Thursday, September 18, 2008


As you can see from my previous post, some bad habits had crept into our family. One of the most annoying was whining! I thought I'd share the age old but new for us method that has made whining much better.

"What is this remarkable cure", you may ask. It's THE CORNER. Yes, that's right. Standing in the corner. It's the perfect place to compose yourself when you feel the urge to whine and complain. There's nothing to do there, nothing to see, just you...and your the corner.

Here's a little testimonial. Last week Josiah didn't want to eat what I made for supper. Now, I had made pizza, yes, homemade, yummy pizza, which he really, really likes. Would he eat it, no. "I don't like pizza,"he whined.

Did I loose my cool? No! Did I lay on the guilt trip about how hard I had worked and slaved over that pizza? No! Did I cajole him to take a bite to see how tasty it was? No! I simply told him to stand in the corner until he could speak to Mommy nicely and without a whine in his voice. Just two minutes of boredom in the corner did the trick. He came back and ate his yummy pizza with a smile.

Then came the inevitable question, "May I please have a lollipop."

"No," was the answer. Not what he didn't know was that we had ice cream. He instantly started whining.

"Because I want one," he pouted.

Back he went to the corner. This time Maggie, the dog, decided to go with him.

"I can't talk to you right now, Maggie. I has to stand in da corner. I has to talk nice," he cried as he moved a pile of toys that I had placed in the aforementioned corner while he finished eating.

Fortunately, little boys whose noses are in the corner can't see their parents laughter behind their backs! Hehehe.

Two minutes later a happy boy was back and got to eat his ice cream with his mommy and daddy.

We're on our third week of using the corner and all it takes now is a reminder of where whiny children go. The whine dries up almost instantly! :-)

On of THOSE Mothers

Okay, I have a confession to make. Somehow in the last few months I've become one of Those mothers. I always said I would never be one of Them. They were the kind of mothers that I would never be!

It started quite innocently. Things were actually pretty good around here. Josiah had gone through a period of open defiance and we'd come through on the other side. There were very, very few temper tantrums and overall things were pretty calm. In short, life was good. That's when it happened. I let my guard down. I underestimated the level of craftiness that could come from a just turned three year old little boy. Open defiance had been replaced by a more quiet form of disobedience.

A few weeks ago we were listening to a pod cast of Family Life Today. It's a great radio broadcast with lots of good advice on marriage and parenting. They were speaking with an author, Ginger Plowman, about her book Don't Make Me Count to Three. When I heard the subject I was feeling pretty good about myself and my parenting. I was thinking that this program might make me feel better about my parenting. Boy, was I wrong.

What I realized as I listened to her talk was that even though I wasn't physically counting to three I was doing the same thing with my mannerisms. I was one of those mothers. God really used this program to convict me that I wasn't doing what I should. Here's an example.

It's Friday morning. We're leaving at 9:30 for the park. At 9:15 I say "Josiah, go put on your shoes."

There is no response. Josiah is busy playing with his trains and doesn't want to be bothered. It's not that he hasn't heard, he just doesn't want to, yet.

"Josiah," I say a little more sternly, "Go put on your shoes, NOW."

This time he looks up from his trains. You can almost picture his thoughts. Sure, he needs to obey, but he has a few minutes yet.

"I can't find them," he says, looking around innocently.

"There under your table where they always are. Go get them and put them on. Make sure they're on the correct feet this time."

By now my voice has taken on a definite pitch and volume that lets him know that it is time to start taking some action. He gets up from his trains, gets his shoes and starts to put them on. Then he hears the dog scratching at the door.

"I go let Maggie in," he says, jumping up from the floor and racing to the door.

"Don't worry about Maggie, get your shoes on or else!" I yell, not even pretending to keep my voice down any more.

At this point Josiah starts crying, but puts his shoes on. I let in the dog, who seems bewildered by all the commotion.

Josiah comes out from his room with his shoes on the wrong feet. Why, because he likes them on the wrong feet. Not in the mood for another battle, and since it's ten minutes since we were supposed to leave, I give up and load him in the car. Of course, loading in the car is a battle on its own.

So we're listening to this woman talk about not scolding your children but speaking to them in a calm and serious voice. Hmm...I haven't been doing to well at that. Then she talks about how they obey, that they should be obeying the first time they're asked. Hmm...not doing to well there, either. Then she says how they should obey, with a joyful heart. Okay, okay, I get the point!

