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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ways to Alleviate Stress During Special Events

Christmas really is a magical time of year. I love the twinkling lights, the pretty decorations and the lovely gifts. Oh, and I really love the Christmas cookies! It can be stressful though, rushing around town buying presents, wrapping, decorating, baking and taking your kids to visit Santa, not to mention the Christmas parties and gift swaps at work or school. Visiting family and friends can also be a stressful event, particularly if the home you’re visiting does not have children living there. Yikes! 

My kids are very active and very rough so I’m always concerned they will break something or get hurt when visiting or during a family function. Here are some ways I try to combat that:

Outdoor Playtime
Yes, I know it’s really cold right now but I do try to make sure the kiddos go out to play for a little bit before we leave. We’ll take a little walk or clear the snow off the porch.  Maybe hunt for a special rock or a pretty leaf to give to our host. Anything to get a tad bit of exercise!

Take Alongs
My son has a small backpack that we usually bring along that we fill with books and other smaller toys. It helps my children be less tempted to play with knick knacks or other household decorations at the gathering. We always bring 10 things so that I know how many items we’ll have to hunt for at the end of the event. I also put their blankets in the car, just in case they need a break time mid-event.

Ask
I’ve been visiting different family or friends and instead of sitting and enjoying the company, I’m chasing my children to make sure they don’t break anything. As I’ve matured in my parenting role, I’ve learned to ask the host if he or she could put certain items out of reach of my children. I’ll say something like “I’m sorry but my child really is enjoying playing with this beautiful bowl of potpourri but I’m afraid she’s going to break it. Is there any chance we could move it for a bit and maybe she’ll forget about it?” A gracious host should understand and move the object for you. 

Rules
We always discuss rules on our way to the event. We talk about items to play with (toys and books), running outside (not inside) and any other things that may bring about negative behavior. As soon as we arrive at the event, I pull my child aside and say, “See that corner right there? That will be your timeout spot, if I see you breaking our rules.” It’s important for children to know that they can still be disciplined even though they are at a special event. 

Reward
Decide on a reward beforehand and discuss it with your child. Reward them with something special if they have good behavior. Our rewards are typically fake tattoos, a piece of candy or extra story before bed. They serve as good reminders if you see that twinkle of mischief in your child’s eye.

Check-in
Check in with your child periodically during the event. Don’t just turn them loose on another person’s home. This brings out bad behavior because your child will be curious and want to explore as well as test who is the actual authority (you or the host). Checking on your child will assure them you know what’s going on and they won’t act out to try to get your attention. A quick hug works wonders for us!

Saying Goodbye 
Know when your child is maxed out. Don’t stay out past their normal bedtime and try to make sure they’re eating on their regular schedule. A hungry, sleepy child is the perfect combination for a meltdown.

I hope these tricks will help you and your child enjoy the Christmas parties a little more this year. Of course, nothing is fail proof and we all have bad days. I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Reason for the Season


Baking Christmas Cookies.  Hanging Ornaments on the Christmas Tree.  Shopping for that special gift.  Winter break from school.  All of these things bring back warm memories of Christmas spent with family and friends.  As we approach this holiday season, it is so easy to get caught up in all the “Holiday Hype” and forget the true meaning of this season.  It is not about the gift giving (although it is a fun tradition); it is not about the family getting together and enjoying a meal together.  The real meaning of Christmas is about God’s Love …. That God so loved us that He sent Jesus so that we could have eternal life with Him.  Jesus is the Reason for this season.  So while retail stores and corporations are saying “Happy Holidays”, I insist on saying “Merry Christmas”.   This holiday, take time to be grateful for the Ultimate Gift … the gift of Jesus. 

Moms, read the Christmas story to your children on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning (Read Luke 2:1-20).  Remind them what this season is really about.

From our home to yours, from Village Moms and Crossroads: May you know the Peace that comes from a personal relationship with our Savior, Jesus.  Have a blessed Christmas.

