Being Teachable

Last week, I was on the hunt for a book on cd that I could listen to while I make dinner. The kids are always off playing or watching a cartoon while I make food (when they aren’t all trying to “help” me make dinner, that is), and I figured I could find a good book to listen to and help me with my goal of reading more. I found the audio book, Family Revival: God’s Wisdom at My House by James McDonald. I knew he was a good preacher/speaker, and I had not read anything of his. So, I thought I would give it a try.

WOW! I was blown away by the truth this man speaks. The amount of Bible verses he uses to back up what he is teaching is amazing. I LOVE when pastors use a lot of Bible verses during their sermons. Our pastor does this all the time, and it really helps me with being able to reference all the instances that the Bible talks about a certain topic. Mr. McDonald does a great job of listing multiple references (both Old and New Testament) to support his statements.

The audio book is 7 cd’s. I just finished up number 4 this evening. It was about training our children. The cd before that was about marriage.

Let me tell you about conviction, people! It is real. And I felt it…..more times than I would like to admit!

Lately I have really felt led to try to TEACH my children more, with regard to how to act and behave and obey. Of course, as soon as I determine to work on something, Satan gets in there to mess it up. I have had an ache in my neck, like a muscle ache, for a few days. (I think my really old pillow is not supporting my head well. And maybe looking down at my iPhone too much isn’t helping. And my poor posture. And probably a hundred other things.) Of course, the ache aggravates me and my little amount of patience is lessened even more. I find myself yelling more than I desire. I snap at the littlest things. And I express to my kids over and over that I am trying to teach them how to behave…although, the yelling and screaming probably does the exact opposite of teaching!

And then today, I am listening to the cd on training our children. I am secretly hoping the kids are listening to the part when he is talking about kids needing to be trained and taught and needing to be punished, so they understand consequences for defiance of authority. And then he goes ahead and talks about how parents need to behave: calmly, without anger in their spanking, helping the child understand what they SHOULD do and not just what they shouldn’t, having patience with the repeat offenders, and so on.

I start thinking about how teachable my kids need to be, because lately they are just so naughty and defiant….

And then I stop and consider how I have been. I have been skipping my Bible time. My prayer time is rushed and not a priority. My focus is on others’ bad behavior and not my own. I am constantly complaining to the kids about their behavior but have not once shown them a correct way to respond to a problem. Rather than express my need to take my problems to the Lord in prayer, I just sit and whine. All I have done is shown them how to yell and scream and complain. And then they do exactly that with each other, and I wonder why they are doing it!

What conviction this afternoon! Clearly the Lord knew I needed to hear that exact part of the audio book…today. And He knew that at that moment this evening I would be ready to hear it. My husband is working late tonight, so he wasn’t home talking with me during that time. My kids were busy playing elsewhere, so it was quiet in the kitchen except for the audio book.

I think sometimes as moms we get caught up in making sure our children are acting right, that we forget that how we respond and act is how they will. If I expect my kids to be teachable and trainable, then I HAVE TO BE TEACHABLE AND TRAINABLE. And how can I be trained and taught, if I am not spending time reading God’s Word? How can I hear the Lord, if I am not spending time talking to Him in prayer? How can I expect my kids to be loving and forgiving and compassionate and patience and merciful…..if I am doing none of those things???!!

Proverbs 1:8 tells children to “not forsake your mother’s teaching.” But, I am not giving them any teaching worth holding on to!

Titus 2:5 says women should “be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands,…” What an awful job of that I have done lately!

Thankfully, my God is more powerful than my sinfulness. Daniel 4:37 tells me “…those who walk in pride he is able to humble.” And boy did He humble me this afternoon!! I am so thankful for His patience with my slow learning and for his mercy and forgiveness.

I just wanted to share what is probably so obvious to you all, but I just realized today. :) In order for my kids to know how to be teachable and trainable…I must be teachable and trainable.

Let me just tell you, God is doing some big things over here in our home. And I can’t wait for the day when I can share it all with you. For now, all I can say is that God is good…all the time. Regardless of what Satan is trying to do around us, as long as we keep our focus on God and trust Him to carry us, He will. And nothing is strong enough to knock us out of His hands.

Makes me think of that song:

My God is so big, so strong and so mighty. There’s nothing my God cannot do.

:)

 

Summer Time!

 

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Here a few fun facts about our Summer:

1. The girls are in a tumbling class (last class is today – praise the Lord! I mean, I love their involvement in the class, but two classes on Wednesdays was getting a little crazy). Buddy is in a t-ball class. The kids have all learned so much from their classes, and I am happy we were able to get all the girls in the same class.

