Sunday, September 30, 2012

31 days: be intentional.

I'm joining the Nester's 31 dayers this year.  My topic - be intentional.

To be honest, I think I've felt some soft nudges from the Holy Spirit to be more intentional the past couple of weeks, and that's exactly what prompted me to join this link up and to be a 31 dayer.  

Here's to being intentional this month.

Here's to living life with purpose and not just in habit. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

new wheels.

Thanks to a gift card I received for completing a medical survey, Preston got a new toy.  I may or may not be more excited than he is about said toy.


He was a little apprehensive the first day.


But we got the hang of it very quickly. 

My favorite part, next to being able to exercise and spend time outdoors as a family, is that clutch flag on the back.  Add a little bike bell and I'll quickly become the coolest mom in the neighborhood (in the eyes of my son only, I'm sure, and only until he's old enough to realize how truly embarrassing I am).

Monday, September 24, 2012

crockpot hoagies.

I saw a recipe for these crockpot hoagies on pinterest last week and I couldn't quit thinking about them. So when Mr. Gherkin requested that I pick up sandwich stuff for lunch after church on Sunday, I knew right then and there we'd be trying out these hoagies. 

We'll be doing these more often.  Promise.  And next time I'll follow the instructions ... you're supposed to fill every other slice with the meat and cheese so it's easier to slice into separate sandwiches.  Oops.  Our sandwiches were a bit thin but super tasty.

Recipe found here over at Big Red Kitchen.

Linking up with AP @ ILYMTC for Project Pinterest. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

red and yellow, kill a fellow.

Consider this my public service announcement on coral snakes.

As we headed out on an early morning, family walk we stumbled upon a snake just in front of our neighbor's house, a mere 50 feet from our backyard. 

Luckily it was dead (looked like someone ran over it with a car tire), otherwise, I would've lost my marbles because that sucker had red on yellow bands. 

Red and yellow, kill a fellow. 
Red and black, friend of Jack

It was a freaking coral snake.  A coral snake!  Just feet from the backyard that my son runs around and plays in every day.   Just typing that sends my heart rate up. 

I was absolutely adamant about it being a coral snake. Mr. Gherkin doubted me and immediately googled it upon walking in the door after our walk.  Like I said, it was a coral snake. 

I was too shaken to take a picture, but here's a nice picture showing the difference between the venomous coral snake and the harmless copycat.


It's been two weeks and I still find my self looking in every area of the yard for a peek of red and yellow.   Where there's one, there's more, right?  Could this have been momma-coral-snake and her babies are running around somewhere in our yard?  If you're out there mr/mrs/baby coral snake, feel free to eat all the mice your little heart desires. Just leave my baby alone.  Deal?

So let's all know that red and yellow can kill a fellow.  Probably everyone already knows this. Everyone except my husband that is. 

PSA over.  Thank you for your attention. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

want a free blurb book?


Remember back when I posted about my facebook photo book?

Well, the lovely people at Blurb sent me a promo code good for one facebook photo book (a $25 value) to give away to one lucky reader.

Click here to read my initial post if you missed it the first time.

To enter, just leave a comment below.  It's that easy. A winner will be chosen on September 30th. 


Sunday, September 16, 2012

what's on my mind: things. words. lessons.

I've been on a roller coaster ride here lately.  Lots of emotional highs.  Lots of emotional lows. It seems that every high is followed by a low or at least that's what I woke up thinking this morning. 

This weekend I overheard my husband telling his mom, "Just because you're a mom doesn't mean that you're supposed to be supernatural or perfect."  He said that to comfort her, yet it spoke volumes to me.  Why must I feel the need to be perfect all the time?

I heard the song It Is Well With My Soul two times this morning, once while getting ready for church via Pandora, and then the band sang it, beautifully might I add, at our contemporary service.  The Holy Spirit worked on me through that song so that by the time the sermon came around I was open to every single word.  When I woke up this morning it was not well with my soul.  By noon, my soul was well.

Then I headed over to pinterest while preparing this week's dinners in hopes of finding some more great crockpot recipes or finding more cute things to make in celebration of fall and I see this (pictured below).  I'm done.   I surrender all.


Now it's football time, and my fantasy football team is losing again.  She's beating me.  Still love you, though, Aimee.  But the P is napping, my feet are up, dinners for the week are prepared, and we (we being Mr. Gherkin and I) are lounging on the couch.   I love a good Sunday.  I love a good weekend.

I resolve.  It is well. It is well.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

love and logic : my book review

I just finished reading Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood. I've heard a ton of moms (especially this one) talk about these books and the program so I wanted to see what it was all about. 

As I did before here, I am writing a quick book review for myself so that I can always have the cliff notes, if you will, handy to refresh myself on the key points that I took away from the book. Again these are really notes for myself (I'm not trying to suggest how you should raise your children or spark any type of debate), but feel free to read along if you wish.

