You may or may not know that I became a fan of photography after my parents gave me an awesome camera as a “thank you” present for planning my little sister’s wedding about 3 years ago. I am no professional, but I really enjoy taking pictures, learning more, and trying to improve. I joined Clickin Moms (no, I am not sponsored or affiliated with them in any way) and have really improved a good bit since. I still have a long way to go, but I am enjoying the process.
I became aware of the Nurture Photopgraphy Fall Photo Challenge through my Twitter friend, Veronica Armstrong (her blog is awesome!), last week. I thought “why not?” and decided to join up on the challenge this week. The autumn colors here in Nashville are gorgeous right now, so I took the kids out to collect some leaves and grabbed a couple shots.
We do not give our kids an allowance or reward for doing “chores” around the house. Matter of fact, we rarely even use that word. It is our opinion that our kids should participate in the upkeep of the home because, well, they live here too. We feel that we are teaching our kids to contribute to the running of a home – and this will serve them well as they have roommates and, eventually, spouses. Each kid has different responsibilities that they have to take care of. They also have several that we require that they do together, as a team.
We also do not reward for “good” behavior. We feel that if you only behave to earn a reward, you aren’t doing it for the right reasons. We strive to raise our kids to WANT to do the right thing, and to do it. No reward needed.
That being said, we DO like to reward for above-and-beyond help and exceptionally helpful behavior. Sometimes it is just a “Thank you so much for your extra work this week. We really noticed it and it was awesome to have all that extra help! You rock!” Sometimes, we grab a frozen yogurt and tell them how thankful we are over a sweet treat. And sometimes, it is a $5 gift card to Target.
The gift card is definitely one of my favorites! I always keep two on hand and love to see their faces light up when I dole them out. Even more fun? Watching them trying to choose how to spend their precious $5! And, of course, it is awesome to see math skills at work in a real life situation.
What is your special way of thanking your kids?
This post is not sponsored by Target. However, it is fully endorsed by my kids – who have just successfully chosen some cool toys with their recent aquisition of a $5 Target gift card each.
I don’t know about you, but one of my LEAST favorite chores each week is choosing our meals. I love the cooking. I really love the eating. I can even tolorate the grocery shopping. But the deciding? I hate that part. (That is actually true about me in far more ways than just meals, but I digress.)
I finally decided this past weekend that the entire family should know how much I detest this particular chore of mine. Since we are ALL eating, and since during almost every meal I have to hear about how someone didn’t want this or like that … well, I figure we can ALL contribute to the list. And so it was.
My girls got together in the school room and made a list – each choosing 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 snacks, and 2 dinners that they really want. Meanwhile, the hub and I sat in the kitchen choosing the other 3 of each meal. We put the lists together, made a meal plan and a grocery list. Who knew it could be this easy?
So far, this seems like an awesome plan … we’ll see if it continues to work out well for us. Does your family have a challenge when it comes to selecting meals? How do you keep the peace?
UPDATE 8/9/12: Ack! Putting the sugar detox on hold until AFTER my daughter’s birthday next week. I can’t miss out on cake! Btw – so far, lots of headaches! Will start over again on 8/20/12.
We just got home from a long weekend away at a wedding. It was a beautiful and fun weekend, full of good company, food, and wine. And so, in the midst of settling into our new house, dealing with the changes of Hashimoto’s, planning a fundraiser, and getting ready to begin the school year of home schooling 2 kids … I am starting a 21-day sugar detox. Call me crazy. I am. But, in case you’re interested in doing it too, here is what I am doing:
If you want to join me, please do and link up or comment here! Wish me luck (or rather, my husband and kids luck in dealing with me for the next 3 weeks)!
I am in no way advertising for this company, I simply wanted to share with my readers what guidelines I am following.
The 21-Day Sugar Detox did not compensate me for this post.
Well, if you saw my last post, then you saw that I finally admitted that I crash sometimes. What you didn’t know, was that it has been happening A LOT. Matter of fact, I was feeling like I’d done a full day with my kids … at 8 AM! By 2:30pm, I was exhausted! I instituted a mandatory quiet-time at home so that I could rest for half an hour anytime we were home during that time frame. For the past two years I have felt “off”. I don’t know any other way to describe it. I was tired, anxious, sometimes depressed, waking up in the middle of the night, my hair was falling out, I gained about 10 lbs that I just couldn’t lose, amongst many other concerns (like feeling dumb). It felt wrong – like I was too young to feel so old. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t spend my days in bed or anything. I got through each and every day to the best of my ability each day (some days easier than others), but I finally decided that this just wasn’t right. I wondered why I, at 33 years old, with a super-healthy diet, and decent exercise I was feeling like this. So, I scheduled an appointment and went in for an exam and bloodwork.
Thank God I did! Two weeks after my appointment, I went back in for my results (you know it isn’t good when they don’t give you results over the phone). Despite being extraordinarily deficient in many essential vitamins (not at all normal for how I eat), my progesterone levels were lower than that of a post-menopausal woman! That explained a lot! But wait, there’s more … 3/4 of my endocrine system was NOT working properly. Then, I was told that I have an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s. Without going into too much detail, essentially, my immune system is attacking my thyroid. This explains even more!
I am so fortunate that my levels were low and that we caught this so early (many women find out 10 years and 30 lbs later than I did). And I feel so blessed to have an amazing doctor’s office that not only supports, but encourages, handling this naturally first. I have to take a lot of supplements. My pill box is full. But, I am so grateful that I can avoid thyroid medication for the time being. For now, I get to watch my diet (luckily I avoid gluten and dairy anyway), and take my supplements. In a couple months I will return for more bloodwork and we’ll see how I’m doing.
