Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Twitter

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 11:23 AM 0 comments
Are you on twitter? Let me know so I can follow you!

Find and follow me at themommyanswer on twitter.

And remember, Jesus loves you!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Great Web Site

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 9:33 PM 0 comments
Oswald Chambers is one of the most Christ-like evangelist of the twentieth centurty. His book: My Utmost for His Highest is one of the most renowned in the world. This man is inspirational, as he directs you to look to God, seek His will, and live a life of radical, loving obedience. I got the book, but was so moved by the daily devotionals, was not able to read through it in the 2 months I had it from the library. I have found that is online, with each day's devotional updated and available for that day. It is now one of my home pages. I highly recommend it as the one supplement to reading the Bible every day, if you only have time for one.

Here's the link: http://www.rbc.org/utmost/index.php

Just for an example, here is part of today's reading: "The reason many of us stop praying and become hard toward God is that we only have an emotional interest in prayer. It sounds good to say that we pray, and we read books on prayer which tell us that prayer is beneficial— that our minds are quieted and our souls are uplifted when we pray. But Isaiah implied in this verse that God is amazed at such thoughts about prayer.
Worship and intercession must go together; one is impossible without the other. Intercession means raising ourselves up to the point of getting the mind of Christ regarding the person for whom we are praying (see Philippians 2:5 )."

We were talking about worship, prayer, and praise today in Bible study. It's amazing how God brought this together for me today. He is good. He is worthy. He is love. May your days be filled with Him.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Angel Food

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 12:06 PM 0 comments
Have you heard about Angel Food Ministries? It's a great program sweeping the nation. You are able to order food in advance for less than half the price. I've missed a couple months, but the first time we ordered, my husband said about a month later, "Is this still food from that thing?" Yes, yes it was! For $30 you get approximately $65 worth of food. We figured that you get about $30 worth of meat, and the starches, fruits, and veggies you get with it are bonus. Don't think because it's inexpensive that it's not good - the steaks we got were the best we'd had in a long time. We've probably paid $20 just to get steaks that good.

The best part about Angel Food, is that anyone can participate. "There are no restrictions, conditions or forms to fill out to purchase Angel Food. The food relief program is open to one and all. Anyone may purchase an unlimited number of boxes of Angel Food by placing an order with a local Angel Food host site." All you do is order before the monthly deadline and pick up your box(s) on the designated date. Can't make it on the delivery date? Work out with someone to pick it up for you. It's totally worth it!

April's deadline (for VA and several other states, see their website - www.angelfoodministries.com for other localities) is the 13th. You pick up the food on the 17th. This month's menu is:

1.5 lbs NY Strip Steak
1.5 lbs Pork Chops
28 oz. Salisbury Steak & gravy entree
1 lb ground beef
1.5 lbs fully cooked breaded chicken breast chunks
1 lb smoked turkey & pork sausage
1 lb frozen carrots
1 lb frozen corn
1 lb fresh cut green beans
1 lb rice
1 lb pasta
25 oz marinara
3 lbs potatoes
dozen eggs (always)
32 oz. 2 % milk (always)
dessert item (always)

Where else can you get all that for $30? It's a great deal, even to only supplement your grocery bill. Know someone in need? It's an inexpensive way to help someone else out with needed groceries.

So, check out their site (find a local site at: https://www.angelfoodministries.com/hosts.asp), order a box, or two, order a box for someone else, and/or find out more about getting a local host site near you!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mom!

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 7:50 PM 0 comments
I am a parent, a teacher, a finance manager, a personal shopper, a referee, a nanny, a nurse, a handy man, a maid, security, and a comforter. I don't get holiday, sick pay, or a day off, I work through the day and some of the night, I am under paid and over worked now tell me that YOUR job is harder then mine. Hooray for MOM! It's the BEST job in the world! I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Back to the Duggars

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 7:30 PM 0 comments
So, it's been a little over a week since we've began implementing some tips from the Duggars (20 and Counting.) My husband was very skeptical about the rings with chore cards on them. "Who's going to get excited about that?" he wanted to know. Oh, ye of little faith in childhood enthusiasm, I told him.

A week into it, they are still doing well with the cards. The 7 & 5 year olds more so than the 2 year old, but that's to be expected. I do have to continue managing. "Did you finish all your cards?" I ask. "What about this one?" "No, just because we started out of order doesn't mean you get to skip brushing your teeth and hair." They are all still young, after all.

I'd give the chore cards on rings four stars, though. They are a great help to a busy mom.

Also getting four stars is the buddy system. While all of my children get along most of the time and bicker on occasion, they are thriving in their buddy assignments. For some reason, saying, "go help your little buddy," gets a much more enthusiastic response than, "get your sister's shoes on, please." Again, much of how well it goes is how good a manager I'm being - some days better than others.

Third to get four stars: the memory verses on the character trait that we're learning. They each do well, based on their maturity. We have been reviewing them about three times a week. But, they also give me a foundation to return to when someone's complaining about helping out. I take it back to God, back to His commands, and it's not Mommy being bossy anymore.

