P31 Wannabe

Jello Jigglers September 17, 2010

Filed under: Desserts,Recipes — Lacey @ 9:07 am

Remember these?  I made these for D-Group earlier this week.  They are super easy and still as yummy as I remember.  I tried to cut them out with a cookie cutter, but alas, my efforts failed…so I stuck with the unoriginal squares.  And shock…a lot of the kids seriously didn’t know what Jello Jigglers were.  What has the world come to?

Jello Jigglers


Home as a School September 16, 2010

Filed under: Books,Life — Lacey @ 4:31 pm

I was really looking forward to reading this chapter in Jill Savage’s My Heart’s At Home since we are planning on home schooling Haddie. I was hoping for some new insights and great ideas. While I was a little disappointed that it didn’t talk about the actual schooling part, it did give me some good ideas about how to train children in the different disciplines that are essential for a successful life.

(Italics are direct quotes, regular text are my comments)

People Skills

Kids don’t learn people skills by osmosis.  They have to be taught appropriate manners and relationship skills.

  • Introductions
  • Phone Etiquette
    • At our house you don’t answer the phone until you are nine years old.  That’s a rite of passage in the Savage family.
  • Thank-You Notes
    • Having a grateful heart and expressing thanks are two different things.  Kids need to be taught how to express written thanks when they receive a gift or someone goes out of their way to do something for them.
    • I was really excited about reading this one, because I had just coincidentally started having Haddie color thank you cards while I wrote a short note inside “from” her.  She has gotten really excited about making thank you cards and was even upset when we didn’t have any more to do!
  • Table manners
  • Being a host or hostess

Self-Management Skills

Kids learn by what they see us do, by natural consequences (if I don’t manage my time well, I don’t get my homework done, and then I get a bad grade), and by direct instruction.

  • Personal appearance skills:
    • Bathing/showering/washing hair
      • As a youth sponsor….I want to say please, please, please teach these skills to your children!!!  We have had too many awkward situations where we have had to force kids (mainly middle school boys…but it doesn’t stop there!) to shower and use deodorant and change their clothes.  Kids need to be taught these things!  Parents shouldn’t assume that they will automatically know the right ways to do these things.  My kids will be clean and smelling good as much as possible!
    • Deodorant
    • Hair care
      • Help your child to understand that choice comes with responsibility.  If your daughter wants long hair, she has to care for it every day without an argument.
    • Clothing care
      • At the Savage household, if I find clothes on the floor, they become mine for 30 days.  We have explained to our kids that caring for your clothes is really about stewardship–taking care of the things God has given you.  If you can’t be responsible, then you lose the privilege of having very many choices in clothing.
      • I really like the above principle.  I’ve seen too many kids leave their belongings all over our youth room and all over during our youth trips.  I cringe when I think about how they must behave at home.  I like my home organized and my belongings taken care of.  And I want to pass these qualities onto my family.
  • Personal Discipline Skills:
    • “The very last part of the brain to be pruned and shaped to its adult dimensions is the prefrontal cortex, home of the so-called executive functions–planning, setting priorities, organizing thoughts, suppressing impulses, weighing the consequences of one’s actions.  In other words, the final part of the brain to grow up is the part capable of deciding, I’ll finish my homework and take out the garbage and then I’ll IM my friends about seeing a movie.”
      • Oh, this explains sooo much!
    • Homework
    • Time Management
    • Money Management
      • TV Commercials
      • Grocery Shopping
      • Bill Paying
      • The tithe lesson
      • The saving lesson
      • The pay cash/no debt lesson
      • The budget lesson

Home Management

A parent’s job is to work themselves out of a job.  It’s a challenging predicament because everyone wants to be needed.  If we work ourselves out of a job, we won’t be needed anymore, right?  No, that’s not true at all.  We’re just needed in a different way as our children walk more and more toward independence.

A child’s first real effort at home management begins in the preschool years.  This is when they bring home school papers or Sunday school papers.  They also start collecting things, such as fast-food toys from kids’ meals and other trinkets of all kinds.  They also have toys they need to help manage.  During the preschool and early elementary years, the parent will do most of the managing, but the parent needs to ask the child to help much of the time.  This slowly introduces them to the concept that there are things in life that need to be taken care of.

A preschooler can help with the laundry by sorting clothes according to color.  As they get into grade school they can not only sort, but also help fold clothes.  By junior high, you’ll need to conduct some basic “how to do laundry” lessons to complete their education.  From then on, they should be able to either assist with laundry responsibilities or completely be responsible for their own laundry.