2. After not being able to go on a trip we had planned for last week, we were all pretty bummed. BUT, the week off from work gave Arthur some time to build something he has been wanting to build for quite some time – a FIRE PIT! We have had it for 8 days now, and we have spent 5 nights out there. :) We love it! He did an amazing job on a small budget, even utilizing the rocks we collected a few years ago from the empty lots across the street. Free decoration! We feel like we are camping when we are out at the fire pit. It is great!

3. My brother is getting married in a few days!!! My brother, Jake, is marrying a very lovely girl on Saturday. We are all so excited and happy for him and Aunt Holly. Addy is mostly just excited to ride in a limo; she asked if it would have a pool and tv and all the things the Barbie limo had in it, from an episode she saw on Netflix. HAHA! I told her “maybe”. I know, that was mean. :)

4. My husband is off again all of next week…to help with VBS at church. :) Last year, I wasn’t able to help with VBS, and he promised me he would take off the whole week for this year’s VBS so we can both help. And we are! I am excited to help the leader in the craft station, and he will help the church maintenance guy (who also happens to be one of his good friends, so that will be fun) with all the cleaning/garbage/traffic-directing or whatever else needs to be helped with. I am super excited we will all be at church together all week to serve!

5. I have eased up on our very strict eating “rules.” We are not eating as much organic (eek!) right now. The funds are just not there, and we have to be very cautious about money for a bit. So, I have been buying a lot of fresh foods, still, but they have not been organic unless the prices were really great. This has allowed us to buy MORE things (and we have a lot of big eaters here, so that has been wonderful for the very-hungry-because-we-played-outside-all-day kiddos as well as the marathon running hubs), and I have not stressed as much about grocery lists. I still spend serious time planning out meals, and I try to make even more from scratch since we aren’t able to get all the organics we would like. I have also not been able to buy raw milk. Kinda stinks, but it is what it is for now. Not gonna make us go broke just to get a gallon of milk. Ya know?

6. (not a FUN fact, but still a summer one) Lily’s eczema flared up in an unusual spot – the outer thigh on both legs. I think the pool water has had a lot to do with it…and probably some of our diet changes as well. Then the other day she had a crazy reaction on her neck to something, and I am not sure what it was. She said the natural bug repellent burned when we sprayed it on, so I think the allergic rash was already there and the repellent made it worse. I don’t know if it is the milk we’re drinking or an ingredient in something or what. But, we’ve got medicated cream for the raw patches on her legs, and we putting hydrocortizone on her neck. Poor girl’s skin even reacted to a bandage I had put on her thighs last week. She is so sensitive to topical things. :( But she is a trooper, and I am praying the skin heals quickly!

7. God has been so good to us. We have not had a need for anything financially. A lot has happened in the last couple of months, and we are in a place we had hoped we would not have to visit, financially, but we are so grateful for God bringing us into it. He has really shown us needs versus wants, and He has continued to provide all we need. I am so grateful for this trying time because my husband has been so vocal about trusting God and he has really been an awesome spiritual leader, even more than he normally is. He is constantly reminding the kids and me about God’s goodness and faithfulness. I am thankful for what God is teaching him and for how receptive he has been. I have learned a lot just from watching my husband….and I’ve been pretty convicted about my own reactions to situations. Arthur reminds me over and over, daily, that God is good….regardless of how we feel about a situation or how others have reacted about things. God is good. :) And Arthur texts that phrase to me often.

Cannot wait for the second half of Summer! It has been awesome so far!

 

Summer Slump

Summer just started about 4 days ago, and I have already fallen off track with my cleaning routine. I just shared on My Own Ripple Effect about keeping your home guest ready and I am not even following my own advice about it!

I just overwhelmed myself with a few activities – not bad activities, just not activities I needed to give attention to right now – and now I am scrambling to find my routine again! Thankfully we are not doing any formal schooling right now, or I would really be losing it. I am just going to start over, adding back into our day the things I should be doing and focusing on, and say “Not right now” to the things that maybe I would love to be doing but just know that this isn’t the season for them. We have been learning (and talking about at each meeting) this very thing in our Titus 2 group at church. We talk about the seasons we go through as wives and mothers and how our needs and abilities change with each one. And it is so interesting to see how I mismanage this season ALL. THE. TIME. :) I keep saying “I just need to step aside and lay down my desires and let God lead.” Aaaaand then I pick it all back up and get in front of God again. Grrrr! When will I learn?!

