How to connect with little ones while raising big ones

How to connect with the little ones while raising big ones

Raising a family is a tough job. One of the many tough issues a mama can face while raising a larger family is how to disperse herself to all the diverse needs among the diverse ages of her children.

Little ones require a mother’s hands-on skill. Changing diapers, bathing, clothing, feeding, helping, etc. I know in larger families, siblings pick up the slack and help mama out. While that is a wonderful gift to mama, it seems the load, though not burdensome, still falls mostly to her.

On the flip side, though the older children may be able to do all the hands-on requirements themselves, they may need mama’s emotional side more often. They need mama’a listening ear, mama’s advice, mama’s knowledge, and still mama’s training and correction. This can be a full time job in itself.

How does mama still connect with the smaller ones as is needed?

She makes every opportunity with her little ones count.

Every boo boo that is kissed, she makes eye contact with her patient and puts 100% into her caregiving. She gives extra hugs and kisses at this time.

Every shirt that is buttoned, she takes time to tickle a few ribs, play peek a boo, and give a hug and a “now don’t you look sharp” when the job is done.

Instead of telling her little one how bad he stinks at diaper changing time (I’ve done it, too), tell him how great he is, make eye contact, and use this time to communicate. If he is nearing potty training, talk to him about going in the potty and what a big boy he will be.

Use bath time to really make your little ones feel special. Laugh and play with them as you are bathing them. My kids love for me to make up silly songs. Their dad is really good at it!

Every opportunity count.

When you see your little ones playing, go by and tousle their hair. Pretend like you are gonna step on them. They love that!

Always read a book to the little ones at bedtime and nap time. Take time to do the voices and to really tell up the story good. They will love it. You might not have as much trouble getting them in the bed!

If you are nursing or bottle feeding, you will be so tempted to use that time for social media or for texting. This is ok and I have done it. However, when my nursing that little one is over, I always regret that I didn’t take that time to sing to them, rub their hair, or gaze upon my miracle, my offspring! I did it some but never enough.

I would love to hear how you include your little ones in your day. Let’s try hard to remember they are people too and they love to soak up mama’s affection like a sponge.

The days fly by so fast…

So, today, look your little ones in the eyes….

Make every moment count.

image

Ps. Stay tuned for the laundry room reveal. I had some difficulty with getting pictures situated. Hopefully, this week!

what I’ve been up to…sneak peek

image

I’ve been a busy mama these past few weeks we’ve had off from school.

Besides domestic things I do on a daily basis, I’ve also done some crazy things that border being traumatic. Such as:

:pried a dog’s mouth open to release a new baby (dead) kitty from its clutches

:had not one, but TWO ingrown nails that were not only extremely painful, but extremely infected

:lost said nails to bouts of infection

:May or may not have had a near-death experience the (dark) night, while walking to the bathroom, I jammed said toe into my lovely child’s roller blades. The steel part. (Or metal. Whichever would hurt the worst)

:have had daily use of both allergy medication and asthma apparatus (what is up with this season? Cough, sneeze, wheeze, gasp, repeat)

:had the first flood occur in our town since I’ve lived here

:have enjoyed sunshine, gardening, decluttering, and redecorating

Back up! Did somebody say, redecorating?!

That’s exactly what I’ve been doing in my laundry room.

See, I’m weird enough to do things like: write the names of all of my rooms on a piece of paper, cut the names out, put names in a cup, and draw a name to see what room gets my attention in what order.

I was none excited when my laundry room was first.

It’s old, unremodeled, and it’s on the back porch. Not to mention it had really gotten cluttered. Not to mention I have 923 articles of clothing going through there on a daily basis.image

What’s a girl to do?

Dive in, of course.

Just a couple sneak shots.
image
image
I hope to finish this room this week.

If I can manage to keep the rest of my toenails.

home maintenance while homeschooling

My dear friend, Kristy, at http://www.kristyscottage.com was kind enough to allow me to blabber this week on her awesome blog.

If you are a homeschooling mama, you know as well as I do that it is extremely difficult to keep a clean house in the midst of the  homeschooling year.

image

kristy and me

At kristyscottage, I shared some very doable tips and hints to help you maintain your home while homeschooling. Apply these tips to your everyday life. Make some a habit. You will find domestic life will run a lot more smoothly.

And we all like that, don’t we?

************************

ps. I apologize if you aren’t able to click on the link. You can thank my lack of technology and my dependence on my cell phone.

Or, you can pity me. Whichever you prefer. ☺️

how in the world?

How in the world?

How in the world can I stay up on the latest jokes to impress my twelve year old?

How in the world can I remember to respect him like the man he is growing to be?

How in the world can I remember to involve him in hard jobs that will help him prove his manliness?

imageHow can I remember to stop putting baby hairbows in her hair?

How in the world can I remember to be in the know about every single horse fact that was ever known to man (girl)?