Since we have almost a week left in the month, I think I'll add another verse to our learning about serving. Matthew 20:28 says, "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." If Jesus is the perfect example and ideal we are to strive for ("For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers." Romans 8:29), then I want to examine His life, and teach my children to do likewise, in order to know God's "perfect and pleasing will" in my life.

This is my goal every day, and I fail every day. But with people like the Duggars being willing to share their journey in trusting in God, I am more encouraged to continue to strive for the best God has for me.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fun Question

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 12:37 PM 1 comments
Do your children ever ask you fun questions like:

"Mommy, why did God make boys and girls different?"

"Ummm....so we could help each other out and do things the other one can't do."

If my hubby had been in the room: "So we could pee standing up and outside!"

"Mommy, are boys and girls born different ways?"

"No. No, they're not. Are you hungry? Can I get you a drink? Don't you want to go play?"


What 'fun' questions do your precious little ones come up with?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Do you love

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 8:59 PM 0 comments
your hubby?

Say it with apparel: http://www.union28.net/

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More on Service

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 3:26 PM 0 comments
The final verse that I'm using this month to teach servanthood is Ephesians 6:7

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men.

This verse answers the question to "how" we are supposed to serve. And wow, it has been the one that has most penetrated my heart. My goal is to teach my children to serve joyfully and wholeheartedly, no matter what. I teaching that, I have to be aware in how I serve them.

Do I serve them wholeheartedly? Sometimes. Do I serve them wholeheartedly when I get interrupted? Not so much. Do I serve my husband wholeheartedly when I'm exhausted from an almost nonstop day? Occasionally. Do I serve wholeheartedly when I'm tired? Not usually.

Why is that? Because my focus is usually on the person I'm doing something for. Often, the question in my head is "What have they done for me lately?" or "Haven't I done enough already?"

These are not the questions I should be asking. What I should be asking is, "What would I do for Jesus in this same situation?" If I begin to ask that question on a regular basis I will most likely become better at serving and develop a better servant's heart. Then I will be a better teacher of how to do service for my children.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How do we Serve?

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 12:37 PM 0 comments
The third verse we’re using as we all (yes, all, even me) learn to serve the members of our family better is 1 Peter 4:10.
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. “
Serving our family doesn’t make us robots, or all the same. It doesn’t negate our uniqueness. No, it utilizes our uniqueness. We all have special gifts and we use those gifts to serve and help others. While this concept is in its infancy stage, it’s important. The first verse answered the question “what.” What are we to do in response to God’s love and forgiveness? We are to serve.
This verse answers the question “how.” How are we supposed to serve? Using the unique gifts, talents, abilities, and personalities God gave us. I’m not going to ask my two-year-old to be in charge of vacuuming the house. I’m going to put her in charge of the shoe basket. Not only is it a task I know she’s capable of, but she also loves shoes and is the one most prone to put on any given shoe, walk around the house, and leave it wherever she stops. Therefore, the shoe basket is perfect for her.
That doesn’t mean that each task should fit perfectly to one’s likes and preferences. What if no one likes cleaning the toilet? It would never get done (which is close to happening in my house.) Thankfully, my aversion to germs and dirtiness overcomes my dislike of scrubbing toilets and it does get done once in a while. Likewise, my children are and will continue to be assigned tasks they may not like. The task will still be according to their gifts, however. They may have the gift of needing to learn a certain task or a characteristic such as perseverance or humility.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Learning to Serve

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 9:36 AM 0 comments
The second verse that I used to begin teaching my children about SERVING is Galatians 5:13.
“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
This verse may seem advanced, but I believe children can learn from all scripture when taught at their level. My oldest has accepted Jesus as her savior, and knows about sin, forgiveness, and freedom. She doesn’t know it like an adult who’s a mature Christian, but she know the foundational concepts.
In discussing this verse, we talked about what the sinful nature is, namely selfishness. When we think only about what we want we are being selfish, which is sin. We talk a lot about loving behavior at our house. Love is a word we say to each other often, but it’s also how we treat each other. When we are dong something that’s not loving, it is selfish and sinful. My children know that I love them and will forgive them no matter what they do (just as God loves and forgives me and them), but that forgiveness and love are not a license to behave badly. Instead, that love and forgiveness should encourage them to serve each other. We serve because we love and we are loved.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lessons from the Duggars - Part 3

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 9:36 PM 1 comments
Another thing I did, as we began this new way of organizing and splitting up tasks, is look to the Bible and character traits that I want to teach my children that coincide with what we’re learning. The first character trait is SERVICE. I explained to the children (yes, even the two-year-old) that God wants us to serve each other and work together as a family.
The first scripture we are learning (we are going to study SERVICE for the month of March) is Ecclesiastes 4:9-10.
“Two are better than one, because they have good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”
We are reading this scripture every day and talking about what it means. First, we talked about how each person’s load is lightened when we work together. You can accomplish something faster, better, and more effectively when you work together.
In accordance with the idea of service and working together, we also implemented another organization tip from the Duggars. We started the buddy system. Now, for families of only one or two children (especially if they’re close together) this most likely won’t work.
The premise behind the buddy system is that an older child is assigned to be a big buddy to a younger child. The Duggars split their children in “over eight” and “under eight” categories. Since my children are all under eight, that won’t work for us. But, the older two are capable of helping out. So, buddies we have.
It helps that my seven-year-old and two-year-old share a room and my five-year-old and the baby share a room. The oldest of the older two paired with the oldest of the younger two and youngest of each set makes sense and already has a foundation set.
I was surprised how excited everyone was at the idea of having buddies. They took hold of the idea and now enthusiastically (most of the time) help out and hand with their buddy. It will be exciting to see how much they will grow in their relationships and teach each other along the way. (Plus, I don’t have to strap the two-year-old in her car seat anymore! Her big buddy does it.)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Lessons from the Duggars - Part 2