Saturday is home management day:

  • Strip bedsheets
  • Make bed w/ fresh sheets
  • Pick up, straighten, and organize your room
  • Dust your room
  • Vacuum your room
  • Ask Mom one thing she wants you to do in the house
  • Ask Dad what he wants you to do in the yard
  • When you are finished with your list, you are free to spend the rest of your Saturday however you would like.

Yes, it’s easier to do it on your own, but that is not what is best for them.

Make sure you don’t skip over actually teaching them how to do each of their responsibilities.  Often times we expect things from our children that we’ve actually not taken the time to actually show them how to do.

Our kids also have their basics (the five-finger responsibilities) and daily chores we call “family responsibilities.”  These are the tasks that need to be done every day, such as emptying the dishwasher, feeding the animals, collecting the trash throughout the house, and running the vacuum on the high traffic areas.  The family responsibilities are assigned by day with a chart on the refrigerator.

Spiritual Disciplines

As a parent, our goal is to encourage our children to transition from our faith and beliefs to making them their own faith and beliefs.  At some time they have to own it for themselves and find their own personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  They too have to move from a religion to relationship.

Lessons to teach them:

  • Bible reading
  • Praying
    • ACTS pattern for prayer (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication)
      • I learned this pattern sometime while I was a kid and I still use it.  Helps me to remember to include more aspects than just asking (supplication) all the time.
  • Attending church and youth group
    • These lessons are the ones you teach with your life.  If you occasionally don’t go to church because you don’t feel like it, your kids will learn that going to church isn’t something valuable for your life; it’s just an option you can do whenever its convenient.  If you walk away from a church service complaining about the length of the sermon or how bad the music was, they’ll pick up that church isn’t really about being entertained and sometimes the entertainment just isn’t what it should be.

Character and Values

Jill included a large chart of the different character qualities, their definitions, scripture references and scripture location of Jesus’ example of these qualities.

When I was homeschooling, we chose one character quality each month to study and work on…We no longer homeschool, but most summers we focus on one character quality a week or even one a day as an overview to understanding the importance of character.


Home as a Playground September 15, 2010

Filed under: Books,Life — Lacey @ 2:20 pm

My favorite excerpts from ch. 9 “Home as a Playground” in Jill Savage’s My Heart’s At Home.

(Italics are direct quotes, regular text are my comments)

Families are meant to have fun together.  A playful spirit and a good measure of laughter are medicine for the soul.  When home is a playground, there’s an intentional effort to have fun and play together as a family.

Laughter is Good Medicine

Not only is laughter good for the soul, it’s great for the body.  “Laughter can lower blood pressure, increase muscle flexion, and trigger a flood of endorphins–the brain chemicals that can bring on euphoria.  Laughter profoundly affects our immune systems. Gamma interferon, a disease-fighting protein, rises with laughter.  So do B cells, which orchestrate our body’s immune response.  Laughter can also shut off the flow of stress hormones–the fight or flight compounds that come into play when we feel hostility, rage, and stress.”

Make Play a Priority

Is play each to do at your house? (i.e. Do you have toys and games easily accessible to your children and set up for quick play?)

Games, Games, and More Games

  • Games not only build community in a famly, but they are also valuable in a child’s development.
  • The most valuable benefit of playing games is the human interaction they require.
  • On vacations or holiday breaks you might try playing an ongoing game all week.

Family Recreation

  • Baseball games in the yard
  • H-O-R-S-E or P-I-G
  • A picnic in the park
  • Playing together in the kitchen…It’s not only fun to bake together, but also a great place to teach about food safety, measurements and fractions.
  • http://www.familyfun.com

Fun in the Car

  • When the kids were small, I never traveled anywhere without a bottle of bubbles.  By holding the bubble wand up to the air conditioner or heater vent, I could fill the car with bubbles in less than a minute.
    • This is an interesting idea.  Would probably be fun, but wouldn’t it make a sticky mess?   Everytime we play bubbles, my hand always gets gross from reaching for the wand.  Is that only me?  Guess I’m not so fun…
  • Car trips usually mean special snacks for our family.
  • My dollar store purchases provide a special treat for every hour we’re in the car.
    • My mom used to do something similar when we made the long trip to Indiana during the summer to see family.  I remember looking forward to opening a special gift every so often.  I hope to continue something similar with my child(ren).  But every hour gifts could get quite expensive if its a long trip…especially if you have multiple children.  Just saying.

Give Ownership

Basically, she suggested that we get our kids’ input in what fun activities and trips they’d like to go on.  And as they get older, we actually let them plan some of them.  Giving them ownership tells them they’re important and part of the family, teaches them life-long skills, and insures that they will really want to participate.

