Saturday, July 30, 2011

More Thoughts on Love & Logic: Principle #3

This is the fourth post in a series about the book Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years For other posts in this series, click here.

Principle #3 of Love & Logic is to provide a strong dose of empathy before delivering consequences. 

The "fight or flight" response exists in all human beings and is part of the "primitive" brain -- that part of the brain governing basic survival instincts. When we feel threatened or in danger, our brain tells us, "This is unsafe! Get ready to fight, or get ready to run away!" When we deliver consequences with anger, children's brains go into "survival" mode rather than "learning" mode. They think about escaping, or possibly getting revenge, than about how to make smarter choices in the future. In the survival mode, we cannot learn. Our focus is on getting away, fighting to be free, surviving. --page 18

Love & Logic parents need to be both strict and loving at the same time. Children should be allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. When parents get angry with their child, the fight or flight response turns on and shifts the focus in a child's head. But when a parent shows empathy, speaks softly, and exhibits genuine love and concern, the child is more likely to see the mistake as the "bad guy" and the parent as the "good guy." Empathy allows the child to think more about their mistake and less about being angry with you.

Whenever possible, parents should try to guide their child to solving their own problem, or coming up with their own consequences. By asking "What do you think you should do about this?" the parent offers the child some control (remember principle #2?), and helps them take responsibility for their actions. Be ready with a few ideas of your own though, in case the child is too sad or flustered to think of one on their own.

For children younger than three (that would be Abby!), the authors suggest following 3 steps: 1) Respond to the misbehavior with empathy: "uh-oh..." "how sad!" "bummer!" 2) Change the child's location, remove the "offending" object, or both. 3) Allow the consequence to do the teaching -- don't warn, lecture, or remind -- let actions speak louder than words. (page 96)

Show your children you can handle them without breaking a sweat.

It definitely takes practice. And some parents are more mild-mannered than others, so this principle may come super-easy for some and be really difficult for others. Just remember:

Consequences + Anger = More Anger
Consequences + Empathy = Learning

(page 92)

The Saturday 7: July 23-29

  1. I love Abby's laugh. When I catch her in a good mood, I do everything I can to make her laugh. Sometimes just looking at her will send her running with her screech-y laugh. We've played "This little piggy" and "cherry cherry pit" so many times this week. Her newest favorite game to play when she's crazy-goofy? Spinning in circles in the middle of the room till she falls down. Laughing hysterically the whole time.
  2. But she hasn't been eating well. I'm not sure if she's just distracted ("hey, there's other cool things that I could be doing right now, I don't want to eat!") or what. But other than breakfast, I'm having a hard time getting her to clear her tray... 
  3. The next book in the series I'm reading finally came in to the library. I got it yesterday morning and I'm already at least a 1/4 of the way through it. Good thing I already requested the next one...
  4. Abby's finally getting the hang of going down stairs. We've been practicing more and more this week as Rocky's been doing his school work in the basement. Occasionally Abby still wants to go down the stairs like we do -- hanging on to the railing. But she's getting better.
  5. Abby learned to drink from a straw yesterday. I'd made a raspberry smoothie, and she wanted to try it. She chewed on my straw for a few minutes, then I saw her lips pucker and she got big eyes as she figured it out. When she stopped, I took a sip for myself, and she gave me the sign for "more." So we shared the smoothie. :)
  6. My favorite (and only local) baby consignment store is going out of business in a couple weeks. I went in this week and everything was 1/2 price. So I stocked up on hopefully everything Abby will need between now and next yard-sale-season (except things like socks and shoes). I scored a Lands End winter jacket for her for $3.50.
  7. I've been enjoying Costa Rican coffee every morning this week. My best friend just got back from leading a mission trip there. I've never considered myself a coffee snob, but I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to go back to Folgers... 
Have a great week! :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Five Minute Fridays: Still

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word. Just write, and don't worry about if it's just right or not.

2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

3. Get a little crazy with encouragement in the comments of the five-minuter who linked up before you.

It’s a great way to catch your breath at the end of a long week.

Today's prompt: "Still."


