Christianity Farm Life Parenting

Where Is Your Treasure?

To find out what *I* personally think your treasure should be–and it might surprise you–hop on over to Parenting Q & A for my latest article!

Here’s a hint as to what it’s not:

Not our new vehicle, or our mortgaged “house beautiful”, or anything else that a second income could buy. In light of Matthew 6:19-21, we need to turn our hearts away from earthly corruptible things, and towards God and the values He assigns.

What does this have to do with parenting? Well. Everything.

australorpsMeanwhile, here on the “chicken ranch”, things are popping! Color everywhere from my veggie garden and purple redbud trees to the newest little chicks we added to our 70 up-and-coming layers. They are black and yellow with white-tipped wings and are called Australorps! I’m told that they will be all black when full grown, with purplish-greenish sheens. And they are excellent layers of brown eggs, which is a very good thing these days, as my organic eggs are finally in great demand!

Happy Spring, friends! A post on super foods coming up!

Christianity Health Parenting

The Best Medicine

I’m posting today at Writer…Interrupted, a post of encouragement for parents of sick children.

As an extension of that, I wanted to mention that there’s nothing nicer than a care package when the germies have been making their unwelcome rounds. My oldest sister stopped in last fall, during our bout of influenza, and dropped off a grocery bag of goodies including:

  • individual sized squirt bottles of Sunny D
  • Campbell’s “Soup at Hand”–their microwaveable “heat and sip” soups
  • lip balm

My mother in law is another one for spoiling sick loved ones, only her “care packages” usually contain:

  • jello or pudding cups
  • gogurts (yogurt in a tube, good frozen or thawed)
  • juice boxes
  • Pedialyte
  • half a dozen cans of varying kinds of chicken soup (chicken noodl-o’s, chicken and stars, Dora chicken noodle soup…)
  • crackers
  • new books or toys

And my mom still sends over a kettle of chicken and dumplings, which always seems to me, to be the best medicine of all. That and her prayers…

What traditions have you lovingly brought into your family’s healing processes? I’d love to hear about them!


The Civilizing of Young Children

I checked in at Beck’s yesterday and was treated to a great post, as always, entitled, Bad Mother.

Beck reprimanded her daughter with a “Shame on you” in front of a guest whom she describes as a “certain Baby Boomer relative”. Anyway, I took this little gem of Beck’s and wanted to share it with you here:

The civilizing process demands that we learn to behave appropriately regardless of however much we may feel like smacking our younger brother in the head with a book for singing too loudly (just to use a “random” example.). Shame might not be a popular emotion, but it’s a necessary one and the appropriate response for letting our feelings overwhelm us and spill over into hurting another person.

The snippet above precedes a riotous and on-spot review of Corinne Maier’s book: No Kid. Apparantly this author wishes she’d never had kids, because of the huge disappointment they’ve become in her life. Sad stuff, people.

Jaunt on over to Beck’s and read the rest, it’s worth it. There are some insightful goodies in the comments as well.

Family Ties Parenting

Happy Kids

Funny, as we walked through the wind and misting on-again-off-again rain at the state fair on Monday, trying to find a carnival ride for which oldest wasn’t too TALL and youngest wasn’t too SHORT …almost impossible by the way…I realized how nice it was to not have the kids all squabbling about “fairness”.

The carousel always draws us first, and usually dh hops on to stand beside toddler (3 years old) since she’s always been under the height requirement to ride it alone. My equilibrium gets off for a week if I get motion sick. I’m weird that way. I avoid carnival rides. I buy stock in Dramamine for road trips.

So we’re standing in line at the merry-go-round, hoping our youngest is tall enough, and come to find out, she isn’t. Her Daddy, off drooling over stock trailers, had  plans to meet up with us under the ferris wheel at 3 p.m. We normally don’t split up at the fair, but the threatening weather kinda forced us to make the most of the time we had…

So here we are, a mom and three woe-begone girls, chilled and wet and wanting to eek just a little bit of fun out of the experience.

“You guys can ride it without her, we’ll find something her size after this.” I told my older girls, helping toddler back into the double jogging stroller and velcroing the rain shield down over her.

They look at me like I’m crazy. 7 year old especially. “Mom! We’re not going to ride the first ride without her!”

