Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Have any of you slowed down this holiday season and just thought about the real meaning of this holiday? Have you shared any of your thoughts with your kids? I suggested that you do these things in my last post and I really hope that you did!

Well, tomorrow is Christmas Eve and some families will have a celebration and others will celebrate on Christmas Day. My husband's family and my family both live nearby so we will have things going on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. However, even amid the busyness we all take time to slow down. Tomorrow evening some of our extended family will sit down and listen to the Christmas story. At each point of the story one of the children will take a piece of the nativity scene and place it in the 'barn.' For instance when the shepherds are mentioned one of the children will get to place the shepherds as part of the scene. Of course, Mary & Joseph, baby Jesus, the animals and the wisemen will all be placed there as well. I think this is a great way to have the children involved in the reading of the story.

Today I wanted to share something I heard in a sermon on Sunday. The pastor said something that I had not thought of before and it was this: Did you ever think about why there were wisemen and shepherds invited to see Jesus? The shepherds were considered pretty low on the social scale and wisemen were way above them-this just shows that Jesus came to save all types of people. He came to save those who are poor, those who are rich and those in between. The message of Christmas is that Jesus came for ALL the world-not just a certain type of person. Make sure you tell your children that Jesus came to save them and that they should go out and share this news with the people that they know!

Blessings to my readers and may you all have a Merry CHRISTmas and a Happy New Year. Remember: keep Jesus at the center of your festivities-after all He truly is the reason for the season:)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Teaching our children to give!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday! I can hardly believe that Thanksgiving has come and gone and soon Christmas and then the New Year will be here!

In the busyness of this season I would encourage moms and dads to slow down and take time to share the real meaning of this season with their children. Read the Christmas story to them and tell them that Jesus was the greatest gift of all! Once you have told them the true story of Christmas it would be great if you could teach your child to be a gift giver. Jesus said in the book of Acts "it is more blessed to give than to receive."

There are lots of ways to teach your children to give all year 'round of course but the holiday season is a good time to start. Most of these ideas can be used even with young children (I used some with my 2 1/2 year old). Here are some ideas:

1. Let your child put money in one of the Salvation Army Buckets that are outside almost every store during this season. If your child is older and has allowance money encourage them to put a little of their own money in the bucket.

2. Lots of churches fill boxes for Samaritan's purse or missionaries. Take your child shopping with you and allow them to help you pick out the gifts and explain where the gifts are going and why.

3. Toys for Tots-there are a lot of drop off places for these. Your child can help pick out a toy (or buy one with his/her own money) and drop it off. This is a really great thing to do as toys are sometimes hard to part with.

4. Many places (such as missions) need lots of canned goods to help feed people. Check with your local mission (or if you don't know where to give food or other products ask your pastor). Mel Trotter Mission of Grand Rapids MI and Holland Rescue Mission of Holland MI are two missions that have lots of needs.

5. If you have older children take them to a mission or some type of soup kitchen during meal time. Have the children help serve the food and interact a bit with those who are coming in for the meal. This teaches them that their time can be just as valuable a gift as money or things.

5. Many homeless people populate our cities. Blankets & coats are a great way to help these people out. Check with your local church or mission as to what the need for these things are. Sometimes places like fire & police stations or even libraries are drop off sites for these things.

6. If your church is having a Christmas program of some sort have your child invite a friend or two who may not go to church regularly. This is giving the gift of the message of Jesus which is the most important thing you can do.

7. Have your child pass out tracts when you go around town this season. Giving the message that Jesus was born & lived & died to save us from our sins is the best thing you can give.

8. Bake some Christmas cookies and go with your child around the neighborhood to deliver them.

9. Go Christmas caroling around a nursing home, hospital or neighborhood & hand out tracts to those who are listening or cookies if it is allowed.

10. Go to a nursing home and give the gift of your time-talk to the residents and/or read to them. Maybe hand out a few home made cards that you and your kids made. This is a fabulous way to cheer up those who may not have lots of family or are not feeling well. Talking with those in nursing homes goes a long way to cheer them up! Just be sure to call and make sure it is ok to stop by first-and never hand out food without checking with the nurses:)

These are just a few ideas of ways to give. I am sure you can think of many more but I do encourage you to talk with your child about WHY you are doing these things. Let them know that Jesus is pleased when they help those who do not have much! Your child will also learn not just by your words but by your actions. If you consistently give to your church and are being a good witness for him your child is more likely to follow in your footsteps. Jesus said that those who give a cup of cold water in His name are doing it as unto HIM! Merry Christmas, Christ is BORN!!!

Hope you all have a great holiday season & happy giving:)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Date Night & Babysitting

Date Nights are important for parents. They need time to reconnect and talk with out the children in attendance. A date night does not have to be expensive-it can be dinner out but it could also just be taking a walk together (without the children).

My husband and I have found that even though we have family near by they are not always available to babysit. This means money for a babysitter. Sometimes baby sitting can be really expensive (especially if you have more than one child). Here are a few suggestions to make babysitting easier and cheaper!

