord- and of course walking in that way myself!  Sometimes the Lord reveals to me little bits of encouragement in this marathon of parenting and I thought maybe they'd bless you as well ;0)

Today was the Great Commission 

Matthew 28:19-20 (New Living Translation)

19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[a] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

  Most people know these verses well.  Today I chose to look up a few common words in the dictionary and it opened my eyes to a few things.

-disciples- a follower, a student
-observe- to examine, to celebrate

  The first thing that popped into my head is I do NOT want my children to simply be followers of Jesus but students.  I think our faith can be challenged quickly if we don't know God's Word.  As a disciple we not only follow (and sometimes in life that can mean a completely blind following) but we want to be good students.  Examining and studying and KNOWING God's truths always.  Then, when we are in a season of not understanding God's way and just following Truth with trust we know that is wise because He tells us, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  Lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5&6

  The other thing that surprised me was that in the definition of observe was the word celebrate.  How fun is that?  Not just examine God's Word but celebrate it!  To be able to read it and say to our kids, "WOW!!  Can you believe that??  Woo hooo!!  That is sooo cool!!!"  It really is a story of victory so why would we not be jumping up and down and celebrating?

  My last thing (sorry, a little long winded today as always) is to say that "Go!" does not mean you need to go to another country or to your local "downtown" and find homeless wanderers.  Not that you can't do that if you feel led, but we often see big pictures of the "Great Commission" and  miss the people in our own home.  I was so sad when I learned Paul's family's history.  His grandparents came from Puerto Rico as missionaries to the United States.   Yes, you read that right!  They went to New York to share Christ with the Hispanic community.  They had 6 children and only two of their children follow/followed Christ themselves.  Many of them had severe drug and alcohol problems and were very lost as their parents helped lead others to salvation.  Again Paul's mom and dad taught in and preached in a Spanish speaking church while Paul and his brothers were young.  Ironically they chose not to teach the boys Spanish because in this area it was frowned upon at that time.  Out of three children for a time none of them knew the Lord as Savior.  Paul was the first and only one for many years.  His brother has gone through many changes in the last few years and has found his way to the Lord after many long and lonely struggles in life.  His younger brother still won't even come to our children's dedications.  No interest in being at church at all...ever.  I know it breaks his mom's heart.  She also has fantastic stories of leading others to the Lord.  Every time I hear the stories I want to weep.  To miss my children in eternity while reaching out to others I do not want.  My top concern for "teaching them to observe all I've commanded" is my children.  If they know the Lord we can reach others as a family.  When they leave my home there will be 5 more students of the Word to teach others.  If we all teach our own children, think of the impact on the world!  Please know I am not saying we do not need missionaries and outreach and serving others around us.  We are SO about that as well, but not while missing the little ones (and big ones) in our care.

How are you doing today?  Are you a student AND a follower?  Have you celebrated Jesus with your family lately??

Monday, May 23, 2011

Do the Work

   I ran across a saying on a blog recently and it has been very convicting.  In fact, I don't like it much!  It's not deeply spiritual but as a homemaker it's deeply personal.  It very simply said,

"The appearance of your home doesn't lie."

   It wasn't even the main point of the post but it just got me.  It's so true... most of the time.  There are days that  I work very hard but the toddlers are faster with the toys and the muddy feet are quicker than Mom.  It can be very frustrating.  However, I must admit, the days my house looks it's worst are the days (notice the plural) I decide not to play keep up.  Some days I don't like that it falls on me to keep order and peace in all areas.  Some days I simply rebel and don't do the work.  The outcome?  Well, it's true, "the appearance of your home doesn't lie". 

 I struggle with consistency in this area for sure.  Today my husband is home on a mini vacation and I just want to sit chill.  I was leaving my messy kitchen behind as that darn quote popped into my head again.  So instead of sitting, I turned around and cleaned it up.  It looks so much better and now I can go sit... well no, now I can get kiddos ready to go volunteer and figure out what's for dinner and and and and.  But it's done and I feel better leaving for other things with a clean house to come home to. 

