Monday, October 31, 2011

and now he's 6!

My oldest monkey turned 6yrs old yesterday.  It was a long, full, but fun day.  He got to open the gifts his two grandpa's had shipped to him (they both live long distance) before church.  Then we came home and let him open our gifts.  He had a friend come over to play for a couple of hours while the two youngest ones napped.  Then Grammy came over for dinner and cake.  It was a full day.

This year he asked for a transformers cake but as he has never even seen transformers nor does he have any of the toys I resisted and once my husband mentioned that a friend recently had a transformer cake at a party I did not attend with them I knew where it was coming from.  I try to urge him to carve his own little path and not copy others for the sake of going with the crowd so I asked him to pick a cake that HE wanted/would like.  A nascar race track.  Then he starts giving me details - it must have a pit and such.  I told him to draw me a picture.

So I had a tall order for this cake but really a track cake is pretty simple.  He had a track cake for his 4th birthday too but it wasn't an oval shape and was just small scale.

So I started by baking the cakes.  Which wouldn't come out of the pans.  So I had to literally scrape them out.  So I had to make new cakes.  This time I put parchment paper in the bottom of all the pans so there would be no risk of sticking.  This time they came out with no problem.  I will say though that I used a yellow cake recipe and added strawberries that I had pureed and it made the cake turn out more pound cake like.  Not sure why.  But now you know.  Then I sat in the silence on Saturday morning while my husband and children were have quality time at the McD's play area because I desperately needed some peace!  KOJ is awesome!  So I sat and worked on the details.

I colored the coconut green:
I scored the tootsie rolls to look like stacks of tires for the pit area:
I crushed up the cookie part of the oreos for the track "asphalt":
Then after the kids were in bed Saturday night I sat down with the strawberry cream cheese frosting I'd put together and the decorating elements and I created this:
The scale is totally off but my mom told me it would be going overboard to move the "fence" made of graham cracker pieces out towards the edge further. So I didn't.  But I really wanted to! lol

I found that set of stock car race cars at the store and I couldn't resist it for the top of the cake.  Monkey's reaction when I pulled the foil off was amazing.  He loved it but I think he was mostly excited about the cars on it. lol

Happy birthday baby boy!  I hope it was everything you hoped for and more!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Once upon a time: Prayer and happily ever after

Once upon a time there was a young girl.  She loved God with all of her heart.  She knew that what she wanted to be when she grew up was a teacher, wife, and mommy  .  She wanted to save the best gift in the world for her future husband.  In the innocence that is child-like faith she began praying for her future husband.  That he would wait for her.  That God would be with him and call her future husband to Himself.  She prayed many a prayer.  She felt very strongly about this habit.  She didn't know who he was or where he was just that he was someone somewhere and God could be with him at this time when she couldn't.

Meanwhile halfway across the country there was a boy.  He was in his pre-teen years when a young girl a few years older than him began praying for him.  He lived with loving parents and a sister.  He had been exposed to church but didn't have a loving relationship with God, his creator.

Throughout his high school years God gave him friends that invited him to church and witnessed to him about God's love.  At about this same time the young girl wasn't as young anymore and she hit a somewhat rebellious phase.  She still attended church and believed in and loved God but she had reached a point of wanting to do her own thing, her own way.  One night while on the internet she began chatting with a guy in a chat room.  They chatted about a lot of things and she just really felt a click.  There was something about this guy that drew her to him.  She was bummed to learn that he wasn't a Christian, but it wasn't enough to stop her from getting to know him further.

They spent hours chatting online and on the phone.  They wrote actual letters to each other too.  It was all very romantic.  She had also been chatting with another gentleman online who was a fellow believer but she didn't feel as much chemistry with him.  She knew that HE was the one she should be drawn to but he wasn't.

