Monday, December 19, 2005

The J.O.Y. Patrol

Merry Christmas! The Christmas play is over, so I'm able to blog again! Here's a picture of Connor as Joseph and his friend, Lindsay, as Mary. Amongst the busyness we've tried to keep our Advent traditions going, most with success. One of the advent activities that our family enjoys is being the "J.O.Y. Patrol". Romans 12:10 says, "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves." and John 13:35 says, " By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you lone one another."

The "J.O.Y. Patrol" stands for Jesus, Others, Yourself. Using this my children ( and myself) can remember what our priorities should be. God should always be placed first in our lives, then we should think of others needs and only after that our own. We've had fun making badges and door hangers with J.O.Y. on them as a helpful reminder. The kids enjoy having a secret name for doing the right thing.

There are many things you can do during the Christmas season as the J.O.Y. patrol. We bake cookies for our neighbors, give coins to the Salvation Army, make shoebox presents and generally just keep aware of opportunites to give. We don't do big things but hopefully things that show love to others.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Taking Time for Tea

Yesterday my little girl, Caileigh, asked if I could play tea. I said that I couldn't, for I have a Christmas play to direct, laundry to fold and put away, dinner to make, presents to wrap, a budget to go over, and numerous other things that need to be done. Sweetly, Caileigh offered to help. She helped me put my laundry away, sang the Christmas play for me and wrote a label for Daddy's present. Caileigh didn't whine or complain that I wouldn't play she just wanted to be with Mommy. After an hour or so, I finally realized that all these things weren't very important. The play will go on, laundry can always sit in the basket, I could pull out a Supper Solutions dinner and everything else could just wait but Caileigh will only be four once. Soon she won't want me to have a tea party with her, she'll want to be with her friends. So, Caileigh and I had our tea party, we dressed up in funny outfits and called each other dahling. Caileigh made cookies in her pretend stove and we talked about all the things little girls like to talk about. We had a wonderful time. Perhaps next time Caileigh asks to have tea, I'll remember this lesson right away, laundry can wait but little childhood won't.


Sunday, November 27, 2005


I love Christmas, I start putting the decorations and lights up as soon as my husband will get them up from the basement, which is usually the day after Thanksgiving. Some of my friends think I'm a little bit (okay a lot) off my rocker, but I get as excited as child as Christmas approaches. What I don't love at christmas is the “ I wants”. You know, “Mom, I want this new toy that just came out “ or “Mom, I need to write my 200 page list to Santa telling him what I want.” As parents we have to put extra effort in to combat the commercialism and materialism that abounds at christmas. We need to make sure that our children throughly understand that “Jesus is the reason for the season”.

Make (or buy but making is more fun) an advent wreath. This can be a fun way to start the season. The word “Advent” as defined by Webster means “arrival”. By observing advent the four sundays before Christmas we are looking forward to the arrival of Jesus' birth.

One fun activity for the first advent Sunday is to make a prayer chain for the number of days until Christmas and write a name or a character trait we pray for each day until Christmas.

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Monday, November 07, 2005

Little Eyes

Little eyes sometimes seem to notice everything that you don't want them to notice. At the mall, they notice the store with scary items in the front window or the store with the beautiful woman posing in underwear. There are so many things these days that are inappropriate for little eyes to see that it gets exhausting having to tell them," Don't look at that!". Isaiah 33 :14 & 15 says,
"He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes, who stops his ears against plots of murder and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil- 16 this is the man who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. His bread will be supplied, and water will not fail him."

We need to teach our little ones to shut their eyes from contemplating evil. At this year's homeschool convention I heard a speaker talk about how she taught her children an "eye bounce". An eye bounce is simply bouncing your eye from the inappropriate sight to something else, quickly. This is an easy way to teach your kids ( especially useful for boys as they get older) to eye bounce away from things that God doesn't want in our mind's eye and our heart. I also taught my children the little song " Be careful little eyes what you see, be careful little eyes what you see, For the Father up above is looking down in love so be careful little eyes what you see." This helps them to remembe that God does care what they see and what they put into their little innocent hearts.

Use the eye bounce this week as you go to the mall or anywhere in public that you can quietly remind them to "eye bounce" away from things that are not appropriate. Make it a game and have fun with it, just beware of funny looks as your children (if they're anything like mine) yell "Eye bounce" in chorus.

