While you were being a good mom 9/30/2011

next stop....peak fall color

Typing the date for the last day of September is startling. People often say that this month or that month flew by but mine really did. I have been laid up with a flu-like illness for the past week. I’m looking forward to being a productive human again. Keeping my Friday link schedule is a good first step. Here’s what I found while you were working circles around me.

If you like over-thinking it –  These people literally have too much time on their hands, or with their hands….The science of rock, paper, scissors.

If you know/love an introvert - The chart really helped me to better understand my resident introvert. It is a rare peek behind the scenes.

A real story about marrying young - I wasn’t sure where this article was going, but I really enjoyed the story of young love told in a real way by a real person.

The changing standards of beauty -   Here is a well-done video, morphing the different faces that the art world has idealized through the years.

While you were being a good mom 9/23/2011

bring it!

Here where I live,  it has rained all week. I am old enough to know we needed it but still young enough to whine about it. I have a headache and a straight-up case of the blahs. In one week, the powers-that-be have rearranged Facebook, Pinterest, and Pandora. Is it a coincidence that R.E.M. disbanded this week, because it is the end of the world as we knew it? The good news is, the sun is coming out today. Maybe we can end the day with shiny happy people holding hands. Here are the links I found while you were trying to figure out your new Facebook.

There's a whole movie about how he doesn't care what we think.

Help with the new Facebook – This article walks us through the changes and has a lot of other links to look through. By the time we come to terms with these changes, they will change it again.

High School writers - Writers at this age can be the best because they are so great at winging it. Chances are they just don’t care and this makes them free to tell it like it is. These are some great analogies collected by high school English teachers.

Pinterest - I have been annoying everyone with my love for Pinterest.com. It is a bulletin board for collecting all your favorites from the internet. One place for every recipe, craft idea, blogs you read, anything! Here’s a peek at mine.

Wrong Worship – This youtube video cracked me up. I have real issues with the singing portion of my worship time at church. I find it hard to shut out all the distractions and the critiques of how it is being done. If I try to be aware of the words I am singing, sometimes I am honestly not feeling it. This worship team is being brutally honest…and funny. Hold out to the end for my favorite line.

Having it All: a repost

the baby's face says it all

I have been informed by my husband that I have no time to blog right now. I would put up a fuss if he wasn’t right. People here have not stopped needing to eat, bathe, or wear clothes. Some of them want these clothes to be washed first. They feel the same way about their dishes. Because of my new addiction to Pinterest, these chores are backing up. This site shows me a thousand things I want to try, and one hundred recipes I would love to make. It feels overwhelming to see all the things that others accomplish while I’m just clicking through pictures of what they have accomplished.

When I start to feel that I need to do everything, right now and perfectly, it does me good to re-read the post I wrote about my mom. She had more to do and tougher circumstances. So for any of you who feel overwhelmed by your load of work and wonder if what you dream of doing will ever find a place in your life, read the link to an old post of mine that cheers me and gives me perspective. It is not a quit-your-whining-your life-is easy kind of speech. It is an overview of a life that helps me remember the big picture and take the long view. I hope it helps you too.

While you were being a good mom 9/16/2011

This week was really busy for this usually lazy mom. I learned a new term this week that I hope to practice next week: multi-slacking! The most important event this week that we all shared was remembering 9/11. I have a couple of related links and some to cheer you up afterwords. Here’s what I found while you were remembering and honoring.

Near misses on 9/11 –  As a Christian, I don’t really believe in near misses. It is interesting to see how people have lived out the feelings that escaping death brings and how their beliefs filter the way they see what happened. The article is uplifting after a week of reliving the sadness.

One biological father, 150 children - Speaking of (writing of?) the messed up world we live in, this article tells of a very modern problem that has serious implications. Children of sperm donors are finding out they have many half-siblings, a lot of half-siblings. Could the guy she feels so drawn to at college be her soul-mate or maybe her half-brother?

Celebrity heroes - This slide show is a brief retelling of many stars who have saved people from harm or even death. I was amazed by how long the list is and that a few of them have rescued people more than once. The cynic in me was very skeptical, but these are documented cases of bravery among some unlikely celebrities and some that are so likely to save you, it is almost too good to be true.