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 6:34 PM 0 comments
The book - The Duggar’s: 20 and Counting, by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar – is an excellent read. The book starts discussing each of their childhood’s and the upbringings and experiences that brought them together and to have such a large family. Not only is the story interesting, but they write in a very casual, easy-to-read way. It’s almost as if you’re sitting in their living room with them.

I picked up several helpful tools and tips from their book, which is part of the reason they wrote it. They have learned a lot along their journey of having so many children. They learned from others and, most importantly, from God and had a desire to share those lessons with others. I feel very blessed to have come across their book and have already implemented a couple of their organization tips. I will share what those are and how their working for my family, but highly recommend you read their book for yourself, whether you have one or two or four or six or more children.

The first tip is what are called jurisdictions. This, basically, is an area or group of areas each child is responsible for. The concept of responsibility at an early age is not a new one to me or to our family. We’re firm believers in it. But, somehow, it seems that these ideas get lost in the business of managing a family with several small children and maintaining them doesn’t always happen. My children take their clothes to the hamper and their diapers to the trash from the time they can walk. Our two-year-old takes her dishes to the counter after meals. They all help set the table for dinner. Despite all this, our house often resembles the aftermath of a tornado. There’s a little bit of everything everywhere. Some days I simply leave it because I know shortly after it’s cleaned up, one tornado or another will hit. On other days, I spend a lot of time helping the kids clean up their stuff and never get to mine (you know, the piles of bills, magazines, and papers from the kids’ activities.) Either way, the house stays organized and de-cluttered for an average of an hour.

What jurisdictions do is make it clear what each individual is responsible for. Now, I know that this won’t magically make and maintain a clutter-free house. I still have four children seven and under. However, it will help each child to learn to take responsibility as a part of our family. To get us started I did a couple of things.

First, I “zoned” our house. I went to the computer and, using simple boxes, created a general floor plan. Using pictures to represent each room (sofa for the living room, table and chairs for the dining room, etc.) so that even the children too young to read (which would be all but one) could tell what each room is. Then I set out to assigning each person an area. Everyone is responsible for their own bedroom (including Mommy and Daddy); Mommy overseas the kitchen and den (with the children responsible for their items in these areas); the kids are in charge of their bathroom; the seven-year-old is in charge of the dining room; the five-year-old is in charge of the living room; and the two-year-old is in charge of the shoe basket/foyer.

The second thing I did was give each a daily task to be in charge of. The seven-year-old is to clean their bathroom mirror and counter. The five-year-old is to check the pencils and sharpen them as needed. The two-year-old is in charge of scanning the floor for tiny things that could be choke hazards for the baby. These tasks are listed on a card, along with cards that include other daily tasks. Eventually these cards will be put together on a ring (another idea from the Duggars) for the children to flip through as they complete them. So far I only have morning tasks – brush teeth, brush hair, get dressed, put away pajamas, eat breakfast, make bed, and do school work. Today is day two, and we’re still working on implementing the system. Mommy has to get as used to staying on top of everyone’s tasks as the little ones do in accomplishing them.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lessons from the Duggars

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 3:33 PM 2 comments
I don’t exactly live under a rock, but I don’t exactly stay up with everything going on in the world wither. One way that’s particularly true is what’s on TV these days. Years ago, my husband and I decided that it wasn’t worth $40 or $60 or $100 for us to have a multitude of channels to flip through, with not many more real options of good shows to watch than what we have with the basic channels. So, we have the most limited cable plan available – we get the major networks, a few superstations, PBS, shopping channels and a few others (one of our favorites being Food Network.) Needless to say, we miss out on a lot of pop culture. Generally, we’re good with that. We would like to have channels such as the History channel, Discovery Health, and the Travel channel, but so far the cable company doesn’t offer adding limited additional channels.
In all the channels and shows that we miss, the one I’d like to see most is The Duggars: 18 and Counting. I, not being completely under a rock, of course have heard of them. I’ve caught them on a major morning news show once or twice and have heard other people talk about their show. Everything I’ve ever heard has been good.
I decided to check my library to see if they had any of the show in their catalog. While there were series such as 6 Feet Under and Prison Break, there were no seasons of The Duggar’s show. However, they did have their book. I requested it right away.
I do not, and am not, planning on having anywhere near 19 children. Having four healthy children (after 3 of them were born blue), one extremely difficult pregnancy, and a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes, my husband and I felt called to take permanent measures to ensure we wouldn’t have any more children. With four children under 7, including a very needy infant, I have struggled with the responsibilities that come with the blessings. When I came across the Duggar’s book, I thought that surely they’d have some great advice, tips, and tools that would be helpful to me, a mom of only four. When I saw that they had a chapter or organization, I was sold. I picked up the book two days later – and I wasn’t disappointed. Tune in tomorrow to find out why I was so impressed.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Top 10 Ingredients for a Successful Marriage

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 10:01 AM 0 comments
Put God first. Make time with God in His Word and in prayer a priority. He will bless your marriage for it.

