Friday, July 29, 2011



 I at times am amazed at how much food we go through now.  I think I mentioned earlier we now spend about equal on our mortgage as we do our food!!  It may continue to go up for awhile but just for the memories here's a few of the things we are going through every month or 2 week shopping period...

6-7 gallons of milk every two weeks (my kids aren't big milk drinkers or this would be WAY more!)
10 dozen eggs a month- easily
5-8 pounds of cheese a month (pizzas, sandwiches, nachos etc.)
6 pounds of fresh broccoli a month
8 pounds of plain yogurt a month
2 bags of apples, 1 bag of oranges, 2 bunches of bananas, 8 pounds of grapes and 4 pounds of strawberries for this 2 week period
12 loaves of bread and 4-6 24 count whole wheat flat buns a month for sandwiches and burgers etc.
96 oz of "Jacks Fresh Salsa" every two weeks
plenty of Cayenne pepper and Tabasco sauce

Those are some of our main "staples" we always get. Costco is our friend :0) Surprisingly we don't go through a ton of meat because I stretch and limit it as much as possible.  I buy a 20-40 pound bucket of wheat berries and we have a grain mill for those.  That makes me healthy whole wheat flour fresh and much cheaper than buying it at the store.  I make a lot of muffins, breads, desserts and such from scratch.  I don't hardly ever use coupons because we don't really buy anything you can use coupons for!!  I don't buy things like fruit snacks or spaghetti O's anymore because we go through it so fast. An 8 pack of fruit snacks only gives ALL the kids one serving and then enough for 3 to sneak them when no one else is looking!  Spaghetti O's... oy, easily 3-5 cans if that was all I served.  I can make tastier and healthier mac n' cheese from scratch that's just as easy as making 3-4 boxes of the junky kind.  I am not overboard strict with health but I am very aware and try to make the healthiest choices we can on our budget.  I would say we eat 80% whole foods and then the other 20% mixes in the chips or sweet drinks that we allow in.  Some of that 80% includes desserts but they are almost always from scratch and use whole wheat flour.  I think the only store bought  cookie bought all of last year was a splurge on Oreos maybe twice. We do still have "Pop-Tart Saturday" but we buy the organic (yet highly sugared) kind to make mom feel better! I'd love to save money but I think we are at a point that it's just sheer volume.  The only other option would be to bring in a lot of processed stuff which is sometimes cheaper but in the long run for our health... not so much!  This year we are also part of an organic farm co-op which is filling us with lots of extra veggies including things we've never heard of or tried!  In general I love to cook so it's all good!

How about you?  How are you making healthy choices and cutting costs?

Thursday, July 28, 2011


  Carter is 13 now and REALLY wants to play tackle football "like Dad use to".  He just finished a short camp in this horrible heat and is super excited for fall ball.  I think he's a little nervous living up to all the stories about his Dad.  Paul was a great player in high school and was actually recruited by many colleges.  Because he's crazy smart too, he chose to take a full ride academic scholarship instead but it never fails when the family runs into old high school friends the first thing they do is mention to the boys how big and strong their Dad was.  Last week I found Carter outside every morning practicing drills and lifting weights.  It made me smile because the only thing this family loves more than cycling is football! Unfortunately Carter's schedule will be preventing the younger boys from playing flag football this year but Paul and I talked and we are still determined to do our best not to become one of those families that run in a million separate directions.  Let me tell you, that's getting harder and harder every year.

One of the cutest things last week was watching Carter and Paul talk about different drills, positions and moves.  I was happy to see Carter being very open to suggestions and not being a teenage know-it-all.  Here's Paul talking to him about getting low in his stance.  Notice the pink ruffly dress down in the mix...that's my girl!!

Hard to think about sweaters, hot chocolate and football when it's 100+ degrees out but it will be here before we know it!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

100 Miles Baby!

    I already did a post saying my husband rocks... so what do I say now???  On a Saturday in July, the first day of our beginning heat wave he completed his first ever century!!  What's a century?  A century is like a cyclists marathon, 100 miles of riding.  So after months of training and worrying he headed out early in the morning and joined over 1000 other people in the heat to conquer anywhere from 28-100 miles.  We did 50 miles the weekend before for our anniversary.  I was worn out and he was jumping around like a weirdo ready for more.  I had no doubt he'd finish but he was still very nervous.

