Perspective, Planning and Preparation

before we began

A change in your perspective can make a HUGE difference in your family. At the beginning of last week I told you about our decision to stay home for Spring Break.

In the recent past {say the last 3-4 years} I would have looked at this as torture. My kids don’t get along very well.  There it is.  I am admitting it.  I am being vulnerable by sharing how my family is indeed NOT perfect.  All three kids are in completely different stages in their life.  Honestly, for a while I had sort of given up on my dream of having a joyous family.  It seemed every time I would think things were going to be great, they wouldn’t.  Instead, we would have kids bickering and quarreling.  So, subconsciously I decided, what’s the point?  What’s the point in trying if it’s going to be a disaster?  I didn’t truly realize I had been thinking this until reevaluating last weeks Spring Break.

LOTS of soil

Last week was one of the most enjoyable Spring Breaks with my children.  It hasn’t been perfect, by any means.  Sure there was the usual, “Mom, he did this and she did that.”  There was still the whining and back talk…but not as much.  So I asked myself, why do you feel this way?  What is different?  I am here to tell you, it had everything to do with the three P’s: perspective, planning and preparation.

 

Perspective

My perspective about Spring Break was completely different than my deadbeat counter part.  I made the decision to make the best of this week for my kids.  Let’s rewind a bit.  I think my change of outlook or “awakening” began the week my children were home from school for snow days.  During that time, I consciously decided I was going to make the most of the time my children & I had to spend together.  I didn’t worry so much about chores.  I thought of things we could do together and we did them.

Planning

This leads me to the planning part.  This is as simple as thinking about ideas of what we could do.  During snow week I thought of us building a snowman together.  I thought it would be fun if the girls and I played spa and did each others nails.  I thought about certain crafts we could do together, etc.  It’s basically a brainstorming session of what I thought I would enjoy doing as well as something they would enjoy too.  This is exactly what I did for Spring Break.  I knew the kids have been wanting to do a vegetable garden for a long time.  Why not now?

Work, work, work

Preparation

In regards to the garden, I did a little research online about a family vegetable garden.  Each child chose some vegetables or fruits they wanted.  We decided together how it should be mapped out and I printed out our plans & supplies.  Monday we went shopping and bought the majority of our supplies.  Tuesday we put together the cedar boards for our above ground garden.  {We ended up making it bigger than we had planned.}  Next, we filled the bed with top soil, compost, planting soil and fertilizer.  Wednesday we took a break from the garden.  Thursday we set up a soaker hose & planted the seeds that could be planted in the ground {cucumbers, peas & peppers}.  We found out many needed to be started indoors or could not be planted until next month.  Preparation was KEY, not just in preparing of supplies and physically, but also mentally.  I mentally prepared myself for this task with my children. {Not to mention MANY prayers being offered}

Without changing my perspective, without planning and preparation, this week would have been a disaster.  Instead, it was filled with special times.  Special times filled with my youngest saying, “this is so much fun, Mom.”  Special times filled with good conversation, meals and love.

I am reminded, again, that joy doesn’t just happen.  You have to cultivate it with the 3 P’s.

our new vegetable garden {without the fence}

 

{I joined the pity party at Thirty Handmade Days}
Peas are good for you too,

You Reap What You Sow

Today marks the first official day of Spring Break for my kids.

While many families are vacationing this week, we will be home planting a vegetable & fruit garden.  Last year we were blessed with many vacations.  Unfortunately, our children showed little gratitude and their behavior was less than desirable.  You didn’t think my children were perfect did you?

Planting a garden sounds boring.  However, it will be challenging to figure out how to do this on our sloped yard with grazing deer visitors.  I think I have already gotten myself in a conundrum.  {I can’t believe I was able to use that word in a sentence.}  The purpose of the garden is:  1.) To have our children do something outside, instead of watch TV all day. 2.) Teach them the value of work. 3.) Teach them about responsibility 4.) Enjoy the fresh produce all summer long.  Wish us luck!  {Good thing we will be planting during St. Patrick’s Day 😉 } I hope to be able to share photos of the garden at the end of the week.

Side note: Since my children will be home this week, I may not have the time to write as much on my blog as I would like. :(  I know total bummer!  I will try, but my family & children will always come first.

Happy Spring Break,

Family Theme Song

I’m not quite sure how this tradition began, but I am so glad it did.

Whenever someone in our family does something good, something that requires praise, something I want them to do again, we sing part of a song to them.

“You’re simply the best, better than all the rest, better than anyone, anyone I’ve ever met.”

At first, the kids thought we were a little weird.  It was funny.  However now, the middle child will begin to ‘shout’ along instead of singing.  The oldest rolls her eyes and the youngest will sing along.  It is adorable to hear my youngest {7} sing it.  My children had never heard this Tina Turner {1989} song before.  I think they thought we {my husband & I} made it up for a long time until I played the song for them one day.

Now, if my husband or I begin the song, “You’re simply the best…”   My youngest will chime in singing, “better than all the rest, better than anyone, anyone I ever met.”  I love it!  I’m pretty sure we haven’t done it in front of anyone else {public}.  It’s a family thing.  However, it has brought joy and unity to our family.