Act in love. Remember that love is something that you do, not just a feeling. Feelings change, but you can always choose loving actions.

Maintain respect for each other. Treat your spouse with the respect you would any other person you look up to.

Choose marriage every day. There will be good days and bad day. Don’t ever let quitting be an option.

Pray. Pray for your marriage. Pray for your spouse. Pray for yourself. Prayer is powerful and will help you maintain a proper focus on your marriage and spouse.

Study Scripture. The Bible has the answers to any question or problem you will come across. The more you know it, the easier it will be to find the right answers.

Seek Godly counsel. Godly counsel can be books written by Christian authors or trusted Christian friends or professional counselors. When getting face-to-face counsel, stick to your own gender.

Keep your mouth shut. Harsh words hurt and can’t be taken back. Think before you speak – to your spouse and others. Never vent or speak ill of your spouse to others.

Forgive. Your spouse is human and will let you down. When they do, forgive them. Forgive yourself, also, when you’re human and make mistakes.

Laugh. Have fun with your spouse. Fun and laughter are healing and increase bonds.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

For our Kids

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 7:26 PM 0 comments
Sometimes as a mom I wonder what I get myself into. Is it really worth it to drag three or four or five kids under six out somewhere? They love it, it is fun, we do have great memories and pictures, but I usually end up worn out and nothing gets done at home. So, is it worth it?

Today I had the opportunity to go with two of my children and one of their friends to see the Harlem Globetrotters. As it was a birthday present from my mom, she and her fiance went with us. First plus: extra adults. Second plus: it was the two oldest - ages five, six and seven. Third plus: I've wanted to see the Globetrotters since I was little.

However, I arranged child care for the younger two, picked my mom and fiance up and drove a total of two hours (with the two stops) to get to the location. Spent money on lunch, a snack at the game ($6 for one thing of cotten candy, i.e. air and sugar) and dinner on the way home, another two hours with two stops. We were gone from the house a total of eight hours for a two hour game. And I was tired on the way home. I had a McCafe Mocha for dinner.

Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY! My two oldest are still in the garage playing with their new Globetrotters basketball (which they paid the majority for with their own money - bonus number four.) It is a memory they will have forever (and if they begin to forget, we have pictures for refreshing.)

Sometimes the things we do are more work than they're worth. For us, t-ball is too much right now, but cheerleading and swim lessons and Awana's aren't. It's a lot. A lot of time out of the house. A lot of planning. A lot of dealing with the little ones out of the house. It's also a lot of fun, a lot of lessons, and a lot of friendships fostered and memories made.

Each one of us has to look at what is worth it to us. There are literally hundreds of choices on any given day of things we can do with our children. Mostly, I like to be home with them, but I know they will benefit from other things too. Notice, they don't NEED other things, but I can see the benefit. There is a cost/benefit ratio to each one of us for each choice we make. Thank goodness there are so many choices, because that ratio is different for each family.

We may end up tired, but if the choice is a right one, we will be a good tired.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Loss

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 9:47 PM 1 comments
Some things are too much for words. Yet, words are always there. We have had a week. It's been one of THOSE weeks. You know, the week when the stomach bug hits. And it doesn't hit hard, slamming the ball out of the park, bringing in loaded bases all at once. No, this bug walked one person around the bases.

I came down with a stomach bug on Tuesday morning, my 4-year-old Tuesday night, my 9-month old Wednesday night, and my 7-year-old Thursday night (her birthday). I felt like I was drowning in laundry and my body couldn't quite recover. Two nights were spent on the floor, keeping the kids away from the bed and one half the night in a recliner with the baby. Then the worst day came.

The day that felt like three. My now 7-year-old made it through the night, then threw up again in the morning. We got a call that my husband's grandfather had gone into the hospital. He went, I stayed. It was one of those times when you know you're exactly where you should be, but your heart is somewhere else. I spent most of the day walking around in circles, making telephone calls, praying, and straightening. Then the call I'd been waiting for and dreading all at the same time came. My husband's granfather had passed away. That morning when his four children and six grandchildren woke up, they had no idea it would be the day they would lose their patriarch.

The sadness of a lost loved one is heart-breaking. They are such a part of our lives. However, there is definite comfort in knowing we will see him again. There is comfort in knowing that every illness, catastrophe, and death we face, it is not the end. We miss those we love dearly, but we have hope, which helps us withstand the pain of those losses

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14.

Monday, March 1, 2010

10 Things You can Do in 10 Minutes (or Less)

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 2:57 PM 1 comments
It seems that we’re all short on time these days, and it’s difficult to get everything done. Here are some tips to help get things checked off your to do list even if you only have 10 spare minutes.
1. Read a short picture book or board book to your child.

