On Mothering: My convictions

Disclaimer: As I share some of my parenting philosophies, please understand that I’m not determining that other methods are wrong. I simple have found this to be right for us, for now!

I have said all along that I personally think that I don’t like either end of the parenting spectrum. This is why:

I feel like Attachment Parenting lends toward a lack of healthy independence when children are ready because parents tend to go all the way. I like many things about it but I personally think people miss opportunities to move to the next step. Do you know what I mean? For example, wearing a baby is a beautiful thing and something that people have done for centuries, which matters very much to me. I think many people wear their children to often for to long and their children often miss out on developing some independence and skills. I hope I’m being clear here. I’m just not comfortable with the extent of dependence and pace of skill development in the all-in AP families I know.

On the other hand, I think that detached or cry it out or Ferber (whatever!) methods are convenient so that children fit into our busy Western lifestyle. I personally feel like it’s a little severe to expect infant to quickly adjust to life in this fast-paced culture. What it comes down to is that I feel selfish demanding a rigid schedule and such from my little one. My pastor said it wisely when he described an idol we have in our western culture. It has as face. We hang it on our wall and refer to it frequently. We completely arrange our lives around it. The clock can rule our lives and I tend to want to rebel. In fact, the only clock displayed in my house is the one on my stove. I just refuse to rush around like crazy! While I do try and teach children to respect others by being punctual etc, I feel that a lack of rigidity in our schedule has created more flexible, easy-going children: even little miss screams-a-lot.

Whew! It is so difficult to open myself up for criticism by writing all of this down. But I’m beginning to feel a certain freedom in remembering that it is the Lord and His grace that makes my house stand and the only one I need to please with my parenting!

Chores/Responsibility Chart Download

Happy chicken eggs

I looked high and low for a chores type chart for my son. He is 3 and totally capable of doing many things by himself, but he and I both need a reminder and incentive to keep us on track. … Continue reading

Happy New Year!

I don’t make resolutions. Even as a child, I thought they were pretty silly. ‘Why now?’ I used to think. If you’re doing something you shouldn’t, quit as soon as you realize it. If you get lazy and give up, start again! If you think you should be doing something, chances are Jan 1st isn’t the first time you thought of it.

Well, I was a different kid. An old soul they used to call me. It’s ironic considering how much of my life revolves around the very young: children of my own, teaching within the church, oh and that youth pastor I’m married to keeps my house perfectly populated with young people.

Here are some things I’ll be working on this year, but for the record most of them have been in the works for several months:

  • My husband and I have been trying writing in cursive. PenMANship he calls it. Pending him making the first move, I think we’re going to write letters to each other, thereby improving our penmanship AND our relationship!
  • I’ve trying to be diligent about making my own bread, yogurt and kimchi regularly. Maybe the “resolution” spirit running around will even inspire me to add meats and cheeses to the mix. We’ll see :)
  • A thought occurred to me today that it might be helpful for me to record each day. This way, I can remain accountable to myself for what I accomplished each day, keeping me from idleness or simply doing things that are not worth my time. I doubt I could keep up with food to, but maybe recording what I ate would help prevent the accidental gluten exposure that keeps ruining several days at a time.

So there you have it, resolutions from someone who hates resolutions.

What bandwagon(s) are you jumping on? Anti-resolution? I want to hear about that too!

Playing With A Purpose! Preschool at Home

I love to learn. So even if I hadn’t set out to do preschool with my son, our playing would have ended up somewhat educational. I am not naturally administrative or organized by other people’s standards (I think my systems work just fine :) so I wanted to share how I approached the tiny sprout of preschool that we’ve begun this year.

Style

The first thing I decided on was a style of learning that suited my child and I. It didn’t take a whole lot of thought since I have a

boy reading bible

photocred Tammy Deshner

super easy going kid and we play together frequently.

