Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year and MYHSM Linkup


I thought I would go ahead and put "Making Your Home Sing Monday" meme up this week, even though I don't know if there will be anyone around to link up as y'all might be taking a bloggy break over the holidays!  I know that I won't be blogging tomorrow as I will probably be recovering from a food coma.  Or not.......

Anyway, have a Happy New Year and I'll see you next year!  (I love saying that, lol!)

Now join us for the Making Your Home Sing Monday meme! 



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. So have fun, do some blog hopping and if you want, link up!

Topics can include marriage, parenting, encouraging women, organization, cleaning, saving money, our behavior and attitudes, homemaking, homeschooling, recipes....the opportunities are endless. 

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 so that others can join the fun!

If you don't want to miss any blog posts, you can follow me or subscribe in your reader or by email.  You   can also find me here on facebook as well!  I'd love to connect with you! 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Because Sometimes You Just Have To Clean Out That Pantry


When I get the urge to clean or organize you had better not stand in my way.  You've been warned.

I often get the urge to clean or organize at the strangest times.  You would think my family would be used to it by now.  I have always been willing to indulge in a little cleaning frenzy every now and then, and what better time than "right now" is my motto.

It was around noon on CHRISTMAS DAY and everyone knows that the best time to organize your kitchen pantry is less than an hour before anyone is coming over.  Especially if there's someone trying to make Christmas dinner at the same time.  That's just Organization 101.  Right?

My hubby always prepares Christmas dinner (love that man!).  So he was busy cooking away and getting things ready.  Family was coming over in less than an hour and I opened the pantry cupboard and something fell on my head.

That's all it took.  It was on like donkey kong.

I decided right then and there that I absolutely HAD to clean out the pantry.  Wouldn't you?

So I began pulling things out of the pantry and checking expiration dates and tossing bags of stale chips onto the floor so that I could see what was in there. 

Eventually I would put them into the garbage, but I was in a hurry.  Company was coming, right?

I didn't take a picture but the upper cupboard probably looked something like this:


So as I was tossing bags of stale broken potato chip crumbs and boxes of expired cereal crumbs onto the floor (why doesn't anyone every throw those things away when they're nearly empty?????), my sweet hubby was trying to maneuver around the obstacle course.

Not only that, our dogs are never far away when anyone is cooking in the kitchen.  So now he had two dogs to add to the fun.

I then threw the expired stuff away and tossed the boxes back on the floor so that I could stomp on them and flatten them.

That is the best part!!!!!!!!

At some point, as I was throwing bags and boxes left and right my hubby looked at me and said "You pick the strangest time to do things."

I could only agree.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas


The greatest Gift is free and came in the form of a very small baby so long ago.  Jesus is God's gift to us!  Merry Christmas everyone!  I will be back blogging in a day or two!

Friday, December 21, 2012

I Guess You Can Never Have Too Much Ice Cream




I'll bet you thought this all came out of my freezer.

You would be right.

I'll bet you thought I bought all of these.

You would be wrong.

My oldest son tends to get in the mood for ice cream whenever one or a couple of his friends are coming over.  So he'll go out and buy ice cream to share.

Afterward he will put it in the freezer, never to be eaten or looked at again.  Then more friends will come over and he'll buy more ice cream, only to put THAT in the freezer to be ignored.  It dies in there.  Seriously.

Last night about nine 19 to 20-somethings came over to watch a Christmas movie with my sons.  My oldest son walked in the door with plastic bags.

I looked at him and in my fiercest mom-voice said "There had better NOT be ice cream in there......"

There wasn't.

Instead there was pop, chips, eyes, and somebody brought several pizzas.

I want you to know that nobody brought eyes over.  No one ate eyes.  Eyes were not on the menu.

It's just that I accidentally typed it that way in the sentence above and thought it was so funny so I left it there.

Now you're going back and looking for the word "eyes,' aren't you?

Just so you know, it was pop, chips and ice.  ICE.

Anyway, somebody brought several pizzas with them and so my son went and got out my ironing board and laid it (still folded flat) across the air hockey table and set the pizza on the ironing board.


Because nothing says classy like pizza served on top of an ironing board.....

