Ads 468x60px

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Tale of Two Sewing Machines

Two totally different sewing machines.  One an expensive machine, bought new for several hundred dollars.  The other one bought used for $6.99 at Goodwill, missing a piece in front of the arm.  Guess which one I regularly use.  Surprisingly, it's the cheap little used one.   Although I love the expensive one, it's been plagued with mechanical problems and I've already spent several hundred dollars more getting it "fixed".  

I bought the used sewing machine for my children when I was teaching them how to sew.  It's been abused and mistreated over the years but keeps on working.  I suppose when it finally breaks, I'll "retire" it for good and fix the big, fancy machine again but that day isn't here yet.
Moral of the story - Expensive isn't always better.  
                        Or - Even if you can't afford the best, you might get along just fine with                                 something a little more humble.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Did she really say that!
Like most two year olds, my daughter's command of the English language was, let's say, evolving.  She pronounced llama, "mama" and bear, "beer". It was all part of learning to communicate.

One Sunday during a quiet church service, my little darling announced in a clear, very audible voice, "I want my beer!"  As the heads turned in our direction, all I could do was smile.

You just have to laugh at the crazy, embarrassing things kids do and say.  :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Memories not things

How close can she get?  Pretty close!
I have a friend who does the most awesome things with her children.  Without spending a lot of money, she takes them hiking, bike riding and kayaking, explores the community with them, encourages their participation in various activities, takes them to museums, parks, fairs, and other events, and finds ways they can help others as a family.  Those children are collecting a wealth of experiences and memories that will be a treasure in years to come.
This is actually a sculpture made completely by intertwining twigs!
Unlike toys and possessions, experiences don't break or get lost.  They don't clutter up your child's room.  Instead, they expand and broaden your child's interaction with the world.  They provide learning opportunities without being forced or boring.  They help develop curiosity and maybe even an appreciation for nature and living things.
Ferry rides are fun just for the ride!
It's one thing to read a book about marine life.  It's another thing to explore a beach or tide pool and carefully touch a starfish and watch crabs scurry about.  One afternoon's excursion might spark an interest that will get a son or daughter to go home and look up (voluntarily!) the different things he or she observed and lead to further learning and more trips to the beach and so on.

Always loved...the park.
Too often we as parents concentrate more on things for our children rather than experiences.  I believe our children's lives will be richer if we reverse that thinking and instead, look for ways to make memories with them.   There is still plenty of time this summer to get out with your children and see what your neighborhood and community have to offer.  Make this summer a summer of unforgettable memories.  Happy Exploring!
A workout for Dad, an adventure for daughter!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Difficult Decisions

Recently one of my daughters was presented with an amazing job opportunity that would require her to relocate several hundred miles away.  She and her husband carefully considered the options, prayed about it and both came to the conclusion that the job offer should be accepted.  They both felt good about the decision and all was well until the time of the move.  Then the doubts started creeping in.  It's so far away.  Did we make the right decision?  Am I going to like the job?  What if I DON'T like the job?  What have we done?!

Good bye beautiful Pacific Northwest!  It's going to be ok!
During a tearful phone call, I reminded her that both she and her husband felt that they were making the right decision and said that even though a decision is right doesn't mean that there won't be obstacles to face, difficulties to overcome and challenges to conquer.  So it is with all aspects of our life.

Sometimes we think that doing the right thing is going to be easy.  Not so.  Often the right way is the hard way.  Unfortunately, when things get hard, the temptation is to get discouraged, anxious or give up.  If only we exercised a little more faith, we'd see the rewards of our effort.  Most difficult choices (whatever they might be) result in personal growth and eventually, an affirmation that we chose well.  It just might take a little time to see past the initial fear of the unknown.

 When times get hard, don't lose sight of the reason you made your decision.  Don't let your emotions get in the way of an opportunity to gain new experiences and develop greater strength of character.  A decision carefully (and prayerfully) made will turn out ok.  Don't give up!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Educational Options - What's a parent to do?

The advertisements are everywhere.  The stores are bringing in new stock.  It's officially Back to School mode.  How can that be?  Summer barely started!  Oh well, with that reminder, let's think about some of the options you and your children have.

In the olden days, kids went to the local school and that was that.  A few children went to parochial school but they were few.  If you didn't like the school in your neighborhood, you either just lived with it or moved to a more desirable neighborhood and school.  Those were your options.

Now, it's infinitely more complicated.  Not only is the local school an option, but you can also choose from charter schools, magnet schools, alternative schools, online schools, homeschool, private schools, Montessori schools or a combination of any of the above.  What's a family to do?

The key to finding the right educational fit for your family is to educate yourself.  (Funny, huh?)  Every family, every child and every family's situation is different.  What works for one family might be totally wrong for another.  Originally, we chose to homeschool our children because my husband's work required traveling to different parts of the country.  We wanted to go with him, without disrupting our children's school work.  The answer?  Homeschool them and keep their curriculum consistent.  It worked for us.

