Peaceful parenting

I read a book by Dr. Laura Markham called Peaceful Parents Happy Siblings. Really awesome! She explains not only what to do but HOW to do it. The book was filled with scripts and how to handle situations where they don’t cooperate with your parenting strategy. I think it really puts the responsibility on the parent to lead rather than solely on the child to behave. A little scary but empowering!

The peaceful parenting idea starts with taking care of ourselves. We commit to controlling our emotions because we can’t expect our children to do what we can’t do. Just as our children make mistakes, so will we. But at least, we are striving for a higher standard.

The book presents the idea that punishments lead to selfishness rather than empathy. It is a foreign concept because we feel no one will learn to do what is right without consequences. I wondered why I do the right things and the first thing that popped in my head was that I couldn’t get away with it which totally aligns with my place as the older child. It is sobering to think that I operate more out of self-preservation than concern for my fellow man.

The book talks of connecting with your child first and foremost so that his desire to protect the relationship overrides the potential to act out. Communication about limits and expectations are important. Acknowledging their feelings and coaching them through how to deal with their emotions in a positive way. Allowing them to be angry or sad instead of expecting them to just get over it. Preventing them from hurting others and showing we are there to help until they learn self control.

She suggest daily roughhousing and laughter to help release tensions. John Micah was poking at me so I gasped and jumped like he got me. He laughed and laughed! He repeated it probably 20 times. My oldest even got tickled and joined in. David said, “You’re funny, Mom!” I realized that I don’t let myself be silly near enough.

I’ve begun communicating more instead of intervening. “Katie Rose, do you hear Joseph? He sounds like you are squeezing him too tight.” “But he’s cute.” ” Yes, but what can we do so he isn’t uncomfortable.”  And there are dozens of these conversations daily. Recognizing tensions before they become a fight has been helpful.

Using humor to get through tense situations has been really cool. Katie Rose was upset and not wanting to take her vitamins. I asked her to hold out her hand. She was refusing so I said, “You know,  it’s the thing with fingers. Don’t you remember?” She giggled and took her vitamins.

Sometimes it takes a couple tries. One night, John Micah refused to go to bed. I resolved that I wouldn’t yell or threaten to spank. I took his blanket to his bed and spread it out. He stood in the corner of the dining room and still refused. I let him stand there a couple of minutes and defuse a bit. He came back to the living room and repeated his defiance with a hearty No! I asked if he wanted to take his bear to bed. NO!

I found two bears and said, “They are tired and need some rest. I’ll put them in bed since you won’t be using it.” That tickled him. He just about beat me to the bedroom. He was all smiles and tucked into bed. This small battle took 5 minutes to resolve. If I had yelled, there would be 15-20 minutes of tears(from both of us). Instead, we all went to bed happy.

I have been looking through articles on her website. I am very intrigued with this idea of emotion-coaching and preparing them for many future interactions and relationships. It is lined up with the character building tenets of taekwondo and Leader in Me. With 7 of us, we have many opportunities for frustrations to arise. Mindful parenting provides skills to help them through the rest of their lives. It isn’t easy and for an introvert, slightly exhausting. It’s so rewarding and we’ll all be better for it.

Proverbs 27:17 Iron is sharpened by iron;  one person sharpens another

Summer reading

Last year, the older boys really enjoyed the summer reading program at the library. This year, I noticed that they had an adult program so I signed up as well. It’s really enjoyable to get lost in a book.  My goal is 8 books and at the rate I am going, I will be through 8 in the first 3 weeks. I’m looking for another Christian author to read more fiction. I’ve read a lot of Janette Oke, Jan Karon and Beverly Lewis but I’m hoping for a new series to capture my interest.

I got a book called Living the Farm Sanctuary Life but I didnt realize it was all about being vegan so that was returned. I don’t agree with all the philosophies and none of the guys here would be satisfied to replace chicken and beef with tofu and tempeh.