1. Trade babysitting with friends or a group. For instance, a church in my area is going to open up their nursery on certain Friday nights. This is how it works: one Friday my husband and I [along with another couple(s)] will watch the children of those couples who are out on a date. Then in exchange for our time watching their children we get a free night out while they watch our kids. This is a great way to get babysitting services-it's free and no one has to use their house!

Moms see if there is a local MOPS group in your area or join a play group-these would both be great ways to find others who might be willing to trade babysitting services. Even if you don't have a church (or some other place) available you can use your house. Just find two or three other couples and trade babysitting services with them.

2. Another great way to get cheap babysitting is to have teens from your church's youth group babysit. My husband and I are a part of a couple's class at our church. Our class is going to have each couple donate a few dollars to pay for several of the teenagers in the youth group watch our children while we either go out as couples or have a movie night or dinner at the church as a class. Another way to "pay" the teens is to each a donate a few dollars and give them a pizza dinner for watching the children-that could be cheaper than paying them, if you buy something like the $5 Pizza Hut mama mia pizza's.

These are just a couple of suggestions but the key is to get out together as a couple-try to do it a few times a month if possible.

If getting out is just not an option you can at least put the children down a little bit early and then do something like watch a movie together while having some special dessert, or have a late supper together-maybe light some candles for a little ambiance. Some sparkling grape juice can also be a fun thing to have together.

Enjoy yourself and have fun on your night out!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fruit, Veggies & Toddlers!

Some of the ideas presented in this blog were passed on to me from my mom and others are my own.
Ever have trouble getting your little one to eat his/her veggies? Try some of these tips below for easy ways to get the wholesome goodness of veggies into their diet!

1. Pumpkin pancakes. You can mix up a batch of pancake batter and add some canned pumpkin and a little cinnamon Yum!

2. Add pureed squash, carrot or sweet potato to boxed macaroni and cheese dinners or make your own mac and cheese which is even better. You can add these veggies to spaghettie sauce as well. If you are in a hurry use baby food veggies-they are already pureed for you.

3. Instead of having your child drink apple juice try giving them V-8 Fusion juice. Put cold water in a cup and add an equal amount of juice to it. This juice has veggies and fruits in it, your kids will like trying all the different flavors.

4. Make ants on a log (see the bottom of this post for directions)

5. You can always put veggies in breads and muffins too. Pumpkin muffins or zucchini bread are both great ways to get veggies into your kids. (recipes are below)

If you tend to have a problem with fruit as well as veggies just try hiding that too.

1. Banana Pancakes or bread: Just mash the banana as you would for bread and add to the pancake batter!

2. Put applesauce in muffins

3. Use fruit for a topping on ice cream

4. mix raisins with their favorite crackers and or cereal for a fun snack mix

Recipes :

Ants on a log:

You need:

celery (washed and cut into slices)
peanut butter

raisins or chocolate chips

Directions: spread peanut butter on celery (log) and place raisins or chocolate chips on top!

Pumpkin Bread

16 oz can of canned pumpkin

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (NOT self rising)

2 tsp. baking soda

3 cups sugar or 3 cups Splenda

4 eggs beaten

1 cup vegetable oil

1 and 1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. allspice

1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

1/2 cup rasins (optional)

Water 2/3 cup


Preheat oven to 350 F

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and sugar

Add the eggs, water, oil and pumpkin

Stir until blended

If using nuts or raisins add these now, then stir well by hand or use mixer

Pour into two lightly greased and floured 9x5 loaf pans

Bake approx. 1 hour at 350 F. Test for doneness by putting knife into bread, if it comes out clean it is done

Let bread cool about 10 min then place loaves on a wire rack

This bread tastes good if you let it set a bit. You can wrap it in plastic wrap then refrigerate

( pumpkin bread recipe from:

Monday, October 12, 2009

Discipline the Right Way-God's Way

Children need to be disciplined-that is a fact of life. If they are not they will be terrors to all around them and they will not be truly happy. The happiest children are ones who have parents that love them enough to set boundaries and give correction when necessary.

A key word when thinking about discipline is CONSISTENCY!

That is to say: Consistency of the type of discipline for each offense and having each parent or caregiver be consistent-don't have one parent who doles out all punishment and the other does nothing or have one who does one punishment and the other does something different.

Of course this means that parents and/or caregivers will have to talk about what type of discipline to mete out (and when) before the infraction occurs.

My husband and I use a different type of correction depending on what the child has done. However, each time the child is unkind (pushes/pinches bites etc.) we have a specific punishment, this punishment is different from the one we mete out when he disobeys mom or dad. This way our son knows what to expect when he does wrong.

Discipline is not something that is achieved overnight! Right now my husband I are working with our 2 1/2 year old son and it is hard at times but we do correct him because we love him.

Another tip regarding discipline is that once the correction is over you need to re-assure your child that you love him and you are correcting him because you love him. Even before they understand all you say, the actions will speak to them. We pray with our son and hug him after discipline is over so that he knows we love him.