Monday, December 9, 2013

5 Great Crock Pot Recipes

Hey Mamas! It's freezing here today and we have a dusting of snow on the ground. We had story time at the library this morning followed by a mini-playdate afterwards. We hit up the grocery store and then headed home for lunch. I ate a slice of cold leftover pizza while putting groceries away. If that doesn't sound like a crock pot meal for dinner kind of day then I don't know what does!

Tonight I'm making Crock Pot Chicken Parm. It's one of our favorites! It smells so good right now. I can't wait until it's done.

Here are 4 of our other favorites. Sorry, no red meat. I don't like it so I don't cook it.

Slow-cooker Macaroni and Cheese. When I serve this I call it "Cheesey Noodles". I never tell my kids we're having macaroni and cheese unless it's from a box because they're so used to it that way, that's what they expect. This dish is much richer and not as sweet as the boxed version. I adore it.

Crock Pot Chicken Teriyaki. This is so good and makes a huge portion! I serve it with rice or noodles and steamed broccoli. Really good.

Creamy Slow Cooker Tortellini Soup. My mom gave me this recipe and I am so glad she did. Thanks Mom! :) I make my own white sauce a day or two ahead of time. You can make your own or use store bought. I typically use chicken broth in place of the vegetable broth because that's what I usually have on hand. Making your own chicken broth is so easy and inexpensive that I highly recommend you try it! I started out using a recipe but it's one of those things that doesn't really need one.

Here's what I do:

After I cook a whole chicken in my crock pot and we've eaten most of the meat off of it, I fill it almost completely to the top with water. I then add about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. You don't need to do this but it helps pull beneficial minerals from the chicken bones into the broth, which is a big health advantage. I let it sit, covered, for about an hour. Then I throw in some vegetables and a little salt. Then I cook it on low for about 12 hours. After it's done cooking, strain out the bones and vegetable peels and pour the broth into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate. Once the fat makes a thin layer on the top, then scoop it off. You can use your broth for different recipes throughout the week. You'll have plenty to freeze for later as well. I freeze my broth in 2 cup portions in clearly labeled plastic zip-top bags.

For the times when I have leftover chicken or bones but no time or need to make broth then I throw it in a plastic freezer bag in my freezer. That way I don't have to throw away valuable broth ingredients.

Crock Pot Italian Chicken. This is another really good yet simple recipe. I usually make my own dry Italian dressing mix but you can use store bought to save time. I also make large batches of Cream of Chicken soup and freeze them in can-sized portions. This can be time consuming but I feel so much better serving a healthier version to my family.

Let me know what you think of these recipes. If you have a favorite crock pot recipe please feel free to share it!


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Distractions & December


I hope you all enjoyed Thanksgiving as much as I did. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. There's so much less fuss than Christmas. We enjoyed a relaxed morning and then a wonderful afternoon and evening at my in-laws house. The meal was so tasty and having our family together was so nice. 

Christmas is approaching so fast! Last year at this time I was about 36 weeks pregnant. It wasn’t pretty. I was really overwhelmed at the thought of having two children as well as knowing I would be having my second caesarean. Needless to say, I did not enjoy Christmas last year. As a believer, I should have been elated to celebrate the birth of my Savior! I was so nervous about the task that God had put in front of me that I forgot my true joy. 

December can be a month full of distractions from what is truly important. Not only are we overloaded with images of gifts but we are pressured to spend, spend, spend our hard earned money on them! The glitter, the shiny ornaments, Santa, parties, etc are all just distractions to the fact that God gave us the best gift we will ever receive. His Son.


Whatever you are facing this holiday season, don’t forget that God is looking down on you in love. He is there holding your hand, wrapping you in His peace and light. Turn to Him and embrace Him.

“Answer me when I call to you,
O my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
be merciful to me and hear my prayer.”
Psalm 4:1

Can you identify with the anguish of King David as he is crying out to God in this psalm? Approach God and give your burdens to Him. Cry out to Him. He longs to take you in His arms and give you joy. One of my favorite verses found in Jeremiah is proof. 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

My prayer is that you’ll keep Jeremiah 29:11 as your anthem as you navigate the path God has laid before you. Let us embrace the coming weeks with excitement as we prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth. 