I really enjoyed a book about living a wholehearted life by Brene Brown titled The Gifts of Imperfection.  She is a researcher in emotions and looked at the characteristics of those living a wholehearted life. Thought-provoking read on making time for play as well as living with authenticity. The part that impacted me the most was the need for not other people to tell us our worth but to be able to say, “I am worthy.” Feeling our worth to be loved well before we can truly feel the love from another. That’s a real hard thing to do in a world constantly saying that surely you can do better, look better and be better. In a culture where there is always someone handy to point out your every step as a misstep no matter what choice you make. And unfortunately that often comes from the ones closest to you. I think we spend so much time trying to create a perfect life that we can fail to really live. I think this book helps me allow myself to just be ok with one imperfect day after another, letting go of the regrets of the past and the fear of the future to drink in the gift of today.

A homeschooling mom friend recommended The Incorrigible children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood. We have been reading a chapter a day on the first book The Mysterious Howling. It is entertaining and my 5 yr old started saying Penelope (the main character) whenever I pick up the book at about the 5th chapter. She’s absorbing more than I expected. It is a really fun story. My friend exclaimed that you could teach practically any subject from this one book series.

Life from Scratch by Sasha! I really didn’t know what it was about except it was a story around recipes. I may try some of the recipes especially the meat sauce by her Italian uncle cousin. The story was captivating. So sad and so beautiful. Perfectly imperfect. She discovers how living is a lot about letting go of control and building a community. Keeping to ourselves or in our cliques may seem safer but we risk failing to fully live.

Saturday morning funnies

We are sorting through all the random stuff in the older boys’ room. I found a note in James’ handwriting that read,

Despicable me
I survived

My goodness, I had no idea it was such a traumatic experience.
John Micah(3) climbed up in the chair with Katie Rose (5). Katie Rose points to her book and says, “Here’s the story of Snow White cause you don’t like it!”
John Micah is a rough and tough boy. He doesn’t sit still for tv except for Chuggington and Little Einsteins. But lately, if I put Sofia the First on for Katie Rose then John Micah instantly bursts into tears.

What’s the state of your sock drawer?

Now, if you know Veggie Tales then the title automatically takes you to their movie about Joseph. The mayor (Pharoah) determines who should help prepare for famine by the state of their sock drawer. Now personally, if you had asked me a few weeks ago about drawers like this then I would have assumed someone had way too much time on their hands or needed a hobby. But after living with drawers like this for the second week, I love it!

I got a book by Marie Kondo titled The Life-Changing Magic of tidying up. It’s such a great book! Approaching organization in a very different way. At first, I wasn’t crazy about her ideas of thanking your possessions and thinking of their storage in the way you would think of caring for a person. I reasoned people should be treated better than possessions. But then it struck me that if you treated things better, then how much better would you then treat people. It would improve from the bottom up. So I gave it a try.

A few of her ideas are to store vertically, never ball up or tie socks and store like things together not for ease of taking out but for ease of putting away. I had already pared down clothing so I started with drawers in my bedroom. I found extra room for things like my husband’s cell phone box and my jewelry boxes. I can easily see what I have so I am not wearing the same things over and over. I can even pick out an outfit in the dark in a matter of seconds. I even laid out clothes one evening for the next day. I’m sold! Great book! Much of my clothes are in my drawers since I needed to give half my closet for my daughter’s clothes. So they needed to be organized well.

My husband’s sock drawer with socks folded. Ties are folded neatly in the back. There are a few odds and ends like handkerchiefs,  watch box, cell phone box and old scarf


My smallest drawer, which always seemed inadequate to me, has room for my denim apron, pajamas and scarves.


My deepest drawer has my workout clothes, pants, skirts and shorts.


My underwear/accessories drawer is my favorite. I have some odds and ends with my swimsuit on the left, a shoebox of bras, another box of socks, panties,  bandanas and my jewelry. Things I haven’t used in a long time can easily be found. They have been buried in the bottom of the drawer for way too long.


I attempted to apply her idea of ordering from light to dark in my drawer of tops. I love how easy it is to choose the best match for the bottom without dragging everything out.


So the state of my sock drawer is pretty good. It may take a while longer to apply all the organization to the rest of the house. But I am sold. We have also started thanking our shoes when we get home which makes a fun thing for the little kids to say as they put their shoes away in the utility room. Everything is more fun with a little diddy attached.