One crazy day she just knew she had to meet them.  She knew she needed to meet the Christian guy before the other one because logically he should be her first choice.  So she took time off work, hopped in her car and drove 20hrs or so to meet this guy.  She drove all night.  She met this man and while he was a great guy the chemistry was no more there in person than it was online and on the phone (despite his awesome southern accent).  She drove home though knowing that she had at least given him the chance he deserved.  She knew she needed to go meet the other guy now.  So she planned a weeks vacation, picked up her 12yr old sister along the way and they headed off to meet this guy she felt so drawn to.

Ironically they met at church (it was a public place!) a church that several of his high school friends attended.  She was completely smitten.

Two months later she packed up everything she owned and moved East to be near him while he attended college.  Five months later he began a personal relationship with the loving God she had been praying to all of her life.  He grew, he changed, she grew and changed.  She loved him.

In an intimate (and most perfect!) ceremony, in his parent's backyard, they got married.  Ten months later they welcomed their first child.  A few more children, job changes, home changes, and heart changes later they still love each other.

The girl has often pondered over the years how God could bless her when she was for all intents and purposes being rebellious when she met this man.  But she remembered recently the prayers of her youth.  The prayers for her beloved future husband.  Those prayers did not return void.  Those prayers were answered.  Even in her rebellion the Lord answered her faith filled prayers.  He had his hand on her husband even all those years.  He called her husband's heart to his as she had always prayed.

Now as a mother she will purpose to pray for her own children's future spouses because she has seen that even though it will take a long while to see the results of those prayers, those prayers work.  God is faithful.  So pray not only for your children, pray for their spouses.  You have no idea what kind of difference it might make in the spouse they become for your beloved child.

Make no mistake.  This girl doesn't look at her life, at her husband and children, and think to herself  "Wow I'm good, I got it all figured out and it was ME that got my life so right."  She looks at her life and says in a prayer "Despite me, my flaws, my rebellions, my own issues, God has been faithful to weave things together in exactly the right way to bless my life and answer my prayers."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Frumps to pumps update

This post isn't going to be glamorous.  But I am pleased to say that after posting about this last Wednesday, I have in fact gotten dressed almost every day.  I did not get dressed on Sunday.  I was sick and just never felt like it and as I didn't leave the house didn't have a need.  But otherwise I have done well putting on a decent shirt and pants that I would be willing to leave the house in.  This week I hope to make it to putting on socks and I'm thinking about wearing eye shadow.  I don't generally do make up but my husband has expressed how much he likes eye shadow on me so I'm thinking about it.  I'll let ya'll know next week how it turns out.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Detail Cleaning challenge

So I challenged myself to try to do one detail cleaning task each day.  I promised to post about it.  I don't think I've done very well.  I definitely haven't done every day but I did do a few things and it's nice to feel like I've done something that has been waiting for a long time.

This was our entry way.  I got the cabinets and shelf units at a yard sale.  I got a great deal on them.  They replaced the futon that we had no better home for and created a great storage area for our shoes, socks, and in the winter hats and mittens.  I had attempted to sort out our socks and what not but I have a daughter who is in a "destroy" phase.  So this is what it generally looked like on a regular basis.  Also the door had fallen off the cabinet on the left and it looked silly with only one door.

So I spent 15 min and ended with this:

See, Princess is already hard at work.  I had originally tried giving everyone their own shelf for their shoes, socks, and hat/mittens.  But it wasn't working.  So I moved all the shoes to the open shelves, removed sandals because it's too cold for them now, labeled our sock bins.  And simply stuck the hat/mitten bins for the boys on the shelf all the way to the right.  I will label them when I pull out the hats and mittens in another couple of weeks.  Overall this has been easier to keep tidy.  I can install child locks on the sock cabinet if I need to and we all know where our shoes and socks are to get ready to leave the house easily.

I did another project that I didn't take pictures of but there was a pile of random socks/mittens etc. in a bin and another bin sitting against a wall in the living room.  I took about an hour and a half and sorted through, threw out socks that weren't any good/no longer used, matched up the kids socks and sorted them into the right bins and the ones I won't use I put in the donation bag for our crisis pregnancy center.  It made the living room look much nicer not having that eye sore pile there anymore.