.......unless it's pizza served on top of an ironing board on top of an air hockey table.

Now THAT's class.  He must get it from his father's side......Notice that he removed the ironing board cover first before putting the pizzas on it.  Bless his heart.

Just so you know, there's all that ice cream still waiting to be appreciated in the freezer.  Sigh.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Stop Licking Baby Jesus


You know, when my kids were little I always found myself saying the strangest things to them.  Such as

  1. "Stop spitting on your brother,"
  2. "Stop picking your nose." 
  3. "Why did you flush that sock down the toilet?"  
  4. "Why did you call 911?"
  5. "Stop pouring milk on the dog." 
  6. "No, you can't pour your orange juice on the dog either."
  7. "Why did you draw on your little brother's face with a magic marker?"
  8. "Just because the puppy goes potty on the floor doesn't mean that you can too." 
  9. "No, you can't hang out the window.  It's two floors up and is too dangerous."
  10. "Why did you throw that can of vegetables at your brother?  What do you mean you wanted to see if you could hit him????"

Then you find out they flushed a sock AND a truck down the toilet and there are just no words.......

I also said I'd NEVER say "Because I said so."

Then I had kids, and one day I heard myself say "Because I said so, that's why!"

But now that my kids are older I thought my days of saying strange things were over.


Until yesterday when I heard myself saying to my dog "Stop licking baby Jesus."


If you don't want to miss any blog posts, you can follow me or subscribe in your reader or by email.  You   can also find me here on facebook as well!  I'd love to connect with you!

Be sure and come back Monday and link up to the Making Your Home Sing Monday meme!




Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ten Reasons We Let Clutter Pile Up And What To Do About It


Me: "What is up with all those clothes in the laundry?????"
My son: "Oh. I cleaned my room."
Me: ????????


 Have you ever "cleaned" that way?

Just moved your stuff around from one place to another?  I have!  That's not really cleaning, is it?  At best it's rearranging your clutter and at worst it's procrastinating.

It's funny how we can think of it as cleaning.  We decide to "clean" the living room.  We don't really want to take a lot of time to do it, maybe we have company coming over so we're in a hurry.  So we just grab everything up and make one of several trips into our bedroom.  We close the door and call it good.

Suddenly the living room looks awesome and we feel great!  Until we walk into our bedroom to go to bed and notice the piles and piles of stuff on the bed.  So we move it back into the living room again and we're back where we started.


Here are ten reasons why we let things pile up and what we can do about it:

1.  There is no "home" for all that stuff.  (So FIND one!)

2.  There is a place for it, but you're not putting it there. (So PUT it there!  Never leave a room empty-handed.)

3.  There's just too much stuff!!!! (Now would be a good time to declutter!)

4.  You figure it's a waste of your time to put something away when you're just going to get it out again in a day or two, or 30, or a year. (Decluttering is never a waste of time; however, constantly searching for things that you lost in all that clutter IS.)

5.  You are undecided.  You can't decide whether you want to keep it or not so there's no place for it.  (If it's not worth finding a place for it, is it worth keeping?)

6.  You're waiting for someone else to do it because it's "their" stuff and they're not putting it away so why should you? (Do it for you.  You deserve to live in an orderly home, and maybe they'll learn from your good example!  Unless it's a child.....in that case - train them to put their stuff away.)

7. You refuse to put your stuff away because they aren't putting their stuff away. (But who are you really "hurting" here?  They don't care and if YOU do, then you're only hurting yourself.)

8.  It's something that needs to be returned to a store or the library and you're leaving it where you can see it to remind yourself to return it.....except that you always forget to take it with you. (March out to the car right now and put it on the seat, along with a note as a reminder.)

9.  Someone gave it to you, you don't like it but aren't sure what to do with it, so you're leaving it out in hopes that someone will accidentally break it as they walk by it.  (Good luck......)

10.  You are waiting for a huge block of time so that you can declutter.  But those huge blocks of time just aren't coming and besides - you're tired. (How about using those little minutes that come your way!  You can stand it for 15 minutes, can't you?  Set a timer for 15 minutes and race that timer!  Little minutes add up, especially if you do it a couple of times a day.)

