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When the Write Door Opens -Matthew 7:7

God's lessons to a writer, teacher, wife, and mom

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My Family

Taming the Christmas Crazies

 

The other day I was watching Cole play with an old sour cream container I’d washed, slit the lid, and provided different items he could push through the slits.

All went well until he slid the last object through the slit and realized he couldn’t get them back out. At this realization, he grabbed that container and shook it for all it was worth, banging the contents around loudly. After at least twenty shakes, he would stop, peek through the hole for a few seconds and then, Whoosh! He’d start those twenty shakes again. This went on for a good five or ten minutes until he finally got frustrated enough that he chucked that container as hard as he could across the room. The lid popped off at that point, and the contents flew everywhere.

With the craziness of the Christmas season surrounding us, the image of those objects flying in all directions came to mind. As moms, especially, you know how it feels to be pulled in a million directions. You’re shaken up until you don’t think you can see straight, and then suddenly it stops. You get a moment of peace to catch your breath, not realizing the little eyes that are peeking at you through the slit in the cup, contemplating their next move. And then, whoosh! Here you go again!

 

The other night I had reached my shaking limit. My husband was on a trip, Cole, my 19 month old, had the croup and had been to the ER once and the doctor 3 times (shake, shake, shake…). Then, of course, he decided to be a kind brother and share his sickness with his 7 year old brother (shake, shake, shake…).

So, we had just left our 3rd doctor’s visit in a week and were heading to the pharmacy to pick up ear drops for Cole’s newest issue–an ear infection. But there was a mix up at the pharmacy and we had to go to another one across town. While in the drive thru, there was another mixup with the insurance.

Everyone knows how frustrating it is when you have multiple sick children and then have to deal with doctor and insurance issues. But what happens when you add just one more issue? Hmm, how about the guy in the car behind you laying on his horn for a good 5 seconds? Does that qualify as an issue? Well, I’d had enough. I snapped. It was not my best Mommy moment. I hung half way out of the window yelling, “Are you kidding me? My babies are sick. What do you want me to do about it, huh? Huh?” Then of course as all sleep deprived moms do, I started crying during my apologies to the ladies at the drive thru, while they were vowing to me through the speaker that they would make the guy behind me pay for all he had done.

This was only 3 pm. The night was still young.

Anyway, we got home and thankfully, had a much better evening. We were getting ready for bed, and I gave Carson his dose of Prednisone (AKA Juice of the Devil). He had only been on it one other time and I swore that I’d only give it to him again if he was dying. Well, (the day before) we were about there.

Last time he was on this medicine he became an evil child. He was 4 years old, and we were in the bakery at DollyWood and had to wait in line. He yelled out in the middle of a huge crowd, “Next time we are just going to steal this bread! I hate waiting in line!” I told him to be quiet and he yelled “No!” like I was murdering him or something. It was insane!

You can see why I was hesitant to put him on this again. Well, this time time he was just dramatic to the nth degree–almost like he was coming down from the effects of local anesthesia. He was weepy and whining, with this operatic cry.

So, as I was getting Cole ready for bed, Carson yelled for help from the restroom. I stuck Cole in his bed with books and toys and went in the restroom to find Carson sick. The sick that comes from both ends. It had hit suddenly and he hadn’t reacted fast enough. So…you get the picture.

Carson begins his operatic, high-pitched whining as I was trying to get him in the shower and get things cleaned up. He was  waving his hands and  flopping around, whining, “But what will we ever do?”

After finally after getting him cleaned up and settled in bed, I cleaned the restroom and went back to Cole’s room to finish putting his pjs on.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a crib and blankets and sheets and toys and and books coated in a layer of (you guessed it…) throw up.

I think that was the moment that the lid came off the sour cream container, and all the objects went flying. I just stood there, not even knowing where to begin.

And for some reason, all that came was laughter. The day was just too ludicrous for anything else.

Sometimes you just have to laugh.

I think it took my lid flying off and all of my getting used up and poured out and emptied, in order to make room for joy to flood in. I was forced to step back and evaluate everything, and even though it was just a couple of seconds, it was enough for me to realize a few things:

  1. Yes, I had issues with the doctor and insurance company, but within two hours I was able to get Cole to a doctor, have him treated, given medicine and take him back home. Mothers in remote areas of the world would probably give their lives to provide this timely care for their children.
  2. Yes, my kids were very sick, but they will get better. So many other children all over the world won’t.
  3. And yes, my little world was swirling all around me, but Psalm 46:10 was still true. “Be still and know that I am God.” He was, He is, and He always will be.

