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!