What are some of the reasons that YOU let clutter pile up?

Linking up to

 

 and We Are That Family

Monday, December 17, 2012

There Are No Words

This is the first time I've had to do a blog post since the horrific tragedy in Connecticut.  I don't feel up to the task.  There are no words.

I just feel so sad for the families and friends of these precious children and adults who lost their lives, and for the pain and heartache, memories, sounds and images that the survivors will have to deal with.  And for those involved in the rescue who saw things that no one should ever have to see.

My thoughts and prayers have been with all of them very much this weekend.  How can you go somewhere and see children and NOT think about it?

Life goes on, and I know that.  Life always goes on, despite whatever tragedy has happened, even though someone else's world seems to have stopped around them.  However, the Making Your Home Sing Monday linkup does NOT have to go on today.  Sorry but I just didn't feel like doing it today.

This whole thing just breaks my heart. People feel like if they can understand why it happened and wrap their head around it, they'll feel better. We can't understand evil, we just can't. 

But we can understand a God whose heart breaks at evil and the choices men make. We can understand a God whose hand stays even MORE evil than we would ever know was out there. We can understand a God who loves, and comforts, and holds us when we hurt. 

THIS we can understand.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Day In The Life Of A Sidetracked Blogger, #2


Once upon a time, there was a Sidetracked Blogger.

Oh, never fear - she looked like a fairly normal person.  But underneath all that "normal" was a huge amount of distraction and a little bit of crazy. O.k., maybe a lot of crazy.  With a dollop of "What was I doing?" on the side.

It all started when I was minding my own business and cleaning the microwave.

My son asked me if I would help him find something, because nothing is truly lost until mom can't find it.  Right?  So off I went to help him look.  I get a little competitive when I go looking for something, sort of like a bloodhound on the hunt.  Or maybe a mother who just discovered she hid the chocolate from the kids but now can't remember where she hid it.  I have to find it.......I just have to.

Suddenly I found myself in the hall closet looking through some stuff and decided that I needed to sort things out and give some things away.  I began pulling things out and making piles.  I made quite a mess before I remembered that I was supposed to be doing something else.

We finally found what he was looking for and somehow I ended up in the living room putting away the Christmas decorations that we decided not to use this year, along with the knicknacks that I replaced with the decorations.  So I headed downstairs to put some of the boxes away.

Somehow I acquired a packet of instant oatmeal and so I headed back upstairs to the kitchen to put it away.

As I walked by, I saw a magazine lying around and went to put it away.  The next thing I knew I was sitting down reading it.  Isn't it amazing how a magazine can just leap into your hands and you are totally not responsible for your actions?

Eventually my brainpower kicked in (I DO have some, you know.....) and I walked into the kitchen to put away the oatmeal packet and noticed the microwave door was open and there was a sponge inside.  It was then that I remembered "I'm supposed to be cleaning this!!!!!"

So I started madly cleaning the microwave, with the t.v. blaring away in the background.  The next thing I knew I was watching a Christmas Hallmark movie and I forgot about the microwave.

Eventually a commercial came and I "woke up" out of my Christmas movie coma, and went to wipe up the kitchen sink.   That's when I noticed that there was only one of my rubber gloves lying on the edge of the sink.  So I started looking for the other rubber glove.

I looked in the sink, all around the counters, and I even looked on the floor.  That was when I realized the sad, sad truth. I was wearing the other rubber glove on my hand.  That's why there was only glove in the sink. Because I was wearing the other one.  Sigh.

The commercial was over and I found myself once again back in front of the Hallmark Christmas movie (addictive, aren't they?).  The cleaning long forgotten.

Which is why I find myself still cleaning the microwave at 11:30 at night........


Click here for more of A Day In The Life of A Sidetracked Blogger series.

If you don't want to miss any blog posts, you can follow me or subscribe in your reader or by email.  You   can also find me here on facebook as well!  I'd love to connect with you!

Be sure and come back Monday and link up to the Making Your Home Sing Monday meme!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Mom, The Whole Mom, And Nothing But The Mom


So I thought maybe I'd mention a few totally useless things you might not know about me and really, probably don't WANT to know about me.  Too bad!  Here they are....


