Monthly Archives: November 2013

Materialism Vs Mom: Part 2

Happy Black Friday!! The most crazy, consumer driven day of the year!

In the wake of an advertising crazed Christmas season, how can we as parents help our kids view stuff in the right perspective?

Despite our intention as parents to teach our children that spiritual and mental things are more important then the many cool toys, clothes, and possessions around us, we live in a society that depends on consumerism. How can we help help our children to now be taken in by materialism?

In the last article, we talked about Step 1: To Limit.

This article deals with Step 2: To Help them deal with the materialist temptations that are sure to come.

1. Help them learn to think about things in a certain way

-Help them view what they have as A LOT

-Talk about how much they have in a positive way

“Wow, we have a whole BOX of toys! We are so blessed!”

“You have TWO dolls! How special to have so much!”

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     -Help them know the value of a dollarEven though my kids are 1, 2, and 3, we have an allowance system for the two older ones.-Help them view things correctly in the store

When they ask for the toy at the store, help them to realize that:

1. They don’t need it 

2. If they get it, they will not be able to use what they already have.

Things that work great to say to my kids:

“If you get this, we need to get rid of some toys at home. Do you want to get rid of some of your toys?”

“If you get this, you won’t be able to play with the toys you have. That would be sad!”

“It would not be responsible to get this toy when we have so much at home!”

“You already have 3 cars & you only have 2 hands! How would you carry this?”

The war continues, but I can honestly say that I think my kids are getting a better grasp of reality of need and want then I did.

Of course I do just say “no,” to some things like any parent and other times I allow them to purchase the item with their own chore money.

However, my bigger goal (like any parent) is help them get a bigger view of ‘stuff.’ In the end, I want them to realize that ‘stuff’ does not make them happy, and that they can find contentment in the many blessings (spiritual and physical) that God has already given them.

In the coming month, we’ll be focusing more on a meaningful Christmas season that helps our children focus on Christ, family, and giving.

What things work to help your kids battle materialism and gain a bigger perspective on ‘stuff?’

- Verity

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I realize the fall season is nearly behind us, but I just HAVE to share this fun and easy idea. This would be so great to have your kids work on while you prepare for the Thanksgiving dinner.

All you do is draw a basic tree trunk on paper.

 

Apply tape to look like branches. I used masking tape folded in half, but you could use anything—2 sided Scotch tape might be fun.

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Give the kids things to stick on the branches. I used small red pom poms for apples (which my kids chose not to use) and some foam leaves I bought at Dollar Tree. You could also use scraps of paper, tissue paper, or foam, real leaves, etc. Anything that could go on a tree!
Then just walk away and let them have fun! :-)

-Lydia

turkey puppets

Easy Turkey Puppets

Craft projects are great to do with kids, but what’s really fun is when your child can use that project as a toy! Voila! Two things accomplished at once AND you just bought yourself a bit of time to get something accomplished. :-)

Today’s project does just that. It’s a turkey puppet!

What you need:

·         Lunch bags (so cheap to buy!)

·         Paper and markers or colored paper

·         Glue

I like to have the kids color their own paper whenever possible so it personalizes the craft and gives them more involvement. Otherwise, all they are really doing is gluing paper. The best way I’ve found to do this is to have them color large sections of paper and then I cut it out into the right shape. If they are older they can cut it of course.

You will need:

·         Brown for the tummy

·         Red for the wattle by the beak

·         Yellow for the beak and feet

·         Whatever colors your kids want to use for as many feathers as they want :-)

·         I just did white circles with black dots for eyes, but googly eyes would be fun too!

Have them color, (cut?), and glue the pieces onto the bags and they have made their very own turkey puppets!

You can also use the opportunity to teach colors, shapes, all about turkeys, what they say, and so on. I found THIS site to be very informative.

Have fun!

-Lydia

Materialism Vs Mom: Part 1

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Black Friday is 4 days away so tis the season for STUFF, STUFF, STUFF!
 
It’s a great time to post a 2 part series on materialism to help get our heads together as we go into holidays. :-)
In the upcoming month, we’ll be posting on a simple, Christ-focused, giving-focused Christmas season.
But first, let’s talk about what we do NOT want to focus on and what we want to HELP our kids NOT focus on – a MATERIALISTIC consumer-driven Christmas!
 
