Join me in my daily walk through the joys and struggles of parenthood. Share a word of encouragement or be encouraged. Cry a little, laugh a lot, but know it is all in divine order.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick or Treat! – What happens when you’re the receiver of a trick?

Is it a trick or a treat?

In my neighborhood on Halloween many kids come to my door and yell, “Trick or Treat!” In the spirit of tradition, I open my door with a smile and drop candy into their buckets. I have never had any of the trick or treaters surprise me with a “trick.” However, my kids never fail me in that area. It doesn’t even have to be Halloween for them to trick me.
My recent experience wasn’t directly a trick; it was more a result of an act of omission. I made sloppy Joe for dinner and there was plenty left over for the next day. As I prepared to eat another Sloppy Joe I discovered… somebody had eaten the last hamburger bun! This was on the same level as eating the last of something and returning the empty container to the shelf.

I improvised and ate my Sloppy Joe on a hot dog bun. The kids so called trick turned out to be a treat for me.
What is one of your favorite Trick or Treat stories?

Monday, October 29, 2012

The First Lady of layaway – Preparing for the Holiday season

photo credit: www.wonderworkscharleston.com

“Dashing through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh…”oh wait we have plenty of time before the Christmas carols begin. However, if you’re trying to stay on a budget it’s time to start planning-for everything, gifts, holiday dinners, kids pageants, etc. Why am I talking about this now? I heard a commercial on the radio the other day indicating that layaway is back at their store.
In a radio advertisement the announcer referred to the conscientious shopper as, “The First Lady of layaway.” My response to that commercial was, “Hey, I may need to take on that title.” Considering the many things there are to do and buy in preparation for the Holidays, layaway could serve as an economical way of planning.

When my boys were younger I remember explaining to them about layaway. When I was done explaining, my youngest son asked, “Does this mean we are poor?”

“It’s, just delayed gratification. You will appreciate your items more when you finally get them,” I said.
“I will appreciate them now too.”

So much for my explanation.

Now that the boys know you don’t have to be poor to use layaway, they have joined me as I serve my term as First Lady of layaway. My platform is budget, budget, budget. I love the Christmas Holiday Season – church activities, shopping and having family over for dinner. So I have to plan ahead.

In order to keep my sanity during the Holiday season, I have the kids create a wish list of things they would like. I let them know that there are no guarantees. If they hear an outburst of laughter while I am reading their list, it means they have listed something that is too expensive. The expensive items are the ones that are slated for layaway.
You can avoid dashing through the snow for gifts at the last minute by planning ahead. Layaway can be an advantageous tool in your planning.

If you were the First Lady of layaway or the President of Penny Pinching, how would you prepare for the upcoming Holiday season?


Sunday, October 28, 2012

What would you do if you found money?

Photo credit:  www.momstoolbox.com

Let me set the scene for you. You are constantly doing laundry. The kids are using a different towel everyday, yet they don’t want to help wash or fold the laundry. As you transfer a load of clothes from the washer to the dryer, you discover a few wet dollars.
What do you do with your new found treasure? Do you…

      a.      Yell at the top of your lungs, “Did anybody lose any money?”

b.      Take the money to a safe place to dry, then put it in your wallet.

c.       Tell the family you found some money in the wash, but you’re keeping it because you do all of the work.

d.      None of the above
On one occasion I found a few dollars as I was taking clothes from the dryer. The bills were nice and crisp because they had been washed and dried. I threw the clothes back in the dryer, crumpled the dollars in my hand and ran to my bedroom like a thief in the night.

I tucked the money away for a few days. No one ever claimed the unclaimed funds. I think it was mine anyway, but I ended up giving it to the boys to buy snacks at school.

What would you do if you found money while doing the laundry?


Friday, October 26, 2012

How to respond when kids ask questions

Photo credit: www.maccheeky.com

Today continues our journey of Parenting through the Alphabet. Today’s letter is little ‘a’ and the word is ‘ask’. There’s a scripture that says, “… ask and it shall be given unto you.” That does not apply to the questions my son recently asked me.
Sometimes kids ask questions for understanding and sometimes they just ask questions for a reaction. You decide where to place these questions that my teen son asked. I have also included my response to the questions.

Son:     “Do you care if I smoke?”
Mom:  “No, they’re your lungs, if you want them to turn black, then you have trouble breathing, that’s up to you.”
Son:     “At what age is it ok to smoke?”
Mom:  “When you move out of my house.”

Son:     “Can I get a tattoo?”                                                                    
Mom:  “Sure, let’s get matching ones.”