How's the appearance of your home today?  

Friday, May 20, 2011

Homemade Waffles

   I think it's been two years since I was given a waffle maker for Christmas.  I had visions of yummy mornings with healthy homemade waffles. I was going to freeze them too so we could quickly pull them out and toast them just like Eggos.  That was my hope but over the last two years I could NOT find a yummy healthy recipe.  I found not so healthy ones that tasted bland and super healthy ones that tasted like cardboard! I refused to cave and just buy Bisquick.  I had all but given up.  I did give up for awhile. Finally a couple weeks ago I pulled out the waffle maker again and decided to take several different recipe ideas and come up with my own.  Results?  FANTASTIC!!  They are crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside and have a rich flavor.  We love them!  So I thought I'd share just in case you to are on the hunt for a yummy waffle recipe.  Keep in mind this feeds our family of 7 (which includes right now a ravenously hungry growing teenage boy and his daddy who is training like crazy for a 100 mile cycling tour) and it gives me a few leftovers to freeze. You may want to cut it in half.

Tami's Whole Wheat Waffles

Dry ingredients:
2 cups  whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached white flour
1 cup wheat germ or bran (I use what I have on hand)
1/2 cup ground flax seed (use a coffee grinder and freeze any leftovers, if not it goes rancid pretty fast)
1/4 baking powder
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- stir together

Wet ingredients:
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 cup melted butter or canola oil
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
-whisk together

Add wet ingredients to the dry and stir just enough to mix- not too much!
Let rest for 5 minutes (this is when I warm up the waffle iron)
Pour 3/4-1 cup of batter onto the waffle iron and cook 3-4 minutes


Thursday, May 19, 2011

2 Timothy 1:5

   I recently joined an online group called Good Morning Girls.  I thought it was really a great idea to have an online accountability group to encourage each other to be in the Word everyday.  You simply shoot out an email saying, "Good morning girls!" and share a bit of what you learned.  I am following a suggested reading list they have of Scripture to go along with a book they are doing for the summer The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson (whom I love!!).  What I'm really liking is I am only studying 1 to 2 verses a day which I've never done.  Usually I do at least a chapter.  They encourage you to use the S.O.A.P way of studying:

S- Scripture.  Read it and write it
O- Observe. Write down 1-2 observations you made while reading
A- Apply.  Write down 1-2 applications for your life
P- Pray.  Pray over what you have learned

I'm really enjoying it and wanted to share with you my "insights" from today's reading in 2 Timothy

2 Timothy 1:5 (New Living Translation)

 5 I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you.

I love this verse in Timothy!  I was not raised in a strong Christian home so I find it encouraging to see the impact I could have on my children.  I also have a husband with a strong but quiet faith and I like that Timothy, as a boy, was encouraged in his faith by women not men (at least not that is mentioned).  My big thing that caught me today was that he had a memorable faith.  It said he remembered his genuine faith.  As a woman I think I worry a lot about how I look when I am with people but I've never really thought about trying to be memorable because of my faith.  What an awesome thought.  That I could meet somebody and they later would say, "Oh yeah.  I remember you!  You had such a genuine faith!  I never forgot meeting you."  

  Today that was my prayer, as I meet people I will be remembered in a good way for my genuine faith whether they agree with the Christian faith or not. I have met a few people in this life that I totally disagree with but can walk away thinking they are very... I don't know the words... very kind, strong, smart and sensitive when it came to sharing their thoughts even though they knew I didn't agree. Maybe I can be one seed that is planted in a persons life that changes their view of Christianity from bad to good.  A person who gets them thinking about the Lord.  Now that is something to strive for!  That's how I want to be remembered!

