"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge it's rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." Proverbs 24:3-4

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Children's Behavior In The Grocery Store

Hello again, friends!

I always enjoy sitting down at my computer to "visit" with you!

Are you having a nice summer?

I like winter, but there's just nothing like waking up to warm sunlight streaming across my bed, and birds singing outside my opened window!

I always do an early morning walk around our property, with shears in hand, to find flowers for the house. I wasn't sure what I'd come up with this morning since the peonies are done and the hydrangeas aren't here yet... 

But I sort of like my random little arrangement...


This actually isn't what I had planned on writing about, though.

(I just wanted a pretty photo to get this post started! Haha...)

I was hoping to give a little encouragement to young mama's on the topic of running errands with babies and toddlers.

It can be difficult, can't it friends? 

They will fight you! Haha...

Modern-day methods of dealing with unruly children include things like, time-outs, attempting to reason with them, negotiation, compromise, caving into their whining and succumbing to their wishes... All of these methods, as any seasoned parent knows of course,  DO NOT work!

The Lord has given us a better way.

"He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him." 
~ Proverbs 13:24

When dealing with a baby or toddler, any disobedience must be met with swift correction, so that they learn cause and effect. Disobedience = something unpleasant. If you wait too long after the offense, they won't know what they're getting spanked for. Match their disobedient act with discipline as quickly as you can! 

This can be done easily at home. But it is not easy when you are out and about running errands!

I have finally reached a season in my mothering where shopping with my children is relatively pleasant and easy. But it took discipline to get here!

I'd like to share with you a story...

Years ago, when my oldest was a toddler, and I was hugely pregnant with my second, I was trying to grocery shop in the middle of a snowstorm. As if all of that isn't difficult enough, near the end of our trip my toddler began pitching a fit that quickly escalated into an all-out temper tantrum! 

I put my face close to his and quietly, but sternly said, "No. No fits. Stop your fit."

He completely disregarded me. So I said, "Are you going to obey and stop your fit?"

He showed no signs of wanting to obey.

I knew I had a decision to make.

I could let him disobey me and finish my shopping, or I could drop what I was doing to correct his behavior.

I have never felt comfortable spanking my children in public, so I knew this would require a trip out to the car.

(A quick note on spanking in public... Of course you have to do what is right for you. Maybe you are comfortable with it and can do it discreetly and not care what others think. That is great! But, I've always felt like our culture is dark is perverted and would not recognize godly parenting. The bible says, "The word of God is foolishness to those who are perishing." 1 Cor. 1:18 Also, I've never been up for dealing with strangers and their foolish comments. "Do not answer a fool according to his folly." Prov. 26:4 )

But anyway, back to my story...

To say it was greatly inconvenient to stop in the middle of that shopping trip to take my toddler (and my waddling pregnant self) out to the car that day, would be an understatement.

I did not want to do it.

It was snowing and the parking lot was a slushy mess... My shopping cart was full, and I hadn't paid for anything yet... My toddler was screaming... I was huge, sore, and tired... And all alone...

Do you feel sorry for me, yet? Haha...

I wheeled my full cart up to the front door greeter, smiled and said through the screaming, "Can I please leave my cart with you for a few minutes? I need to take my son out to the car but I will be right back to pay for my groceries."

I abandoned my cart, scooped up my diaper bag and flailing toddler, and waded through the icy parking lot to our car.

I remember it being physically challenging. 

I wedged myself awkwardly into the back of the car to administer the spanking.

Then I spoke firmly to my toddler.

I said, "You may NOT scream at me in the grocery store. That is a no-no. I expect obedience. Are you ready to go back in and do the right thing?" 

I am hoping this next part of the story will encourage you young mama's with toddlers... and that is, I have never had another issue with this particular child in a store ever since.

God rewarded my efforts.

My heart in writing this to you is not to brag. I fully realize my children and I are nothing special!!! I'm just wanting to help show you that God's ways are best and they work!

"As for God, His way is perfect. The word of the Lord is flawless." 
~ Psalm 18:30

"Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death."
~ Proverbs 23:13-14

Now, fast-forward several years later... My children are enjoyable to have along on shopping trips! To have them with me is not a burden at all!

