Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Touch the Hearts of the Children

When our children feel our love for the Lord and our unconditional love for them, then our example becomes a meaningful guide to them as they develop their own spiritual strength. Remember the Lord’s commandment to the Israelites to, first, put His words in their hearts, and then He said, “Teach them diligently unto thy children” (Deut. 6:7). In all that we do, we can teach our children to love the Lord. At times our most impressionable teaching happens when we don’t even realize that we’re teaching. Anne G. Wirthlin Touch the Hearts of the Children

I feel very blessed that our little family is surrounded by not only both sets of grandparents but many other family members and friends who play a very important part in our lives. My "little guy" is so lucky to have so many wonderful people who love him and who I am happy he has them to look up to as an example.... It really got me to thinking how can we all do better showing our unconditional love to those around us.. Thoughts? Suggestions?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Strengthening the Family- #5 Friends

It is very simple... As my mother taught me, 'Birds of a feather flock together.' Your peer group can inspire you to do great things or tempt you into strange and miserable paths. True friends make it easier to live the gospel. They never make us choose between their ways and the Lord's ways. They help us be the kind of person that attracts other true friends. And they help us become the kind of person a righteous companion can choose to be with forever. If you want those kinds of friends, ask yourself: 'Am I that kind of friend to others?..' ~ Robert D. Hales, To the Aaronic Priesthood: Preparing for the Decade of Decision, Ensign, May 2007, 49

We all want good friends and we all want our children to have good friends... It isn't always as easy as it sounds so much of our children's interaction with the peers is at school or church where we aren't' always around. I think of many teens I know and almost without fail those who have good uplifting friends also have parents who welcome those same friends into their homes and take the effort to get to know them.

Because of this I and DH have always had the goal that our house would be the kind of place where our children's friends felt welcome at any time; a place that they wanted to hang out. Although the little man is just two I have given this a lot of thought lately pondering ways that I can prepare now to make my home that sort of place. At first I started to fret.. our house is by no means big or fancy and probably will never be..... then I realized so what? Is it really going to matter to my children's friends that my kitchen counters are markedly from the 80's? Do they really care that I have salmon colored siding? What then will make my home a welcome place?

1. Food: I know... you are all probably laughing at me right now but take a moment to think about it... How could a plate of warm cookies after school or a Popsicle on a summer afternoon not be a plus to any child or teen? Even with our adult friends we find ourselves stocking up on pop (which we don't drink) or snacks to pull out when they are over. Would they still like us if we didn't offer them diet Pepsi a bag of chips when they came over? Probably... but I think that by doing so we are sending them a clear message- we LIKE you!

2. Entertainment: Now I am not suggesting that you go out and by the latest game console or install a pool in your backyard but I do think that it is important that you find fun and unique activities for your children to do with their friends.

Yes, a pool, wii, or basketball court can all be great things and if you can afford it great but if not you still have a world of options- Even a simple deck of cards can provide hours of fun. For younger children you could stock up on play dough, bubbles, and a variety of inexpensive art supplies. For teens board games and a football or croquet set. Tailor it to your child's interests and get creative! You would be surprised how much fun a group of kids could have with something as simple as being let loose in the kitchen to bake and decorate cookies.

3. Space: So now you have the cards, wii, games or whatever, now find a place that can be their space. Their own personal "hangout". Even if it's just the child's bedroom or a corner of the living room enlist your child's help in making it kid friendly. Just as important as the actual space is how you as the parent treat it. By all means know what's going on and check in occasionally but DON'T hover!

4. Open Door, Open Ear, Open Arms: More than anything making your home a place where your children's friends feel welcome is more about your attitude than anything else. It may sound redundant but if you want them to fell welcome their you have to do just that welcome them. Let them know your happy to have them, even if it may not be the best timing for you. Treat them like you would your own children be willing to listen and to lend a hand if needed- you can be an influence for good especially to many children who may not have the same parental example in their own home.

I am a firm believer that if you welcome your children and their friends into your home that not only will you be able to influence them for good but that in a wholesome uplifting environment they will not only be less likely to get into 'mischief' but be more inclined to natural make good decisions. It may take work but remember "There's no place like home!"

* My Blog Post Series "Strengthening the Family" is based on my personal thoughts from reading the book "25 Mistakes LDS Parents Make and How to Avoid Them" by Randal A. Wright

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Strengthening the Family- Part 4 Traditions

Traditions are funny things. They creep up on you from nowhere and before you know it they are stuck to you like superglue....

I don't remember when my parents first lined us up on the stairs for pictures early Christmas morning but even now decades later despite the inevitable protest we all end up on the stairs squished closer together each year as the family grows to take our annual picture.

I doubt my in-laws knew when they first took their little kids to "our favorite lake" back in the 70's that their son would still be taking his family (as well as a menagerie of assorted family and friends) there every memorial day 30 years later.

