Saturday, September 29, 2007

Well, How 'Bout That? I Like Gardening.

For years the mere mention of the words "garden" or "gardening" conjured up memories of worms and other creepy crawlers slithering in the lawn as I tried to pull a seemingly endless crop of weeds from my parents' back yard.

Because of those memories, I truly didn't mind the decade I spent after college as an apartment dweller. I was happy knowing that the only earth I would touch was the potting soil and herb seeds I placed in a couple of terra cotta herb pots my hubby and I received as a wedding gift.

Even when we moved in to our first home eight years ago I managed to avoid touching soil by hiring high school and college students to do the dirty work. I also hired someone to do most of the gardening and yard work last year after moving in to our current home.

After such good care given to the landscape by previous homeowners, I took it for granted that the tulips, daffodils, hyacinth and other plants, flowers and shrubs would always return. Little did I know that the early April snow storms would take their toll on the landscape. I could no longer ignore the dried leaves and dead branches that had accumulated in the flower bed.

I really didn't intend to clear the flower bed myself. I only meant to pick up a plastic grocery bag that had freed itself from a garbage can somewhere and landed on what I thought was a dead shrub. But I couldn't, for some reason, just stop with the plastic bag. I grabbed a rake and started clearing up all the dead branches and leaves. I was pleasantly surprised when I uncovered some new shoots that were hidden beneath the garbage.

For the two hours I was out there raking, digging, pulling weeds (and, yes, chasing after my adventurous son), I thought about my own life and whether there was any emotional garbage that needed to be cleared. I thought about the fears I have that are preventing me from showing my true self, and how good it will feel once those fears are gone. I thought about the very things I usually reserve for late night reflections.

When I stepped outside that afternoon, I certainly didn't expect to have a spiritual encounter. Now that I know how therapeutic gardening can be, I look forward to heading out there every day -- despite the fact that I saw a couple of really large creepy crawlers.

(Originally posted May 3, 2007, on Just Mom's Musings.)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Go Figure: Avoid the bad fat!

Go Figure @ Multi-Tasking Moms

These days, trans fat is getting a whole lot of press and it isn't good! Trans fat is BAD NEWS. You can read all about it here if you aren't familiar with this type of fat and its dangers. One source of trans fat is partially hydrogenated oil, which can be found in all sorts of food. I encourage you to go read about it because these oils present a serious risk to your health and the health of your family.

When I first heard the term, partially hydrogenated oil, I had no clue what it was. After doing some research, I very quickly learned that I HAD to get this stuff out of my house! Of course, one look in my pantry made me feel completely overwhelmed! Afterall, I am not a health nut. I am just your average grocery store mom who wants to be a little healthier.

I determined I was going to do this a bit at a time. After all, it was going to take time to look at the ingredients on all of the options at the grocery store. Now, if you shop completely organic then hydrogenated oils are not an issue. I am NOT 100% organic, so I knew that I was going to have my work cut out for me to eliminate hydrogenated oils in my grocery store products.

The hardest part was finding the brand that did not contain hydrogenated oils, so I am going to make it easier on you and list out the products that I have found. Many times it is just knowing the brand you need for the food you like. Sometimes though, it is more than that.

1. Peanut Butter Crackers: The LANCE Toasty brand does not have the bad oil in it. Also, the Target Market Pantry Brand (a dollar cheaper) does not have it either. (I can find these at Target)

2. Cereal: Raisin Bran, Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios are all safe. Now, my favorite cereals are the Archer Farms (organic) brand at Target. The Strawberry and Yogurt Granola Flakes is always gone when there is a sale! The Archer Farm Cereal Brands also eliminate High Fructose Corn on my list. (Raisin Bran has that...ugh) Look at your labels! You will be shocked at what "healthy" cereals have this oil in them!

3. Bread: Oh yes, check your BREAD! My wheat bread had it in there!!!! I had to find a new brand - it varies, so find what you like.

4. Crackers: You have to GET RID OF your Ritz and Club crackers! The good news is that you can use Pepperidge Farm varieties and we just love their wheat crackers. Wheat Thins don't have the oil in there either.

5. Peanut Butter: Now, you have to know that my girls used to eat Peanut Butter by the bowlful and this stuff is the WORST culprit of hydrogenated oils! I had to go to the Organic Peanut Butter and boy was it an adjustment. Yes, you have to stir it and keep it in the fridge. My girls stopped eating it by the bowlful, but they would tolerate it on their sandwiches. Now, the BEST NEWS EVER for us was the new Skippy Natural Peanut Butter. It eliminates the bad oil, but keeps the sugar! My girls love it. This is peanut butter has the taste and texture you are probably used to, but the bad oil is GONE!

6. Kids Snacks: Oh, this was the hardest. Gone were my favorite animal crackers. I could still cry...but I digress. The stuff without the oil: Goldfish. Wheat Thins. Welchs Fruit Snacks. Some pretzels (see next category). Sun Chips. Tortilla Chips. (Snack options: Craisins. Raisins. Walnuts. Pistacios. ANY nut or dried fruit. Fruit. Veggies and Dip. Cheese.)

7. Pretzels: Snyder's of Hanover SNAPS pretzels are fine. Rold Gold brand don't have the bad oil. We love the braided honey twists. A lot of brands do have the bad oil, so read that label and choose the right brand.

8. Chips: The new Good Earth brand chips are fine. Sun Chips eliminate the bad oil. Tortilla Chips don't have the bad oil. Pita chips - we love the cinnamon ones!

9. Granola Bars: Nature Valley Oats and Honey is a great crunchy bar! Kashi Chewy Bars are quite yummy too. I haven't found any other chewy bars without it, but I prefer crunchy, so I didn't check a lot.

10. No more powdered drinks, like hot chocolate. Most of the powdered drinks have it in there. Now, look on the back of the Hershey's Cocoa Can and you can make your own hot chocolate mix...a staple in my house!

I hope this helps you get started and makes it a little easier. I don't have any hydrogenated oil in the pantry anymore, but I got there one food product at a time.

Next on the list, high fructose corn syrup. This stuff is bad news, but once again I feel overwhelmed and need to take it one at a time.

*After writing this, I read that partially hydrogenated oil is being listed in the ingredients as mono-diglycerides. I will have to go check my brands now, so please be aware of this!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Controlling the Chaos: A little inspiration

The best way to start to be able to control the chaos - is to get control of our attitude.

There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.

"Well," she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today!"So she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head.

"Hmmm," she said, "I think I'll part my hair down the middle today!" So she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head.

"Well," she said, "today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail." So she did and she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head.

"YEA!" she exclaimed, "I don't have to fix my hair today!"

Attitude is everything.

Be kinder than necessary,

For everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

Live simply

Love generously

Care deeply

Speak kindly...

....Leave the rest to God

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Jewelry & Romance!

Do you have any creative ideas for making time for quality time with your husband?

My husband tends to be a loner, so time can fly before we notice that it's been awhile since we've had a conversation that did not include logistics of some sort - what time for dinner, which painter to hire, discipline issues and the like. I'm sure (well, hopefully!) you can relate.

