Friday, March 16, 2018

Quick Lunch Ideas for Busy Moms

I have said it before and I will say it again, I do not like lunch hour.  Seriously, if I ever sent my kids to public school, it could very well be for the sole reason that I would not have to fix lunch for them.

I really do not mind cooking usually, but there is just something about lunch time that fills this mom's heart with dread.  It is tedious, it is redundant, and quick frankly, it is not rewarding in the least.  Yes, they do not starve, but no one sings mom's praises for a lunch well made.

I used to stress about lunch.  Notice the past tense.  No more, my friends.  Luckily for us all, my kids have gotten old enough to work some magic in the kitchen by themselves and I have stopped trying to be supermom.  I am all about the getting food in their mouths and worrying less about what kind of food specifically.  I have come to peace with the fact that they will not suffer ill affects from not so perfect, not so lovely, and maybe even no so nutritious lunches.

There, I said it.  Some of my kids' lunches are not the most healthy.  They are also not themed and they don't come in cute little divided plates.  Gasp, I know!

So WHAT do my kids eat for lunches exactly?  To make life easier on me, and them since they usually fix it, I made a list for quick reference that hangs on our fridge.  It is not complete, but it gives them some ideas to get started.

  • Left overs.  This is by far their least favorite thing, but the rules are if there are several leftovers in the fridge they must be eaten first.  Luckily for them their dad takes his lunch and we often do not have left overs, so you do not have to worry that they suffer often.
  • Sandwiches- Also not a favorite in our house, but an occasional go to, especially if we are in a hurry.  We stopped eating lunch meat many years ago for health concerns, and only in the recent years have begun to have lunch meat around more often.  They would both prefer peanut butter and jelly if given a choice anyway.
  • Mac and Cheese- Homemade or boxed- up to them.
  • Pizza- I try to keep pizza, big ones and mini ones, in our freezer and do limit them to one a week or otherwise this would be there go to.  BOYS!  We also make homemade pizzas as well as hamburger bun pizzas.
  • Stuffed baked potatoes
  • Cheese melts on tortillas
  • Soup- Usually chicken rice or chicken noodle using leftover chicken.
  • Chicken nuggets- Yep, we do.
  • Taquitoes- Sometimes homemade, but often frozen from a box.
  • Cheese-steaks- Yes, I occasionally buy the kits for a fun treat.

  • Hot dogs and chips- This is another food we walked away from years ago.  The girls did not miss them at all.  The boys thought I was deliberately torturing them, so we have slowly allowed them back into our lives on a limited basis.
  • Fruit, cheese and meats- OK, admittedly this is one in my dreams.  I see parents of young children getting by with this, but I have to tell you when I have tried this in the past I have received looks like, cute, mom, where's the real food.
I am sure there are more, but you get the idea.

In our house we check off the lunch box and move on.  Rumbling tummies stop rumbling, mom is happier, and the day goes on!  I promise that our breakfasts and dinners are more nutritious and well thought out, but I also promise that now that the lunch stress is off me, I am a happier momma!

Score one for me and one for the kids!


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Parenting Resources I Need

Most of the time I review things that are geared towards homeschooling and the kids.  This review is different thanks to Parenting Made Practical!  This one is just for parents.  And because being Product Manager of the Homeschool Review Crew has its privileges, I received several products this time, two that I want to share with you today- Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think (DVD and book) and Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate, WHAT WORKS?

For the record and in case you are new to Family, Faith and Fridays, I am the mom of four kiddos: two older kids (college and up) and two boys still at home, ages 16 and 10.  I have been parenting with my cute hubby for 24 years now and yet sometimes I feel it is still our first rodeo.

You know what I mean?   Just when you think you have it down, someone, or some child, changes the rules.  And on top of that, each child is different and often requires an additional set of rules.  Or two!

Which takes me to Taming The Lecture Bug.  I wasn't going to read this initially, I mean, I am a pro at parenting after all.  Ha- NOT!  But I have done it for a while now and have my methods down pat.