We immediately started teaching Josiah a saying. "Obey right away, all the way, and with a joyful heart!" When Josiah isn't doing what I tell him to do I ask, "Are you obeying or disobeying." Then I have him say the saying. If he's obeying, but with a rebellious spirit I ask him if he has a joyful heart. He'll put on a smily pretty quickly!

I started paying careful attention when I give Josiah a command. I make sure that he's looking at me and tell him exactly what to do, usually on his level. I then expect him to do it immediately with no whining. The first few days were pretty hard. It was painful for me to resist the urge to yell and replace it with a calm, quite voice. But it's getting better. On the second day I "yelled" at Dan to get it out of my system. I said "I've got to yell! Argh!!!" He laughed.

This week things have been better again. I think it's mostly that I have to be consistent and not get so wrapped up in my own thoughts that I don't pay enough attention to what's going on around me. I've heard it called "intentional" parenting.

I'm know I'll have my slip ups, but I'm going to keep trying not to be one of Those mothers!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Singing in the Grocery Store...Again

On Tuesday we had to go to the grocery store. Josiah really likes going to the store because he gets a cookie, so he was excited. We made a quick trip through the produce aise where all the fruit was way too expensive. Then we went back to the cookies, but they were gone! Josiah was good sport about it, though.

We headed back to get lunch meat and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the meat I like the most was marked down, a lot! I told Josiah that this meat being so much on sale was a blessing from God.

He smiled and began to sing "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" at the top of his lungs! This time I let him! I'm excited to see those connections happening with him. I sometimes wish that they could happen at a slightly less vibrant volume, but I'd rather have them happen loudly than not happen at all! :-)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Three year old theology

We had a big milestone last week. Josiah turned three. He's growing so quickly! I can hardly believe that he's been in my life for so long! It seems only a few days ago that I found out he was coming.

A few days before his birthday I was getting ready to go out for a little while by myself. I was putting on my makeup in the bathroom. He came in and sat down on the side of the bathtub.

"Mama," he said, trying to get my attention, "'splain God."

My mind was somewhere else. I struggled to pay attention to what he was saying.

"Mama, 'splain God to me."

Now there's a command! How do you "explain God" to an almost three year old? I mean, we talk about God all the time. We read the Bible together almost every day. We pray for almost every meal and often at other times during the day. We go to church and we point out blessings every chance we get.

I went with the classic Mother's answer. I said, "Go ask your Dad!"

Dan told him about how God made us and is everywhere with us. He said how God knows everything is bigger and stronger than anything we can imagine. That seemed to satisfy Josiah and he went off to play.

About a week later we had an opportunity to take Grandma Faye to a funeral home to visit with the family of a cousin who passed away. This was the first time Josiah has been to a funeral home in quite a while. We walked in and he saw the woman lying in the casket.

"What she doin' sleepin' up there?" he asked, innocently.

"She's not asleep baby, she died," I explained.

"Somebody go wake her up," he responded.

"She can't wake up, she's in heaven with God."

"God everywhere," he responded.

"Yes, God is everywhere, but he's also in heaven. She went home to heaven to be with God and Jesus," I tried to explain again.

"Where Jesus?" he asked.

This wasn't working. Grandma Faye decided to take a stab at it.

"Her spirit went home to be with the Lord," Grandma Faye explained, taking Josiah right up to the casket to look in.

"Her needs her car keys so her can drive home!" Josiah exclaimed.

At that point half the people in the room started to laugh. It seemed prudent to get him out of there as quickly as possible!

We hurried into the kitchen area where some of the family that I know were milling. Josiah was asked several times what his name was. He always responded, "I 3!"

"Your name is Josiah," I prompted.

"I not Josiah anymore, I three!"

He thought that his name was three now! :-)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Saving Money - laundry

Laundry, it's a never ending chore. There are always dirty clothes to be washed, dried and put away. Here's some things I've done to try to lower the cost.

1. My latest project has been homemade laundry soap. Here's the site with the recipe I used. It also has a great cost comparison that I won't try to recreate. I made this a week ago and really like it. Here's the recipe:

1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing soda (Not baking soda)
1/2 cup Borax
1 bar of soap, grated (I used Ivory)

Put 4 cups of water in a pot. Boil, then reduce to a simmer. Slowly add the grated bar of soap, stirring constantly until it is all dissolved.

Put 3 gallons of warm water into a five gallon bucket. Stir in Washing Soda and Borax. Add your soap soup. Stir until well mixed.

Cover and leave overnight. Stir and use!

