Thursday, April 29, 2010

Discipline Problems

What do you do with a strong-willed child?  When she knows she's right and the world is wrong and she will not take no for an answer. It's a long, hard road trying to teach a child how to be compliant without breaking her spirit.

I want my daughter to be strong willed as a child.  It means she's going to be a strong willed woman, and no one will be able to walk all over her.  But I want her to learn the importance of being respectful as well.  She needs to understand that being disobedient and disrespectful is never okay.

But what do you do when it affects your personal life.  For example, yesterday I had to miss class because my daughter threw a temper fit in front of her elementary school.  She did NOT want to go to school.  I gave in.  That was where I went wrong.

The key, I think (and the one thing where I fail miserably) is CONSISTENCY.  If only I had done my part as a parent, I believe that the incident yesterday would never have happened.  It wasn't something that just happened, either.  There had been an entire morning building up to that moment.  From refusing to find shoes, to refusing to get into the car, refusing to comply was the theme of the day.  I will not make excuses for her behavior, because regardless of what I did wrong, what she did was ABSOLUTELY inexcusable.  But just knowing that if I had done one thing differently the entire course of the day might have gone differently really makes me think.

I'm reading a book entitled "Your Defiant Child".  I'm hoping it might give me some more insight on Emily's behavior issues and what to do about them. I am also hoping that Ronnie is on board with some of the very interesting changes the book says to do.  I'm not sure about them, but if it works, it may be worth it.

Wish me luck.

Monday, April 26, 2010

What's For Dinner? Week at a glance plus bonus recipe!

What's for Dinner This Week?

Meatless Monday!
Mushroom Spaghetti
Green Salad

Terrific Tuesday!
Tuna Casserole w/Peas
Green Salad

Wonderful Wendsday
Crock Pot Roast Beef and Veggies

Thrilling Thursday!
Taco Skillet Meal w/Corn and Brown Rice

Fabulous Friday!
Make Your Own Pizzas

Super Saturday
Grilled Hot Dogs
Steak Fries

Sovereign Sunday
Smoked Chicken
Green Beans

Recipe for Taco Skillet Meal w/ Corn and Brown Rice
Serves 4-6

1 lb ground turkey breast
1 can tomato paste
1 1/2 c beef stock
1 packet reduced-sodium taco seasoning
1/2 C roasted red bell peppers, chopped
1/2 C onion, chopped
1/2 C frozen corn
1/2 C cooked brown rice
1/2 C shredded cheese

In large skillet, brown turkey breast in 1 T extra virgin olive oil or canola oil.  Add onion and saute until onion is translucent.  Add roasted red bell peppers and corn, mix to combine.  Add tomato paste and stir into mixture in pan for about a minute, to slightly cook paste.  Add beef stock and mix well.  Bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium low and add rice.  Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until sauce is thickened. Remove from heat.  Add cheese and put a lid on the pan.  Allow to sit another 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

When Is Quitting OK?

For the past couple of years, my daughter has obsessed over soccer.  She loved the game and everything about it.  She loved the uniforms, the shoes, the shin guards, the ball.  She loved to run, kick, and block.  And then, one day, out of the blue, it changed.  Suddenly, she didn't want to play anymore.  She is going through some embarrassing medical problems that I think have really fueled this decision.  Not only that, but she said to me, "Momma, it's just not FUN anymore".

I really struggled with the choice of weather or not to allow her to quit playing.  After all, I had invested precious time, energy, and money into the whole thing.  But then I thought long and hard about it.  Even though she's only six, she should be allowed to make her own choices when it comes to major life decisions.  At six, weather or not to play soccer is about as big a major life decision as you can get.  Allowing her to make this choice shows her that I trust her judgement enough to allow her to make her own choices.  She gets so few in her life as it is - I choose what she eats, where she goes, and what she plays/watches. Her father and I choose where she goes to school, where we live, and how we get around.  We chose how much money we spend on her school clothes and weather or not she gets that Barbie doll she's been wanting for months.  She still makes choices throughout the day - weather she will eat what I give her, what she wears, Sponge Bob or Martha Speaks . . . But not very often is she given the opportunity to make a major choice like that.

So often, I see parents that don't give their children any choices.  They may be control freaks.  They may be enablers or protectors - scared to death that their child might actually make the wrong choice.  I think this is teaching our children the wrong thing.  We have to show them that we trust them enough, at a young age, to make certain choices on their own.  Not doing so would be such a huge disservice to them.  Right now, Emily's choice was about soccer.  Next year, it may be about basketball or cheerleading. But in a few years, there are going to be bigger choices - weather to use drugs or not, weather or not to have sex with that cute boy in her science class . . . these are choices that she has to make for herself.  They're not mine to make for her.

I have to allow her to make mistakes - so that she can learn from them and grow in wisdom and experience. Allowing her to make those choices now, and learning from them, will help her be more confident in the future about making choices on her own.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Perfection-Free Zone (1 Corinthians 13:10)

1 Corinthians 13:10 " . . . but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears . . ."

I used to get so frustrated when I looked at my home.  It was filthy.  It was worse than filthy in some respects. Cluttered, dirty, ugly.  When I'd clean, I'd be exhausted within fifteen minutes.  Why?  Not because of the mess, but because I was striving for something unattainable - perfection.  There was only one perfect being that ever walked the earth, and frankly, I'm not Him.

It took a while for me to see the problem with perfection.  It made me crazy.  I would clean, and turn around and it would be imperfect again.  I would throw my hands up and yell "what's the point?".  I fussed at my children, my spouse, myself.  I was miserable and so was everyone around me.  It was not until I finally realized that perfection wasn't going to happen that I was able to let go of this mindset.