Here are my 2 tips:

1. Pay attention to what actually matters to your husband and focus on those things. I had to ask. My husband likes to have home-cooked meals and to always have a clean shirt for work. He can handle the chaos a lot better if those 2 things happen. Those 2 things make him feel cared for, so I try my best to make those things a priority. It makes such a difference.

2. Work on the kids' bedtime not being a struggle, and get them in bed on the early side of what works with your evening routine. It's worth the discipline it takes to not have a huge struggle at bedtime - it makes the evening more pleasant for everyone and gives you time with your hubby after the kids go to bed.

So, obviously, this is an area I could use a little advice myself. I also need some interesting and fun questions to answer. And, maybe, just maybe - you would like something fun for YOURSELF! Maybe for your next night out with your husband?

So, here is my proposition - are you ready? 'Cause you could win this! Isn't it BEAUTIFUL? It's from Susan at Bead-attitude. Be sure to check out her other beautiful jewelry here.

Here's how to to enter to win this necklace and earrings:
1. Post about your most romantic time with your husband since your kids came into your life. Please mention that you would like to win the necklace from Bead-attitude with a link to her site, and include a link back to this post so others can find more romantic moments.
2. Come back and add your link to your "romantic" post to Mr. Linky.
3. Leave a comment with a question for "Wednesdays with WeaverMom"

It's easy! And fun! And you could win jewelry!

I'll get the ball rolling with my romantic moment:

We don't have family nearby - in fact, our closest family is a solid 20 hour drive away. True date nights are a little rare. Recently, a good friend of mine had a hard drive crash with the only copy of her pictures of her baby son on it. My computer wizard husband recovered all but 2 of the pictures. Isn't he great? :) She wanted to repay him with an evening of babysitting, but because of her baby, she asked if we could bring the kids to her house.

So, we said no. NOT! We actually said, "Which night works for you?" :) We contemplated going to dinner. Going to a movie! Going to the bookstore -without kids!

But, we ended up coming back home. And it was wonderful. Home. Alone. Together. For the first time in six years. It was odd. Different. QUIET!

Here is a picture of our nice dinner: (The plastic cup makes it super fancy - don't ya think?)

We both thought it was the best date we've had - possibly ever. Definitely since the kids were born.

Is it wrong to pray for friend's hard drives to crash? (*wink* LOL!)

Your turn!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

OxiCute It!

I have been an OxiClean fan for years! I remember when I first used it.

One day, my son had a large green crayon in his pocket. At the time, I never really had to check their pockets, so I just threw in the laundry carefree.

So, the crayon was washed, thrown into the dyer and then MELTED!!! Traces of GREEN CRAYON were all over the clothes!

I have to admit, I was in quite a panic. I just happen to buy some Oxiclean and I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical if it would really even work....So now, for the true test, was this product really all that it's said to be, "The Stain Fighter"?

I threw in the crayon stained clothes with a large scoop of Oxiclean, half of the crayon came out!!! I figured I give it another go and by the second wash, 98% of the crayon was out of the clothes! Fortunately the other 2% was a pair of jeans (which was hardly noticeable) and a few of my raggedy T-shirts.

Ever since then my children know if they get a stain on their good clothes, "Mommy 's not gonna worry because she'll just OXICUTE IT with OXICLEAN!" (They don't actually say that-LOL!)

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. OxiClean has come out with a new product, Oxiclean Spray-A-Way. All the children were begging me to get this...and no, I'm NOT joking!

I finally bit the bait and bought it. The funny thing is, is my children were more anxious to use it than I was. Shortly after I purchased this, my daughter spilled some orange juice on her shirt. She then asked if she could use the spray on her it. I was reluctant to let her use it, but then she said something that knocked my socks off!

"Come on Mommy, you know that orange juice stains, and the only way to get it off is with Oxiclean!"

(Mary, does this count as a Tiny Talk Tuesday?)

I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Plus I think Oxiclean Spray-A-Way just found their new spokes daughter;)

PS~ The orange juice stain did come out!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Recipe Roundup Casseroles & One Dish Meals

It's that time of year again when my family loves to eat casseroles. Actually Al and I do more than the kids, but they are starting to like to eat casseroles more and more. Some of our favorites range from goulash to meat and potato hot dishes to rice and chicken casseroles.

Here's one of our favorite casseroles.

Vegetable Beef Casserole

1 lb. ground beef - browned
1 onion diced
6-8 raw med potatoes - sliced
6-8 raw med carrots - sliced
1 can green beans (or peas)
1 can cream of chicken soup (we sometimes substitute with tomato soup)
1 soup can of milk
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place of these ingredients in a 9 by 13 baking dish in layers. Layer of hamburger, layer of onions, layer of potatoes, layer of carrots, layer of canned beans. Salt and pepper each layer.

Mix can of soup with can of milk and pour over the top.

Bake at 350 for 2 hours.

You could also make this casserole in your slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Now it's your turn. Use the Mr. Linky below to link to your family's favorite casserole or one dish meal. If you don't have a blog, please leave your recipe in the comments section. Oh! Start thinking about next week's Recipe Roundup: Recipes Using Peaches!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Big Picture...

As we are once again busy (as you all are) with activities and responsibilities and school, I was reminded this week of how much I like being a mom. I have tough days, tiring days like everyone, but the big picture is one of thankfulness. I think my own kids are fascinating (of course!) and sometimes marvel that I get to be their mom.

That said, I don't want to waste any time stressing about little things that don't really matter, like who forgot to do this, and why are they arguing about that sticker/toy, and where is your other shoe, and no, you can't have another snack... little things sometimes get in my way of remembering the big picture.

But, if I seek God's direction and keep the big picture in mind, the little things sometimes fade a bit as I remember what great children I have, and what a blessing they are. And suddenly the missing shoe or hundredth snack doesn't seem to bother me as all. I'm sure you all feel the same. Below are some quotes that hopefully will inspire/encourage you this weekend.

Thanks for visiting!

"The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness."
-Honore' de Balzac

"All mothers are working mothers."

"There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it."
-Chinese Proverb

"A mother understands what a child does not say."

"My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her."
- George Washington

"I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life."
-Abraham Lincoln

"By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular time off. They are the great vacationless class."
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom."
-Henry Ward Beecher

"A mother is someone who dreams great dreams for you, but then she lets you chase the dreams you have for yourself and loves you just the same."

Friday, September 21, 2007

Pink and Blue Tool Set Winners

The Winners for the PINK and BLUE tool set is......Alexia and Deb! Please send us your adress ladies.

Thanks for participating ladies!

Don't forget to enter our Featured Multi-Tasking Mom Contest to win an Orderly Mom Notebook! For more details click ----> HERE!

Also, don't forget to check in, we've got another fabulous contest coming your way!

If you haven't read this week's Go Figure post, please scroll down.

Have a blessed weekend everyone!

