Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Have Some Fun

Dear Ladies,

My kids enjoyed some time in the snow the last couple of days. Last year they were disappointed that we didn't have enough snow to try out some snowboards they had gotten at a yard sale. They finally got their chance to use them.

Since we are homeschooling we don't necessarily have snow days. Since a good snow fall is a rare occurrence and the opportunities to sled are few we do take time to fit in some outdoor fun. We adjust our schedule, let some of the work wait until the next day and seize the moment.

With all the jobs we have to do has wives and mothers we can sometimes neglect the chances to have fun. I know you all have heard it before that the house work can wait, but the children wouldn't always be there. We all know the truth to that statement and we all believe it, but we still get caught up in the need to get the work all done. Plus there is no way to get around it, I have yet to have any little elves do my housework while I was sleeping.

So what do we do??

We have to find a balance between work and fun. Schedule into your days time with your children, time where you do something together. It can be as simple as playing a game of memory, reading a book or baking cookies. Try to include your children in some of the every day activities you have to do. Your young children will think it is fun to be mommy's helper. Or give your children an activity to do at the kitchen table while you make dinner, this will give you the opportunity to talk to them. There are many ways in which we can enjoy time with our children, be on the look out for ways to include your children in what you do and ways to have a little fun with them.

Have fun today and enjoy your children.

Check the blog page for past letters and easy recipes.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Turn Your Eyes

Dear Ladies,

I just wanted to let you know I'm thinkng of you and hope your week is off to a good start. Mondays were always my hardest day when the kids were little, because I usually had extra work to do that I had neglected over the weekend. Now I try to do a Sunday night clean up time, so we are ready to start a new school week on Monday morning.

Have a great week. Try not to let the little mistakes, mishaps and worries of today cause you to get bogged down. The Lord is bigger then all of our worries and cares. He longs for your focus to be on Him. So the next time you begin to dwell on the worries of today, re-direct your focus. An old hymn says" Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace." Try to make turning your eyes towards Jesus your goal this week.

Please let me know how I can pray for you. Have a God filled week.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Easy Chicken Cassarole for Dinner Tonight!!

I love this chicken casserole. It has a unique flavor and the walnuts add a nice crunch. My family doesn't love it as much as I do, so on Sunday when I made it I made them a different chicken dish. You also could just leave out of half of the dish anything your little ones didn't like.

If you have cooked chicken in the freezer this dish will only take a few minutes to put together. Make the rice in your microwave sometime during the day when you have a free minute also cook the eggs early in the day; at dinner time it will just be a matter of mixing everything together and baking.

Deluxe Chicken Casserole

1 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
1 can cream of chicken soup,undiluted
2 teaspoons finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup water
3 hard-cooked eggs-sliced

Combine first seven ingredients in a large bowl. Combine mayonnaise and water; stir with a wire whisk until smooth. Add mayonnaise mixture to chicken mixture. Gently fold in egg slices. Spoon mixture into a greased 11x17 inch baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until bubbly. Yield: 6 servings


Monday, January 19, 2009

Can Adults Have Temper Tantrums??

One of the hobbies that Eric and the children enjoy is raising and racing homing pigeons. They are members of a pigeon racing club that holds monthly meetings. Eric and the children attended the first meeting of the New Year on Saturday. The club has some interesting dynamics and Saturday night was no exception. One gentleman didn’t approve of the way something was being handled, so he stormed out of the meeting. Our youngest son told Eric it was the first time he had seen an adult have a temper tantrum.

I think it would be safe to say that this gentleman probably had temper tantrums as a child. It is also probably safe to say, that his parents neglected to teach him self-control and how to express his emotions correctly. Discipline is the hardest part of parenting. It takes consistency. No matter what form of discipline you choose to use, it has to be done with consistency. A negative consequence for a negative behavior. All behaviors don’t warrant the same consequent and some behaviors need a consequent that will make its point quickly. For example, running into the road is a behavior we can’t let happen again, therefore, the punishment needs to be something the child will remember the next time he is tempted to run into the road.

The point of giving out a punishment for inappropriate behavior is to cause the child to remember the consequent the next time they are tempted. It might be helpful for you to create a list of punishments options, so when your child is disobedient you can look at the list and decide what punishment will be the most effective. Some examples are: loss of computer time, no candy, loss of favorite doll, time out, standing in the corner or early to bed. We use to banish our children; using the word banish made the punishment sound worse then it was. The banished child had to stay in their room (they were banished from the family) and they only got bread and water for dinner (I never wanted to send my children to bed hungry). We didn’t banish kids a lot, but saved it for more serious disobedience. Some people use spanking to discipline their children. Sometimes a spanking, when admistered in love, is the best method of displine. (I will cover spanking in a future letter)

The bottom line is simple. To have well behaved children a parent needs to be watchful, needs to discipline with consistency, needs to communicate clearly to the child why he is being punished and needs to reward good behavior. With consistent discipline, love and prayers our children will grow into the men/women God has designed them to be instead of angry adults who want everything their way.

Thank you for taking the time to read these letters. I’m amazed at how God has taken some simple notes sent to about six ladies and grown it into a group of 30+. Please continue to pass the letters on to other moms you think will enjoy them. As always, I welcome any comments or questions you may have.