And yesterday I tackled a quick project I had on my list: the bathroom window sill.

It tends to become a catch all for little things that belong in the bathroom.  I just tidied it right up.  Took me less than ten minutes.  And it looks so much nicer.

I plan to continue this challenge and will post again next week!  Check back tomorrow to see how I did with the Frump to pumps!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Circumcision: why we stopped doing it

I frequent message boards here on the wonderful internet.  It's great to have a place to go to vent or ask questions and get answers from other moms who have likely been there and done that.  Inevitably though topics like vaccinating, car seat safety, cloth vs sposies, and circumcision come up.  I try to stay out of the circumcision discussions aside from stating what we did with our boys and why.  Then I leave and don't go back because it's a topic I feel very passionate about.  There are topics I have opinions about and there are topics that I feel super passionate about and this is one of the latter.  I don't get a terrible amount of readers here at my little blog but it's an outlet for me anyway.  And because this is my blog and this post is about MY views on circumscision I'm going to disable comments.  Not to offend those that are actual friends/relatives but this is the internet and with a word like circumcision in it this post will be easier to find for strangers who may just like to go around spouting off about things like this.  And so disable the comments I will do.

It all started almost 6yrs ago.  We were pregnant with our first child and I just KNEW I'd have a daughter first.  After all I was the oldest and I was a girl and my husband's sister was the oldest in their family.  Yeah well he wasn't a girl. lol  We were thrilled (though shocked) to be having a boy but because we found out rather late in pregnancy that he was a boy we had things to discuss and not a lot of time.  What will we name him?  Catherine just didn't seem right.  I remember having a very short conversation with my husband after we knew he was a boy.  It went something like this:

Me: What about circumcision?  Should we do it or not?

KOJ:  Sure, why not.

Me: Ok, yeah, I mean it's what you do.

We were so lacking some serious consideration and research on the topic and so when my baby boy was born after a long and arduous labor ended c-section they took him away the day before we went home and circumcised him.  He didn't have any adhesion or other issues from this circumcision and it went as well as I suppose it could.  I do wonder in hindsight after further research if the trauma from it isn't what caused some of our breastfeeding issues.

So round two.  When we were pregnant with baby number 2 we were aiming for a home birth with a midwife, it was, statistically, the best chance I had at getting a VBAC.  The thing was that home birth midwives don't circumcise.  So we would have to pay a mohel OOP to do it.  So I started researching to see if the research could convince me that it wasn't worth the money to circumcise bebe deux.  Even though we didn't know via ultrasound what we were having, I knew in my heart of hearts he was a boy.  Not a single doubt in my mind.  So I sat down at my handy dandy computer and searched out reasons to not circumcise.  WOW.  It change my whole view of it.  When KOJ came home from work I was sobbing as I told him that we just couldn't do that to another child.  I was appalled to read that the anesthetic - when they even bother to use it (which isn't often) doesn't even begin to touch the pain.  That babies who come back to their mothers "sleeping" are actually sleeping because they are in a state of shock from the pain.  That the foreskin on a boy has half of the nerve endings of the penis.  That the reduction in risk of UTI's is so negligible I can't even believe that anyone touted it as a reason to vaccinate.  I was more than convinced.  I would NEVER do that to another son again.  I spent days bursting into tears when I would think about what I had done to Squirrel monkey. 

All of that definitely convinced me not to vaccinate any longer but what really got me was this:  This is HIS penis.  Who am *I* to decide that it is best to chop a very important half of it off??  I mean people would be appalled if I got my daughter breast implants as a baby.  It's her body.  That is for her to decide at a later time.  I have the same belief about circumcising.  It is HIS body.  If for some reason down the road they want to get circumcised then they can do it with a trained professional while under proper anesthesia.  This topic is always discussed as a parenting issue but I don't believe that it should be.  It is a human rights issue.  It is my son's human right to say whether or not he wants part of his body cut off.  My younger two sons are happily intact.  I still regret circumcising Squirrel monkey but I don't spend my days beating myself up about it.  There isn't anything I can do now.  And really his birth was the catalyst in my researching it out with #2.