An article I read recently said that preschoolers ask their parents 100 questions a day. By middle school, they’ve pretty much stopped asking questions. I guess my kids were not included in that study.
The next time your child has a lot of questions for you, give them a few fun questions to ponder. Below are questions to get you started (www.minds-in-bloom.com/2010/01/20-question-to-ask-kids.html).

1.      What is the hardest thing about being a kid?

2.      If you could change one rule that your family has what would it be?

3.      If you could grow up to be famous, what would you be famous for?

4.      Would you cheat on a test if you knew you would not get caught? Why or why not?

5.      If you could be invisible for a day what would you do?

Encourage your child to ask questions, but let her know that your answere may range from honest to sill, crazy.

What interesting questions have your kids asked lately? How did you respond?



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesday – Do something Incredible today

Imagine you have a free day to do whatever you want. You don’t have to worry about taking kids to practices, preparing meals, or cleaning the house. How would you spend your day?
Here are a few things that I would do –

·         Spend a little time with friends and family that I don’t see very often.

·         Make something crafty – sew something, scrapbook, or other.

·         Relax – this may be the hardest one to accomplish for me.

 Make it a priority today to do something incredible for yourself. What will it be?

Monday, October 22, 2012

What do you do when your child experiences that ah-ha moment?

Have you ever experienced a moment where the light comes on in your mind and you come to the realization about something? My son and I shared a ah-ha moment recently.
On the way to school one day I noticed my son was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. It was an October morning where the weather could turn on you in the blink of an eye. He was planning to go to an evening football game after school.

In my infinite mom wisdom I said, “You might want to take a pair of long pants and a jacket.” He responded with, “Oh, yeah” and went back inside the house for sweatpants and a hoodie.

Later that night when I picked my son up after the game, the temperature had dropped and there was blowing rain. As he jumped in the car he said, “I’m glad I have a mother.”

“Why do you say that?” I asked.
“Because I would have been freezing if you hadn’t reminded me to take a pair of pants.”

That statement was my sons’ way of showing gratitude. It was also a ah-ha moment for him and for me. He realized that sometimes the things that mom says serve a purpose. The epiphany for me was that sometimes my son does appreciate the things that I do for him.
So what do you do when your child experiences that ah-ha moment…? Ride the wave with him and enjoy the moment.

What ah-ha moment have you experienced lately?


Sunday, October 21, 2012

What would you do? – How would you respond to an outrageous situation?

Photo courtesy: www.mylot.com

There’s a television news magazine broadcast that occasionally airs on ABC TV called, What Would You Do? The show takes a look at various ethical dilemmas or other outrageous situations. The scenarios played out cause one to think about how they would handle the situation presented.
I thought it would be fun to take a look at the lighter side of “What Would You Do?” Here is your scenario for today…

What would you do if you left the house for the day then realized that you hadn’t brushed your teeth? Now imagine you’re a teenager on your way to school.

While driving my son to the bus stop for school one day, I asked him a question. When he opened his mouth to respond, I felt my eyes begin to water. I said, “Did you brush your teeth?”
“No, I was rushing and forgot. Do you have any gum?”

Once we reached the bus stop, I searched frantically in the bottom of my purse. No gum, no mints. I told him, “Go to breakfast when you get to school, drink some juice or something and try not to say too many “H” words.”
My son smiled and waved as he exited the car.

What would you do in the case of a bad breath discovery?


Friday, October 19, 2012

Parenting through the alphabet – 52 ways to keep your sanity while growing as a parent

Photo credit: crazytownmayor.com
Here’s my latest idea…a book about surviving parenthood using each letter of the alphabet. Every week a story will be posted based on a word or phrase beginning with a letter of the alphabet. Since there are 52 weeks there will be two stories based on each letter.
At the end of 52 weeks readers will have a pocketful of stories that will inspire and encourage you to stay afloat in the sea of parenthood.  I will have a first draft of something. Let’s begin our journey.

A – Aging
As your kids age, so will you. It’s an obvious statement right? Not always. Sometimes the things your child does may cause you to age faster. Or just feel like you’ve aged.

I dyed my hair several months ago and the color is starting to grow out. My son made a comment that lead me to believe he has been living in a special little cave all his own. The other night he looked at my hair and said, “Ma, do you have highlights?”

I was surprised that he knew what highlights were, but I responded, “Yes, Grey ones.”
“Why did you get Grey highlights?”

“Because of conversations like this.”

From Glam to...