Go Figure ~ Downsize Me

Since moving to Okinawa, Japan I have learned some valuable insights into portion control. It all began when we arrived in Osaka, Japan after a long international flight from Hawaii. On the flight we were served these interesting looking Japanese bento boxes filled with seaweed, fish, a cracker and some rice. Needless to say, my American family was h.u.n.g.ry. when we arrived in Osaka for our layover. We searched for something familiar, something comforting among the restaurants in the airport. We rounded a corner and there before us stood the Golden arches! My children cheered and we eagerly sat ourselves down at a table. I went up to the counter to order the usual fries and cheeseburgers yet I noticed something keenly different. When the server handed us our food it was micro-sized! The drinks were what we in America know as the small child's cup, the fries were the size of Happy Meal fries and the cheeseburger was about the size of a deck of cards! hungry boys were not impressed.

Portion control. It seems that the Okinawans have something here. Their food is served in very small portions and they eat only until they feel "hara hachi bu" which means they eat until 80% full. This is a wonderful concept! If you are like me, I often overeat and then feel sluggish and tired as my body digests all the goodies. I love to eat and sweets are a major problem for me.

Most recently, I decided to overhaul my eating habits. Though we are in Japan, we use the American commissary (grocery store) and have access to most American foods. So, I decided I was going to try some portion control techniques as one way to reduce my calories and aid my weight loss efforts. I am not a fan of diets and find that if I try a diet, I end up craving the very foods I am not supposed to eat!

Some of the portion control ideas I am using include using a salad plate as my main dish for all meals. I rarely notice a difference and my portions are automatically downsized! I also fill my plate 1/2 full of vegetables and then the remaining with protein and a whole grain carb. Another trick I have found is that eating one cup of clear soup (often made earlier in the week or from a can) about fifteen minutes before my meal, reduces my hunger. I use my hands as guides to the amount of food I am eating so that I am not relying on measuring cups or any other complicated gadget. And, the big one....learning to stop eating when I am not full anymore. I am reteaching myself to stop eating when I am no longer hungry, not to eat until I am "full." I have learned that I feel healthier and have more energy if I stop eating before my brain tells my stomach that I am full. This was a HUGE point for me as I often ate until either my plate was empty or until I was just plain stuffed!

I do believe this is the key to weight loss. When combined with daily exercise, we will see weight loss that lasts! So, ladies, continue drinking your water, exercising and making choices that fuel your mind and body. Not only will the scale budge a few pounds, you will feel healthier, have more energy and motivation for you and for your family ~ which is so important as a Multi-Tasking mother!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Controlling the Chaos: TOYS

I am an obsessive crazy woman organizer. I love to have a "place for everything" and I definitely love when "everything is in its place".

I have been battling the TOYS in my house for a few years now! I admit, like most American households, we have too many. We try to keep up with giving some away and getting rid of unused ones, but even when we do our home is filled with them. Now that I have three little ones, the toy chaos grows because there are toys for more varied ages!

I finally decided that I had to do some major organizing. I wasn't happy just putting various things in baskets all around. I can be sent over the edge don't like finding doll house parts in the toy chest for stuffed animals, ya know?

I began realizing that most toys could be grouped. There were dress ups, little people, cars, Mr. Potato Heads, and on down the line. We had been "trying" to keep the groups together, but with no really good system. Things were always getting lost or misplaced.

I decided that the toys were going to be put away in bins by groups, so I headed to the store and bought a TON of bins. Slowly, I put groups of toys that made sense in the bin and labelled it. Now that toy HAD to be put away in THAT bin.

I bought big bins for toys such as Geo Trax and small bins for the Disney Toy Story figurines. I was giddy with delight quite pleased with my new system as I watched it fall into place.

Now I needed a place to put all of the bins. I did not have a closet with the proper space or shelving. I pondered the idea of bookcases. That would have worked, but instead my handy husband built me some adjustable shelving in the basement and here is the final result:

One of the hardest parts of this was determining the toy groups and how to divide it up, so I am going to list my labels for you, so you can begin to look at your toys in terms of "groups". Perhaps some of these will be useful:

Balls: this includes all of the small balls around, including the ones for the baby's Fischer price toys.

Musical Instruments

Barbies: this includes the dolls and all clothing. I was going to try to put all of the clothing in its own container, but even I know when I am going overboard.

Geo Trax: has one large bin right now and one small bin for overflow track. We need a second large bin. You can see in the picture that the new Rainbow Bridge isn't fitting.

Doll Clothes

Dress Ups: began as one large bin, but we really have a ton. (love yard sales) I made a smaller bin for shoes, one for purses, and one for scarves (a favorite of my girls). This is nice because some days we just bring up the purses and shoes.


Little People: this includes all of the little people animals and people for the garage, dollhouse, zoo, and Noah's Ark. I resisted combining them. I had this crazy obsession nice idea that they should all be kept with the original groupings. I let go...and it has been GREAT having ONE container to bring out with all of the characters. They enjoy having the animals when playing with the dollhouse and vice versa.

Mr. Potato Head



Small Vehicles: includes Match Box cars, Thomas the Trains, and other small cars. (If you have a lot of Thomas trains they will need their own container)

Larger Vehicles: This is for the dump trucks, bulldozers, race cars, etc...(yes, my girls LOVE cars)

Stuffed Animals and Baby Dolls

Baby Toys: safe ones for D!

Misc: Yes, this is the dumping ground. It is a large bin with etch a sketch, shape sorter, and other stuff that needed a grouping. It is nice to save this bin for a rainy day.

Other large toys are just placed on the shelf: The Little People sets, the HUGE cement mixer, Barbie cars, etc.

NOW, for upstairs, I don't like the plastic bins and I use baskets. Same idea, no labels, and A LOT less toys. These baskets contain books, diapers, board games, puzzles, and there is one bin of toys. (This shelf is from IKEA)

The obvious benefit of this is the clean up! Clean up has been so much easier and we take all of the bins back downstairs before bedtime. Our house is clutter free before we go to sleep at night!

During the day, we just bring up a few bins at a time. I have noticed that my children's play is much more focused now! They don't jump from toy to toy! The bin system helps them focus on the toys because they know that they have to put those bins away in order to get a new one. (depending...)

This has been the best system I have found for our house, but I am always looking for new ideas or ways to improve! Feel free to leave a suggestion.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

BEING A WIFE & MOTHER and building a strong MARRIAGE

Hi ! My name is Susan and I blog as Penless Writer.

I am honored to have been asked to be a Guest Commentator for Multi-Tasking Mom's. I begin by quoting a past Pastor of ours who use to say "Commentators are nothing but Common Taters"!!!! I think I easily fall into that category.

When first asked to participate my reaction was, "It's been so long since I've been an active, hands on Mom I'm not sure I qualify". On further reflection, I believe living so many years (69), active mothering for over 35 of those years, being a grandmother for 21 years, and being just Mickey & I as Empty Nester's for the past 18 years I do have something to say.

Any of you who read my blog know that I am the mother of 4 adult children and that there is a 15 year age span between my first born and my fourth born. This explains why I held the active mothering position for those 35 years. It also explains why I have granddaughters 21 and 12 years old and a grandson 8 years old. You also know that we are a very close-knit family.

All this mothering experience aside I am going to comment on
BEING A WIFE & MOTHER and building a strong MARRIAGE.