Serving Him Alone,

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Let's Party

My husband is out of town again. Last week he was gone a few days, this trip is all week. Plus he let me know that April may bring a trip to Afghanistan and Iraq. His job has always required him to be away, so we have gotten use to his absence. When the children were little it was harder for them, so in an effort to help with the separation we began saying we were going to party while he was gone. We would change our daily routine, we would think of somewhere that we would like to go for dinner, we would watch more TV and eat our dinner while watching a movie. Just making a few simple changes to our week helped the time to pass faster for all of us.

We all have our daily routines; we sleep, we eat, we do laundry, we take the kids to school, we do more laundry, we make meals, we clean the house and we do more laundry. Sometimes in the middle of dreary winter days(Doesn't it seem to rain a lot in VA during the winter?) it is good to change things around a little. Here is a list of fun ideas for your family to try?

1. Have a picnic. Put a blanket down on the family room floor and have lunch.
2. Have friends over for cookies and hot chocolate.
3. Meet some friends for lunch
4. Rent a stack of movies(the older movies are only $.99 at Blockbusters) and have a movie day.
5. Grab a good book and read aloud to your children while they color or play with Legos(this is my kids favorite rainy day activity)
6. Bake cookies together-make up the recipe together and see how good they turn out.
7. Have a game day
8. Grab a stack of quarters and head to Chuckie Cheese. You don't have to buy pizza, you can just enjoy the games.
9. Go to Toys R Us with the intention of just letting the kids look as long as they like.
10. Pack a lunch and go visit Dad at work during his lunch hour.

Your children will enjoy the change in routine and you will be making memories. The laundry will still be piled high in the laundry room tomorrow and you can work on it then. For now a fun activity will build family bonds, give everyone a chance to smile and give you a chance to focus on your precious little ones.

If you have any other fun ways to change our routines, please let me know. I will be sure to include them in a future letter.


Friday, January 9, 2009

We did it. We got my oldest son registered for his first college class. Yesterday was a long day for him as he waited hours to take placement tests, spoke with counselors and a professor and finally paid for the class. Not too long ago I was sitting with him at the library story program, holding his hand in the parking lot and cleaning his sticky hands. The more the jobs of motherhood change the more they stay the same. Yesterday it was listening to story, today it is listening to college counselors, yesterday it was holding his hand, today it is signing the credit card statement to pay for college classes, yesterday it was cleaning sticky hands, today it is hours of looking at college programs to determine which classes he should take. So even though he is taller then me, can drive himself to class, and has better math skills then me there are still many areas where he needs his mom.

From that first moment when you realize you are having a baby until the day you die, you are a mom. I heard an older mom once make this comment about motherhood, " it doesn't get easier, it just gets different." As a young mom of three boys (4yrs. 20 months, 2months) I needed to hear that. I thought for sure it had to be easier when they were older. It isn't!!

It is hard to explain what I feel at this transition in life. I'm excited to see how my son does in college, what career he pursues, meeting my future daughter-in-law, and being a grandparent. But I'm not looking forward to holidays without him, a house empty of the excitement of children or the lack of their daily companionship. However, I have a choice what I will focus on. If I only focus on what I will miss when my children are older I will miss the enjoyment of the stages of life that lie ahead. For most of you your children's college/adult years are in the distant future, but you also have a choice. You can focus on the mounds of laundry, the smelly diapers, the sleepless nights, and the long days of crying babies. Or you can focus on your baby's sweet smell, your toddlers pudgy little hands, your daughters love for frilly dresses or your son's passion for mud. So the next time you are overwhelmed with mothering, make a choice to find the simple joys that motherhood brings and let your thoughts dwell there.

"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things."Phil. 4:8

Blessings to all of you,
Melissa (all past letters are available on the blog site)

PS. Please feel free to ask me questions or call for a bit of encouragement. I would love to hear from you.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Help, I Burned the Soup

Dear Ladies,

I am an impatient cook. I want things to cook fast, however this often results in burned food on the bottom of the pan. I have found an easy trick to make cleaning the pan easier. Clean the pan the best that you can, fill the pan about 1/4 full with water and add about 1/2 cup of baking soda. Return the pan to the stove and let the water boil for about 10 minutes. The combination of boiling and baking soda helps to pull the burned food from the bottom of the pan. The pan should be much easier to clean now.

So the next time you burn the soup, see how this trick works for you.

Happy Cooking,

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Capture the Memories

Dear Ladies,

Just a few more days and it's back to school for us. We have enjoyed some very quite days since we returned from visiting family. I've even gotten a chance to do some reading. We are making the most of this down time, since we know it wouldn't last.

Usually we stay home on New year's Eve, but this year we attended a Contra Dance with our two oldest sons. They looked very handsome, all dressed up in their suits, whirling pretty girls around. I had the privilege of dancing with both of them and several times with Eric. It was a long night but we enjoyed the time out.

I hope you all had a chance to make some memories this holiday season with your families. Try to record events in a journal or with photos, you will be surprised how much you don't remember in years to come. I know scrap booking is a lot of fun for some of you, but it can be hard to find the time to make fancy pages. If you can't get to completing scrapbook pages, try to find a way that works for you to document life's events. It maybe you store photos in a photo box with short notes on note cards for future reference, or maybe keep a journal next to your bed where you jot down short sentences about your day or something one of the children did. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, but something that will jog your memory in years to come when you have a chance to put together a family photo album.

Enjoy your weekend!

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