Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Right Way?

Is there a right way to load toilet paper?

I always thought so.

The right way to load toilet paper is with the roll facing out. Its easier to pull. Right?

I am learning that sometimes there can be more than one right way.

Isn't that shocking?!?

If you load your toilet paper with the roll facing the wall it can help prevent huge amounts of toilet paper from ending up in the toilet. If you have newly potty-trained children, like I do, this can be an issue.

Note: This will not prevent your preschoolers from emptying a roll of toilet paper for the "fun" of it. I'm not sure if there is a solution to that problem. :)

Isn't that a fun little tip! I learned it at FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember. You just never know what little jewels you will glean from a marriage conference!

So, how do you load your toilet paper rolls?

Monday, March 30, 2009

How do you motivate little boys to pick up toys?

It's a puzzling question.

At least to me.

Mya never seemed to have a problem. I don't know if that is a first-born thing or a girl thing, probably a first-born thing.

Getting the boys to pick up their toys is like pulling teeth (not the loose ones, the permanent adult ones). It's a frustrating chore. Many times I'm tempted to just do it myself, but where would the lesson be in that.

I've helped them pick up toys (and ended up finishing the job myself) I've tried asking nicely. I've tried asking multiple times in a short period of time. I've even tried asking in a very loud voice.

I've threatened them with punishments. I've told them they can't leave their room until its picked up (they were in their room for 3 hours).

Last week I came up with a new scheme.

I asked them to pick up. When they didn't listen, I picked up the toys myself and then I took them away in a box and hid them...

for a week.

And, for a week their room was relatively picked up (mainly due to the fact that their toys were being held hostage in the utility room).

But today, their room is again a disaster area.

Which I asked them to pick up...

And they have not.

In fact, I hear water running in the bathroom as I write this.

Not a good sign my friends, not a good sign.

And so I will head up stairs, pull out a box and start packing the toys away, again.

Here's hoping round two is a little more successful.

I'm not holding my breath. :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Video Review: Skeeter and the Mystery of the Lost Mosquito Treasure

Skeeter, a mosquito with a crooked nose, always gets lost, a trait, which makes him an unlikely candidate to find a hidden treasure. But when his famous older brother comes to town with a treasure map, the brother’s must work together to find the treasure. In the process they find that God made them unique for a reason and that God doesn’t make mistakes.

The moral is good, the story is cute, but I have to say the pace of this little video was S.L.O.W. And the humor (or attempts at humor) was not clicking with me… at all. If it were up to me, I would never watch it again. But then, I’m not exactly in the target audience.

When the video was over I asked my kids what they thought. My three-year-old immediately replied, “I want to watch it again.” A positive review.

My five year old did not. When I asked her why she said the part where they got lost was scary. Honestly, I don’t know what she was talking about; this movie is the opposite of scary. In my attempt to get a logical response I asked her what she learned from the movie. She replied, “Everyone is not perfect because that is how God made us.”

If you are looking for a video with a good message, Skeeter and the Mystery of the Lost Mosquito Treasure definitely fits the bill. If you want a video that you can enjoy with your kids, I would consider looking elsewhere, unless you’re hoping to squeeze in a little nap time while you watch!

Drumroll Please...

And the winner of Real Moms...Real Jesus is:

Ashley Baner!

Congrats Ashley - Use the "e-mail me" link on the side of my blog and we can figure out how to get you your book.

Thanks for all your comments everyone. Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Real Moms...Real Jesus

Hearts at Home recently released Real Moms...Real Jesus by Jill Savage. I am so excited about this book And to celebrate its release I am going to give away one copy! To enter the drawing simply leave a comment! You have until Friday (March 27th) at noon to enter.

Today I’d like to welcome author and speaker, Jill Savage. Jill’s recent book Real Moms…Real Jesus, just released, and I wanted to ask her about her real mom moments..

Jill, tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
Mark and I have been married 25 years and we have five children. Anne is 24 and married to our wonderful son-in-love, Matt. Evan is 21 and married to our beautiful daughter-in-love, Julie. Erica is 18 and a college student at Heartland Community College. Kolya is 15 and in the 8th grade. We adopted Kolya at the age of 9 from Russia---the God story about his adoption is included in the Real Moms…Real Jesus book. And Austin is 12 and in the 7th grade.

Tell us about your newest book Real Moms...Real Jesus?
Real Moms…Real Jesus is a book designed to help moms understand that when Jesus lived on this earth he was fully God, yet fully man. We don’t often think about the fact that he was a human being and he lived the full human experience: pain, hunger, fatigue, frustration, betrayal, disappointment. He experienced it all!

