Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Snow Day #2

As expected, schools are closed for the second day in a row. Our first makeup day has been scheduled for this coming Saturday. Other makeup days I guess will be decided once we see just how many days we'll be out this week. Some have said we'll be lucky to return to school on Friday.

My ideas for yesterday went pretty much as planned. The girls watched some television and played some video games but we also went outside for a little walk - a very cold little walk - and we also got some crafting and some baking and some hot chocolate in our day as well.

The children catching snowflakes craft turned out pretty cute. I have them hanging on our sliding glass door today. They are certainly unique!! Look at those mouths full of teeth!!

I made blueberry muffins - two batches. There are only two muffins left so it is safe to assume we have done our share of eating as well. I also made chili. A whole lot of chili. Apparently I thought I was feeding the neighborhood or that we would want to eat chili for every meal for the next week. Good thing I have an extra freezer!

I doubt we go outside today even though it is supposed to be a tad warmer. It also is a lot wetter and muddier today - both I would rather avoid.

Unless we make a quick run to the grocery store for a couple of items, today will most likely be a stay in, stay warm, watch tv (for the girls), read (for all of us), catch up on work (for me) kind of day.

The cold is apparently planning on sticking around a while. Our forecast...

Brrr...I get chills just thinking about it. It looks like it is going to be a fireplace, hot chocolate, soup, lots of layers kind of week around here!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Snow Days

Schools are releasing early today, grocery stores are packed with people getting stocked up on milk, bread, water and the fixings for soups and chili - and probably junk food, all in anticipation of the winter weather forecast to hit our area late this afternoon.

Will we get snow or will it be mostly sleet and freezing rain?

It is less a matter of "if" but more accurately "how many" days will school be cancelled? Which leads us to "how many Saturday plans will be ruined due to school makeup days?"

This will be our first experience with making up school on a Saturday having just recently moved to a year-round school schedule. The girls were less than thrilled with the news. So far we love year-round school. Having to go to school for even a half day on a Saturday will most likely be the biggest negative. 

My plans for the next day or two are fairly simple. I have a couple of items to pick up on the way getting the girls from school. I have a short list of recipes to make, preferably all this afternoon to be warmed up as needed the next couple of days, and a hope to get laundry caught up.

I am sure the girls would love to spend the next 24-36 hours at home in front of the television exhausting all of their Netflix shows or playing the Playstation but I refuse to let them spend the entire time in front of a screen. I decided to do a quick search of some simple winter crafts and activities that would not require a trip to the store for supplies. I think I found some good possibilities!

And how cute are these portraits??

Hopefully in between cooking and cleaning, supervising arts & crafts with the girls and of course the work I will have to do from home, I'll find the time to get some reading in as well. It is an exciting week for books for me!! Probably the one I am most excited about is Jessica Turner's "The Fringe Hours"

I preordered this book and assuming this weather doesn't interfere, it should be delivered tomorrow. I cannot wait to get started.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Raising Children

There are moments - like when the girls are fighting and fussing or just completely ignoring any and all instructions and directions given them by me or Ed - when I think to myself "What am I doing wrong? I must be a terrible parent!" During these moments it is so easy to want to throw my hands up in defeat.

And then there are moments like this morning when I attended a Kids of Character breakfast at Gabrielle's school. Each month, the school recognizes students for a particular character trait. One student is chosen by their class to go to a special breakfast and receive a certificate in recognition of this trait. This morning Gabrielle was recognized for the trait of "tolerance." The school counselor explained the kids chosen for this trait were kids who treated everyone with respect and kindness. Everyone equally, regardless of any differences. I elaborated to Gabrielle this meant whether she agreed with someone or liked the same things, she respected their opinion and the person and that she showed love and kindness to them.

I have always tried to instill in both girls that they will not agree with everyone, they may not even "like" everyone, but everyone deserves to be treated with respect and kindness and love. That's what Jesus tells us to do. To love one another just as he loves us.

And I guess Gabrielle was listening. She may not always demonstrate at home these traits but I'm happy - and proud - to know she is indeed living these things out in the world.

Let's face it, in reality I think most kids act out at home in ways they would never imagine elsewhere. We get to see the "worst" but how comforting it is to be reminded of the best and to know that maybe I'm not that terrible of a parent and just maybe I'm doing something right.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Ash Wednesday & Lent 2014

The first day of Lent was yesterday, Ash Wednesday. For the past couple of weeks I have been praying, journaling, thinking, and meditating in hopes God would make very clear to me something I need to give up or take on this year. I was beginning to think it would never happen. But in God's timing, right?

I began talking to the girls yesterday morning during our car ride to school about Lent, reminding them what it is, and asked for them to consider giving something up or taking something on this year. We continued the conversation during and after dinner last night. I suggested we as a family give up fast food. I am ashamed to admit just how much I have depended on drive-thru and take out dinners over the past few months. It's gotten really bad. Well, one would have thought I had snatched away the girls' most loved possession at the mention of no McDonald's, Chick-fil-A, Sonic or Wendy's (no, not the frosty!!) for the next 40 days. Their reaction and begging backfired - now I'm even more convinced we need to give it up. Let's be honest here though - giving up fast food will be a lot harder for me than them. I'm the one who has to get the meal planning and cooking back on track regardless of how long and busy the day has been!

In addition and much more important in my opinion, we decided to take on daily Bible reading, devotions, and prayer just before bedtime every night for the next 40 days. The girls were excited by this suggestion and as soon as it occurred to me, I knew it was God-inspired (in his perfect timing!). Another really honest moment here - this will be more challenging than no fast food! I have become incredibly rushed with bedtime routines. At the end of the day I'm exhausted. Wiped out physically, mentally, emotionally. Most nights I'm fussing to get them in bed and rushed with tucking in and goodnight kisses. Adding 15-20 minutes of Bible and prayer time every night regardless of how tired I am, regardless of how late past bedtime it might be - well this will be a challenge.

We were unable to attend our church's Ash Wednesday service - 7:00 pm on a school night at this age just was not going to work unfortunately. But we did begin our daily devotions. I think it will take a few days to figure it out. Gabrielle read a passage from her Bible about Jesus' baptism then I read the same story from Samantha's Bible. We then read a short devotion and took turns praying. I hope to have more discussion about what we've read in the future (hopefully I'll be able to answer their questions!) and maybe on the weekend incorporate some sort of activity to go with what we've been reading.

It will be a challenge but then I think what the next 40 days might look like, what will Easter be like after 40 days of the girls and I together focusing on Jesus. I'm hoping for an amazing experience. I'm hoping the girls and I both will learn so much together. I'm hoping at the end of the 40 days we will have enjoyed this time together and this time with God each night that we won't want to stop.