Quarantine Edition – in which we hear from some of you!

I wanted to create a “collage” post of ideas and thoughts about this quarantine period. So, a few weeks ago I asked– What has God been teaching you? What activities have you been doing with your family that are a little bit different from your normal routine? What recipes have you tried? Has something funny happened that you’d like to share? Has your family found a unique way to encourage others? Please send me anything you’d like to share, and I will put it all together into one post.

I have been so blessed and encouraged by the various contributions that were sent in. Keep it up ladies, building your homes during this time! It’s what we do best! God has uniquely gifted you to provide a haven and a place of comfort for your dear ones.IMG_5922

Thanks to everyone who took time to contribute to this post.

From Connie (my sister in law, mother of four boys, ages 11 and under):

Take a hike! No, seriously, with all this “stay at home” going on, those of us with children need to get them outside and run that energy off. If we don’t, it turns into sibling rivalry, unpleasant attitudes, discontentment, and general mayhem at home. Continue reading “Quarantine Edition – in which we hear from some of you!”

12 Strategies to Squelch Sibling Squabbling

Question: Hi Jennifer, Could I ask you for some parenting advice about dealing with sibling squabbling? This is a new problem I am just starting to have in the last few weeks. The girls are just bickering constantly. It’s like they can’t be in the same room together without fighting. It’s just non-stop pettiness…

“She said I did a bad job on my chore.”
“She keeps moving my paper into her box.”
“I have more grapes than you do.”
“She glared at me.”
“I’m glad I didn’t get your chore.” etc etc etc etc.

I alternate between feeling like I need to referee each incident to deal with the problem-causer and try to teach good manners and virtue (We don’t say things to hurt others. We use a nice voice to talk to others. God wants us to be kind, etc.) and being overwhelmed and telling them I don’t want to hear about their bickering and they need to work it out (which they do not seem to have any ability to do). Any advice would be much appreciated!

IMG_7846
Apparently I don’t take pictures of my children when they are squabbling, only when they are having angelic moments. So on this post we will picture angelic moments while we talk about squabbling.

Answer: As I’m sure you’ve realized, there isn’t a fix-it-all answer to this question. Squabbling between siblings is just an inherent part of mothering. There are, however, various approaches that can be taken at various times. I will list my ideas here in no particular order.

1.) You gotta nip it in the bud. (We don’t normally turn to Barney Fife for parenting advice, but in this case, he’s on to something.) This is probably the most effective approach, but the caveat is that it requires mom’s attention and listening ear, and the children need to be playing where mom can hear them. As soon as mom hears the first child mis-step in their behavior, she nips it. Continue reading “12 Strategies to Squelch Sibling Squabbling”

Guest Post: Dear Young Mom I Saw in Target Yesterday

I am happy to bring you another guest post by my sister-in-law Esther. She is married to my brother Matthew, and they are raising four sweet and adorable little people who are currently ages 7 (Ger), 5 (Ellie), 3 (Adaline), and 18 months (Naomi, or “Mimi” as she is affectionately called). Esther wrote this over three years ago, before Adaline was born.

Ellie
Esther wearing Ellie.

Dear Young Mom I Saw In Target Yesterday;

I don’t go to Target very often. In fact, this was the first time I had been to the Target in this area. But I had some gift cards for the store and had determined to use them toward a new infant car seat for our soon-to-arrive third baby.

While I was looking at car seats I heard your infant cry in the next aisle. I knew he couldn’t be very big from his cry. While selecting a car seat, I heard him cry a couple more times. Continue reading “Guest Post: Dear Young Mom I Saw in Target Yesterday”

I don’t mean to disagree with my husband

Steve said these are arrows, not dominoes.

At Joshua’s high school graduation, as I envisioned each child reaching this same milestone in quick succession, I remarked that the “dominoes were beginning to fall.” Steve replied, “Not dominoes. Arrows. Today the arrows are beginning to fly!”

edit4I know he’s right, of course. They ARE arrows and it’s super exciting to watch them fly.

But I have to be honest, it sure does seem like dominoes at times. All of a sudden, I find myself looking around and thinking, “Where is everyone? Is this everyone I’m supposed to have?” Continue reading “I don’t mean to disagree with my husband”

Gift Ideas! Toys our children have loved over the years.

Here are five classic toys that have been well loved and well played with at our house. Maybe this will give you some gift ideas for your younger kiddos, during this portion of the holiday season also known as mom-wracking-her-brain-for-gift-ideas.

1) We’ve had Color & Shape Bingo for a long time. It’s requested over and over by my little ones. An adult can manage about four young children participating in this game. (As you probably know, this cannot be said of many games.) Great learning reinforcement of colors and shapes, and good for short attention spans.Bingo4 Continue reading “Gift Ideas! Toys our children have loved over the years.”

Your Home and God’s Kingdom

Be encouraged today, dear ones!edit5I know it’s easy to get discouraged. We hear bad news everywhere. Kids are departing from the faith. Hate and violence overwhelm our streets. Churches are shutting down. Families are splitting apart. Unrighteous lawmakers seem to prevail. Children are abused. Our world seems to be going crazy in many respects.

Fear and sadness grip our hearts as we hear of these things. But is this the whole story? Are there any battles being won for righteousness? Are there any advances being made for the kingdom of Christ in our world today?eeditOh, yes. Yes, there are! Continue reading “Your Home and God’s Kingdom”

When You Feel Discouraged

Some days discouragement knocks on the door and then floods in, before we hardly realize it. Here are some thoughts for those times when we battle disappointment, disillusionment, or feelings of failure in spite of giving our all.

IMG_E0894The devil loves to come marching in and start feeding us lie upon lie when we are discouraged. Continue reading “When You Feel Discouraged”

When Mother’s Day isn’t all Roses

Happy Mother’s Day! I hope and pray this weekend is special for each one of you.

Mother’s Day is a beautiful idea at a lovely time of year– it’s nice to set aside some time to recognize Moms. But we probably all realize that, for many reasons, Mother’s Day can bring with it more emotions than just overflowing joy. Continue reading “When Mother’s Day isn’t all Roses”

Nixxing the Flix

In a moment of frustration and indignation, I scribbled a note and taped it to the front of the TV. “Do not watch anything else on this TV until further notice.” I scribbled a similar note and taped it to the front of the iPad.

The crew realized that Mom was upset, and they were right, I was. The note stayed there. The TV stayed off. And I began to really think some things through. The crew may have thought that Mom would calm down, the note would come down, and things would go back to normal. If so, they were wrong. I had reached a point of reckoning. To quote Anne of Green Gables, “Iron had entered into my soul.”

You may be wondering what had happened to trigger this Note-Posting Event. Let me explain. Continue reading “Nixxing the Flix”

The Children

Children are a precious gift– to families, extended families, churches, communities, nations, and the world. {James 1:17}

The Children
by Edgar A. Guest

The children bring us laughter, and the children bring us tears;
They string our joys, like jewels bright, upon the thread of years;
They bring the bitterest cares we know, their mothers’ sharpest pain,
Then smile our world to loveliness, like sunshine after rain. Continue reading “The Children”