Questions commonly asked:
How do you keep it clean?  This question cracks me up.  I don't understand why it would be harder to clean an intact penis than a circ'd one.  Having both in the house I can say that it isn't harder.  Actually my intact boys are more likely to play with their penis' in the shower because of the extra nerve endings there.

What about your oldest noticing that he's different? Well he's 6 and he hasn't noticed yet.  He might notice one day and I will explain to him why he looks a bit different.  The explanation actually came to my middle son.  My youngest had been retracting his foreskin to expose the part of the penis you see in a circ'd boy and my middle wanted to know why he didn't have one of those and so I had to tell him that his foreskin retracted too and he did have one in there.  Otherwise there has never been a mention of differences before (or since) and this was just a couple of weeks ago.

Won't your intact sons feel insecure/get made fun of for being different? No, because the rates of intact vs circ'd nationally are something like 30% circ'd and 70% intact.  If any of my children will feel that way it would end up being my oldest.  But aside from the national rates is the fact that I don't buy into the locker room bullying issue.  Any boy who says he was looking at someone else's penis is a lot more likely to get made fun of himself.  Plus my kids are home-schooled as we all know well so the only people they see in the "locker room" is each other.

But the bible says.... the bible tells the Isrealites - God's chosen people - to circumcise their men so they will be set apart from other people.  We are not Isrealites.  There is a verse in the new testament that says that it doesn't matter if you're circ'd or not.  Also from what I've read in my research the circumcision of the old testament times was VERY different and less invasive than the circumcision of our day.  My family and I are saved by grace, not by deeds.  Praise God.

Don't take my views or opinion or word for it.  Research it for yourself.  Research it WITH your husbands.  I hear it all the time "My husband prefers we circumcise and since he has one I defer to him."  That doesn't make any sense to me.  I understand biblical submission if an agreement on the subject can't be reached but to defer to him over an issue that in my very strong opinion shouldn't even be something that parents have the right to decide over just seems silly.  Especially if the husband refuses to even research it and just wants it done because he is.  Again how often are your grown sons going to be comparing their penis to your husbands?  I hope never.  But maybe I'm naive. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

From Frump to Pumps challenge link up

So I've hesitated.  Do I feel frumpy?  Heck yes.  Nearly every day.  Do I like feeling frumpy? No.  Still I rationalize.

"I'm home all day and it's easier to clean and even teach in my comfy lounge pants."

"KOJ doesn't care, he loves me just the way I am."

"The kids don't care."

Why should I bother?  Most days I don't leave the house.  Who is going to see me besides the kids and KOJ and myself??

Well, I'm taking the leap and joining in anyway.  I know for a fact that I feel better about myself, more self confident when I am wearing an outfit that I consider "nice".

As for shoes, I hate them.  So I will dress to my socks (which will help me keep our heat turned down because me feet being cold makes the rest of me cold).  I don't have much for shoe options.  I have gargantuan feet and generally have to purchase my tennis shoes from the mens section.  Even those aren't very comfy at all and not something I want to wear all day every day.  So for now From frumps to socks it will have to be.  So I will post weekly about my progress, check back and see how I'm doing.  And feel free to check out how the other participants are doing in the challenge too through the link up.  You might also consider joining in the challenge!  Come on, I dare you!

The Get Dressed Challenge!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Meal planning

I mentioned meal planning in my couponing post the other day.  There have been times I've been better at having and following a meal plan than others.  This is one of the times I've been better at it.  I bought a 3 month meal plan from 5 meals in 1 hour back in August.  And we have loved it.  It has brought a variety that I was looking for into our meals.  There are only 5 meals a week so you still have to plan your own weekend meals but that's no problem for us as there are plenty of meals that are family favorites to fill in those spots.  I love having a plan.  Here's why:

1 - I always have something in the house for dinner (and if I get the meals prepped ahead like I'm supposed to they just need to be popped in the oven or slow cooker that day).