My highlights are actually bronze with hints of Grey, due to the aging process and stress levels. On any given day it could be one child or two who add to this process. Son number two has been known to blurt out his fair share of crazy comments.
I have a friend who is always posting pictures on Instagram, one day I decided I might try it. I asked my son to help me upload the app. He looked at me and said, “Ma you know there’s an age limit, right?”

I looked at him and said, “You know there’s a cut off point for your allowance, right?”
We spoke each other’s language.

Aging with the kids can be a thrill ride or a scary, haunted house kind of place. I am learning to strap in and enjoy the ride.  There will be peaks, dips and curves, but there is light at the end of the ride.
What thrill rides of life has your child taken you on?

Feel free to also leave a comment if there is a word beginning with a letter that you would like to see addressed (keep it PG). Tune in next Friday will the focus will again turn to the letter 'a'.  What else could there possibly be to say about this letter? Wait and see.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What was your favorite childhood activity?

Photo credit: ehow.com

What were some of the things you enjoyed doing as a child?
Photo credit: maniacworld.com
Photo credit: weather.com/health/fitness-exercise
Photo credit: chrisglass.com
Photo credit: jeffalloway.com
Take time to play today.

Monday, October 15, 2012

What does bravery mean to you? – Raising a child with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder)

Photo credit: newalbanychurch.com

I recently taught a Sunday school class of five and six year olds. The lesson was about Stephen and how he had to be brave when people didn’t believe what he tried to tell them. I asked the students, “Can you think of a time when you had to be brave?”
The students shared their stories with me:

·         “I was brave when I drank my mommy’s coffee, it was hot.”

·         “I had to go in the basement at home and the washing machine was on, it was loud.”

As these students showed, sometimes it’s the small things that seem like giants to us. I had to be brave when my son was diagnosed as having ADHD. October 14-20 has been designated at ADHD Awareness Week so I thought I would share a little of our story.
Photo courtesy: scribbletonic.com

While ADHD is not life threatening, there are daily challenges and struggles. If you have been around a person with ADHD you know it’s like the Energizer Bunny to the 10th power. Key terms that are used to describe a person with ADHD include- inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. My son has experienced all of this.

The inattention comes in the form of being easily distracted and not completing tasks. When my son was younger, I would tell him, “Put your toys away and hang up your clothes.” Ten minutes later I would find him playing with the toys I’d asked him to put away and the clothes were still in the same spot.

My son was in second grade when the issue came up that he might be ADHD. He was getting in trouble at school for moving around the room at inappropriate times or rushing to do something, but knocking something else over. Hence, the display of hyperactivity. I was called into the principals’ office.

The principal wanted to set up a meeting with me and my son’s teacher to determine a plan of action. When the meeting day arrived I walked into the office “boardroom” and was greeted by a room full of people. At least in my eyes it was a room full of people. There was the principal, the teacher, the speech therapist, the school psychologist and me.

I was caught off guard because I didn’t realize it was going to be a team meeting. So I sat kind of numb not knowing what to expect. I didn’t have on my shield of bravery. I listened, asked questions and we developed a plan of action. Although we accomplished a task that may have been beneficial to my son, I felt like I was the one under scrutiny.

We scheduled a follow up meeting to evaluate how our plan was working. At the follow up meeting I showed up with my team. My team included my mom, Rev. Sis. Dr. Adams, my grandfather and my uncle. My brother would have gone with us, but he had to work and my husband was out of town.

The purpose of dragging my family from their homes 45 miles away, was to show that my son had a loving family who cared about his well being. It didn’t hurt that my mother has a special education background. And if all else failed, I knew she would pray for somebody.
What I’ve learned about raising a child with ADHD is that it requires patience. Situations will not always go as you want, but you learn to adapt. I now know the symptoms of ADHD and can spot them in other children. When I see them struggling, I reassure them that they can get through their challenges.
For more information on ADHD check out the website www.ADHDAwarenessWeek.com

When was the last time you had to be brave?



Friday, October 12, 2012

What happens when you don’t read labels carefully?

Photo courtesy of mountainside-medical.com.

The other day I had an annoying cough and a slight sore throat, so I purchased a bag of cough drops. I didn’t think I needed to read the information on the package. I only read the information because I was experiencing writer’s block and the package was sitting next to me.
I was sitting at my computer sucking on one soothing cough drop after another as I typed, then just stared at the computer. When my words were no longer forming sentences, I picked up the cough drop package and read:

Directions:  Adults…dissolve 1 drop slowly in the mouth. Repeat every 2 hours as needed.
Other Information:  “…excessive consumption may have a laxative effect; 5 calories per drop.