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Monday, October 24, 2005

More on self-control

In a parenting class my husband and I attended we were introduced to “self-control hands”. This is a great technique for little one's, actually it works for older kids as well. They simply place their hands in their lap and hold them together. For many children this helps them to focus and it direct much of their energy and wiggliness to their hands. To introduce this, you might play a game of 'who can hold their hands together and not talk, the longest.' This is a fun game because it doesn't take long for someone to erupt into giggles. As your children become more adept at this, offer a prize for everyone who can have self-control hands and quiet mouths for 30 seconds, then 60 seconds and so on. My children (even my very busy, very wiggly, outspoken little girl) have mastered the three minute mark. In situations where I can see they are about to lose control, I have them practice self-control hands and it has saved us much trouble. Make sure and practice in calm times so that you can use it in turbulent ones.

Remember to praise, prase, praise! Children thrive on praise so point out specific moments when they have used self-control. For instance, “I saw that you were about to get mad when your friend cut in line but I was really proud of the way you used self-control.” Also be sure to praise them when they are about to touch something or do something they shouldn't and use self-control instead.
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Monday, October 10, 2005

Setting Expectations

Our family just got home from a trip to California. We drove a total of 4 days (there and back) and spent two days in San Diego and three more in Anaheim at Disneyland (which is the happiest place on earth). As any parent knows, family vactions can either be bliss or they can be the bane of your existence. One of the ways we prepared our kids for our vaction was to give them a list of expectations we had for them. For instance, "There will be no asking are we there yet? We are on an adventure and are to enjoy even the car ride." (loaded of course with new Leapster cartridges, books, crayons and even the occcasional movie) . "We will be kind to one another and stay in our own space with our hands to ourselves." " We will keep our voices quiet in the car so as not to upset the driver." It's so important to let you kids know ahead of time what you expect of them. I like to know what's expected of me and kids do to. All of these expectations need to be met with a "Yes, Mommy or Yes, Daddy". Sometimes you need to set daily expectations. Once we had spent a day in Disneyland we realized that each child needed different expectations. For Connor(7), "Keep your hands to yourself and don't frustrate your brother and sister." For Caileigh (4), "Stay with Mommy and Daddy, you don't want to become lost." and for Collin (4), " Do everything without whining and complaining, including rides that you haven't been on yet." Each child obeyed and I have to say we had a great time - including the drive. I would do again, soon! Well, not too soon, there's laundry to be done!

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Monday, September 26, 2005


Self-control is one of those fruits of the spirit that touches everything in our life. It touches what we say, what we do and how we do it. Webster's defines self-control as “restraint excercised over one's own implulses, emotions or desires.” Learning self-control is a life long exercise but we can begin introducing the topic while our children are young. Self-control techniques can really help during those tumultuous pre-school years. My four year old daughter gets told to exercise self-control daily if not hourly over the dramatics she presents us with. This is a very practical lesson to teach to your young (or old) ones that will serve them well all the days of their life.

Idea one: Titus 2:6 says, “... encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity and seriousness.” Many times as parents we dismiss behaviour's that are 'out of control' because they are too young to understand or because that's what two year olds do. I believe that we need to set a standard for our children and even though they might not always achieve it, the standard needs to stay the same. As parents, sit down and dicuss what standards you have for your children, particularly in self-control. For instance, we don't allow temper tantrums. They have the choice of either gaining self-control or going to their rooms. Once your standards are set, sit down with your children and tell them what your home standard's are. With young children you might say, “Mommy and Daddy will not allow you to yell, kick or scream, do you understand? If you choose to do that you may go to room.” Your child (you may have to prompt them) needs to be able to repeat back to you what you just said, so that you know they understand. As a side note, be sure you are not treating frustration tantrums (“I know this block tower goes together, but I can't do it.”) and temper tantrums (“I'm not going to bed and you can't make me!”) the same. In both situations, the child needs to gain self-control but their motives are different.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A Case for Homeschooling

We homeschool our three children and while we understand that there are other good educational choices, we believe that no one understands our children like we do or can beat the one on one attention that a parent can give.

One reason that our oldest so favors homeschooling is that he has more time to pursue other interests - like inventing! While reading a George MacDonald book (yes, another ) I came across this quote,

"Mr. Simon never gave Cosmo anything to do at home, believing it the imperative duty of a teacher to leave room for a youngster to grow on his own, and that what a boy does by himself is of greater importance that what he does with any teacher. Such leisure time may be of rather small consequence for the multitude of boys, but it is absolutely necessary wherever one is born with a creative individuality."

So, we limit T.V. time and only allow video games with Daddy as a special treat and try to surround our kids with educational toys and books that strike our children's interest. We work hard in school for approx. 4 hours a day and then let our children have the freedom to grow on their own. Try it, you might be surprised what creative genius lies in your children.