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”

Love this video from Hillsong United.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sponges, Part II


In our last blog we discussed how children absorb everything.  They copy the good things we do, and the bad things we do.  We want to give them good things to mimic on purpose. One of the first things I think about is a love for reading.  If you have young children, read to them.  If your children are 7 – 11, read together.  Have your children read to you, and you read to them.  If your children are 12 – 17, encourage them to read for fun.  Find a subject they are interested in, take them to the library, and require them to read – particularly during school breaks and the summer.   Let your children see you reading.  If you struggle with reading, read anyway.  The more you read, the better you will get, and ….. your children will see your reading.  Why is reading so important?  Reading helps children develop language, speech and communications skills.  It helps them develop a strong vocabulary which will help them in school, and in life. When reading to young children, reading helps the child develop a closer relationship with you. My children loved our reading time before they went to bed.  It was their quiet time with me.  When older children read, it helps them explore new concepts and discover different places.  Reading helps children use and develop their imagination. 

One of my sons told me today how much he hated reading as a child; but, he said, you made me do it.  He read all the Berenstain Bear books when he was little, and then as he grew older, all the Star Wars books.  He didn’t like a lot of variety but he did learn to enjoy reading.  

Thought for the day: Reading is a gift that keeps on giving. It is one of the most important gifts you can give your children.  If you have never been to your local library, or you have not been in a long time, make a decision to visit this week.  Discover all the wonderful books and other resources that are available for FREE. To find libraries in your area, search http://www.publiclibraries.com.



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sponges

Sponges.  That’s what children are. From the time they recognize you, until they are grown, they watch everything you do, and do their best to mimic it. I remember a TV commercial from my childhood: there was a dad and his little boy.  The dad was painting the side of a house; the son was painting the side of the house. The dad was driving his car.  The little boy was driving his car.   The little boy did everything his dad did.  Like father, like son. The dad picked up a stone; the little boy picked up a stone.  The dad threw the stone; the little boy threw the stone.  This scenario continued until the last scene where the dad lit a cigarette.  As the dad put down his cigarette pack, the little boy looked at his dad smoking, and picked up the cigarette pack. The commercial was an anti-smoking commercial and made the statement – "Like father like son – think about it".  That son was a sponge, watching and soaking up everything his dad did.

Our children are like that too.  Everything they see you do, everything they see on TV, at school, they absorb it just like a dry sponge.  They take it all in, and they imitate.  This is why it is so important what you let your children watch on TV, or what you expose them to.  As moms, we want the best for our children.  We want them to live healthy meaningful lives.  I ask the question: what did you do or say today that you want your child to mimic?  What did you do or so today that you do NOT want your child to repeat? 

A young mom told me recently that she heard her 4 year old scold her 2 year old little sister using a curse word.  She said her daughter did not use the word viciously but in a simple straight-forward manner.   After she tried to contain her laughter, because it really was funny; she had to explain to her daughter that she could not use that word.  Her daughter was confused because she knew she had heard her mom say the word.  This mom told me she knew she was going to have to watch her language, and “clean up her act”, because she did not want her daughter going around cursing. 

This does not just apply to young children.  One of my grown sons teases me by telling me that he drives like me, but better (of course).  When I ride with him, I realize he picked up a couple of my bad driving habits.  My husband and I taught him how to drive; we taught him the rules of the road; however, how I drove spoke much louder to him, then what I taught. 

What are some good things you want your children to absorb?  Over the next few blogs we will discuss some good habits and traditions to model in front of your children. 

Thought for today: Ephesians 5:1 (Message Bible):  Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. 