If you want to check out Good Morning Girls go to http://www.goodmorninggirls.org/
I found a group to join from my state or you can start your own group.  Whatever you do- today get in the Word!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It Works For Us

    I use to be a fantastic money saving shopper when it came to groceries.  I loved saving us money but over the years it started to really stress me to the point of feeling sick to my stomach.  I hated it when Paul would comment on a trip being expensive when I had just worked my tail off to save all the money I could.  We realized he had no idea how much everything cost so he decided to start getting groceries for awhile. I made the list and he did the running.  I was surprised how much I didn't like it at first.  It is giving up some control and if one item was too pricey I could switch a whole meal up if needed and he can't.  However, over time he has become just as quick as I was and often picks things up that I don't list because he knows we probably need them.  It has removed a lot of stress from me.  As prices go up I wonder if I could lower our food budget now if I went (since we spend almost equal our mortgage on food now to feed our family of 7) but I know three things:
1- It WILL totally stress me out and take time out of school or home that I really should be doing
2- Daddy likes to pick up his "special" things and I don't think he'd be too thrilled with my new tight budget!
3- Daddy always chooses a big boy to go with him and they really enjoy their time together

   For now we are trying to find ways to feed us healthy for less.  We joined an organic co-op garden in town and I am learning how to beef up salads with protein or pasta to really stretch those.  I may try my hand at our own garden again.  I've tried a few times while pregnant or with a little little one and I just couldn't keep up.  Maybe this year... or next! We are definitely a little spoiled when it comes to food here in America.  Cutting cost and staying healthy though is quite a challenge.  How do you save money on groceries?  Could your hubby help??

  Daddy getting groceries has really worked for us!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Quick Thought

The best curriculum is the one you USE!!!

   I met a new homeschool mom the other day at the park and she was stressing (as we all did/do) on what to use for her son (3 1/2) when he got older.  I told her my best advice I ever got was the above.  If a curriculum promises to make your child a scholar and has testimonies to prove even the "average" child will excel with it that's great... but, if you don't ever use it because it's so time consuming or boring or what have you, you're better off with something else.  Actually using something even if it's not "advanced" is going to get you much farther than not using the "best" and building guilt as it gathers dust on the shelf.  Next time you're looking at curriculum think about the "fit" with your family.  Be honest with yourself.  Will you really use it?  If not, move on.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Write What You Did!

   I was sharing with a girlfriend of mine my new favorite "lesson planner" for homeschooling is a simple spiral notebook!!  In it I don't write what I am planning on doing but what we did.  I have a pretty good idea of the direction we are heading in lessons so I don't feel I need a lesson book telling me to do the next chapter in our book.  However, I do love the idea of having a record of what we did.  Also it will amaze you when you look back on your day! I often feel like I've accomplished nothing with my day but now I can look at this page in my book and see everything I did and it's a lot!!  I simply write the date and the first initial of each child and whatever I've done with them individually that day.  I will keep track of group activities after we finish our Sonlight Core this summer all the same and I even have pages in the back to write activities we've done and a book list for my 13yo.  Because I can make it what I need instead of fitting us into somebody else's mold I am loving it!!

   If you're a stay-at-home mom, even if you're not schooling, try writing not a to-do list but a what-I-did list!!  You'll be amazed at all you accomplish in a day!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mother's Day Weekend

   Unfortunately for me I spent Mother's Day weekend on my own because as usual my dear husband had to work.  I can't remember how I spent last Mother's Day, but the one before I was two weeks shy of having Addison and spent the afternoon in the Urgent Care Center getting gravel picked out of my knees and hands and getting Elijah stitched up after he crashed into me on his bicycle and we landed in a gravel driveway.  Two things to learn from that... don't ever walk in front of a 5yo on a bike and even a huge spill in the dirt won't bring on labor at 38 weeks if baby isn't ready!!  Fortunately for me this past weekend was a little less eventful and brought our first nice spring weather. We tried out  a cool park that has a skate park on one side and a playground on the other!  Here are a few (okay, a lot) of cute pics of my kids on a beautiful day...

It was a pretty nice skate park!

Caleb trying to break his neck his new tricks on the Rip-Stick.

Super fun playground!

Don't let the coats fool ya. We tore them off quite quickly and I came home with a sunburned chest!!  (So NOT complaining about that one!)

It was a great weekend, even if it was without Daddy.

Hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

65 Day Challenge Goals

   For the 65 Day Challenge I decided to...