I love the idea of Montessori-style activities. This makes it easier for me to be patient while my son takes his time on the ones he likes. (Sadly I often have a shorter attention span than my 2 1/2 year old son.)

Micaiah and I both love crafty learning! Anytime he can create something, we both have a blast! As we do more activities, I’m starting learn more specifically how the help Micaiah engage better in learning.

Content

I jotted down a few categories in my Moleskin and then listed specifically what I would like him to know by the holidays. (I’m pregnant and due in the new year so I’ll reevaluate what I think I can handle after we do this for a while. Plus, I want to take plenty of time to do Christmas-specific activities.)

I want my son to begin to learn letters, shapes and counting as well as learn about God’s character from His Word. (He’s pretty much got colors down.) Knowing my son and his natural interests, I’ll use them to help him learn these! As we develop skills and knowledge through different activities, I love to see him delight in learning something new even if its simply through a conversation we have while playing.

Micaiah LOVES animals. At two years old, he doesn’t just identify a “bird” but knows a flamingo from an eagle from a hawk from an ostrich and so on. This boy reads elementary school level animal books and wants you to help him identify every unique animal in it! Therefore…

  • We’re doing an animal alphabet using coloring sheets I made from free images online. He learns the letter that the animal’s name starts with and a fact or two about it.
  • We count animals when we see them in groups in images, books and out-and-about. (He can count to six but would rather say “one, two, one, two…” so that he can get through the whole herd.)
  • We started out doing a shape every two weeks, but I found that it was a little to much for him. So, we talk about shapes when we encounter it (and I think if it) and he seems to be catching on just fine.
  • Bible “Lesson” (see below in Resources)

 Structure

I balk at the word. But I decided that I had to schedule specific time or we would never get anything done! Beyond that, I simply have an objective and allow him to choose from lots of activities that I can use to guide him toward that objective. Very simple and it may need to grow as our family does, but right now we both enjoy this easy-going pace.

Resources

Bible –  The purpose for growing and educating my children is to develop young disciples who glorify God and further His kingdom. I had intended on doing very short memory verses/biblical ideas. This turned out to be to much for him so I ditched it (not the Bible all together obviously). Because we already do a family Bible reading/prayer time each evening, I simply ask him comprehension/teaching questions when things come to mind. I also think this helps him create a habit of thinking about/talking to the Lord anytime – not just at bedtime, mealtime and church.

If I’m still reading my Bible when he wakes up in the morning, I open to a Psalm or something simple and read a few verses. This way he has personal exposure to a real Bible and who God is (not just a storybook). Plus, any time in the Word for Micaiah is good time in the Word!

1+1+1=1 has been an indispensable resource and a great encouragement

Intentional Homeschool – This site is relatively new, so it’s fairly small so far. I do love their vision and think it will become a great resource.

Twisty Noodle – Free printable coloring pages for many animals, dinosaurs and a whole lot more!

Google – Seriously, I find free coloring pages soooo helpful. I also print off a real photo of each animal. (I remember find the real thing so much more interesting as a kid.) It also piques his interest if I let him get on the computer and do a little “research” on the animal with me. Between google and pinterest, I can find crafts and coloring for any crazy animal we pick!

I’m sure there are more, but these are the ones I find myself referencing regularly.

How did you help your kids learn “the basics” in early childhood? Did you include spiritual growth?

Three Part Series on the Divided Church

The Invisible Church Split – Part I

imagecred: richardwintle via AventuresInWonderland

There is crack, a crevice almost, through many local church bodies. It splits a single congregation into two, without even the cost of a new building. While not terribly financially wasteful in most cases, it is a fissure that is always very costly…

Join me over at theBELLAred for a three part discussion on generational divisions within the church.

Click here to read more!

Our Honest Thanksgiving Menu: Real Food & Otherwise

Update: I highlighted our actual menu in orange where there were choices given. It was a delicious day!