2. Pick up/straighten up one room.

3. Fix tomorrow’s lunch.

4. Read a magazine article.

5. Return a phone call/make an appointment.

6. Write a Birthday Card or note to a friend.

7. Put away folded clothes.

8. Plan meals for the week and make a grocery list.

9. Do some light dusting.

10. Teach your child a new song.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Twitter

Are you on twitter? Let me know so I can follow you!

Find and follow me at themommyanswer on twitter.

And remember, Jesus loves you!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Great Web Site

Oswald Chambers is one of the most Christ-like evangelist of the twentieth centurty. His book: My Utmost for His Highest is one of the most renowned in the world. This man is inspirational, as he directs you to look to God, seek His will, and live a life of radical, loving obedience. I got the book, but was so moved by the daily devotionals, was not able to read through it in the 2 months I had it from the library. I have found that is online, with each day's devotional updated and available for that day. It is now one of my home pages. I highly recommend it as the one supplement to reading the Bible every day, if you only have time for one.

Here's the link: http://www.rbc.org/utmost/index.php

Just for an example, here is part of today's reading: "The reason many of us stop praying and become hard toward God is that we only have an emotional interest in prayer. It sounds good to say that we pray, and we read books on prayer which tell us that prayer is beneficial— that our minds are quieted and our souls are uplifted when we pray. But Isaiah implied in this verse that God is amazed at such thoughts about prayer.
Worship and intercession must go together; one is impossible without the other. Intercession means raising ourselves up to the point of getting the mind of Christ regarding the person for whom we are praying (see Philippians 2:5 )."

We were talking about worship, prayer, and praise today in Bible study. It's amazing how God brought this together for me today. He is good. He is worthy. He is love. May your days be filled with Him.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Angel Food

Have you heard about Angel Food Ministries? It's a great program sweeping the nation. You are able to order food in advance for less than half the price. I've missed a couple months, but the first time we ordered, my husband said about a month later, "Is this still food from that thing?" Yes, yes it was! For $30 you get approximately $65 worth of food. We figured that you get about $30 worth of meat, and the starches, fruits, and veggies you get with it are bonus. Don't think because it's inexpensive that it's not good - the steaks we got were the best we'd had in a long time. We've probably paid $20 just to get steaks that good.

The best part about Angel Food, is that anyone can participate. "There are no restrictions, conditions or forms to fill out to purchase Angel Food. The food relief program is open to one and all. Anyone may purchase an unlimited number of boxes of Angel Food by placing an order with a local Angel Food host site." All you do is order before the monthly deadline and pick up your box(s) on the designated date. Can't make it on the delivery date? Work out with someone to pick it up for you. It's totally worth it!

April's deadline (for VA and several other states, see their website - www.angelfoodministries.com for other localities) is the 13th. You pick up the food on the 17th. This month's menu is:

1.5 lbs NY Strip Steak
1.5 lbs Pork Chops
28 oz. Salisbury Steak & gravy entree
1 lb ground beef
1.5 lbs fully cooked breaded chicken breast chunks
1 lb smoked turkey & pork sausage
1 lb frozen carrots
1 lb frozen corn
1 lb fresh cut green beans
1 lb rice
1 lb pasta
25 oz marinara
3 lbs potatoes
dozen eggs (always)
32 oz. 2 % milk (always)
dessert item (always)

Where else can you get all that for $30? It's a great deal, even to only supplement your grocery bill. Know someone in need? It's an inexpensive way to help someone else out with needed groceries.

So, check out their site (find a local site at: https://www.angelfoodministries.com/hosts.asp), order a box, or two, order a box for someone else, and/or find out more about getting a local host site near you!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mom!

I am a parent, a teacher, a finance manager, a personal shopper, a referee, a nanny, a nurse, a handy man, a maid, security, and a comforter. I don't get holiday, sick pay, or a day off, I work through the day and some of the night, I am under paid and over worked now tell me that YOUR job is harder then mine. Hooray for MOM! It's the BEST job in the world! I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Back to the Duggars

So, it's been a little over a week since we've began implementing some tips from the Duggars (20 and Counting.) My husband was very skeptical about the rings with chore cards on them. "Who's going to get excited about that?" he wanted to know. Oh, ye of little faith in childhood enthusiasm, I told him.

A week into it, they are still doing well with the cards. The 7 & 5 year olds more so than the 2 year old, but that's to be expected. I do have to continue managing. "Did you finish all your cards?" I ask. "What about this one?" "No, just because we started out of order doesn't mean you get to skip brushing your teeth and hair." They are all still young, after all.

I'd give the chore cards on rings four stars, though. They are a great help to a busy mom.

Also getting four stars is the buddy system. While all of my children get along most of the time and bicker on occasion, they are thriving in their buddy assignments. For some reason, saying, "go help your little buddy," gets a much more enthusiastic response than, "get your sister's shoes on, please." Again, much of how well it goes is how good a manager I'm being - some days better than others.

Third to get four stars: the memory verses on the character trait that we're learning. They each do well, based on their maturity. We have been reviewing them about three times a week. But, they also give me a foundation to return to when someone's complaining about helping out. I take it back to God, back to His commands, and it's not Mommy being bossy anymore.