Sara Groves’ sense of humor -  I admire Sara Groves for her deeply spiritual words of encouragement and faith. I am a huge fan. I also love when she just shares some of the truth of her life that makes me laugh. The person who posted this video did a great job.

While you were being a good mom 9/9/2011

I need one of these

This week my youngest turned seven and my 3rd child finished up Driver’s Ed. When you have  six kids, the milestones go flying past. Teeth are falling out and people are learning to read. My 2nd daughter is getting real grades – good ones – at college. I say “real” because they are the first ones ever that are not from her mom. I’m still planning a wedding and thinking about starting to plan to lose weight for this event. Daughter number 4 just became a member of the youth group. I’m gathering with friends to learn about being an heiress with Beth Moore. My hands are full, but they are full of what I love. All this and I still found some time to hook you up with some good links this week. Here’s what I found while you were wondering if it was too soon to wear your cute boots. (the answer is no by the way)

What teachers want to tell you - A friend of mine who teaches 3rd grade shared this on Facebook and I stole it. Keep an open mind and check yourself. Do your kids give problems? Are you open to the truth when teachers give it? This is not just a problem at school but amongst friends or in Sunday School classes.

LarkNews.com - Sara Groves shared a link to this site through her Twitter account. Please note that it is satire about small groups, mission bracelets, interpretive dance and more. They are not serious. They are kidding. Ok, now that I have made that clear, have some fun reading some truths about Christians that are so funny they hurt. Or they hurt so much it’s funny? You get the idea.

I found this while searching for "small group images"

Giving your kids the gospel message everyday - This is a blog post from a Pastor. He talks about what our kids learn when you do not live honestly in front of them, warts and all. When we are never wrong, they never see Grace in action in our lives. That would be a waste of God’s most awesome gift.

Penn Jillette – yes, as in Penn and Teller -  Penn Jillette is a hardened Atheist, no doubt about it. I know it is hard to watch this odd camera angle but the words he says will haunt you. He tells about someone giving him a Bible and the impact it had on him. Watch him soften with emotion before your eyes. I think of this often and it reminds me about the need for light and salt in this dark, tasteless world.

Your Kids Need to Do Chores

there's no school like the old school

I don’t think any parent would argue against chores being beneficial for their kids. Everyone knows that learning to work is about as basic as it gets. So why is it that so few kids have to do chores? There are several factors that fight against our desire to teach our kids the value of work. Let’s look at them and shoot them down, one by one.

I don’t have time – It does take time on the front end, no doubt about it. You have to guide them through the process of bed making or floor sweeping. It is faster to do it yourself. Absolutely. It would also be faster to do their homework for them but we all see the downside of that plan. The same downside exists here. We tend to focus on things that show to the outside world like grades and sports and dance lessons. No one will see their successes at home, but the pay-off is much higher than any of their other extra-curricular activities. If you can help with those activities, you need to prioritize in such a way that helping with chores gets on the list. Just like Dad (or Mom) helping them learn to catch a fly ball, a parent should guide them in these basic life skills.

They don’t have time – Kids are busy these days. If they are too busy for basic chores, something in their life needs to go. If they live in a family where no work is required of them, you are actually raising them in a fantasy world. You are busy and you still have to do your chores. Our ultimate goal is to raise them to adulthood. Without the basic knowledge of household skills, they are unable to function as a contributing adult. We all make the time. That is a skill in itself. They will never diagram a sentence again but they will need to clean a kitchen at some point in their lives. It’s your job to teach them.

They do a bad job – Kids stink at chores at first. I’m not gonna lie. You have to put up with some crumbs on the floor and some wrinkles in the covers. You can do it! You are allowed to point out the problems without expecting perfection. They do get better at it, they really do. It takes more time than you want it to. Take some deep breaths, encourage them and then point out what you would like to see (and then you can go over it when they aren’t looking or finish it up by way of demonstration). Deep down, your kids want to please you. You will get to see this in action.

I don’t know what to expect of them – This can be the biggest hindrance to getting started. You don’t want to frustrate them by giving them a job they are simply not ready for. Here’s a list of chores and the ages of the kids I know that actually do them. Yes-actual, normal kids.