There has been a lot of talk about holiday dining on the blogosphere these days. When it comes to entertaining and guests and being one ourselves, where do we compromise? So I decided to honestly share how we will be handling our Thanksgiving menu. Honestly, I would love to be able to prepare a huge 100% real food meal with sprouted buns, wild turkey, home grown beets – the whole nine yards, not only for my immediate family but as a service to the extended friends and family who will be joining us.

Maybe next year I’ll set a holiday food budget and save in advance (as well as pay a babysitter) so I can do it all, but this year here’s what it will look like. You’ll see that the biggest area in which I’m caving is homemade soaked baked goods. Being over 7 months pregnant and doing all of that on top of normal commitments is one unrealistic expectation I am with-it enough to dodge.

  • Organic Spinach Salad topped with walnuts, organic pears, dried cranberries
    • (Store-bought) Raspberry Vinaigrette or (Homemade) Italian Dressing
  • Rolls (will ask Mother-in-law to pitch in here so ingredients might be organic, definitely not soaked, but she will bring gluten free as my father-in-law in on a GAPS type diet)
  • Main Course Options ( I need to decide on one or two)
    • Turkey – local, free range organic ♥ –
    • Two Chickens – Local, free range – yummy, healthy, but not turkey!
    • Venison/Elk Roast – I read today that the Wampanoag Indians brought five freshly hunted deer to the first thanksgiving. I think it would be plenty festive if we used some of the wild game in our freezer!
  • Trimming – Homemade stuffing from gluten free bread – if I have time to make the bread I will, but I’ll be honest and say that I’m not above buying a (hard as a rock I might add) frozen Ezekiel Loaf or other bread (food for life) to make it.
  • Mashed Potatoes – Homemade from homegrown potatoes
  • Gravy – Homemade, thickened with xanthan gum or one of my many GF flours
  • Creamy Corn – canned corn (i know BPA…once in a while I just have to) simmered with organic cream and unprocessed sweetener of choice)
  • Dessert – My husbands grandmother will probably want to bring something, usually an interesting jello number or a boxed pie. (Pumpkin pie…from a box)
    • Also, I will make a homemade pie (either pumpkin or butternut-maple with real maple syrup) my cheat: Gluten Free Mama’s Pie & Pastry Mix
    • My Mother-in-law was kind enough to make both gluten free blueberry pie and apple crisp – not organic, but edible for me which doesn’t happen very often. Woohoo!

Ok, so there’s the bulk of it. As you can see, my normal standards have been lowered. I find fellowship and hospitality more important than being inflexible in our diet. We have chosen to eat natural foods prepared healthily for good reasons. But taking care of the body God gave us is not near as important as showing others love (Isaiah 58, 1 John, the whole life of Christ).

When it comes to large events, do you lower your standards (wherever you’re at in your real food journey)? If so in what ways? If not, how do you manage it all?!

Why Engedi?

Upon visiting The Bella Red, fellow blogger Kate Tietje of Modern Alternative Mama noted that she could tell Biblical living is very important to me. While that is the focus of my first blog, living a healthy and natural life is also very important to me. I know that most Bella Red readers are interested in Theology, not homemade household cleaners, cloth diapers or my real food journey so I knew the day was coming soon: a new blog.

In Song of Solomon 1:14, the writer says this: “My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms in the vineyards of Engedi.” I want to make sure that my home is like En Gedi, a peaceful oasis that my husband and children can be happy to come home to.

I married my beloved in 2006. Our journey thus far has been littered with blessings, but it has also included many changes and struggles. From miscarriage to Celiac disease, we have become fully aware that God’s creation is not functioning as it was made to.

So here we are, literally counting the days until our little country home is move-ready. I am excited to share with you my journey to return to some of my roots. From chickens to organizing, here I record my attempt to live where the roads of Biblical living an natural living intersect. Through my successes and failures, I hope you will both laugh and learn as I strive to have a joy-filled home where my husband is happy to lead and my children grow in the Lord.

Welcome to my adventures Finding Engedi.