So, hopefully, in all of this madness swirling around you this Christmas holiday season, you can find a moment to just be still, laugh, and know that He’s still God.

 

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Just a “Doggone” Cute Idea

One of the ‘giving’ ideas for Carson’s advent calendar is to make dog biscuits for the neighbor’s dogs. So, last night we tackled it. It ended up being the easiest little project we’ve done. So simple and so cute! This recipe is only 2 ingredients: 2 -4oz. Containers of meat baby food and 2 cups of oats or flour. See? Simple, simple, simple.

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First, we measured 2 cups of oats. You can also use flour.

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Next, add the 2 containers of baby food. We used Beef Vegetable. You can use any kind, just make sure it’s 2- 4oz. containers.

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Then, you just line a tray with Parchment paper and form whatever shapes you want…

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Carson wanted to make the first letters of each of the dogs’ names. We also tried to make snowmen, dog bone shapes and a Christmas tree. The recipe said to roll it out and use cookie cutters, but our dough was a little too sticky and somehow I didn’t have flour. How could I not have flour? Shows what a made-from-scratch cook I am. Oh, well.

Put the biscuits in the oven on 350 for 20-25 min. (We did 23)

After the timer goes off, leave them in the oven until the oven cools. This dries them out and makes them hard.

And that’s it.

Carson is so excited to deliver them today. Hopefully, the dogs like them😊.

Everyone have a wonderful weekend, and happy giving!

 

Table Talk Tuesday – Advent Ideas

Well, there’s nothing like waiting until the last minute. I just finished up my preparations for Carson and Cole’s advent calendars/ideas. Who knew December 1st came the same time every year? Every year I determine to prepare for this early, and every year it sneaks up on me!

I’m probably into Advent overload, but really, can there ever be too much sharing of the Christmas Story and the Christmas Spirit? Surely not, unless my ornery 1 year old throws his wet blankie on my creativity. Like right now. He is sleeping, but has awakened multiple times with a croupy cough. I think this may be a very long night for my little buddy and his Mommy. But while he’s sleeping, let me tell you my big plans…

Since I’m homeschooling Carson, I have the freedom to alter our schedule when needed. I decided, despite my Type A, control freak, stay-on-schedule personality, that what better time to change things up than Christmas time, right? So, here’s what I’m planning. I hope you may get inspired and try some of these ideas. These ideas aren’t my own, except for the unspiritual ones (figures). So, I think that means I can brag about them. I am so thankful for some of my dear friends for passing some of these ideas along to our family!

Schedule:

1. First thing in the morning, Carson moves his LEGO man on our LEGO advent calendar. He designed this last year. We took a picture of it and kept all of the pieces in a Ziplock bag for this year.

2. Cole and Carson open their advent boxes. This is one of my favorite Christmas decorations. It has little doors to hide small items for each day leading up to Christmas. My husband got it for me the first or second year we were married. IMG_0007

For Carson:

Carson and I started a Giving and Receiving Advent two years ago, and it has become such a special tradition. Each day I put a little note in his box that tells whether it’s a ‘Giving’ or ‘Receiving’ day. I usually alternate them, but some times we need to double up, depending on what we are doing. Here’s a list of what we’re doing this year:

Giving:

  • Write a thank you note for your Basketball coach and deliver it tonight at practice.
  • Call the great-grandparents.
  • Deliver homemade dog biscuits to the neighbor’s dogs
  • Pay for a person behind us in the McDonald’s drive-thru and leave a note (see below-this is Carson’s favorite)
  • Leave a $1 at Dollar Tree in the toy aisle and put a note with it.
  • Bake and take cookies to the librarians
  • Bring candy canes for AWANA friends
  • Leave a card and treat for the mail lady
  • Tape quarters and a note to the newspaper machine at the grocery store.
  • Deliver gifts to our neighbors.

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“Ho, ho, ho!” From the ‘Ding-Dongs’ next door. (Pinterest–This cracked me up! Can’t wait to deliver them!)

  • Give 3 people compliments today

Receiving:

  • Skip one subject of school
  • Make dog biscuits for Roscoe, Luna, and Daisy (neighbor’s dogs)
  • Stay up 30 min. later
  • Do your spelling activity/practice on the window with Expo Marker.
  • Sleep in Mommy and Daddy’s bed
  • New chapter book!
  • No jobs this week (except take out trash)
  • Watch a Christmas movie BEFORE school
  • Anything you want for lunch!
  • Bubble gum contest
  • Decorate a Christmas tree for the birds
  • Christmas Eve box: popcorn, movie, new pjs, early Christmas present

For Cole:

I was trying to come up with something very simple to teach Cole a little about giving. He loves chocolate, so I decided to try putting 2 Hershey Kisses behind each door of my advent box.IMG_0009

Everyday Cole will get to open the door, take out the 2 Hershey Kisses, but only keep one. IMG_0011He will give the other one to Bub Bub (Carson). I know it’s simple, but every day we will make over the idea that he is sharing and that Bub is soo happy when Cole shares. Hopefully, some aspect of giving will stick in his little brain.