(Of course you realize that this doesn't stem from just this one instance of discipline, but from a consistent, daily habit of disciple through the years and a habit that I'm still doing today!)

"Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul."
~ Proverbs 29:17


The above photo is from our most recent shopping trip.

Soren was having a hard time understanding why Roman got a treat and no one else did, which is why he looks bummed in this picture.

I tend to expect a lot from Roman since he's the oldest. It's always his job to push the second cart and follow behind me and keep up. It's a big job, and he does it well! (When you have a big family and a big house, one cart is no longer sufficient.)

So, on this particular shopping day, I decided to "thank" him by allowing him to pick out a small treat.


I told him that I appreciated his help, and that it always means a lot to me when he's willing to do it with a happy heart!


And it was a good lesson for the other kids, as well. Soren said, "How come I don't get a treat?! This isn't fair!" I was able to teach them that, "Yes, it is fair. When a person does extra work, he gets extra payment."

Now I've got children fighting over who will help me push the second cart next week! They all want to do it! Haha...

Well anyway, friends... I know this wasn't my usual post on home living, but getting out of the house to grocery shop is a big part of life for homemakers. Our weekly errands greatly affect our schedule and our home life. It's all connected! And children should learn that whatever the rules and standards are in the home, will be carried over into public, as well!

"Children merely want to know where the boundaries lie and who's available to enforce them."
~ Dr. James Dobson

My husband taught me years ago how to look at the bigger picture in regards to discipline. He would say, "If we can break their stubborn will and teach them to obey what we instruct, then they should have no problem submitting to the Lord and His ways when they're older, because it's been built into their framework."

That certainly became my vision, and what is always in the back of my mind when I discipline.

"Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
~ Proverbs 29:18

I cannot say I've done it perfectly right each and every time, but I pray the Lord will honor my efforts and that my children will grow "in the fear and admonition of the Lord." Eph. 6:4

Thanks for taking the time to read today, friends!


xo,

~ Courtney ~


Disclaimer: Everything I write is just my own experiences and beliefs, meant to encourage and build up believers. I am not an expert, or a teacher. I am a nobody. Please study the scriptures for yourself. Talk everything out with your husband, and come to your own conclusions. 

:)



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Recipes And Housecleaning

Hi, friends!

I realized when I was looking through my blog stats the other day, that I haven't done a recipe post since last fall!

How can that be?!

Home cooked meals are a huge part of happy home living!!!

But the truth is, I can easily become uninspired about cooking.

I feel like I make the same dishes over and over again.

Several weeks ago a friend sent me a very simple recipe, so I decided to give it a try.

My family loved it! And she told me that I could share her recipe with you!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

~ Erin's Sausage Bake ~

I always like to start supper in a clean and tidy kitchen, and after I've had my quiet hour for the day.


That way, I feel refreshed and motivated to get started!

I also like to put on some uplifting music, and sometimes I'll light a candle...


If you make your atmosphere and attitude pleasant, housework really doesn't have to become  drudgery. In fact, it can actually be fun!

But anyway... back to the recipe!

Start by getting out a corning ware dish, and washing some baby potatoes...


Cut them in half and place them in the dish.

Next, add carrots...


Then, (the star of the show)... A package of smoked sausage...


Cut that up too, and plop it in!

Erin advised me to use onion and butter for flavoring... SO, some sliced onion is up next...


Here's a little tip for slicing onions...

I've noticed that if I keep a glass of cold water close by and regularly stop to take sips, the onion won't bother my eyes and cause me to cry.


I sprinkled on a generous amount of salt, then dotted the top with butter...


Cover it, and place it in a 350 degree oven to bake for about 45 minutes.

While it was baking, I paused for five minutes to look out my window and count my blessings...


Then I washed up the dishes and set the table...


I find all of this to be very relaxing.

We sure are lucky! Aren't we, friends?!

BUT, lest any of you think my entire house is peace-filled while I work...

THIS is the usual scene in the family room by late afternoon...