  • Picking up their toys – any age. Any child who is capable of getting out toys is capable of putting them away. Be careful not to micro-sort their toys beyond their ability to follow your system. Keep it very basic.
  • Making their beds – 3 and up. My smaller kids only have a flat sheet and a comforter. This makes bed-making super easy. They should be the ones arranging their stuffed animals and keeping up with any additional blankies.
  • Cleaning their rooms – This chore is the toughest. It takes a lot of critical thinking skills about sorting and ordering what to do first. That’s where you come in. You have to teach them how to clean their rooms. Grab a book or your laptop and settle in. Call out a category, like shoes, make sure there is a set place to put them, and see that your kid gets them there. Then pick another category and repeat. A younger child, like 6 or younger may need a basket for shoes to be thrown in at random. An older child can line them up in order. The same goes for toys and other categories.
  • Sweeping the floor – Kids of 5 years of age or older can sweep. If you are less patient with the learning curve, start them at 7. Make sure they have a good broom and a gasketed dustpan. Show them where and how to dump the dustpan because this is where it can go so wrong. Also, they need to know what to do when the end of the broom gets fuzzy or hairy. (I know…. yuck.)
  • OK, this is too young

    Emptying/Filling the dishwasher – My 5-year old niece fills the dishwasher. I have never started mine that early because I have older kids, but clearly it is possible. A 7-year old child can empty it for sure and they can fill it too. This job takes several lessons about what goes where and how to make sure the water is not blocked from doing its job. They need to know how to secure things to avoid that most awful of smells….burnt plastic in on the heating element.

  • Clearing and cleaning the table – Little ones of about 5 love to do this one. If you don’t eat at your table, well…that’s another blog post for another time but basically, it is as important as chores. To make this easier, assign one person the job of clearing the space and wiping it down.
  • Laundry – A 10-year old can be taught how to sort their clothes, pick a setting, add detergent and press start. An 8-year old can fold their own clothes, although not as well as you. When you are folding clothes, don’t let your child just sit and watch TV. Give them their own clothes to fold.
  • In the yard – All children should have to pick up their own toys and put away their bikes. The littlest ones can help pick up sticks before an adult mows the lawn.

There are other jobs not listed that your child can do. Sometimes it takes some trial and a lot of error. One thing I have learned is for the family to do chores at the same time. A mysterious spirit of work comes over the house and  makes things start to hum. Your kids want to be with you and they want to be a grown-up like you. Also, don’t get hung up on allowance or rewards. Unless your child does something extra, like cleaning out the garage or raking the leaves, let them know that chores are just something we do to help each other live in a nice house. Your only reward is a clean place to live and play. It should be the same for them. They should do their assignment without parceling out the belongings to individuals. If you don’t make everyone wash their own dish, then you shouldn’t make everyone pick up their own shoes in the livingroom. Emphasize the sharing and the community thinking behind the work. We can function as one in a family. That may be the biggest lesson of all.

While you were being a good mom 9/2/2011

Ok, my friends. I have been sharing links and I can tell by the number of viewers that you are too busy or too uninterested to actually click on them. That’s cool. I understand. But this week, give them a try. I know you are probably overloaded with links and Facebook video shares, but I have some good stuff today. Here’s what I found while you were trying to do homework and housework.

the spooky power of mentos

If you only pick one link - This app on the Mentos Facebook page made me laugh and creeped me out a little. Maybe I am just out of the loop on apps and what they can do. I really didn’t want to link my Facebook to this app, but it was well worth going through the steps to see what Mentos was capable of doing with my information. You can always remove the app later. It was a fun toy to play with. The videos you see on the page are the apps that you customize for you or your friends.

Feminism is about choices, right? - This article exposes the double-talk of some feminists who claim to want freedom and choices for women. Read this and shake your head with me over comments like this one: “I think highly educated women have a moral obligation to take top positions, to set an example by their choices.” Suddenly they are fine with imposing their morals on other women. Hmmm….

Too cool for school - Here’s a list of six things you aren’t allowed to do in school that are actually beneficial for learning. This is great information if you homeschool or if you are battling with your kids about how they do their homework. You can’t change the rules at school, but you can rethink what you do at home.

More deep truth from Tim Hawkins - this is new from Tim. This bit shot right to the top of my favorites from him.