This stuff is really lumpy and slimy, but I've read that the consistency will very from batch to batch. I use about one cup per load and have really liked the results. I used name brand Ivory because Dan has some allergies and I know he's not allergic to Ivory. I've bought generic soaps before that have given him a hard time. I've read about people using Irish Spring or even Caress.

I'm thinking that because I used a mild soap it might even be a good replacement for Dreft for babies. Of course, I ended up only using Dreft for a short time with Josiah because I realized that I was using regular detergent on his diapers. I figured if that didn't bother him in his diapers that it wouldn't bother him anywhere else, either!

2. Get a clothes line and use it! I really like using my clothes line for several reasons. It saves a lot of electricity, both from the dryer itself and the heat it adds to the house. Also, Josiah would rather be outside than inside. He plays and stays busy while I hang the clothes. He also likes "helping" by handing me clothes pins or picking them up when I drop them. I feel "virtuous" when I see the clothes drying on the line!

Here's how I do laundry when I dry it on the line. I try to do it all in one day. I usually start the night before with heavy darks because they take the longest to dry. First thing the next morning I do sheets and towels. I hang the sheets on the outside lines so that they hide our - ahem - unmentionables. We have several neighbors who see everything in our yard and we don't like having our underwear on display!

Then I do the rest of the whites, the rest of the darks and the reds. That usually takes care of all of our clothes for the week. We don't always have that many loads, it just depends.

If an article of clothing belongs on a hanger I put it on a plastic one to dry. I still dry socks in the dryer. I hate putting on crunchy socks!

If I start around 8:30 in the morning I usually have everything washed and on the line by lunchtime. Unless it's threatening to rain I don't bring things in until it's cooled down in the evening. I often fold things and put them in baskets according to what room they belong in as I take them off the line. It makes them less wrinkled than just stuffing them all in a laundry basket and folding later.

The most important part of hanging clothes on the line is shaking them briskly before and after hanging. This does two things: It makes them softer and helps dislodge any possible insect visitors that like to hang out on the line with the clothes! The texture of some things, like towels, is rougher than when they're dried in the dryer. Some people put them in the dryer for a few minutes to fluff, but I don't like that extra step. I'm too lazy for that.

I guess that's it. These are both simple things, but the savings add up.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Saving Money Part one

Some ladies and I were talking last night about ways to save money. I've read several articles recently about ways to save money, but lots of the ideas were impractical or not feasible for my family. I thought I'd list a few of the practical ways that we're trying to save money, and maybe a few money savings ideas that didn't work!

Today I'll share some ideas for saving money at restaurants. These may be obvious, but sometimes obvious ideas are the best.

1. Drink water! I ordered a soda for the first time in a long time the other day and was shocked when it added 2.25 plus tax to the bill! I can go to my corner gas station and get 5 sodas for that price! (See #5)

2. Split meals. Dan and I almost always split a meal. It's better for our wallet and our waist lines! The few times we don't split I usually end up wishing that I had ordered what he has anyway. He always picks the best things.

3. Eat off the kids menu, when possible. Not everyone lets you do this, but if they do it's a great way to get a good meal. They often come with a drink, too. Cracker Barrel and Moe's Southwest are the best places to do this. MMmmm....I'm feeling the urge for a Moo, Moo Mr. Cow!

4. Eat out on kids eat free night if you have kids. We went to Applebee's on Wed. and got a cheeseburger, fries, kids chicken fingers, applesauce, a kid's tea and a kid's ice cream sundae. The total tab was about 12 dollars after tip. We even brought a chicken finger home for Josiah's lunch the next day.

5. Check with school kids for discount cards or coupon books. The schools here sell Smart Cards for $10.00 that have discounts for various restaurants, gas stations, and are attractions. We have a card that lets you buy a large fry and drink at McDonalds and you get any sandwich for free. We get this and split it (See #2). It also has any size soft drink from a local gas station for 49 cents.

6. Buy an Entertainment book. This one doesn't work quite so well for us because we live an hour from the city that the Entertainment book is for. It's too far to drive for a quick dinner out. It is also for places that are more expensive than where we usually go. However, we wait to order ours until it is several months old. By then they usually send us emails offering a discounted price, free shipping, extra coupons...anything to get you to buy the book. By the time we order it we usually only have to use it once for it to pay for itself. I like it because it has attractions, too. We try to go to at least one historic attraction in the area each year.

There are just a few ideas. I'd love to hear other ideas.

Next I'll write about saving money on laundry! Stay tuned!!! :-)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Unce upon a time...