I believe strongly in the family. The family is the first institution God set up. It all began when God created Eve to be a help mate for Adam. God created her to complete him. That's an awesome thought isn't it? Adam was not complete by himself alone. I believe our first, and most important role and love, after God and Jesus, is to be our husband.

We are first husband and wife and we will be husband and wife long after the children are gone from the home.
I have seen too many woman take their role of mother and motherhood to such a degree that it becomes the center of their world. Consequently the husband is pushed off to the side and into second place. They begin to live separate lives to a certain extent. The woman is concentrating all her time and effort on the children, with the husband on the side lines. The man is concentrating all his time and effort on his job. They begin to grow in separate and different ways. The wonderful husband-wife connection, which started it all, starts to fade.

My strong feelings in this regard came even before I was married or had children. I had two very loving parents and grew up in a good Christian home where I was taught good moral values, responsibility, truthfulness, hard work, etc. The one thing my family lacked was my parents lived two separate lives to a great extent. I determined, at a very early age, I wanted a marriage where my husband and I had a lot in common and were a strong family unit.

Over the years I've seen far to many mothers that have centered their lives on the children front and center. Then when the children are grown you find two adults looking at each other and saying, "Who are you? I don't know you any more. What happened to the love, fun, excitement we use to have?" The children leave and you have two strangers living together who do not share common interests or goals any longer.

So be sure to keep that guy you fell in love with front and center throughout your child rearing years. When you do this you will share a wonderful, full, exciting, "empty nest" life together.

Now, having said all this......I also have to add that.....ONCE A MOTHER ALWAYS A MOTHER. I tell my kids this ALL the time and they know it well. They are as important to me now, as adults, as they were when they were small children growing and finding out who they were and who they were becoming.

It truly is a balancing act....It's important not to fall in the ditch on either side of the road. Just remember to keep things balanced and not push either your children or your husband off to the side. Always remembering that JESUS CHRIST is the most important person to keep front and CENTER.
Just one more comment, from this "common tator".
If you are a single-mom, as I once was, I have this advice.

When another man comes waltzing into your life your first concern has to be making sure he will be the kind of father you want to help raise your children. When Mickey & I were "dating" most of those "dates" revolved around doing things with and for my two little girls. I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, Mickey would be a wonderful father. Almost 49 years later I am here to tell you he lived up to all my expectations.

As a single-mom your first priority has to be to those children whether that means raising them by yourself or finding that right husband and FATHER.
BUT once you decide to entrust yourself and your children into the love and care of another man you must NEVER, and I mean NEVER EVER say anything like "Leave MY kids alone" or "Don't treat MY kids like that". This is of course UNLESS there is being physical harm done to them.....that's a whole different thing. But I'm talking about just establishing and making a good, caring, loving family.

When he marries you and takes on the responsibility for the love and care of you and your kids you become a "family" and the word "ME or MINE" has to be set aside forever. If there are disputes about the discipline of the children you must never discuss that in front of the children. Rather, later, in a private setting between the two of you discuss with him then, "I don't think you should have......." or "I think you were being to hard on......" This is good advise for all marriages. Put up one standard to the children at all times.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tell me a story

Every night my youngest daughter asks to hear a story from "when i was a little kid." The pet stories have been the biggest hits, and tonight's story brought gales of laughter. It was one of my Petie the parakeet stories about the time he was flying around the house and landed in a pot of cooking spaghetti. Fearing that the bird might be boiled alive, I quickly scooped him out and rinsed his blue feathers, now tinged with an orange glow. He survived, and so did we. (We ate the spaghetti)!

I remember hearing stories about my own parents' childhood adventures with their siblings and how we begged for more. Remember when Uncle J. put raisins in my aunt's baby doll's diaper and when she went to change it, what a surprise! I even have memories of hearing my grandparents' childhood stories and how precious those are to me now.

Reading stories to your kids creates a wonderful connection between you and the story. You are all caught up in the same imaginative world at the same time. But don't forget to tell the old stories of you every now and then too. Stories of our past build a heritage that they will pass on to their children. And the stories mean so much more because they are your stories, and someday your stories will become their stories.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Recipe Roundup: Comfort Foods

It's that time of year again, a time during which we turn to certain foods when we want something that satisfies our soul as well as our hunger. It's the time of year when we turn to comfort foods.

For my family, our "comfort food" is a supper of meat loaf, garlic mashed potatoes and a salad. What makes the following recipe even better is that it's a lower calorie version of the usual meat loaf recipes. To see a photo of the finished product, visit Just Mom Cooking.

Oh! I found the following recipe in the August 2000 edition of Cooking Light magazine. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.

Italian Meat Loaf with Fresh Basil and Provolone

1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil
1/2 cup ketchup
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded sharp provolone cheese
2 large egg whites
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground round
Cooking spray
1/3 cup ketchup

Combine boiling water and tomatoes in a bowl; let stand 30 minutes or until soft. Drain tomatoes; finely chop.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine 1/2 cup ketchup, breadcrumbs, and the next 6 ingredients (breadcrumbs through beef) in a large bowl. Add tomatoes to meat mixture. Shape meat mixture into a 9 x 5-inch loaf on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Spread 1/3 cup ketchup over meat loaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a thermometer registers 160 degrees. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Cut into 12 slices.

6 servings (serving size: 2 slices)

Now it's your turn. Use the Mr. Linky below to link to your family's favorite comfort food. If you don't have a blog, please leave your recipe in the comments section. Oh! Start thinking about next week's Recipe Roundup: Casseroles and other one-dish recipes.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

What target are you aiming for?

I recently came across a book I ordered earlier this year. It is called 'What Every Child Should Know Along the Way' by Gail Martin. I began reading it once again. It was just what I was looking for, regarding raising my kids. I have been wanting a Bible teaching to add to our Home School day. This book is full of ideas on sharing Christ with our kids. I came across this list and it really made me wonder how I am doing:
Twelve Rules for Raising Delinquent Children

  1. Begin with infancy to give the child everything he wants. In this way he will grow up to believe the world owes him a living.
  2. When he picks up bad words, laugh at him. This will make him think he's cute. It will also encourage him to pick up "cuter" phrases that will blow off the top of your head later.
  3. Never give him any spiritual training. Wait till he is 21 and then let him decide for himself.
  4. Avoid use of the word "wrong". It may develop a guilt complex. This will condition him to believe that society is against him and he is being persecuted.
  5. Pick up everything he leaves lying around (books, shoes, and clothing). Do everything for him so he will be experienced in throwing all responsibility on to others.
  6. Let him read any printed material he can get his hands on. Be careful that the silverware and drinking glasses are sterilized, but let his mind feast on garbage.
  7. Quarrel frequently in the presence of your child. In this way he will not be too shocked when the home is broken up later.
  8. Give the child all the spending money he wants. Never let him earn his own. Why should he have things as tough as you had them?
  9. Satisfy his every craving for food, drink and comfort. See that every sensual desire is gratified. Denial of his desires may lead to harmful frustration.
  10. Take his part against neighbors, teachers, and policemen. They are all prejudiced against your child.
  11. When he gets into real trouble, apologize for yourself by saying, "I never could do anything with him."
  12. Prepare for a life of grief.
It isn't always the BIG mistake that gets us off track. It can be little foxes. The bad thing about a little fox is that they are so easy to overlook. For instance, at first I did not see what was wrong with #9. What is so wrong with giving them what THEY want to eat or drink?? Well, we had a time, (very recently) when we were cooking our meal and 2 mini-meals. My kids would not eat what we made for dinner and we were more concerned with them eating, so we had 3 meals at dinner time. That was not beneficial to any of us. It only made them more demanding and defiant in other areas. We finally have all of us on the same meal, but we still struggle with my son eating willingly. I now see the benefit of not letting them choose all of their meals. If we go to McD's, they DO choose whether they eat nuggets or burgers, but they do not control our meals anymore.