Including some maybe not so good methods, if I am judging by my recent rants.

I admit it.  I am a lecturer.  And quite honestly, I am just now realizing the extent of it.  This book sat on my desk and stared me down for a week.  Each day I would look at the title and think hmmm, that is not for me, I am sure.  And then one day after a particularly hard day with my youngest, I decided to pick it up and take a look.  Then I did not put it down.

Well, I did put it down after about chapter 4, because I could not read it fast enough for my liking.  Instead, I popped in the video for more instant gratification, via an hour of viewing.  And then I picked up the book and finished reading throughout that week.

What did I learn?

I am a lecturer!  Have I mentioned that already?

According to Joey and Carla Link, founders of Parenting Made Practical and authors of Taming the Lecture Bug, we as parents lecture because we do not know what to do.  Our kids misbehave, SIN, and we somehow think our amazing words of wisdom are going to change their ways.

Guess what?  It doesn't happen.  No surprise there, right?

So what should we do instead?

According to the Links, and I totally agree, instead of focusing on the behavior, or the WHAT, we need to focus more on the whys, the REASON behind what has taken place.  When we reach the heart and fix the heart issues, often pride or stubbornness, we are more likely to be able to change the behavior.

In the book and again in the video, the Links walk you through better approaches to misbehavior, giving specific scenarios and how they think they should be handled.  They even act out a scene with their now grown daughter, Amy.  One of the techniques they use and teach is the art of asking questions.  "Why did you do that?"  "How do you think that made me feel?" and  "What could you do differently next time?"  are just a few.

Here are some things that have really stuck with me-

  • First make sure your child's attitude is right!  If they are closed minded and have a closed heart, you need to wait.  Send them to a quiet spot to regroup and then come back and try again.  This drove my youngest crazy but it did work.  If nothing else, it diffused the tension or just plain wore him out with multiple trips to the steps to regroup.  He may have a hatred of steps by the time he is 18, just saying.
  • By lecturing, I am taking responsibility of the situation, while still not solving anything.  As the Links stated, it is not like the rules are new and unknown.  They really do not need to be restated, no matter how eloquent I think I am.  They just need to be obeyed.  
  • My son may not love lecturing, but he loved the questions even less.  :)  At one point he even asked me, "Why do you keep asking me questions?"  It almost made me laugh.  But it DID make him stop and think about what he was doing and why!
  • "I don't know" is not an appropriate response.  Neither is "maybe", or "sort of" or "probably".  When you ask a yes or no question, require a yes or no response.  This, too, drove my son batty a few times.  If he started to argue or give excuses I would remind him it was a yes or no question.  I won't tell you exactly how many times I had to repeat that in a row one day.
  • Disobedience IS sin.  Not a whoops or an uh oh, but a sin and needs to be treated as such.  Just by adding the name sin to a behavior added more weight to it in my son's eyes.
  •  I am not responsible for my child's actions, he is.  Lecturing takes that ownership away from them, asking questions gives it back to them. 

Final thoughts-
If you are not a book person, watch the DVD!  It is perfect for auditory learners and it is fun to see the humor and interaction the Links have.  If DVDs are not your thing, read the book instead.  The information is pretty much the same in both, although the book does have a few additional examples and each chapter ends with a letter from parents who have learned and used this system with success, which I greatly appreciate!  It encouraged me to hear I was not alone in a few of my struggles and that other parents have seen changes, even after years of parenting.  Also at the back of the book is a great chart for kids to use for retraining a stubborn heart, that is for them to fill in.  We have not used it yet, but I have made copies.  Just in case.

It is never too late to start something new and have it work.

And about that Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate...WHAT WORKS? video and workbook-

As I mentioned, my oldest two are girls, ages 20 and 24.  We had pretty strict dating rules when they were in highschool- as in, NO!  Times change, people change- you know the drill.