I followed part of the directions correctly; the drops dissolved slowly, but I had eaten 6 or 7 of them within one hour. Panic set in. These are 5 calories each?! I didn’t need any more calories. AND they may act as a laxative. Did I mention that it was 10:00pm? It was not a good time for a laxative.
I survived the night without any traumatic incidents, but I learned a lesson…don’t take the little things for granted.

The next time I have a sore throat I will stick to drinking tea, eating chicken noodle soup and devouring peppermints.

Do you always read labels?

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hakuna Matata – No worries

Photo courtesy of themeparkmom.com.

Do you remember the movie The Lion King? As I was cleaning house the other day, I came across a stuffed animal of Simba that I’d purchased years ago.  It reminded me of the phrase Hakuna Matata.
Hakuna Matata is a Swahili phrase that means “There are no worries (Wikipedia).” Today I challenge you to have a Hakuna Matata kind of day. “It’s a worry free philosophy.”

Monday, October 8, 2012

The great debaters – What to do when your kids like to debate

Photo courtesy of nourishingobscurity.blogspot.com.

As we enter this time of the Presidential debate, I am reminded of how my kids like to debate. I have one son who can turn any conversation into a debate. One situation went like this:

 Me:      “Turn the TV off and do your homework.”

Son:     “Some people work better when they listen to something while they work. That’s what I’m doing.”

Me:      “It doesn’t look like you’re staying focused.”

Son:     “Yes I am Ma; look, I finished most of my math, I’m just taking a break.”

I let my son win that debate.

Sometimes the boys debate with each other.

Son 1:  “It’s your turn to load the dishwasher.”

Son 2:  “No you have to do it because I took out the trash when it was your turn.”

Son 1:  “Well I loaded and unloaded two days in a row.”

 On occasion the boys actually come up with a good argument for why they should or shouldn’t do something. So what do you do when kids like to debate? Encourage them to hone their skill in a positive manner.
When I hear a debate coming on between my two sons, I tell each of them to state their facts and give two supporting arguments. We turn their argument into a game. Sometimes this tactic works and sometimes it doesn’t. However, this method gets them to think about alternative solutions to a situation.
You can have your child experience debating in a fun way through an interactive online game. Play the game at www.funenglishgames.com/writinggames/debate.html.

What is you solution for kids who like to debate?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

When is it time to trust God?

A friend sent me an email the other day with the message below. I thought it was worth sharing. How many times have we had days where it seemed that nothing went as planned?

“NOTHING WENT RIGHT”                

 Me: GOD, can I ask you a question?

GOD: Sure.

Me: Promise you won't get mad.

GOD: I promise.

Me: Why did you let so much stuff happen to me today?

GOD: What do you mean?

: Well, I woke up late.

GOD: Yes.

Me: My car took forever to start.

GOD: Okay.

Me: At lunch they made my sandwich wrong and I had to wait.

GOD: Hmmm.

Me: On the way home, my phone went dead, just as I picked up a call.

GOD: All right.

Me: And on top of it all, when I got home I just wanted to soak my feet in my new foot massager and relax, but it wouldn't work!!! Nothing went right today! Why did you do that?

GOD: Let me see, the Death Angel was at your bed this morning and I had to send one of the other angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep through that.

Me: (humbled): OH...

GOD: I didn't let your car start because there was a drunk driver on your route that would have hit you if you were on the road.

Me: (ashamed)

GOD: The first person who made your sandwich today was sick and I didn't want you to catch what they have, I knew you couldn't afford to miss work.

Me: (embarrassed): Ok...

GOD: Your phone went dead because the person that was calling was going to give false witness about what you said on that call, I didn't even let you talk to them so you would be covered.

Me: (softly) I see GOD.

GOD: Oh and that foot massager, it had a shortage that was going to throw out all of the power in your house tonight. I didn't think you wanted to be in the dark.

Me: I'm sorry GOD.

GOD: Don't be sorry, just learn to trust me.....in all things, the good and the bad.

Me: I will trust you.

GOD: And don't doubt that my plan for your day is always better than your plan.

: I won't GOD. And let me just tell you GOD, thank you for everything today.

GOD: You're welcome child. It was just another day being your GOD, and I love looking after my children.
...Author Unknown

Your challenge this week is to praise God through your circumstances. What will you do differently today?