I have discovered how important it is to recognize your children and your husband doing something you have asked them to do or value. Sometimes it’s as simple as seeing them washing the dishes or putting their clean clothes away.  Other times it can be seeing them live a principle we value in our family.  As parents & spouses, if we don’t let them know we appreciate them and are grateful for the good things they do, then how will they know?  Besides, it encourages them to do it again and again.  Isn’t that what our ultimate goal is…for them to repeat the good behavior?

Okay,  I know I don’t own the rights to our family having The Best as our theme song.  I don’t need to give you permission to use it if you would like.

However, I want to challenge you to find

your own family theme song you can use in this way.

I know there are MANY songs that would be appropriate to use.  Maybe there is already one that comes to mind as you read this.

Come back and SHARE your song and experiences with me, please.

I would LOVE to hear how your family reacted to you the first time you did it.

Honestly, the younger the children are, the better the reception.  You don’t have to be a good singer either {my husband will be the first one to tell you he can’t hold a tune, I didn’t marry him for his singing abilities 😉 }.  What your family will remember, years to come, is the consistency of you sharing your praise with them.

If you decide to blog about your experience, please link back to this post.  Thank you 😉

Sing On,

Dinner Time is Golden Time for your Family

I am about to give you some great tips on how to manage your family dinner time.

First of all, family dinner time should be a priority in your home.  I used to have a home based business where I would teach about the power of traditions.  At the beginning of the workshop I would ask everyone to tell me what their most cherished childhood memory was.

Go ahead…stop and think about your most cherished childhood memory.

What do you think the majority of participants said?
The majority of participants said their most cherished and favorite childhood memories were sitting around the table eating a meal.  Sometimes it was a special holiday meal, but most were just memories of spending time with their family.
In our home we plan on having dinner together at least 5 nights a week, if not more.  Schedules usually average out to about 5 nights eating dinner together.  Before I begin to get on my ‘soap box’ box about how important this is…I want to give you some tips on how our family manages dinner time.  It has taken us a while to figure this system out.  However, it has worked longer than anything else we have done.

This is what we do:

Each person in our family of 5 has a night they plan & prepare a meal.

Monday – My husband
Tuesday – My oldest daughter (15 yrs.)
Wednesday – My Son (12 yrs.)
Thursday – My youngest daughter (7 yrs.)
Friday – Me or out to dinner

Sunday night everyone is responsible for writing down or entering the information on our cool computer application (I’ll have to write about it in the future) the ingredients needed for their meal.  The kids usually ask can I make such & such and we discuss whether it is appropriate or not.  For example, if we know 2 out of 5 don’t like fettucini alfredo then we say, “Why don’t you think of something the majority of us will eat.”

Monday I go to the store and shop for the week.  If someone has not given me their meal ingredients then they have to figure out something to make from what we have at home.  That is not always an easy task and usually motivates them to remember to let me know their ingredients before Monday.

When it’s the family member’s day to cook, they are responsible for cooking the entire meal.  Sometimes I will help do something, but most of the time my two oldest children will do it all by themselves. {score!}  They LOVE to cook and look at this activity as a privilege.  Plus, they pick something they like to eat and know they will like what they will have for dinner that night.  Either my husband or I usually help, teach and supervise my youngest daughter on Thursdays.

So some of you who have younger children might be thinking, “Well, my kids are not old enough to cook.”

If they are not old enough to cook, but old enough to talk let them help you with the menu plan for the week.  Adapt it to where the child has a night to plan the meal.  At least this helps take off the load of you having to decide what you will make every night.

I think when kids are about 5 (maybe younger depending on the child) they can start helping you in the kitchen with certain tasks.  It may not necessarily be cooking on the stove or oven, but helping with pouring or mixing or even having them go to the pantry & getting all the ingredients.  I firmly believe our job as parents is to prepare & teach our children to be self sufficient.  This way when they leave our home, they know how to {in this case} cook.  Doing things this way also teaches them responsibility, time management and organizational skills.

How do you manage your meal time?

Are you sitting down at the table
(not in front of the TV or separately)
to eat a meal together on a regular basis?

Let me hear from you.  If you try something similar to this plan please come back and let me know how it goes.  I want to know :)

The dinner hour is GOLDEN time with your family.

You can learn so much from your children at meal time.

Bon Apetite,

Valentine’s Day Mantel

I finally received the motivation & inspiration to ‘loveify’ my mantel.

What I love the most about it is…

I only spent $2.50 for a bag of conversational heart candy.

{used in small jar and around candle pillar}

The rest I shopped at home.

The red circles above the TV are place mats.

The grapevine garland was on my Christmas tree.

I realized while sprucing up my photos that I forgot to add my red ribbon to my chalk board…the one that says “Love.”  You can see the holes in it.  Ugh, I’ll have to update the photo with the red ribbon later.  Oopsy!  Sorry!
Linking Up:

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Once a romantic…always a romantic,

Post it Notes bring me JOY


I have been finding these sweet gems on my desktop lately.

Little things mean a LOT,
Shan