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Monday, January 30, 2017

Lessons Learned

Originally published 05/18/2012

I think we all learn best from our mistakes, so I should pretty much be a genius! Now, I've been a parent for over 20 years now, so I've had a chance to make quite a few mistakes. Every day.  Looking back (and forward) I can think of one really huge mistake that I am still trying to recover from.  If you don't want to make that same mistake, read on...

Okay, enough suspense, what is this terrible mistake? Well, it comes from teaching my older kids how to help our around here really well. How can that be a mistake? The problem is that because my two oldest boys were, in fact, the two oldest boys, I pretty much always called on them when I needed something. So did Sane Man. When my oldest was nine he could pretty much do everything around here I could do, and in some cases probably better! He seriously once painted a room all by himself when he was only about six. Now my son Baber, 8, complains when I ask him to clear the table! 

The mistake was not training the next two boys in the same way we trained the two oldest. Why didn't we? Why would we? It was much easier to ask one of the two older boys to do something they could already do, than start from scratch with the third or fourth. So zoom ahead to the present and my two oldest are in college and will pretty much do whatever I tell them. The next two are 16 and 17 and it's more of a chore to get them to do something, than it is to do it myself.

So what about the next four kiddos? Am I making the same mistake with them? No way! I have learned my lesson well. My four youngest kids now do pretty much all of the daily chores around here.  Princess, 14, is in charge of cleaning the living room and dining room. Dode Man, 12, makes my bed, sweeps the kitchen floor and back landing, takes out the trash, wipes down the appliances and one of the kitchen counters, and cleans up after the dog. Bear, 11, does two loads of laundry, cleans the bathroom, and wipes down the oven top. Baber, 8, though he complains about it, gets the dog food and water, clears the table, makes sure my nightstand is clear, and shakes out the rug in my room. 

I know we have failed my third and fourth sons by not giving them nearly as much responsibility as the other kids. They will have to learn it the hard way. Right now they think they got off easy, but I know better. I couldn't believe it when I complained to my own mother that she never made me cook or do laundry. I can't go back into time to change the way things were, but at least I can pass on my advice to you! Put that second, third, or fourth child to work! It may take you a little while longer to get things done now, but it will pay off in the future!

Happy child training!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Just Another Crazy Mom Moment

(0riginally posted June 6, 2012)

Just an update to this throwback post before you read it. It hasn't gotten any better.  LOL 

I really don't know what my problem is. I am a literal disaster in the kitchen. Today was no exception.

So, first of all, I didn't make it to the store, and I had absolutely nothing to make for dinner. I checked the freezer and found some chicken breast. I then remembered that I'd found a box of spaghetti I'd somehow misplaced (yeah, leave it to me to misplace spaghetti) so I decided to make a sort of Kung Pow Chicken thing.

So, I got the breasts out and set them on the counter for a few hours and then went to cook them. Of course, they were still more or less frozen, but I could deal with that.  I browned them until they were more or less thawed and then cut them into chunks, on a plate, right next to the lower right-hand burner.  Then I put them back into the frying pan.  I hope you are paying attention because this is important.

I decided I should get the water boiling. As I have a terrible habit of turning on the wrong burner, I checked the burner knob, turned it on, and went back to cooking the chicken. A few minutes later I realize that the plate now was, well, kinda (okay, very) black in the middle, in a perfect circle, which was, coincidentally, the same size as the burner it was on. So, I checked the noodle pot, and, lo and behold, it wasn't on. Is anyone surprised?

 So what did I do next?

Well, you didn't expect me to just leave a plate on there and let it burn up did you? Well, did you?

Of course you didn't.

I picked the plate up and...

Bang! Or boom! Or crack! Or whatever the sound was of the plate literally exploding in my hand.  To me it might as well as been a gunshot.  And I thought opening canned biscuits was bad.  So, of course I SCREAMED!!!

The frying pan was now filled with half cooked chicken chunks and very well done pieces of ceramic plate. I called my husband, and he brought home pizza.

The end.

Eh, happy cooking? :)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Monday Memory: Goodbye Tattling!