"Be still, and know that I am God." A very-often quoted verse from Psalms. It comes almost at the end of Psalm 46, in the midst of the author describing storms and earthquakes and turmoil.

"Be still" also appears in Exodus 14: "Moses answered the people, 'Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.'” This is just before God parts the Red Sea for the Israelites to walk through on dry ground.

We often try to fight our own battles. We think we're strong enough. We think we know what to do. So we plow on, making more of a mess than we started with...

"God is our refuge and strength" begins Psalm 46. Are you facing a struggle or trial today? Are you pushing through life in your own power? Stop. Stand firm. Be still. The Lord will fight for you.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

More Thoughts on Love & Logic: Principle #2

This is the third post in a series about the book Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years For other posts in this series, click here.

The second principle of Love and Logic is to share the control. When a child's life is full of "don'ts" -- don't do that, don't touch that, don't cry, etc. -- they feel powerless and frustrated. How do you feel when things are out of your control, such as when you get a flat tire or misplace your wallet? A great example given in the book (pg. 82), is about King George of England and his control of colonial America. He told them how to spend their money, where they could live, what religion they could follow. And what happened? The people rebelled!

The key to this principle is to offer your kids choices. Lots of choices. Especially in things that you don't care a whole lot about! Always offer two options, both of which are acceptable to you. "Do you want me to put your carseat on the left side of the backseat or the right side?" "Do you want to go down the slide first or get on the swing?" "Would you rather carry your coat to the car or wear it there?" "Would you prefer carrots or broccoli for dinner?"

Once they feel like they've had some control of their day, kids will be more likely to be ok with you making big decisions for them -- "It's time for bed. You've had lots of choices today, now mommy gets a turn to make a choice."

Even though Abby can't verbally make choices yet, I've tried this concept a bit just so I can get used to offering choices. Mostly it's been things like holding up two shirts in front of her and letting her pick which one to wear.

As she gets older, I think this principle can become a fun game as I try to think of all the different choices I can ask her in a given day!

Do you offer your kids choices? How has it worked out for you?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Musical Mondays: Christmas in July!

Image courtesy of mterraza
I love Christmas music.

I'm one of those weird people who gets so excited when a certain local radio station starts playing Christmas music around or before Halloween.

I wish I could pick one favorite Christmas song. We had this discussion with some friends last December. I really cannot choose just one. It really depends on the genre we're talking about.

There are certain carols I love (Silent Night, O Come O Come Emmanuel).

More modern holiday songs (White Christmas, It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas).

Fun Christmas songs (All I Want for Christmas is You, I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas)

Other modern Christian Christmas songs (Here With Us, Breath of Heaven).

And even songs [traditionally] without words (Carol of the Bells, Coventry Carol).

Oh and the one we kind of made up in our praise band a couple years ago, taking the words of It Came Upon a Midnight Clear and putting it to the music of Fernando Ortega's Our Great God...

What about you? Are you able to narrow down your list of favorite Christmas songs to just one or two?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Saturday 7: July 16-22

1. It's been HOT this week. I read on one of the local news station's page that Tuesday through Thursday was the hottest 3-day stretch we've had since July 1995. Boy do I remember that heat wave too -- my first year in 4H at the county fair!

2. Abby is becoming such a water-loving baby. We spent a couple evenings at the lakehouse, and she loves to "swim" around with us in her lifejacket, or go kayaking, or get pulled around in a tube. The other day I filled her turtle sandbox with water and she kept climbing in and out and splashing and having a grand ol' time!

3. She's regressed on some of her sign language. "More" is the only sign she makes for food or drink. She's more likely to go and pull on the fridge door if she's hungry or thirsty.

4. Yet she's picked up on some new signs. Sleep/nap/bed came really quickly, and she pats the top of her head for hat. In fact, the other day we were looking at a book about cats, which I usually call "kitties", and she said something that kinda sounded like "cat", so I tried to tell her how "cat" and "kitty" are the same thing. "Kitty cat." She looked at me funny and patted the top of her head. No, Abby, that's hat, not cat. :)

5. Abby is fascinated with shoes. I got her some pink Crocs at a yard sale a few weeks ago, which are big on her (I was thinking ahead to next summer). She discovered them, and loves them. She tries to put them on her feet herself. I end up helping her, then she waddles around the house with over-sized Crocs on her feet. Too cute.

