Friday, July 30, 2010


Picking out new bathroom flooring is not for the faint at heart. Do you know how many choices they have? It's ridiculous! I just want one choice. ONE. Then I can be in and out in five minutes.

I stood there looking at all the choices and told my hubby "I don't care" and hubby said "You have to care because I don't care. Just pick something you like." Hmmmm, I like diamonds....

Something I like? Do you know how hard it is to narrow it down to one choice? I then picked out several things and said "I like this, this and this."

Then I put the samples on the ground and stared at the floor. I stared at that floor harder than I've ever stared at a floor before.

You think strange thoughts when you're staring at a floor, such as is this the kind of floor I'd like to throw up on if I'm sick?

Or other thoughts, such as how many times will I have to mop this floor? Will I get sick of looking at it? How am I supposed to pick something that I want to live with for the next several years, picking a husband was easier than this! Is my stomach supposed to hang over like that and why did I wear these shoes??????

While I was trying to pick out flooring for the bathroom I met a woman who was trying to pick out flooring for her closet. I offered to trade but she said no. Too bad, I think it might have been fun and if I didn't like it I could blame her.

I didn't want anything to "busy" but not to bland either. I also didn't want the floor to be the first thing people noticed when they walked into the bathroom and get all distracted and all. I would rather they keep their mind on what they're doing.

So, what color is your bathroom floor?

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I have a theory that you can document the changes in a woman's life by her handwriting.

In middle school you have dreamy handwriting. You write your name over and over with his last name after it. "His" meaning whichever guy is your preteen crush of the week. You write "I love ____" over and over.

In junior high school you have flowery handwriting. Big and loopy, with little hearts dotted over the i's, and flowers everywhere. Big loopy y's and the writing is big, bold and beautiful. You also write quotes like "Love means never having to say you're sorry" and things like that. Well, you do if you were in junior high a long time ago.

In high school your handwriting is more bold, decisive, and daring. Sometimes you mix a little calligraphy in with your writing, or try different styles to see what works for you. You try on handwriting like you do a dress, and see if it fits. You have big dreams and your handwriting shows it.

Then there's college, where the writing is fast and furious. You are typing term papers, and in this day and age you use a computer. However, there are still moments where you have to sign your name to something (like a check!) and your signature is always in a hurry, no time to waste.

Then you trade Miss for Mrs. and pretty soon you are writing a "honey-do" list. Things are written very carefully and legibly so that hubby can read it. After all, you don't expect him to read your mind, do you? Oops! Of course you do!

Then comes motherhood and you find yourself still printing as the kids can't read cursive yet. Only this time, you are using a crayon.

Then come the years of having a teenager and your handwriting would make a doctor proud, as no one can read it. You are to busy parenting and driving your teens around (or being driven) and who has time to write anything?

I haven't reached the empty nest yet but I imagine that my handwriting will settle down then, and once again be legible to the human eye. I can only hope anyway.

I can have beautiful handwriting.......when I want to. I don't want to. That would require slowing down and I have better things to do than slow down so someone can read my writing. Sometimes I can't even read my own writing. That's when the fun begins.

With all this technology around, you can communicate by phone, text, email, etc. and you don't have to write by hand as often. So you can have horrible handwriting and few people will know. But eventually someone somewhere will find out. Handwriting isn't for cowards.

Let's all just be glad that this blog is not written by hand. Or foot.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

THE MIDDLE: Otherwise known as Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!

By this time you may have noticed that my title has nothing to do with this post. I was just desperate and have way to many Brady Bunch reruns in my head. Do you like coming in on the middle of a conversation? Yeah, it's confusing, isn't it? Have you ever come in on the middle of a blog post?

".....Five pounds of ninja-dog may not seem like a lot to you. If it doesn't, please ask someone in your family to drop a five pound bag of sugar on your stomach the next time you're sleeping. You're welcome!...."

There you have it....the middle of a blog post. Doesn't make much sense, does it? If you'd like to read the beginning, the end, and the rest of the middle, please pop over here. I am posting at the Five Mom's blog today, as it's my day to host. Thanks!