I think I look younger upside down, don't you?  See?  God bless gravity.

I also think I look terrifying upside down and maybe even a bit crazy (a BIT????).  See?

I can touch my tongue to the base of my nose.  My cousin taught me when I was a kid. You can probably do it too.  Just relax your tongue and try it.  You're trying it now, aren't you?

I can't cross my fingers like other people can.  If I want to cross my fingers, I have to use my left hand to help my right hand do it.  Really messes up my sign language when I try to fingerspell and make the letter "R."

I know sign language but I guess you figured that out already.

I have two fat big toes and my other toes are skinny.  When I was little I hated my big toes.  I mean, seriously.  Who hates their big toes?





I sometimes dress my toy poodle in sweaters and coats and things when it's raining and/or cold outside.  She "loves" it, can't you tell?  Doesn't she look thrilled?
 
I can't cross my eyes.  I can only cross one eye while the other one stares straight ahead.  People tell me it's freaky looking.

I don't like to be cold.  I hate being cold.  I like being warm.  But I hate being too warm.  Basically, it's all about me when it comes to the weather - mid to high 70's are great.

I am a channel changer.  Give me that remote control, baby!  I will fight you for it.  I love flipping though channels and I've been known to watch two t.v. shows at a time.

I am a door checker.  I check to make sure all the doors are locked before I go to bed at night.

I love to read and enjoy being by myself.  I am also an extrovert and pretty friendly and outgoing.  However, I am also a homebody and love staying home,   I suppose that's why blogging is so nice, lol!  I can meet people and not have to go anywhere to do it!  Is it possible to be an introverted extrovert?

So, come on, confess........tell me some "useless" facts about YOU!!!!!

If you don't want to miss any blog posts, you can follow me or subscribe in your reader or by email.  You   can also find me here on facebook as well!  I'd love to connect with you!

Be sure and come back Monday and link up to the Making Your Home Sing Monday meme!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

When my oldest was a toddler, he wanted to walk on his own so bad!  But he just didn't have the courage to do it!

He would walk holding onto the very tips of our little fingers, and I would tell him that he could walk by himself, and encourage him to let go and try it.  Telling him that I'd be right beside him to catch him if he fell.  But he wouldn't let go.

One day, we were walking around in my mother's kitchen.  He was barely holding onto the tip of my little finger, as usual.  So I just gently pulled my pinky finger out of his grasp and he didn't even notice.

I let him walk about 10-15 feet away from me into the living room.  Then I called his name.

He turned around and looked shocked to see how very far away I was.  Then he was overwhelmed with joy and excitement.  He did it!  He could walk!

He ran all over the house, his chubby little toddler legs carrying him as fast as he could go.  He was laughing and hollering with excitement.  The world was now in his grasp.  He could walk on his own!

Sometimes it is like that with God.  We know that He is calling us to do something, but we're afraid to do it, or there's something we've been seriously praying about, but we're afraid to act on it.

Image courtesy of Daniel St.Pierre at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


We need faith enough to act enough.  Sometimes we truly believe and have faith that God can do it, but we don't have enough faith to act on it.

We have to step out of our comfort zone!  In fact, don't just step out of it.  Leap out of it!

My son couldn't walk on his own while still holding onto my hand.  Peter couldn't walk on water while sitting safely in the boat.  Yes, he faltered when he took his eyes off Jesus and put them on his circumstances - but he DID walk on water.  Jesus called to him and he got out of the boat.

What boat are YOU sitting in today?  What are you holding onto so tightly that it is holding you back?

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (Matt. 14:27)

Let go and step out of your comfort zone.  Get out of the boat.  Trust God.  Don't be afraid.


If you don't want to miss any blog posts, you can follow me or subscribe in your reader or by email.  You   can also find me here on facebook as well!  I'd love to connect with you!

Be sure and come back Monday and link up to the Making Your Home Sing Monday meme!

 Today I am linking up with:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Home Again After Vacation and MYHSM Link Up


This last week we went to Disneyland.  Late nights and early mornings partying with Mickey and Minnie have left me tired.

I know, I know, you're saying "My heart bleeds for you....."

Having fun is hard work!