Not all traditions are big but they all have meaning and lasting impact. Even as a grown man my husband still looks forward to the cinnamon rolls his mom makes for every Sunday morning General conference session.

More and more as I find my own little family starting traditions of our own I am beginning to see just how much a tradition is not just something a family does but something that makes a family.

What are your family traditions?

* My Blog Post Series "Strengthening the Family" is based on my personal thoughts from reading the book "25 Mistakes LDS Parents Make and How to Avoid Them" by Randal A. Wright

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Strengthening the Family- #3 Be at the Crossroads

I had one of those moms... You know the kind the one who wants to know exactly where your going, who with, when you'll be home. At the time I brushed it off being "overprotective" but now that I have a child of my own I am beginning to understand.

I appreciate now that she was up to look me in the eye when I came home at night- I never really considered drinking or any other "wild" teenage behavior but I can tell you that even if I had I quickly would have changed my mind knowing I would be kissing mom goodnight.

I appreciate that she was there for the little crossroads to- Like when I came home from school frustrated because of a teacher or an argument with a friend.

If we do not make a habit of "being there" for our children- they will be that much less likely to follow our guidance when it is given.

It is as the primary song says. Lead me, Guide me, Walk beside me

* My Blog Post Series "Strengthening the Family" is based on my personal thoughts from reading the book "25 Mistakes Parents Make and How to Avoid Them" by Randal A. Wright

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Things I swore I would never do....

BEFORE I had kids there were several things that I swore I would never do...
  • Let my kids sleep in my bed
  • Give them candy before they were 1
  • Give them too many toys
  • Let them watch TV
  • Not make them sit in their highchair at dinner
  • Give them pop

AFTER I had kids reality hit-
  • Let my kids sleep in my bed- There is just something to be said for this sweet little person snuggled up next to you- and plus if your a paranoid parent like me and sure that the house could burst into flames at any given moment you don't have to worry about getting to their room through the raging inferno.
  • Give them candy before they were 1- But how can you tell such a cute little face no? Although we ALWAYS do brush teeth!
  • Give them too many toys- Grandma, Grandpa, Aunts, Uncles, and a mom who has trouble avoiding the toy clearance isle need I say more.
  • Let them watch TV- Nothing will get you an extra half an hour of rest better than propping up you little one in front of an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
  • Not make them sit in their highchair at dinner- It's a nice thought... but easier said than done especially at the restaurant when the child LOUDLY protests- I mean really who wants to fight that in front of dozens of glaring eyes that silently yell - "I don't care what you do but just keep that kid quiet!
  • Give them pop- We don't drink pop much at our house other than the rare occasion so this one isn't too hard... Well for the most part - but there are times that call for desperate measures and if a pop keeps him still for grandma the world won't end!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Laundry: The gift that keeps on giving.

Lets face it out of all the household chores laundry is the only one that is never done- it's the chore that keeps on giving; even from the second that you put away that last clean dishtowel or hang that last shirt, the very clothes you are wearing are well on their way to starting your next batch of dirty clothes.

Despite the never ending piles I don't mind doing laundry, there is just something soothing about pulling a batch of warm towels out of the drier that are so soft and clean and folding them in a tidy little pile. Growing up I always begged my siblings to switch me chores so I could do the laundry... after all who wants to weed a garden or wash dishes when they could be having a great time mating socks?

so it wasn't exactly fun per Se' but it was almost always the lesser evil.....

Lately I have been reading a lot about homemade laundry out in bloggy-land including some really brave talented ladies who actually make/use it. After one of my oh-so-favorite bloggers, Mrs. Mordecai of Be It Ever So Humble, shared her very own homemade laundry soap recipe I have been toying with the idea of trying a batch myself.

OK so it was a fleeting thought I am a Mountain Fresh Tide addict.....

Although I have yet to attempt whipping up a batch of fluffy pink laundry soap myself I find the whole concept very intriguing and honestly probably something a smart frugal person should at least give a try. But I am afraid I would too dearly miss my favorite orange bottle of liquid laundry suds..... and besides without it what containers would I use to fill with water to add to my storage?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

$20 Giftcard Giveaway

That's right everyone I am giving away a $20 Gift Card to the store of your choice (as long as I can purchase it locally or online) There is however one little catch.... I entered a contest for the "messiest" craft room and I need your vote to win!! And If I do win I'll even give away two more gift certificate each for $10!!

For details on how to enter my give-oh-way check out my scrapbook blog Audra's Little Scraps

If you just love me and want to vote you can do so Once a Day per Computer until April 22nd at The Original Scrap Box . I am #11 (I have a blue tote in the left hand picture and a stereo speaker and stacked spools of ribbon in the right hand picture) It is really easy - You don't have to register or anything just click on the check mark next to my pictures.