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Making your home sing Mondays

Welcome to the Making Your Home Sing Monday meme! Every day you are doing something to make your house into a home for yourself and your family (if you have one). My point with each Monday post is, what are you doing or going to do today to make your home sing?

It can be an attitude or an action. Motivation, our attitude, baking, encouraging our husband or children (if we have either one), organization, cleaning, saving money....the opportunities are endless.

Space. I love space. No, I don't mean outer space but room space.

However, I find myself getting a little lazy, and that "space" is filling up with clutter. Maybe it's because I hurt my back and started taking it easy, I don't know. Frankly, I just think that sometimes it's more fun to be lazy than to work!

Did you know that my bathroom counter is full of clutter? My bathroom counter used to be almost always clutter free, because I put things away when I'm done with them (and so does anyone else who uses it).

If you are on facebook with me, you will know that recently I was reaching for the hairspray and grabbed the tub and tile cleaner instead. On the up side, we know that it will make your hair mold and mildew free.

On the down side, it means that I am letting bad habits replace good ones. For years I have had some really good habits in place, and lately I am allowing a few bad ones to creep in again.

The thing is, it's so easy to excuse the clutter because most of the room is clean. Sometimes it's just one corner, or one table, or one chair that has a few things piled on it.

When you look at the room you think "Well, it's mostly clean, and I can clean up that mess in five minutes."

Have you ever said that? I have. But then, sometimes I don't clean up that mess because it's so "easy" to do that I know I'll get to it later that day, and then I don't.

I've also noticed that if you set one thing down on a table or counter, someone else will come and set one thing down, and then another and another and pretty soon you've got a full blown mess monster on your hands.

I don't know about you but I don't want to settle for "mostly" or "good enough" when it comes to my home. My family deserves better than that and frankly, so do I. I know that I have not given my best effort lately. If I were, I could settle for "mostly" or even "not gonna happen" and there are times for that, like when I first injured my back or if you just had a baby, etc. But now I can do a little more.

So this week I will make my home sing by cleaning up those little clutter spots (and some not so little) before they become big clutter monsters. I would rather spend a little time now than a lot of time later, wouldn't you?

So what are you settling for? Mostly? Good enough? Are you giving it your best effort? If you're already knocking yourself out and can't, don't feel bad, that's o.k. Sometimes we have to know when to back off and slow down so that we aren't overwhelmed. Sometimes other things (or people) have to come first and "good enough" is good enough. But sometimes we know we need to step it up, and maybe your time is now!

What are you doing or going to do today to make your home sing? Please go here for instructions and/or ideas and come back here to link up to join us today! Please do not put your own "Making Your Home Sing Monday" Linky on your blog. As always, please don't forget to link to this post. Also, please don't forgot to leave me a comment!

Friday, July 23, 2010


My camera is cramping my blog. There, I said it. Whew! That was a relief.

Seriously, I have some posts I've wanted to do and the pictures for them are stuck on the camera. For some reason I can't get them off.

If I told you what was happening the conversation would be something like this: "Well, I hooked up that white cord thingy to the hole thingy on the computer. Then I pushed that button and did that other thing, and, you know.......nothing happened."

Does somebody have a toddler I can borrow to help me?

Because I am convinced that that is what I need. Toddlers have an amazing ability to push buttons and do things and make things happen, and you wonder how they did it.

It's because they have no fear. They don't think "If I pull this handle, I may break something. If I push this button, something may blow up." They don't care! In fact, the more things blow up, the better!

I need a determined toddler to push and pull and shake and get my pictures onto my computer. Either that or I need a preschooler, because your average preschooler knows more about a digital camera than I do

Otherwise I need to start illustrating my blog posts with my own drawings or drawings that my children did long ago and are already in my computer, like this one. Believe me, there are days when I look just like that.

Here is a "recent" picture of my family and I............don't we look lovely? Note the brown blob that is the dog?

Yes, this is what you are going to get if I can't get my camera to cooperate. Now pardon me while I go find the crayons.........

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I have a confession to make. I can't blow dry my hair unless my mouth helps me. Seriously.