A Playful Heart

I have often said that a mom’s ability to have fun is directly proportioned to her ability to stand a mess.  Moms who don’t mind a mess find it easier to have fun than moms who like things neat and clean all the time.

-I’m sure this something I need to work on.  I am an organized person and feel better when things are reasonably neat.  But I do enjoy playing around and getting dirty.  But I do hesitate to do things that will make a mess if I don’t have the energy or time to clean it back up again.  Guess I’ll have to find a good balance.


Home as a Museum

Filed under: Books,God thoughts,Life — Lacey @ 1:59 pm

My favorite excerpts from ch.8 “Home as a Museum” from Jill Savage’s My Heart’s At Home

(Italics are direct quotes, regular text are my comments)

A history museum displays artifacts from the past.  It completes a picture for us concerning where we’ve come from and paints a picture we might not otherwise be able to see.  When home is a museum, it serves as a place to remember the past in our lives and in lives that were lived before us.  It also serves as a memorial to the work that God has done in our lives.

Our God Stories:

It’s nothing but an old Coke bottle box that we found at an auction.  Hanging on our family room wall, it houses a display in our family’s museum.   Each item in the display has a “God story” that goes along with it.

When home is a museum, credit is given where credit is due.  The memorials displayed are a tribute to God’s work in the family.  What God stories does your family have?  What could you display to represent them?  How could you follow Joshua 4:6 “In the future when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them…”

-It think this a neat concept.  I’m not sure how we might carry it out ourselves though.  I’ll have to keep thinking about this…

Tell the Family Stories:

When home is a museum, it is also a tribute to the family who came before us.  If you have the ability to tell family stories with or without a cemetery tour, I encourage you to take the time to do it.  Here are some tips for making such an effort successful:

  • Take notes (i.e. directions to cemeteries, stories that went with each grave site)
  • Use a video camera.  This allows you to record the stories as they are being told.
  • Take pictures of the gravestones.  This gives you the possibility of putting together a scrapbook of the pictures and stories.
  • Take crayons and paper.  Even younger children can learn how to do gravestone rubbings to read the words on a worn gravestone.
  • Ask questions.  You might start with “Grandma, what do you remember about your childhood?” or “Dad, tell me what you remember about Uncle Joe.”

-I definitely think this cemetery tour is interesting.  I’ll have to keep it in mind for when Haddie is older.  Although there aren’t a lot of family members buried close to here.  Our family was never in the habit of visiting the cemetery.  Maybe its because we know only their bodies are there, but not their spirits.  So, what’s the point of it?  But I do see some neat possibilities in teaching/remembering family history.  I also find it kinda sad that I really don’t know much of our family’s history either.  I only met a couple of my great-grandparents and pretty much all my grandparents are deceased.  So, I haven’t heard many of the stories, but I’d like to look into it more.


Home as a Research Lab September 13, 2010

Filed under: Books,Life — Lacey @ 4:21 pm

I really loved this chapter in Jill Savage’s My Heart’s at Home.  It gave me some great ideas, but I felt very affirmed in a lot of what I’m already naturally doing with Haddie.  It was so neat to see that what I’m already doing with Haddie is actually going to teach her so much in the long run.  I’m all about training kids to be self-sufficient.  Especially after being in youth ministry and seeing so many kids that seriously have no idea how to wash dishes, do laundry, prepare meals, pick up after themselves, and even order their own food/manage their own money on youth trips.

(Italics are direct quotes from the book.  The regular text are my additions.)

“Home is a safe place to develop new skills, try new hobbies, and cultivate ideas.  It’s a place where talents can be developed and honed.  Home needs to be a place to discover not only what we like to do, but also what we don’t enjoy or have little talent for at all.”

In the Kitchen:

  • We all need to learn some basic life skills, regardless of what we will choose as our vocation.  Children need a variety of food preparation opportunities throughout childhood and adolescence.  It takes time to show them how to peel a carrot or potato, but it gives them ownership of the meal and introduces them  to basic culinary skills.  You never know what God has in store for your child.
  • Require regular help in the kitchen by every child, but give extra opportunities  to any child who shows more interest.

I have naturally already included Haddie in helping me cook.  She loves to sit on the counter and watch me cook.  She also likes to help dump and mix (I only let her do so for a  very limited time).  She already knows the names for a lot of the dishes, utensils, etc.  She can point out a cutting board, knife, mixer, bowls, plates, measuring cups, etc.  And she’s learned about and tried a lot more foods than she normally would from watching me cook.

