Saturday, November 29, 2014

Teaching Honesty


This is a popular subject because all children try out being dishonest at one time or another.  You may be scandalized, but I have an unconventional view of how to deal with dishonesty.  I actually don't come down hard with discipline on this issue except to teach the correct principle often, and here is why.  I lied a lot when I was a kid.  So did my oldest daughter.  I noticed that when people came down hard on me, I just lied more because I wanted to stay out of trouble.  Same with my daughter.  Eventually, I matured out of it in my teens and so did she.

So what I've done is teach about honesty often in my home.  I teach with stories and examples.  We talk about the natural consequences of dishonesty.  Then when my kids tell a lie, I talk with them about it more....I ask them why they did it...and help them find a better way.  This has been so much more successful than punishment when it comes to dishonesty.  My kids really respond well to this and try really hard be honest.

Punishment just drives the behavior underground, it doesn't change it.  Love and teaching will help them change self-destructive behavior.  You will have to repeat yourself often...but I worked with my oldest daughter.  She is now the most honest person I know.  And so far, it's working with my other kids.  Here is a link to some inspiring stories about honesty to share with children and teens.  And here is a link to a great article about teaching honesty in your home.

Friday, November 28, 2014

My Favorite Leftover Turkey Rice Soup


My favorite thing to make with Thanksgiving Leftovers is Turkey Rice Soup!  Below is the Recipe.  (I also love Turkey Pesto Sandwiches made with turkey, pesto, sourdough bread, and provolone cheese, all cooked like a toasted cheese sandwich!  Mmmmmmm.)  What are your favorites?

1 turkey carcass
Leftover turkey
Cooked rice
Grated carrots
1 thinly sliced onion

Boil one turkey carcass with the meat mostly removed along with an whole onion and a celery stick or two for 1-12 hours...however long you have time for.  Drain broth, and return the broth to the empty pot.  Add leftover turkey, onion, cooked rice, grated carrots, Sage, Pepper, and Salt to taste (You have to taste it because the amount of spice depends on how much broth you have.  Boil for 30 min.  Super easy and delicious!  (You can also make this in the crockpot, just put the finished broth, raw carrots (use sliced carrots for the crockpot), spices, and cooked turkey in on low for 4-8 hours, and add cooked rice at the end.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Holiday Kid Activities!

THANK YOU! for these ideas!  I'm totally going to use these activities this year.  So easy and fun!  Click the caption to go to the ideas!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Children Need to Feel Respect


After reading this article about how marriage partners make "bids" for love and respect, I noticed that my children do it too.  You can strengthen or weaken the relationship with your child by how you respond to their "bids."  Often they "fish" for respect or love by issuing a challenge.  I saw it in the home of one of my friends the other day.  The daughter was saying something that she learned in school and the mother was arguing that it was incorrect.  But interestingly, I don't think the daughter was wanting to be "right,"  I think that she was just fishing for her mother's approval and respect.  So I want to keep this more in mind as I deal with my children's "challenges."  It's probably good to ponder what the real reason is behind their challenge.  Are they just fishing for love, attention, or respect?  If so, then it's important to react in a way that validates this need.  Of course, if you need to teach them correct principles in response to this challenge, you can always do it in a soft way that preserves the feeling that you love them.  And lastly, something to remember is that experience is a better teacher than you sometimes.  So if they challenge you that they want to do something that you know isn't going to work, and it's going to be pretty harmless if they fail, tell them that you trust their judgement and will let them try what they want to try.  Though you may want to ask them non-judgemental questions in order to help lead them through their thought processes.  And always remember to do it with love.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Beautiful Christmas Music!

My whole family loved this song by Pentatonix.  What a great way to start talking about Christmas with your family!

Here is another beautiful one!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Break!


I love that baby face.  Babies are so cute with their funny faces.  Here is one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving break:  Cousin time.  I love watching them together.  It's one of the sweetest things about the holiday.  Here are my daughters with their cousins this past year.

Cousins are a great source of my family's strength.  We spend a LOT of time bonding together.  It's nice because whenever my kids are having bad friend times, they can always turn to their cousins.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Your Love Must be Unconditional


I talked with a friend the other day and she was telling me that her children were complaining that she  had favorites.  I had never noticed her to play favorites so I was curious and asked to know more about it.  She said one child was saying that she treated their oldest son differently than the others.  And then she said, "But how could I not give him anything he wants?  He does everything for me that I ask and more."

Now I can't analyze this problem more than just from what she tells me, but it sounds like from that statement and from others she made that her show of love is more effusive when children are obedient than when they aren't.

This is a dangerous practice and here is why.  If you show more love for your child when they are obedient than when they are disobedient,  you are signalling that your love is "conditional" upon their behavior.  This will make them feel unloved and they will rebel, or have hard times or low self esteem.

Your show of love has to be equal to every child whether they are behaving poorly or well.  You can take away PRIVELEGES when they misbehave....but not your show of love.

Children need to know you love them unconditionally, whether they are good or badly behaved.  This love empowers them to behave better.  As they become confident in your love, they will want to please you more...if they think your love is conditional, they won't want to please you at all.  They will be bitter and resentful.

So it's good to analyze once in awhile, whether your show of love is unconditional.  It makes a big difference.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Pizza Night

We have a friday night tradition of pizza and a family movie. One way we make it healthier is making Pita Pizzas.  Here's the recipe:

Take one whole wheat pita round per person.  Top with spaghetti sauce, cheese, turkey pepperoni, or turkey sausage and veggies.  Bake at 400 for about 8-10 min. or until cheese is bubbly.

So easy and fun!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Why do Relationships Last?


I always talk about how the best thing you can do for your kids is to have a healthy relationship, and also I love to tell you to read the book by John Gottman: "Why Marriages Succeed or Fail."  Well recently someone interviewed John Gottman and wrote this article:  "Science says Lasting Relationships come down to 2 basic Traits," for the Atlantic magazine, and it was reprinted by Business Insider.  It's worth reading!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Non Toy Christmas Gifts


If you're like me, you're already scouting out presents, and you are also wondering why in the world you want to bring more toys in to junk up the house.  That's why I loved this article in the Huffington Post.  Tons of ideas for non-toy presents!

One thing my sister does that I want to do is take a family trip instead of opening presents.  Another family I know only gives 3 gifts each Christmas to tone down the "entitlement':  an article of clothing, a book, and a toy.  My sister-in-law skis with her family over the holiday and only has her kids give gifts to each other.  What a sweet way to create memories!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Homemade Toy Storage Ideas

Toy storage doesn't have to be expensive.  You can cover cardboard boxes with paper or cloth and store them under the bed, in a closet or on a bookshelf.  Once I even stapled heavy duty black garbage bags around cardboard and printed out pretty labels (this was for my recycling bins, and probably not appropriate for areas children play because of the plastic hazard, but hopefully it will inspire you to come up with innovative paint?) Here is how to make some with cloth and glue.


Here's another one of my favorites:


Friday, November 7, 2014


Is this not so stinkin' easy and cute?  I'm totally doing this with my kids this year!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My Secret to Success!

I am not joking.  I take naps.  All.  The. Time.  I hope you do too.  If you are a mother you need naps and you should take them when you can get them.  I am way less grumpy with my kids, more productive, and things look less overwhelming when I've had a nap.  So don't ever let anyone make you feel guilty about taking naps.  They will help you be a better mom.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Here, Kitty!

Ha ha!  I found out little skunks don't spray, but it stops your heart just looking at it!