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.

Friday, November 30, 2012

When to change your disciplinary methods – 5 sure signs

Photo credit: cnc1mc.blogspot.com

Wonder Woman, Batman, Fantastic 4… What do you have in common with these fictional Superheroes? You are super too. Sometimes in being super, we forget that we are only human. When it comes to disciplining the kids how successful do you think you are?
Grab a cup of coffee (or a diet coke) as we glide through our journey of parenting through the alphabet. This week we have approached the letter “D”. Let’s ponder for a minute, the question of “discipline.” How can you tell when it may be time to change your disciplinary tactics?
If you have experienced any of the 5 scenarios below (or anything similar) you just might need to tweak your best practices in discipline:
1.      You count your child down when giving him a task to complete; “Move your shoes out of the middle of the floor. You have three seconds- 3-2-1.” However your child is 11 years old. He’s counting with you. Not effective.
2.      You tell your child repeatedly to go to bed, but she keeps getting up. Exhausted after a long day, you fall into bed. She ends up tucking you in.
3.      You tell your child to clean his room or you’re going to take away his video game, but you get busy and never go back to see if it’s done.
4.      You use your spouse as a secret weapon – “If you don’t get that done now, I’m going to get daddy to help you and he won’t be as nice as I am.”
5.      Your child eats cereal for dinner after you told her eat the healthy meal you worked so hard to prepare.
During times when I am feeling tired, I let my guard down and I don’t follow through with the discipline I set in place. My super powers start to fail. It’s like kryptonite is somewhere near and I…just…can’t….move.
I’ve learned that when the discipline isn’t working for the kids, I need to take a break, recharge and look at things with a fresh eye. The next time a disciplinary situation arises I will get out my Wonder Woman lasso, my Batman utility belt and whatever the Fantastic Four use. Maybe all of these things together will give me strength to follow through.
How do you handle discipline with the kids?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What have you learned from past jobs?

Photo credit: mint.com

The younger me worked many jobs leading up to and through college. I believe there’s something to be learned with each experience. Here is a snapshot of my experience:
Photo credit: freep.com
In my very first job I worked as a police cadet. My group of about eight teens, was assigned to work at a senior citizen residence. We went to the grocery store with the residents and did errands for them. I learned to ride the city bus to work and how to manage money.

Photo credit: bridgespdx.com
The summer before starting college, I worked as a camp counselor at a camp for kids with disabilities. I discovered that kids with Downs Syndrome give great hugs. They taught me to laugh out loud and enjoy the moment.
Photo credit: worldofstock.com
At the end of summer camp, I worked as maintenance staff at the Michigan State Fair for two weeks (that was the duration of the fair). I was paired up with another girl and we monitored the trash in one of the buildings. On this job I learned to work with a partner and stay on task, even when no one was watching.

Photo credit: examiner.com

While working my first full time job, I moonlighted as a caterer’s assistant occasionally. I learned to make delicious stuffed mushrooms. One of my favorite and easy desserts to make was toasted coconuts sprinkled over vanilla ice cream.
Photo credit: susikochenundbacken.blogspot.com
What have you learned from work experiences over the years?

Monday, November 26, 2012

What you should know about Christmas shopping with a teen

Photo credit: truewoman.com
Black Friday shopping has been a tradition that I shared with a friend over the past few years. We would shop three or four hours then go out to breakfast. This year my teen son wanted to experience the “excitement” of Black Friday shopping. Since he received birthday money early, the tradition was changed and he and I set out to the stores.

After a couple of hours I discovered why I have never taken my son shopping with me before this year. Below are 5 reasons NOT to take your teen(s) Christmas shopping with you.

1.       They will constantly say, “Are you ready yet?” I was taking my time browsing through Christmas cards trying to select a box. My son went to a different department and came back and said, “You’ve been in this same spot for 17 minutes, can you just pick something?”

2.       They will claim they’ve been out “all day” after only two hours.

3.       They get hungry too soon.

4.       They will try to save their money and spend yours.

5.       They may leave you holding the bag(s)-literally. Luckily my son had less bags than I did, so he had room to carry mine too.
Six stores and three hours later, my son had purchased several items that he’d been wanting. It was time for breakfast.

Before we dove into our meal I bowed my head to say a quiet blessing. When I glanced up my son still had his head bowed. I thought, he’s saying a long blessing this time. When I looked closely I saw that he was texting, not praying.