Since we have almost a week left in the month, I think I'll add another verse to our learning about serving. Matthew 20:28 says, "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." If Jesus is the perfect example and ideal we are to strive for ("For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers." Romans 8:29), then I want to examine His life, and teach my children to do likewise, in order to know God's "perfect and pleasing will" in my life.

This is my goal every day, and I fail every day. But with people like the Duggars being willing to share their journey in trusting in God, I am more encouraged to continue to strive for the best God has for me.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fun Question

Do your children ever ask you fun questions like:

"Mommy, why did God make boys and girls different?"

"Ummm....so we could help each other out and do things the other one can't do."

If my hubby had been in the room: "So we could pee standing up and outside!"

"Mommy, are boys and girls born different ways?"

"No. No, they're not. Are you hungry? Can I get you a drink? Don't you want to go play?"


What 'fun' questions do your precious little ones come up with?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More on Service

The final verse that I'm using this month to teach servanthood is Ephesians 6:7

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men.

This verse answers the question to "how" we are supposed to serve. And wow, it has been the one that has most penetrated my heart. My goal is to teach my children to serve joyfully and wholeheartedly, no matter what. I teaching that, I have to be aware in how I serve them.

Do I serve them wholeheartedly? Sometimes. Do I serve them wholeheartedly when I get interrupted? Not so much. Do I serve my husband wholeheartedly when I'm exhausted from an almost nonstop day? Occasionally. Do I serve wholeheartedly when I'm tired? Not usually.

Why is that? Because my focus is usually on the person I'm doing something for. Often, the question in my head is "What have they done for me lately?" or "Haven't I done enough already?"

These are not the questions I should be asking. What I should be asking is, "What would I do for Jesus in this same situation?" If I begin to ask that question on a regular basis I will most likely become better at serving and develop a better servant's heart. Then I will be a better teacher of how to do service for my children.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How do we Serve?

The third verse we’re using as we all (yes, all, even me) learn to serve the members of our family better is 1 Peter 4:10.
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. “
Serving our family doesn’t make us robots, or all the same. It doesn’t negate our uniqueness. No, it utilizes our uniqueness. We all have special gifts and we use those gifts to serve and help others. While this concept is in its infancy stage, it’s important. The first verse answered the question “what.” What are we to do in response to God’s love and forgiveness? We are to serve.
This verse answers the question “how.” How are we supposed to serve? Using the unique gifts, talents, abilities, and personalities God gave us. I’m not going to ask my two-year-old to be in charge of vacuuming the house. I’m going to put her in charge of the shoe basket. Not only is it a task I know she’s capable of, but she also loves shoes and is the one most prone to put on any given shoe, walk around the house, and leave it wherever she stops. Therefore, the shoe basket is perfect for her.
That doesn’t mean that each task should fit perfectly to one’s likes and preferences. What if no one likes cleaning the toilet? It would never get done (which is close to happening in my house.) Thankfully, my aversion to germs and dirtiness overcomes my dislike of scrubbing toilets and it does get done once in a while. Likewise, my children are and will continue to be assigned tasks they may not like. The task will still be according to their gifts, however. They may have the gift of needing to learn a certain task or a characteristic such as perseverance or humility.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Learning to Serve

The second verse that I used to begin teaching my children about SERVING is Galatians 5:13.
“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
This verse may seem advanced, but I believe children can learn from all scripture when taught at their level. My oldest has accepted Jesus as her savior, and knows about sin, forgiveness, and freedom. She doesn’t know it like an adult who’s a mature Christian, but she know the foundational concepts.
In discussing this verse, we talked about what the sinful nature is, namely selfishness. When we think only about what we want we are being selfish, which is sin. We talk a lot about loving behavior at our house. Love is a word we say to each other often, but it’s also how we treat each other. When we are dong something that’s not loving, it is selfish and sinful. My children know that I love them and will forgive them no matter what they do (just as God loves and forgives me and them), but that forgiveness and love are not a license to behave badly. Instead, that love and forgiveness should encourage them to serve each other. We serve because we love and we are loved.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lessons from the Duggars - Part 3

Another thing I did, as we began this new way of organizing and splitting up tasks, is look to the Bible and character traits that I want to teach my children that coincide with what we’re learning. The first character trait is SERVICE. I explained to the children (yes, even the two-year-old) that God wants us to serve each other and work together as a family.
The first scripture we are learning (we are going to study SERVICE for the month of March) is Ecclesiastes 4:9-10.
“Two are better than one, because they have good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”
We are reading this scripture every day and talking about what it means. First, we talked about how each person’s load is lightened when we work together. You can accomplish something faster, better, and more effectively when you work together.
In accordance with the idea of service and working together, we also implemented another organization tip from the Duggars. We started the buddy system. Now, for families of only one or two children (especially if they’re close together) this most likely won’t work.
The premise behind the buddy system is that an older child is assigned to be a big buddy to a younger child. The Duggars split their children in “over eight” and “under eight” categories. Since my children are all under eight, that won’t work for us. But, the older two are capable of helping out. So, buddies we have.
It helps that my seven-year-old and two-year-old share a room and my five-year-old and the baby share a room. The oldest of the older two paired with the oldest of the younger two and youngest of each set makes sense and already has a foundation set.
I was surprised how excited everyone was at the idea of having buddies. They took hold of the idea and now enthusiastically (most of the time) help out and hand with their buddy. It will be exciting to see how much they will grow in their relationships and teach each other along the way. (Plus, I don’t have to strap the two-year-old in her car seat anymore! Her big buddy does it.)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Lessons from the Duggars - Part 2

