Saturday, November 12, 2016

How to Make a Mother Daughter Notebook

     My middle daughter who is 14, has autism. She is very high- functioning, but sometimes she needs help just getting her words out there. She has been getting frustrated when she wants to tell me something of a more heart-felt manner, and she can't get the words out that she wants. It was getting incredibly frustrating for both of us, as I would try to jump in and help and that made her more mad!

     I began praying. How could I communicate with this beautiful child of God who wanted so much to just have a heart to heart with her mama ? The answer came to me quickly- this particular daughter absolutely loves to write! I would make us a mother daughter notebook and we could write to each other !

     She was a bit skeptical at first ! But I just told her to get her prettiest pen out and start writing ! Write to mommy and tell me all of the things that you wanted to tell me last night. Then I would read it and write back to her! No one else would read it and if she wanted to tear the pages out and throw them away afterwards she could! I gave her the choice and she was in charge of it.

     Holy cow it worked ! She came to me about ten minutes later with four hastily written pages of her innermost thoughts that she needed me to know. I couldn't believe it. This child is so amazing and her brain is spectacular but she just struggles to get it out vocally. I loved reading her thoughts and responding.

     For about a week, this was a nightly ritual. She had so much to say ! After awhile it became a once a week thing and now we only do it a couple of times a month. Just when she has something she really needs to say, or I will pick a question and write it in there and she answers. It's been such a blessing. I absolutely recommend it to any parent who feels that conversation may be lacking between them and their child ;)

     Here are some questions to get you started :

1-I love you because
2-I am proud of you for
3-What do you dream about
4-What are you afraid of
5-What have you been thinking about lately
6-What would you do if you could do absolutely anything
7-What do you need from me

I'm so excited for you to discover this new way of bonding with your daughter. You can write little snippets here and there in it also- favorite recipe, a little lesson you learned, favorite scripture etc. :) Enjoy! Let me know how it goes ! Happy Parenting ! Love, JL~

Monday, November 7, 2016

Family Scripture Study - A Fresh Perspective

     When I was a teenager and even younger, when it was time for early morning Scripture Study - I would moan and groan and sometimes, I'll admit, I even fell asleep ! I cringe now thinking about it. I don't know if I was just a brat or if the whole family was just grumpy and tired so early in the morning, but none of us really seemed to enjoy it. We have the option now to be able to do Family Scripture Study anyway we want to with our own families. How thankful I am for that, because my youngest is a big grump in the early mornings just like I was ! 

     I've written about Family Scripture Study before and I have a label for it here on the blog if you are interested in going back and reading those posts, but I am always looking for fresh perspectives on how we can make it better and more enjoyable. 

     I have a friend who is the Scripture Study expert ! She is a former Seminary teacher and she just really knows how to dig in there and learn and enjoy it while doing it. She did a live video today on Facebook about Scripture Study with the family and I just grinned because I knew that I was writing this post today and I was excited because I had hoped she would let me link to one of her blog posts and now here was this great Facebook Live video! She is a sweetheart so she said yes ! 

     Her name is Becky Edwards and she's the mastermind at Purpose Driven Motherhood and she has some great ideas on her blog about Scripture Study. The link I wanted to use from her is HERE and it has a ton, I mean a TON of great resources and ideas !!!! 

     Another thing that I find that is just amazing is using study guides that are made for families. We personally use two different study guides, depending on what kind of mood we are in :) 

     This one we use when we really want to dig in and spend some time on Scripture Study. It's great for Sundays and just whenever we are really needing that extra Spirit and time with our Scriptures. You can find it at Deseret Book, I believe, or Amazon. 

     This is another book we love! It is a doodle and diagram book and it is full of great insights also. It's so fun for the kids - well who am I kidding ? I love it too! You can purchase it here : HERE
( afilliate link ;) 

     What are some of your tried and true Family Scripture Study ideas and tips ? Let us know in the comments below ! 

Happy Parenting ! Love, JL~ 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Family Dinner - The Importance of Eating Together Each Evening

     " Research shows that the most important thing a child can do to assure long time well-being is eat meals with his or her family. The more meals together, the better ! " - Dr Bill Doherty, Director of Marriage and Family Therapy Project at the University of Minnesota. 

     Well it doesn't get any easier than that does it ? Or does it.....  These days getting your family all together to eat a meal isn't always so easy. With after school activities like sports and clubs, with parents working more and life in general, it can become a struggle to actually sit down at the table as a family and eat dinner. It doesn't have to be dinner though- you can sit together before everyone leaves for school and work and have breakfast together. Of course that means getting up earlier. But is the sacrifice worth it ? Research says yes ! Make it a goal to eat dinner as a family at least just one night a week, maybe FHE night, or Sunday night - that is the very minimum. Try to add in days as you can. This is something our kids will remember! 

     The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse has stated , " The revival of the family dinner in America will do more to curb kids from smoking, drinking, and using drugs than any law or public health campaign. "    WOW!!! Why are we not doing this ? I'm so guilty of it too! We like to eat dinner all gathered together in the living room watching a fun movie or just chowing down as fast as we can. I'm going to make it a goal to do at least two meals a week sitting down together at the table. I saw a neat pin the other day that had a basket on the table and everyone put their cell phones in it when they sat down for dinner together. Love that idea! My kids don't have cell phones yet, but I know that I am guilty of wanting to read a book or do something while I eat and I need to sit down and talk to my kids ! I love this so much. 