How can i remember that a walk down the road with her is enough to satisfy her taste for time with mama?

How can I remember to show huge interest in the roosters and their behaviors with the new hens?

How can I?

How in the world can I remember that singing to the top of his lungs in a small compacted area (ie the van) is going to pay off one day?

How can I remember that, he is just seven, and his memory works, well, like a seven year old?
image
How can I remember that his going frog hunting in the deep holes under the house (don’t ask) is worth all the hassle involved–which includes using my phone for a flashlight?

How can I remember that candy and sugar to an energetic, seven year old is, well, like sugar to a seven year old?

How can I remember that playing with his best friend who happens to be his next door neighbor is indeed more important than doing his chores or schoolwork?

How could I forget that one?

How in the world could I forget that learning to ride her bike without training wheels is the “most awesome” thing since baby dolls were invented?

How could I forget that playing with one of her many best friends, which happens to be her next door neighbor, requires six hours of daylight to do so?

How could I forget that naps are taboo for five years old?

How could I forget that she could be perfectly capable of washing her own hair now, mom!?

As if I could forget?

How in the world could I forget that pacis are as normal for a three year old as boo-boos are for a three year old?

How could I forget to read “Rotten Ralph” every day at nap time for twelve consecutive days?
image
How could I forget that three year olds love to show their manly strength as much as twelve year olds?

How in the world could I forget that three year olds just need to bite sometimes to vent off frustration?

How could I forget that one?

How could I forget that one year olds could be so cute?

How could I forget that a one year old’s tousled hair (bed head) could be the cutest site ever?

How could I forget that hearing a baby learn to talk was so cool?

How could I forget that band aids weren’t an option for our family?

How could I forget what a cute little gal all dressed up in Sunday best could do to a Mama’s heart?

How could I forget?

Today I’m remembering.

Remembering how wonderful it is to be a Mama to my unique brood!

in and around the garden

April means planting for us. While in the north, people are still watching the snow melt (my sincere apologies), down here in the South, we are emptying seed packets.

My goal for April is (was–alas, it is April 27!) to plant everything in the garden. In May I will focus on maintenance.

Weeding, anyone? Hoeing? Sweating? Fainting?

In June, let the produce, produce! The end of June and the first of July should be the busiest season for my garden. By then, them temps will be bordering 100 degrees.

And the humidity 180. No kidding. Almost.

Back to April.

This month I have planted corn (both sweet and field), squash (both yellow and zucchini), melons (watermelons, honeydews, & cantaloupe), tomatoes (3 different heirloom varieties), potatoes (we actually put them in around the end of March), beans, okra, and cucumbers.

I’m feeling the burn already. *Sweat*

I’m also feeling a pre-satisfaction that comes with growing and ahem, eating, your own goods.

Here are some pictures of my garden. Keep in mind that I do almost everything by hand with a hoe and a garden rake. Don’t expect perfection that comes with having a tractor comb over the garden every week. Like my dad’s spotless, perfect, not-a-weed-in-site garden.

Don’t hate. (as if!)

imageimageimageimageimageimage

And some extras of some farm animals:

imageimageimageimageimageimage

: My dad’s horse, Whitefoot and his donkey, Oscar

:Our tomcat, Puma, enjoying a stroll through the mustard patch. He isn’t as ferocious as he looks!

: Our house-chicken (no kidding) with Ezra. Ready to move this bird outdoors!

: My daughter’s “adopted” horse, Sally, with her new foal (in the far background). This is as close as she would bring it to us!

: And the hogs! This is from a hog show we went to this weekend. My nephew got a ribbon for showing his two hogs. It was fun!

How is your garden growing?

she’s ten!

Last week my dear oldest daughter turned TEN! Somebody pinch me!

What a blessing this young lady is becoming to us. The Lord has really been working in her heart and it is so evident by her daily life that she is trying to follow Him. I have seen with my own eyes her swallow her will for His will on a daily basis.

She is turning into a young lady.

I am so thankful for my ten year old young lady!
imageimageimageimageimage

non-sandwich lunch ideas

Non-sandwich lunch meal ideas (cheap$)

I have vivid memories of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on wheat bread for my daily school lunch. I had a pink plastic lunch box with matching thermos and I believe the character it had on it was the Popples (eighties, anyone?). I remember I really didn’t care for the wheat bread (especially the end pieces) and would

image

have preferred more jelly than peanut butter. Picky, I was.

Be that as it may, a love for all-things-sandwich I never have obtained and my kids have followed in my footsteps.

And not to be snobbish about it, but packaged wheat bread still has a taste strangely akin to cardboard. If it’s cheap or free, I’ll eat it. Otherwise, I still make my bread. For the taste and well, to be honest, it makes me feel old-fashioned. There.

I said all that to say this, we aren’t fond of an all-sandwich lunch menu, day after day. I’ve had to be creative to come up with semi quick, filling, inexpensive, and tasty lunch options.

