Monday, June 27, 2016

candy in the morning time, candy in the hot sunshine

I just wanted to remind you all that this song exists.



My kids want candy all the time.
I mean, ALL the time.

They'd ask me for it a hundred times a day!  And the more they asked, the less I knew what to say.  Do I become a "no" machine?  Do I give up and always say yes?  Do I have them quit asking and just eat it whenever?  Should I throw it all away?  Am I being consistent?  Should I make rules about when I'll say what?  

You get the idea.  Candy was driving me crazy.

*brainstorming*

Here's what I came up with.



Each of my kids has a napkin on the counter.  Every night, they can choose four pieces of candy to put on their napkins.  The next day, they can eat it whenever they want, with four rules:

1. Not during dinner
2. Not after you've brushed your teeth at night
3. When it's gone, it's gone.  
(If you ask for another piece, I'll say no and you'll have one less tomorrow.)
4. If you ask to eat it, I get to eat one of yours. 


And can I just say, life has been amazing.  Little Boy usually eats all his before breakfast and Little Girl spaces hers out a little better, but hey.  Whatever floats your boat.  They're happy because they get candy "whenever they want," and I'm happy because I know how much they're eating but haven't had to answer a candy question in a month. 

The candy they choose from is whatever's been on sale lately.




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Two is the beginning of the end.
Peter Pan

Thursday, June 23, 2016

snack bags!

I try to make most of my posts for a general audience, but this one is especially for parents.  We've tried a few things lately with our kids that have worked SO well! so I felt like I needed to share. :)

Problem: It's snack time! and I never know how much food to give my kids.  Whether we're talking crackers, nuts, dried fruit, ... - Too little and they're hungry again in five minutes.  Too much and they won't eat dinner (and I'm feeling guilty about giving them a pound of Chex Mix).  "Little Boy, I'm sorry that my handful came out looking like more on her napkin than yours."  

BUT They never complain about the amount of snack in a pre-packaged bag, I noticed one day.

Solution: Snack bags!

The day I gave them pre-packaged snacks and enjoyed the heavenly sound of no complaining, I went home and got out my snack-sized Ziplock bags, kitchen scale, and our boxes and bags of snacks, and I started separating.  I measured out bags according to the serving size on the nutrition labels (usually around 30 g / 1 oz).  I ended up with around 50 baggies of snacks.  I put all the bags in a designated drawer in the kitchen, along with any granola bars and "official" snack packs we had.  I explained to the kids that some bags look like more full, but that they all had the exact same weight - some foods are just heavier than others.  


what's in our snack drawer right now
Sometimes I surprise them by putting in two baggies of chips or M&Ms, but it's usually crackers, dried fruit, or nuts.

We also have a snack box in the fridge that has string cheese and baggies of carrots, apples, other produce.  Sometimes I let them have one from both the drawer and the fridge - crackers and cheese or apples and peanut butter, for example.  The kids are allowed to eat produce basically anytime so it's handy to have that cut up (especially if it's something like cucumbers or broccoli).

We fancy.
We have snack time at about 3:00 every day.  When that time comes, I no longer have to think of an answer to the question of what snack will be.  I don't dread the whine that comes when I give an answer someone doesn't like.  I just tell them to grab a snack bag!  And everyone's happy.  They're excited to choose their own, and I'm excited that I don't have to choose anyone's but mine.  We literally have never had a complaint about portion size, either.  When it's gone, it's gone and snack time's over.  If you're still hungry, good!  That means you'll be ready when it's dinnertime. :)

This has also worked great for when we're going to be away from home at snack time.  Sometimes I have baggies in the car, but usually I just tell everyone to grab one before we leave.  So much more convenient than passing around a whole box!  Even when we went on a car trip recently, we just brought a bunch of baggies.  

The adults in our family follow the same portions, by the way.  It's been great for helping us not eat a TON mindlessly.  I wondered if we'd fizzle out after a week, but we still love them as much as we did on Day 1!  This is definitely a trick we'll be sticking with.

Part 2: CANDY




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Life isn’t to be found in holding on and looking back, but in letting go and looking forward.
Life Goes On
Philip Gulley

Monday, June 20, 2016

PSA: Life Lesson #4

I haven't written the other Life Lessons, by the way.  I just didn't think this one was quite important enough to have the title "Life Lesson #1."  So, without further ado, Life Lesson #4!


When you've gotten up and started getting ready for the day,
don't go back to bed.


It just never ends well.  You think it will when you're settling in and your bed is sooooo comfy.  But when you wake up two hours later with a weird headache; your child is still waiting patiently for breakfast, bless her heart; and somehow you feel way more tired than when you laid down and wonder if your eyelids have weights on them or are just glued down... - Well, let's just say, it's a good time to learn a Life Lesson.  Now get out of bed and go make yourself some lunch.




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We didn’t have to consciously focus on how grateful we were to be here, to be alive, because nature announced its marvels, and we felt it deep in our bodies and souls. 
The Gratitude Diaries

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Why We Bought A Rainbow Umbrella

It's good to ask your kids questions about what they like instead of just assuming.  Probably spouse, friends, and other family, too, for that matter.  