One of the main points, being made in the book, is that we are called to 'Aim our children straight as arrows'. They do not know the way they should go. We are the ones aiming them. It is wise for us to know where we are aiming our child. Shooting aimlessly will create a dismal result - delinquent children. With focus and a steady aim, we can lead them to have a relationship with Christ. She uses the Scripture 'Like arrows in the hands of a warrior...' Psalm 127:4.

This book has impressed me, thus far. It speaks to creating Dynamic Devotions, creating Family Unity, using Gifts and Talents, great Biblical Character Traits, having Manners, Practical living skills, and Personal Safety. I can tell you that I am challenged to raise my focus and to aim my arrows (kids) more carefully at the target (Christ). I am seeking Him in how that looks for my family. What will draw my kids closer to their Savior? I do not know. I can aim them towards the mark, then God can draw them to Himself. If I do not take the time to aim them, I may miss the target completely. What a huge responsibility. It is possible to accomplish this goal, but only if I remain in close relationship with Christ. My job, and hubby's job, is to keep on track with seeking our Savior and the rest is God's job. We must be willing to take the first step and He will show us how to draw our children to Him.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Repairing Your Body Inside and Out

Go Figure @ Multi-Tasking Moms

Exercise is a key point to losing weight and living a healthy life, but it is just as important to keep a close watch what goes inside our body too. Of course eating healthy, drinking water and making the extra effort to take vitamins helps. But, sometimes you need that little extra something, a little boost so to say.

Don't worry, it's not a diet pill or anything like that. What I'm about to share with you is good for your overall heath....a good old fashion remedy with medicinal purposes.

It's Apple Cider Vinegar! It is wonderful for so many ailments; allergies, asthma, sinus infections, high cholesterol, blood pressure, acne AND weight loss!!! Yep, it helps breaks down the fat in our body!

I know some of you are thinking YUCK! NO WAY!!!! But I personally don't think it's that bad. And the with overall benefits of it, isn't it worth it?!

There are several different concoctions for apple cider vinegar, some put it in their tea, others drink it with juice, but my personal favorite it is:

2 Tbsp Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp Raw Honey
8 oz of cold ice for me thank you

Once you start taking this you will feel GREAT! Honestly, I haven't done this since I moved so, to practice what I preach I better start repairing and Getting MY Body in Motion! I will join Melodye and all of you other out there and post my results as well.

.....Oh speaking of repairing, Ladies Tools Online is giving aways TWO stylish set of tools!!!

It's a Girl! 46pc Tool Set


It's a Boy! 46pc Tool Set

Let's face it ladies, the men can't always do the handy stuff around the house, so if we have to do it, let's do it in STYLE!!!!

Each set contains a comfort grip: hammer, slotted screwdriver, Phillip's screwdriver, adjustable crescent, needle-nose pliers and snap off knife. Plus, there's an accessories box with screws (8), wall plugs (8), nails (25), and picture hangers (5). All of these fabulous items comes in a durable plastic matching case!

To enter:

1. leave us a comment letting us know if you want the PINK or BLUE

2. spread the word and please add a link to this post and Ladies Tools Online
(this contest is open to those of you who don't have a blog too, but please spread the word)

3. come back after you've posted and sign Mr. Linky

And CONGRATULATIONS Karen, you are the winner of last week's Go Figure contest!!! Please send us your addy:)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Joys of freezing

On some nights do you ever wish you could just go to your freezer & pull out a home cooked meal?

Do you have a recipe that you absolutely love but it takes forever to make?

Are you almost due for having a baby & find that your nesting like crazy, the nursery is ready & you want something else to do? Or maybe a friend just had a baby?

What about freezing some meals!!!

Over the past couple years I have been taught a ton about freezing food from a wonderful friend and wanted to share some ideas with all of you. Freezing foods is so much fun to do & so easy! Some meals that we love to eat here in our house hold are
Chicken Parmesan
BBQ Meatloaf
Chicken Turnovers
Baked Ziti
Marinated Chicken Breasts
Banana Bread
Cookies & brownies (lots & lots of these :)

And it is so rewarding to go to your freezer & pull these favorites out so that you can have a relaxing evening. Below are some ideas for you and I hope you find them helpful.

That very involved Favorite recipe
You may have a dish or a sauce that you & your family absolutely love but it takes a long time to prepare and involves many different ingredients. Do you want to make the best of your time? Why don't you double, triple, quadruple your recipe. Have a great meal that night and then 1 or more over the next few months.
* Make sure you multiply each ingredient the same
* If it is a pasta dish or a casserole - buy some tin pans & prepare you meal as you normally would. Place it in the tin pan, cover it with saran wrap, then again with tin foil (make sure it is well covered & sealed). Create a label with the name of the dish & the cooking instructions then tape it to the dish before freezing. If it is a dish that you should top with cheese or other ingredients, you may want to measure out the amount needed and freeze that in a separate bag & place with the dish (remember - you can freeze cheese too).
* If it is a sauce - Place the desired serving of sauce in separate Freezer Zip Lock bags. Label the bag with what it is, the amount of the sauce, and the date it was made.

A favorite meat marinade
If your like me, I purchase my meat in large quantities when it's on sale. I come home and separate them into smaller portions to freeze. Why not throw some of the meat in your favorite marinade before throwing it in the freezer. This way you can just pull it out and it's marinading while it's defrosting. Just be sure to label the bag so you know what's inside, we all know what our mommy brains are like :).

A favorite bread
Do you make banana, pumpkin, or zucchini bread? Why not make a few extra loafs? It adds very little time to your preparation and you have yummy bread a few weeks later w/ no effort.
* Make sure you bread cools completely. Then I wrap it very well in Saran wrap & place it in a labeled freezer bag. The bread tastes as fresh as the day you made it.

Your favorite Cookies & Brownies
Make a HUGE batch! Cook them and try not to eat them all. Cool the cookies/brownies completely, leave some out for eating and put all the rest in a Freezer bag. When you feel like having fresh cookies/brownies just pull a few out, let them thaw (this only takes a few minutes), you can throw them in the microwave for a few seconds if you want them warm, and yum!

If you make your husbands lunch to take to work, why not throw a few frozen cookies in there, by the time he gets to his lunch he will have fresh cookies.

But Beware! I have learned that 1/2 frozen cookies and brownies are even better than the fresh ones :)

This also freezes very well! Make an extra loaf and when it is cooled completely you can cut it into slices, wrap it in saran wrap then tin foil (or place in a freezer bag), and when you want meat loaf again pull the whole thing out or if you want a meatloaf sandwich for lunch just pull out one slice.