I look around now at my imperfect home.  My floors are currently not vacuumed, swept, or mopped ( I will get to that later this week) but the floors are picked up and free from clutter.  My sink (due to a broken dishwasher) is currently filled with dirty dishes.  But my stove top, my counters, and even my appliances are clean. I have dirt behind the refrigerator, under the couch, behind the toilet.  But you can't see it.  It drives me crazy, to a point, to know that these imperfections are there, but then I think about my own imperfections in my sinful, human nature.

God doesn't seek perfection in us, why should we seek it in our own lives?  I am not perfect.  I am a sinner.  I try to do God's will, but sometimes it eludes me.  I forget to read my bible one day, I skip church services to sleep in, I yell at my children, I even say a choice word or two to idiots in my child's school car line.  God loves me anyway. So, I have to look at my home imperfections in the same way God looks at mine.  They're there, but forgivable. They exist, but they don't change the heart of my home.

I have deemed my home perfection-free.  I no longer seek perfection, but rather I seek "good enough".  If I'm good enough for God, with all of my imperfections, then my home should be good enough for me with all of its imperfections.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Money Matters

In this economy, money has become one of the most important issues weighing on family's hearts.  There are still families out there without jobs, some without homes, and the poverty level of the United States is at an all-time high.  With that in mind, saving money has become the number one thing on everyone's mind.

One of the best ways to save money is, of course, to just not buy anything.  By that I mean anything frivolous.  Who REALLY needs a 42 inch plasma HD or the best video gaming system around.  These are WANTS not NEEDS.  It's okay, even necessary to give in to those wants every once in a while, but not every month.  Rather, save the money you would have spent and put it in an emergency fund, go on a family trip somewhere, or, better yet, put it in a fund and watch it grow.

If you do have to make a big purchase, or even a medium one, such as a car or clothes, buy used!  Nowadays, you can get a wonderful pre-owned car at a fraction of what a new one would cost.  And there are thousands of thrift stores and resale shops that can save you up to a whopping 95% on items like clothes and shoes (only buy shoes that do not look worn, though, and sanitize them with Lysol or in a hot dryer before wearing).

Another way to save money is in the grocery store.  I used to laugh at women that used coupons on a regular basis.  Now I long to be one of them and learn their wise ways.  Done right, shopping with coupons can save you 50-85% on your grocery bill! Additionally, look at the brands your buying.  Do they work for you?  If you buy a name brand, is it the best value? Some store brands are great, but not all are the best value for your buck. For example, one store brand has a cooking spray that is almost a dollar cheaper than their competitor.  BUT the quality is horrible and the spray doesn't work right half the time, leaking the product out on my hand when I use it. With the name brand,  however, the spray works perfectly, so I therefore use less. With the store brand, I was buying it every week. With the name brand, I am buying it every two weeks. I prefer to spend the extra dollar buying the name brand, knowing that I'm getting a better value. It's the same with many other products as well - pasta sauce, rice, skillet meals . . . remember, some of these products probably cost less for a reason (NOT ALL - I can contest to many, many store brand products that are wonderful!)!

Yet another savings can be in your home.  Heating and cooling costs are higher and higher each year.  If you feel your bill is too high, there are several things you can do to help with that.  Add extra insulation under your home (for pier and beam homes or for manufactured homes) or in the attic, find tinted film to layer onto your windows, find window sealers you can put at the bottom of your window frame to shut out drafts, if you have the money, invest in a couple of window units for your most used rooms for the summer - it's been proven that using a window unit instead of central heat and air can save up to 30% in the summer. When you buy new appliances, look for those with the Energy Star rating - they're good for the planet and your pocket book.

One final way you can save money is to do and make things yourself.  The internet is riddled with recipes for home made foods, cleaning products, even hair care and pet care products that you can make yourself.  These things can save you up to 75%!

Remember that sometimes in order to SAVE money, you may first have to SPEND some money.  But in the long run, the money you save will long make up for what you spend preparing.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Making Schedules

I have learned that schedules help with so many things.  They keep us focused at the task at hand, and remind us what's coming up later. I have schedules for everything: My daughter's morning and afternoon routines, cleaning routines, laundry routines . . . you name it.  Even my meal plans are a kind of schedule.  Here are a few examples:

Laundry Schedule:
Sheets and Blankets
Emergency Wash
Clean Laundry Room

This has helped us tremendously with our laundry issue.

Another schedule I use is my cleaning schedule.  Of course, there are things (like dishes and general picking up) that need to be done daily, but for detailed things I use this list (along with my Fly Lady Daily Challenges)

Change Sheets
Sort Laundry
Take Trash Cans to Curb
Sweep and Mop
(Class this day, so no detail cleaning)
Clean Fridge
Pantry/Fridge/Freezer inventory
Meal plan for next week
DeClutter Kids Rooms
Sweep and Mop
Weekly Home Blessing
Kids Clean their Rooms
Laundry Room
Day Of Rest

Then, of course, there is daily schedules and routines for my daughter (6):

After School Schedule
3:30-4 Snack
4-5 Homework time (If no homework, may play outside or with toys)
5-5:30 DVD/TV time
5:30-6 Dinner
6-6:10 10 minute tidy in room
6:10-6:30 DVD/TV time
6:30-7 Bath Time
7-7:30 Quiet time
7:30-7:45 Reading Time
7:45 Bed Time

Emily's Morning Routine

Make Bed
Put clothes in hamper
Get Dressed to shoes and hair
Take breakfast dishes to sink when done
Make sure backpack gets to car

These are just a few of the examples of how schedules can improve your life.  I am a chronically disorganized person by nature - I have to have these (posted everywhere, mind you) otherwise, my home is in shambles. Give them a try, if you dare!  You might find they improve your life as well!