Thursday, December 29, 2011

The beauty of a child's joy

Yesterday I was doing some chores in the house while my kids played in the backyard.  My daughter came running up to the door, full of excitement.  "Mommy, mommy!  I have something for you!  Look, I got you a weed!"

It struck me as very funny that she referred to her beautiful gift as a weed.  But in no way did that diminish her enthusiasm and sincerity in offering that gift to me.  A lovely and heartfelt gift, it was accepted with great pleasure and gratitude.  The tiny weed is now situated in a very small glass jar on my kitchen counter.

I look at it and smile.  I see a weed, yes, but I also see beauty, joy, and love.

A little way to make a big difference

The school age children who used to live at Save the Children Orphanage are in need of funding for their school fees for the next term of school.  You can do something small to make a big difference in their lives!  To learn more about the needs and how you can help read this.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Some great ideas

Christmas is a hard time of year for me.  I love the fun traditions like decorating the tree, baking and decorating cookies with my kids, going to see Christmas lights, going to "Jungle Bells" at the zoo with my family, candlelight services at church, etc.  But the commercialism of Christmas drives me absolutely crazy:  spending money for so much stuff that we don't need, when we could use our resources to help others who have real needs.  December comes and I just want to hide under a rock until it is all over.

My husband and I do a pretty good job of keeping Christmas gifts to a minimum, keeping things simple, not spending money that we don't have.  I must admit though, I am not always intentional about how I go about teaching the true meaning of Christmas to my kids.  We talk about Jesus' birth of course.  We read the Christmas story and I tell them that Christmas is not about getting more stuff, but about Jesus, the greatest gift we can ever receive.  I talk to them about these things, but I feel powerless to combat the messages of our culture.

I read a blog post today by my friend Stacie.  I really love her great ideas!  You can read her ideas here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fleeting thought

I was in the kitchen, greasing a large glass pan with butter, thinking to myself, "Hmm, a little too much butter.  That can't be good for us."  You know what I was getting ready to put in the pan?  Fudge.  Yep, fudge.  And for a few fleeting seconds, I was worried about the teaspoon of butter that will keep it from sticking to the pan. Never mind the half cup of butter, or ridiculous quantities of sugar, that were already mixed into the fudge.  Sometimes my thoughts just don't make any sense.  Makes them more amusing I suppose.

On that note... sugar is not good for us.  I know it.  But I keep eating it.  Why do I do that?  I'm going to share a recipe with you.  Whatever you do, don't make it!  Don't eat fudge; it is very bad for you!  Go eat some vegetables instead.

Million Dollar Fudge

Combine and bring to a boil:

4 1/2 cups sugar
1 12 oz can of evaporated milk
1 pinch of salt

Boil for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add:

1 7 oz jar of marshmallow creme
1 8 oz bar Hershey milk chocolate (I used two 4 oz bars)
1 12 oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup of butter
2 cups of nuts, if desired (chopped almonds are good)

Stir until everything is completely melted and mixed together.  Spread mixture in a greased pan (9x13 inch works well).  Cool the fudge in the refrigerator.

There you go.  But don't make this recipe, and certainly don't eat it or feed it to anyone you love.  If you do make this fudge, please be sure to watch how much butter you use while greasing the pan.  I wouldn't want you to make it any less healthy, you know.

On a more serious note, at the beginning of 2012 I will begin my second annual "No Sugar January." Hopefully it will extend into February as well.  Care to join me?  It is a great post-holiday detox.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


A little perspective is a very helpful thing!

My sweet and darling 4 year old son has been "a bit" challenging as of late.  He has been throwing huge screaming fits, breaking everything in his path, pulling his curtains off the wall by hanging from them, biting us (Ouch!), throwing rocks and metal objects at his friends.  The list could go on for quite a while, but I think you get the idea.  Some days he is kind and caring, thoughtful and obedient.  And some days you'd think I had succeeded in raising a horrible monster.

My daughter did many of these same things when she was 3 and 4 years old.  Although, I never found her hanging from the curtains.  I do remember lots of biting.  I remember thinking how my daughter was way too old to be biting.  Kids should know better by that age!  I remember thinking I had seriously failed as a parent.  I remember reading piles of books on parenting and discipline.  I remember my mother-in-law telling me,  "Don't worry, they all go through this phase, but it should end around age 3 and 3/4."  Really?  There is an end in sight?  You mean I haven't failed as a parent?  Maybe there is hope for my wayward child?  Truth be told, she was no better at age 3 and 3/4; but by the time she reached 5, she seemed like a pretty decent kid.

A little perspective is a very helpful thing!

This time around I am not viewing myself as a failure.  I am not reading all the parenting books.  I don't think my son will remain a dreadful monster and grow up to be a threat to society.  I'm thinking, "This too shall pass."  I am trying to stay at a safe distance from his teeth!  I'm trying to be super consistent, patient, and calm when my son is not.  I don't always succeed in these things, but I keep trying and I keep asking God for His help.

I'll never forget the nearly sleepless nights of infancy and toddler-hood, my baby who would never take a bottle or my other baby who absolutely refused to breast feed, my baby who never napped,  my baby who wouldn't eat, the toddler who refused to be potty trained, and all the other challenges that seemed like mountains at the time.  I'm learning to remind myself, "This too shall pass."  Kids go through various stages.  Some of them are very strange stages, some of them are frightening, some of them are embarrassing.  Some of them seem to last way too long.  But eventually they end.  I've found most of them end more quickly the less I interfere.

If you are going through a tough phase with your kids, take a step back and remind yourself, "This too shall pass!"  And then, to help yourself feel even better, you can think to yourself, "At least my kid isn't biting people and hanging from the curtains like Shauna's son!"  Or maybe your kid is doing that too?  In that case, just stick with, "This too shall pass!"

Friday, December 9, 2011

Absolutely worth reading!

I love this blog, and this post in particular.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Highs and lows

Today's high:  Celebrating my husband's birthday with him.  I realized that this is the 9th birthday I've been blessed to spend with him.  Joel's a great guy!  Plus, it gave the kids and I a wonderful excuse to bake brownies.  Dinner involved homemade lasagna, Caesar salad, garlic bread, and fruit.  Yum!  I look forward to eating the leftovers.

Today's low:  My son was throwing Legos, and the Lego bin, at my daughter's head.  I picked him up and took him to his room.  He bit my arm hard and then repeatedly yelled at the top of his lungs, "You are not my mommy anymore!"  and  "No one is ever nice to me!"  He got to spend an hour of quiet time in his room and came out with a much better attitude.  While eating the lasagna at dinner, he leaned over, hugged my arm and said "Now you are my mommy again!"