I have come to accept it.

I tell myself, We'll tidy up later... It's only one room... They're having fun... They're bonding and building stronger relationships... etc, etc... And once I talk to myself a little bit, I feel better! Haha! 

But seriously, I really do try to allow a lot of play time for my children. As Mr. Rogers was famous for saying, "Children practice what they've learned by playing."

I've witnessed my children playing "Restaurant," "Shopping," and "Bank"... Once they played "Voting," and set up a Town Hall with booths and ballots. I laughed when I overheard one child say to another, "Please show me your I.D. and state your name, address, and favorite color." 

Haha!!!

Well, except for the play land I mean family room, I went around the house to do a quick tidy before Micah got home. I do my best on most days to make sure the bathroom's wiped down, school books are put away, and the house has a general feeling of "tidiness" before he gets home.

Friends, this is important!

Several years ago I was talking with a woman who didn't know to do this. She was lamenting to me how her husband gets so upset when he comes home after work and she doesn't know why. After talking with her for a little bit, and asking her questions, I came to learn that their house was a disaster, there was laundry strewn all over the bed, and she rarely cooked supper. 

No wonder the husband was upset!

I tried to gently show her that this was unacceptable.

I explained to her that a quick house tidy at the end of the day, as well as cooking something simple for supper, is easy to do!

"A half hour before your husband is due home, go room by room, spending only a few minutes in each room, and just tidy up the best you can." I told her. "But before you start, throw something in the oven for supper!"

She laughed and said, "But I can't cook!"

Nonsense.

Let's not tell ourselves that, friends. 

Can you read and follow directions? 

Then you can cook!

And speaking of cooking, I can't forget to show you the cornbread that I made to go along with our sausage bake...

This is my husband's mother's recipe, and it's a family favorite!


About fifteen minutes before the sausage bake was due to come out, I got to work on assembling what I needed for the cornbread.

Years ago I divided this recipe in thirds because that is what suited our family the best.

I wrote the measurements on the back...


It is still what I follow to this day.

~ My mother-in-law's cornbread ~

This is what you'll need...


I like to set everything out and get my measuring done first before I start mixing things together.

Put the butter in the pan and let it melt in the oven...

(I took the lid off the sausage for the last few minutes of cooking, so the onions would turn golden brown...)

While it's melting, mix together the other ingredients.

The dry first...


Then the wet...


Until you have a nice batter...


Once the butter is melted, pull the pan out from the oven...


And pour the batter into the sizzling butter...


Then, back in the oven it goes!

I pulled the sausage bake out to cool a little bit while the cornbread was baking...

It smelled and looked great!


We were hungry! And I couldn't keep my crew from digging in...


This is what the cornbread looks like when it's done...


Everything was delicious!

"Spice a dish with love and it pleases every palate."
~ Plautus, c. 254-184 BC


This meal was a hit!


Everyone went back for seconds...


And thirds!!!


I will definitely add this to my rotation of "go-to" meals!

I have a friend who says that meals around the supper table should be valued and prioritized. I've heard her say, "Slow down. Sit down with your family. Put your phones away, and just visit!"

I've tried to allow her words to encourage and motivate me in my homemaking. I want to make our supper times enjoyable and happy for my family!

Micah and I don't use supper as a time to discuss issues, finances, or any other adult matters... We just focus on laughing and having fun with the kids, and we wait to talk about serious things until after they go to bed.


When dinner is over, everyone's expected to clear their place...


And I get to work on cleaning up the kitchen!


Every surface is usually a mess, so I can easily get to feeling overwhelmed!

But, I've learned a trick that helps make it manageable.

I break up the huge work load into chunks, and work in sections, until the entire kitchen is clean.

For example, I begin at the table.

Only focusing on the table, I clear everything off, wipe it down, and pull the chairs away to vacuum...


Once the table area is done, it'll look like this... And I can move on to the island...


(By doing it this way, you'll find that each little accomplished area will spur you on to tackle more!)

Now, only focusing on the island, I clear it off and wipe it down.

Once it's done, all I have left is the sink area, which you can see in the background...