It seems like I have to open my mouth, smile, make faces, or stick my tongue out while I blow dry my hair, or put on makeup for that matter.

I mean, after all, I am staring at myself in the mirror while I blow dry my hair. So I might as well give myself something entertaining to look at. Right?

My sweet friend, Beth, did an awesome and fun video of her beauty routine, which she graciously allowed me to post below. She managed to look beautiful while doing it.

Now, if that were me, you would see me frowning, grimacing, sticking my tongue out, and smiling all in the course of drying my hair.

I can't put my makeup on without opening my mouth. I can't. I just have to open my mouth.

And, if you know me, you know I open my mouth a lot. Sigh.

For that matter, I can't talk without using my hands in wild gestures. My husband once told me that if someone tied my arms up I wouldn't be able to talk. I wonder if that was wishful thinking on his part?

I am not kidding when I say that I have actually smacked people in the face or knocked things out of their hands with my wild gestures when I'm talking. Most people who know me know enough to stand well out of reach.

Suddenly you feel safer just sitting at your computer don't you?

Well, please check out Beth's video below, because it's a hoot! Thanks for letting me borrow it, girlfriend!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Why Don't They Call It MOMcorn?

We eat dinner around 5:30 p.m. and usually I don't have a snack before bed, but lately popcorn is calling my name. If you listen carefully you'll hear it. N-aaaaa-nnnnn.......NAAAAANNNNN!!!!


Popcorn is very insistent..............

........Feel free to pop over here and read the rest of this post and ask yourself that age old question: Why don't they call it MOMcorn? See you over at the Five Mom's today.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Making your home sing Mondays

Welcome to the Making Your Home Sing Monday meme! Every day you are doing something to make your house into a home for yourself and your family (if you have one). My point with each Monday post is, what are you doing or going to do today to make your home sing?

It can be an attitude or an action. Motivation, our attitude, baking, encouraging our husband or children (if we have either one), organization, cleaning, saving money....the opportunities are endless.

Awhile ago, in another post, I made the statement "Wishing never gets us anywhere if we don't move it from a thought to an action."

Do you find yourself wishing that things were different around your home? Do you find yourself wishing that your home was more organized or that you could redo the family room? That you didn't wait until the last minute every year to do your Christmas shopping? That you didn't feel so stressed every night when wondering about what to make for dinner, etc.?

Some outcomes just can't be changed, obviously. But sometimes we will wish for something, but we won't move it forward from a thought to an action. We won't try to change anything, not because we believe we can't but because we don't know how to do it, or we don't want to make the effort to do it.

We may not like the current situation a lot, but at least it's "familiar" and doesn't require us to do anything outside our comfort zone. It doesn't require effort on our part.

What isn't working for you in your home? What is frustrating you? Can you change it?

If you can't afford to redecorate the family room, can you afford to update it with fresh paint and a few colorful pillows? Would rearranging the furniture give it a fresh new look if you can't paint? Would a simple decluttering session be enough to make you smile?

If you'd like a more organized home, is there one area that is bothering you the most? Can you start by reading up on organization and beginning to put some principles into place in that area? If dinnertime madness is driving you nuts, have you considered doing some meal-planning?

Are you sitting there wishing that your bedroom was clean? Get up and clean it!

Instead of wishing that things would change, step back and consider if there are some things you can do to make some changes. If you can, then stop wishing and start working!

This week prayerfully make a short "wish" list. Then see if there is anything that you can do to turn those wishes into a reality. Don't sit and wait for the changes to come to you. Look for at least one thing that you can do this week to make your home sing!

What are you doing or going to do today to make your home sing? Please go here for instructions and/or ideas and come back here to link up to join us today! Please do not put your own "Making Your Home Sing Monday" Linky on your blog. As always, please don't forget to link to this post. Also, please don't forgot to leave me a comment!

Friday, July 16, 2010


Yesterday I was talking about things you could do to make a clean kitchen a reality in your life. Maybe we can't have a kitchen that cleans itself, but we can have a kitchen that's easy to clean. Here is part two of that post. Please go here to see part one if you missed it.