I found the old “Like Father, Like Son” commercial on YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmzDLzqQ-A0.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mama Education


I hope you caught my last Village Moms post, Thriving Families. If not, then check it out here. One of the ways I keep my family thriving is by educating myself and I wanted to elaborate on the different ways I do that. I think it’s extremely important to keep updated on all the different research studies that are published, in addition to following other mom bloggers, reading books and keeping in touch with different experts on various issues that we as moms face. I am also a big believer in simply asking friends, family, teachers and pediatricians their opinions or ideas on solving problems.

I love reading. I don’t get to read as often or as much I would like to but that’s how life is as a busy mom. I am very thankful for my library and utilize it frequently. It helps save money and space in my home. (If I love a book and think I’ll use it as a reference then I’ll go ahead and purchase it. I use half.com and amazon.com to buy used books.) I set aside time each morning and evening for the purpose of reading. It takes me awhile to get through books but when I am focused on setting aside time, even if it’s only ten minutes a day, I make slow but steady progress.

Favorite Books
Most of the books on this list are straight forward parenting books, some are Bible studies and some are a combination of the two. 

Love & Logic by Jim Fay & Foster Cline
Love & Logic is based on using choices as a way of getting your children to do what you want. For example, “Do you want help cleaning up the blocks or would you like to clean up alone?” I used this philosophy in my daycare and always had good luck with it. It definitely takes practice to get in the habit of offering choices. It really made me examine how I word questions or demands to my children. There are other points in this book that definitely make it worth reading. Plus, it’s filled with pretty funny stories! They have a variety of books designated for different age groups as well.

This is more of a parenting book and Bible study rolled into one. I liked this because I could read it very slowly. I didn’t have to finish the entire book straight through. I could read a chapter and put it away for awhile, if life got busy. My favorite chapter was “Jacob’s Mood Toward His Brood”. The book gives the background on Jacob and his family and the favoritism he had experienced as a child and how that influenced his own parenting. Very interesting stuff! The book was more about what these parents really screwed up and how to learn from it. 

Married Mom, Solo Parent by Carla Anne Coroy 
This is a good book for those of you who have husbands that work alot or are away from home due to traveling for work or being in the military. It’s full of encouragement and different ways to combat the loneliness, anger and frustration of being married but not necessarily feeling like it. Carla's website has great information and other resources. 

Bad Kids Of The Bible by Thomas Craughwell 
This is also another parenting book/Bible study. Each chapter tells the story of the “Bad Kid” and then explains what we can learn from the problem and how it applies to parenting.

The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell 
I highly recommend this book! The Five Love Languages is such an interesting break down of how we all give and receive love. The Five Love Languages for Children applies the concepts to our children. You can take a quiz here to better assist you in understanding your love language. I think the first step is understanding your own love language and then understanding your child’s love language. It can truly transform any relationship in your life!

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Theodore A. Tripp 
I read this book before I began my parenting journey. It was very educational for me because I was about to become a mom so I really had no idea of what the future would hold. It is a book that you’ll want to really be able to focus and concentrate on.

The Duggars: 20 and Counting! by Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar 
Yes, I am a huge Duggar fan! No, I do not want 18 of my own children but I absolutely love alot of their parenting philosophies. Jim Bob & Michelle cover alot of different issues from their debt-free living, potty training, feeding a huge family on a budget and really great organizing tips. Be prepared when you read this because their viewpoint is dramatically different from most of society. You will be truly touched at how they love each and every one of their children. Check out their website as well.

Your Child’s Health by Barton D. Schmitt, M.D., F.A.A.P. 
Our son’s pediatrician actually gave us this book. It’s a great reference tool for medicine dosage, how to handle fevers, sleep regression, breastfeeding and a multitude of other health issues. It's very handy and I really am able to trust this information since our doctor gave it to us. You can also ask your child's pediatrician if there are any reference books he or she recommends.

I read this when my son turned 2. Gosh, that was such a hard year! I was having so many problems with my son and I thought that I had to be missing something when dealing with him. This book really helped me understand the natural tendencies of my boy and how to deal with them. I have not yet read “Bringing Up Girls” but I would guess that it is equally as educational. 