In the Garage:

  • Many kids learn best with hands-on kinesthetic learning.  If you have a kinesthetic learner, providing opportunities to tear something apart and put it back together will excited them more than a trip to McDonalds and it will whet their appetite to learn.

I can remember my dad giving us lots of opportunties to do this with his own radios and tools.  My sister even used to dissect the junk fish we caught when we went fishing.  I guess it was a learning experience after all…not that I enjoy either of those now.

Haddie occasionally spends time with Seth working on his projects.  She loves being with her daddy and for Father’s Day we got her/Seth a play tool set.  She already knows what a hammer, screw driver, etc. are.  Even as a baby she spent time in her carseat with Seth in his shed while I was gone at work.  He even made her car seat into a rope swing in there.  She loved it.  It freaked me out at first, but after I saw that it was actually pretty safe and she loved it, I relaxed a little.  But I still didn’t want the neighbors to see her swinging like that…I was afraid we’d end up with a visit from DCF.

In the Yard:

  • Every child needs some basic skills in taking care of a yard or growing plants, but there might be a budding horticulturalist in your family.
  • If your family has a garden, make caring for it a family affair.

My mom had tons, I mean tons of flower gardens (and she still does).  We also had a vegetable garden numerous times while I was growing up.  I’m thankful now for the planting skills I learned because I’ve been able to have a halfway successive flower garden since I’ve owned a house (and even when having an on-campus apartment in college).  Our apartments were pretty much the only ones with plants outside every year.  I tried a vegetable garden last year, but I wasn’t too successive at it.  Bugs and fungus, I guess. Maybe I’ll try again sometime.

In the Library:

  • Reading is a skill that will bring pleasure for a lifetime.  A child with a love of words will most likely be a lifetime learner.

I’m excited about this one because I’ve always been such a big reader.  As a kid, I can remember constantly reading in the car wherever we went.  Remember The Babysitter’s Club, The Box Car Kids, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Goosebumps?  Those were some of my favs.  I’m also excited because Haddie has seemed naturally drawn to books and she does have a ton.  I was excited to find all my childhood books that my mom had saved.  Its so neat to see Haddie enjoying all my old books.  I have yet to take her to the library though.  I think she’d probably enjoy it, especially the story time.

In the Office:

  • Encourages an entrepreneutrial spirit in a child.  A successful lab says “You can do it!” and “I believe in you!”
  • She talked about how they helped their son create his own car washing business at age 12.

This reminds me of my siblings and I’s attempt at the lemonade stand in the front yard.  I think we even sold our own art work, too.  Not sure if we made any money, but I remember having a good time and I think there are even a few pictures somewhere that document our neighborhood business attempt.

In the Arena:

  • Participation in sports helps children not only stay in good physical shape, but also may go as far as providing partial or full college scholarships one day.
  • A sports parent has to recognize other authority figures in their child’s life.
  • You and I need to be parents first and let the coaches do the coaching.
  • It’s important, however, to remember the whole concept of margin when making decisions about what sports your kids will or won’t do and at what age they’ll start.  A stressed-out child won’t excel in any sport.

I’m not sure how I feel about organized sports.  I was never (and still am not) an athlete by any means and I’ve never been into watching sports much.  But I don’t necessarily think its wrong…its just never been me.  That’s probably naturally just me.  But I wonder if I had been made to or better stated–given the opportunity as a child–if I would be more athletic today?  I don’t regret at all that I’m not…just a curious question.  So it makes me wonder whether I should push my child(ren) to do sports (at least to try them) if they’re not at all interested.  And how far should I let their (future) interest in sports determine their schedules?  I have seen way too many kids and families being driven completely by sports schedules.  I think its just silly.  But I don’t think its wrong if its done in moderation.

In the Conservatory:

  • Anytime a child begins to explore music, a parent should invest in a very good pair of earplugs. (Just kidding–well, actually, I am half serious.)  Musical skill is acquired only through practices and the making of many mistakes.  Any band or orchestra instrument first sounds like the mating call of a dying goose or something more akin to fingernails scratching on a chalkboard.  It takes time for a child to successfully make music.  It is essential during this time, however, that they receive lots of encouragement from you…Reward good attitudes and good practice routines.

I’m glad to this day that my parents made me take piano lessons and made me stick through it even though I wanted to quit multiple times (especially right before recitals).  I can still play piano today, but I’m still not a natural musician.  But I’m glad that I had the experience, skills, and overall musical knowledge it gave me.

The Chameleon Parent:

  • I need to be interested in the things my kids are interested in.
  • You and I have to learn to be chameleon parents–changing our color to match the color of our child’s interest.  If we are successful, each child will feel they have a personal cheering section for whatever skill they try or subject matter they sh0w interest in.