Okay. So we finally find a motorcycle one that 7 & 3 year old can ride together with 9 year old’s urging. Poor 9 year old, she’s tall for her age. Too tall for a kiddie carnival!

But the best part for me was that 3 year old was happy either way. She LOVED the rides, but she accepted the fact that she wasn’t big enough for all of them. To the point of waving wildly at her sisters as they zoomed through the air on baby elephants. A really cool ride in the eyes of a toddler, yet she was ecstatic just to wave and holler hello at them each time they made it around to our side.

Today at lunch toddler brought up the carnival motorcycles and how much she wanted to ride one again.

“That was fun, wasn’t it?” I agreed.

She grinned, her spoonful of rice suspended mid-air. “I’m gonna be big enough next year. Next I’ll be four and I’ll be taller to ride, won’t I?”

Yes, you will, babe and on the off chance that you aren’t, we’ll make sure daddy’s there to save the day!


Thoughts on Infant Training

Child training, for our family, always began in the hospital.

Before even starting our family, I participated in a Growing Kids God’s Way class at my church titled Preparation for Parenting by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo. I sat in the pew, excitement filling me, thinking, This makes sense! So I ordered my own book and tape set and studied up for our children’s future.

Our three girls could be poster children for the success of their first years. I scheduled, not rigidly, just making sure that:

  • No less than 2 hrs passed from the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of the next. I aimed for 3 hours, but didn’t sweat it at two. My firstborn was in the 90th percentile, and I figured the child needed extra nourishment!
  • At night, I let them sleep as long as they would, not waking them to nurse, but nursing them if needed those first 8-10 weeks.
  • I kept to a strict cycle of: feedtime/waketime/naptime

According to the Ezzo’s, and I found this true with all three of my girls, if you switch up the “feed/wake/sleep cycle” you mess with the infant’s ability to sleep through the night by 8-10 weeks of age. So if you subscribe to this theory, your infant never requires sleep props, because you keep them awake after feeding. Even if you just tickle their feet or change their diaper, minutes of awake time with a newborn, are sometimes all you’ll get! They’ll develop the habit, with no hardship, of falling asleep on their own. (w/o rocking, bouncing, shushing, swaddling, nursing…)

My first child slept through the night at exactly 8 weeks of age. To the night. And we’re talking 10-12 hrs each night, consistently, except when teething!

My second child made me sweat it, wondering if firstborn had been a fluke. She didn’t start her 10 hours a night till she was 9 weeks old. But from then on, she too, remained a consistent sleeper.

Third daughter…same scenario. Worked like a charm.

I know you all think I’m spoiled with all that great sleep, but this was trained into them from the hospital by the scheduling.

I always stress that, because I think so often moms wait till they’ve got problems to try to figure out how to solve them…and then you’re in for a lot of fussing and “crying it out” if you go that route, and some have to if they want to break the habit and ever get their 2 or 3 or 4 year old to sleep through the night!

By starting out with my little routine from day 1, my infants fell right into line and I had the blessing of several things:

  1. Knowing that if they cried, its cause was either a dirty diaper or pain or needing cuddled. Btw, so often nursing becomes an overfeeding problem which can lead to upset tummies, fussing, etc, when maybe baby just needed more mommy-time…
  2. Knowing that I had a two or three hour block of time before the next feeding came in pretty handy when planning grocery expeditions, etc!
  3. Having a happy, well-adjusted infant and toddler who knew what to expect and had her expectations satisfied.

Another fun aside is that all our girls loved bedtime! People would be so amazed when visiting us at night and our crawling eight month old would grab her blankie and say, “Night-night!” (with no prompting from us) and head for her crib. Not a one ever gave us any bedtime trials. Kisses and hugs and special-lovin’ tucking in’s and they were practically counting Z’s before we had the door shut…

We’re all different, and I have nothing against breastfeeding on demand and co-sleeping…

I just can’t beat 10-12 hours of sleep at eight weeks post-partum! That, my dears, really rocks!