The Preschooler’s Busy Book by Trish Kuffner 
This is a great tool to have to solve boredom. Kuffner also has many other books. I have the Toddler Busy Book also.

This is filled with encouragement, funny stories and parenting help for every mama out there. 

God’s Promises and Answers by Word Publishing Staff 
I got this for my high school graduation and have referenced it frequently. It isn’t a parenting book but I always feel the Word of God is filled with applicable lessons and this book helps me find them.

Grace For The Moment by Max Lucado 
This is not necessarily a parenting book either but we could use a little grace as parents. We should offer a little more grace to ourselves as well as to our children. We all make mistakes and it’s what we do with them that counts.

There are many wonderful parenting books out there that address many issues so this is not a complete list of everything I would recommend. If you’re a new parent or about to become one then I also suggest you do a little research on Piaget’s Cognitive Stages of Development . This was one of my favorite topics to study in school. I think it’s really interesting and a good measure of how much you should expect from your child. 

Favorite Websites & Blogs 
These are a collection of sites that help me run my household more efficiently, be a better mom or are strictly Biblical. If I’m not connected to God then I am hopelessly lost as a parent. 
  1. Stacey Makes Cents  She’s funny, has great recipes and will teach you how to save money.
  2. Money Saving Mom This is a great one to help save money. Obviously!
  3. The MOB Society Sounds scary but it’s The Moms Of Boys Society. I love the encouragement, crazy stories and monthly prayer calendar. 
  4. Proverbs 31 Ministries Uplifting help and hope to navigate life.
  5. 100 Days Of Real Food To be honest, this one made me feel overwhelmed and guilty at first. However, if you want to make real changes to your family’s diet then this is a great tool. I take it with a grain of salt because I have neither the time, budget or interest to be able to 100% feed my family the way that Lisa does. I give her credit for being able to do it though! It’s definitely a great one full of recipes and free meal plans.
  6. Jen Thorn  Jen’s goal is to educate us and help bring us closer to God. 
  7. Focus On the Family  Great resource!
  8. Parenting Magazine Website  I used to get the magazine but the website is so great that I really didn’t see the need to continue my subscription, especially when the baby just loves to tear up my magazines anyway.
Parenting Classes
I do try to take parenting classes to continue my education. You can take a CPR/first aid class at any hospital. If your child attends daycare then you might even be able to join in when the teachers renew their certification. I recommend asking your daycare provider about it. Most hospitals offer other parenting classes like breastfeeding help, infant massage and how to talk to your kids about sexual issues.

I also take classes through my local Child Care Council. Most of the classes offered are evenings and weekends so even if you’re a working parent you can still attend. 
If you aren’t in the Detroit area then I would be happy to look up a Child Care Council for you. Just leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you.

My children are growing and changing every day. New issues arise constantly so I am always trying to find ways to better myself and the quality of life my children receive. With the technology at our fingertips, it really isn’t too difficult to do. I hope you have gotten some good ideas and found inspiration to continue educating yourself.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Thriving Families


A few months back, a dear friend posted a link for a free parenting magazine on her Facebook page. I was pretty excited because I think she's a fantastic mom and person so I looked into it immediately. I glanced through the Thriving Family website and liked what I saw so I decided to sign up for the magazine. It comes every two months and I always look forward to it. Thriving Family covers a variety of touchy issues such as pets in heaven, truth-telling, cultivating compassion in our children, weaning kids from the e-pacifier, age appropriate chores as well as games and recipes. It covers so much ground and is good, sound advice. You can sign up for Thriving Families here.

I wanted to share the free magazine with you all as well as ways I keep my family thriving. To me, having a thriving family is a journey. It isn't just one action or event that makes you thriving. It's an ongoing attempt to help your family be the best it can be. Here are the things I do:

1. Prayer
I start my day in prayer because it centers my eyes on the Lord and reminds me of my true responsibilities here in the world. Furthermore, it just helps me feel better and more confident knowing that I've brought my concerns to God. Even if it's just a simple "Lord, bless this day and my efforts."