3. Bible/Prayer Time –

I’m so excited about both of these! The Compassion Experience we went to a couple of months ago really made an effect on Carson, so I think this Advent for Orphans Calendar (Thanks to my dear friend, Jodi) will be a great thing to use to guide our prayers for children all over the world.

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We will also be reading, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift (thanks to another dear friend, Melissa), an advent book giving stories and showing the family line from Jesse (David’s father) to Jesus.  “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” (Isaiah 11:1) The really neat thing about this book is that it comes with a free download of ornament templates that you can print out so that your child can color them and create their own Jesse tree–telling the story through pictures from Jesse to Jesus.

I’m planning to use our roll paper and have Carson design a tree. We’ll cut it out and hang it on the wall and attach our ornaments to it. I was going to get a branch from outside, but It’s been raining here for 2 days, and I waited until the last minute, remember? Another option would be to use a small artificial tree. I was going to do that, but can’t think of a place to put it where my 1 year old wouldn’t be able to get to it.

For those of you who homeschool, some of these stories are lengthy, so you may even want to use them for Literature time. We’ve somehow gotten ahead in Literature, so I thought I may take a break and read and do the activities in the book for this month. There are some great ideas at the end of each day!

Anyway, I know this was a long post, but I just had so many good things to share. Whatever you do, remember the reason behind it all. I often get excited about the projects and forget to slow down and enjoy the true Inspiration for them. I’m determined to  SLOW down this year and enjoy every moment!

One quick reminder. Don’t forget about the Facebook Launch Party on Thursday! There are some really neat giveaways! Check it out more by clicking the picture below.

 

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Table Talk Tuesday- Beatrix Potter and Your Child’s Learning Style

Depending upon your age, the term “learning style,” as it pertains to education, may be given many different definitions.

If he were still with us, I would have loved to hear my husband’s grandfather, Old Gramps, give his opinion on a child’s learning style. He was 92 when he died, but he was a feisty one! I’m sure he would have pointed out that in his day, the only way his parents would have encouraged his learning style would have been with a switch.

imageTimes have changed, though. Those of us who studied education in the 80s and beyond may remember the name Howard Gardner. I had so many classes, where I had to create different lessons for a child, based on the levels of multiple intelligences.

For those of you, who haven’t really given much thought to this, here it is in a nutshell. We all have specific ways that we best learn and retain new information. These specific ways are our multiple intelligences. If you have 3 min., take this fun little quiz. It will give you an indication of your learning styles and strengths, and it could also help you identify what learning style your children may have.

Multiple Intelligence Quiz

Why is this important? As a teacher, I’ve found how valuable this is. I had students who could not remember facts, dates, etc, but if I could show them a finger play or teach them a song they could learn just about anything. I had other students who wanted me to just leave them alone, because they wanted to read and quiz themselves over the facts and not fool with the ‘fluff.’  Every child learns differently.

As a home school teacher, I feel it is even more valuable to know my child’s learning style, because I can find what works and plow full speed ahead! Carson is a very Musical, Spatial, and Visual learner. I understand that I can’t tailor every subject to his learning styles, but with very subtle changes I can do a lot. When we memorize facts, we add music or movement to them. When we chant spelling words, we move to each letter we say. We draw pictures to better remember spelling patterns, and for Literature, we create!

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Here’s what Carson created when we were studying Beatrix Poetter. This worked so perfectly, because we read these at the beginning of the year, when we were still harvesting and tending to our own garden.

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I know these pictures aren’t quite Pinterest worthy, but hopefully you can see the value of what we did. I asked Carson if he wanted to draw a garden, as we read Peter Rabbit. I didn’t realize the can of worms I had opened. He came up with nearly all of what you’ll see.

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The tree is made of bark wrapped around and glued on a Pringles can. We used Popsicle sticks and toothpicks for he fence. The board is a foam board from Dollar Tree.

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As the book talked about the different crops in the garden, Carson and I researched the type of leaves they had and drew them in a row. He also made the labels for each row.