 

Materialism: The Dictionary had two great definitions:

  1. A doctrine that the only or the highest values or objectives lie in material well-being and in the furtherance of material progress
  2. A preoccupation with or stress upon material rather than intellectual or spiritual things


 
How can we bear arms against it? My conclusion so far: Limit & HelpIn this first article of my 2 part series, we’ll talk about Limit.1. Limit the temptation (especially when they are young like my kids and it’s hard to talk through things with them)

- Limit Exposure to Advertising

-Commercials

I still remember watching the 1980s commercial that portrayed two stylish girls playing excitedly with a doll whose hair color changed with a ‘magic’ wand (stick that was wet on the end). Commercials suck you in and make you feel a way about something before you even know it. Children are no match for people who have marketing degrees and years of experience in advertising strategies.

I’ve been glad that since we have Netflix and don’t need TV, commercials have not been as much of an issue for us.

   - Magazines

Magazines can help children to choose between things, but again, items are set up in a way to look nicer and more meaningful then they are. Little hearts are influenced more quickly then we sometimes think.

-Limit Gifts (If possible)

-From Relatives and Friends

This is obviously hard. It’s not worth ruining relationships over, but here are a couple tried and true methods.

- Ask relatives to get items that are in a certain genre. My aunts have helped me attain wooden learning toys that were out of my budget and have loved doing it. They’ve also supplied my girls with all their dresses the last couple years. (Again something that gets pricey, but aunts enjoy buying!)

- When gifts are in excess, even children can perceive the chaos. Later, after the situation is over. Point out the chaos. “Did you notice that we opened so many gifts, we didn’t even get to talk?” or “Did you notice how stressful getting the car packed was? Now we have to get rid of other nice things because we got so much!”

- Ask relatives to give toward one large gift. Lydia and her husband bought their 2 year old a special $70 learning item for his last birthday. They sent pictures to all the relatives via email and an explanation of why they thought the gift was idea for where he was at developmentally. They then asked that gifts for that birthday be monetary to contribute to the unusually high cost of his gift.

 - From YOURSELF

We are our own worst enemies. No one loves our kids more then we do, and we want them to have the________. Stop yourself from grabbing something here and there. Instead do research, plan ahead, and limit your shopping to a small number of good quality gifts.

Our kids get ONE or TWO gifts from us for their birthday and for Christmas. (It usually is a fun gift and a practical gift or just a fun gift.) They also get a present for Easter because Easter is an important holiday to me as a Christian.

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My kids happy with this limited number of gifts. They don’t know any different. Two families at church don’t get their kids Christmas gifts or birthday gifts.Their kids don’t know any different and still love Christmas and birthdays.However, if your kids are used to an influx of gifts from you on special occasions, there is hope. Simply let your children know that this time, they will get one special gift from you instead of lots of gifts. Maybe even let them pick one thing out for $___.

-If they are little, limit excess toys in the first place! 

(if they are 2 and under) GET RID OF A LOT! Before they notice things are missing, get their toys down to as little as possible.  I did it. It helped a lot! My son did notice that the toys had gone from 2 big boxes down to 3/4s of one, but he could not think what was missing so after a couple minutes of fussing, he got over it.

-If they are older help them develop habits to pick the best and get rid of clutter. (Maybe help them to get their toys down to a number that will fit in one box, or shelf unit.)

What are systems or methods that have helped you limit materialistic mindsets or excess possessions in our home?

- Verity

weir turkey

Turkey Magnets

I love to incorporate the seasons and holidays into my kids craft projects as much as possible. I also enjoy using crafts as learning tools. This project incorporates both.

I gave each of the kids portions of paper. The size and shape doesn’t matter because you will cut them into the correct shape later. I had them color each portion in different colors: red, yellow, green, brown, and orange. We were able to talk about each color and review them as we went. You can do any assortment of colors. For this part, you could use colored paper, but then the kids don’t get to do much—if anything. This way, they are truly making the craft.

For the toddlers, I cut the paper into semi circles, each one getting a little bit smaller. An older child might be able to do this himself.

I then had the children glue the semicircles on top of each other.

Next, I had them choose a large pom pom and a smaller one. They also glued those. The pom poms did prove to be heavy, so you might what to just hot glue those for them.

I cut out noses and beaks using scraps of their colored paper from earlier and helped them glue them on to the turkey’s faces.

I did the eyes.

Once the turkey’s were finished and dry, I hot glued magnets to the back so the kids could give them to their parents and use them as seasonal magnets. Magnets make all craft projects useful and who doesn’t enjoy a cute turkey on their fridge at Thanksgiving? :-)

-Lydia

Adorable Turkey Barrettes for Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I just had to share this idea with anyone who has little

barrettesgirls in their life.