After a few days of letting it sink in, I realized that this is a forever-thing. I am going to be managing this and dealing with it for the rest of my life. This is super-common and I am not special for having this. I figured some of you might have felt the same way when you got diagnosed. I’ve had almost 2 months now to let it sink in. But I thought sharing it, getting it out, and dealing with it in the open would possibly help someone else!
This was me on Mother’s Day. Oh, and Saturday morning. What got into me?!? I NEVER sleep late or take naps. I woke up from my unintended nap on Sunday afternoon feeling guilty and confused. How could I fall asleep on Mother’s Day? I didn’t have to do anything! And why? I haven’t taken a nap quite some time – why all of a sudden?
Late last night, it finally hit me! Duh! I have been running like a crazy person! The past 3 weeks have been insane.
My mother’s helper had been ill and has just moved back to her hometown for the summer. I have no help, y’all! None.
My husband was out of town for a solid 7 days.
I am organizing 2 events – 1 for the church middle school kids, and 1 that is a little bigger (a fundraiser for a health organization).
I am planning for next school year’s curriculum. I will be home schooling BOTH my kids and am trying to get it all organized now.
I am house hunting. I hate it. But it has to be done, and it is so dang time consuming.
More of the same …
All this amongst the daily duties of life – cleaning, cooking, Bible study, etc. The other day, the family and I took the afternoon off from our life and helped plant a garden in memory of our late pastor. It was hard labor, but lots of fun being outside, doing something good (the food will go to local needy families), and having great fellowship. While there, a friend said to me: “Honey, you can’t be Superwoman every day!” To which I responded: “You can’t?”
We bought a juicer several months ago, but up until recently it was really only used for apple and orange juice. I had not really experimented with much. I am not actually a big fan of juice – I stick to water, green tea, coffee (sometimes), and (of course) wine. But the kids, they love juice and I don’t really allow it. I will occasionally pick up an Odwalla or Kombucha, and those bottles are awesome for keeping your own juice in! I decided to experiment last night with some things I had excess of in the fridge, and it turned out fantastic! The kids loved both the juices, and I even liked them! So, without further ado …
1 handful pineapple chunk
1 large naval orange
1 handful pineapple chunks
For best results, use fresh organic produce! These are stored in our old Odwalla containers.
I love staying home with my kids. I really do. But … stick with me here … and please tell me I’m not the only one …
WHERE THE HELL DID MY BRAIN GO?
I mean, it is bad enough that I have to (gasp!) AGE. But now I have to go and get all half-witted too? I mean, where are the witty retorts? the grown-up words? And what happened to the ability to create an entire sentence without (a) saying “um” because my memory was clearly delivered along with that second baby; and (b) without being interrupted by phrases like “Sweetie, Mommy doesn’t want to tell you not to do that again” or “Sweetie, if I have to ask you to stop texting and set the table again …” or “Sweetie, go wash your hands – that was nasty!” or “Sweetie …” (I think you get the idea!)
My IQ has always lurked fairly up there, but now? I’m not so certain. And yes, I realize that this is not a ringing endorsement for the fact that I home school. But I’m not talking about book smart. I have always been that. Probably always will be. I am talking about that loss of the super-smart, educated sounding, eloquence in daily conversation. Maybe that is because I mostly speak to children?
I was chatting with a girlfriend the other day (she works full-time and is an awesome mommy, too) and I got off the phone and thought: “Damn she’s smart! I feel so dumb right now. Seriously, dumb. Was I that smart when I worked, too? Maybe I should go back to work. Oh heck no. I’d rather be dumb.”
I have not always been good about thank-you notes. In the past few years, however, I have tried my best to be better about sending a kind thank-you for gifts and loving gestures. I want my kids to know the importance of gratitude, so I am doing my best to write thank-you’s with them. This past Christmas, things were a bit hectic around here so I decided to try another method. I took pics of the kids with all their gifts. I uploaded the photos to Snapfish and made postcards. Then, I sat my girls down (one at a time) and asked them to help me write their thank-you’s. Since they’re kids, their thank-you’s were short and sweet – perfect for a postcard – and each recipient got a new photo of my girls! I have received so many compliments on our postcards, so I thought I would share it with you!
Killing time between school and ballet class the other day, I decided to take the girls to the mall for a little girl time. I really don’t enjoy the mall, per se, but I never mind browsing the Free People section of any given department store. And my 3yo? She shops like she’s been handing over a black AmEx since birth. But, I digress …
There we were, walking through the store to the kids section and they just HAD to put Free People right there, on the way. And so I stopped. I browsed. It lasted all of 2 minutes. The little one thought it would be funny to hide behind a maxi dress. The oldest decided to sneak up on her. Upon being found, the little one shrieked in both shock and excitement.
That’s when it happened. I got “the look” from an older lady browsing nearby. You know “the look”? The one that says “you should be so ashamed of that child”. And it wasn’t just “the look”. NO! She did the head shake too. Oh, the horror on her face!
I was tempted to say something to her. Very tempted. But then I realized that she was likely a woman who had never had children. Because anyone who has ever had a child, and taken that child in public, would never give that look. Because anyone who has ever had a child, and taken that child in public more than once, has like had their child do something loud, or obnoxious, or rude, or inappropriate. And anyone who has ever had a child would’ve likely given me that knowing mom glance.
It wasn’t all bad. While I chose not to say anything to the dragon lady, the sales lady and another shopper said plenty … by laughing hysterically.