Extra fruit
If you go berry picking or if you have some fruit in the house that may go bad. Chop it up, put it on a cookie sheet, freeze them over night and the next day put the pieces in a freezer bag. This is great for having smoothies later

Someone in Need
When you make a meal for someone in need, have you ever thought of making them 2 meals. Just double whatever recipe your using, It only takes you 5-15 minutes extra but it allows them to freeze a meal for later. And what a blessing that would be! Just make sure to label everything and write down the cooking directions.
A friend and I have been talking about getting together for a day to make a ton of meals to freeze and we have yet to do it. I'm really hoping we do soon, it is such a fun way to hand out with a friend and have many rewards afterwards. Happy Cooking!
Reminder! If you would enjoy being our next months Featured Multi-Tasking Mom and win an Orderly Mom Notebook, go here for the details!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

SuperMom or SlackerMom? Just call me Mom.

So, this week I thought I would ask a question: Do you ever feel like a slacker mom?

I think we all do.

So much we are "supposed" to do - love our kids no matter what, feed them healthy food, listen to their every word, take them wherever they wish to go, determine when they are actually lying, catch every sneaky act, point them to the Lord every day, take advantage of those teachable moments, push them when they need it - but not too much, reach their hearts with our discipline, never yell, never lose our tempers, never show them any impatience, teach them to make the right choices, make sure they look "cute", make sure they never act up, make sure they are respectful at every moment, always expect first-time obedience, enjoy every little moment, keep a perfect house, make sure they fulfill their potential - and I'm quite sure I left out a few hundred things. And don't get me started on the wife "supposed" to list: confidante, chef, model looks, ... well, you know the rest, I'm sure.

I believe in high expectations. For ourselves. For our children. I think it's biblical and I'm not knocking the goal.

But, I am concerned that some may think that we here at Multi-tasking moms are in the "SuperMom" category. And I sincerely feel that I need to address that - at least for myself.

I am so NOT a SuperMom. I do some things really well - I can turn out a mean schedule and sometimes it actually works! And, I can almost always help you figure out how to do more in less time. How to get more things done, and how to do that with less stress. I can organize an office, a file, a pretty good birthday party. What is the saying "Necessity is the mother of invention"? Well, organization in my life with homeschooling and a business is absolutely necessary - so I've discovered some things that work. For me.

So, here's my true confessions - knocking myself off the Supermom pedestal. Because I firmly believe that we all have strengths and weaknesses, and if I'm strong in the "organizational" category and you are not - I can guarantee you that you do something well that I am a total "slacker" about.

Yes, I have a 6 week meal plan, a daily schedule for every 15 minutes, a cleaning schedule, a daily to-do list, a homeschool "plan".

But, also:

I have a cleaning company every other week - and if I care about your opinion of my house - no you may not come over. Trust me.

My house is decorated in "very lived in." And that's phrasing it nicely.

I have a picture frame that has hung on my staircase for 2 years with no picture in it.

You cannot walk in my daughter's room.

I let my daughter choose her own clothes - and it shows.

I let my daughter fix her own hair - and it definitely shows.

I rarely do the evening's dishes that night - I'm too tired.

I never have time to just sit and watch TV with my husband, and I think he misses that.

If you don't see me write on my to-do list in my computer, it won't happen.

I never get enough sleep.

I only need my glasses to drive, and I can never find them.

We are frequently late. (usually because I cannot find my glasses - which I need to drive, remember?)

I cannot drive and do anything else at the same time. Can't even talk. How I wish I could take advantage of those "deep" conversations that my kids always seem to want to have - in the car. When I am trying to drive. Trying to, you know, not kill us.

There's more, but that's all the self-exposure I can handle in one conversation.

I only have 2 children. I homeschool - which means they are with me all day every day. And there are more days than I would like to admit that I get to the end of the day and realize that I have not once looked into their eyes that day and actually, truly listened to an entire sentence.

And I can guarantee you that when they are grown - listening or playing a game with them now is more important than anything else.

And, that, my friends is the whole point FOR ME of organization. If I don't have to think about dinner - then I can spend that few minutes doing something worthwhile. Lasting. Meaningful. If organization does that do that for you, but instead adds another "expectation" to your list, then DO NOT organize another thing. It is not worth it.

So, please don't think of me as a supermom. You may think of me as a mom a little farther down the path. You may think of me as a mom with different gifts from God. Please think of me as the mom with a few good ideas.

But please don't think of me as a supermom.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It was a day that changed our nation

As the memories from 6 years ago return today, may each of us remember and pray for all those affected by the events, six years ago, in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington DC.

I'm sure we can remember the moment when we heard about the attacks in NY and the planes down in PA and at the Pentagon.

I know we can still reach out to others, showing God's love for all. We can have faith and hope in Him and share His love with those around us. We need to fill our children with faith and love because we don't know what the future holds. We need to give them the hope and strength that only our Heavenly Father can comfort us with.

Moms - today, let us share how we can fill our children with love for others. What can we do today, in the lives of our children, to affect their future?

I know one way - to pray. If you haven't visisted this parent's prayer blog, please do - and pray together with us, for our children.

Let us remember those who gave their lives and let us never forget.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Recipe Roundup: My Ultimate Cookbook

Most busy moms have a favorite cooking resource they always turn to: a Web site, a collection of old family recipes, their own moms. Although I do turn to the Kraft and Epicurious websites, as well as my mom, my favorite resource happens to be "The New Basics Cookbook" by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.

There are many reasons why I love my well-worn copy of this 800-page book (849 pages if you count the bibliography and index in the back). One reason is that this is the first cookbook I bought after my husband and I got married 15 years ago. Another reason is the gingersnap recipe the authors included in this book. That particular recipe, with just a few alterations by me, has been a hit at every cookie exchange party I've participated in since 1992. (Stay tuned. I might post that recipe in a roundup closer to the holidays.) But what I really like about this cookbook is all the helpful food hints the authors provide throughout the book.

I can't even count the number of times I've referred to the beef roasting chart; the selecting, storing and preparation methods for various produce; the herb and spice chart (including their best use); and their suggestions for how to stock what they call a "Panic-Proof Kitchen" and a "Basic Pantry."

Most of the recipes aren't the kind you make in 30-minutes or less, but the time you spend on what you prepare is worth the effort. Some of my favorites are recipes for shrimp scampi, olive rosemary bread, chicken Kiev, curried zucchini soup, lemon shortbread cookies, and of course gingersnaps.

If you haven't picked up this cookbook before, I highly recommend that you do. It came in handy for me as a newlywed who didn't know her way around the kitchen, and it comes in handy for me now when I want to try a special recipe or need more information about a specific ingredient.

I love collecting cookbooks, and would love to hear about your ultimate cookbook. Use the Mr. Linky below so others can visit your blog and learn about your favorite cookbook. don't forget to leave a comment to let us know you plan to participate. Also, if you've used "The New Basics Cookbook," let me know some of your favorite recipes. I might try them out and post either for a Recipe Roundup or on my cooking blog, Just Mom Cooking.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

God's Little Devotional Book

I'd like to share with you a devotional book that I like called;

" God's Little Devotional Book for Mom's"

Here are a couple devotions out of it that I'd like to share with you.