  It's been a long couple months of training many hours and leaving me back at home alone :0( We wanted to do it together but quickly realized we would need way too much time away.  Maybe in a few years when everyone is a bit older but this year was not the one.  Most days of the week he'd head out for 1-5 hours and go ride ride ride.

   Well, on July 16 riding an average of 17mph, he spent 6 hours and 14 minutes "in the saddle" and beat his own goal of a 15mph average and finishing around 7 hours.  We wanted to be there to see him finish and drove out but the friends he was riding with had a tire blow and we would have had to wait another hour in the heat with a two year old ready for a nap...enough said.  BUT, we couldn't leave and not let him know how proud we were!  We had to go to plan B.  Plan A was to hold up signs and the girls brought their pom poms to wave and we were all going to say "Yeah!!" but this worked pretty good too...

   He said as soon as they turned in he could see his car and it made him smile. Strangers cheered for him when he went to load his bike and one even insisted on taking his picture so he could show us when he got home.

  He even got all teary eyed on me and thanked me a million times :0)  How can you not celebrate setting a huge goal and then not only meeting it but exceeding it??

I know I've said it before but... my husband is AWESOME!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


   This post is just for us to remember.  Addison has been blessed with a ton of curls.  We're not sure where they came from (maybe a great Aunt) but nevertheless they are beautiful.  I've had people tell me their girls had curls like that and they lost them as they grew.  I hope not!  Just in case here are a few pics...

This is last year August (2010) 15 months.

This is this week.  Oh they are so pretty.  Hannah calls her "Curly Kate" (Kate is her middle name and we use it often with her).  When I wash her hair it is SO long but soon as it dries it springs up! I love it!!  I just have to figure out how to do it.  I don't know what to do with frizz and tangles.  I'm learning.  Tips??

Here's hoping they stay!  We love you Curly Kate :0)

Monday, July 25, 2011

My Husband is Awesome!!!

   So I have to share how awesome my husband is!  My husband, who really didn't grow up learning how to fix and repair things, is getting more and more open to trying.  Sometimes he fails, most of the time it's harder than it looked but mixed in there are the times when he just flies through like he's been doing it all of his life!

   This past weekend was one of those.  On Saturday I went to throw dinner into the oven and realized it was taking a really long time for the oven to preheat.  I go to check it and find out it's not heating AT ALL.  The broiler works, the stove top works but no oven.  I had a small hissy fit and then used the neighbors oven to finish dinner.  After Paul woke up I told him I thought it was probably the ignitor...again.  See we've had to replace an ignitor on two different stoves a total of 3 times now in the past 11 years of living here!  It's not cheap.  The part alone is a good $70-$80 so you're looking at easy $200 + to fix it.  ERRRGGGH!

   Of course it was a Saturday so I wrote to call the local repair shop on the calendar for Monday.  Sunday night we were discussing the cost and annoyance of the whole thing when I remembered last time we had something repaired the stove had been under warranty.  They brought several parts out but fixed only one.  The nice man told us to keep the parts for the future and we tucked them away.  Paul decided to just check what was in there and sure enough one of the parts WAS and ignitor!  He decided to give it a try and started tearing apart the oven.  No kidding, the part was in and working and oven reassembled in under an hour!!  For free!!  Wooooo hooooo!  I was so excited and proud of him!  So  proud I had to write this post :0)

My husband is AWESOME!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Potty Training

   So I'm starting this on Monday and will add to it throughout the week and post it Friday.  I have been assured by my two friends Deb and Lisa that this will work.... we'll see.  We are potty training Addison (26 months this weekend) or at least we're giving it a try.

 I've been told to let this cute child run around naked and give her an abundance of juice to drink.  I've been told that she will potty on the floor a few times and figure it out and get to the potty.  I've been told to roll up the carpets and give it a few days, three usually at the most and we'll be golden.... so I've been told!

  Right now it is Monday 12 noon.  I've now cleaned up 3 accidents off the floor and rewarded one attempt on the potty that resulted in a teaspoon of potty.  She has gone potty a few times in the past just by luck and I've put her in regular unders a few times but she wets and gets upset so I'd put her in a pull-up or diaper after one or two times.  Deb (mom of 7 going on 8) assures me wearing unders is not helpful.  I think it's how I've always done it before but it's been a good 3 1/2 years with Hannah.  I was hoping Addison would be like Caleb who potty trained himself before age two but no such luck.  So I'm going to check in here and maybe by the time I post on Friday I'll have success.  If not we're packing it up and we'll try it again later.  I am NOT going to make it a battle, that much I know.