It took me a while to get through it because let's face it, discipline isn't fun.  I'm so glad that I read it though. Some of it was a bit "oh duh, I knew that" or "that makes perfect sense" but I just needed to read it and understand the rationale behind it.  Sometimes I think all my brain cells left my body with that placenta and that I lost my ability to be logical.  That being said Love and Logic is not rocket science.  It's easy.  It makes perfect sense.

I plan to apply some of the ideas to my parenting style and have already started implementing them. So far so good.  I tend to be the type of person who is quick to anger and quick to raise my voice (I talk loudly anyways so that's just a really bad combination).  I'm not proud of that, and I refuse to make it part of my discipline with my children.  

Here are the key points and/or the points that I specifically like in the book:

 there are two types of parents that we should avoid becoming.
a. helicopter parents:  live as if their life revolves around their children and send the message that "you are fragile and you can't make it without me."
b. drill sergeant parents:  controlling and send the message that "you can't think for yourself, so I'll do it for you.  Children of these parents tend to give into peer pressure more as teens because when they're tired of listening to their parents as teens they'll turn to listening to their friends.

basic principles
no. 1 - Build a healthy self-concept.
For low self concept--- finds fault and criticizes, insist on doing everything for their children and don’t allow their children to experience joy of independent success.
For high self-concept--- offer empathy, understanding, and unconditional love, allow children to struggle and solve own problems, and encourage children to succeed through personal thinking.
no. 2 -  share the control.
-Give them two choices.
- I particularly love this from the book -- control is like love.  The more we give away the more we get in return.  Now that was a slap in the face for this control freak. 
no. 3 -  provide empathy before delivering consequences. (they note this being the most important L&L technique.)
- learn to love the consequences b/c the price tags of mistakes made by young children are typically much smaller than those made by teens.       
no. 4 - share the thinking.

  When your child begins to whine, go hard of hearing.  

On giving children attention:
- save most of the attention for happy times.
- the best way to raise a chronically unhappy and poorly behaved kid is to make a habit of giving them a lot of attention or pizzazz when they are misbehaving.
-instead of multiple threats or warnings, L&L advice is to say "uh-oh and take action." They give the example of taking the child to his/her room.
-finally, they discourage lecturing or reminding the child of their action after punishment is over.  Hug him/her and get on with the day.

I love this blurb from L&L -- have so much fun with your kids when they're behaving so they'll miss you when they've misbehaved and the fun shuts down.

Turn Your Words into Gold (aka enforceable statements): 
-instead of demanding for them to brush their teeth try I give treats to kids who protect their teeth by brushing or instead of pick up your toys try feel free to keep the toys that you pick up or instead of hurry up and get dressed try the car's leaving in 10 minutes.  

On empathy:
- pick an empathetic phrase to use and stick with it.  Every time your child does something that deserves consequences start off with that empathetic response.  L&L believes that the use of empathy makes learning easier for both the child and parent.
-examples they give :  "uh-oh"  "this is so sad"  "how sad" "Oh ... that's never good."  "bummer"
I'm not sure those examples totally fit with my personality so if anyone reading has any other ideas for an empathetic phrase or word you use, please share.
-Be sincere.  Not sarcastic.

Specific recommendations for children under 3:
-respond with empathy, change your child's location or remove the offending object or both, don't remind or lecture.  Actions speak louder than words.

"Wise parents never criticize their young children when chores are not done absolutely perfect.  The more we criticize when they are little, the more they will resist doing chores as teens... and spouses." 

I love the "energy drain" concept.  A friend does it very well.  For example, if a child keeps interrupting you while you're talking or won't pick up toys you can use the whole "this is making mommy very tired and it's draining my energy, if you help/stop/wait then that may help my energy come back and we can go to the park afterwards."

On Neutralizing Family Arguements:
1) Go "brain dead," smile and pause as opposed to letting the child see how affected you are.
2) use an empathetic one-liner (I'm sorry you feel that way or I'll listen when your voice sounds like mine or I love you too much to argue).  I particularly love that last one.
3) Walk away.
4) If it continues, maybe it calls for some "bedroom time."

L&L encourages to give children chores at a young age:
- for teaching kids to be successful
-success builds a healthy self-concept ( so remember to give them choices and avoid saying do it now)
-encouragement and belief that others believe in them are instilled (so be careful of criticizing when your child performs chores)
- and we feel good about ourselves when we're successful.
-don't fret when your child forgets or doesn't do the chores.  If you must do it for them, lock in the empathy, and then ask them how they are going to repay you.

And finally, to keep me motivated because let's face it, discipline blows ...
"The best predictor of an out of control teenager is a two year old who runs the house."