For more information on homeschooling you can go to or nationally at

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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Fruit of the Spirit II

Here's a few ideas that I've used with my children to help them learn the fruit of the spirit...

Idea One: Make a poster of the fruits of the spirit with small drawings of each fruit illustrating the word. These do not need to be masterpieces just stick drawings to help your child remember the words. Have your child think of someway he or she could show each trait. For example, “ I could show gentleness by petting the dog nicely.” or “I could show kindness by helping my little brother make his bed.” It's important to put these traits into concepts your children can understand.

Idea two: Use the poster from above and help your children memorize the fruit of the spirit. The pictures will help the smaller ones remember the words and the order. Try going over these once a day for a week, you'll be surprised at how much they can remember. My twins memorized these at two, of course it helped to get treats each time they said the verse.

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Saturday, September 03, 2005

Fruits of the Spirit

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
Galatians 5:22-23

These are the fundamentals of not only who we want our children to be but what we should want to be. Let me be the first to warn you, once your children know and understand these traits they will keep you accountable on them as well. My oldest son, who takes things strongly to heart, will tell me quite respectfully,”Mom, I don't think that was showing good self-control.” The majority of the time he's right and I have to repent and apologize. It's so humbling to be admonished by a seven year old. Learning the fruit of the spirit young will be a life long blessing. Adults and children who are well versed in and practice these traits are a joy to be around and strong witnesses for the difference Jesus makes in our lives. We will talk about learning all of the fruit of the spirit and then we will focus on a choice few in later blogs.

As I watched television this week and read news reports about the devastation of Hurricane Katrina I realized that you could tell the difference in behavior of those who show fruit of the sprirt and those that do not. I don't know who knows Jesus by the T.V. reports but I did take time to point out to my children instances where people were helping others and comforting each other versus the people that were stealing and hurting others. We, as children of Christ, need to show the fruit of the sprit more to show the difference that Jesus makes in our lives and our children should as well.

My heart and prayers go to those affected by the hurricane.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

It takes two!

Today is my husband's birthday. Scott is six months older than I am so I always give him a hard time about being old! I love you honey - I don't mind the grey hair! : ) I am so grateful to have Scott as my partner in parenting. When our first son was born I read the parenting books and relayed the information to him and he did what I asked him to. After our twins were born, he had to take a more active role in parenting out of sheer necessity. Several years ago we took an 18 week parenting class and then last year taught the class together. I can't tell you how much help that was. Finally, we were partners in parenting. We were in agreement on discipline and we knew where we were heading. We started really showing an united front to our children. It has made a huge difference in our lives and I so appreciate Scott being willing to step-up and be the husband and Dad God designed him to be.

Have you and your husband ever attended a parenting class together? If you haven't, I would encourage you to do so immediately if not sooner!

Oh and Happy Birthday Scott! I love you!

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Kitchen Timer - An essential

Have you discovered the usefulness of the kitchen timer? In "Creative Corrections" by Lisa Whelchel she discusses using an egg timer to help your children get things done. I started by using it in the classroom ( "You have 20 minutes to get this assignment done") and now have several stationed around the house. The kitchen timer is really useful for getting the kids dressed and chores done in the morning. I give them 10 minutes to get dressed, teeth brushed and morning chores done. If they do everything in the allotted time, they get 3 "marbles" in their special jar. After they get 20 marbles each we go have a special treat, a trip to Coldstone for icecream or a new book from Borders, something realtively inexpensive but out of the ordinary. If they do not accomplish their tasks in that time frame, I take marbles away each extra minute it takes. I use this with getting ready for bed, cleaning their bedrooms and with anything I need them to do in a reasonable time frame. Try It! I bet you'll become addicted to the egg timer as well.

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Friday, August 19, 2005

I obey right away! II

More ideas on teaching obedience...

Play the obedience game. This is basically hide and go seek where the parent hides and the child seeks you. The rules: You must come right away . Your child must say “Yes, Mommy or Daddy” before they reach you. Oh, and one rule we added after our kids ran over each other, no pushing or shoving. When they reach you can simply give them praise and a hug or reward them with a treat. I think that bad behavior brings bad consequences and good behavior should bring good consequences.

Help your children memorize Eph 6:1 by singing it to the tune of Happy Birthday.
“ Children obey your parents,
Children obey your parents,
children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right.”
Ephesians 6:1

(By the way, this song was not my original idea, I got it from a book teaching scripture memorization)

Make a badge that says “I Obey Right Away” to wear. This is both a good reminder for them and something fun to wear!