These are so cute and easy! The idea is totally not my own. For other ideas, detailed instructions, and a PATTERN to use go to Nancy’s Couture.

Here is how I did it. I bought a bag of 6 clips at Michael’s for $3 but used a 40% off coupon. :-) They also have similar ones at WalMart, but these worked better for toddlers. It just happened that I already had all of the felt colors and puffy paint, plus I

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didn’t need very much AT ALL! I was making them for 4  little girls ages 3 weeks through 2 years, so I needed them to be small.

I used the pattern HERE, but I made it about half the size when I pasted it into Microsoft Word.

I then laid it on top of my felt and cut out each piece I needed.

        Next, I hot glued them, two feathers at a time, to the barrettes.I glued the turkeys on top and then added the eyes and beaks with puffy paint to the turkey’s faces and that was it!

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Total, it took less than 10 minutes for each barrette.Now my daughter and nieces will have adorable matching turkey barrettes for Thanksgiving day!

-Lydia

potholder

Turkey Potholders

Looking for a last minute Thanksgiving gift? Maybe as a small housewarming present or just a “We’re thinking of you” gift.  It’s always fun to include the kids in gift giving and, let’s face it, people tend to enjoy it more. :-D

At Thanksgiving, people often think of turkeys. There are several different handprint turkey

potholder

ideas all over the internet, so the concept of this isn’t new to me. However, I took the idea and made it useful! :-)

Pot holders. Who doesn’t use pot holders?? Especially on Thanksgiving day! You can buy a 2 pack at Dollar Tree and $1 for a gift certainly isn’t bad!

Here’s what you do:

·         First, wash the pot holders so they do any shrinking up front.

·         Dry completely.

·         Figure out what paint colors you want to use. We used brown and black for the body, green,<strong “mso-bidi-font-weight:=”" normal”=”">yellow, red, and orange for the feathers. We actually used a combination of normal paints and fabric puffy paints. It worked out fine.

·         Have plenty of wet and dry paper towels on hand because depending on the age of your kids, this could be messy! My kids were 2 and 8 months. Maybe I was a little crazy, but it turned out!

·         Paint your child’s hand with the colors you want. Brown on the palm and different colors on each finger.

·         “Stamp” their hand onto the pot holder.

·         Wash kids thoroughly. :-)

·         After the “turkey” dries, you can add feet, facial features, name, date, etc.

That’s it! Easy, cheap, useful, and memorable Thanksgiving gift!

-Lydia

Mom’s Musings: Home Sweet Home! 8 Reasons I love my Small, One Story, Fixer-Upper House

We can all picture our ideal ‘everything’ house. For some of us it is a sleek and modern loft with no extra clutter and fuss.

For others, it is a large victorian with high ceilings, original woodwork, a huge, remodeled kitchen, and 4,000 of living space.

That was the house I grew up in. It was the nicest house on the nicest street in town. In fact, the street was even called “pill hill” because all the doctors lived there.Picture
When my husband and I started looking for our first house, our budget was … different. We bought a small, three bedroom rambler that needed major TLC.

After months of late nights and long weekends, the house was improving while my attitude was getting worse. I was discontent.

It can still be a struggle, but God, in mercy has opened my eyes to the many, many blessings that have come from our home’s size and condition.

Things I love about my house:

 

1. It’s small size helps me to keep the clutter down. (And being a natural hoarder, I need all the help I can get!)

2. Pressing home projects push me and make me face my fears.  

3. The many home conquests have made my husband and I grow up, learn new skills, and realize that we can conquer a lot more than we thought. 

4. It is made us more the team. It is made us communicate through difficult times and become a stronger couple. 

5. It grew my respect for my husband. Countless nights I watched him push himself and deal good naturedly with the innumerable crises that came up.

6. It has taught me that even a small, imperfect house can be a haven if you have a good attitude.

7. It has helped stretch my previous definition of what I ‘need.’ Every space challenge can be dealt with creatively. Neat, well-ordered rooms really can serve multiple purposes, and I’ve enjoyed the victories over the challenges.

8. It made me realize that my worth is not defined by living in the biggest and most beautiful house on the street. I have value in God’s eyes, and I have great influence through my attitude about my house.

I’m so thankful for all God has taught me during the last four years through this house.In fact, if I had it to do over, I wouldn’t change a thing.

(Thought I’m glad I DON’T have to do it again!!!)

