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, October 31, 2014

Feel Good Friday – Footprints in the sand

Photo credit
Here’s a little inspiration to start your weekend.
Footprints in the sand

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand. One belonging to him and the other to the LORD.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life, there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of his life.

This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it. LORD you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome time in my life there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.
The LORD replied, my precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you! During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.

By Mary Stevenson, 1936
YouTube Video Credit: leonalewisVEVO

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Halloween Pumpkin Carving Ideas

YouTube Video Credit: SHDI
WARNING: some of the carvings may be scary/graphic for young children.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Muffins with Mom – Analyze This – Raising observant kids

Making observations
Photo credit
Do you remember the movie starring Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal called Analyze This and its sequel Analyze That? The movie is a mobster/comedy.  I don’t recall all of the details, but I remember the movies causing me to chuckle. I was reminded of the movie titles when my son approached me with a critique of my attire.
I was dressed for work on a casual Friday when my son eyeballed me and said, “Didn’t you wear that jacket to the gym?”

“Maybe, but I didn’t work out in it,” I said.
“And you had a grey shirt on under it.” He tilted his head and said, “Yep that’s the same shirt you have on again.”

“That was week ago and I do wash my clothes.”

After our unpleasant exchange, my son asked if he could go to the varsity football game after school. I walked over to his bedroom, peeked in and shook my head. My son’s room looked like someone had gone in, pulled all the clothes off his hangers and threw them into the air. Clothes landed in scattered places.

My son again asked, “So, can I go to the game?”

“Not by the hair on my chiny, chin, chin.”
He inspected my chin and responded with, “I guess that’s a definite no.”

My son had managed to analyze my clothing and my chin hairs and come up with his own conclusions. I hope he applies his observation skills to his school work in science class and Analyze That.

What things has your child analyzed that indicate his or her keen sense of observation?


Friday, October 24, 2014

Fun Friday – 5 Things you don’t need for successful parenting

A parenting moment
Do you sometimes feel like you have to be Wonder Woman or Superman in order to be a successful parent? Guess what? You don’t need a magic lasso, nor a blue and red suit with a cape, in order to be a successful parent.
You may have already discovered that your child will provide you with have many opportunities to test your parenting skills. For instance, I’m learning to remain calm in challenging situations. I’ve discovered that I don’t always have to yell and scream to get my teen son to do something. Instead I can send him a simple text…in all capital letters, “PLEASE CLEAN YOUR ROOM NOW.”

You probably have an arsenal of things in your parenting tool box to aid you in successful parenting. Just for fun here’s a list of things you DON’T need for successful parenting.

1.      Perfection – don’t think you have to be the perfect parent. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Ask for help and don’t feel guilty for asking.

2.      Six figure income – A job that pays well is always helpful in child rearing, but quality time with your child is even better. Don’t cause yourself undue stress if you can’t buy your child everything he wants. It’s also ok if she doesn’t sign up for every dance class or sorts activity.

3.      You don’t have to neglect yourself – you have to take care of yourself in order to have the energy to take care of your child. In the midst of a hectic schedule, be sure to schedule “me time.”

4.      You don’t need to always make your child happy – an article at forbes.com encourages parents to role model hard work and allow children to experience disappointment. “Strive to raise responsible children who will grow to become responsible adults.”

5.      Don’t be afraid to show love and affection – give your child lots of hugs and kisses.

Here’s a bonus “don’t” - Don’t give up when you’re feeling overwhelmed, your breakthrough is on the way.

What would you add to the list of things you don’t need for successful parenting?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Muffins with Mom – Dog days of parenting

Photo credit
Some days a teen would rather hang out with his friends rather than go for a walk with his mother. So what’s a mother to do…? Venture out on her own. And that’s how may dog day began.
As I walked through my neighborhood (while reading), I looked up and noticed two dogs in my path. I crossed the street to avoid contact with them. Both dogs looked at me, then headed in my direction, dragging their leashes behind them.