   8:00 pm Monday.  1 wonderful success.  As of now I'm at 7 on the floor.  Losing my positive attitude!  I was assured one day, three at the most.  Well, it's the end of 1 day and it's not looking so positive.  Hoping (praying, begging) for a better day tomorrow.  Still makes me laugh how exciting and irritating potty can be!

  Checking in Tuesday morning 11am and we are two for two ON the potty!  Woo hoo!  We have been telling her to sit every once in awhile instead of leaving it up to her.  I got up early to get the house back in order and get all my cleaning supplies ready... maybe I won't need them!  That might be a little TOO wishful thinking but we'll see.

  Wednesday morning here.  Everyone is still sleeping but wanted to quick pop in our stats from yesterday :0) We made it 6 out of 9 on the potty!  Several on her own.  Hoping today is even better.... I'd like to put some clothes on the kid here soon but I'm told wait until she has it down before adding unders.

  Wednesday, late afternoon and checking in.  Had company over and kept up with lots of juice.  More successes than I can count without me telling her to go!  Woo hoo!  We had 1 1/2 accidents.  1 potty accident after I put her in clothes for the first time so those came off quickly and then one little poopy on the potty... that was the 1/2... you can guess where the rest was.  It was found a bit later.  EWWWWW!!  One thing unders do is keep that in place!  Elllllckkk!  But all in all I'd say we're doing awesome.  I'm hoping to start putting some clothes on her soon but she's kind of liking this naked baby thing!  This evening we're going to my brothers so she'll be in a pull-up in the car and a swim diaper when we swim.  It will be interesting to see if she keeps those dry or just falls back to "the good ol' days"!

  Thursday evening and a pretty decent day.  3 accidents.  Two when we tried again to put unders on so we're sticking with naked under dresses!  And we're not getting the poppy thing unfortunately.  Tonight she says her bottom hurts and she's very fussy.  I think she needs to go but can't relax and make it happen ;0)  Poor baby.  Baseball was cancelled because of the heat so it's perfect, two more days to try at home without having to go anywhere.  Not sure if once the pull-up goes on at church she'll go backwards or not.

  So all in all Deb and Lisa were not lying! Good thing, now I can still be their friends! Just kidding!! Addison did get the hang of it pretty quickly.  Not perfect but she is going when she needs to not because I tell her to so for that I am happy.  Paul was trying to cheer me up the first day of 7 accidents and reminded me she's been doing it the other way all her life, we have to give her a bit of time.  I'll be reminding him of that by next week I'm sure! Ha!  Now Mommy could use a vacation far far from potty chairs and cleaning supplies!!  Instead I will go sit and read Hey Diddle Diddle for the millionth time and hug my baby who is growing up way to fast!

By the way....

how cute is she??!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


   My lucky boy Caleb won his whole family tickets to the local minor league baseball team in town at a Memorial Day raffle!  We were so excited and he was SO proud to provide for the whole family!  We had FANTASTIC seats, the best I've ever had at ANY game!  They all did very well even 2yo Addison.  So well in fact we got compliments from the people behind us on our "beautiful family" and "such well behaved children"!  We fooled em' again! Ha!  No, seriously, they did fantastic.  Our team won.  Addison made it on the big screen because she can't NOT dance when music comes on ;0)  To top it off we signed up with our local Christian radio station to win prizes and got to spin a Wheel of Fortune type wheel.  We let Caleb since it was his night and he got us the highest score you could get!  Woo hoo!  I think we get a free CD or something fun like that.  All in all a great night and with a few granola bars stashed in the diaper bag we got out without buying any $3 pops or $6 ice creams!  Geesh!  Expensive!!  Especially times seven!  Here's a few pics...

5 rows back!!  Awesome!

Thanks Caleb!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Quick Note

   I've been told by a couple people now that their comments are not coming through.  I have no idea why and really don't know what to do about it.  Thank you for letting me know and I guess just try again another day.  I'm glad when you take the time to comment, it's nice to know someone is out there :0)
 Sorry for the inconvenience. 

Ice Cream

Is there anything better on a summer day after playing all day at the beach??