Once you've done these things and your children have the concept make sure and follow up every month or so with one of these as reminders. I also have my children recite Rules before we go into a store or a public place and "I obey right away!" is one we repeat often.

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Sunday, August 07, 2005

A Reason for Obedience

I love to read! Reading takes me away from everyday trials and tribulations as well as frequently giving me new things to think about. This weekend I read, "At the Back of the North Wind" by George MacDonald. George MacDonald was a preacher and writer who lived in the 1800's. He was mentor to such writers as Lewis Carroll and ultimately C.S. Lewis. C.S. Lewis said about MacDonald,"I have never written a book in which I did not quote from him." MacDonald was a master storyteller of fantasy (as in Phantastes, Lillith and The Princess and Curdie) as well as many moral stories set in England and Scotland where he lived. My favorites are by far, the fantasies, as I know that somewhere in the fantasy are greater truths to be found. I found one such tidbit this weekend on obedience. The main character in "At the Back of the North Wind" is a boy by the name of Diamond who was learning to drive his father's cab. MacDonald says this about Diamond.
"Diamond learned to drive all the sooner that he had been accustomed to do what he was told, and could obey the smallest hint in a moment. Nothing helps one to get on like that. Some people don't know how to do what they are told; they have not been used to it and they neither understand quickly nor are able to turn what they do understand into action quickly. With an obedient mind one learns the rights of things fast enough; for it is the law of the universe, and to obey is to understand."
What a thought! Obedience leads to understanding and then to action! It's our job as parents to not only train our children to obey but to expect obedience from them. More on that later...

Oh by the way, our family listened to the Focus on the Family radio drama of "At the Back of the North Wind" and it was great!

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Saturday, August 06, 2005

I don't whine, I shine! II

Make a poster with a large star and Phil. 2:14 on it. Buy star stickers and tell your children that every time you catch them (they shouldn't tell you they did it – you should catch them) doing what they are supposed without arguing, whining and complaining they will receive a star. Make a goal number for them to reach to deserve a reward. Always remember to thank them for their good behavior and for shining like a star. Just so you know, these ideas do work, I've used them on my kids as well as the 2's and 3's class at church. You will need to keep repeating, "I don't whine, I shine" but eventually it makes sense to them. Training takes time but our children are worth it!

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Friday, August 05, 2005

I don't whine, I shine!

Idea two: Have your children memorize Phil. 2:14 I write memory verses on a poster board and work on memory verses for several days in a row. I also make up motions to help kids remember. I abbreviate this verse for my younger two so that it says, “ Do everything without whining and complaining so that you shine like a stars in the heavens.” For a quick motto we say, “I don't whine, I shine!” Say it over several times, louder is always more fun!

Idea three: Spend an evening looking at the stars with your children and talk to them about how the stars light up the sky. Read about stars and tell your children that stars are billions of miles away ( the sun is a star and is approx. 93 million miles away) and yet even being so far away they can brighten the entire sky. When we do everything without complaining, arguing and whining we brighten up everyone around us and shine so that everyone can see the difference that Jesus make in our lives.

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Thursday, August 04, 2005

Shining like a Star!

Every parent would love to have their children do everything they are told without complaining and arguing ...and whining. Not only is this a skill that would change our days into wonderful sunshine filled hours, God commands us to. In Philippians 2:14 Paul writes, “ Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you might become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you will shine like the stars in the universe.” I know that if I did everything without complaining or arguing, the people in my life would be more pleased to be around me (especially my husband) as will the people in your children's life.

Idea one: Read this verse with your children. Explain that complaining and arguing also means whining. Demonstrate how much nicer it is to be around someone who doesn't complain or whine, As odd as it may sound, I do this by talking in a whiny voice to my children and then talk to them in a nice tone of voice. Have them try it a time or two so that they can hear the difference.

More ideas tomorrow...

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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Just getting started!

Our family
First things first, I am not a PHD in child psychology or a teacher or anyone special. I am not an expert in any field and if you are looking for an opinion of someone educated and qualified with letters behind their name, close this blog now and find another. What I am is a Mom, a run of the mill, stay at home Mom with three children (a 7 year old son, Connor, and twin 4 year olds, Caileigh and Collin) who I homeschool. I am, however, a Mom with an opinion and something to say (my friends and family will tell you I always have something to say). I am passionate about children who are well-behaved and enjoyable to be around. I am passionate about children who are morally and ethically literate. I am passionate about children being a blessing to their parents and to those around them. If you are passionate about these same things, then read on! Let's chat about children and brainstorm about ways to help them reach their potential and be the men and women God has planned for them to be!

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