(Originally posted 06/25/12)

If you have more than one child, chances are you often have one of them running up to you letting you know all about the horrible things another child is doing. As I kid I always heard that it wasn't good to be a "tattletale." I never got that because I thought it odd that a parent wouldn't want to know about a child's bad behavior.  Often there would be a "loophole." It was okay to tattle if the other child was doing something that could cause damage to people or property. Still, how is a young child supposed to make that determination? Yet, I could see that often the tattler was being "bratty" and not letting an adult know about the other child's misdeeds for any other reason than getting some sort of satisfaction out of getting them in trouble.

I came up with a solution in my home, at least in instances where the tattler claimed to be the victim of the other child's bad behavior. So, say Dodeman is teasing Baber, and Baber comes running to tell me.  I immediately turn the conversation to Baber's heart. I tell him that he needs get right with God and forgive Dodeman. Yes, even before Dodeman apologizes. This serves two purposes. One, it takes the fun right out of tattling! LOL Two, it helps to train my children to have forgiving hearts. When someone refuses to forgive another, it almost always hurts the victim more than the perpetrator. When we have issues with others, sometimes we can't change the circumstances, but we can change our attitude.  Works with adults too!  :)

Happy forgiving!!!  :)

Friday, January 13, 2017

Flashback Friday: A Fun Way to Get the Kiddos to Help :)

(Originally posted 07/23/12)

As a parent, I have always had a hard time getting my kids to pitch in when things get particularly messy.  My sister's oldest daughter loves to clean and gladly does all of her chores, and most of her siblings' chores.  She love to clean and organize.  I think she got that from my mom, who is the same way.  The gene obviously skipped a generation, and skipped my family completely.  When a big job needs to be done, her daughter gets excited and jumps right in.  My kids hide.

My kids do do their daily chores.  They know that if they want to do anything else they have to get them done because that is how they earn their keep.  We haven't ever done the allowance thing, though I am actually in the process of coming up with a system.  I will pay them if they actually do a significant part of the work around here without me having to tell them.  That is the key.  I don't want to have to think about it. There are some things around here that I do pay them to do.  For example, I pay two dollars to clean out the refrigerator.  There are times, however, when things just get out of hand, perhaps after we've all been sick, when we all need a little motivation.  It's then that we play a game called I call "mystery items."

Here's how we do it:  I look around and pick several things in the room that need to be put away.  The number of things varies depending on how many kids are "playing" and how messy the room is.    I write the list of "mystery items" on a piece of paper.  The kids then start cleaning.  When one of them puts away a mystery item, he or she gets a point.  The beauty of the game is that the kids want to work as quickly as possible so that their odds of picking a mystery item increases.  When the room is clean, I add up the points, and they get a prize.  Usually it's candy.  Not the best idea, I know, but it can really be anything.  The kids don't mind cleaning when I made it game, and it gets done quickly. The tricky part is keeping track of who picks up what.  Sometimes if they are really moving quickly I miss a few thing, but it's all in fun and the kids don't mind.  Sometimes my oldest daughter will even play mystery items with her younger brothers in her room.  I bet they'll play it with their kids.

So, how do you get your kids to clean up?  Do you have any games that you play?  I'd love to hear about it! 

Happy cleaning!!!  :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New Review!

Well, hello there!!! I'm so glad you stopped by! :) I bet you'd like to get my posts delivered right to your inbox, now wouldn't you? So why not sign up for Feedburner? Check it out; it's right there in my sidebar! Thanks!  :)

Review Crew

High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {}

About the product/service: As part of the Homeschool Review Crew I received a free Yearly Membership subscription to, a division of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

What are the pros of this product? Wow. This is like one stop shopping for all your homeschool needs. I'm serious; you could practically homeschool your child from preschool through high school with just this subscription. (Okay, not in one year. LOL) Actually, you could homeschool all your children with just one subscription because one price covers everyone. :) There is just so much. There are over 300 classes available for just about every grade and subject. There is help with things like record keeping and transcripts. There are resources for kids with special needs. There is help for parents of high schoolers. I spent quite a bit of time clicking around the site, and I don't feel like I even scratched the surface. 

High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {}

What's not to like? The only think I could really think of was the fact that the videos are not Hollywood productions. The one class I am using that is video based (ASL) is obviously pretty low budget. This didn't really bother me at all as the content is excellent. Other than that, I don't really see any negatives.

