Monday, February 25, 2013

Need peace in your heart?

From Chaos to Calm: 15 Weeks to a Happy Home | A Virtuous Woman

My cyber-friend,  Melissa is starting a 15 week daily devotion to help bring peace and calm to our hearts and home. She is also recording podcasts to go along with the series. I loved Melissa's sites, I've been visiting her for 5 or 6 years now.  I stopped by for the vegetarian recipes, stayed for the lovely company. Melissa is a gentle, fierce woman of God.
I've been thinking of the changes and challenges I'll be facing in 2013. I'm hoping to gain discipline and focus over the next few months. Stop by, she has the welcome mat out.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I can't create the life I have just reading about the life I want

My's like cheese, or chips, or brownies, I could really let myself binge! And so it is with surfing around on the net.  There are so many wonderful, inspiring women out there. I could just read their sites for hours.


I ask myself...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The best 45 minutes a day

There are SO MANY things that we have to make sure our children do daily; brush their teeth, school work, eat their fruits and veggies, some sort of artistic pursuit, play outside for an hour, play with siblings, chores, creative writing, build, explore plus I'm told they need at least 9 hours sleep! And I'M supposed to find time to clean, cook, work, exercise, walk the dog, bills, study, read, husband is around somewhere. Aaaauuugh. I only have 24 hours folks.
It can be tough to prioritize.  And all our shoulds can make parenting stressful and overwhelming. I have rarely hit all the marks, most time our daily shoulds turn in to eventually we'll get there. (And yes, I've sent a child to school without brushing their teeth...they lived.)
There is one activity I want to stress the importance of - reading aloud to your children! Reading aloud is so important. As an educator, I have learned that reading aloud is perhaps the most important activity in the teaching of reading. Children need to hear the best literature read aloud to them everyday.  And not just when they can't read it for themselves, but through all of their school years!
I don't think read alouds are time for the children to just lie back and float off to dream land. During a read aloud we model to our children how to think sequentially, we comment on characters and the reason for events, we predict, we retell the story, etc.  We model all of the strategies they can use as independent readers. This does not take a PhD. It boils down to reading the story aloud, letting your child know you enjoyed it, making comments along the way ("Oh, I didn't expect that to happen." "Why did she go there?") and asking your child what part they liked/disliked and to tell you about it. Reading together shows a child this is an activity you value and you want to share it with them.
Hubby and I have always made time for reading in our lives. Our house is full of books, we checked out the local library first before deciding to move to our little village, we join in the girls' excitement when a new and wonderful book is discovered.  Okay, you get the picture - we are book people, folks! We wear the love of reading on our sleeves.
When they were little we grabbed little bits of time to read to the morning while we were drinking coffee and wanted a quiet activity, while waiting for lunch, rainy days, bedtime, bath time, potty time (do you?), anytime.
Now that they are older and reading on their own, I've forgotten the importance of reading aloud.  I still do during sick days and summer break, but that has been it.
This year reading aloud is going back on the list of important activities!!!! Tatatada! (can you tell I've been thinking about my priorities this new year?) Will I do a daily read aloud? No way, just not in the cards.  But I'm going to look for those moments when we can share a few pages and meet new characters together.  There are plenty of on-line resources that suggest excellent read alouds for every age group. I'm gonna get a paperback version, put it within easy reach, read it aloud, and draw power and peace and strength from reading. What a great thing to share.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

2 servings a day

I don't know why, I just am not much of a fruit person.  Love vegetables but I've really got to work at it to just get one serving of fruit a day.  I never much cared...but there is nothing like having children around to make you want to change your bad habits! They have the annoying tendency to do what you do, not what you say.
I'm working on upping my fruit intake and making it more of my everyday diet. The health benefits of fruit are many; it provides fiber, reduces the risk of heart disease, some cancers, and high blood pressure. But mostly, snacking on fruit is a habit I want my children to develop again-and it is up to me to set the example. Now that they are older, this momma has let the junky food creep into the house a little too much. As Cookie Monster says, "Cookies are a sometimes food."
I'm a snacker and frequently snack on tortilla chips, cookies, nuts, dried cereal, etc. I know there are better choices, but it's just so convenient (and yummy)! Now I keep a bowl of fruit out on the table, couldn't be more convenient.
The simple move of getting the fruit out of the frig and putting it out where we can see it has worked well for the girls.  Um, momma still needs to keep her hand out of the Veggie Booty bag.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sick Day