2 - It has cut our costs because we're not eating out and we're not wasting produce and other perishable goods.

3 - Using a meal plan put together by someone else has given us a variety of things we've never tried before which we all love.

Peace of mind, lowered costs, and variety of food experiences for both the adults and our children?  Priceless.  I highly encourage you all to meal plan - even if you just do it yourself.  But if you don't want to do it yourself there are TONS of meal plans available for purchase from places on the internet.  I have tried and vouch for: 5 meals in 1hr, e-mealz (this one has a huge variety of choices for a meal plan), saving dinner (again a large variety of choices).  Of the three I am enjoying 5 meals in 1hr most for a couple of reasons. 1 - she tends to use everyday things you'd already have/eat for her meals.  There aren't a ton of random small things that cost a fortune and you'll only use part of before it expires.  I found that the saving dinner meal plan tended to increase the cost of our meals for this reason.  2 - you get the whole meal plan for the month at the start of the month so if you shop ahead (like I try to do with sales) you can already see what meats and non-perishables you'll need making it easier to get them on sale.  I don't honestly remember how the other two meal plans came out - they could have been monthly as well you'd have to check the websites to see.  3 - I find that while the 5 in1 plans offer variety they aren't totally out there recipes.  There is usually one recipe a week that we trade out but it's usually because that type of meat is just too pricey to spring for at this time.  Not because the meal doesn't sound good.  There has been one meal I didn't make because it didn't sound good out of almost 3 months of meals.  There was one meal I've made that we liked but that doesn't re-heat well for left overs (so I just plan that for a Friday because KOJ takes leftovers for his lunches during the week so that's kind of important. lol)

Anyway, I have no personal interest in what meal plan you use, this post was just to encourage you to give it a try and see how it reduces your food bill.  I know for us if I can make dinner at 10.00 for the family that saves us a TON of money over what we'd spend if we had to eat out because of poor planning. 

disclaimer: these are my own personal opinions and I do not get any kind of compensation for sharing them.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Housekeeping update

So I know you all have been sitting on pins and needles wondering about my house keeping skills lately.... Have they improved?  Did she locate that one kid that was missing in all the clutter? Was her husband able to find clean underwear last week?  Yes, no, and yes. 

No, for real, things have improved much.  One might notice a correlation with the improvement of my house and the decreased blog posts.  Then again, one might not notice that.

So what's been working for me?  Just doing it.  Sounds ridiculously simple but I can't even begin to tell you how many hours cumulatively I've spent planning out my cleaning, or reading about how other people clean, or wallowing in my lack of cleaning skill.

So here's what it looks like:

I have been a part of a few FB groups related to the 31 days to clean e-book.  One of them started doing "challenges" and it just caught on like wildfire, now there are at least four challenges in a day and often more.  You join in when you can and you don't when you can't.  You jot a list of four items and whomever is hosting the challenge posts a number and you go spend 10 min on that task on your list.  In the middle we take a 10 min break.  So with going over the 10 min here and there we spend about an hour and generally come out of it with much cleaner homes.  It has been SUPER helpful in helping me just keep the downstairs tidy.

So today I was browsing around some blogs and came across what I thought was a super neat idea that I want to translate into my own thing over here.  She was doing a 31 days of details challenge for herself.  It started Oct 1st and so she's half done at this point.  Reading some of her 31 days of details posts I thought "I need to do something like that too!"  So I know it's the middle of the month and all but I need to do this.  Keeping the house tidy is great but there are still piles of clutter throughout that genuinely drive me nuts.  But I just never can seem to make the time for them.  So I'm going to plan ahead.