Lifelong Knowledge:

  • Anytime a person can gain knowledge, it is never a waste of time.  That knowledge will both expand their mind and help narrow their vocational and career choices as they explore the options available.  Furthermore, it grows in them an “I can do it!” attitude.
  • Kids need many opportunities to jump into ideas with both bare feet.  They need to try on different skills to see what fits them best.  When we help them to do it, it feels like a vote of confidence in their potential.  And when someone believes in you, you can’t help but believe in yourself and all that God has in store for you.

Home as a Pep Rally September 11, 2010

Filed under: Books,Life — Lacey @ 12:29 pm

I finally finished Jill Savage’s My Heart’s at Home, but I realized I only shared my favorite parts up to chapter 4. So, I’m going to try to include my favorite ideas and info from each chapter over the next few days. I hope you enjoy what I share…even if not, then it still serves as my own journal or notes from my reading. Here’s some good info from ch. 5 “Home as a Pep Rally”

To give a little bit of an intro/explanation, Jill breaks her book down into chapters about the different facets of life that a home should teach/provide. This chapter discusses home as a pep rally…meaning that its the place for the family members to be encouraged and cheered on in life…

  • “In order for home to serve as an ongoing pep rally, we have to intentionally create an atmosphere of encouragement and celebration.”
  • “Set the standard that all family members will attend one another’s events unless they have something else going on at the same time.”
  • “Another way to celebrate the ordinary is to create traditions or keep your eyes open for random celebrations.” (i.e. special dessert night, good report card)
  • “Its important that families celebrate rites of passage.  Important transitions in a child’s life inclue puberty, school changes…a first job, and getting a driver’s license.”
    • “What happens if parents don’t pay attention to the rites of passage in their children’s lives?  Unfortunately kids will often go out and make up their own rites of passage.  This is where the allure of sexual experimentation or alcohol or drug usage becomes a draw.  Kids want to celebrate their independence in ways that are not only readily available in teen culture, but also incredibly  destructive to their lives.”
  • Birthdays: On their children’s birthdays, Jill and her husband “sneak in and decorate their room and doorway with balloons and streamers.  We also set the dining room table with birthday plates and napkins, and decorate the birthday person’s chair with streamers and balloons.”  And they have cake & ice cream for breakfast.
  • Celebrate Individuality: “As parents we need to model celebrating each other’s differences and refrain from seeing those differences as wrong.  We need to have zero tolerance for sibling rivalry and make sibling revelry the standard for the family.”
  • Encourage effort: “Many of us are such perfectionists that anything less than perfect is grounds for criticism or correction.  When children live in “perfectionistic” environments where there seems to be no chance they will celebrated unless they are perfect, they either lack determination because they’ve learned they can’t win or they become people pleasers trying to earn the recognition, and ultimately love, they long for.”
    • I know I’ll have to work hard on this one to never communicate that Haddie (or any future children) have to be perfect.  I know that many times I’m too hard on others and myself.  I have a hard time balancing encouragement with spurring others on/constructive criticism.  Why is it so much harder to say nice encouraging things than to nicely point out where they need work?  At least its hard for me…

The Veggie War September 7, 2010

Filed under: Life — Lacey @ 12:58 pm

Its not what you’d think. I wasn’t battling to get the child to eat veggies. In fact, she kept wanting to eat veggies…or so she said. But she wasn’t understanding what veggies were. I kept naming the few vegetable choices that we had available…corn, peas, broccoli. But she didn’t want any of them. I’m not sure what she actually wanted to eat while she kept saying “veggies, veggies.” Maybe Bob and Larry? Either way I was ready to put her down for a nap without lunch. I was getting a bit frustrated and trying to hold myself under control so that I didn’t yell. The child was seriously having a melt down in the kitchen and crying “veggies, veggies, veggies.” It was almost laughable…actually it is after the fact.

Then she chanced her mantra to “fruit, fruit, fruit.” But of course she didn’t want to eat the fruit we had either. No to grapes and apples and kiwi. Well, she actually said yes to kiwi. Which was surprising since she usually won’t eat it. But once she saw what it actually was, she quickly changed her mind. We were back to “veggies” again. I kept trying to explain that corn, peas and broccoli were actually types of veggies. I guess she finally got it…because she settled for corn. That or she was tired of arguing with me. And thankfully she’s eaten the bowl of corn and is back to requesting her usual..animal crackers. Seriously, the kid would eat them morning, noon, night and all hours in between if I let her! And since she ate all her corn…I’m going to this time.