Today went rather well, though. After several days of screaming and crying (and the kids were pretty bad off as well), I decided to FINALLY do what I keep saying I need to do, and I let God lead….for the most part. Still tried to hold on to a few things today, and almost immediately watched our happiness wash away. Also, I decided last night there is entirely too much TV watching happening here. I was using it as a rainy day option, but then it became an everyday option. And we were/are all addicted, so when I would try to turn it off, the kids were crying for more. So, I would give in to have some quiet. Bad idea.

Last night, I decided I would give them a few things they had to get done before the TV could go on. The few things for today were:

Read Proverbs 25 (since it’s the 25th)

Make your bed

Get Dressed

Brush hair.

I figured just a few to start this transition was a good idea. Boy am I glad I did not give more than those four! I am certain they would have tried to attack me!! Poor Lily was awake last and was NOT a happy camper when she could not eat until she finished those four items. The other kids were done with them and had eaten and were off playing. But she just wanted to come right down to eat. I stayed firm and sent her back up with the instructions, and I ended up reading Proverbs 25 while she followed along…so she didn’t feel so left out.

Next week, my husband has a few days off, and I would like to use some of that time to really nail down a new routine/schedule to be able to start some schoolwork up again in a few weeks. Whether or not that will happen is unknown. I know we plan to go to the zoo one of his days off and do some running around on another day. Praying that I can get some alone time worked in there to sit down and organize my ideas and plans and schedule!

And before I forget, I was featured again this week on My Own Ripple Effect!! I am really enjoying contributing! HERE is the article that was posted over there this week! It is about cooking from scratch. Mmmmm, makes me hungry thinking about it. :)

Do any of you struggle with Summer slumps? Or do you have any tips for staying on track with schedules through the Summer??

 

Hey, Check This Out!

TOTALLY forgot to post this yesterday. I was a contributor at M.O.R.E. (My Own Ripple Effect) yesterday!! Here is the link to my article. :) It was a lot of fun to be able to contribute, and I really love what M.O.R.E. is about!

You should check out the site and sign up to receive the posts. The gal that heads it up is pretty cool, and she really puts a lot of heart into what she puts on the blog!

So, ya, now I am totally famous. :)

Easy Summer Snacks for Little Ones

So, I try my hardest to have my kids snack on healthy foods in the Summer. No, I don’t always succeed. BUT, I don’t think letting them have a sugary, unhealthy item every once in a while is awful. :) We just do not make a habit of it. My kids get a “crap snack” about once a week (or even less often). I will admit, though, that lately I have fallen to just grabbing whatever I can find to feed them on the rough days. We have had some unexpectedly busy days, several in a row in fact, that really caught me off guard. I just grabbed cheese crackers or pretzels or whatever to feed my energetic and growing kiddos. And they didn’t die….so I guess a crap snack isn’t too bad when you’ve got nothing else! Ha!

Here are some of the easy snacks I either buy or bake to keep my growing kids from crying because they are starving in between meals…. (oh, and I have read the article about kids not needing snacks and just to feed three healthy meals and yada, yada, yada….BUT, I completely disagree. When it is 80 degrees and all the kids are running around outside for hours and hours, there is NO WAY they can make it between meals. I don’t buy it that kids stay full between meals. Especially if they are eating a lot of fruits and veggies….that does not keep them full! So, just wanted to throw that out there in case anyone was going to comment about kids not needing food between meals. I will just agree to disagree.)

Fruit!

For littler ones, I will slice the more difficult ones – apples, pears, nectarines, plums, and oranges. My older kids don’t mind getting a whole fruit to eat because they like to toss the pit/core/peel into the compost bin. :) A new favorite for some of my kids is star fruit. It is sweet and juicy! I don’t know why we waited so long to try it. And my girls like that the slices are star-shaped!

A handful of grapes, blueberries or strawberries (with the reminder “don’t eat the green!”) are a quick, easy snack too! Bananas are super easy as well.

Veggies

Ok, so not all of my kids would be happy to get raw veggies as a snack. BUT, for the kids who wouldn’t complain, I will cut up carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, or cucumbers. We make our own ranch(go HERE for my favorite ranch), so I don’t mind a huge pile of that on their plate with the veggies! We have also done an easy black bean dip (like a humus but without tahini).