This could be a wordless post!  Notice the pink cheeks and tired eyes. I think this may have been her first big girl ice cream where she didn't share with Mama. She stayed awake just long enough to lick all the ice cream out of the cone with her fingers.  She didn't believe us when we told her she could eat the cone!  So cute!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Boys Rock!!

   My two oldest boys are typical guys and now have a new obsession with... bacon!  Yes, don't all guys like bacon??  Kind of like that commercial for dog treats, "Bacon... bacon..bacon.bacon BACON!  Weirdos!  Anyways, they feel very grown up and cool standing in the kitchen cooking bacon and coming up with new things to put it on, so cute.  As they were cooking the other day they came up with a great idea, bacon burgers!  To them this was new!  I guess we've never made or ordered a bacon cheeseburger for them!  They asked if they could make them and like the wise mama I am I told them to wait till Daddy was home in a few days.  You see I knew Daddy would want a bacon burger.  I also knew it would be a great time to load on the praise of a job well done AND I wouldn't have to cook!  Woo hoo!

  So off they went the other day making us all bacon cheese turkey burgers.  Caleb grilled the turkey burgers outside while Carter fried up the bacon.  They then assembled them all themselves with loads of toppings including some yummy ranch dressing for those who would like it.  They were so cute talking to each other and working out who did what.  I came in and asked what we were having with it and they both looked at each other and shrugged.  Then they decided chips would be good and so in a complete role reversal Carter gave Paul money and sent HIM to the corner store for chips!!!  It was hilarious!  They sat down grinning and gave each other a high five for a job well done. We all gave them a vote of 9 1/2-10 for a great meal and a definite "do again"!

Working as a team!  They had a great system.

The finished product.  Yum!!

A delicious dinner I didn't have to cook... let me just say, my boys rock!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Family Bible Reading

  I am so excited to share this with you.  It may be helpful, maybe not but I am positively giddy tonight!  I was trying to find a Bible reading plan for our family but I was really struggling.  Some seemed too much or too little for my older boys to do and then what do we do as a family??  I'm not big on just opening the Bible.  Sometimes maybe but not all the time.  So tonight I was searching around and somehow (God is so good... even on the Internet!) I stumbled upon this reading plan!!

Here's what it says,
The following Bible reading schedule was compiled by Robert Murray McCheyne in 1842. Using this Bible reading schedule you will read four portions of Scripture each day (two in the morning with "family" or individually and two in the evening in "secret" or privately), and read through the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice in a year.

  Exactly what I was looking for!!  Now we have something to read together at our morning Table Time and something to read on our own either during school time, Mom's quiet time or if all else fails, before bed!  I like that we are on the same schedule and it's not overwhelming.  If I gave them all of it to do on their own or we tried to read it all as a family it would be too much.  We're trying to establish a habit of getting into the Word individually and as a family, not crushing them but encouraging them.

  Anyways!  Don't know if it would help you or not but I am super excited!!  We'll start tomorrow morning and see how it goes!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Encouraging Husbands

  My poor hubby has really been having some rough days at work.  It's totally stressing him out.  I feel so bad for him because there's not much he can do to change it.  I really felt a strong desire to encourage him and lighten his day but was at a loss.  Enter Hannah and Elijah! They decorated our basement and I made up some deeelicious vanilla scones and iced coffee (lemonade for the kiddos).  When Paul called about an hour or two before coming home I warned him he had a party waiting for him.  I figured if he was in a really bad mood he might need to know what he was coming home to!  It immediately lightened his tone and when he walked downstairs he had a huge grin on his face.  We enjoyed our treat and he relaxed and said he just loved coming home to that.  He even shared with buddies at work the next day how awesome his family was :0)

It was such an easy thing to do and the kids felt like they had a part in helping daddy.  I'm realizing that when I share with the kids that Daddy has had a rough day they are very purposeful when he comes home to be gentle and encouraging.  What an awesome way to thank my man for providing for our family!

  What can you do to help relieve some stress at the end of a long day for your husband?  Sometimes the simplest things make a big impact and at the same time show our children how to be the hands and feet of Christ to the ones we love most.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Removing Temptation

   I LOVE tomato staking.  I will warn my kids  and tell them they are about to become "Bob" and they totally know what I'm saying (Bob the tomato... from Veggie Tales).  So let me put the link out right away here and then I'll tell you a bit of what it means at our house.  Raising Godly Tomatoes

  Again, as with all things, I don't agree with EVERYTHING this site/book/mom says.  However... I agree with most of it!!  The idea came to them from their friends if I remember right.  You know those round tomato cages used to stake tomato plants?