Today, I would like to share with you some of our favorite lunch options.

Homemade French fries

Potatoes and cheap and are good for you. There are limitless possibilities with potatoes. I always try to keep some on hand. I like to buy them for $4.99 for 20 lbs. In the spring, we plant several rows and I can or freeze them.

Here’s how I do my fries:
Cut potatoes into French fry wedges (I wash them good and leave on peelings). Heat oil for frying. While oil is getting hot, pour one cup ap flour in a gallon zip loc bag (can use more or less based on the amount of potatoes you need). I add salt, pepper, seasonings-such as Garlic powder and Lawrys. Add your potatoes to bag and close. Leave room to shake bag, coating the potatoes in flour mixture. Carefully place potatoes in hot oil and fry until semi crispy (we don’t like ours too hard)–about 8 to ten mins. Stir around with spatula to prevent sticking while cooking.

Now the possibilities are endless! We like to make up a batch of ketchup, mayo, and mustard. One of my children likes ranch with her french fries. You can sprinkle cheese and/or serve with chili on top!

Another lunch we enjoy is pizza bread. You can use bread or tortillas or even pita bread. Hey, if you have a little extra time, go for the full blown crust!

Pizza bread

Make up a batch of pizza sauce if you don’t have any store-bought, but you do have tomato sauce. Pour up a little tomato sauce in a bowl, add a tablespoon of oil, add some garlic to taste, also some Italian seasonings, and a sprinkle of sugar (or a half packet of stevia) and stir it all up.

Place bread or tortilla shells on a pizza pan. Spoon sauce on to cover bread. Add shredded cheese (mozz is best) and any more toppings you wish! The more toppings, the better.

Cook in a preheated oven (@ 400) for about 8 mins.

spaghetti

Most kids love spaghetti and it’s fairly quick, easy, and cheap to make. Noodles, meat, and sauce are the three components to spaghetti, although my kids would add Parmesan cheese as a fourth component. I have made it several times without the meat even.

Regarding the meat- if ground beef is as expensive as it is here, you may need other options. My dad is an avid hunter and occasionally we will receive venison as a gift, so ground venison is my meat of choice at this point. Occasionally, I will get a large tube of ground beef when it goes on sale (ha!) for $2.68/lb. When I buy this, I try to block out all remembrance of when just a year ago, it was $1.68/lb (on sale).
Another meat option for spaghetti is ground turkey or even sausage. When we had fresh pork sausage in our freezer, I replaced a lot of recipes calling for ground beef with sausage (sausage chili, anyone? Enchiladas? Burgers?).

So, I’ll go ahead share with you how I make my spaghetti! Go ahead and fix the table.

First, I sauté onions (bell peppers and mushrooms are splendid as well) in oil (coconut, usually). If I remember, I will splash in a little red wine vinegar while I’m cooking the onions. Next, I will pour in some tomato sauce (I don’t measure…just base it on how much sauce you will need) and stir it with the onions. Third, I will add some oil (assuming the oil has cooked out of the onions)–olive oil if I have it. I just splash a little in–maybe 1/8 cup.
Last, bring on the seasonings! A lotta garlic (if you use fresh, just cook it with your onions) powder, Italian seasonings and gasp! A little sugar! Yes. That’s. Right. Now, I have lately been using a half pack of stevia instead of sugar and it works beautifully. I like a little sweetness to my sauce!

So while that is simmering, I get my noodles going (can make this lower carb using the dream fields pasta) and I add my cooked meat to my sauce. Most of the time I do add my meat to cook with my onions at the beginning. Works out fine.

When things are smelling like Italy, it’s time to eat. Do not combine your noodles and meat sauce. Spoon the noodles on the plate and add the sauce on top. Sprinkle liberally with Parmesan cheese. Serve to tiny people who will immediately dub you as world’s greatest mother. Ever.

The muffin-Tin lunch
The last lunch option I want to share with you is one that is super de-duper easy and my kids honestly go wild over. This is my go to lunch when I am very busy and can’t find a good stopping place OR I don’t seem to have anything in my cupboards.

What to do. Take a muffin tin (or two) and fill each circled space with something different. Finger foods.
Here’s what I’ve put in mine. Baby carrots with ranch in another compartment. Frozen blueberries. Olives. Pickles. Cheese slices. Tiny slices of lunchmeat. Pecans. Whatever you can come up with to put in the tins. Just be sure to add some sort of dipping sauce. And be sure to be prepared to refill then.

Gladly!

I hope you got some ideas for some Non sandwich, quick lunches! And don’t feel like you have to fix something different every day of the week. Get you a few good lunch options and repeat weekly. Kids have their three or four favorites anyway.

And how can something become a favorite if it’s only tried once!?

I’d love to hear your lunch favorites and also if you tried any of my options as well!

Happy lunching!