Once upon a time I could get sick, go to my room, shut the door and stay there until I felt better.
Once upon a time I could get sick, call in to work, get someone to fill in for me, go to sleep and not have anyone bother me until I felt better.
Once upon a time I could get sick, lay in bed, cough and wheeze in peace!
Not any more!

I know that I have been blessed, but this is the first time Josiah and I have been sick at the same time. We've taken turns before, but this was the first time we were both absolutely miserable together! Poor Dan!!! Josiah and I were both coughing and hacking all night. Josiah would stay up until midnight and be back up at 5:00 with a yucky nose and cough. In the meantime I coughed all night. None of us got any sleep.

Finally, last Thursday after four sleepless nights we went to the doctor. I'm so thankful for antibiotics. I know they're often overused, but let me tell you, when you really need them it's nice to have them. By Saturday Josiah was back to normal and sleeping all night again.

Unfortunately, I'm taking a little longer to get over it this time. Kroger had a sale on Lean Cuisine, so we've been eating those meals and PBJ almost every meal. I've had to cancel piano lessons and stay home from church. Josiah's watched more PBS the last two weeks than the last two months! I doze off and on while laying on the couch and he watches tv or plays with his trucks and trains on the floor. When my throat doesn't hurt he snuggles in bed with me and we read Heidi.

I love being a mom, but it's not exactly a job that you can call in sick! Josiah feels bad that I'm sick and wants to love on me and cuddle me, but that only makes me hurt worse! He keeps trying to kiss me to make me feel better. He's so sweet!

Hopefully by next week I'll be all better!

Who says a 2 year old's too young for singing school!

Yesterday I had to go to the doctor. It was my second visit in a week. Last week Josiah and I were both miserably sick. He had a sinus infection and I had bronchitis. Josiah's almost completely better, but I'm not feeling very good. So, off we went to the Dr. again. They put is in the pediatric room so Josiah could play while the doctor saw me. It sounded like a good idea, but Josiah turned over 4 puzzles with LOTS of pieces all over the floor. The doctor and nurse could hardly get to me!

One of the puzzles was a shape puzzle. I heard Josiah singing, but wasn't sure what he was doing. He had all of the shapes in a vertical line and was singing do mi so while pointing at the shapes. It was pretty funny. He pointed to the triangle for do, too...pretty cool! I guess going to two singing schools this summer has payed off.

I had just told him to put one of the puzzles up before he dropped it when the doctor came in. She started right in to talk to me while Josiah saw the opportunity to ignore me.
I turned to the doctor and said "Excuse me, just a moment, please. I need to take care of this." Josiah was sad that he didn't get away with it, but he obeyed.

"He's so sweet!" the doctor said.

"Yes, but we work hard to keep him that way!" I replied.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Joining the blogging world!

I've recently become engrossed in the lives of my friends by reading their blogs. Tonight I had to stay home from a church meeting that I've been looking forward to for months, so I had some time alone to start my own blog. I don't know that I'll have much to write about except for being a mother, but my son does lots of funny things, so maybe this will be a good place to write about them and give people a good laugh!

I've decided that moms must have thick skin and not be easily embarrassed. For instance, a few weeks ago we flew home from a week long visit with my parents. It was about 9:30 and lots of people on the plane were attempting to sleep. That was when my son decided to sing Blessed Assurance at the top of his lungs. He closed his little eyes, threw his head back, and let it rip. You would have thought we were Pentecostal instead of Primitive Baptist!

Unfortunately, it struck my funny bone. I started laughing so hard that I couldn't stop! I finally had to clamp my hand over his mouth before he would quit...chorus after chorus! It ended up being a good thing that he did make that happy commotion, because a few minutes later he was screaming at the top of his lungs and threw up all over me as we landed! Coming off the plane and through the luggage claim people were very kind and friendly!

Last week, in the grocery store, my son decided to try singing Blessed Assurance at the top of his lungs again! This time there was no plane noise to drown him out even a little bit. As we walked down aisle after aisle he got louder and louder! I got crosser and crosser! A sweet little old lady on one of the aisles noticed my irritation and said "Let him sing, Honey! At least he's praising his Saviour all the day long. There are worse noises that could be coming out of a two year old!"

Wow! That made me feel guilty! He wasn't doing anything wrong, other than being a little loud. But lots of children walk through the store whining or begging or throwing tantrums! Of course, mine has done all of those things at one point or another, and probably will do them all again! But this time he was "praising his savior!". What more could a mother ask?