     Here is a small pinterest board that has some cute ideas for family dinner night.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Amish White Bread- Baking with my babies

     This morning my husband asked me if I would mind making some Amish White Bread. That's kind of my thing ! I was excited to make it for him and excited to teach my kids how to make it. They've made it before but now that they are older it will be awesome for them to do it again with me. :) We went ahead and made up the dough and had it sitting and rising and then they went to their grandparents so I figured that they got the most important part in :)

     I love cooking with my kids. When they were itty bitty I would just have them in the kitchen with me. As they got older they would want to help and there is always a little job they can do, even if it is something like - can you help mommy get the spoon out of the drawer ? That is an important job ! As they get older they get bigger jobs. Would you like to help mommy stir the batter ? Would you like to help mommy pour this cup in ? They love it as long as you keep it really upbeat and positive :) Praise them for every little thing they do ! Make it just a normal happy thing. They will grow up enjoying that time with you. Even my son still likes to cook with us. My husband loves to cook also and our big thing is we need a bigger kitchen for me and my husband and three teenagers !!!

     This is a picture of where I grew up. Tuscarawas County Ohio. Right beside Holmes County which is the biggest Amish settlement in the country. I grew up loving everything about the Amish and especially love the cooking ! Amish White Bread was one of the first things I learned how to make and I love it. I really enjoy telling the kids about the background of the recipes I make. They know that Amish White Bread is because of where mommy grew up. We make yellow rice and chicken because of Nana growing up in Florida and loving the cuban type food. They love cooking with their Grandma Kaylor and they enjoy making homemade noodles and mashed potatoes with their Great Grandma Odie.

Ok here is the recipe I use ! It's so easy !!!!

                 Amish White Bread 
                  Makes 2 Loaves

  • 2 Cups warm water about 110-120 degrees
  • ⅔ Cups white sugar
  • 1½ Tablespoons yeast
  • 1½ Teaspoons salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 6 cups flour
  1. Place sugar and water in bowl
  2. Sprinkle with yeast and let dissolve 5-15 minutes
  3. Add salt, oil and half the flour mix together.
  4. Add remaining flour. Stick your hands in their and knead and mix it up good ! Thats the best part! 
  5. You can put it on a lightly floured surface and knead it that way also if you'd like, get some aggression out on it ! 
  6. Place in greased bowl flipping to cover both sides.
  7. Top with saran wrap or damp warm towel
  8. Set aside and let rise till doubles in size. About 1 hour I like to keep it on the stove :) I use a vintage pillowcase to cover it because it just looks pretty and happy ! 
  9. Remove cover and punch down.
  10. Lay out on lightly floured surface and cut in half.
  11. Flatten out into rectangle and "jelly" roll into a loaf- pinch the ends together or fold them like a burrito :) 
  12. Place in greased 9x5 bread pans.
  13. Repeat with other half.
  14. Cover and let rise till double in size about 30-50 minutes.
  15. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I keep the bread on the stove while the oven preheats. 
  16. Once double in size bake for 25-30 minutes.
  17. Pull out and brush top with butter
  18. Let it cool a bit in the pan before moving it to cooling rack 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Happy Halloween !


I will admit, Halloween is NOT my favorite holiday. I'm not big into scary things and I just don't like it much. But my kids love it. This past week they have had lots of fun - see post HERE but their very favorite thing to do is trick or treat with their daddy. My husband loves halloween. Like LOVES it. He gets excited every year to take the kids " real" trick or treating. Not trunk or treats. Not fall parties. But REAL trick or treating. Door to door. Ringing doorbells and saying trick or treat. Driving for hours and stopping and parking and then walking and walking. They all get a kick out of it. I stay home and snuggle in my blankets and watch a movie. Not a scary movie. Just a regular movie haha. For the first ten years I trooped along with them taking far to many pictures and reminding them to say thank you at each house. When I got sick five years ago and had the awful spinal cord injury etc it became quickly clear that my halloween "real" trick or treating days were over. I was ok with that ! I still get a bit sad because honestly, I think every mom or dad would be sad at missing out on something fun with their kids, but I actually have come to enjoy my snuggle movie time alone and when they come home with backpacks full of candy and happy faces and tummy aches because they snuck to much candy on the ride home - I'm right there to hear every single funny thing, marvel at their candy haul and pass out pepto pills !! 

My youngest, Sydney, their on the left, had two costumes. She loves halloween just like her daddy. For her grandparents party and for the church trunk or treat she was Katniss from Hunger Games. For real trick or treating lol, she was Tyler Joseph from her favorite band, Twenty One Pilots. Marlee was a pretty vampire and Dylan was a deflated pumpkin. :) They had a blast. It's something special they do with their daddy that they all look forward too each year. 

What did you do for Halloween ? Let me know in the comments ! 
Happy Parenting ! Love, JL~