Load dishes in the dishwasher as you go.
Don't leave your dishes to pile up in the dishwasher! It only takes seconds to put them directly into the dishwasher when you're finished eating. If you're worried about food hardening on, then quickly rinse them first. If you don't have a dishwasher, then clear a place under your sink and store them in a dishpan out of sight.

Train your children to load their dishes directly into the dishwasher as well. Cleaning a kitchen is much easier if you only have one meal to clean up after. Having to face a sink full of dishes is enough to discourage any homemaker! Especially if there are several meals worth.

By training your children to put their dishes into the dishwasher, you are lessening your workload. Years ago I taught my children to put theirs directly into the d.w., and they are still doing it today. My husband does his as well. I never asked him to but when he saw the children doing it, he just did it. The result is a sink that is almost always empty!

Always run the dishwasher at night (if full) and unload first thing in the morning. You can't load your dishes into the dishwasher if it's full, can you? Unloading the dishwasher was one of our children's morning chores. Also put away any items you washed by hand the night before.

Take out the garbage when it's full. Take it out when it's a hill instead of waiting until it becomes a mountain.

Put out a fresh sponge/rag and towel each day. Not only is this sanitary, it's downright pretty!" If you have a sponge or towel nearby, you are more likely to use it.

Unpack your groceries when you bring them home. Don't let them sit on your counter for hours (or days). Unpack them and put the empty sacks away.

Wake up to a clean kitchen. Once you get used to a clean kitchen every morning, you won't want to wake up to a messy one. This will motivate you to keep your kitchen clean and make walking into your kitchen each morning a joy!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


O.k., a self-cleaning kitchen is impossible. But wouldn't it be nice to have a kitchen that cleans itself? Well, I don't think we're going to see that this year, anyway. However, there are lots of easy things that we can do to make a clean kitchen a reality.

Keep the countertops as clutter-free as possible. If you've ever splashed spaghetti sauce or made a cake, you know that spatters and crumbs can fly everywhere. The more stuff you have on the counters the more things you have to move in order to wipe them up.

Limit the number of decorative items, storage canisters or appliances that are on your counters and your kitchen will not only look neater, it will be easier to clean!

Decide what belongs in the kitchen. Some things definitely belong in a kitchen (like a cookbook) and some things don't (like your son's gym shoes). Just because your kitchen has an abundance of countertops doesn't mean that you should pile everything on them. Be a kitchen-snob and don't allow items to "live" there that don't belong.

Clean up before you sit down to eat, if at all possible. Picture yourself making lunch. Do you get all the sandwich fixin's out and then leave it out while you're eating? If you get an item out, put it away when you're finished with it. You are less likely to want to clean up your mess after you've eaten.

Clean up after every meal. Do you leave your breakfast dishes and lunch dishes until dinner time? If you do that, you are compounding your dinner cleanup. Instead of one meal's cleanup, you are doing three. If you don't want to clean up after one meal, do you want to clean up three meals?

Clean as you go when making dinner. While you're making dinner, soak any utensils or dishes/pans you've used in the sink. The suds will help loosen any food before it gets hardened on. If you have any free time while waiting for something to boil or bake in the oven, begin loading up the dishwasher and wash any items that need to be washed by hand.

This way, the only items that will need to be cleaned after dinner are the glasses, dishes, utensils used and the serving dishes. I try and do as much cleaning before dinner as possible. Even if you can't get to the dishes right away, the sudsy water will practically do them for you!

Wipe up spills or sweep up messes when they happen. Don't wait until something hardens like concrete before you clean it up. If you're cooking dinner and the sauce splashes on the stove, wipe it up! If you spill something on the floor, clean it up immediately (this is also a safety factor).

I would much rather spend seconds wiping up a counter (or floor) ten times in a day than to spend hours on the weekend trying to scrub up all the stains that have hardened, wouldn't you? Your elbows and knees will thank you.

Please come back tomorrow for Part Two! (Note, please click HERE for part two)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

ooops, I did it again!

I accidentally posted an unfinished draft to my feed. I was trying to "save now" and accidentally hit "publish post." Once you do that, that's all she wrote, people. I put it back in draft form but to late for the feed.