- Verity

Home Made Frappe

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            As a busy wife and mother, there’s nothing quite like a bit of coffee luxury to break up my day. Whether it’s at 9am after a long night of getting up with sick kids every hour or at 2pm when I can have a few minutes alone to think, a frappacino seems to make everything wonderful. Funny how that works. About 2 years ago, I found a recipe HERE, which I can honestly say, has changed my life. I make one of these frappacinos almost daily and we have actually saved money in the long run since I now prefer them to coffee shops. Hard to believe, huh? I love the versatility of this recipe. I’ll share it and then give some additional ideas.

Recipe:

½ cup coffee

½ cup milk

6-8 ice cubes

2 ½ T pudding mix (Any kind. I like chocolate)

Fun ideas:

If you want it thicker and more creamy you could add about 1/8 t xanthan gum. I only recently started doing this. It’s not necessary at all, but it’s kind of fun.

Flavored coffee tastes SO cool! Any kind is fine though.

Any kind of milk is fine. I use soy.

I’ve found that 6 ice cubes if the coffee is cold, 7 if it’s room temperature, and 8 if it’s hot is about perfect.

You can use any kind of pudding mix. It’s fun to experiment. I typically just use chocolate.

You can add any mix-ins you like. I’ve done chocolate chips, coconut, flavor syrups, hot fudge, chocolate syrup, cake… Try whatever! J

Cost:

I figure this drink costs me around $0.33 a day. It depends on a lot of things. We actually get soy milk for free, so I’m really only paying for the pudding mix. At Aldi you can get chocolate or vanilla for $0.59, otherwise, I typically pay about $0.79 or a little less to get it on sale anywhere else. One frappacino uses about 1/3 of a package.

If you are looking for some fun coffee luxury in your day and you don’t want to leave your house or break the bank, I highly recommend this frappacino!

-Lydia

Every Woman Should Have a Tool Box

Why Every Women should have a Tool Box

Across America husbands have been coming home for decades to their wives’ “Honey Do” Lists.

“Honey, can you fix the front door handle?”

“Honey, the stair carpet is coming loose. If you don’t nail that down soon, someone could trip and fall. It’s a lawsuit waiting to happen!”

“Honey, do you think you could take apart the pea trap? The kids dropped my wedding ring down there. Long story; don’t ask!!”

I’m not saying it is bad that the vast majority of we girls have these lists. It is just a fact.

We can all see the American summer scene: Drinking lemonade, neighbor kids playing baseball next door, and the typical husband working on (or being nagged to work on) his wife’s list.

This was us too – for the first 4 years of marriage.

My wonderful husband was working 2 jobs, starting a home business and working through 2 grad degrees, and I was keeping track of my honey-do list.

But the fact is – a lot of the items on my list were things I could do.

Why don’t we just take care of those items? Why live for months with a loose cabinet hinge or a chipped out tile?

  1. Fear: It is intimidating to mud a hole in the wall, replace a carpet piece or tighten a hinge.
  2. Laziness. I’m guilty of this!
  3. Stereotypes: I couldn’t do those projects!! Those were men jobs! No. Actually no. They are not ‘men’ jobs.

I do recognize that we are limited by our size in many cases. But there are a lot of jobs besides hanging a door or lugging a full shop vac up the stairs.

However, WE are joint partners in the home and usually the declared keepers of the home. If he is too tired, too busy or too distracted to deal with that list – just get it done.

No hard feelings. Your partner needs you to pull your weight in that area. Do it with a smile. It’s a joy to be his helper in other areas. Why not here?

  1. Lack of Training: I’ve been amazed at the helpfulness of Google on this issue. YouTube and Ehow are my favorites. :-)
  2. We simply can’t find the right tools in all his stuff!

(My husband is amazingly organized. He can find his tools. I can’t. There are too many weird alien looking tools in with the 15 ‘normal’ tools.)

Last Christmas my husband was given a $10 tool set. He didn’t need it. He has a ridiculously massive arsenal of tools (in my humble opinion).

So I got it!

Lo and behold. It just takes a screw driver to fix the front door handle.

A hammer and nails are all that’s needed to get loose stair carpet.

And a wrench or maybe a plumbers wrench will take care of the pea trap. (I highly suggest a bucket too. :-) )

No more wasted time hunting through his tools for a simple screw driver. I have my own!

No more cold trips out to the garage.

No more ‘discussions’ about tools I still have out because I was ‘in the middle of a project.’

And best of all – when my cute husband walks in at the end of the day, I show him my work – and not my ‘Honey-Do” list. :-)

- Verity