I know I may miss some days but I also know  I'll cycle some days so it should even out.  Again I'm going for consistency.  Some walks may be slow and quiet and some fast and moving but either way getting out is the goal.

In Leslie's book she talks about the trouble with "grazers" and some people do better with a "traditional" approach- 3 good balanced meals a day.  I know many may not like that but the thought immediately struck a chord with me. Be intentional with my meals (no skipping), make a balanced healthy meal (not just grabbing bites as I sail through the kitchen), sit down (not walk around or teach or watch TV) and eat it.  If I want a dessert with a meal it's fine but I can't be munching on things throughout the day or in front of the TV at night because it's not meal time!  I was a little nervous the first day but was pleasantly surprised to see I wasn't starving in between.  It really is mindless munching for me or lack of planning which means I'm starving and that will always lead me to ice cream over salad!  Confession: right now the evenings without snacks are hard.

I am slowing down with my meals.  Honestly, on Sundays, I usually eat my breakfast in the car on the way to church IF I eat at all!  I NEVER make time for me to eat.  Now I am making sure I have 15 minutes to SIT and eat. Not 15 minutes to make it AND eat it.  15 minutes to eat.  Also, taking time often while I eat to ask myself if I'm even still hungry. I am putting my fork down in between bites and not allowing another bite until my mouth is empty.  Sounds so simple but I really do have a habit of shoving it in quickly to move on to more important things. See, I yell at my teenage son about this all the time but it appears he learned from watching his mother take care of everyone else and then wolf down her food on the fly!

  These are my main 3 goals for the challenge.  I picked up lots of other little ideas I'd like to put into place from Candace and Leslie's books but these 3 are my focus for the 65 Days.  I'm excited to see how it goes.  I am not being terribly rigid. I'm allowing myself to sometimes eat for celebration because... I'm human.  For instance my baby will be two this month and I will have a piece of birthday cake with her if I want, even if it's not at a meal time! BUT, I will not eat it just because everyone else is.  I will also allow myself to enjoy dinners or coffee out with my husband or girlfriends (which happens maybe once or twice a month) but again watching when I'm full and bringing home leftovers.

  My real goal is to put some simple habits in place so over time I can be "healthy by habit" in how I move and eat and not have to spend any time thinking on how to be healthy or "getting back on track".  I want my children to catch these habits and not have to struggle with weight or health all their life like so many in our family have.

 And honestly, I'd rather save the little brain I have left for fun things and following my Lord... not my calories!

Did you pick some goals for the challenge??

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Eat Smart, Walk Strong

   As I was trying to decide what goals I wanted to work on for the Reshaping It All 65 Day Challenge, the one thing I do know about myself is too many goals overwhelm me AND I cheat...on my own plans/goals... A LOT!!  If there is a loophole in a plan, I will find it and take full advantage!

   That being said I didn't want to jump into my goals for the 65 Day Challenge and fail by day 3!!  So I've been really thinking and praying.  I decided I needed some good motivation and new habits. For instance, did you know that walking everyday for 30 mins or approximately two miles can lower your risk of premature death from all causes by 55%!!  No kidding!!  How do I know?  I turned to my favorite exercise lady Leslie Sansone.  I talked about her wonderful exercise DVD's here.  At the library I found one of her books Leslie Sansone's Eat Smart, Walk Strong.  It focuses more on your eating than exercise (I'm pretty sure she has one out on walking as well) and I really enjoyed it.  It's written as a 6 week challenge but I just read through it and gleaned some great tips.

   It's not an "eat this" kind of book.  It's simply full of tips to create good new habits and replace bad old ones.  I'm not horribly out of shape but I know I have really bad eating habits and I'm not a consistent exerciser. I DO exercise probably more often than some but not like I should. Snacking and sugar are my worst food habits and they pretty much go hand in hand!  Also I often eat mindlessly.  I scarf down food when I have a minute and then head off to my next thing or I forget to eat and then I'm starving by evening.  In the beginning of her book she has a little quiz that helps you see some of your problem areas (most of us already know them!) and then each week has a different focus and MANY great ideas and tips.  She tells you to use what sounds like it will work for you and dump what you know won't.  Hopefully by the end you'll have several great new habits started. It also has some great recipes in the back!