So if you're in your google reader and read my post about kitchens and are wondering where the post is, it will be published tomorrow when it's finished completely, haha!


Have you ever had a good idea gone wrong? Do you ever find strange pictures in your camera and wonder why you took that picture and what you were thinking at the time?

Ever so often I take pictures for my blog posts. I haven't done it lately because for some strange reason I can't get the pictures off my camera. Maybe I dropped it one to many times, I dunno.

Anyway, I was looking through the picture files on my computer and I found some old pictures that I obviously took for my blog.

I say obviously because I can't see any other reason why I'd take a picture like this. Yes, this is one of my pots. Yes, it's a lovely pattern, isn't it? No, I have absolutely no idea why it looks like that. I'm dying to know what I (or my husband) cooked in it and why it got so baked on.

Did we forget something on the stove? Were we trying to create a new disease? Were we testing the response time of the local fire department? More importantly, did we actually eat whatever it was that was cooking? We will never know.

Now here I was clearly going for a "how-to" lesson. This is baking soda. I know that because that is what I would have used to clean the pan. If you want, you can pretend you are looking at a glacier. Who knows, it's summer and maybe that thought will cool you off. Or you can pretend its styrofoam. Or you can pretend its baking soda.

This is what it looked like after I poured vinegar on the baking soda. It foams up which is my favorite part!

Now, you would think that I would have taken a picture of the result, wouldn't you? Wouldn't you? *cough* me too *cough

So, here you have a blog post gone wrong. I have no wonderful "results" picture because for some strange reason, I didn't take one. Why didn't I take one? I have no idea.

Maybe it didn't clean it as well as I'd hoped. Maybe the cooking pot fairy came and took it away so that I wouldn't hurt another pot or pan. Maybe a celebrity walked by my kitchen and I grabbed the camera and ran after him. Or her. Or them.

So I leave it to you to wonder what happened. I hope that you can sleep tonight knowing the mystery is not solved. I will say that a mix of baking soda and vinegar really does do a good job of cleaning things. However, you'll have to take my word for it as I, obviously, have no proof.

No pots or pans were harmed in the writing of this post. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


It's my turn to post over at the Five Mom's blog today, so I hope you'll pop over here and visit!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Making your home sing Mondays

Welcome to the Making Your Home Sing Monday meme! Every day you are doing something to make your house into a home for yourself and your family (if you have one). My point with each Monday post is, what are you doing or going to do today to make your home sing?

It can be an attitude or an action. Motivation, our attitude, baking, encouraging our husband or children (if we have either one), organization, cleaning, saving money....the opportunities are endless.

Do you ever find yourself procrastinating with your housework? Do you ever put off doing a load of laundry until a small mound becomes a huge mountain? Do you put off doing the dinner dishes until you have dinner dishes AND breakfast dishes to do? Do you avoid cleaning the floors until your feet start sticking to them? Do you find yourself making excuses for not doing the chores that you know you need to do?

It's funny how we put off work so that we can play. But by doing that, we make even more work for ourselves. One night's dinner dishes may not be fun when you're tired, but they are do-able. One night's dinner dishes, breakfast, lunch and the next night's dinner dishes are much worse. Especially if you didn't pre-soak.

A week's worth of laundry is time consuming. Two weeks worth (or more) and you'll start to think that maybe you will never see the outside of the laundry room again.

What is it about housework that makes us want to put it off? I mean, think about it, most of it doesn't take long when you break it into little pieces.

Sorting a load of laundry doesn't take long, loading or unloading the dishwasher doesn't take long, and cleaning up the kitchen after a meal or mopping the floor doesn't take long either.

However, dusting, vacuuming, sweeping the floors and mopping, sorting, washing and drying a load of laundry, folding and putting it away, cleaning the bathrooms and cleaning up the kitchen after each meal does take time when you're doing it all the same day.

That's not even taking into account planning and shopping for meals, picking up after yourself (and baby or toddlers), "taxi" duty for the kids, errands and everything else.