Pro-Life Post You Won’t Want to Miss

My friend Andrea gave birth to a baby girl today! Congratulations, Mama! We’re thrilled for you…


MInTheGap happened to write an awesome pro-life post today: Children, Pregnant Mothers and Doctor’s Know. He argues that everyone, from abortionists to young children realize that an unborn baby is not simply a blob of tissue. A snippet for you:

Feminist Jean Garton tells the moving story of her three-year-old, who wandered into her room late at night and inadvertently saw a photo of a ten-week abortion. his mother describes his reaction:

His small voice was filled with great sadness as he asked, “Who broke the baby?”

How could this small, innocent child see what so many adults cannot see? How could he know instinctively that this which many people carelessly dismiss as tissue or a blob was one in being with him, was like him? In the words of his question he gave humanity to what adults call “fetal matter”; in the tone of his question he mourned what we exalt as a sign of liberation and freedom. With a wisdom which often escapes the learned, he asked in the presence of evidence before his eyes, “Who broke the baby?”1

Go read the rest!

MInTheGap credited the following source: Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments


My Thoughts on Child Training Part 1

Jessica asked me to sometime post on my methods and beliefs regarding discipline.

First I’ll be up front and tell you I’m having to correct a lot of lazy parenting in my youngest. That said, I know what’s worked for us, and that’s what I’ll share here.

Realize the difference between punishment and training.

  • Do we want children that have been forced into obedience (whether by threats or other fear tactics)?
  • Or do we want children that have been trained to cheerfully obey?

Training is reinforcing good behavior positively. As much as possible, we need to encourage our children to do the right thing.

Punishment should involve several things, here are two for you to consider:

  1. Spanking is only part of child training, it’s not the end all cure all. (It is an important part though, especially when training a young child!)
  2. If you spank for bad behavior and then give your child what they want anyway, you’ve punished, but you’ve mis-trained. Better to not spank at all, imho.


One way I encourage cheerful compliance, is by never giving them what they want when they’re whining/crying/pouting/screaming for it. That’s rewarding the negative behavior. You miss the boat on this one even once and your child’s memory won’t soon forget it. Consistency is key here.

This means, even if you spank for the whining (or whatever) don’t give in to the immediate gratification of whatever it was they were whining for in the first place. Or they’ll think the spanking was worth it: they still outsmarted mom and dad and got what they wanted.

So often you don’t even need to spank.

The following scenario happened here two nights ago: My toddler was crying with resentment that I wouldn’t let her have watermelon before her hot dog was finished.

I asked, “What’s wrong, did you bite your tongue?”

She frowned at me, and if she were old enough to employ sarcasm, I’m sure she would have.

“No. I don’t want hot dog. I want watermelon!”

“Oh.” I nodded and thoughtfully took a bite of my supper. “That would have been nice. Too bad you whined when I said ‘not yet’. That watermelon is really yummy. Better finish your hot dog and maybe tomorrow you can remember to obey and then you can have some watermelon.”

Of course the lower lip came out. She’s been perfecting “the pout”.

“Smile at Mama and eat.

You know, she wasn’t thrilled but she didn’t explode because she knew what would happen. (Spanking)

Then last night, watermelon was again on the menu, this time with cheese burgers. She didn’t demand watermelon, she asked nicely, scarfing her hamburger down in the process.

Maybe she prefers hamburgers to hot dogs, or maybe she’s a fast learner.

More of my thoughts on this subject later! Meanwhile, add yours!

Family Ties Parenting

The No TV/Movies Challenge

Friday night’s “last movie bash” was fun. We rented the Mickey-Donald-Goofy version of Three Musketeers (b/c 9 yo just read the classic and loved it!), and to our surprise, we stumbled upon our favorite Little Rascal’s episode, A Lad and His Lamp. We girls made homemade pizza–each daughter made her own individual pan pizzas, and then we sliced up a big watermelon and pulled out the sleeper sofa. For dessert: root beer floats.

At 9 P.M., with the children tucked in bed, dh and I unplugged the TV/VCR and the DVD player and moved the whole set-up to our bedroom where it’s now residing atop hubby’s chest of drawers. This keeps it out of sight and mind (less tempting) and made for a fun “hotel-like” movie time for us! (Yes, we had one last fling ourselves with Sandra Bullock and the movie Premonition)

Saturday morning began dh’s labor day weekend, and while he and I slept in (thanks to all the bonus features on our DVD keeping us up past midnight!) our nine year old daughter fixed scrambled eggs and set the table with donuts and milk…

She also put together a “fun box” for toddler, complete with Leap Pad, books, and games.