 If you need some simple ideas to get you on track this is the book for you.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Healthy Challenge

   I reviewed Candace Cameron Bure's book Reshaping it All back in January and was excited to see they started a blog and an online challenge...

    It just started last week so you're not late if you want to join.  Again it is a great book for young and old. I like the idea of an online challenge, not that I know any of these people, but something about knowing others are working on the same goal is fun.  What I really like is it is NOT a program to follow.  It's more about your mind set.  The first weeks challenge was simply to decide YOUR challenge.  Do you like Weight Watchers but never had the motivation to join?  Now's the time.  Do you really need to start doing some cardio???  Get in on the challenge.  Look at the dates, May 1-July4.  It's never too late to join and what a great end date!  A day to celebrate your challenge complete and our independence from bad habits!  They'll probably even shoot off fireworks for you that night!!  Course they may say it's for America's celebration of independence but we'll claim it for ourselves!  Hee hee!

   My goals... I don't have them complete yet but I do know a few.  I'll share them with you soon along with another great book review!  For now head on over to reshaping it all and join the challenge!

Friday, May 6, 2011

My "Mommy Hour"

   Running with an idea here, we'll see how it goes.  I know I often have lofty plans that do not get accomplished... at all!  I am guilty for loving to plan but not following through.  It's true, you feel very empowered planning!  It's the doing that is hard!

   I have had a small list of things I really wanted to accomplish for myself during the day but it just didn't seem like there was any time.  I really wanted a few minutes to close my eyes in the afternoon and enjoy silence.  I wanted to fit in more consistent times to workout.  I really wanted to start doing the Flylady's Daily Mission and I wanted to force myself to sit down and sit still and just relax for even a few minutes everyday.

   I've been tossing ideas around for awhile and then reading one mom's trick to energy being a 15 minute power nap just pushed me over the edge with the idea.  It really is amazing how much you can accomplish if EVERYday you spend 15 minutes on a task.  Thinking on 15 minutes and the small list of things I just couldn't seem to fit in I realized if I did each of those things for 15 minutes it would only take me an hour!  An hour to mark off four things that I really wanted to fit in.  I can easily blow off an hour on the computer or talking on the phone so why not put it to work with things I enjoy and feel good about getting done!

   This coming week I am starting my "Mommy Hour".

15 minute power nap
15 minute Flylady Mission
15 minutes of exercise 
(I'll do some push-ups/sit-ups or I have some dvd's that have short little pilates or stretching etc.)
15 minutes relax with some tea ;0)

    Something about accomplishing these things makes me feel put together .  I feel more on top of things and like I have taken some time to take care of myself.  I am taking it easy on myself and not assuming this will get done everyday.  I want to do it every week day, but starting new habits takes some time.  Also there are days that we have things going on during the time I would normally do this hour so I'm going to have to work around that.  Maybe just make it a goal to do this 3 or 4 days a week instead of all 5 week days or even fit in each one separately where I can on those busy days.  I don't know if it will work or how long it will last but it sounds like a good plan don't you think?!  I can picture my toned ab's, clean house and smiling face drinking green tea right now! Ha!!

What could you accomplish with 15 minutes everyday?

Thursday, May 5, 2011


   I don't know why but this popped into my head and I had to share it with you all.  It happened probably 5 or 6 years ago.  I was at my girlfriend Deb's house and at that time I had 3 boys and she had 4 probably ages 8 and under.  Our boys get along very well and it was a lovely spring day, warm enough to send the kids outside but cool enough for us to stay in with the littles.  We were at her kitchen table having coffee and we could hear the boys but they were just out of sight.  As we were sitting blissfully chatting we started seeing things flying through the air.  We realized right away that they were launching things off their teeter-toter.  At first we saw little things like gloves and sand box toys go flying.  They were of course putting objects on one end and then jumping on the other to send it flying.  We laughed how that was total boy and kept on talking.  After awhile the things got bigger and bigger. After about 15 minutes we saw a little chair like this one go flying through air...