When my kids were little I would tell them "Do the worst first!" Take the ONE thing you don't want to do and do it. Get it over with and then you'll be free of it! At least, for that day anyway. You control it, don't let it control you.

So, my friends, what job is hanging over your head today? What are you dreading and procrastinating on? What job, project, or thing do you have to do that is causing you tension, energy and emotional stress because you keep putting it off? What is stealing your joy today, making you feel like a failure or bad about your homemaking or your abilities, and owning you because you don't want to face it?

Make your home sing today. Do The Worst First!

What are you doing or going to do today to make your home sing? Please go here for instructions and/or ideas and come back here to link up to join us today! Please do not put your own "Making Your Home Sing Monday" Linky on your blog. As always, please don't forget to link to this post. Also, please don't forgot to leave me a comment!

Friday, July 9, 2010


Have you ever wandered into a room and forgot why you wandered in there? Knowing me, I've probably already done a blog post about this, but I don't remember.

Do you see a pattern here?

Who am I? Why am I here? Sometimes I feel like I ask myself this question every time I walk from one room to another.

I will walk downstairs or into a room to get or do something and someone in my family talks to me. Then I forget what I went downstairs for.

Back upstairs I go to the "scene of the crime." Desperately trying to remember what I was thinking before I went downstairs. Hoping it'll jog my memory.

Fortunately it often does and back downstairs I go. Until someone talks to me. Then I forget again.

I am going to wear a sign that says "I am using my last brain cell. Please don't talk to me."

I am going to chant whatever I want to remember. For example, if I want to flip the clothes from the washer to the dryer I am going to make up a song about it. C'mon now, everybody sing along:

"Please don't forget to wash your clothes, or you will make people have to hold their nose. Don't forget what you came here for, unless you want to wear a car."

O.k., that last line was a stretch. Yes, I know "for" and "car" don't match. But really, it was either "wear a car" or "wear a door" and so I chose car. So sue me.

Now, what was I saying?

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Sometimes I wish my dogs could talk to me. Not very often, because I think I would get a lot of "Do I smell bacon?" and stuff like that, but I imagine we would have some very interesting conversations.

Sometimes my beagle can't decide if he wants out or wants in. He whines at the door so I let him out. I shut the door. I walk away and I hearing whining outside the door. I let him in and walk away. Immediately he starts whining at the door to go out again. I let him outside and shut the door and he starts whining again to come in. In, out, in, out.

Personally, I am thinking of taping it and marketing it as an exercise video. We could say "Tired of walking your dog? How about letting your dog walk YOU?" I wonder if anyone would buy it?

My dogs love to go outside and the poodle always yips and gripes at the beagle because he always beats her to the back fence first. They also bark at anything they see or think they see.

My poodle barks big but if she were actually able to corner a cat or a squirrel, I wonder who'd really be the one shaking in their boots (or paws).

The other day I noticed my poodle was practically levitating across the floor. I think she had an itch. You know, there are more discrete ways of dealing with something like that, and dogs just have no manners. I would never go into someone's home and drag my behind across their carpet.

I'm just saying'..............

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


You ever watch a cooking show?

Let me tell you, those people peel potatoes as if they are performing surgery and every peeling counts.

"Now I am about to insert a cut into the potatormorpheous umbilicperditus. It's very tricky so please everyone, let's have silence. We have got to pull this poor potato through. Steady, steady now....keep those hands steady or you'll mash him. Watch out! What're you trying to do? Fry him?................."

..............if you'd like to read the rest of this please pop over to Five Mom's and a Blog as it's Tuesday and my day to post!

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Making your home sing Mondays

Welcome to the Making Your Home Sing Monday meme! Every day you are doing something to make your house into a home for yourself and your family (if you have one). My point with each Monday post is, what are you doing or going to do today to make your home sing?

It can be an attitude or an action. Motivation, our attitude, baking, encouraging our husband or children (if we have either one), organization, cleaning, saving money....the opportunities are endless.

You'd think I would have planned ahead for this meme as I knew it was a holiday weekend but I didn't. So I don't have a post for today. I wasn't even sure if anyone would link up, but I figure that some of you are probably more prepared than I am, lol!