2. Laugh, Laugh, Laugh
When things get really intense at my house I try to bring some laughter into the situation. I'll choose a silly story to read to my kids or we'll talk about a particularly funny memory. If you don't laugh, you'll cry!

3. Drinking Enough Water
Water consumption is very important to keep your mood boosted and hunger pangs at bay. It flushes toxins from the body and can help relieve tension headaches. If I'm feeling a little grumpy it's typically because I've overindulged in coffee and haven't had any water. 

4. Getting Plenty of Sleep
Sleep is such a precious commodity in our society. It seems that most of us just don't get enough sleep. We're overwhelmed by technology, which keeps our brains buzzing and can disrupt sleep. I try not to ignore my phone and computer for at least an hour before I want to go to sleep. This gives my brain a chance to slow down and not be stimulated by the light from the screens. I am guilty of falling asleep with the tv on, which is very disruptive to sleep. I've always believed a good day starts the night before with a good solid sleep. When I stay up late then I'm sacrificing having a good morning and enough energy for the following day.

5. Rest Time
My son went through a period of time where he didn't nap. It really was difficult because I had a new baby and I really needed that time during the day to catch up on chores or take my own nap.  I survived that period by putting everyone in the car and taking a drive. Both kids would fall asleep and I would just park in our driveway and read or pray. My son physically needed the nap and I needed a mental break. I decided to start sitting in my son's room with him to help him to fall asleep in his bed. It was the same frustrating routine every day: eat lunch, read stories, lay down. But instead of him falling asleep he would toss and turn, talk to me and make other random requests for different items. Sometimes it would take two hours to get him to fall asleep (if he even fell asleep at all!) and then the baby would wake up. I was so frustrated because I wasted two hours trying to get him to go to sleep and still didn’t end up with having the downtime I really craved.

I started noticing that around 3pm every day he would get really quiet and sit on the couch looking at books. I decided to try putting him down for a nap at 3pm instead of 1pm. Guess what? It totally worked. As it turned out, he really wasn’t ready for a nap at 1. 3pm was the magic time for us. It takes a little finesse to keep the baby awake until then but as long as she gets a tiny nap in the morning then she can take her second nap at the same as my son takes his. 

By observing my child, I was able to solve the issue of him not napping. If your child is too old for a nap then start including rest time into your schedule. Start small, say 10 minutes, and then extend the quiet time period until everyone feels refreshed. Your child could simply play or look at books in his or her room, just as long as they don’t come out. If your child has dropped his nap or seems more challenging to put down for a nap then reflect on your day. Maybe he or she isn’t getting enough physical activity or misses you. Some children may start wanting their backs rubbed or having a story before nap. Quiet time in my day helps me refocus my thoughts and energy. 

6. Giving Up Distractions
My biggest distraction is my phone. I have fun games, a camera, Facebook and Pinterest all on my phone, among many other things. Being a stay-at-home-mom, my social life is lived out mostly through Facebook. I rarely get a chance to see my friends or even call them on the phone. It’s so easy to check out what everyone has been up to through my phone. However, it is SO unnecessary and unimportant in the grand scheme of things. I had gotten into a really bad habit of always having my phone nearby and I had to stop it. I deleted Facebook from my phone and gave myself a couple of times each day to check Pinterest. I stopped taking so many pictures too. Even though I wanted to capture every beautiful smile, funny face and exciting accomplishments of my children, it ended up just encouraging me to pick up my phone even more. I started leaving it upstairs instead of bringing it with us all over the house. It has helped me to really engage with my children instead of being distracted by my phone. It’s one of the best things I’ve done to help my day go more smoothly. My children no longer have to compete with my phone for time and attention and I don’t drop it nearly as often.

7. Educating Myself
I have an associate's degree in Early Child Development so I am naturally interested in educating myself as a parent. I read a couple different parenting magazines and follow some great blogs to keep my mind open and see how other moms are handling different situations. When a situation arises that I have no idea what to do then I'll do a simple Google search to find out possible solutions. (I often post links to great articles on our Facebook page so make sure you like us!)