I lesson planned for the kids today and it's so nice to see at a glance what I will accomplish in school for the week (or rather what the kids will accomplish).  And likewise I am going to clean plan.  I can't have a rigid schedule because my 4 small children make that pretty much impossible.  But I can have a list of the things I need to accomplish each day and do them one by one.  So I'm challenging myself from now until Thanksgiving to clean a "detail" each day.  I'll take pictures and post once a week with the details I do all in one post.  Hopefully this will be the thing I need to get that last bit of decluttering done around here.  Less clutter makes it easier to clean.  It truly does.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Couponing... how I do it

Someone asked me about couponing today.  I love that question because while I've certainly not attained the TLC show extreme coupon status I do save us a chunk of money in my coupon ventures when I put the time in.  So here's how I do it.

1 - meal plan: I am finding that I'm better able to cook and not want to go out to eat at night if I have a meal plan.  I'm personally using the 5 meals in an hour meal plan that I purchased from the blog of the same name.  It comes out once a month and has four weeks of meals with shopping lists.  The idea is you prep the meals on Sunday and then you just cook on the day you want to eat each meal.  I haven't had time to prep the last two weekends (I plan to tomorrow though) but just having the plan there and all of the ingredients in the house has helped.  We haven't eaten out for dinner in more than two weeks.

2 - browse the ads: A lot of grocery store ads can be found online a day or two before they actually come out - check and to see if they have a forum for YOUR local store.  I try to take time on Friday to browse through and jot a list of the sales that jump out at me.  I go about finding my coupon match ups early.  Also on those two forums other people who shop those stores post the sale and coupon match ups that they find.

3 - get your coupons: This was the initial question today.  Where do I get my coupons?  I print a lot of them:,, (these coupons earn me 10sb for each one I use!),, and a lot of major brands have coupons on their pages - nestle coupons at, general mills coupons at and  Also pay attention to your sidebars when you're on the internet, I found a coupon for my preferred brand/kind of cheese slices today because I happened to glance to the left.

I also get coupons from the Sunday inserts.  I used to do this by purchasing two copies of the largest Sunday paper our area offered but a few weeks ago they started having issues as in the coupons were no longer making it to the gas stations and stores with the inserts in them.  So I turned elsewhere.  I've been using to get the coupons I'll use and need.  I order my coupons on Sunday asap and they get here towards the end of the week.  That way I'm able to use them before the sales end on Saturday.  That site has a minimum 3.00 purchase and they tack on a .50 handling fee plus the .44 shipping fee.  So I spent 4.04 this past weekend on coupons that in total will save me more than 20.00.  Worth it in my book.  You can see what coupons are due to come out at various coupon preview sites.  I just swag search "coupon preview" to find one of these sites.

4 - plan your list: my list has two parts - one has the stuff we NEED to stick with our meal plan for the week.  This includes planning out breakfasts and lunches too.  The other is stuff that is on a good sale with matching coupons.  I have a list in the back of my head of things I stock up on when they hit a certain price.

This list looks like this:
bbq sauce
pasta sauce
cheese (we use plenty of cheese it rarely has a chance to go bad)
canned stuff like soups and beans
chocolate chips
meat - I try to buy enough that it would last at least a month when meat goes on sale at a good price.  If it hits a GREAT price I try to stock up for two or three months.  For example chicken breasts hit 1.67lb one week two or three months ago and we'll use up our last bag of it this coming week.  That saved me .32/lb over the good sale price which is usually 1.99/lb.  I won't buy it if it costs more than that.  Sometimes the frozen rolls of ground turkey at our local store will be part of their 10/10 get the 11th item free sale making them .90 a lb if I buy 11.  I usually buy at least 11.  I've been known to buy 22. hahaha

Things that can be frozen or will last in the cabinets for a longish time are best purchased when you find them at a good sale price with coupons.  It is my goal to NEVER have to purchase the things on that list above at regular price.

A few things to keep in mind:
1 - only buy things you will eat.  Don't go too overboard.  I have limited cabinet space and I know that our preferred brands of things tend to go on sale every few weeks in cycles so I don't need to stock up my spaghetti sauce for a year, it usually goes on sale once a month.  I stock for two months though just in case it doesn't go on sale like normal.