During the drive toward home, my son laid his head back onto the head rest. I said, “You’re not getting sleepy are you? I have one more stop to make.”
“No, I’m just relaxing for a minute.”

I didn’t want my son to sleep yet. I wanted him to experience the full effects of early morning shopping. He survived Black Friday shopping and I survived shopping with a teen.
When everything was said and done, my son and I had a fun adventure shopping together, even if I had to visit a lot of sports stores. And electronics sections of the stores. I don’t think I will take both boys shopping at the same time, but use this as quality time with each child separately.

What has been your experience shopping with kids?

Friday, November 23, 2012

What happens when kids are cranky?

Photo credit: diminishinglucy.com.

Have you ever had one of those days where you wake up cranky? Well kids also fall prey to the cranky morning syndrome. This week as we peek through the lens of parenting through the alphabet we’ll look at the letter ‘c’ and a ‘cranky’ child.
My son became Cranky, The 7 Dwarfs cousin, when he asked me a question and I couldn’t understand what he was saying. He had his back to me as he poured a bowl of cereal. Here’s how the conversation went:

“Ma, do you have any money so I can get…mumble, mumble, mumble?”

“Do you have any money so I can get a bear clip?”
“What is a bear clip?” I asked puzzled.

“Never mind!”
Frustration had set in for him, but I pursued the conversation further.

“Tell me what you’re talking about.”
“I said can I get my HAIR CUT?”

“Ohhhh, sure you can go after school. I turned my back to him and laughed to myself.
My son’s crankiness didn’t last long. Teens seem to get cranky over any little thing then it passes over like a brief rain shower. I’m learning to relax and remain calm. It doesn’t always happen this way, but I’m a work in progress.

What happens when you experience a cranky child?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving – Another day to give thanks

Photo credit: campusslate.com

 Happy Thanksgiving! It’s giving thanks day here at my blog. Today I am thankful to all of you for stopping by to view my blog.
This week as you celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday I want you to take a little challenge with me.  Let’s give thanks for the little blessings that are right in front of us daily – healthy kids, the car starting without any problems, food to prepare yet another meal and the list goes on.
While you’re giving thanks, find a way to also brighten someone else’s day. It can be as simple as waving to a neighbor or sharing a smile.
I’ll share my Mantra for the day – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Do you have a favorite poem, song, or words of inspiration that might encourage someone else?
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo credit: treatsastastytaters.com

Monday, November 19, 2012

What are your family Holiday traditions? – 5 ideas to create or add to your tradition

The Year Without a Santa Claus
Photo credit: tumblr.com
We had a discussion the other day at work about Holiday traditions. The question was raised, “What do you do for Thanksgiving?” The answers varied from the traditional turkey dinner to no turkey, but included ham and other meats. When it came to the Christmas Holiday, the answers varied widely.

When I asked my kids about their favorite tradition, they both said, “Our Christmas dinner.”
“Why do you like the Christmas dinner?” I asked.
“I like the gift game, where people draw a number to see what order they can choose a gift. It’s funny to see their face when they get a crazy gift or when they get a good gift and somebody can take it.”
While I enjoy the Christmas dinner just as much as the kids, I also love watching Christmas shows on TV. I don’t go a year without watching, The Year without a Santa Claus. I sympathize with Jingle and Jangle (number one elves), when they take Vixen to South town. The poor reindeer is mistaken for a stray dog and hauled off to the dog pound.
As you see, Holiday traditions can be whatever you create them to be. If you don’t have a tradition yet, why not start one now. Below are a few ideas to get you started.
       1.      Read Holiday stories with the kids, then create a craft related to one of the stories.
      2.      Bake cookies and give them to someone who is homebound; share with neighbors.
      3.      Create your very own 12 days of Christmas tradition – do something fun each day for 12   days. Watch a movie together, play a game, go caroling, etc.
     4.      Save coins for 30 days, then donate the money to a cause that one of the kids selects.
     5.      Have a tree decorating day and turn it into a party; make paper chains out of construction   paper, eat popcorn and string some for the tree.
Establishing a Holiday tradition is all about creating closeness with your family. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just start with a blank canvas and make it your own.
Here's a clip from the movie, The Year Without a Santa Claus - with Snow Miser & Heat Miser.
What are you Holiday traditions? If you were to create a new family tradition what would it be?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

What would you do if your child asked you to lie for him?