Not wanting to make eye contact with them, I looked away and walked into someone’s driveway. That didn’t deter the hounds. They didn’t look ferocious, yet they were causing me to panic a little.

By this point, I had to start a little self- talk, I’m not scared, I’m not scared. The dog circled around me. I kept chanting, I’m not scared, I’m not scared.  One dog was a little bigger than a poodle, his brother was bigger. Just as I was ready to break into a jog, a lady and a little girl a couple of blocks away yelled for the dogs.
It’s a good thing someone called for those dogs because I could have given them a run for their money (ha). Did I mention that I like dogs?... just not ones that run loose by themselves.

I continued around another block and saw my son playing basketball with some of his friends. When he looked up, I gave a nod of my head and continued as though nothing happened. I would tell him about my episode when he got home.

My after dinner walk had turned into an excursion. I decided to sit at the picnic table in the park behind our house and write about this experience. It was refreshing listening to the sound of laughing kids on the slide and climbing apparatus.

As I focused on my writing, a young elementary age girl walked up to the park with her pug dog dragging her a bit. A couple of the kid screamed, others petted him. The dog began to make a noise like h had something caught in his throat.
The little girl reassured the other kids that her dog was just breathing. Then he came near where I was seated. I couldn’t see him behind me, but I could hear him. He must have been practicing his breathing again. All I could hear was aarrrr.

I smiled to myself and began my self-talk again, this cannot be happening. I don’t know who let the dogs out that day.
YouTube video credit: Bekhit Fahim
What do your dog days of parenting look like?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fun Friday – 5 Fun facts and ways to celebrate National Pizza Month

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What are your favorite pizza toppings, are you a meat lover, veggie lover or a little bit of everything kind of person? October is National Pizza Month, how will you celebrate?

Both of my teens love pizza, they would eat it every night if I let them. There have been a couple of occasions when pizza was delivered to our house and I didn’t even know it was coming. I heard the doorbell chime and asked the boys if they were expecting company.

“I’ll get it,” my son yelled from his bedroom.

It wasn’t until I descended the carpeted stairway that the aroma drifted to my nostrils.
“You ordered pizza?” I stated matter of factly.

“Yes, I was saving you from having to cook dinner.”
I don’t remember him willingly offering me any of his pizza, so I’m not sure how he rescued me from having to cook. After all I had to eat too.

My oldest teen ordered pizza so much that he had a regular delivery guy.
Despite pizza being snuck into our home, I will still celebrate National Pizza Month. While we eat pizza, I will challenge my younger teen with trivia questions. Maybe I will Skype my older teen to include him, since he is away at college now.

Below are trivia facts that you could use to impress your friends and family.

1.      The average pizzeria uses roughly 55 pizza boxes per day.

2.      It’s estimated that around 251,770,000 pounds of pepperoni are consumed every year in the U.S.

3.      94% of Americans eat pizza regularly, while 93% said they had eaten it in the last month.

4.      Super Bowl Sunday is one of the top 5 days in the year for pizza sales.

5.      Kids ages 3 to 11 said they prefer pizza over any other food group for lunch and dinner.

National Pizza Month is a good time to think outside of the (pizza) box. Do something differently than you usually do? If you usually eat a round pizza, try a square one. If you’re looking for activities do with the kids to celebrate pizza month, try one of the suggestions below.

1.      Make a pizza collage

2.      Make a paper apron

3.      Make a pizza game and play it with the entire family

4.      Set up a dramatic play area to resemble a pizzeria

5.      Make homemade pizza for lunch. Click here for recipe.

What would you add to the list of ways to celebrate National Pizza Month?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Are you a breast cancer survivor or know someone who has survived? Support the fight against cancer in your own way...share a video, words of inspiration or join a race for the cure.

YouTube Video credit: Alicia Castillo
YouTube Video credit: neversaynever777

Monday, October 13, 2014

Muffins with Mom – What happens when your teen misses the school bus? – 3 solutions to fix the problem

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What happens when a teen misses the school bus? He has to find another way to school. Sometimes this means mom has to change her routine and drive her precious child to school. Even it means she is at risk of being late herself.