Make sure your marriage is strong and that your children see you and your husband/wife as a unit who both are on the same page-never let your child/children play one of you against the other.

Each day is a new challenge but God is gracious and we are learning as a family, I pray that your family will as well.

Some great resources for dealing with children are:

"The Strong Willed Child" & "The New Dare to Discipline" both books are by Dr. James Dobson

Also, read the Bible-especially Proverbs.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Greatest Children's Books...

Reading to their children should be something parents do often, if not everyday.

I have put together a list of children's books that have been favorites of children for many years.

Before I get into the list here are a few tips to help interest your child in reading!

1. Take your child with you to the library and let him/her pick out some books.

2. Most libraries have a free story time for young children. Sign up and take your child as often as you can. Your child will hear new stories and maybe even do a craft or learn new songs.

3. Let your child pick out a book each night and read it before bed, or start reading through a chapter book with an older child. One chapter each night . You can even let your older child read a few paragraphs to you some nights. A bonus with this is that this encourages family time.

4. Keep books out in the open-put them in a bin or on a book shelf where children can easily get to them each day.

5. Even before a child is a year old you can read to them & introduce them to the wonderful world of books! Choose short books that have bright pictures or maybe some touch and feel books. Books that babies can chew on are also a great choice!

Ok, here's the list (authors are included)

1. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie-Laura Joffe Numeroff

2.Scuffy The Tugboat-Gertrude Crampton

3. Jack & The Beanstalk (various authors depending on what version you get)

4. Caps for Sale-Esphyr Slobodkina

5. The Cat In The Hat-Dr. Seuss

6. The Little Duck Said Quack, Quack, Quack -Grace & Olive Barnett

7. The Fuzzy Duckling-Jane Werner

8. The Elves and the Shoemaker- [retold by]Eric Suber (originally by Jacob Grimm)

9. My Home-Renee Bartkowski

10. The Little House-Virginia Lee Burton

11. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble-William Steig

12. Ox-Cart Man-Donald Hall

13. Millions of Cats-Wanda Gag

14. Good Night Moon-Margaret Wise Brown

15. Many Moons-James Thurber

16. Charlotte's Web-E.B. White

17. Make Way for Ducklings-Robert McCloskey

18. Blueberries For Sal-Robert McCloskey

19. Time of Wonder-Robert McCloskey

20. The Snowy Day-Ezra Keats

Many of these books have fabulous illustrations so don't forget to look at the pictures when you are reading! Hope you & your children enjoy reading these books together!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Inside Play Ideas

Sometimes those rainy days or days that are too cold to go out can be looong for mommies (and for your little ones).

So here are some fun ideas to do inside:

1. Stickers! Give your little one a piece of paper and some stickers then have them do a sticker collage. Even though they might not know what a collage is, having stickers to place wherever they want will be great fun!

2. Playdough! You can make your own or pick some up at the dollar store. To contain the mess put your little one in the highchair for some great fun. If you don't have play dough toys use a plastic cookie cutter or a plastic spoon. Here is a website with a no cook dough recipe so your little one can help you make it:,199,155162-230196,00.html

3. Coloring Books! (you can buy some at the dollar store). Give your little one some crayons and let them make the pictures beautiful!

4. Make a tent: Take a card table or a few chairs and drape an old sheet or a couple of blankets over the top. Crawl in the "tent" with your little one (s). Bring a flashlight for added fun or pretend you are wild animals in a cave.

5. Spread a blanket on the floor and make your lunch or snack into a picnic or tea party. You could choose to have something fun like a sandwich that is cut into a shape with a cookie cutter or maybe a treat that you don't have everyday like a special cookie. If you have a tent (see idea 4) you could take the treat into the tent!

6. Grab a pile of books and a blanket and cuddle up for some story time on the couch.

7. Grab your cell phone (or other musical toy-turn it on) and then hide it. Call the phone from your home phone and let your toddler try to find it. You can change the ring tones and hide it again!

8. Painting fun! For easy inside painting fun purchase a cheap paint by water book (you can get one at the dollar store). Your little one can have lots of fun dipping the paintbrush in water and then watching as the pictures turn colors when she/he puts water on them!

9. Music Time! Put on some fun music and dance around the living room. Veggie Tale music CD's are great to dance to. If you don't have a CD player or CD's just turn on the radio and find some music with a beat. Let your little one have a toy drum or maybe one of your pots and a wooden spoon for a drum stick. They can have their own band & they are getting some exercise in the process:)

10. Puzzles! Get out several different puzzles and let your little one choose which one to do. Doing it together makes it more fun. A twist for puzzle time is to put the puzzle pieces in a room and then turn off the light. Take a flashlight and go on a hunt for the pieces with your toddler. As they find the pieces put them in the puzzle. When you finish the puzzle you can celebrate with a happy dance or maybe a fun snack:)

Have fun and be creative! Keep an eye out for my next mommy advice post for more great ideas!