WFMW: How to Play Chore Roulette With Your Family

Oh, it’s a fun game, for sure.

At least for Mom.

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We started something right about the turn of the new year and it has been very successful. I like to call it Chore Roulette because I’m wild and crazy like that.

We have a daily chore chart and my kids are in charge of their own laundry every weekend. But every other Saturday or so we do a deep(isn) cleaning where we actually break out the mop and vacuum cleaner, scrub a toilet and change the sheets. And I’m always looking for ways to teach my kids about hard work and less entitlement. And this is doing the trick.

How to play:

Divide up chores that need to be done in your house. I pick the ten most needed each week–from mopping and vacuuming, to organizing to the dreaded toilets. There are 5 people in our family, so each player draws 2 chores. If the chores need a lot of supervision (like changing all the bedsheets and it’s not something our 7 year old can do, we rig the game. Because we can).

Rules: You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. My daughter got mopping and literally did a cartwheel she was so happy. I have no idea why and my son got to clean toilets two weeks in a row. Bummer. May the odds be ever in your favor.

If you complain, you get a bonus round which is an additional chore. We set the timer for 1.5 hours and we all divide and conquer.

We turn up Toby Mac or the Frozen soundtrack (I’m sorry, honey) and we clean.

It’s a great way to spend a Saturday morning!

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It Turns Out We are Crazy Cat People and Other Half Truths

1. So, if you follow me an Instagram, you know we got a kitten a couple of days after Christmas.

2. For the kids, or course.

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3. To which, someone responded, you really are THAT family.

4. Let me explain: We had to put our 7 year old dog to sleep a couple of months ago, which left our one year old cat, Tinkerbell, and our youngest child completely distraught because they were the 3 amigos. My daughter cried like the baby of the family that she is and looked at me with such sad puppy dog eyes that I was completely manipulated into a replacement pet.

5. Replacement pets are never a good idea, neither are pet-altering decisions the day you are helping your dog  die. Oh, hindsight. My child reminded me everyday, practically every hour afterwards, tapping my arm over and over “Mom, remember what you said. Mom. Mom? MOM!?!” Until I screamed DON’T TOUCH ME AGAIN. OKAY? Ok. Let’s get a cat.” What can I say? She’s totally the boss of me.

6. We rescued a cat from a home we found on Craigslist that also needed rescuing if you know what I mean. It was overwhelmed with more than a dozen people and enough stuff for three dozen. But that’s a story for the anonymous blog I don’t have.

7. The kitten was free. So there’s that.

8. But it had flees, so after kitten flee treatment, please disregard #7.

9. We (and by we, I really mean the 7 year old child of the family) named the precious 8 week old kitten Periwinkle  (sister of Tinkerbell for all Disney Fairy Fans) and presented her to our one year old cat and she sniffed her head and then slapped her across the face twice with an angry paw.

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10. So, that went well. And then they fought like cats and cats for two weeks.

11. During this time, we discovered the kitten was a thief. Two mornings in a row while I was making lunches, my kids entire sandwiches disappeared. I found empty bags with claw marks and the crusts of the bread (just like my daughter) in a corner of the house. LOVELY, huh?

12. What we have here is a Cat Burglar.

13. Bam.

14. And then one day, the cats were friends. And lived happily ever after. But not really. Tinkerbell is in charge and lets us all know that.

15. Sidenote: Did you know research proves that cats who live with  you think you’re just one big cat? My husband shared that tidbit he read online the other day. Warning: cute sleepy kitten photo ahead

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16. The day after my husband shared that fact, he reached down to pet Tinkerbell and she slapped him across the face and actually drew blood. It was ugly. I tried not to giggle when I said, “You know, she does see you as a big cat. And you just had your first cat fight.”

17. He was not amused and she is currently in a bag.

18. Just kidding. I really just wanted to say he finally let the cat out of the bag.

19. I’m here all week, friends.

20. Is it just me, or does she kind of remind you of Darla from Nemo?? (Don’t shake the bag)

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The Most Important Thing We Can Teach Our Kids in an Over-Sexualized World

It was the middle of the night. Or day. Or whatever that fog of time is called when your jet-lagged family is in-between flights at an airport in Paris, on the other side of the world.

We had an extra hour and we were on a mission to find Chapstick for our windburned lips. We stumbled into one of those airport stores that has everything from duty free cigarettes to luggage and split up to start our search. My husband walked one way, but I thought I spotted the familiar red and white tubes and headed the other with my little one following behind me. The label was in French and I wasn’t sure if I’d found what I was looking for and turned to look for an English speaking attendant.