  Well, if you put those around/over your tomato plants when they are young it's easy and helps them to grow straight and strong and tall.  If you wait until they're tipping over you damage the plant. Putting the cage on then, pulls off fruit and often it's too late and the plant doesn't make it.  So they told them, if you train your child and guide them, keep them close, they grow straight and strong and tall.  If you wait until they are out of control and try to guide them, it's very difficult and sometimes too late.

   What it means to "tomato stake" your children is basically to keep them close.  I mean RIGHT by you.  So if one of my children are having a bad day and seem to be making constant bad choices they are tomato staked.  I'm basically saying to them, you cannot handle life on your own today, let me help you.  It's not mean or harsh.  They simply are with mom and can't be out of my site.  They help me with whatever I'm doing and we talk and just hang out.  If we're at friends house they sit at my feet and have to just chill and be bored.  I am helping them make right choices by being with them.  I am taking away temptation really. Sometimes I'll do it for 10-15 minutes.  Sometimes I'll do it for a day or more!  My darling Elijah was/is a tomato often.  He really has a hard time with self-control but he's getting better.  In fact a few weeks ago he was standing in the hall and getting ready to do something he shouldn't.  I saw him actually stop himself from moving forward and then his eyes got huge and he looked at me with a gigantic smile and said, "MOM!!!  I had self-control!!!!  I was going to yell and push and I STOPPED!!!"  He was so proud and so was I.  It was so cute he recognized it in himself.  We all did a celebration dance and still talk about it.  He's learning!

  I read about a mom who knitted a little rope with handles and when she has a "tomato" she wraps it around her wrist and the child's.  It's soft and keeps them close.  I can say as a mom with many children who are always around me the hardest thing is to not forget they are suppose to be with me!  I can see where the little rope comes in handy!  I don't do a rope, I just keep them engaged and by me.  It's a discipline but also a time to rebuild a connection.  The best way to get obedience from your children is to have their heart.  To truly enjoy them and love them.  Keeping them close helps re-establish that connection as does spending time WITH your kids, not just by them.

   Next time you have a child that seems like you can't take your eyes off... don't.  Help them make good choices.  "Stake" them.  Keep them close. Remove temptation. Talk about your expectations, their struggles and also just about life and what's new with them lately.  Ask them how you can pray for them.  Pray with them. Build a connection, make clear your expectations and set them free to try again.

  For us tomato staking is gentle, loving guidance.  It's saying that you understand making good choices is hard sometimes and you're on their team!  Your goal is to help them in life not make it harder.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Training Children

   I get asked sometimes what we do to teach our kids to be obedient and listen "so well".  First off let me say my kids are NOT perfect!!  They do not ALWAYS listen.  BUT they do listen 98% of the time without me needing to holler or yell.  It is NOT because they were born that way!  I've had people tell me I was lucky to have children like that.  I usually bite my tongue and say, "It was luck huh?" and leave it at that.

   To be honest it wasn't luck, it was work.  We work and learn to obey mom and dad.  How??  We have "training time" or "Yes Mom" time!  It's silly and fun and it works!  I've done this since my oldest two were 5 and 3.  We do it more when we have a toddler in the house.  Addison just turned two and her opinions are starting to get loud and demanding so training time will be happening often here.  Something about a 1 year old crying for something and then smiling when they get it is cute... not so much a two year old.  Especially when it's no longer frustration but demanding and rude!

  So what is "training time"?  Well, ours involves about 5 minutes a day and these....

   Yup, m&m's!  Gotta love em!  So this is how it goes.  We sit in our front room and we do one of two things.  Either I'll give them simple instructions, "Addison, put your hands on your head." and if she does and says, "Yes Mom!" when she does, she gets a m&m.  How does she know what to do??  Well, for her she has silly siblings who always want to play "Yes Mom" to get some free candy!  But, when I didn't have older ones to show them how I would just help them.  I would say, "Put your hands on your head" and do it to myself and smile and say, "Yes Mom" or help them put them on their head and tell them to say it.  Soon as they do I'll give them an m&m.  They catch on quickly and think you're being very silly.  The other thing we'll do is I'll tell them to, "Go away" and I'll shoo them off.  They run down the hall to the bedrooms and I'll call them by name in a very light sing songy way.  When they here their name they need to say, "Coming Mom" and come right away.  Again, they get an m&m.  Once we have coming mom down really good at home I actually plan times to go out and practice in public.  Nope, not kidding.  I pack a small bag of m&m's and head to a park or the mall with no intention other than practicing coming when they are called.  Now they don't know that's why we are going!  They think we're just going to play but mommy has other plans!  My girlfriend and I use to go out together to do this.  The kids think it's pretty funny when they see their friends getting called too.