     It sailed through the air maybe two times and we were both just saying out loud that we should tell them to cut it out before the chair breaks when we both had the same thought.... at the same time.... our eyes got huge and we both leaped from the table and sprinted for the door.  Sure enough there sat one innocent little brother sitting in the red chair smiling and trusting while two big boys were getting ready to leap!

   I'm pretty sure it was Alex's life we saved that day.  It still cracks me up when I think about it.  Only mom's with so many boys would have the opportunity to save a child from an event like that!  Oh they keep me alive and happy... on the brink of insanity, but so happy!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Spring Cycling

   This weekend I was able to get out for my third ride of spring!  I love to cycle and got a new road bike similar to this last summer-

Paul and I did a 40 mile ride for our anniversary last year and we couldn't think of  a single thing we'd rather do!  I am not as addicted as he is, but I do love it.  This was something I chose to get interested in, to find a way into "his world".  I wasn't sure I'd like it and I didn't like the initial price tag but it was the best time and money I/we've ever spent.  It gives us something to do that doesn't cost any money (after our initial purchase obviously), we can ride and blow of steam and race or just go slow and chat and hang out.  We both love meeting up with people to ride with a group and have met many new friends. Last summer we went on Wednesday's with people from Paul's work and Saturday with a group from a local church.  We usually did 20 miles +. Because it's been so cold and wet we haven't gotten out much but as the weather slowly turns we are itching to go.  Sometimes we pull Addison and leave the others home, often in the summer we hit trails all together.  We do have to take turns sometimes to get out but if we're really lucky we get a babysitter and go alone!  This past Saturday was a lucky day!!  Nana came to hang out with the kiddos! I had to share some pics of our lovely BROWN ride!  Everything is just brown and muddy after all the rains but it didn't rain on us and it was above 40 degrees so I'll take it!

Here's most of the group we rode with.

LOTS of water!!

Spring is trying to come!!!  You can catch a few spots of green if you slow down and really search!

But it's still beautiful all the same.  Every time I am riding my bike I find myself suddenly praising God.  Praising Him for my health, that I CAN ride, for the beautiful places we have to ride and for all His wonderful creation that surrounds me.  I've always wanted to be a "prayer walker" or a dedicated runner but it just never fit me.  This is my "fit".  I am a... praise rider!  Truly every blessing He pours out on these rides I turn back to praise.  I return feeling better physically, emotionally and spiritually.  You can't get much better than that!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Royal Wedding

    Did you watch it???  You HAD to watch it!!  As I rolled to one side of my bed at 6am on Friday this is what I saw...

Complete in a "princess" nightgown of course!  When I turned the other direction and looked down I saw this...

Hannah was excited to see a princess, Elijah just wanted to get up at the crack of dawn!  Mommy was totally caught up in the whole thing and loving every moment... even at 4am. I woke the kids (who slept in our room) around 6am and they watched until the music and prayers of the wedding started.  Apparently hymns and prayers at 6am  is the perfect lullaby for 5 & 7year olds! 

I thought the dress was beautiful and the ceremony a dream.  I remember walking down my street as a little girl pretending to be Princess Di and waving to passing cars after that royal wedding, so I guess it was a given I'd be hooked on this one as well.  I did find the strength NOT to walk down the street waving this time... but I was tempted!! LOL!

By the way, my favorite part... when she walked out on the balcony and saw the crowd and said, "Oh wow!" and that last look back as she turned to go into the palace drinking in all she was seeing... yes I am a sucker for fairy tales!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Spring Storms

   Oh those terrible pictures and stories from Alabama and Missouri, so much of the south...  our prayers are with you all.  Being farther north we have really escaped many of the storms.  We did have a tornado about an hour south of us but thankfully with very little damage.  One thing we did get treated to was this beautiful rainbow-

They are never as pretty in pictures as when you are there!

In the midst of so much tragedy, a reminder of His many promises.
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