6. I made a stupid mistake Thursday night. I'd turned on the sprinkler in the front yard in the evening, and after awhile I moved it to another section of the yard. And promptly forgot all about it. I woke up at 4:45 in the morning to the sound of the spigot knob being turned. Rocky had run out to turn it off. Oops.

7. We're considering getting an mp3 player. I want something that can store all of our music (currently ~13gb), and the audio Bible I have (~5gb), and have room for additional music and the occasional audio book. So that when we're on the road or walking or running we can choose to listen to anything we own. Not really interested in any of the fancy apps and such available on an ipod touch. Just something that can store music, for less than $200. Thoughts?

Friday, July 22, 2011

More Thoughts on Love & Logic: Principle #1

This is the second post in a series about the book Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years For other posts in this series, click here.

A few months ago I wrote a post summarizing the concept of parenting with "Love & Logic". I really agree with the principles presented, and hope to use them with Abby. She's reached the toddler-tantrum stage, and while I can't apply some of the Love & Logic ideas until she can really communicate with me, there have definitely been times already when I choose to approach things differently than other parenting styles...

Principle #1 of Love and Logic is to build their self-concept. It's so easy to see a 14-month-old try to do simple tasks and want to take over and do it for them, or "show them how it's done." For example, Abby has one of those ring-stacker toys. I know she has watched me a number of times over the last few months put the stars on (making it light up), but she didn't show much interest in trying to do it herself until just recently. Now she's taken a star, tried and tried and tried to get it on the post, turning it every which way except the right way. It was all I could do to sit on my hands and let her figure it out on her own! And she did. And I praised her. She grinned and grabbed the next star and worked on it.

Another example: We have a big (pink!) satellite-type chair in the living room. Abby doesn't quite have the height or leg strength to push herself up into it, but she does know how to get down. It takes her a few minutes to maneuver her legs into place and slide out. I watch her like a hawk, ready to ease her landing if she takes a tumble, but I try to not do it for her. The same thing with going up and down stairs.

Allowing kids to struggle and solve their own problems builds their self-concept. It's the idea that forms in their head of "hey, I've got what it takes! I can do this!" And it sets the stage for them to think on their own in other events later in life, when mommy isn't watching.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Book Talk Thursday: The Pawn

Almost a month ago I started reading this book on a friend's Kindle one evening while our hubbys played backgammon. Big mistake. The following day I wanted to keep reading, but of course I no longer had her Kindle with me. So I requested it at my local library. Second big mistake -- it was over the 4th of July weekend. So nearly 2 weeks after I started reading it, I got an email saying it was in! But it was a Thursday. And our library closes at 1 on Thursdays. I finally picked it up last Friday, and finished it yesterday. Third big mistake -- I should have put in a request for book #2 in the series a week ago...

photo courtesy of
I'd remembered seeing Steven James' The Pawn when I worked at Family Christian Stores. It's the first in the "Patrick Bowers Files", which caught my eye because all of the titles are chess pieces -- pawn, rook, knight, etc. -- and Rocky likes chess. It's considered a thriller novel, which is not the type of genre I would usually pick up. But because of my love for NCIS (port-to-port-killer, anyone? :-) and the style of many Ted Dekker novels, The Pawn had me hooked.

As I was reading, I found myself wondering why it was featured in a Christian bookstore. While there are a few references to pastors and Scripture, the majority of it is just part of the "good vs. evil" overtone. And one of the great things about being part of this mini-genre? No swearing, and no sexual encounters. Just great crime-solving, family-mending, edge-of-your-seat suspense.

I'm anxiously watching the library website for my next book. The Rook is currently in-transit...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dinner for a hot summer night

Goodness, it's hot out this week... highs here are in the 90-95 degree range and lows around 75... yuck! I obviously don't want to have the oven on to cook dinner, and standing outside to grill something doesn't sound appealing either. Peanut butter and jelly? Eh.