2 - once a month or every two months do a meal plan around what you already have in the cabinets and fridge.  This will help you use up some of those odds and ends and help you move in new stuff.  I personally find that local sales tend to help with this too, there is usually a week every month or so where the sales are lackluster so there isn't as much to stock up on.

3 - brands: we eat specific brands of most things, we didn't used to but a few months back I made a concentrated effort to cut high fructose corn syrup out of our diets as much as possible - it certainly isn't perfect and I'm sure that we still eat things with it in them BUT this is an effort I felt was important for our family.  Fortunately I have found that some of our previously favorite brands were HFCS free anyway and often go on great sales and with coupons.  We use Hunts ketchup, BullsEye bbq sauce, and I buy Koeplinger's 100% whole wheat bread whenever possible.  I've also found that the Aunt Millie's flavored breakfast breads don't have HFCS in them either.  All of this to say that while I might sometimes end up paying a little more than I would if I were willing to go with other brands it's a cost I'm willing to pay.  That is something that you have to decide for your own family.

I think I covered most of the basics.  I hope this post is helpful and PLEASE feel free to ask any questions I might not have answered and I'll do my best to answer them.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

10 things I will do for my daughter

I want to preface this post by saying something that anyone who knows me in real life already knows but might not be something that others are aware of: I struggle heavily with my weight.  And I mean that.  I am past the point of morbidly obese.  But I am working on it and as of yesterday I am 11 pounds down from my starting weight.  My struggle with my weight began as a young child.  I look back now and see what a beautiful little girl I was and wonder why did nobody tell me?  But they didn't and so I bought the lie.  As I grew so did my waistline.  This has haunted me for all of my adulthood and having a daughter really and truly scares me.  I don't want my precious baby to struggle with her self image or her weight as she gets older.  So these are ten things I'm going to do for her to help prevent that to the best of my ability - and the rest of it will be up to God and the thousands of prayers I will pray for her over the years.  (I do these things for my sons too by the way but I know women as a whole tend to struggle most with their appearance and weight.)

1 - I will tell her she is beautiful and MEAN it!  Sure right now she's 1 and petite but even if she was 1 and chunky I would tell her how gorgeous she is because it isn't her body size that makes her gorgeous, it is her happy and spunky personality that God gave her shining through.

2 - When she has problems or stress I will teach her to pray and lean on God instead of turning to chocolate or other "stress" foods.  I will teach her that God is the only thing that can take away the anxiety and ease the stress of her life.

3 - I will teach her healthy eating habits from birth.  Started out well with 14 mo of nursing and lots of veggies and fruits.  I love watching her munch an apple or eat her broccoli at dinner.  As she and the boys grow we will learn about portion sizes and how food works to make our bodies work.  I feel that a better understanding of the real reasons we eat will help keep them eating for nutrition and not for other emotional needs.

4 - I will teach her that she is fearfully and wonderfully made.  And I won't teach it as a cliche.  I will do my very best to help her view herself through the eyes of her Creator.

5 - I will not make a scale accessible to her.  We have one right now and I use it regularly for my weight loss process but once I get to my goal weight the scale will be put up.  I will not allow my daughter to check her weight daily or even weekly.  Feeling good and fitting in her clothes well are all the indicators she NEEDS to know that she is good to go.

6 - I will teach her the value of exercise - not as a weight loss tool but as a way to appreciate and enjoy and keep her body healthy.  My boys think that exercising is fun and they understand that it helps our body be healthy and strong and I want that same mentality for my daughter.

7 - I will teach my daughter not to play the comparison game.  She was made to be herself not Miss Perfect on a magazine cover who was mostly airbrushed anyway.  As a mother the comparison game is so easy to fall into because so often we've spent all of our pre-teen and teenage years playing it.

8 - I will teach her modesty.  I will teach her that modesty is beautiful.  Being modest shows that she values herself too much to show off everything she's got to every boy/man alive.