As a mother there are so many pressures that fall on our shoulders and it can be so overwhelming. I hope that Thriving Family magazine can help you as much as it helped me. We must be ever-changing in our methods because our children are ever-changing. What routines do you implement into your life to help keep your family thriving?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Crazy Good

My four-year-old has always been very verbal and he knows that words are his weapon. And boy, does he use them! One day it was complaint after complaint after complaint. I honestly wasn’t even listening to him anymore by the time dinner rolled around. My husband was working late (again) so it was just the kids and I. I gave the baby her cut up dinner and then grabbed my son’s plate from the kitchen. I put it down in front of him and geared up for a meal full of whining and complaining. I sat down next to him and we began to eat our dinner. Then, he shocked me. After a few bites he said, “Mom, this dinner is crazy good.” I was so surprised! After all, it was only macaroni and cheese. From a box. I learned two things in that moment. 

1. Don’t expect the worst from others. I expected a bad attitude from my son but I was the one with the bad attitude. If you look for the bad then you’ll always see it. If you look for the good then it will be more obvious as well. I love the quote by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe that says, "Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being." It's a little wordy but I think is very applicable to the job of mothering our children. It's our job to help our children become the best people they can be. 

2. Lock in the good memories for the bad days. This was the most important thing I learned. Several weeks have passed since this “crazy good” dinner took place and I have replayed in my mind the compliment my son paid me for the simple meal. Replaying it helps me remember that he is sweet and kind and thoughtful. It helps me remember that I do get it right occasionally. 

Focus on the good and take a mental picture or video of your children doing something great. Keep it locked in so you can replay this video when it’s been a rough day. It will realign your train of thought and remind you that parenting really is a crazy good job.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Crittenton Hospital Baby Fair

If you have a child under the age of 5 at home, you will want to attend the Crittenton Hospital Baby Fair. Most of the vendors are geared towards parents with preschool age children and younger but there will be vendors such as The Funky Frog, New York Life and Independent Expressions that will interest parents with children of all ages. The Rochester Hills Fire Department will be there to do car seat safety checks as well. Don’t forget to get your chair massage from Health & Healing Chiropractic. This year you can even bring your kids to participate in a Halloween costume contest, have their faces painted and play in the Shelby Fire Station bounce house. 

I went last year and loved connecting with different vendors to explore their products and information. It can be difficult to go shopping when you have little ones so it’s very convenient to have all these people lined up, waiting to share with you. The vendor list is even longer this year than last year so I’m really excited to go. 

Get excited because look at all these wonderful vendors:

Children’s Choice Learning Center
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Shelby Township Fire Department-Bounce House
Nutrilife
Babies R Us
Professional Breastfeeding Support 
Rochester Bike Shop
Pocholin Children’s Shoes
Taylor & Chloe
Pei Wei
TruBlue Total House Care 
Mothers & More
New York Life
Michigan Child Identification Program
Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve
The Funky Frog
Oakland County Moms
Whole Foods
Revitalizing  Touch
doTERRA essential oils
Rochester Hills Fire Department-Car Seat Safety Checks
Oakland Steiner School
Women’s Excellence Center of Midwifery
HdC Designs
Kidz 1st Pediatrics
Health & Healing Chiropractic-Chair Massages
Purple Bear
Miss Margee 
Macaroni Kid
The Health Connection of Rochester
Oakland County Health Department
Independent Expressions
Crittenton Community Health & Education
Infant Massage

The Baby Fair will be held this Saturday, October 26 from 10am-1pm. For more detailed information visit http://crittenton.com/event-registration/?regevent_action=register&event_id=749

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle Rules the World

The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Rules the World. You probably have heard this expression before - or maybe not - it is a rather old expression when motherhood really was celebrated.  It means, the person who is raising the children is influencing tomorrow's world leaders.  Think about it.  Do you think President Obama's mother knew she was raising the 44th President of the U.S.A?  Do you think  Beyonce's mother knew that she was raising one of the greatest singers of this generation?  Do you think actress, Scarlett Johansson's mother knew she was raising a world recognized movie star?  Being a mother is one of the most important jobs in the world - you could be raising the next President of the United States, or the next scientist who finds the cure for cancer, or the next compassionate adult who says a kind word to someone who is contemplating suicide, and because of that kind word, decides life is worth living.  Greatness.  That is what you are doing - raising greatness.  Whether that greatness is a world leader, or a leader in their home and community, motherhood has an amazing impact on the future of our world.