The Crazy Mom take: I was a little overwhelmed by all that is on the site. There is so much to choose from! I decided to try out a couple different things with my family. I had no trouble navigating the site or finding what I was looking for. It's very well organized. I just have a hard time choosing. (You don't really want to go out to dinner with me; it takes me forever to decided what I want!)

First, I decided on the ASL course. We have been studying ASL for quite a while, but I was kinda winging it. I had bought CDs, but they kept getting lost or scratched, so this year I just decided to go through my books. Really we've just been learning words, but not really learning a language. The first thing I looked for on the site was an ASL class. I was so excited to have found one! We've only done a few lessons, but I am already so much happier with what we are doing. First, we are actually learning, not just about the language, but about the deaf culture. Second, I don't have to worry about losing or scratching a disk. It's right there on my laptop! I think this is going to be a perfect fit for us.

Next, I found an art class for my daughter that I think she is going to love. We haven't had a chance to really start it yet, but I have looked through it and even joined it's facebook group! Oh, wait, I'm supposed to be doing an honest review. I mean, I do think my daughter is going to love this class, but I'm really interested in it myself. I have always dabbled in art and even took some classes in college. In those olden days, there weren't computers available to the average person. Now, I have the computer, but I need a class. Going to college isn't really feasible right now, so I am going to work through these lessons myself. They look fantastic! If Bear wants to join me, and I'm sure she will, that's fine, but I am really going to try to fit this into my schedule. Can you tell I am super excited? 

I normally shy away from subscription sites. I'm a cheapo. There is so much available for free on the internet, why pay? This is actually an exception. I can think of several good reasons to subscribe. One, everything is in one place, which just saves a ton of time trying to piece together something from several different sources. Two, no lost books or CDs. Yes, that's an issue here. Three, the cost covers everyone, so it's probably going to cost most people less than it would if they were to buy books. Fours, mom or dad can take classes for no additional cost! Finally, everything is from a Christian perspective, and I believe that you can feel pretty confident that the course content will be acceptable to most conservative Christian families. (Obviously, I haven't seen everything so this is not a personal endorsement of everything available. I just feel that for me, I would feel pretty safe allowing my kids to pick and choose from any of the classes. Of course, parental oversight is always recommended.)

What's the bottom line? $138 per year Until January 15 use the code CHRISTMASYEAR to pay $90/year!

Schoolhouse Teachers Half Price Discount

I am going to give 5 out of 5 smileys!!! :) :) :) :) :) 

Check it out!

See what my fellow TOS Crew members have to say by clicking on the banner or link below:

High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {}

*The Smiley System:

:) I can't really recommend this product.

:) :) I doubt this product would be helpful to many people.

:) :) :) This is a good product, but it isn't right for everyone.

:) :) :) :) Most homeschool moms will find this useful.

:) :) :) :) :) This is great, and I would recommend it to anyone!!!

Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, January 5, 2017

New Review: Beginner's Bible from Zonderkidz!

Well, hello there!!! I'm so glad you stopped by! :) I bet you'd like to get my posts delivered right to your inbox, now wouldn't you? So why not sign up for Feedburner? Check it out, it's right there in my sidebar! Thanks!!  :)

Review Crew

The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}

About the product/service: As part of the Homeschool Review Crew I recently received a free copy of The Beginner's Bible from Zonderkidz (a division of Zondervan.) This is an actual 512-page physical book that contains over 90 Bible stories geared specifically for kids six and under. This book was originally published in 1989 and since then has sold over 25 million copies. It's now been updated with new 3D artwork. Beyond the actual physical book, Zondervan has a huge assortment of digital resources to go along with the product. I was thoroughly impressed. You can check those out here.

What are the pros of this product? I've had a lot of children's Bibles over the years, and I've pretty much loved them all. I mean, what better book to read to your little one than a book with Bible stories? One thing I like about the version is the way it's written. The language is simple, in a very conversational tone, yet it's not so dumbed down that it's babyish. Honestly, even though the website says the book is geared toward six and under, I could easily see an older child enjoying this. 

They've also updated the art. Honestly, I thought it was fine the way it was, but here's a page from the book that will give you a good idea of the illustrations. I like that the group of children is diverse. :)

The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}

What's not to like? I honestly can't come up with any negatives about this product. Sorry! 