Enter one of my recent-favorite go-to recipes that can be adapted for every family member, and even Abby likes it!! Stovetop quesadillas. I always keep a supply of fajita-size soft tortilla shells in the fridge. Soften one in the microwave, put some shredded cheese on half. Top with whatever else you feel like -- salsa, lunchmeat ham, leftover hamburger, chopped onions or peppers. Another layer of cheese. Fold in half. Fry in a skillet on the stovetop, just until the outside of the tortilla is slightly browned and the cheese is melted. Let cool for a couple minutes (while cooking the next one(s)!), then I slice ours with a pizza cutter. Voila! Serve with extra salsa, sour cream, etc.

Sometimes Abby will eat a whole one herself (cut up into bite-size pieces), and sometimes mommy or daddy will finish hers... It's filling, and with the right ingredients you can get all 4 major food groups in there.

I would post a picture, but we ate all of ours very quickly tonight...

What's your go-to recipe for a hot summer night?

This post is linked to the No Ordinary Blog Hop: July.

Musical Mondays (belated): Burlap to Cashmere

I postponed this week's Musical Monday post because Burlap to Cashmere's new album releases today (Tuesday)!! This is a group I first heard about on one of the WOW albums back in... oh my... 2000. (ok that wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, for some reason I was thinking it was '97 or '98, when I first started getting the WOW cds...) It was their song "Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth" -- get it? B.I.B.L.E.? -- and I liked the acoustic/folk/almost-Mexican-ish sound.

Then I met Rocky in college and B2C was one of his favorite groups. I started listening to their music a little more, and their 1998 album Anybody Out There is still one of our favorites. The band split in 2001, and is now back together, 10 years later, for a brand-new, self-titled release that's still got their signature sound. Some songs are reminiscent of Simon & Garfunkel or Jars of Clay, with the wonderful stripped-down, live folk-rock sound and Steven Delopoulos' signature voice.

Check out this amazing group today!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Saturday 7: July 9-15

1. Took Abby to the zoo for the first time this week. It didn't go as well as I'd hoped, she was more interested in playing in the dirt and stones than looking at the animals. :( But she did like the penguins. But maybe that was just because it involved water...

2. Last night the 3 of us went up to the Mecosta County Fair in Big Rapids -- a place I spent so much of my time in middle and high school! I was in 4H for... 8 years I think. I've gone back probably 8 of the last 10 years to help judge the Showmanship Sweepstakes competition. It was so weird to realize the last time I showed animals up there was 10 years ago. I felt so old.

3. Rocky and Abby walked around the Fair while I judged, then we walked down the midway together afterward. Abby seemed to enjoy the animals more last night than she did at the zoo. At the end of the midway was a petting zoo (well, a big pen with lots of goats and sheep that you could reach in to pet and feed), and she actually tried to pet some of the animals. That's my girl!

4. Abby has been pretty "talkative" this week -- although not with real words or real babble. Maybe it's more singing. We'll go places in the car and she'll just carry on with one syllable -- usually dadadadadadada or something similar. She's still not saying any full, real words (except dada), I'm trying not to worry about it because...

5. She has been picking up a lot of sign language all of a sudden. She'll consistently say "more" at the dinner table when her tray is empty (it's so cute to see her focus on her fingers!), and we've been doing a little more with actual food words -- like cheese, grapes, milk, and waffles. She signed "cheese" to me the other day at lunch, so I jumped up and got her some, so she'll really associate that sign with that word. Rocky's really jumped on board with the sign language, and it's a lot of fun!

6. Monday night we played 2 softball games. The first went alright, we lost, but only by a couple runs. The second was NOT fun. We got mercied 30-6 in the 5th inning. We were so tired and hot and the other team was so good and could hit the ball anywhere they wanted... Only one more week of regular season play, then the following week starts tournament play.

7. I woke up Monday night/Tuesday morning with the worst headache ever. It was moaning-and-groaning-and-nauseating-bad. I finally fell back to sleep after an hour or so of agony. The next day I felt mostly better, pretty groggy and tired, and still a little nauseated, but the headache was gone. I think I got dehydrated and maybe a little heat exhaustion at the games. I've been trying to take it easy this week and up my water intake.