That’s when I saw my two older kids. My teen daughter had a shocked look on her face and was just turning to look for me. I heard her say her brother’s name sharply after she noticed what he was staring at and his head snapped up just as I walked towards them. He looked at me. “Mom?” he said confused. I looked at the row of magazines in front of him and realized my son was standing in front of a half dozen magazine covers in the center of the store. Pornography.

It was Europe after all.

The most important thing we can teach our kids in an oversexualed world

“I didn’t mean to look,” he said. “I just…’

“It’s okay, son. Looking once is unavoidable. It’s what we do after that first look that matters.”

Everything is filtered in our home: we have protected Internet, our Netflix account has a parental password, we opted in addition security on Google images, and Net Nanny on our phones.

We aren’t paranoid, we are proactive. Plus we are highly sensitive to this topic since it nearly destroyed our marriage nearly ten years ago.

We are also prepared.  We talk about the dangers online. We have a stack of books we’re working our way through from living in purity to fighting lust. We are open about what our kids are exposed to from peers.

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Protecting our children from our sexually-charged culture is something we work hard at. And in one unavoidable moment, it happened. My sixth grade son saw pornography right in front of me.

And that’s when I realized something gravely important: It’s impossible to filter the entire world. I can’t do it forever. It’s not realistic or even my job. Instead I have to equip my kids.

You can’t turn on the TV during a half-time football game and escape breasts and tiny shorts or checkout at a grocery store and miss Miley Cyrus hanging nude from a wrecking ball. My kids don’t have smart phones to receive sext messages or view explicit images online, but friends at church and school do. And really, we’re all just one click away from something we can’t un-see.

The most important thing we can teach our kids is self control. Because let’s face it: no matter how well we parent, our kids are going to be tempted. It goes with being human. Self-control is the ability to control our emotions, abilities and desires. It’s the power to stop spending money we don’t have, to tell our kids no when entitlement rears it’s ugly head. It’s exactly what we need to teach our kids to stop eyes from looking the second time.

Without self-control, we are absolutely defenseless against sin. “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Proverbs 25:28. When the word self-control is used in the Bible it describes a person who is willing to get a grip on their lives and take control.

Self-control is the key to living in our sex-crazed world without giving into it’s lustful appeal. And as hard as it is to accept, our kiddos are sexual creatures and at some point in their lives, it will appeal to them. That’s why we can’t wait. Here are three things we can do to help our kids (and ourselves) exercise self-control in their lives:

  1. Model it. Our kids are watching us and we are their example. And when you blow it, apologize and try again.
  2. Ask God for it. Self-control is a gift from God. The more we get work on our relationship with Him, the more empowered He makes us.
  3. Teach it. It’s easy to feel unprepared. Don’t be afraid to rely on solid resources like Passport2PurityPreparing Your Son for Every Man’s Battle; Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman’s BattleSex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is): Sexual Purity in a Lust-Saturated World

My husband pulled my son close as we paid for the Chapstick and walked towards our gate. “Whenever you see something like that, look away immediately. Bounce your eyes and try really hard not to look again. You might be tempted to look again, but ask God to help you have self control not to.”

I’ll never forget that day in the airport on that cold day in December. But instead of remembering it as a day of failure, I see it as a day of opportunity to teach my kids the importance of self-control and second chances.

 

*Updated to add* If you’re not a regular reader here you might read this post out of context with the way we live our lives for God (and what I’ve written for years). While I’m encouraging parents to teach self control and fleeing sin to their kids, that’s only part of it. It’s mostly about pursuing Jesus and showing our kids how satisfying it is to have a relationship with him. The closer we are to God, the less we want the things of this world. That’s the foundation we base our lives on.

WFMW: How I Became a Knitter {Loom Knitting}

My 14 year old spent most of the Christmas break knitting and reading.

She said when she’s 70 years old she’s going to stay up all night and party.

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She got a knitting loom for Christmas from extended family. It probably would have stayed in the box (because I’m absolutely no help), but we had three cold days at my inlaw’s farm and a cousin who knew how to loom knit and was willing to teach the steps over and over (thanks, Erika!)

I tried knitting once. It turns out I have a lot of tension because I had a very tight, very stressed yarn square. As I watched my daughter knit a gorgeous scarf, I knew I had to try again. I love how the loom helps regulate the tension of the yarn and I actually find it relaxing and fun.

My first scarf:

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We started with a simple scarf loom like this Boye Rectangle Loom Set. It’s less than $15 to get started with the yarn and tools and even my 7 year old has learned how to loom knit. There are several other types of looms that can make dozens of items-from hats to socks, blankets, etc.

And now we are out of control (little sister thanking big sister for her new scarf she knit on the way home):

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I’m not a visual learner, so I’m not about to attempt to explain HOW you do this. But these resources helped me when I got stuck once I got back home: Fantastic tutorial here and I also bought I Taught Myself To Loom Knit Book.

Happy knitting. It actually works for me!