This week I think I'll start working on some hot spots "fires" that I see creeping up around here. Ever since I hurt my back I've let a few things slide.

Of course, I've been known to let things slide when I don't have a good excuse as well, haha. So I'll be making my home sing by putting out the little "fires" before they become big ones.

What are you doing or going to do today to make your home sing? Please go here for instructions and/or ideas and come back here to link up to join us today! Please do not put your own "Making Your Home Sing Monday" Linky on your blog. As always, please don't forget to link to this post. Also, please don't forgot to leave me a comment!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


This is part two of a post on sibling rivalry and bickering. Please go here for part one if you haven't read it already. These are just some ideas I had on the subject.

If they are arguing or fighting, find a discipline that forces them to work together, or sit quietly together. If the boys were having trouble getting along, we would have them sit quietly on the couch for about ten minutes (of course, if they're really young you would shorten the time). They were told to hold hands the whole time and weren't allowed to talk.

Though they didn't like this discipline, it was effective. At the end of it, they were sitting quietly but trying hard not to laugh at each other's funny faces, etc. Another time I had them wash windows. One would wash the outside window and the other would wash the inside. Another time we had them work on an outside chore together.

While this will force them to get along and cooperate during the enforced behavior, it hopefully will also encourage them in the future to work out their differences and learn to cooperate with one another so that they aren't disciplined in the first place.

There were also times when we just sent them to their rooms, of course. Sometimes being alone is the hardest punishment of all and peace and quiet for mom and dad is awesome! :0)

Encourage them to give grace. This is a hard one even for us grownups. It is so easy to be upset when someone wrongs us. It is so easy to infer intent where it was not intended, and to put words into someone's mouth, or motives into their actions. It's a lot harder to give them the benefit of the doubt, to not take offense when slighted, to extend grace to them. But that's what we want to teach our children, and ourselves.

Teach them the value of saying "I'm sorry" and to forgive one another.
We encouraged our children to say "I'm sorry" when they needed to, and sought to help them see the other person's side when necessary. We also modeled that behavior to them as there were times when we needed to ask their forgiveness as well for our own wrong words or attitudes.

Sometimes we required them to write an "I'm sorry" note to one another. Part of saying I'm sorry is learning to be sorry for your part in the conflict. Perhaps the other person wronged you first, but if your response back was just as bad, then both are at fault. My mom always used to say "two wrongs don't make a right!"

Sometimes you may feel you have done nothing wrong, but the other person's feelings were hurt anyway. We wanted our children to go the extra mile and reach out to the other person when that person was hurt by their actions, even if the hurt caused wasn't intentional.

Teach them that love is an verb, not a noun. Love means action, and siblings need to remember that family is important. How often do we tend to talk nicer to our friends than to our own families? How often do we make time for friends but short change our families. We show our love by our actions, not just by our words.

Teach them that family is important. Family traditions, memory making, being together and enjoying one another will go a long way to building their relationship as they grow. I have to admit that I don't see my own siblings all that often, but I know that if I ever needed them they would be there, and vice versa.

Let them know you love them equally and don't play favorites. This is pretty obvious, I know, but I remember feeling left out when one of my brothers began to excel at sports and I hadn't found my "niche" yet. I remember wondering if my parents were proud of me, like they were of him.

The funny thing is that this same brother told me later that he felt concern because I was excelling in my grades and his weren't as good! Fortunately our parents did notice what was going on and did a great job of letting us know they loved us both, no matter what.

Many times, someone will come up and say "You must be very proud of ____" and they will say it in front of the other sibling. I always tried to answer back "Yes, I am proud of _____. I am proud of both my children."

Encourage them to talk through their differences, and to listen to one another. I'm sure you've heard stories about how some siblings grow up and just struggle to get along. Jealousy, past hurts, misunderstandings, etc., can all contribute to a struggling relationship. Saying "When you do this, I feel..." can begin to tear down walls whereas "You always..." or "You never..." can build them back up again.

Hopefully when your children and (mine) grow up completely, they will continue to build on their relationship and continue to talk and work things out together, no matter what.