We flew home today and I am having the hardest time staying awake tonight.  You're probably thinking "Would you like a little cheese with that whine?"

So the best way for me to make my home sing this week is to start by getting a good night's sleep tonight.  Then I will have to unpack my suitcase tomorrow.

I am curious......what's the longest amount of time that you have waited to unpack your suitcase?  Do you unpack it right away?  Do you wait to unpack it until you need it again?  Just curious!  ;)

So no "real" MYHSM post to go with the link up today.  Just me going to bed and being nosey about your suitcase habits.  But I will leave you with this picture.....


 Apparently I did not get the memo that we were all wearing a graphic t-shirt that day......rude.

 Now join us for the Making Your Home Sing Monday meme! 


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. So have fun, do some blog hopping and if you want, link up!

Topics can include marriage, parenting, encouraging our husband or children or others, organization, cleaning, saving money, our behavior and attitudes, homemaking, homeschooling, recipes....the opportunities are endless. 

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 so that others can join the fun!

If you don't want to miss any blog posts, you can follow me or subscribe in your reader or by email.  You   can also find me here on facebook as well!  I'd love to connect with you! 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Battle Of The Leg Hair


Image courtesy of marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


O.k., whose brilliant idea was it that women should shave their legs? C'mon...'fess up....I really want to know! Who came up with that stupid idea?

What person sat a woman down one day and said, "Look, I really think that your legs would look better smooth. Seriously. Have you ever considered how much nicer they might look? Here, I want you to take this very sharp, dangerous instrument and scrape it across your legs as hard as you can. Be sure and do this several times, as hard as you can. Don't worry if you draw blood, it's only superficial."

"Next, I want you to take this very sharp, dangerous instrument and let it get dull until it barely works. Once it's dull, take it and scrape it up and down your legs, again, as hard as you can. Do this several times. Don't worry if the skin on your leg peels off....it will grow back." Who said that? Who did that? You're just dying to say a man, aren't you? Aren't you?

There are lots of women in other countries who have better things to do than sit there and measure the hair on their legs. Just so you know that I love you guys and am always looking out for you all....I did a google search on why women shave their legs. Clearly, I have waaaaaay to much time on my hands. Would somebody please get me a life? O.k., back to the search. Anyway, there were more answers than I cared to think about and I couldn't bring myself to read any of them. I just decided that there were just some things that we aren't meant to understand. Leg hair is one of them.

I mean, are my hairy legs hurting anybody???? Has anybody ever been stabbed by a stray leg hair? Has anybody ever crashed their vehicle because they were so distracted by the sheer weight of it all? Has anybody ever decided they couldn't go on anymore, unless I shaved, mowed, or braided them? Has anybody ever screamed "My eyes! My eyes!?" Has anybody ever lost their breakfast because of it? Have small children ever ran away crying because of it? (well, maybe they have...I dunno.)

I ask you. Do people write songs about it? Do they cry about it? Do they break up over it? No! No! and, again, No!

So what is the big hairy deal?.....(ooooooh, I am so sorry but I just couldn't resist that.) It is winter time for goodness sake.....winter. Winter when we all need a little extra warmth to keep us warm. Winter when it's time to slow down, and enjoy the leisurely pace. Winter when it's time to hide all of our chocolate splurges under big ole' sweaters and comfy clothes. Winter where we can wear boots, or long skirts or jeans, and just hide our hairy little secret.

C'mon now, admit it, you got some hair-thing happening don't ya...don't ya?! Oh. No. It's just me.....all along....I knew it was just me! I thought that I was taking a stand and being brave, looking out for you all, taking one for the team. I stand alone. Just me. Just me and my legs. All hairy. Now I suppose you will never come back and visit again, if you've even read this far. I have horrified you all. And don't ask me why I am even posting on this ridiculous subject.....I think it was the cinnamon and sugar pretzel.

Men don't have to shave their legs or under their arms. They don't even have to shave their faces if they don't want to. It's just not fair!!!!!

Don't even get me started on my armpits......

 
(Note: This post is from my archives as I am on vacation this week!)

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Why I Have Ugly Nails


The nails in this picture are NOT press on nails.  They aren't my ugly nails either. I was afraid to take a picture of my ugly nails for fear of frightening the children.