So go vote on your computer- your husbands computer- your laptop- anywhere you can!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Strengthening the Family; Part 2 Quality Time

"The most important of the Lord's work you and I will ever do will
be within the walls of our own homes. Effective family leadership,
brethren, requires both quantity and quality time" Harold B Lee

Quantity Time-I must admit I wasn't too surprised when I read that the American family spends 40% less time together now than they did 20 years ago. When you start to turn that into actual hours over a child's lifetime the numbers are staggering.

Lets say families used to spend 20 hours a week together (just over 3hrs/day), based on this study they now spend only 12 so that's turns into

8 less hours/week

34.6 less hours/month

416 less hours/year

7,488 less hours/(18 years)


That is like missing almost a full year out of your child's life! Watching Buddy Bear grow this past year I have begun to realize how short our time with our children at home really is- What can we do to take advantage of every moment of it

Quality Time- As a stay at home mom I am lucky that I do get a lot of "Quantity" time with him- what really got me to thinking is the issue of "Quality" time- When I started looking at a typical day in our lives I began to see lots of what I call "missed moments" little snatches of time here and there where I was to busy involved in what I was doing that I missed an opportunity with Buddy Bear- to teach, to play, to laugh or even just to be right there.

A few days ago as I was feeding Buddy Bear I noticed that when I feed him he stares off into space and it is somewhat hard to get his attention- which for him, my social little guy, is pretty uncommon. After giving it a little thought I realized that almost every time I fed him since he was born I was either reading a book or watching TV- no wonder he was ignoring me! It made me sad to think of all those little "missed moments" that I could have talked to him, sang him primary songs, or even just gazed into those sweet little baby eyes- now that our "feeding" days are quickly drawing to and end I wish I had taken the opportunity to develop that as "Quality" time for us rather than plodding through it as just another task to do.

My goal now is to make the effort to be there on his level interacting with him- not just letting him play at my feet while I type away or work on other projects.... Which may mean a few less blog posts or saving my scrapbooking till he's asleep but in the end I know I will be giving the most to what matters most- my priceless little guy.

That is my challenge to you this week to find at least one little way that you can improve the quality of the time you spend with those you love

* My Blog Post Series "Strengthening the Family" is based on my personal thoughts from reading the book "25 Mistakes Parents Make and How to Avoid Them" by Randal A. Wright

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Strengthening the Family- #1 Home Environment

"No other success in life can compensate for failure in the home"
David O. McKay
I have been doing a lot of thinking about my little family lately and what steps we can take to strengthen it. Shortly after Buddy Bear was born we purchased the book "25 mistakes LDS Parents Make and How to Avoid Them" by Randal A. Wright, but only last week did I pick it up and start reading it. It is an excellent book with so many good insights that are applicable not only to LDS parents but all parents looking to strengthen and protect their families.
Not to spoil the book (because I think it is a must read) I am going to give my take on each of the principles taught- The first principle
A persons home is a reflection of who they are and what matters to them-
Several years ago we had a neighbor in a serious accident- He had been the only one home and his family who had been out of time was headed straight to the hospital. We stopped by their home shortly after the accident to check on their pets and make sure everything was ok. One thing in particular stood out to me- a set of scriptures open on the dining room table, with a marking pencil beside them. They were out- being used- showing that they were important to him.
I thought of my own scriptures tucked away neatly in a drawer- all to often pulled out only when I remembered to grab them on my way to church.... What did that say about the value I placed upon them? Our Book of Mormon now sits on our kitchen table- it still doesn't get read every day but we are much more likely to remember to read when it is out and available
What is important to your family?
The things that are most important to me- the things I want to teach my child(ren) to value are
1) Our Family 2) The Gospel 3) Freedom/Our Nation 4) Outdoors 5)Literature/Reading
How does your home reflect what's important to you?
The choice of pictures and artwork in your home reflects much of our values and whats important to you- Just as a member of Peta wouldn't display a gun rack in their back window- we should display that which reflects our values.
Pictures in our home include of our family, Christ, the Sacred Grove, George Washington and other historical leaders, The Proclamation on the Family. We also have pictures of the outdoors, animals, and of course lots of little black bears as well as bookshelves full of good books. Like most things of course there is always room to improve.
Buddy Bear's room for example is decorated top to bottom in cute little black bears and pine trees- which is both cute and fits what we value- but does it communicate what we value the most? I am sure that adding a picture of the Savior and/or temple in his room would even further communicate the values that we want him to strive for.
Children seem to readily value that which their parents do- Almost without fail if you find parents who are very involved in sports- or music- their children are too. We learn what we live with. I think that if we start with our children when they are young not only teaching them our values but surrounding them with little reminders they will be much more likely to value those same things in their lives.

* My Blog Post Series "Strengthening the Family" is based on my personal thoughts from reading the book "25 Mistakes Parents Make and How to Avoid Them" by Randal A. Wright