Photo credit: ehow.com

What circumstance could possibly cause your child to want you to lie for him? Suppose your child sent you a text message asking for your help. The message said, “My friend is about to get in trouble for something that’s not his fault. If his mom calls can you just say…”
There was a little more to the text message that I received from my son. However there was still not enough information to help me understand what was happing. My initial reaction was, does he really think I am going to lie for him? I just replied to his text with, “…will talk when u get home.”

I later found out that the situation stemmed from a misunderstanding and my son’s friend did not “get in trouble.” Nor was my son asking me to lie for him, but sometimes test messages can get you in trouble.
So, what would you do if your child wanted you to lie to help a friend (and it wasn’t life threatening)? Would you sit your child down and give him a lesson in morals and integrity?


Friday, November 16, 2012

How Buttermilk biscuits helped with college planning

Photo credit: allrecipes.com

At times it can be difficult to get kids to sit and engage in a conversation. I think I just found the answer when it comes to getting teens to talk…serve food and they will come. Over a plate of buttermilk biscuits and warm syrup I was able to slip in a conversation about preparing for college with my son.

‘College Planning’ is our catch phrase this week as we navigate down corridors of parenting through the alphabet. I’ll borrow my mother’s famous last words and say, “always plan ahead.” I’ll go a step further and say, it’s never too early to plan for college.

My husband and I talked about saving for the kids’ college days when they were toddlers, but the time is now upon us. There is only a year and a half left to be sure things are set to fall in place. I feel like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz in her frightened state. Instead of Lions and Tigers and Bears, for me its college tours, scholarships, and fees, oh my! But I digress.

Back to the story…

As my son gulped down a glass of milk, I continued to talk to him. I related his college planning to a math lesson. 

“Do you remember the formula you learned years ago… A+B=C?” I asked.
He grunted.

“Well, here’s a story problem that you can plug into that formula. If ‘A’ equals good grades and ‘B’ equals high ACT/SAT scores, what do you think ‘C’ will equal?” I paused then gave him the answer. ‘C’ will equal $$ - Scholarship money. He got the point.

Switching from a math lesson to a research project, I gave my son a homework assignment. “Make a list of 10 colleges that you would like to attend and find out what their admission requirements are.”

A week has passed and I have received my sons list of colleges, but nothing else. It’s a work in progress. Perhaps next time I will serve Belgian Waffles (his favorite).

Have you started planning for college for your child? Do you have any tips to share?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Are you living in a dog house?

Photo credit: www.beautifulcoolwallpaper.wordpress.com

Are you enjoying where you live? How much time do you take to really enjoy your surroundings? A friend shared a conversation with me that she had with a co-worker.
The co-worker was looking for a place for her mother to live. She showed her mom photos of beautiful houses. Her mom’s reply was, “those people live in a dog house.”
“These are beautiful houses, what do you mean?” The coworker asked.
“The people who live there are probably never home; the dog enjoys the house more than they do.”
In our busy lives, transporting kids to school, practices, recitals, how much time do we actually spend enjoying our home? After all, you probably worked hard to make your home what it is.
Your challenge this week is to take time to soak in what you love about your home. How will you send time doing this?

Monday, November 12, 2012

How old is Batman?

Photo credit: nukethefridge.com

My kids and I were discussing our favorite Superheroes. There are a few that I like, but our discussion seemed to hover around Batman. I told them about the old TV series that kept me entertained as a child. “How old is Batman?” One of my boys asked.

A Google search told us that Batman was registered as a trademark on November 12, 1940…72 years ago today. Since that time many actors have portrayed Batman either on TV or the big screen. Test your knowledge with a little Batman Trivia.

1.      Who played Batman in the 1966 TV series?

2.      How many actors have played Batman since its inception in the 1940’s? Can you name them?

3.      Who played the role of Cat Woman in Batman Returns?
            a.      Halle Berry
            b.      Julia Roberts
            c.       Penelope Cruz
            d.      Michelle Pfeiffer
            e.      Drew Barrymore

4.      What is the Penguin’s weapon of choice?

a.      Ice
            b.      A whip
            c.       Acid spewing flowers
            d.      Umbrellas

5.      What are Batman’s super powers?

a.      He can fly
            b.      He can see in the dark
            c.       He doesn’t have any
            d.      His ability to heal rapidly from an injury
            e.      His high resistance to being injured

6.      Who looked after Bruce Wayne when his parents died?

a.      His grandparents
            b.      Nobody looked after him
            c.       His butler
            d.      His parents’ best friends
            e.      His maid

7.      Which of the following actors has never played a Batman villain?

a.      Jim Carrey
            b.      Uma Thurman
            c.       Robin Williams
            d.      Jack Nicholson

Check out a brief clip of the 1966 Batman TV series, then check your answers. The answers are not in the clip, but it’s a quick walk down memory lane for some. I told my kids it was a good way to see the use of onomatopoeia in action. The fight scenes included a lot of: Pow, Biff, oooof, whack…you get the idea.