This is so ridiculous that I have to tell you what I attempted a couple of days ago. I meant well. I'll explain.

I have ugly nails. They are thin and they break, and I have no idea how to file or shape them. I set out to try to shape them and pretty soon I have the strangest looking nail you've ever seen. I accidentally file the sides too sharply and then it's one big pointy nail. Then I end up cutting it so what was the point? Hahaha. Get it, "the point?" Get it? Hehehe. Never mind.

O.k., so I know my limitations. But I decided I wanted to have pretty nails. However, I am too cheap to go to the nail shop and pay to get them done every few weeks. I did consider asking several people to sponsor me, but thought that might be a bit much. Even for me.

So one day I was at the store and bought some press-on nails. Yes I did. Stop laughing. I really did. I just was in the mood to try it. After all, how hard could it be? Glue and press. Glue and press. A child could do it. So could I.

I didn't try them then but just set them aside. Then last Sunday, before church, I suddenly had an overwhelming urge to put on the fake nails. So I sanded my nails a bit and glued those suckers on my right hand. After I did that I discovered that I hated them. All five of them. There was no way I was gluing the rest of them on the other hand.

They looked like long red claws. Or talons. Not only that, I couldn't do a thing with them! They didn't look that long when I was applying them though. I think they grew while on my fingers. So I walked around with them, trying to "live" with them, and decided I couldn't stand them and they needed to come off. The only thing was I had no idea how to do it, and I was starting to panic because I had to leave for church soon.

I googled it (have you ever tried to type with nails that feel like they are five feet long?) and wound up taking cotton balls dipped in acetone (thankfully I had some), stuck one on each nail, and then wrapped aluminum foil around each finger and let it soak. It looked ridiculous! However, my t.v. reception improved immensely.

To top it off, I suddenly remembered I hadn't eaten yet. I managed to fix myself some food and eat it, all with one hand. I didn't want to use the other hand as I didn't want acetone dripping in my food.

Finally, it was getting down to when I had to leave. My family had all left before I glued the nails on and had no idea of my dilemma. That's good because their laughter wouldn't have helped anyway.

I still hadn't changed my clothes or fixed my hair yet, the nails wouldn't come off, and I strongly felt that people might notice my aluminum foiled fingers. I stood there wondering what to do, madly thinking and praying with each breath.

I took a minute or two, asking myself what possessed me to glue claws on my hand right before I had to leave for church. At this point, I was considering my options. At first I figured I would just go to church with my bright red claw hand, and one normal hand and hoped noone would notice. Yeah, right.

However, I do not have the personality to do that. I found it hysterically funny (though frustrating) and I knew that I would have to point out my faux paux to practically everyone and show them my claw hand and normal hand. Then everyone would know because I couldn't help telling them. I'm weird that way.

Then I thought maybe I could cut the claw hand down, so they wouldn't quite look like talons. Then, I would just have one fake hand with bright red polish and one normal hand with no polish. I could set a new trend! I had one desperate thought of wearing my gloves for the entire service, or at least one glove (channeling early-Michael Jackson). I even thought of wrapping bandaids around each finger.

Finally I grabbed a nail file, removed the cotton and aluminum foil and tried to pry them off....saying/praying under my breath "Please God let them come off. What was I thinking? Please let them come off. I must have been out of my mind. Please let them come off. What was I thinking?"

You'll be happy to know that with a little poking, prodding, praying and a little pain they came off. I stand before you with ugly nails. One hand looks normal ugly, and one hand looks strange-ugly. Oh well. What else is new?



(Note: This post is from my archives as I am on vacation this week!)

If you don't want to miss any blog posts, you can follow me or subscribe in your reader or by email.  You can also find me here on facebook as well!  I'd love to connect with you!

Be sure and come back Monday and link up to the Making Your Home Sing Monday meme! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dealing With Sibling Rivalry And Bickering, Part Two



This is part two of a post on sibling rivalry and bickering (please click here if you didn't read part one). 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.

(Note: This post is from my archives as I am on vacation this week!)