There’s one verse in the Bible about Jesus that simply says “large crowds followed him everywhere he went.” Well, isn’t that the life of a mom? Large crowds follow her to the bathroom. They follow her to the kitchen. To the grocery store. She’s in high demand! And when Jesus lived on this earth, He was in high demand, too.

Why did you want to write this book?
Most of us long for a friend who understands. Yes, we need girlfriends who understand what our life is like. But we also need to understand that we have a friend who understands in Jesus. Too many of us think of God as being distant and unable to relate to our daily struggles. But nothing could be further from the truth! He understands and he wants us to build our friendship with Him. He wants to not only be our Savior, but also our Friend.

What do you hope your readers will gain from this book?
I hope that readers will gain a new perspective about their relationship with Jesus. I also hope to weave God’s truth into the daily life of a mom.

What unique elements will the reader find in Real Moms…Real Jesus?
Each chapter looks at some character trait in Jesus’ life that can help us in our life as a mom. In between the chapters are interactive vignettes that provide brief, refreshing glimpses into our real, messy, busy lives.

There are also questions at the end of the chapter for further consideration and suggested Bible reading in the book of Matthew. If the reader chooses to pursue the suggested reading, she will have read the book of Matthew completely by the end of the book!

There is also a leader’s guide in the back of the book so it can be used in a group setting.

This is a Hearts at Home book. What is Hearts at Home?
Hearts at Home is an organization that encourages, educates, and equips women in the profession of motherhood. Hearts at Home encourages moms through annual conferences, our extensive website (
www.hearts-at-home.org), a free bi-weekly electronic newsletter, a radio program, and an entire line of books designed to meet the needs of moms all over the world!

Any closing thoughts?
I am very excited about this book! I believe that if a mom can strengthen her relationship with Jesus Christ, she will feel more equipped to be the mom she wants to be. I’m also offering an online book discussion on my blog beginning Tuesday, April 7. If you’d like to join us, you can subscribe to my blog at

I’d love to hear a reader’s thoughts after they read the book, too! You can connect to me through my blog at

Thanks, Jill, for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your real mom, real Jesus moments with us.

You can purchase your own copy of Real Moms…Real Jesus by clicking here.

And be sure to check out Hearts at Home, their conferences for moms, and all their online resources

Friday, March 20, 2009

Listening In

Mommy: Boys I need you to pick up the blocks so I can sweep your room.

Little Boy: But we are playing "Boz the Green Bear."

Mommy: Pick-up your blocks, I'll sweep, and then you can play "Boz the Green Bear."

Little Boy: But I am tired.

Mommy: Oh, then you are probably too tired to play "Boz the Green Bear."

Little Boy: No, I was talking about the blocks.

Gotta love the "logic" of a 3 year old!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Our family has a small St. Patrick's Day tradition.

It began several years ago when some good friends invited us over for Corned Beef and Cabbage. My husband was hooked.

Every year since we have "feasted" on corned beef and cabbage when March 17th rolls around.

Thankfully it is an easy meal to make, it makes my husband happy (he has been salivating ever since he found out I bought the corned beef last week), and I like traditions. That makes it a win-win!

And even though I tend to associate things like beer, 4-leaf clovers, leprechauns and green rivers with St. Patrick's day, there is more to the day than meets the eye. (An interesting aside: the leprechaun only became associated with St. Patrick's day after a Disney cartoon about a friendly leprechaun was released in 1959.)

St. Patrick's Day is a holy day in Ireland celebrating the man who spent his life sharing the gospel with the Irish. In fact until the 1970s bar's were closed down on the holiday and then in 1995 the Irish government decided St. Patrick's Day was a great day to drive tourism and showcase Ireland to the world.

Here is the story of St. Patrick: He grew up in Britain, was taken prisoner by Irish raiders at the age of 16, spent 6 years in Ireland before he escaped home to Britain, studied to become a priest for 15 years and finally returned to Ireland to minister to and convert the Irish people. He died on March 17th, around 460 A.D.

So beyond all the commercialism and traditions is the story of a man who lived his life for Christ. A man whose story is still remembered. A man who obeyed the call God had on his life.

That is something worth celebrating!

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Listening In

Little Boy: Mom, I don't want you to come in my room. I want you to stay downstairs. Okay?

Mommy: Why?

Little Boy: I just want you to stay downstairs.