Muffins

Except for today (oh, what a morning!), I usually make almost double the amount of muffins we’ll need for breakfast. This allows me to offer muffins as a snack later in the day. I don’t have to make anything at snack time, I just open the container, they all take one and I shoo them out the door! I don’t care if they get crumbs all over the yard – the dog really appreciates it!

Cookies

I only offer these for snack if they are homemade. And we usually only have homemade in the house. With having to watch for red #40 (which can be found in some chocolate items, I have found), it is much easier to just make our own cookies. Plus, seven people eating cookies means we need a ton of them! So, doubling recipes and keeping them on hand or in the freezer is perfect for us.

Homemade Trail Mix

I have two versions – one with nuts for older kids and one without nuts for my littlest guy (and my big girl that doesn’t like any nuts except the pricey cashews!). For the little kid mix, I toss some type of chex cereal (usually Aldi brand, unless there is a good deal elsewhere), raisins, dried cranberries, chocolate chips, PB chips, Cheerios (or something comparable), and maybe some homemade granola all in a big storage bowl or bag.

The mix for the older kids varies. It can have any or all of these: dried cranberries, raisins, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, almonds, homemade granola, chocolate chips, PB chips, and anything else I find interesting to toss in. :)

So these are just some of the easy snacks we keep on hand. If I have a crazy week, I just make sure to have a box of Aldi’s cheese crackers on hand. :)

Menu Plan – June 1 – 14

What a month May was! So many activities came up, last-minute, that I felt like my head was spinning most days. I planned for meals, but several times those plans were messed up due to unforeseen things. But we made it through! And Summer is pretty much here!

Here is my menu plan for the first two weeks of June. So far, we have only changed one dinner meal….because Chik-Fil-A offered a free dinner this past Thursday, and we just couldn’t resist a free meal! :) Ok, we paid for fries and drinks, but we still paid only $10 to fully feed all seven of us!

Breakfast

Eggs x 3

Cereal x 4

Waffles x 3

Toast and Fruit x 2

Bagels and/or English Muffins x 1

Coffee Cake x 1

Lunch

Leftovers x 6

PB&J x 4

Snack Lunch (pb crackers, fruit, cheese, yogurt) x 4

Dinner

Baked Ziti (meatless), green beans, corn

Homemade Hawaiian Pizza

Fettuccine with peas and ham, carrots

Pasta with broccoli and chicken, Veggies and ranch

Sloppy Chicken Joes over Rice, Salad

Honey Lime Chicken, Potatoes, Carrots

Mexican Style Rice and Cheese (meatless), beans, carrots and cucumbers

Broccoli-Topped Potatoes (meatless), veggies and ranch

Dominican Rice and Beans (meatless), salad

Bean and beef tacos, Corn

Bacon Risotto, bread, Salad

Pizza x 2

Beef and Rice Casserole, salad

I think menu plans will help us get through a busy Summer. My plan, right now, is to keep up the two-week plan since things seem to change often around here…that way I don’t feel overwhelmed with rearranging a whole month’s worth of menu plans!

Is anyone else menu planning for the Summer?? :)

 

Menu Plan – Two Weeks

Things have been very busy here lately. I did not plan out a month’s worth of meals (even though I probably should have) because things keep changing daily. We did a lot of yard work and gardening this weekend, and we have several evenings of activities over the next two weeks for church, family, and work. So, I planned out two weeks of meals for now. I hope to plan out all June’s meals before next Friday, when I do my big grocery trip again. Life is so much easier when I do a whole month. Even if I am not actually buying all the foods at one time, I find it easier to just plan out the meals and purchase it during my two big grocery trips during the month.

Breakfast

English Muffins x 3, fruit

Waffles x 3, fruit

Cereal (yes! I bought some!) x 3, fruit

Eggs x 3, fruit

Coffee cake x 2, fruit

Lunch

Leftovers x 6

PB & J x 4

Quesadillas x 2

Buttered Noodles x 1

Out of town

Dinner

Lasagna Rollups

Sloppy Joes

Chicken Manicotti

Mac and Cheese

Smoky Chicken Cassoulet Over Rice

Shredded Pork Tacos

Cuban Black Beans and Rice

Mexican Style Rice and Cheese

Southwest Stuffed Peppers

Risotto

Pasta Bake

Chicken Noodle Casserole

Pizza x 2

A few snacks I would like to make (and hope I have time to be in the kitchen for) are:

No Bake Cookies

S’Mores Bars (totally unhealthy but they looked SO good)

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Homemade Trail Mix (kid-friendly…for those kids who don’t like nuts or are too small for nuts)

Happy Eating! :)