Charlotte didn't go to school yesterday. The girls passed a stomach bug back and forth - twice. Everyone seems to be up and running now, but we are a pretty worn out bunch.
Charlotte stayed in her pj's all day.  I let her watch a little TV in the morning, but that was it.  We try to keep TV to a minimum at our house. By the afternoon Charlotte was feeling much better, so of course that began the chorus of "I'm bored."  Done with reading, drawing, etc. Charlotte came downstairs and asked to sew.
I keep supplies within easy reach so when they get bit by the art bug they can quickly gather materials to satisfy whatever "itch" they got.
We have a big bin of felt and tons of embroidery floss. She cut out her pattern and set to it.
When big sister got home, she got into the act. (Scrap fabric left over from Home Ec apron project is now a fashion statement)
Yup, sewing was definitely good medicine :).

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Throw it in

I love to make soups and stews in the winter, especially ones where everything just gets thrown in the pot. This momma has a busy week planned, so I'm making tomorrow's dinner today. It's so easy, thought I'd share the recipe.
Um, I'm not real great with measurements - I just chop it up and throw it in!
Into your crockpot:
One butternut squash, peeled and cubed
One small eggplant, cubed
A couple of zucchini
10 oz. frozen okra

Add in some kind of  tomatoes; either chop up a fresh one, add a can of diced, pour in some sauce, I put in a few T of paste and a bit of water.

Chop up an onion
Chop up one carrot

Add in some vegetable broth to keep everything moist, 1/2 to 1 cup should do it.

Add in a handful of raisins-that's 1/3 c.
 One clove garlic, chopped
Spices: cumin, turmeric, cinnamon and paprika. (Miss Charlotte is on an IBS diet right now, so I went very light on the spices. Season how you wish)
 Fire up the crockpot or stick it in the frig, and you've got dinner! Cook on low for 10 hours or so. I'll pull it out when I leave in the morning at 7 and dinnertime in around 5:30.


PICTURE FIND-(we all use my camera so I never know what pictures will pop up)
The girls made Groundhog Day treats -

He saw his shadow - sigh.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Wow, I'm a creative momma after all!

Who knew? I've often gotten in the rut of comparing myself to other mothers.  Mothers who were smart, skinny, creative, stylish...just about everything I felt I wasn't.  I would visit blogs of other moms and see how creative and clever they were, seeing their lives in their nicely decorated homes and awed by the scenes of their peaceful days in artistic pursuits with their children.  And me, I was just being mommy to my two incredible girls, but not doing anything special. I always felt inadequate after viewing those blogs. Do you ever find yourself walking this path?
A few years ago I bought a book by a very well known mama blogger. I thought (and so did the 1000s who visited her blog) her approach to mothering was so creative and imaginative. Again, I compared myself to her...she's more stylish, younger, her kids so cutely dressed, her house was better decorated - heck, it was just decorated. I felt like I was an okay mom, but nothing worth shouting about. I didn't have a blog, no one lauded my creativity, I was just exploring each day with my girls. Nothing special.
Last week I FINALLY cracked open her book. The entire time I was reading it I found myself saying, "Oh, we do that," "I always do that," "Yes, I remember doing that with the girls when they were little."
I did/do most everything that is in her book!!!! (This is truly a revelation)
What?!? I'm a creative, imaginative momma?  Well...maybe...yes, I seem to be.

We created, explored, imagined, celebrated, wondered, discovered and grew.  Who knew what an incredibly creative family we were...are.
The girls are now older than they were in these pictures, but the seeds of creativity are firmly planted in those little women. (They spent this day off from school writing stories, baking cookies and learning to crochet!)
Naaa, I do not think I could write a book. However, I find I don't need this book from "creative" mama whose blog I used to read.
Think I'll gift it to my local library. :)
Friends, feel confident that you have the ability to create!