The book - The Duggar’s: 20 and Counting, by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar – is an excellent read. The book starts discussing each of their childhood’s and the upbringings and experiences that brought them together and to have such a large family. Not only is the story interesting, but they write in a very casual, easy-to-read way. It’s almost as if you’re sitting in their living room with them.

I picked up several helpful tools and tips from their book, which is part of the reason they wrote it. They have learned a lot along their journey of having so many children. They learned from others and, most importantly, from God and had a desire to share those lessons with others. I feel very blessed to have come across their book and have already implemented a couple of their organization tips. I will share what those are and how their working for my family, but highly recommend you read their book for yourself, whether you have one or two or four or six or more children.

The first tip is what are called jurisdictions. This, basically, is an area or group of areas each child is responsible for. The concept of responsibility at an early age is not a new one to me or to our family. We’re firm believers in it. But, somehow, it seems that these ideas get lost in the business of managing a family with several small children and maintaining them doesn’t always happen. My children take their clothes to the hamper and their diapers to the trash from the time they can walk. Our two-year-old takes her dishes to the counter after meals. They all help set the table for dinner. Despite all this, our house often resembles the aftermath of a tornado. There’s a little bit of everything everywhere. Some days I simply leave it because I know shortly after it’s cleaned up, one tornado or another will hit. On other days, I spend a lot of time helping the kids clean up their stuff and never get to mine (you know, the piles of bills, magazines, and papers from the kids’ activities.) Either way, the house stays organized and de-cluttered for an average of an hour.

What jurisdictions do is make it clear what each individual is responsible for. Now, I know that this won’t magically make and maintain a clutter-free house. I still have four children seven and under. However, it will help each child to learn to take responsibility as a part of our family. To get us started I did a couple of things.

First, I “zoned” our house. I went to the computer and, using simple boxes, created a general floor plan. Using pictures to represent each room (sofa for the living room, table and chairs for the dining room, etc.) so that even the children too young to read (which would be all but one) could tell what each room is. Then I set out to assigning each person an area. Everyone is responsible for their own bedroom (including Mommy and Daddy); Mommy overseas the kitchen and den (with the children responsible for their items in these areas); the kids are in charge of their bathroom; the seven-year-old is in charge of the dining room; the five-year-old is in charge of the living room; and the two-year-old is in charge of the shoe basket/foyer.

The second thing I did was give each a daily task to be in charge of. The seven-year-old is to clean their bathroom mirror and counter. The five-year-old is to check the pencils and sharpen them as needed. The two-year-old is in charge of scanning the floor for tiny things that could be choke hazards for the baby. These tasks are listed on a card, along with cards that include other daily tasks. Eventually these cards will be put together on a ring (another idea from the Duggars) for the children to flip through as they complete them. So far I only have morning tasks – brush teeth, brush hair, get dressed, put away pajamas, eat breakfast, make bed, and do school work. Today is day two, and we’re still working on implementing the system. Mommy has to get as used to staying on top of everyone’s tasks as the little ones do in accomplishing them.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lessons from the Duggars

I don’t exactly live under a rock, but I don’t exactly stay up with everything going on in the world wither. One way that’s particularly true is what’s on TV these days. Years ago, my husband and I decided that it wasn’t worth $40 or $60 or $100 for us to have a multitude of channels to flip through, with not many more real options of good shows to watch than what we have with the basic channels. So, we have the most limited cable plan available – we get the major networks, a few superstations, PBS, shopping channels and a few others (one of our favorites being Food Network.) Needless to say, we miss out on a lot of pop culture. Generally, we’re good with that. We would like to have channels such as the History channel, Discovery Health, and the Travel channel, but so far the cable company doesn’t offer adding limited additional channels.
In all the channels and shows that we miss, the one I’d like to see most is The Duggars: 18 and Counting. I, not being completely under a rock, of course have heard of them. I’ve caught them on a major morning news show once or twice and have heard other people talk about their show. Everything I’ve ever heard has been good.
I decided to check my library to see if they had any of the show in their catalog. While there were series such as 6 Feet Under and Prison Break, there were no seasons of The Duggar’s show. However, they did have their book. I requested it right away.
I do not, and am not, planning on having anywhere near 19 children. Having four healthy children (after 3 of them were born blue), one extremely difficult pregnancy, and a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes, my husband and I felt called to take permanent measures to ensure we wouldn’t have any more children. With four children under 7, including a very needy infant, I have struggled with the responsibilities that come with the blessings. When I came across the Duggar’s book, I thought that surely they’d have some great advice, tips, and tools that would be helpful to me, a mom of only four. When I saw that they had a chapter or organization, I was sold. I picked up the book two days later – and I wasn’t disappointed. Tune in tomorrow to find out why I was so impressed.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Top 10 Ingredients for a Successful Marriage

Put God first. Make time with God in His Word and in prayer a priority. He will bless your marriage for it.