Right now we honestly float in the "we have no idea what we are doing" pool.  They are older now and make their own decisions, but quite honestly after walking through a few bad dating experiences with them we have thrown up our hands in defeat.

No, we do not want our kids to casually date every random person that crosses their path, nor do believe that "courting" in the old fashioned sense of the word works either.  It's a tough road and one that I dread being on again with our boys.

In Dating, Courting & Choosing a Mate, WHAT WORKS?, Joey and Carla Link introduce a concept called friendship dating that is closer to a middle of the road compromise I am more comfortable with.  Instead of focusing on dating rules, they focus on the concept of getting to know someone without too much emotional attachment at first.  The Links talk about four stages of a relationship leading to marriage-
  • potential
  • possible
  • probably
  • and proposal
With each of these stages they encourage asking a lot of questions specific to that stage.  (yes, more questions)  It's about setting appropriate boundaries and sticking to them.

So let me tell you my 2 biggest takeaways from this workbook and accompanying 2 hour video.

Kids must eventually take ownership of their own relationships.  If we are so involved with their relationships and the decisions they make, when do they or will they ever learn to make decisions on their own?  Yes, I know one must take age into account here, but I would argue that if you are afraid they are not old enough to make decisions, they are probably not old enough to be in a relationship either!

The second thing that really struck me was the concept of a girl's father becoming THE mentor in her suitor's life.  This is a HUGE deal in the courtship community, this idea that you must take a young man your daughter might be interested in and "mold" him and "train" him.  While not bashing the courtship model, the Link's shared their opinion that while all of us need and can benefit from mentors, there is NO man that should ever take the place of a young man's father, if he has one in place.  When our sons are interested in a relationship with a girl, we do not simply hand over the reins to someone else to guide them.  That is a job given to us by God, not to someone else.

I will admit, this is still a muddy pool to me, but one I am at least a little less fearful to swim in.  After watching the video myself, I am hoping to now sit down and watch it with my older son and allow him to complete the workbook pages.  It is my prayer that it will help facilitate much discussion and maybe help us come up with a more clearly defined plan for our family.

You can find many more Biblical based parent resources from the Links and their Parenting Made Practical website.  Next on my list is the one entitled Mom's Notes, with 40 teaching presentations in 5 volumes of parenting advice and training.

Again, it is never to late to learn!

Parenting Made Practical {Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, March 12, 2018

Monday Menu and the Missing Recipe

Welcome!  Can I just tell you that I am pooped?!  Seriously!

My college daughter was supposed to arrive home on a plane yesterday at 6:00, just in time for dinner.  As I currently write this (Sunday night) she is still not home- plane was delayed three times and she missed her connecting flight.  She may or may not get on the late flight and arrive at 11:30 ish.  PM. (update- nope, she didn't get home.  So now she is home- Monday morning, a day late)

I am not a happy momma.

On top of that stress our other daughter was returning from her birthday trip and ran into questionable icy roads.  That another friend spun off of the day prior.  The same ones that Ashton and Salem wrecked on two years ago in the middle of our move.

She is home safely after 6 1/2  hours of white knuckle driving.

All of this to say in case you think my, or any other bloggers' life, is perfect think again.  We have stressors just the same as everyone else out there.  And sometimes we even decide to share them with the world.

Just keeping it real, folks.

So this week, you get my menu, tailored just for Riley as she claims she hasn't had "real" food in the past 8 weeks, but NO recipe.

If you feel so inclined, feel free to share a recipe with me.  This mentally spent momma is going to bed!

Monday- Beef Stroganoff

Thueday- Chicken Diane

Wednesday- Spaghetti

Thursday- Meatloaf

Friday- Breakfast Pizza

Saturday- Out to eat!

Sunday- Wonton Soup


Friday, March 9, 2018

The 9 Lies Every College Student Tells - A Guest Post

Hi friends! It’s Riley. Remember me? I did a lot of Mom’s blog graphics before moving to Mississippi for college. I’m majoring in musical theatre and am in my fourth semester. It's going really well :)

However, I was recently home for a break and while I was home I discovered that I was lying to people.  Innocently, of course!