Your job as your child's parent and advocate is to see that your child is learning what and how you think is best.  You need to know who your child's teachers are.  You need to know who their friends and their friend's parents are.   You need to know what is being taught in your child's grade.  Volunteer in the school.  Be informed and involved. 

You can't sit back and leave the education of your children to someone else.  Parenthood isn't for the lazy.  If you send your child to school, your job isn't finished.  Know what is going on.  If you homeschool, you can't sit back and do nothing.  You need to be actively involved and see that your child is learning according to set standards.

You can't assume that because your school worked for you that it will work for your child too.  Times have changed.  But, there are now far more options than there ever were when you were growing up.  Find out what they are.  Do what's best for YOUR child and YOUR family. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

The ultimate comfort food!

Do you want to impress your family and friends with an amazingly heavenly treat tomorrow for breakfast?  Give this recipe for homemade biscuits a try.  They are soooo good and super easy to make!

Homemade Biscuits
2 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 cube butter, cold
1 c. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.   Wash your hands thoroughly.  This is a hands on project!

Cut butter in to chunks.  Set aside.

In medium size bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt.  Mix well with hands.
 Add the cut-up butter and start incorporating it into the flour mixture.  Keep working it until the mixture is crumbly with no large lumps of butter.
Now it's time to add the buttermilk.  I use a fork to start mixing and then use my hands to finish.  It's messy! You don't want to overwork the dough.  (That makes it tough and the biscuits won't rise very well.)  Mix until it all starts to hold together and can be formed into a ball.
In the picture, I'm about ready to switch from fork to hands.
Place the ball of dough onto a floured covered surface.  Knead it a couple of times.  Again, not too much!  The less you handle the dough, the better!
Roll to a thickness of about 1/2 inch.  In the picture, I'm using the rolling pin my grandmother (who was born in 1898) gave me when I was a teenager.  Every time I use it, I think of her!
Cut out biscuits.  Today I'm using a sippy cup because I like the smaller size.  :)  You can use a traditional biscuit cutter or any size cup you want.
Arrange biscuits on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 9-10 minutes, until very lightly browned on top.  I set my timer for 9 minutes and checked them.  They were perfect!
There's nothing left to do now but EAT THEM!
With jam or butter or just plain, they're a real treat! 
Hope you enjoy them!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pregnancy is NOT an illness!

In this day and age of women empowerment, it's perplexing to see the number of women who treat pregnancy as an illness that requires special care.  True, there are actual pregnancy complications that endanger the life of mother or baby but those instances are rare.  The majority of pregnancies end in a happy and healthy outcome for both mother and baby.

Pregnancy is NOT an illness.  Our bodies were made to nurture and protect a growing baby inside us.  Women have been giving birth since the beginning of time and there doesn't seem to be any indication that this very normal process is going to end soon.  We are not an endangered species.  :)

So, with that in mind, it's wise to remember that life goes on.  An active, healthy mother-to-be is more likely to have an easier pregnancy, labor and delivery and quicker recovery.  Normal activities can and should be maintained.  Just as the athlete trains for peak performance, your pregnancy gives you nine months to "train" for the event of delivery.

Listen to your doctor.  Eat healthy.  (You AREN'T eating for two full grown adults!)  Exercise.  Join an exercise class if you don't feel motivated.  Read up on what is normal and what is not.  Be informed about your body and your growing baby.  Include your husband so he is informed too.

There are definite discomforts associated with being pregnant but if you remember that they're a normal effect of your changing body, they are more tolerable.  Take care of yourself and enjoy the miracle that is taking place inside you.  The reward for your efforts will be a happy, healthy baby and a happy, healthy YOU!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Self Discipline = ACTION

It is said that the key to having a successful blog is to write regularly.'s been exactly three months since I wrote a post.  Oops!!!  In my defense, it's been a busy and somewhat stressful three months but it's time to get back in the habit of writing.  Which ties in directly to my post today...

Wouldn't it be nice to have perfect self-discipline?  Think of it...getting up on time each day, exercising regularly, resisting the cheesecake in the refrigerator, cleaning the house according to a schedule, making and keeping all the well-child check-up appointments, changing the oil in your car every three months, putting aside Facebook and Pinterest for self-improvement and on and on...

I always have good intentions to make better use of my time every day but it occurred to me that to be self-disciplined requires discipline!  It sounds like a "which came first, the chicken or the egg?"  dilemma.  And in that example, it doesn't really matter, does it?  Whether it takes discipline to become self-disciplined or self-discipline develops discipline, is irrelevant.  What does matter is action...the ability to get up and do something!

Brian Tracy wrote that, "Self-discipline is the ability to do what you know you should do, whether you feel like it or not."  Therein lies the key...doing.  I find that if someone is depending on me for something, I have no problem remembering and following through.  Maybe that's why lists are so helpful for so many people.  They are a visual reminder of a commitment or task that needs completing.  Rewarding yourself for completing a task is another way to develop discipline.  Whatever motivates you to get moving, take advantage of it! 

Knowing there is room for improvement in your life is a good step in the right direction but knowing isn't enough.  There has to be some form of action.  And with action and perserverence comes success. 

What motivates YOU?