Crocheted headbands

I had some random flowers in my stash that I had crocheted a while back. I used some different colors of yarn to make headbands just perfect for embellishment. I just love the red one with fabric yoyos, felt and buttons. I used a pattern by The Lovely Crow. The pattern is so simple but very cool. My daughter loves them. They are so quick to whip up and so fun to embellish. And a better summer project than hats which make you hot just thinking about them. I’m enjoying these!




Babystep #27 Eat more Indian food

It’s been a month since I’ve posted! I have been working on being more active. My brain is saying, “Go, Go, Go!” So it’s been hard to sit down to crochet or blog or anything like that. But I got back to crocheting yesterday and blogging today. Striving for that ever-elusive balance to my life.

One thing that I’ve been doing over the past couple of weeks is trying new recipes. In particular, a lot more Indian recipes. I had started back watching some of the Bollywood romances on Amazon Prime. My favorites were Vivah and Ek Vivah Aisa Bhi. Thank goodness for English subtitles. I had watched several Bollywood movies back a few years ago and they just seem to do a better job at a clean romance than Hollywood. So anyhow, I got to looking at some Indian cooking blogs and trying out some new things.

The first thing I tried was Chicken Breyani (Biryani). Now I have one Indian acquaintance and zero experience with IMG_20150217_185719authentic Indian food. But the best way to describe this recipe is ‘some kind of fabulous’. The picture does not do it justice. Everyone loved it. I let the meat marinate in some oil and spices overnight before cooking. I didn’t have saffron for the first two times I have made this. But I ordered some through our health food store since Amazon’s option was nearly $100. I doubled the meat prep last time and have it in the freezer ready for a third batch.

IMG-20150303-WA0009I am working on my chapatis. I didn’t have the right kind of flour but Amazon IMG-20150219-WA0004should solve that in a few days. I’ve made them twice but I still have some work to do to get them right.



A Curry of a life is such a great blog. I tried her Cardamom Cookies. So scrumptious! I tried the Chole which after Breyani didn’t seem all that impressive but it was good. I also made the potato dumplings in the Malai Kofta.  I had a lot of potatoes so I doubled the batch. I have a bunch of lunch containers in the freezer so I can have some more whenever I want to. Yay for homemade freezer meals for convenience.

Malai Kofta

Malai Kofta





Indian as Apple Pie is becoming a favorite as well. I tried her recipe for Dal. It was really good. My 3-yr-old got seconds. Everyone else said, “It’s spicy!” I also tried Punjabi Rajmah. I made it a little Southern by adding some cornbread. Reminiscient of chili but with more spices so cornbread just seemed to belong.

The best health benefit from Indian food is all the anti-inflammatory foods like garlic and ginger. I made a ginger garlic paste with my mini food processor. I put it into a half pint jar to keep in my fridge. It seems to work in anything that calls for garlic. I have also used it in enchilada sauce and lasagna meat sauce. This is super convenient to not have to chop garlic or ginger every single time.


Babystep #26 Taste the Rainbow

Babystep #26 Eat a rainbow of colors regularly. Now the good news is that over the last couple weeks, we have definitely been eating a rainbow on close to a daily basis. Bad news is that I totally overshot my budget! Between more fresh produce and birthday cakes, I averaged over about $25 each of the past two weeks.

My husband worked many years in the grocery business so I know that meat and produce are the areas for the highest profits for the store. So if you’re going for more protein and fruits and vegetables, then it’s naturally going to cost more. I did end up buying some things that lasted two weeks instead of one so I think I can get it back down some. I’m just have a learning curve right now.

Red – fresh tomatoes in sauce, chili, salads and wraps, red bell peppers sauteed with eggs

Orange – carrots as snacks and in sauces and slaws, orange bell peppers sauteed with eggs, canteloupe

Yellow – squash and bell pepper sauteed with eggs

Green – bell pepper and zucchini sauteed with eggs, green beans, and spinach, lettuce and cucumbers in salads and wraps, avocado in chili and wraps

Blue – blueberries in smoothies and blue corn chips (I got these at Sam’s and David exclaimed, “Blue corn chips! This is the best day of my life!” His fav color is blue.)

Purple – purple cabbage in salad and to make a simple slaw with grated carrots, Bubbies relish and mayo, grapes for snack

I am learning more of what I can fit in my fridge and how to arrange it so that we have the variety we need for all meals throughout the week. So ready for warm weather so I can plant some lettuce seeds.



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