Example #1: Little Boy participated in a reading program this year.  His teacher invited us to observe a lesson.  Before it started, I read a description of his reading strengths, weaknesses, and habits, including this sentence: "[Little Boy] is particularly drawn to nonfiction texts."  That was news to me, although it made sense with the kinds of shows he likes to watch.  I observed the lesson, during which he read a fictional story and a nonfiction book about foxes.  His attention level between the two was fascinating.  He was clearly more drawn to the factual book.  After the lesson, I told him what the teacher had said and asked if it was true.  He nonchalantly replied, "Yep.  I like the books about facts better."  Later, I realized that of course I hadn't known that about books!  I'm drawn to fiction, so fiction is mainly what's available in our home.  LB has had very little opportunity to showcase his interest in nonfiction because I didn't particularly want to read nonfiction books to him.

Example #2: Little Girl and I went to the store so she could buy the umbrella she'd been saving for.  We stood in front of the display so she could see her choices and pick the one she wanted.  I thought she'd immediately choose the pink one because she's been so into pink, but she was drawn to a striped rainbow one.  I checked with her that she didn't want pink, and she responded with a glazed-over love for the rainbow umbrella.  If I had chosen for her, I wouldn't have learned that her preferences may be evolving.

It's like trying on clothes.  We all know our kids won't wear the same size forever, but we don't always notice them growing until they've outgrown a shirt or we measure them.  It's worth measuring them once in a while to know what size pants to buy them, right?  While you're at it, pay attention to how their minds, personalities, and likes / dislikes are growing and changing, too. :)





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All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.
Candide

Monday, June 13, 2016

political thoughts I probably shouldn't post online

#1: It seems like everyone's calling for extreme gun control after what happened this weekend with Christina Grimmie and with the club in Orlando.  Don't people realize that the ones who will be punished are those who already follow existing gun laws?

#2: People are using the Orlando shooting to fuel the argument that Muslims are the worst.  Can we please change that sentence to, "Terrorists are the worst"?

#3: I wish the news would stop advertising the fact that this is the deadliest shooting in U.S. history.  We don't need some wacko to see all the press and publicity and decide to "beat the record."  Don't get me wrong, 50 is a significant number of people.  One is a significant number of people.  But when you consider the amount of damage that could be done by a wacko feeling challenged - Well, I hope we don't end up wishing it had only been 50.





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Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick.  Don’t lose faith.
Steve Jobs

Thursday, June 9, 2016

good things and God things

One thing I love about reading Christian-but-not-Mormon devotionals, like the (in)courage email I get every day, is that the authors talk about things differently - and have different subjects - than Mormons often do.  They offer a new perspective.

We, as a church and as a culture, tend to teach topics very close to the same way every time.  We offer the same quotes over and over - albeit really great ones! - and the moment something's taught in a unique way (in General Conference, for example), we cling to it and share! share! share! until it, too, is the norm.

Now.  None of that is meant to be a criticism.  I'm very happy as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. :)  But I also love hearing a new perspective.  It's refreshing.  This morning I read an article about choosing between the good and the best, creating white space, and letting ourselves rest.  When Mormons discuss this topic, we tell people to choose between the good, better, and best (referencing Dallin H. Oak's talk, "Good, Better, Best").  In this devotional, though, the way the author said it was, "Not every good thing is a God thing.  It's time to go beyond 'good' and embrace the very best God has for you."  

Mormons have some favorite scriptures, too, and I love that other Christian denominations' favorite scriptures are different than ours.  It's fun!  They're verses I've read and heard before, but being reminded of them makes them sound new.  In this same devotional, the author quoted Ephesians 2:10.  "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."  And then talked about God creating us and having a specific plan for each of us:

He has a divine plan that can only be accomplished through us.  He didn't say, "You ended up in this world somehow, so get up every day and see what happens."  No, you are here for a reason and you are irreplaceable.  
God wants you to take ownership of your life.  He wants you to live proactively... There will always be someone who's willing to tell you who you should be and what you should do.  But God doesn't want you to be like anyone but Jesus. 
It's time to go beyond "good" and embrace the very best God has for you.

Isn't that good? 
Sometimes hearing a lesson in new words makes it hit closer to home.





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It is not happiness that makes us grateful.  It’s gratefulness that makes us happy.
David Steindl-Rast

Monday, June 6, 2016

Pick a little, talk a little, etc.

Cheep! Cheep! Cheep! Talk a lot, pick a little more...

We all have similar needs, I think, albeit in varying degrees.
The need I was thinking about today is the need to talk and be heard, to have someone interested in what you have to say, who will ask probing questions and act interested. (in a friend capacity)

I went to a block party where a friend met that need... so I totally took advantage and dominated the conversation.  Then I went home and felt embarrassed for not offering her the same courtesy of being allowed to talk and be listened to.  

They say that, to be a good conversationalist, you need to be a good listener.  Ask questions and listen to the response.  Where it gets fuzzy for me is, how often do I be the "good conversationalist" and how often do I let her be?  Because in a balanced friendship, there should be times when I'm the talker and when I'm the listener, right?

In my older friendships, this balance is pretty natural.  (Thank goodness!)  But in new friendships, I never quite feel like I'm getting it right.  

Honestly.  Dating was easier.





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Gratitude at its best is an action.
Henry Timm