A child is fed with milk and praise.

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Ephesians 4:29

Consider these "Commandments for Parents," written from a child's point of view!

1. My hands are small; please don't expect perfection whenver I make a bed, draw a picture, or throw a ball. My legs are short; slow down so that I can keep up with you.

2. My eyes have not seen the world as yours have; let me exlore it safely; don't restrict me unnecessarily.

3. Housework will always be there; I'm little only for a short time. Take time to explain things to me about this wonderful world, and do so willingly.

4. My feelings are tender; don't nag me all day long (you would not want to be nagged for your inquisitiveness).

5. I am a special gift from God; treasure me as God intended you to do - holding me accountable for my actions, giving me guidelines to live by, and disciplining me in a loving manner.

6. I need your encouragemnet but not your empty praise) to grow. Go easy on the criticism; remember , you can criticize the things I do without criticizing me.

Children are natural mimics -
they act like their parents in spite of every attempt to teach them good manners.

Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. 3 John 11a

If a child lives with criticism
He learns to condemn;
If a child lives with hostility
He learns to fight
If a child lives with ridicule
He learns to be shy; If a child lives with shame he learns to feel guilty
If a child lives with tolerance
He learns to be patient;
If a child lives with encouragement
he learns confidence;
If a child lives with praise
He learns to appreciate;
If a child lives with fairness
He learns justice;
If a child lives with security
He learns to have faith;
If a child lives with approval
He learns to like himself;
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship
He learns to find LOVE in the world!

I leave you with these devotions. Make some wonderful memories with your families.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Gym vs.Dentist

I am the opposite of a gym rat. I would rather visit the dentist than work out at a gym. Speaking of dentists, I actually enjoy having my teeth cleaned. Peaceful music, relaxing in a kids in sight. It’s like a day at the spa. Well, ok, not really. But you get the idea.

Back to working out. I played soccer with my husband for years, and during those games I experienced for the first time enjoying “exercise”. I think it was because I was so focused on the tasks at hand (don’t kick the ball to the wrong player...don’t kick it into the wrong goal, etc.) that I forgot I was actually burning calories

But after our third baby was born, it was too much for me, to find babysitters for those weeknight indoor soccer games. I wanted sleep, not soccer. Sleep was so much more important than exercising. And that was the end of my soccer “career”.

But, there is one form of exercise I actually like and will be able to do (God willing) all my life. Walking. I really enjoy a good walk, especially if I don’t have a bunch of things to do upon my return to the house. I can think, I can listen to music, I can actually burn calories and enjoy burning them...nice!

This week, Leslie Sansone over at Walk at Home is hosting a Teen Walk. What a great idea! Plus... we're giving away a free Teen Walk DVD! Check out her site- just click on the button- and leave a comment below to enter the contest.

And, keep in mind...even if you haven’t visited the gym in years (like me), you can take a walk! Every step counts.

"Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow." ~Henry David Thoreau

"Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time."
~Steven Wright

And my personal favorite:
"He who limps is still walking." ~Stanislaw J. Lec

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Finding Peace among Chaos

Chaos reigns. There is a trail from the front door through out the house of things left behind as people come trasping in. There is a similar trail leading from the garage throughout the house. One child is on the floor crying because he step on a lego, there is a yelling coming from another room about having nothing to wear. And then there is my husband, complaining he can't find a coffee mug.

Have you ever noticed that your outside world reflects how your soul feels on the inside? If your life and home are in chaos there is a good chance your soul is feeling the same way. I know mine is.

For the last two months, I have basically been stuck at home. I couldn't attend church or do much of anything but sleep, taking my pain meds, and pray for another day to pass. Recovery from surgery has been no picnic for me or my family. Not only that but life hasn't stopped happening around me, it kept on going and expected me to find some way to cope with it all. I have but I have neglected my relationship with my Father.

This past week, the pieces of my life finally fell into place. I finally starting getting "back to normal." It was like awaking from a fairy tale. Everything was safe and warm there. I didn't have much to worry about. Now I have snacks for soccer, homework, lesson plans, spanish lessons, laundry, and somewhere under all this dirt is a house. I have spent the last week rediscovering the living room floor, the kitchen, and the bathroom. The house is looking normal but yet chaos still reigns.

I was really confused about this until I realized - while I was busy righting the wrongs in my home, I had forgotten to right the wrongs of the hearts living in this home. The boys are fighting, hubby is stressing, and I am quite sure no one has prayed in a month. It so easy to see what is in front of us and ignore the mess within.

This next week, I plan on letting the house go and focusing on the hearts within it. We need to start our day off with prayer and end it the same way. To begin our day with our bible lessons, to make church a priority, and to remember who gave us all the blessings we take for granted.

If chaos is reigning in your house, I urge you to stop everything. Look up and beg for help. Chaos isn't meerly a reflection of the busyness of our lives but rather an ache in our soul. God is there to lead us on our path through life yet so often we try to take over and do it 'better.' If you are living in chaos, you have lost sight of God's plan for your life. You are leading instead of following. Take this week to ask God to lead you and your family again. Make him a priority and let peace find its way among the chaos!

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

My Multi-Tasking Secrets Revealed

I am honored and thrilled to be the first Featured Multi-Tasking Mom. In the blog-world, I am TCC of The Campbell Corner. I am a real mom with real kids learning how to navigate real life. Sound like you? Let's find out what else we may or may not have in common...

Do you enjoy laundry; thrilled at the opportunity to scour off a layer of skin while attempting to remove a stubborn stain from your child's clothing? Are your children naturally obedient, prepared to responsibly respond to the next request that is made of them? Do you have hot fresh meals prepared daily with apron cleanly pressed and pearls around your neck? If you answered yes to all of these questions then sadly, this post is not for you. However, if a "no" crossed your lips, then read on...there may be something that has worked for me that will work for you too.

#1 The Moldinator
Do you know what this is a picture of? It is a petri dish covered with mold. I am actually comfortable with this. I did many labs with my students where we grew colonies of common bacteria and fungi. It allowed them to become familiar with how quickly bacteria form colonies and what environmental variables impact that growth, observe and classify bacteria according to their physical properties, follow the procedure of Gram staining and determine if the colony was Gram + or Gram -. They were also able to observe differences between bacteria and fungi. It was scientific. It was in a controlled environment. Procedures were followed for the completion of the growth and disposal of material which is considered to be a biohazard. This is when I am OK with these 'germs'.

Outside of the classroom I am not a fan of bacteria - or any other microorganism. I wash my hands after I handle raw meat or crack an egg. I make sure I use a cleaner with paper towel to wash down my sink and counter tops and table and any other surface in my home. I NEVER use a sponge. Even though I zap it in the microwave to kill those microorganisms - you just never know.

You can imagine my glee when I discovered that Barber's train sweatshirt (that he received as a Christmas gift and has worn maybe 3 times) was covered with mold because it was left in a plastic bag, soaked, for about 2 weeks in the basement laundry room. I am not proud of this fact. I didn't realize it was soaked but obviously this means I hadn't frequented the laundry room for about 2 weeks...