You see, someone would ask me about college and before I even thought about it I would shoot off an answer, regardless if it was true or not.

So today I’ve compiled a list of some lies I’ve told people about college and some ones that I’m sure other college students have told. Consider it a cheat sheet for talking to the college student in your life. You’re welcome!

*Disclaimer: this is mostly tongue in cheek.

*Disclaimer 2: Mostly

1. “My semester was fantastic!”
As I tweeted once, I felt like I finished last semester with three pennies, 17 bruises, and a complete lack of confidence. By the time you make it through the finals and what not you feel like you’ve gotten run over by a Mac truck. No joke.

2. “The cafeteria food is really good!”
Yes, I know it was pretty fantastic when you visited for Parents’ Weekend, but it hasn't been good since then.

3. “I’m not spending all my money on Chick-fil-A!”
See lie number 2.

4. “I never skip classes!”
This one makes me laugh. Pro tip: don’t schedule classes at 8am because if you do you’ll want to skip them. Every. Single. Morning.

5. “I’m staying up late studying!”
I’m actually staying up watching Friends on Netflix, but sometimes I study while I do that. College is all about multitasking!

6. “I haven’t cried in such a long time!”
I cried like three days ago because I thought about the Crocodile Hunter for too long.

7. “I’m making tons of friends outside my major!”
This may be because I’m majoring in theatre, but the only other department I interact with is the music department and that’s just because we share a building.

8. “I’m becoming such an adult!”
Which is why I laid on my floor in a blanket burrito and watched The Lion King and ate cereal right out of the box!
(Note, I’ve never done this but it sounds like a good idea)

9. “I’m getting enough sleep!”
Is anyone ever getting enough sleep?!

OK, OK, mom's turn here! ;)

Yes, I have heard my daughter say several of these things to people, but I can assure you she is not really trying to deceive!   It's kind of like that 'ole "How are you?" "I'm great!" response, when really you are not.  Sometimes it's just easier to give a simple answer and move on.  

Seems college kids are no different.

Except for apparently they do not eat or sleep well, go to the classes you are paying for, or study! 

Don't worry- she's coming home on Sunday for Spring Break- I will have a chat with her! ;)


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

What's on My Nightstand for March

Welcome back to month two of my new series!  Wow, let me tell you, when you post what you are going to read to the world, you are more apt to read it.

Accountability is key, folks!

So yes, I read last month's books!  And yes, I enjoyed them.

If you or your child haven't read Counting by 7's, I suggest you do.  After all of the comments I got, it seems that I was one of the last of you to read it!  Anyway, it is a good read.  Just be forewarned that death of parents is a topic and therefore should be handled wisely with sensitive kiddos.  I do want my son to read it, but am choosing to save it for a few years for him.

Minimalism is a good read as well.  I do NOT agree with everything the authors have to say, but there is some good food for thought in the book.  Pick and choose what you take to heart.

And of course, A Shepherd Looks to Psalm 23 is a great read!  I knew it would be just based on those who recommended it.  You will not look at Psalm 23 the same way after reading it, I assure you!

So what's on the nightstand for this month?

Rain Reign by Ann Miller - I took the recommendation of one of our friends and ordered the book-Well, I ordered another kid's book as well, but I am saving that for April.

Minimalism for Families by Zoe Kim- Before you think I have lost my mind, I bought this at the same time I bought the Minimalist book.  Again, a reminder that minimalism is NOT about throwing everything you have away and living with nothing.  It is about living with only the things you love and bring you joy.

Taming the Lecture Bug by Joey and Carla Link- This is a book the The Homeschool Review Crew is currently reviewing and it has me intrigued, so I am adding it to my reading list.

That's it for now.  I know it is a small list compared to many of you, but I am finding three seems to be the perfect number for me.

What are you reading this month?