  Why do I do this and why does it work??  Well, I do it because it works and I learned about it from a book years ago that took to heart
Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it

   You see training a child is very different than disciplining afterward.  It's kinder!  I'm telling them what I expect of them before a time of conflict.  I'm doing it in a fun and loving way that doesn't seem controlling or mean.  Then when they argue or become defiant I can ask them what they are suppose to do or say when Mom tells them to do something.  I don't get a blank stare, they know they are to do what mom says and say, "Yes Mom".  They also know when I call them I expect them to say, "Coming Mom" and come!  The funny thing is that they are so use to doing it when we play, that it's a habit when they're not.  If there are a million kids at the park I really can yell, "Carter, Caleb, Elijah, Hannah" and they will all actually stop, look and say, "coming Mom" and come.  I've had girlfriends see it and look at me and tell me they don't like me :0)  The funny thing is, if I say it in an angry or flustered voice they don't always "hear" or respond.  If I say it just like when we play they come without thinking.

   We have established a habit of joyful obedience.  It does take time and some creative thinking but it makes for joyful kids and joyful parents.  Really if you think about it, your anger and frustration with your children comes with your repeating.  "Joe, don't do that.  Joe, I told you don't do that. JOE!!  Cut it out!  JOSEPH don't make me come over there!"  See the anger rising??  What if you said, "Joe, don't do that." and Joe says, "yes Mom" and stops!!!  Then you take the time then and several more times during the day to smother them with hugs and kisses and tell them how awesome they are to listen to mommy!  You tell them, "YOU ARE a delight to my soul!!!"
Proverbs 29:17
Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul.

   Until then, think of some expectations you have for your kids.  How can you practice them in times of "non conflict"?  Want them to sit quiet at church?  Practice everyday sitting for 2 minutes, then 5 then 15 and so on.  Make it fun.  Want them to stop dead in their tracks when they are running?  Practice it.  Find a word you use only when you truly want them to stop like "freeze" and play.  It helps if Dad will help.  Paul will often go with our toddlers down the hall and when I call he will take their hand and run to me calling yes mom.  I will do the same as he practices with them if the kids aren't around or don't want to play. 

  When you think about it, it's how God teaches us.  He gives us His Word to learn what He expects, what He wants and what we are to do.  He tells us to love our neighbor, obey Him etc.  He doesn't just send us out and then smack us when we mess up!  Sometimes I think kids look stunned after discipline.  Sometimes they really don't know why we're angry with them or didn't know what they were doing was wrong.  How much better to say what you expect FIRST!  I think I would say my #1 parenting tip is to lay out your expectations and find ways to practice them joyfully.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Survivor Parenting!

   So I shared with you my theory on parenting like Survivor right?  Outwit, outplay, outlast and always win... or make it look like you did!

    How do I do these things??  Well, my favorite example was when Caleb was 2 at a friends house and he wouldn't say thank you.  I told him he couldn't get out of the highchair until he said thank you.  He refused.  So I just brought the high chair outside and he sat while all the other kids played- outplayed.  He thought he was winning and playing mom because obviously we have to go home sometime right?  Ah, yes but I outwit him.  When it was time to go it was bedtime.  I told him again to tell Miss Mandy thank you but he refused.  So I told him he couldn't have his pacifier until he said thank you! Whoa!  Don't mess with a two year old's "nunny".  In the car he asked several times and I kept reminding him he needed to say thank you.  Nope.  So now, outlast.  I put him to bed and he continued to play the game and never even cried.  He did ask for it again several times before he fell asleep. Finally at 2am he woke calling for his "nunny".  I brought it in and showed it to him in my hand and told him he can have it when he says thank you.  He did a big huff, looked at me and said, "thank you!" took his pacifier, popped it in his mouth and went to sleep.  I won!!  Did I really?  Nope, he never said thank you to Mandy, BUT I made it look like I won!  Mommy was in control not the two year old!!