That's been our week!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Book Talk Thursday: The Imagination Library

*Please note, all of the links in this post are anchored in the USA part of the site. If you are visiting from Canada or the UK, (welcome!), please choose your starting point from the site's main homepage.*

Many of the books I write about in Book Talk Tuesday/Thursday are children's books I've received from Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. It's a program I found out about last summer through our local library. I had never heard of it before, and when I stopped in one day with Abby in the stroller (only a month or two old!), the librarian gave me the information and our first free book. I mailed in the registration form and a month or two later began receiving books -- one every month, addressed to Abby.

The idea is that children should have the opportunity to develop a love of reading, so any child signed up for the program will receive one book every month until they turn 5 years old. Since I started when Abby was a newborn, we will have received almost 60 books once we're through!

There is no cost or fee to sign up for this program, if it is already established in your area. It is paid for by donations from the community. When I sent in our registration form, it did include information on how much it cost to provide the books, and I felt compelled to send in a donation. But it is not required.

So how do you get your child involved? First you can check out the affiliate page on the website, and see if something has already been established in your community. When we moved into our new house, we became residents of a new county, one with a DPIL program through the County ISD. You can also go directly to the online registration page and input your mailing address, and it will tell you if a program is available for you.

If a program is not currently available in your area, maybe you'd like to start one. The website describes it this way:

"A community must make the program accessible to all preschool children in their area. The community pays for the books and mailing, promotes the program, registers the children, and enters the information into the database. From there The Dollywood Foundation takes over and manages the system to deliver the books to the home. You can find out more of the operational details on other pages in this website – so what are you waiting for! Hundreds of communities are providing books to hundreds of thousands of children. Let your town be the next one."

You can find how much the program would cost your community on the Get Involved page, and then you can find your local/regional contact person on the Contact Us page.

I hope you have the opportunity to be part of it with your children! This really is such a great program. As someone who loves to read, I hope I can foster a love of reading in my own kid(s).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Why didn't I start doing this sooner?!"

In the last few months I've started getting into the habit of buying large packages of on-sale meat and separating it out into smaller chunks before freezing it. It started with ground beef, when the store I frequently shop at would have sales on "family packs" but smaller packages would be regular price. It's super easy to open the whole package, take out what I need for that evening's dinner, then put the rest in containers in one-pound chunks for the freezer.

Then I started doing it with steaks. Same thing -- family packs would be the only ones on sale. So we eat 2 steaks that night, save 2 steaks for later. Then I wanted *cheaper* steaks for fajitas or stroganoff. Well if I'm cutting up some meat into small chunks for dinner that night, why not cut up the whole family pack since my cutting board and knife are already dirty?! So now I have bags of meat in the freezer ready to thaw and use! The time-consuming part is already done!

Which brings me to today's shopping trip, and the reason I thought of writing this post. It's "Wild & Wacky Wednesday" at our local store, which features really good deals on a few items for that day. I wanted something to grill for dinner tonight, and found some boneless pork loin chops on sale for $2.49 a pound. I almost picked up a package, when I saw a featured W&WW item. Half a pork loin for $1.89 a pound. I brought it home, cut it up into chops (during which I looked at my husband and asked why didn't I start doing this sooner in our marriage?!), grilled up a few for dinner, and now have a bag of individually wrapped chops for 2-3 more meals.

Now I just need more than my little freezer above the refrigerator for when I come across more great deals like this one... :)

This post is linked to the No Ordinary Blog Hop: July.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Book Talk Tuesday: Lullabye Little One

Time for a post about Abby's most-recent-favorite book: Lullabye Little One by Dianne Ochiltree, illustrated by Hideko Takahashi. This was actually the first book Abby ever got off the shelf and brought to me to read to her. We received it a few months ago as part of the Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (I'll write a post about this amazing program another day).