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We had a lot of fun taking a look at next year’s Farmers’ Almanac. We planted our crops according to it this year, and we had so many veggies I was overwhelmed. Not sure if it was due to this or not, but it worked for us. As we read, Carson and I wrote down words that he (and sometimes me, too) wasn’t familiar with. We would then look the definitions up and record them in our notebook. My plan was to create a Farmers’ Almanac-type vocabulary journal, but we ended up falling short on that goal. Not everything gets accomplished with a 19 month old in the school room 😏.

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We created the main characters from the story (just printed them off the Internet).

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On the back we wrote facts about the characters. We also compared and contrasted Peter and his siblings, which gave great opportunity to discuss obedience. I like the way Beatrix Potter doesn’t glorify what the rabbits are doing. Carson used to love the Peter Rabbit cartoon on Sprout, until I watched it and realized that Peter and his friends were never reprimanded for their actions. That may sound silly, but the underlying message was that it’s ok to steal and no one will say anything about it. Cartoon or not, I don’t agree with that.

As we read the other Beatrix Potter books, we also compared and contrasted the characters and settings. I felt like this project allowed Carson to showcase his knowledge through using his various learning styles.

I encourage you to find out what your child’s multiple intelligences are and use that knowledge to help your child succeed in whatever he/she is involved with.

Table Talk Tuesday – Some ‘Wise’ Parental Instruction

I just have to share some of the funny things my parents and I have caught ourselves saying to my boys over the past few weeks. Sometimes I’ll say something, without stepping back to realize how ludicrous it sounded.

When I was a teacher, we talked about this same topic, crazy things we’ve had to tell our students. I should have compiled all of the comments my colleagues and I heard, especially the ones when we’d have Spirit Week and the kids would dress according to a different theme each day. It would make a great coffee table book to compile all of these “instructions.”

This was a good one, “Eww! Mrs. Baker, he just got his lion tail in my spaghetti!” or how about, “I know your career is a ballerina, but we have to stop pirouetting every time I ask you to stand and answer.” And my personal favorite, “Next time, please take your gorilla suit all the way off before trying to use the restroom.”

Even though I’m not teaching this year, I’ve still given some interesting “instructions” to my own little ones here at home.  So, I thought I’d give you a chuckle on this Tuesday. Here goes:

Carson:

  1. “Shut the door carefully when Cole’s in the cabinet.”
  2. Me: “Do not squish your brother’s head!” Carson: “I’m not. I’m just barely laying on it.
  3. Carson trying on clothes given to us from a friend: “Mom, this looks hideous. A sweater with no sleeves?” Me: “It’s a sweater vest.”
  4. “Yes, you have to wash the bottoms of your feet in the shower.”
  5. “Stop!!! What do you think would have happened if you hit that fly on the window with the butt of your metal cap gun?!” (You will love Carson’s initial reply-“Did you say, ‘butt?'”)
  6. “Why is there rice in the furnace filter?”
  7. Carson: “I shut the side of Cole’s cage. He can’t get out, now.” Me: “Please quit calling his crib a ‘cage.'” (That one will sound great at the Pediatrician’s visit.)
  8. (Learning the sates, capitals, and major cities) Carson: “Oh, I know this one, ‘Cheeku-go.’ I drive my truck there all the time on my Kindle game.” Me (laughing): “It’s ‘Chicago!'”
  9. (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on Disney Jr. has a little character, “Tootles.” He always has tools they need to fix whatever the problems are in the episode. Cole loves watching it. After seeing it a million times, Carson turned to me and asked:) “Mom, how is it possible that Tootles always has the exact tools they need? It’s amazing!” (Really?!! Did he really just ask me that?!)
  10. And my favorite (at least for this month): “Carson, It’s too hot to wear your coonskin cap to the mall.” (only in Tennessee)

Cole:

  1. “You cannot chew on Papaw’s shoe.”
  2. “Let’s not lick the window.”
  3. “I’m sorry, but that’s what happens when you climb in the desk and try to shut yourself in.”
  4. “Do not bite Brother’s nose!”
  5. “Tell me which implement is the baler?” (Pawpaw would be proud!)
  6. “Here, you can chew on the nose sucker, if you want to.” (It was the bulb side, but still maybe not the best idea…haha)
  7. “Were you eating the sidewalk chalk, again?” (What kid repeatedly eats it? ugh!)
  8. “It’s not funny to stick your finger up Mommy’s nose.”
  9. “Do not crawl in the dishwasher again!”
  10. And my personal favorite for Cole: “You are not allowed to jump out of the windowsill, you have to slide out.” (Don’t worry, Mom. It wasn’t upstairs.)

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When the Write Door Opens -Matthew 7:7

God's lessons to a writer, teacher, wife, and mom

Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss

God's lessons to a writer, teacher, wife, and mom