The End.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

tutorial: pumpkin burlap door hanger

A few have asked for a tutorial on the burlap door hanger, so here goes. 

They're super easy and inexpensive to make.  I tried to locate the actual blog post tutorial from which I learned how to do this (so I could just send y'all there) with no luck.  That being said there are a ton of other tutorials out there for further reference, but here's a quick run through.

What you'll need:
-burlap (1.5-2 yards but of course that will vary depending on what you're making). Colored burlap if available or you can get the white or tan burlap and paint it.
-Elmer's glue
-paint brush
-fishing line and needle (or twine would work and I've seen some staple theirs with a stapler)
-paint (optional)

1) Buy burlap (I buy mine from Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon) and was able to find the orange color this time.
2.  Decide on the shape you want and trace/outline on burlap. 
3.  Cut two pieces of burlap in desired shape.
4. Take some glue (I used Elmer's) and a paint brush and brush glue all over the two burlap pieces.  This will make it stiff.  Don't worry the glue will go on white, but dry clear.
5.  Once the pieces are dry you'll lay the two pieces on top of each other and sew together the edges to connect them into one piece.  NOTE:  I used fishing line to sew with since it's clear and you can't see it and because it's so sturdy. I've seen others use a stapler. ANOTHER NOTE:  Do not sew the last six inches initially.  Leave six inch gap so that you can stuff with batting or tissue paper.  Once stuffed then sew the last six inches together. 
6. Decorate as desired and hang on your front door.  If you buy the white or tan burlap then this is the step where you'll paint it.

My first burlap door hanger was the baseball door hanger for Preston's Rookie of the Year birthday party seen here

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

twenty months of motherhood.

I have a 20-month old.


Here's what my life is like with a 20-month old:

I dreamed of only preparing nice, warm, well-balanced meals for my son.
Truth be told, there've been nights that tortilla chips comprised his entire dinner plate (his choice, not mine). Truth also be told that I check the windows to make sure no other moms are watching through the window as son eats said dinner.

His wife will thank me one day because it seems that Preston has inherited my organizational gene. You should see this boy stack his diapers.  Mr. Gherkin did one day, and his eyes filled up with tears. They were tears of fear.  He fears having two of the same person under one roof. Ha!

I'm the person who, when pulls up next to a homeless person or panhandler at an intersection, will grab my phone and look down to avoid eye contact with him/her.My son, however, starts waving with fully stretched arm, smiling, and saying hi to said panhandler from the back seat.

I'm scared of everything.  See.
My son?  He's scared of nothing.  Except pigs. Still can't explain that one.

All moms are entitled to and need a good cry even if we're not sure what we're crying about.

I thought my departure to work in the mornings would be, well, a little sweeter.  You know, maybe a hug or some kisses.  Truth is, I get "sugar" maybe once a week.  The other days I get a "Bye, Mama" from across the room. 

I can't carry a tune, but Preston doesn't seem to mind.  You should see his eyes light up when I sing (to others it sounds like nails on a chalkboard, I'm sure of it).

I've never felt more boring and lame before.  I don't have wheels, I can't roll,  I can't bounce, and I certainly can't roar like a dinosaur.  I'm low man on the totem poll around here.

And just when I think my heart is full and that I couldn't love him more, he does his little wave or says a new word or falls asleep yet again on my chest and my heart fills just a little bit more.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

fall love.

It's September!  My favorite time of the year is here (just need the cooler weather to show up). 

Here's how I've kicked off my most favorite time of the year. 

My burlap banner is back up and with candy corns this time.  

I made a burlap pumpkin door hanger.  It's not perfect and may not be as cute as the ones I've eyed on Etsy, but it only cost me $2.99 to make.

 The smell of Nest's Pumpkin Chai candle is filling up my house, and it smells so good.

October is up after September (Captain Obvious, here) which means it'll be Halloween soon.  With that in mind, I've started P's costume.  I made the mistake of letting him try it on over the weekend, and he wouldn't take it off.  

eating a granola bar, watching Dino Dan, and sporting his dino hoodie.

Monday, September 3, 2012

bye bye, summer.

P and I went to Galveston last weekend.  A few days at the beach was just what the doctor ordered. 

It was therapeutic in many ways (water soothes me), but it made me miss my grandmother like crazy.  She loved the beach and looked forward to spending time at the beach with us each year.  It just wasn't the same without her, but I did feel her presence everywhere.

Ok, so this isn't a beach picture but rather a picture taken just before we left and was on this download.  I love it just as much as this boy loves his nectarines.  

Mr. P loved the pool and playing with his sweet cousins. 

p and lexie

mackenzie and p

a man of leisure

a man of action.

a man who loves the beach, just like his mommy.

And a man who's tired of taking pictures.  Enough already.

Hello, September!