Not only is motherhood important, it is powerful.  You have been blessed with shaping the identity and character of someone who looks to you for direction, wisdom, and most of all love.  By taking time to encourage your children,  correcting  and disciplining them when they are wrong, setting an example of good character, you are helping to shape the leaders of tomorrow - these children will grow up one day and vote.  They will vote to raise or lower your taxes, decide public policy, be the doctor that examines you when you are old. 

When you are feeling overwhelmed, when you are not sure the sacrifice of time and energy are worth it, remember that you are investing in your children's tomorrow, as well as your own.  God is like that too, He invests in us everyday - providing us with unconditional love, a warm hug from our kids, food to eat, and the knowledge that we are never alone.. 

So Moms - Rock that cradle, hug that child, rule your world!

Pat

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Scrub Brush


I don’t know about you but cleaning the house sure has been tough since baby #2 came along in January. Two kids has been such a challenge for me and alot of my chores haven’t been getting done. Every day I look at my shower and know that it really really really needs a good scrub. I put my scrub brush by the shower sill and said, “Ok, I have got to scrub this shower once the kids go to bed tonight. That’s all I’ll do and then it will be done.” That night rolled around and I was so tired that I completely forgot to scrub the shower. Fast forward to the next morning and I realized that the scrub brush was sitting there while I was in the shower. I grabbed it, squeezed a ton of shower gel on it and went to work. Yes, I cleaned my shower walls with berry scented shower gel. And ya know what? They looked pretty good and smelled great! Life can be like that. Sometimes you don’t have all the right tools but you make do with what you’ve got and the results can be wonderful. It wasn’t my perfect plan and I didn’t have all the right tools but the end result was the same: a clean shower. 

Thought for the week: Since the beginning of time, God has blessed mothers with the ability to get the job done using whatever we have on hand. It may not be our "standard of perfection" but the results are what counts.   We don't have to do everything perfectly to be good moms.  Our children love us anyway and so does God!

Meghan

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Sticky Fingers

Sticky fingers.  Missing homework.  Lunch battles. You know what time it is. Yes, it's back to school time.  Getting everyone out the door on time, with everything they need can be overwhelming on a normal day, but how about the day when your child threw up as you were walking out the door?  Or your toddler ditched all his clothes (like that wonderful commercial) and the temperature is 50 degrees?  You can't take the kid outside like that, can you? Can you?  These are just some of the challenges that Moms face everyday.  Whether you are a working stay at home mom  or a working outside the home mom (I can't get with the "stay-at-home" vs. "work outside the home"descriptions - all moms work. Period. ), you are the babysitter, the nurse, the house keeper, the financial manager, the purchasing director, the teacher, the overseer,  the chauffeur, and the chief cook and bottle washer, as my dad would always say.  If we don't do it all, we do come close.

The good news -  you don't have to do everything or figure out everything yourself.  We are Village Moms, bringing you the 411 on helping you raise your children to be responsible adults while helping you maintain your sanity.   We will have organization tips, parenting advice, recipes, helpful hints, and great conversation.  We believe in supporting and encouraging one another.  We hope you will join in the conversation.   Join us on Facebook - Village Moms.  Please keep all comments respectful, and clean - you know - something your great, great, grandmother would not find offensive or your children. 

Thought for the week:  My mother always said, "Many hands make light work". This John Heywood quote says it all. Raising healthy, well adjusted children takes a village - don't be afraid to ask for help - it will make the load lighter. 

Pat