Mommy: Do you have something you shouldn't in your room?

Little Boy: Yes

Mommy: What is it?

Little Boy: Thomas [the train] wants videos in ours room.

Sounds like I need to have a little talk with "Thomas."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tomorrow is Global Food Crisis Day!

Some days it feels like we have nothing to eat.

At least nothing that I'm craving in the moment... like chocolate.

I look in our cupboard and nothing looks good. Nothing appeals to me.

So I either make due with an inferior snack, like pretzels, or I go "hungry" until dinner time arrives.

I recently received an e-mail from Compassion. There is Global Food Crisis affecting millions of families around the world. Even in America, we have felt the tremors. Food prices are going up in our grocery stores. It affects what and how much I buy.

Even though I feel the tremors, it is hard to imagine families going hungry. I am insulated from that because of where I live. But it doesn't change that fact that there are people around the world going hungry. It doesn't change the fact that I can do something to help.

Here are the facts:
  • The UN World Food Programme calls the current global food crisis "a phenomenon, a silent tsunami," that is affecting millions of families in every nation on every continent.
  • This global food crisis is more rapid, urgent and devastating than any other in the history of our planet.

Why is this happening?

  • The cost of food staples have roughly doubled in many countries
  • Some of the original factors that turned this trend into a world calamity recently include unstable oil prices, increased meat consumption in countries like India and China, droughts in major crop-producing countries, and increased production of bio fuels

How can you help?

  • Compassion has created a Global food crisis fund. This fund provides food vouchers to children and families in need of immediate relief. It provides seeds and agricultural tools so that families can grow their own food as well as earn extra income. And, it provides supplemental nutrition services at Compassion-assisted centers around the world.
  • Please visit Compassion to learn more and to donate to this cause.
  • Add a Global Food Crisis widget to your blog to help Compassion raise awareness.

I know the current economic conditions have people worried. It is hard to give money when the economic future is uncertain and our dollars are not stretching as far as they once did.

BUT, there are moms who are sending their children to bed hungry. Compared to that economic condition, we live in a world of abundance no matter how tight our grocery budget is.

THEREFORE, we can help. Every little bit counts. Every dollar makes a difference. Please consider donating to Compassion's Global Food Crisis Fund today.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Victory in Sneakers

Her school shoes were quickly falling apart. New holes began to appear with more and more frequency. It was time for new shoes.

And so new shoes were purchased, but there was a problem. The new shoes had laces, not Velcro.

We had practiced tying shoes before, but it was hard and it took longer and even though her old shoes were falling apart, they were easy to put on. So the new shoes sat in a box in her closet and the old shoes continued to wear down.

Until one morning when her tired old shoe disappeared. We frantically searched the house, overturning pillows and looking under furniture. The bus lumbered past our house... still no shoe.

She needed tennis shoes for school. Time was running out. A decision was made. It was time to bring out the new shoes. The ones with the laces.

She pulled the shoes from their box and put them on with trepidation. After a quick refresher course on tying a shoe, she grabbed a hold of the laces.

Round one didn't end well. Round two wasn't much better. But she had no choice, she had to try again.

And then it clicked. Suddenly the shoe was tied. She had done it! She had tied her shoe! She was no longer a prisoner to her tired, worn-out Velcro sneakers. A new world of footwear choices had suddenly opened up to her.

Victory had come once she was forced to leave her comfort zone... and it was sweet!

She practiced a few more times, gaining confidence with each new tie. And then it was time to go to school in her new shoes.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

It Was Bound To Happen Someday.

Little boys are curious creatures.

What happens when trains are hurled down the steps?
What does the living room look like from the top of the book case?
What will happen if I put a green bead up my nose?

The answers may seem obvious to us grown-ups, but little boys don't want to take our word for it. Some things must be experienced.

One little boy came home from preschool slightly upset. He said he had a green thing in his nose.

Seeing snot, I quickly wiped it, asked if someone had made fun of him for the snot and dismissed the incident.

But little boy was still not happy. Until 15 minutes later when he proudly told me he got the green thing out of his nose.

Apparently there was more than snot up there.

That was when little boy number 2 suddenly got upset. Remember, how little boys are curious creatures...

I guess having a green bead stuck up your nose looked like fun. Little boy #2 could not be denied. His brother had experienced it, he had to try it.

Only he couldn't get it out by himself. 10 minutes and a pair of tweezers later...

We had that nasty green bead.

Then we sat down and had a little talk about the importance of not shoving items up your nose.

Let's hope it sticks.