There are other times when a teen misses the bus and he is left to resolve the situation himself. Last week when my son missed the bus, he rode his bike the few miles to school. I never saw the bike come back home. My son said he left the bike at a friend’s house.

As fate would have it, after a long night of forced studying (by me), my son missed the bus a second time that week. I was not home to drive him to school. Luckily for him, his brother’s bike lay dormant in the garage waiting for a rider. Mission accomplished! My son made it to school on time…but the week wasn’t over.
At the end of the week, I entered my son’s bedroom in an attempt to wake him before I left for work. The response I got was in the form of a grunt and moan. I turned a light on hoping to arouse the sleeping ogre, but he rolled over and put the blanket over his head.

Sources told me that he missed the bus again. What’s a parent to do?
In an article at Parenting Teens Online, three solutions were given to help resolve the issue of teens missing the bus.

Here they are –

1.      Don’t fix the problem for your teen – If your teen is habitually late or misses the bus quite often, it’s not helpful to always come to the rescue. You could suggest he call a cab or if you drive him to school, don’t excuse his tardy. He will have to deal with the consequences of the school policy for unexcused tardies.

2.      Forget about nagging – Set a schedule – Set a time for your teen to power down in preparation for bed (no TV, video games, etc.).

3.      Take away some privileges; Offer some incentives – if your teen doesn’t care about being late, use something he cares about as your bargaining tool. After his behavior changes/improves over time, offer incentives for the positive behavior.

What will happen is my teen missies the school bus again? We still have a friend’s bike left in the garage.

How do you handle a habitually late child or teen?


Friday, October 10, 2014

Fun Friday - Funny signs

As I cruised around the web, I came across signs that I thought might cause your lips to twist into a smile. Here they are...
What funny signs or sightings have you seen lately?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Muffins with Mom – Demands of a teenager

In my household, Thursdays are reserved for high school football games at this time of year.  Armed with this knowledge, I plan my day accordingly. Little did I know, that this instance would not be a typical Thursday. I knew if I wanted to workout, I would have to fit it in early. So I went to the gym before work and left my capable teen son home to prepare himself for the day.
When I left the gym, I checked my phone as I usually do. There were a couple of missed calls from my son and a text message. My first thought was, he missed the bus…again. Not this time. His frantic test said, “I forgot my cleats, I need u to bring them to school.”

I could handle that request with a small adjustment of my schedule. I would go by the house at lunch time, grab the cleats and deliver them to the school. After I relayed this to my son, the next text came…

“I need u to take me home when u bring the cleats.”
With furrowed eyebrows, I responded with, “???Why?”

“I need to boil my mouthpiece. I lost the old one.”

I didn’t respond right away to that request. I needed to process the information. I refused to go to the school and tell the office staff that I needed to sign my son out so he could go home and boil his mouthpiece.

I knew my son needed to boil the mouthpiece so it would fit properly, but why couldn’t this have been done the night before it was needed? He forgot. Now it was left up to me to creatively find a way to connect my son with his mouthpiece before the game.
Once again, I adjusted my lunch time to coincide with my sons so I could take him home without him missing class. Luckily we only live ten minutes from his school. We arrived home, boiled the mouth piece, grabbed the cleats, and my son made it back to school by the next period.

Operation football gear was complete and I made it back to work in a timely manner. All that was left to do was to make the 30 minute drive to the away game and support the team.
The life of a teenager can be demanding…at least for his parents.

Have you had an experience with a demanding teen?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Fun Friday - What makes you laugh?

YouTube Credit: Tim Grable
YouTube Credit: Christian Comedians
YouTube Credit: nsxaj800
Laugh your way into the weekend.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Words of Wisdom – You are gifted

Just in case you didn’t know it…you are gifted. Don’t take my word for it, read what Marie Currie (physicist and Nobel Prize winner) says –
“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”

YouTube video credit: PsychoSpiritual Solutions TV
How will you use this information?