   I prefer to work on obeying mom and dad by practicing in times of  "non-conflict" BUT when the challenge is presented... game on!  My older boys will laugh now because if they start something I'll look at them and say, "You wanna play with me???" with a grin on my face.  They know I am TOTALLY up for the challenge and I WILL find a way to win.

  Sometimes I've gotten caught off guard by my oldest two as they grow.  If that happens I talk with Paul and we start thinking of how we want to handle it.  Sometimes it really can be simply outlasting a challenge but at other times we have to find was to outwit or outplay.  Sometimes your brain will actually hurt!  Darn those kids!  They're really tricky when it comes to getting what they want!  But our job is to give them what's best for them and what they want is not always what's best.

Parenting isn't easy but I have to say I enjoy the challenge... most of the time!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Parenting 101

   I have only a few thoughts on parenting.  This week I thought I'd share them.  First off, since the show Survivor started I've adopted their theme for parenting...

   Is parenting not the ultimate survivor challenge??  And one of my first tips I took to heart parenting was to win!  If you can't win... make it look like you did! Ha!  So I outwit my kids sometimes with fun games that teach them obedience when they really think we are just playing.  I outplay my kids sometimes when I will turn things on them where they thought they were in control and suddenly they realize they are not.  They thought they were playing mom but, darn it, Mom was playing them!  And last but not least I WILL outlast any challenger!

   My other line of thought on parenting is a lot more Biblical!!  I love Genesis 3.  Look at the fall of man as a parent.  God set out His expectations very clearly.  He connected with His children while talking and walking in the garden.  He then knew they disobeyed and first He talks to them about it.  Then He gives them a stern discipline... all of them. Not just the one who did it but also the one who did the tempting to do evil and the one who gave in to "peer pressure"!  THEN, this is big for me, He REMOVED temptation.  I do believe there are times to leave temptation out for kids, especially when you can be right there and use it as a time to train.  But, when your child is really struggling, remove the temptation.  Help them make the right choices.

  The next few days I'll share with you how we set out our expectations and practice being obedient to them.  I'll also share how we remove temptation and help our kids make right choices.  I am still learning for sure!  But we have found some things over the years that work well for us and I think are worth sharing with others. Hope you enjoy.

Friday, July 8, 2011


   Anyone else have this problem???

I swear I go through a pair every summer!!  Someone sits on them, steps on them or they just suddenly pop apart!!  Now before you lecture me like my husband that they wouldn't be stepped or sat on if they were put away... I swear to you I DO PUT THEM AWAY!  Those darn kids ages 2-5 just love mama's glasses and they get them out, wear them and then leave them lay.  I've tried $20 glasses and dollar store glasses, doesn't seem to matter.  No way I'm going to buy "nice" glasses.  Then I'll really cry when they break... and they will!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Family Notebook

   With all the planning I've been sharing with you perhaps you're wondering where I put it all!  Well the answer is in my Mom's Ultimate Family Organizer.  I love this notebook and have added to it, taken things out of it and made it my own!

   I have our calendar in it of course! 

 I also found those handy dandy post-it tabs and have marked other sections like meals and day pages that have a list of what we are hoping to accomplish each day.

I even have a school section for activities, our school year calendar and the current years curriculum for each child.

I put most things in page protectors so they don't rip or get sticky fingers on them.  I keep the notebook open, on the end of my kitchen counter.  When I want it out of the way I will stand it up and tuck it back under the cupboards against the back-splash.  As of the last few weeks it hasn't left the counter.  I finally figured out how to use it in a way that is helpful to me.  I love that it's a 3 ring binder so I can add to it and it has truly become "my brain" at times.  You of course can do this with just a plain ol' notebook but I love the pockets and extras that came with this one... and it's prettier than a plain ol' notebook which makes me more apt to use it!  Sad to say but true.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


   So while Daddy was working we were all sitting at the table eating when my 13yo says, "Mom, I think there's a rat or something under the chair."   WHAT!!!  I then realize he means outside (thank the Lord!!) and I look and sure enough there is some "huge" gross rat looking thing under a chair.  THEN it walked into our GARAGE!!  AHHHH!  Carter decided to be the hunter and go shoo it out.  As he walked into our dark garage he remembers the electric door opener is broke and the door is too heavy for him to lift alone. There was NO WAY I was going in there!! I called Paul at work screeching something at him as I hopped online.  You see I was thinking it wasn't a rat at all but possibly a possum.  Sure enough I got online and that's what it was.  Paul tells me they can be quite vicious so I hollered, "Carter!  Don't make it mad and don't die!!"  He steps out and says, "Thanks Mom!"  Well the crazy hunter caught it... in his sisters butterfly net!!  LOL!  It ended up being a baby, not really "huge" and quite cute. We learned it's not a rat but North America's only marsupial!  Cool.  Still not quite sure why it's sometimes spelled with a silent o!!  Opossum??