This book tells about a child's basic bedtime routine in a fun, rhyming story. There are only a couple of sentences per page, and the illustrations are very simple, warm, and peaceful. I've read it so many times I actually have it memorized, and one evening I even recited it to Abby while we got her ready for bed. ("lullaby, lullaby, put blocks away -- lullaby, lullaby, all done! hurray!") She loved it!

It is definitely our current go-to book at bedtime right now, and Abby will also bring it to me any other time of day to read. :) Our only trouble is that it is a "real" book (not a boardbook), so for a 13-month-old, the pages are getting wrinkled and Abby did rip one of them the other day (scotch tape to the rescue!).

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Saturday 7

So I'm stealing borrowing this idea from Sadie over at Lovin' Life with Lucy. Every Saturday she posts 7 things that happened during the previous week. I like the idea, since there are usually fun little things that happen in our lives that I don't feel are quite worthy of a whole post about that one thing... :)

1. Abby has picked up on a few more signs this week. A couple months ago she learned to shake her hands in the air for all done, and the really helpful one was to put her hand over her mouth (often smacking her face!) when she's hungry. There are a number of signs I've been doing around her, hoping she'd catch on, and of course the ones she just learned are the ones I haven't been practicing that much! She started seeing pictures of dogs in books and will stick out her tongue and pant. One night I told her it was bath time and she rubbed her hand up and down her torso (the real sign uses both hands, but oh well!). Then just yesterday I complained how hot the laptop was sitting on my lap, and she came over and started blowing air at me (like when you're trying to cool down a piece of food or something). So cute!

2. She still only has 4 teeth (2 top, 2 bottom). But she's been drooling buckets this week, so I'm really hoping there are a few more ready to come out. Just as long as they don't give her a high fever like last time...

3. I've been in quite the garage-saleing mood. Yesterday I walked to the end of our subdivision where about 10 houses were having sales. It made me want to host my own (maybe next year!), but also got me thinking about what I'm going to need for Abby's clothes for this coming fall and winter. Hopefully over the next couple weeks I can stock up and not need to buy any clothes for her again until garage-sale-season next year, but it so hard to know what sizes she'll be wearing -- will she continue to be big, and have me needing 3T by next spring, or will her growth finally slow down and she'll wear 24month all winter long?? (we're currently in 18 month stuff!)

4. The three of us watched the final launch of a space shuttle yesterday. I even got a video of Abby watching it. I remember being fascinated by space when I was in elementary school. I did a science fair project on the space shuttle program in 4th grade, I even made a model of the shuttle and fuel tanks that were attached by velcro so they could separate when they blasted off.

5. I really wish I was in Colorado right now. This weekend is the Annual GEMS Leaders Conference, and it's in Ft. Collins this year. They're going to have speakers like Lisa Harper and Ray Vanderlaan. I was the only one from my church who was able to go, and I couldn't justify spending our GEMS funds on just me. Next summer it will be in Chicago though, so our club is DEFINITELY making plans to go!

6. I picked my first few servings of green beans from my garden! They were soooooo yummy. I already can tell I won't have enough to freeze for use over winter -- everything I've picked fresh so far we've eaten for dinner. :) I'll need to plant 5x more beans next year...

7. Rocky's sister got married last Sunday. I might make a whole post about it, but just in case I don't... It was beautiful. So fun. Rocky played piano, and he & I sang "Dancing in the Minefields" for their unity sand song. Yes I said unity sand. It was such a cool idea -- taking two vases of sand and pouring them together. And Abby was the flower girl.

Thrifty Decor Chick: Absolutely FREE (and beautiful!) art

I know I've been MIA for awhile... VBS and a wedding will do that to you... And I've got some great things rolling around in my head to write about... I'll get there...

But in the meantime I just HAVE to re-blog (is that a word? like re-tweet?) this post from Thrifty Decor Chick:

Thrifty Decor Chick: Absolutely FREE (and beautiful!) art

Ohh I'm in love! This is just the kind of stuff I'm wanting to think about for the living room! And as you can see from my last post (holy cow, was it really 2 weeks ago?! sorry folks!) I'm all about redecorating for free...

Be back with some *real* posts again soon!
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