Back to the point. It was covered and stinky with teeny reddish dots. Although those teeny dots had merged in certain areas making it simply a red patch. I was utterly disgusted and annoyed with myself. I was feeling a bit helpless too. Kind of like the time when I discovered that I had somehow overlooked a purple crayon in Jeter's clothing and only noticed it after everything was dried. Loverly. The difference was this was mold...a biohazard. Ugh.

I have no idea why but I decided to lay it on top of the washer and sprayed a little bit of OxiClean Active on a spot. I really didn't think it would help. I was looking for definitive proof to declare the sweatshirt a 'lost cause' and toss it. To my utter amazement when I went down to the laundry room the next day (to actually do some laundry) I noticed that there was a patch that was lacking red spots. NO WAY!?! Was it actually possible to clean mold out of this sweatshirt?!?

YES!!! Granted I used about half of my bottle of OxiClean Active but it was well worth it. I put the sweatshirt on an old white sheet and sprayed this all over one side - no scrubbing. Just saturated it and let it sit. 24 hours later I repeated the step. 24 hours after that I turned the sweatshirt over and saturated the back of it. After another 24 hours I sprayed the few spots that still remained. If I had a digital camera I would be showing you a clean mold-free sweatshirt that cost me $2 (to fix - I bought it at BJ's), about 15 cumulative minutes of spraying and then patience to wait for the spots to literally disappear. I do not typically advocate products on this blog but seriously, this is amazing. I also don't plan on this ever happening again but you never know... On another note, it's also excellent at removing grass stains with limited scrubbing - if you don't feel like waiting for them to disappear.

#2 Growing Up and Being Responsible
I know charts are not for everyone but these have worked wonders for our family and you never could give you the peace you need as well.

Barber experienced tremendous success with the potty chart and kept asking me for a new chart. We are still figuring out what he will receive besides stickers but right now the stickers mean a lot and I have seen tremendous improvement in his behavior is just three days. I needed this. Three is an important age. I prefer to reinforce positive behavior and there has been a need to focus on areas where improvement is needed - like making good choices, quick obedience and respecting others. At the same time I added areas where he is already pretty successful but we want to continue to reinforce; brushing teeth, zero accidents and being a helper fall into this category.

Jeter's chart is set up to reinforce positive behavior, establish new levels of responsibility and teach him valuable lessons about tithing, depositing money into his savings account and saving for the purchase of something special. Each sticker he receives represents five cents. Last week was his greatest earning of $1.95. Since I recently added two categories, he has the potential to earn $4.20 per week. In a few weeks his level of obedience has improved and he is quick to complete his responsibilities and even jump in to help with things that aren't on the list. Simms and I are purposely not labelling this as an allowance. Rather, it is a tool to teach Jeter responsibility while instilling in him (hopefully) a strong work ethic.

Finally, I shop and cook in bulk. This allows me to provide healthy meals for my family amidst the busy-ness of life. It allows us to enjoy the seasons of soccer, t-ball, swimming, church activities and whatever else ends up on our schedule and still eat a good meal together as a family. If this interests you, check out the food category of The Campbell Corner. You will also see cakes and cookies that I have made (I love to bake) but if you scroll down you will find information about bulk preparation and cooking as well as some neat recipes to try.

Thank you, Multi-Tasking Moms for the opportunity to share with you today. I am still learning how to master the art of multi-tasking and appreciate the encouragement and practical resources that the women of MTM provide daily. If you are interested in being the next Featured MTM click here for more details!

Who Will Be Our Next Featured Multi-Tasking Mom?

TCC @ The Campbell Corner is our very first Featured Multi-Tasking Mom! Congratulations TCC! Which one of you wonderful women want to be next month's pick and receive an Orderly Mom Notebook?

The Orderly Mom Notebook was designed by Tiany @ More of Him~Less of Me! This is a wonderful product has everything you need to organize youreslf!!!

Now to enter, all you need to so is:

1. Leave us a comment to enter.

2. Add our button to your sidebar

3. Send us an email by clicking on our little envelop to the right (subject line: Featured MTM) sharing with us how you multi-task. Please add your name/username and name of blog with URL. If you have already blogged a great tip, please send us the link. (For those of you who entered last month are welcome to reenter another tip or the same one.)

Can't wait to hear from you:)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Mommy Moment ~ On Assignment from God

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

~Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NIV)

As mothers, we have countless, daily opportunities to plant God’s Truth and Love in the hearts and souls of our children. God desires for us to cherish the little (and big) hearts of our children, as a gift from Him. As my children have grown from infants, I have taken this scripture verse to my heart and prayerfully asked God to give me a passion for keeping my children’s hearts. In my quiet times with Him, I have been led in discovering what Deuteronomy 6:6-7 commands us to do. The first thing I discovered was my own need for daily time in God’s Word. Prior to this, I routinely attempted to handle each day in my own strength. I often sent “prayer arrows” up to God asking for help, but I was not faithful in seeking God’s wisdom for each day. Giving my early morning time to the Lord gives me the guidance and strength I need to reflect the attributes of the Lord, disciple my children’s hearts and train them in the way they should go. Another foundation in my life to apply this scripture has been through prayer. Having three young children has me on my knees and seeking God’s guidance in all areas of life. It is during these moments of prayer that I cast my concerns, frustrations, prayer needs and desires to the Lord. I strive to humble my heart and confess any sin in my own walk so that I may intercede on behalf of my child. I ask God to touch my child’s heart and reveal Himself to them in a personal way. I also pray for their spiritual development, for future Christian spouses, for God’s will in their life and anything else the Lord lays on my heart. I can honestly say that when I am daily praying for my children, I see a marked difference in their heart attitude as compared to days I do not pray. God shows me in marvelous ways that He does hear and answer my prayers! We might not know this side of Heaven how our prayers have influenced the lives of our children, but we can be confident that God is working in and through them!

So, how did I learn to apply Deuteronomy 6:6-7 in our daily life? God showed me that He wanted me to reflect His joy, love and affection as I trained my children. For me, this meant enjoying them as the treasures that they are. They are unique people whom I love to spend my days with. I laugh at their funny antics, show genuine joy with their presence in my life and lend kindness in my words and by my actions. I share with my children the majesty of God as we discover the beauty all around us. My husband and I strive to train them in God’s commandments through family devotions and Bible readings. They have plenty of opportunities to practice loving others first. They learn obedience in the home, which will mature to obedience in the Lord. Most importantly, I believe that my children will see our passionate love for God and will embrace His love for them as well.

As I was cleaning my young son’s room yesterday, I found a beautifully detailed coloring page that he created. I was moved to tears as I realized the picture was of him, holding a kite on a beautiful sunny day. Written on his kite was the name, “Jesus.” My heart rejoiced and praised the Lord for this Mommy Moment. It was a much needed glimpse of how God is working in the hearts of my precious children, May you be inspired today as you live out your own assignment from God ~ the job is not easy, but we can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength we need (Philippians 4:13).