Pretty cool to have everyone on board like that!

Also a nice side to having absconded with the TV is that my living room furniture doesn’t have to be centered around the black box. I moved all the furniture into a more cozy setting…a recliner at each corner of our limestone fireplace with our couch facing both and coffee table in between. And most exciting, my friend Deborah recently brought the rest of her furniture and belongings from New York and gave me a 9’x12′ rectangular area rug…perfect for this conversational seating arrangement! Our living room is around 15’x23′, with the fireplace on a long north-facing wall.

Out with the old…

Normally on Saturday mornings, we tape CBS’s Madeline and Horseland shows and watch them during lunchtime. Here’s where making the old habit unavailable really opens life up to more fulfilling options. We took our lawn chairs out to a shady spot in the yard (deck is in full sun at noon) and had leftovers. One thing led to another and the girls started a running contest. Over and over they ran around the house with daddy timing them on his stopwatch. They progressed to making obstacle courses in and around the yard and outbuildings, and again raced them according to dad’s stopwatch. For at least an hour they were vigorously exercising…and enjoying themselves way more than if they’d been inside watching silly cartoons!

Sunday and we’re still going strong except that 3 year old is in the middle of a full-blown cold. Dh stayed home from church with her…and they kept the TV off, doing puzzles and reading instead. Deep down, I’m wondering if the whole crowd gets this feverish-head cold junk, will I have the fortitude to resist the comfort-glaze of movieland?

At least I can honestly say not a one of us has missed the flashing lights. Toddler hasn’t even questioned the absent TV!

We’ll see how we’re doing this time tomorrow!

Family Ties Parenting

Unplugging the Drug

Sometimes, my 3 year old has ADHD-like tendencies.

And she watches too many movies.

Thus the TV/Movie Challenge: Giving both up for one week.

We don’t have cable, and living in the country, our reception is pretty limited. So the TV part of the challenge will be easy. It’s the movie part that I’m dreading. But at least I have the promise of having done this before and reaped the benefits. That’s huge.

Did you ever get that restless and bored feeling as a child once the television had been turned off? Growing up, we rarely had ours on. Occasional reruns of The Brady Bunch or Little House on the Prairie helped sick days fly by faster, but for the most part we entertained ourselves. 3 yo’s gotten to repeating a phrase that saddens me immensely:

“What can I do, Mama? What can I do?”

She’s forgotten how to keep herself busy. That whole “productive” road to happiness thing? Mm-hm.

When my oldest was around 4 years old, we took AFR’s annual challenge and went without TV/movies for a month, and couldn’t believe what a difference it made. My then 4 year old really didn’t spend scads of time in front of the tube, but when it wasn’t available she went from keeping her door shut against her toddler sister (keep her out, mommy!) to welcoming her in to play for hours. Who would’ve thought? Suffice it to say, we left the TV off for over a year after that month was officially up.

I wish we’d never turned it back on.

I’m not excited about losing my #1 babysitter for 3 year old, but I’m ashamed for letting it get to this point. I have no choice. I told hubby the TV has to go, and thankfully he’s backing me up. See, we both remember the idyllic days when our household wasn’t “under the influence”.

Want to join me in the “TV and Movie Challenge”? My family is beginning tonight, after one last movie fling. A week sounds really doable to me, how about you?

Hopefully a week will turn into a month, etc. I’ll keep you updated on the highs and lows! Pray for us…

Please take the survey in my sidebar!

Christianity Parenting Writing

Watering With Coke?

“If life is a box of chocolates, is it any wonder our Bibles end up at the bottom of our TBR pile?”

That’s how I began my post at Writer…Interrupted today! I hope you’ll stop in over there and read the rest of it. Incidentally, “TBR” is writer lingo for “to be read”.

What do you think? Does God’s word lose some of its appeal to today’s busy generation? Technology has advanced us, entertained us, and turned us into fast-paced consumers. How’s your spiritual appetite, or better yet, your child’s? And what can we do about it?

I shared my thoughts on this. Go read them and then share yours. 🙂

Or just share yours, because I’m interested either way!