Act in love. Remember that love is something that you do, not just a feeling. Feelings change, but you can always choose loving actions.

Maintain respect for each other. Treat your spouse with the respect you would any other person you look up to.

Choose marriage every day. There will be good days and bad day. Don’t ever let quitting be an option.

Pray. Pray for your marriage. Pray for your spouse. Pray for yourself. Prayer is powerful and will help you maintain a proper focus on your marriage and spouse.

Study Scripture. The Bible has the answers to any question or problem you will come across. The more you know it, the easier it will be to find the right answers.

Seek Godly counsel. Godly counsel can be books written by Christian authors or trusted Christian friends or professional counselors. When getting face-to-face counsel, stick to your own gender.

Keep your mouth shut. Harsh words hurt and can’t be taken back. Think before you speak – to your spouse and others. Never vent or speak ill of your spouse to others.

Forgive. Your spouse is human and will let you down. When they do, forgive them. Forgive yourself, also, when you’re human and make mistakes.

Laugh. Have fun with your spouse. Fun and laughter are healing and increase bonds.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

For our Kids

Sometimes as a mom I wonder what I get myself into. Is it really worth it to drag three or four or five kids under six out somewhere? They love it, it is fun, we do have great memories and pictures, but I usually end up worn out and nothing gets done at home. So, is it worth it?

Today I had the opportunity to go with two of my children and one of their friends to see the Harlem Globetrotters. As it was a birthday present from my mom, she and her fiance went with us. First plus: extra adults. Second plus: it was the two oldest - ages five, six and seven. Third plus: I've wanted to see the Globetrotters since I was little.

However, I arranged child care for the younger two, picked my mom and fiance up and drove a total of two hours (with the two stops) to get to the location. Spent money on lunch, a snack at the game ($6 for one thing of cotten candy, i.e. air and sugar) and dinner on the way home, another two hours with two stops. We were gone from the house a total of eight hours for a two hour game. And I was tired on the way home. I had a McCafe Mocha for dinner.

Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY! My two oldest are still in the garage playing with their new Globetrotters basketball (which they paid the majority for with their own money - bonus number four.) It is a memory they will have forever (and if they begin to forget, we have pictures for refreshing.)

Sometimes the things we do are more work than they're worth. For us, t-ball is too much right now, but cheerleading and swim lessons and Awana's aren't. It's a lot. A lot of time out of the house. A lot of planning. A lot of dealing with the little ones out of the house. It's also a lot of fun, a lot of lessons, and a lot of friendships fostered and memories made.

Each one of us has to look at what is worth it to us. There are literally hundreds of choices on any given day of things we can do with our children. Mostly, I like to be home with them, but I know they will benefit from other things too. Notice, they don't NEED other things, but I can see the benefit. There is a cost/benefit ratio to each one of us for each choice we make. Thank goodness there are so many choices, because that ratio is different for each family.

We may end up tired, but if the choice is a right one, we will be a good tired.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Loss

Some things are too much for words. Yet, words are always there. We have had a week. It's been one of THOSE weeks. You know, the week when the stomach bug hits. And it doesn't hit hard, slamming the ball out of the park, bringing in loaded bases all at once. No, this bug walked one person around the bases.

I came down with a stomach bug on Tuesday morning, my 4-year-old Tuesday night, my 9-month old Wednesday night, and my 7-year-old Thursday night (her birthday). I felt like I was drowning in laundry and my body couldn't quite recover. Two nights were spent on the floor, keeping the kids away from the bed and one half the night in a recliner with the baby. Then the worst day came.

The day that felt like three. My now 7-year-old made it through the night, then threw up again in the morning. We got a call that my husband's grandfather had gone into the hospital. He went, I stayed. It was one of those times when you know you're exactly where you should be, but your heart is somewhere else. I spent most of the day walking around in circles, making telephone calls, praying, and straightening. Then the call I'd been waiting for and dreading all at the same time came. My husband's granfather had passed away. That morning when his four children and six grandchildren woke up, they had no idea it would be the day they would lose their patriarch.

The sadness of a lost loved one is heart-breaking. They are such a part of our lives. However, there is definite comfort in knowing we will see him again. There is comfort in knowing that every illness, catastrophe, and death we face, it is not the end. We miss those we love dearly, but we have hope, which helps us withstand the pain of those losses

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14.

Monday, March 1, 2010

10 Things You can Do in 10 Minutes (or Less)

It seems that we’re all short on time these days, and it’s difficult to get everything done. Here are some tips to help get things checked off your to do list even if you only have 10 spare minutes.
1. Read a short picture book or board book to your child.

2. Pick up/straighten up one room.

3. Fix tomorrow’s lunch.

4. Read a magazine article.

5. Return a phone call/make an appointment.

6. Write a Birthday Card or note to a friend.

7. Put away folded clothes.

8. Plan meals for the week and make a grocery list.

9. Do some light dusting.

10. Teach your child a new song.
 

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