Now check your answers
      1.      Adam West
      2.      Seven actors played Batman;
                  ·         Lewis G. Wilson
                  ·         Robert Lowrey
                  ·         Adam West
                  ·         Michael Keaton
                  ·         Val Kilmer
                  ·         George Clooney
                  ·         Christian Bale

3.      d - Michelle Pfeiffer
      4.      d - Umbrella’s
      5.      c - He doesn’t have any
      6.      c – His butler
      7.      c – Robin Williams

Did you have a favorite Superhero as a child?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

What would you do if...you saw someone with a black eye?

Eye makeup can enhance your eyes, when applied correctly.
Photo credit: bellasugar.com

Suppose you are sitting in a meeting at work and you look up and notice your co-worker's eye looks black. You are giving a report and stop talking mid-sentence. What do you do next?
It happened to me, only I was the person with the “black eye.” While my co-worker was talking, I was a little distracted and took a moment to clean my glasses. As I looked down to clean the lenses, my co-worker (who is male) said, “Is there something different about your eyes?
“No, I don’t think so,” I said.
“They look a little darker or something.”
“Maybe my eyeliner is smudged.”
“Oh, you’re wearing makeup. You don’t always wear makeup do you?”
“No, just sometimes.”

It became apparent that I had a little trouble with my eye makeup that day. I waited a couple of days before making another attempt at making my eyes stand out.

What would you do if you saw someone with dark circles around their eyes? Would you react differently based on how well you know the person?


Friday, November 9, 2012

The “Grammy” awards – What does it look like when kids bond with their grandma?

Spending time with Granny at a family reunion

I’m sure no one else has experienced this (wink, wink), but when my son visits with Granny or Grammy, he’s a totally different person. They have a special bond that connects them. As we parent through the Alphabet today, let’s explore the letter ‘b’ and that special “bond” between Grandma and grandchild.
When my mom gushes over my son, he softens. He greets her with a quiet wee baby voice,

“H-i-i- Granny.” She can get him to do a lot of things that he wouldn’t do at home. For this reason I think a Grammy Award should be established to recognize Grandma’s around the globe.

 Unlike the real Grammy that is presented for outstanding achievement in the music industry; this Grammy would recognize outstanding Grandmothers. When my son is with Granny, strange things begin to happen. I saw him rake leaves without any begging or prodding. He also helped her repair something that was broken.
The boys like spending time with Granny because they get to do things that they wouldn’t normally do at home. Eating out is at the top of their agenda and going shopping is next on the list. There’s no need to cringe or complain because this all a part of the bonding process.
My youngest son likes to spend time with Granny without his brother around. This gives him the opportunity to receive all of the attention. He becomes king of the TV remote control, eats all the snacks he wants and lounges around his castle without a care in the world.

 The toughest part of my sons bonding with Granny, is returning home. It’s like taking a trip to Disney World, then preparing for the trip home. He returns home excited and bearing gifts and recanting everything he did. He’s brought home a pair of the latest Nike socks for his brother or favorite candy for himself. Then it’s time to get back to a regular routine.

And the Grammy Award goes to…my mom. I don’t even try to top the experience the kid have with Granny. I embrace the fact that Granny time is a special time and I’m glad that they enjoy it. After all, I still have to fight my brother for my bonding time with Granny.

What does it look like when your child spends time with his grandparents?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My cup runneth over – What abundance of things have you experienced lately?

What unexpected gifts or blessings have you experienced lately? Here’s my short list -

·         I was able to attend a conference that I didn’t think I would be able to go to.

·         A friend gave me a gas card at a time it was really needed.

·         A parent came up to me at a football game and said, “Your son does a great job, thank you for what you do with him.”

 What does your list look like? May your cup overflow with an abundance of blessings.