9 - I will spend my time focusing on teaching my daughter to have good character rather than focusing on her body and weight.  It is the world's idea that our appearance is all that matters or what matters most but the bible makes it very clear that our character, our spirit, is truly what matters in the eternal perspective of life.

10 - I will watch my words VERY carefully.  I will NOT comment off-handedly about her thighs or hips or any such thing.  I will NOT say - honey you're very pretty but.... because there is NO but.  I will not make my opinion of her beauty conditional and I certainly will never make my love for her conditional.

I will work my hardest to do these things for my daughter in hopes that she has vastly different struggles as an adult than I have had.  I know she will still have struggles because that is life in our fallen world.  But I will do my personal best to prevent this particular struggle for her and hopefully help her to be a stronger person than myself both in character and in body.

11 - I went to get Princess out of bed and when I did another one occurred to me.  So here it is - behind the scenes I will encourage her daddy to vocalize and show his love for her even as she gets older.  Especially as she gets older.  I think that a LOT of a girls sense of herself comes from her Daddy's love and approval and as her mama and his wife I can definitely encourage that.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Who I am.....

I'm in a women's bible study through my church.  This is my third year to participate and it's been such a huge blessing to me.  This year our study is on contentment.  This past week it was about learning to be content with who God created us to be.  It was a good lesson. 

I have spent a great deal of my adult life discontent with who I am.  I've spent a lot of time comparing myself to this mom or that mom or this wife or that wife.  I've spent time focusing on how I wasn't gifted with a natural bent towards routine and cleaning. I've spent a lot of time reading blogs by mom's of many (more even than I have) and wishing I had her patience and grace and ability to roll with the punches.  I've spent the last few months NOT doing this anymore and the contentment I have begun to feel with who *I* am is HUGE.

I am capable of cleaning even if it's not my forte.... now that I spend less time wallowing about how bad I am at it and just DO it my house has been amazing.

I am gifted with teaching.... I always knew this somewhere but it seemed like either a curse or an insignificant gift but now that I'm using my gift with my own children to mold them and shape them it no longer feels like either. 

I am gifted with four children and when I stop trying to be someone else and stop expecting them to be like children who belong to someone else I am more patient and content with them and who they are.

At study last night someone shared an analogy and I hope she doesn't mind if I share it here because it really hit me and affected me and I think it's something that is important for all of us to grasp.

Our verses were out of Psalm 139 - specifically 13-16:

13 For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
   when I was made in the secret place,
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
   all the days ordained for me were written in your book
   before one of them came to be.

The analogy was this:

Thinking about when my baby was first born and I am just looking at it and my whole being is just flooded with an indescribable love for this tiny perfect little baby.  And we are just in awe at how God created this little miniature human and it's just WOW.  And even as they grow and do things that drive us crazy we still just have this deep abiding love for them that doesn't waiver.  THAT is how God sees ME!  That is how God sees YOU!  We are His babies.  These tiny, perfect things that He created in His own image and His love for us is that deep, abiding, indescribable love.  Grasp that.  Sit in awe of that.  I know I did and still am in awe of the idea that God loves ME the way that I love my children only more because He IS love and HIS love is far deeper and more indescribable because it is PERFECT and we are not.

Who you are, who I am, is God's precious and loved child who He gave specific gifts to.  When we compare ourselves to others and complain about how we're not enough of this or that then we are telling Him that He did something wrong in how He created us.  Find contentment in realizing YOUR unique gift(s) and His purposes for YOUR days, not Suzy Homemaker's.

Be blessed.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday: Flavors of Fall snack

Well it's Monday again.  And I have a muffin tin to share, shocker I know.  So last week we did a flavors of fall snack tin.

I served milk, pumpkin dip (homemade from fresh pumpkin) with chocolate animal crackers for dipping, roasted pumpkin seeds, and homemade applesauce.  Can't get much more fall flavor than apples and pumpkins right?  I wanted to serve apple juice or cider but the tin was last minute and we didn't have any in the house.

 As usual I'm linking with muffin tin mom so go check out the other great tins!
Muffin Tin Monday at