The Crazy Mom take: So, this is where I get a little sad. I have no more littles! My "baby" is 13, so I really had no one to read this Bible to. :( However, my hope is that one day I'll be a grandma and I can read it to my grandchildren! (I am planning on keeping my favorite books here for them.) I'm totally excited about the prospect of reading the Beginner Bible to my grandkids. My plan is to put it away for them. The challenge will be to find it again when the day comes, but I digress. This is a really nice book. I hope you'll take a few minutes to check it out! 

What's the bottom line? $16.99

I am going to give The Beginner's Bible 5 out of 5 smileys!!! :) :) :) :) :) 

Want to see more from Zondervan/Zonderkidz? Check it out!






See what my fellow TOS Crew members have to say by clicking the banner or link below:

The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}

*The Smiley System:

:) I can't really recommend this product.

:) :) I doubt this product would be helpful to many people.

:) :) :) This is a good product, but it isn't right for everyone.

:) :) :) :) Most homeschool moms will find this useful.

:) :) :) :) :) This is great, and I would recommend it to anyone!!!

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, January 2, 2017

Monday Memory: Instilling Self-Esteem is Important, but Can You Go Too Far?

(Originally posted 05/12/2012)

I've been thinking a lot about kids and self-esteem lately.  Why?  Because it seems like every one of my kids has a wee bit more than is healthy!

It seems that there are two extremes when it comes to the way some parents treat their children's egos.  Some parents seem to go over the top, gushing at every little thing their children do.  This kind of parenting seems to be getting more and more popular, and it is reflected in the "everybody gets a trophy" attitude.  For example, if a little girl makes a cake for her mommy, and uses salt instead of sugar, and Mommy tells her what a great job she did, the little girl might beam with pride, but she misses an important lesson.  Following directions is important!  Perhaps at a later time she will be careless in how she follows directions when not following them could have serious consequences.

Other parents are so critical that they would have berated the little girl for her careless mistake. Perhaps so much so, she would never want to make a cake or even cook again.  Where is the balance?  I tend to be more of a gusher, and would be tempted to ignore the sugar and try to choke down a piece with a smile. However, that probably wouldn't even be possible!  LOL  I suppose the best way to go about it would be to build the child up for wanting to bake and bless the family, while still pointing out that directions have to be followed.  The hard part is that every kid is different and has his or her own balance.  That's where it gets a little tricky!

I think my husband, Sane Man, and I have a pretty good balance when it comes to these things.  I do tend to gush, and he tends to tell it like it is, but we both try to be balanced.  If our kids show an interest in something, we are always there to encourage and make it happen. We've encouraged music, computer programming, sports, and more. But....

Our kids seem to think they are the most amazing human beings on the planet! Seriously! LOL They are always telling me how good-looking they are, how talented, and how genius. Now, I'm glad that they aren't depressed and feeling like failures, but here's the problem:  They don't always see the need for things like, oh, practice or studying. They are happy with "average" results because they just figure that if they did it, it must be superior. What have I done?

Even the Bible seems to send two "self-esteem" messages. One, we are sinners and fall short of the Glory of God. Two, we are God's beloved children, fearfully and wonderfully made, who are so loved that He died for us.  How do these two messages mesh? Well, we are sinners, no doubt about it, but He loves us anyway. As the cliché goes, He loves the sinner and hates the sin. Somehow as parents, we need to figure out how to still build our children's self-esteem while still pointing out the flaws in their endeavors. Obviously, not all of their flaws will stem from sin, but the more I think about it, they often do!

The little girl in the example above probably just made an honest mistake when she put in salt instead of sugar. Small children are just inexperienced and need a lot of guidance. However, I'm finding that a lot of what my older kids do wrong, or just poorly, really does stem from sin. Perhaps, in my desire to build my children up, I haven't stressed enough that they are to do all things for the glory of God. Often I see them seeking glory for themselves.  Perhaps instead of always saying things like, "You're so smart!" or "You're so pretty!" I should have said things like, "God has truly given you intelligence," or "God made you beautiful," or "God must be blessed that you wrote Him that worship song."  Maybe if they really grasp the fact that they are serving God in all they do, they will learn to strive to really do their best.

Am I on to something here?  I admit, I've been doing this for over 20 years, and I'm still a bit clueless!  What do you do? Do your kids have a healthy self-esteem?   Do you have any lessons learned that you'd like to share?  I'd sure love to hear about it!

Happy Child Raising!

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