   We watched him for awhile and then let him go.  Poor thing was scared to death!  I bet it won't wander during the day from it's mother while it's "suppose" to be sleeping anytime soon!  Ah, the exciting things that happen in this house!  I guess we can count it as a science lesson right?? ;0)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Family Plans

   Since you know I'm deep into Large Family Logistics book, let me share a few things that we have done.

     First I should say a lot of her ideas go along with Flylady.  I've always loved Flylady but somehow it just didn't fit me totally.  I tried tweaking it here and there and it worked but it just didn't "flow" for us.  Well I think the problem for me at least was many children at many different ages and our days were always so different with my husband's work schedule.  Some of LFL organizing ideas were having each day have a theme or purpose; like Monday is laundry day, Tuesday is Kitchen day etc.  Flylady has that as well.  BUT the big thing that helped me was instead of making a Morning  Routine to check off once, I made one for each day.  On our laundry day I wanted to get up early and get a jump on laundry.  On the kitchen day I wanted to get cooking before the heat.  Having a different check list for each day has made me have to think a LOT less!  I know when, where and how I'm fitting in the most important things for that day.  I took it a step further and instead of 7 days I have 14, one for when Paul is home and one for when he is working.  This may sound ridiculous and over kill but I can't tell you how much less stressed I am!  He works a mirrored schedule so what we do one week is the exact opposite the next. With a plan I know when I'll play outside with my littles, and when baths fit in not only on a school day when Daddy is working but also when he is home and the days seem to fly by!

   Another tip I'm loving is I printed out 3 blank calendars.  The one I found actually has room for 6 weeks and I filled out one with all our favorite dinner meals, one with breakfast and one with lunch.  Then I print a blank one before shopping and fill out 2 weeks of dinners, lunches and breakfasts.  It's easy to remember our favorite meals when they are all listed in front of me.  I can even hand the list to people and say pick your two favorite.  I still leave a few days on the current calendar open for leftovers, new recipes and at least 1-2 "choice" nights which really mean nothing sounds good or I don't have time to cook so we're going to throw something last minute together.  The free printable calendar I use is here.

   One thing I'm learning from all of this is how much easier lists make life!!  For example we went to the beach the other day and I thought I had everything.  When we got there I realized I forgot some things and as we played we wish we would have thought of a few things.  Today I plan on making a beach list!  Sounds crazy but next time we go I can set the list on the counter and the older boys and Paul can help make sure we have everything instead of everyone looking at me.  I'll pop it in a blank page protector and then lay a dry erase marker by it.  As we load the van everyone can check off what they put in.  In the end it will be quick and easy to see what's left to load and I don't have to think of it all while I'm doing the girl's hair and thinking of a billion things we need.  Somehow a list is less annoying than a mom/wife saying, "Oh, get this, don't forget that, did you put this in the van yet???"  And it ends the, "I didn't hear you" excuse.  If you read it and checked it off it better be in there!

  All this planning takes time and is a little stressful while doing all the thinking but it has made a huge difference once it's done.  If I start realizing I want to change some things or add I write them on a post-it and stick it on that page.  When I have time I can hop on the computer, make the changes and print out the new sheets.  My daily sheets have sat on the computer for a couple weeks as I tweak.  I'm finding in the end it is well worth the effort.

What activities do you plan and prepare for alone?  Could a list help take all the remembering off your shoulders and allow others to help without your constant input?? 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fourth of July!!

   This year we celebrated the 4th on the 3rd!  We follow our family tradition of heading out to my Aunt's trailer that sits in a summer park with a lake, pools, games, activities, golf carts for cruising and of course fireworks!  We can't imagine doing anything different.  It would be nice if Daddy didn't seem to always have to work! A little crazy for mama but a great time all the same!

  Hope you had a great holiday weekend!!

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