If you don't want to miss any blog posts, you can follow me or subscribe in your reader or by email.  You can also find me here on facebook as well!  I'd love to connect with you!

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dealing With Sibling Rivalry And Bickering, Part One

 
This is part one of two posts. Sibling rivalry and bickering.....ain't it fun? Not! Yet, if you have more than one child, chances are you've faced it at one time or another.

My boys are four years apart and are 17 and 21. They get along really well and enjoy spending time together. In fact, they have pretty much always got along well. I think that that four year age gap helped!

I'm not saying there weren't moments that the younger didn't do something to annoy the older, or the older didn't do something to annoy his younger brother, but it hasn't affected their relationship long term.

Just as we want to teach our children to get along with others, we also want them to learn to get along with their siblings. Here are some things that we did and some other ideas which may help.

We did not allow them to get away with hitting one another. At some point, most children are going to hit, and now you as a parent have a choice to make. Are you going to tell them that hitting is wrong, and encourage them to use their words to communicate, instead of their fists? Are you going to make the decision that this can't be prevented and therefore do nothing to discourage it?

I think if we expect that to be the "norm," then it will be. If we just accept that our children will get in fist fights, etc., then I imagine they will. While it is likely that some, if not most, children will hit at one time or another, that doesn't mean we need to encourage it or say it's o.k.

We also discouraged our children from wrestling for the most part, as it's been my experience that wrestling often leads to fighting or someone accidentally getting hurt (not to mention one son got his tooth broken in half by his friend's wayward foot while wrestling). Wrestling with daddy was encouraged, but wrestling with one another was discouraged.

When one of the children has a friend over, we did not force him to include his sibling in their play. Sometimes the older offered to include his younger brother, but it was not required. When I was twelve, we always had to play with my best friend's five year old sister. I rarely got to play with my friend alone, as her mom always made her include her sister. It was not fun as her sister was very difficult to play with and always insisted on having her way.

I know that some people require that the siblings be included when a child has a friend over. I'm just saying that we didn't do that. Each child was allowed to have their own friendships without being forced to include their brother. However many times they did, and they still do today.

Build on their friendship. When the kids were about seven and eleven, the age gap began to grow wider. I set aside 30 minutes a day in which they were required to play together. Yes, required. They took turns choosing games each day and for a half hour they played and talked and laughed. Our desire was that they build on their relationship, and a relationship is hard to build when you aren't ever together.

Do not allow name calling. I know that this is another thing that many children do, but it doesn't mean that it has to be acceptable in our homes. Words can hurt, especially from someone you love. Would you go around calling your child a brat every time he acted up? No, you wouldn't as that would hurt him as well as begin to label him a brat in your own mind. We want to discourage our children from speaking hurtful words to one another.

(Note: This post is from my archives because I am on vacation this week!)

Please come back tomorrow for part two! (Please click here for part two)

If you don't want to miss any blog posts, you can follow me or subscribe in your reader or by email.  You can also find me here on facebook as well!  I'd love to connect with you!

Be sure and come back Monday and link up to the Making Your Home Sing Monday meme! 

I am linking this post to We Are That Family.

and  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

How To Have A Self-Cleaning Kitchen, Part Two


Yesterday I was talking about things you could do to make a clean kitchen a reality in your life (please click here for part one). 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.

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!

(Note: this post is from my archives as I am on vacation this week!)

If you don't want to miss any blog posts, you can follow me or subscribe in your reader or by email.  You can also find me here on facebook as well!  I'd love to connect with you!

Be sure and come back Monday and link up to the Making Your Home Sing Monday meme! 

Monday, December 3, 2012

How To Have A Self-Cleaning Kitchen, Part One


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 after 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.

(Note: This post was taken from my archives as I am taking a vacation this week!)

Please come back tomorrow for Part Two!  (Click here for part two)

If you don't want to miss any blog posts, you can follow me or subscribe in your reader or by email.  You can also find me here on facebook as well!  I'd love to connect with you!

Be sure and come back Monday and link up to the Making Your Home Sing Monday meme!



I am linking this post to We Are That Family and A Bowl Full of Lemons, also:

  TheBetterMom.com mop it up mondaysAll Things with PurposeFaithful Friday Blog Hop