Friday, October 5, 2012

CTRL + ALT + DEL – How to minimize stress in your life

Courtesy of Love Quotes and Sayings

I came across the photo in this post while searching for something else. When I read the caption for Control, Alt, Delete, the first thing that came to mind was managing stress. We all experience stress at some point in our lives, but how we handle it can make all the difference in the world.
Sometimes kids can cause undue stress, for parents and for themselves. When these stressors appear it would be nice if we could just press Ctrl + Alt + Delete and start over. Here are a few situations that I have found that can trigger stress:

1.      Your child says “I need a poster board for my project at school tomorrow.” It’s 8pm and you just passed three stores on the way home and your child never said a word.
Solution:        Take a few deep breaths to calm yourself, go ahead and purchase the poster board to save your child’s grade. However, let him know there will be consequences…whatever you come up with, take away privileges, add chores etc.
2.      Your child announces, “We got our fundraiser forms today.” You immediately begin to think about who you can ask to buy things this time. You begin to panic because you’re running out of willing friends.

Solution:        List a few friends and family on the donation form and just make a contribution in their names.

3.      On the way out the door for school your child says, “oh yeah, I think my field trip money is due today. Here’s the note.” He hands you a crumpled piece of paper from the bottom of his backpack.

Solution:        Hmmm, what would you do here…write a check, send the money to school? Or would you tell your child he may have to miss this trip?

4.      You’ve been asked to serve on a board of directors, the PTO, work with the youth at church and to bake cupcakes.

Solution:          Say, “No thank you” or “I can’t commit to that at this time” and don’t feel bad.

5.      Your project deadline is approaching and you’re only half done.

Solution:          Take a step back and reassess your priorities. What can you move to the back burner in order to complete your project? Perhaps you can delegate some of your other tasks.

When you feel certain stressors rising remember Ctrl =+ Alt + Del. Control yourself by reacting calmly. Think about an alternative solution, and delete stressful situations as quickly as possible.

What tips would you give for minimizing stress?



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Unconditional – A new movie release

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
While at a Christian Writer’s Conference last week one of the speakers told us about a newly released movie titled “Unconditional.” It is a faith based movie about a woman (Sam) who loses the love she cherished most.

When Sam’s husband is tragically killed she becomes obsessed with tracking down his murderer. She eventually realizes, “…that the love of God is always reaching out to her (Wikipedia).”

The movie stars Lynn Collins as Samantha Crawford and Michael Ealy as “Papa Joe” Bradford.
Take a look at the movie trailer (courtesy of Youtube). If you are a fan of faith based movies, this is a great time to show your support.
Your challenge this week is to show someone unconditional love.

Monday, October 1, 2012

7 Signs that you may need to take control of your finances

photo courtesy of veteransunited.com

The other day I gave my son $5 to put on his lunch account. Before I left for work I searched my wallet again to see if I had a few dollars to stop for a coffee. I checked the zippered coin section, then the checkbook section behind the photo sleeves. Nothing. Where did my money go this week?
As I thought about it, there were warning signs that I was nearing the end of my allotted money for the week. I also asked friends about their spending habits. Below is the list I compiled of signs that you may need to take control of your finances.

1.       You write a check to your church and include a note that reads, “Can you hold this check until Friday?”

2.      You order a shirt for your child with his team’s logo, but it costs extra to have his name put on the back of it. You ask, “How much is it if I just put four letters of his name on it?”

3.      You try to get money from the ATM machine, but you forgot your pin number. You keep trying until finally the machine keeps your card.

4.      The fuel light in your car has just come on and you only have $10 in your pocket.

5.      The money you had set aside for groceries had to be gas because the money you had for gas had to be used for something the kids needed for school.

6.      You have to decide which bill you will pay late this month.

7.      You dread going into your bank because you know they’re going to tell you your credit card payment or your loan is due.

If you get stuck in a financial rut what can you do?

1.       Set a budget and stick to it. Distinguish the must haves (needs) from the wants.

2.      Make small changes first. Find ways to make minor adjustments. If you buy a cup of coffee everyday, cut back to a couple times a week.

3.      Purchase snacks for the kids lunches in bulk and make it stretch over a longer period of time.

4.      Plan ahead. Be aware of impulse purchases, spending money on fast food, and shopping when you’re hungry.

While this may not be new information, it can be comforting to know you are not alone. Nor do you have to go through it alone. For resources on financial planning check out the following websites. I am not endorsing either of the websites, but they are a point of reference:

 What have been your challenges in keeping your finances in order? What has worked for you?