It's a doozy, but I can do it! Haha...

I tell myself, The table and island are done and this is all I have left!


Working quickly and efficiently, I load the dishwasher, and wipe down the counter and sink.


BOOM! Done!


When I was growing up, we didn't have a dishwasher. I can remember my dad doing the after-supper kitchen chores to help my mom. I never understood back then what the big deal was if I wanted to go back into the kitchen, an hour or two after supper was over, for a drink or a snack. My dad would guard it like a hawk, shouting, "Halt! Step away from the cupboard! The kitchen is closed!"

Well now, I GET IT!

 Now I'M the kitchen hawk shouting, "Stop right there with your unauthorized cup of juice!!!"


Yes, cleaning up an entire kitchen after a meal is a lot of work, but it must be done quickly and it must be done well!

Here's an example of why...

Within minutes of me clearing and wiping off the table, Roman plunked himself down to work on an art project... And the next thing I knew everyone had joined the coloring party...


I was really glad they were able to sit down to a clean table, and not get their paper (or elbow!) in something wet or sticky!

Clean homes are beautiful homes, and are a gift and a blessing to our families!

And you, dear reader, are a gift and a blessing to me!

It means so much to me that you take the time to stop by my blog. And I absolutely love hearing from you!

Blessings until next time...


xo,

~ Courtney ~










































Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Little More On My Garden

One of the first things I think of every morning is, "I wonder how my plants are doing..."

And I can't wait to get outside to water and check on everything!

It's become sort of my summer morning ritual.


I enjoy my coffee, make a hot breakfast for my kiddos, have my devotions...

"It is my first business every morning to make sure my heart is happy in God!" 
~ George Mueller

Then I'm OUT THERE!

We have a little garden/patio area right outside our back door that looks like this...


The kids come out with me, too.

They like to play while I putter around the yard.

This morning they were in and out of the garage and their little cabin...


Our barn cat, Oliver, likes to join us, too.

He usually sits here on the bench and watches me work...


He does a good job for us. We never have mice in the house!

Right now the peonies are in bloom...


(I have some in the front yard, too!)


As well as the roses...


And one final patch of irises...


~ June ~

"Far up in the deep blue sky,
Great white clouds are floating by;
All the world is dressed in green;
Many happy birds are seen,
Roses bright and sunshine clear
Show that lovely June is here."

~ F.G. Sanders


I water annuals, as well as anything new that either Micah or I have put in the ground, and dead-head as much as I can. Although I can never get to everything.


The little pot next to my bench is spearmint...


I laughed when I saw its tag at the store. It read, "Harvest time: Immediately"

This was funny to Micah and I because gardening has been a bit of a struggle for me. I'm not a patient person, and gardening requires patience, as we all know. 

I want instant gratification! 

So, I've gotten frustrated over the years.

Micah will plant a tiny tree and say, "There. In fifteen years, it'll be exactly what we want." And I grumble and respond in exasperation, "But I want it to be grown RIGHT NOW!!!"

So, when I saw "Harvest Immediately" on this spearmint, I brought it home to show Micah and I said, "THIS is the kind of plant for me!" And we laughed!

Our gardens (and our children) have been tools the Lord has used in my life to grow me in patience. 

(I love how Elsa is holding her dress out.)

"Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace."
~ May Sarton


We spend about a half hour outside each morning, then we come in to start on school, chores, and laundry. 

I always bring fresh clippings in with me to put in vases and scatter around the house.

This was my bounty from this morning...


It had rained last night. The best time to clip peonies for display in the home is right after it rains. The rain washes all the bugs away!

"Men build houses but women make them into homes. There will be loveliness in the home where true love causes order and comfort to reign. For the poorest room can be made lovely by a woman's cunning hand. She will put flowers at her window, and flowers on her mantle and table."
~ Bernard O'Reilly 


Do you do this, friends?


You should!


It is like medicine!


"Motivation medicine" ~ Haha... Inspiring me to get going on my housework!


Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

You all have been wonderful to me!

As always, please feel free to leave a comment.

I love hearing from you!


xo,

~ Courtney ~