Category Archives: Advice

Stop Telling Me I’m Not Fat

I gained some weight over the winter. Who didn’t, right?

I’m not a “large” person. I’m not overweight. I’ll be honest. I wear a size eight pants.  Not bad for three kids if I do say so myself.  But those size eights are barely buttoning these days.

So I mention to people that I need to lose a few pounds. Five. Ten. At least. And what do they say?

“Shut. Up. You’re not fat!”

OK, maybe I’m not “fat”. But I’m heavier than normal for me.  And I don’t feel good. And this inter-tube around my waist is coming between me and my form fitting shirts. And I’m not even going to acknowledge the back fat. It knows how I feel.

It’s frustrating to be a “thin” person who needs to drop a few pounds.  Everyone gives me a hard time about being skinny. And “Oh shut up, you have NO idea what it means to need to lose weight.”

Maybe they are right. Maybe I don’t.  But does that make my struggle with my weight less important?  Don’t we all have the right to want to be healthier?  Because that is the bottom line for me. I’m not healthy right now.  I don’t feel good about myself.  Hello, my pants don’t fit.

If you are breathless after walking up a couple of flights of stairs you need to do something about it.  That has nothing to do with your pant size.

So, please, if someone “thin” says they need to exercise, drop a few pounds, and/or stop with the cookie eating…don’t berate us!

Everyone deserves to be supported in their quest of living a healthier life.

And no one, whether size eight or eighteen, likes their own back fat.

Am I right?

We Live. We Love. We Learn.

There has been some drama in our family recently. Nothing I’m not used to as it seems to always be something!

I’m sure you have no idea what I mean and your families are perfectly fully functional, right?


There has been a family member that has let us down. They have reacted to situations in a disappointing way.  We’re not really sure what will happen from here but there is a possibility of them no longer being a family member.  This person has been someone that has always made us pause.  We weren’t fully sure about them, ya know?  There were some character issues that didn’t settle well with us.  Should we trust them? Should we allow our children to become attached to them?  We just didn’t know.  But they were family now.

So we did what feel is always the best answer.

We loved.

We dove in, and with our insecurities and questions we brought grace and trust and love.  We allowed ourselves and our children to become attached.  We endured hardships and disappointments.

But we loved.

Now, the worst has happened. The hardships and disappointments have gone too far.  So now what?   Where do we go from here?

Sometimes I think we didn’t do enough to protect our children.  We could have foresaw this day and protected them from it.

But, that is just not true.

Life is tough. Life is hard.  I would much rather my boys learn about the difficulties of life with me by their side showing them they way.  Loving them through it.  I can’t put them in a bubble and my head in the sand and pretend that life is sunshine and butterflies for their sake.  We must face the harsh realities of life together.

People let us down.  Divorce happens. Death happens. Sickness happens.

It’s all about how we choose to respond to those harsh difficulties of life that matters.

And also? Should we assume the worst in people?  Should we guard our hearts and never let anyone in, ya know, just in case?  Absolutely not!  Sure, we should be smart.   But I don’t want to live my life always expecting something bad to happen and that people will let us down. And I certainly don’t want to teach my children to live their lives that way either.

And now we have a chance to teach our children, even at their tender young ages, that bad things happen to us sometimes.  People we trust let us down.

And you know what we are going to do?

We are going to love.

We will move on, arm in arm, and face the sadness together.  We do not know what the end result will be.

But whatever happens, we have each other.

We have lived fully.

We have loved wholly.

We have learned through it all.

Love and Logic Parenting – What Kind Of Parent Are You?

The wonderful people at Love and Logic sent me their book Parenting with Love & Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay.  The book is all about teaching children responsibility and in the mean time, if I might I add, saving your life!  I dove right into the book as soon as it came in the mail and spent a lot of time on the second chapter where it discusses the different types of parents.  I thought it would be interesting to share those parenting types with you and see exactly where do we all fit?  My eyes were truly open when I read this and got honest with myself about my parenting.  NO WONDER things have been difficult with my children.  We were doing it all wrong!

The Helicopter Parent:
This type of parent thinks loving your children mean revolving your life around them.  You are constantly meeting their every need, correcting every mistake and “protecting” them from everything and everyone.  You make sure your child never experiences disappointment.

Children of Helicopter Parents grow up to become “wanderers” who are unable to think for themselves, makes decisions or handle problems on their own.

The Drill Sergeant Parent:

This type of parent believes that a child should be TOLD what to do.  Your child will listen…OR ELSE.  The parent always thinks for the child and in doing so teaches them, “You can’t handle this, so I’ll handle it for you.” and “You can’t think for yourself, so I will think for you.”

Children of Drill Sergeant Parents become followers.  When they are away from their parents, they will look for anyone to TELL them what to do.

The Laissez-Faire Parent:

This type of parent is so confused about what to do when it comes to discipline and often lives in parental guilt.  So they become too lenient and let the child do whatever they want, whenever they want.  There are no boundaries, lots of threats and no real consequences for bad behavior.

Children of the Laissez-Fair parent are spoiled brats.  Period.  We all know what kind of adult they can become. *yikes*

The Consultant Parent:

This type of parent involves their child in decision making.  They ask questions and give choices.  They do not TELL their child what to do, they TEACH them to make good decisions.  They establish options within limits.  

Children of the Consultant Parent become confident in making decisions and weighing out consequences.

So, what type of parent are you?

I admit, I am was a Helicopter Parent.  I have been trying for some time now to back off.  To let my kids make decisions, to give choices, to let them fail.  It has been hard, but so rewarding as I watch my boys learn how to behave, how to choose.

I will speak for my husband, Matt, and say that he is a Drill Sergeant Parent.  He says jump and he wants them to ask, “How high?”  But we are learning together that both of our ways of parenting are simply not the way we want to parent anymore. We have to be on the same page and we have to work at changing the way we react to our children and instead respond to the situations before us.

Did you catch all of those very important bold words? 

I think it’s also very interesting to note that the different ways my husband and I like to parent are the ways our parents parented us!  (Not that you all did a terrible job, Moms and Dads, I think we turned out pretty darn good.)

Also check out Love and Logic’s book Helicopters, Drill Sergeants and Consultants: Parenting Styles and the Messages They Send By Jim Fay.

My next Love and Logic post will be about letting our children fail.

Oh it’s gonna be good.

Disclaimer: Love and Logic sent me this book free of charge in turn for my honest review. Because I love it SO MUCH, I will be posting weekly Love and Logic ideas and thoughts to share with all of you instead of one review.  Also, the product links used above are my Amazon Affiliate links, which means I will make money if you purchase those items through my links.  So, you know, do that.  🙂

Eat This Not That: Better By Half

I love the tips and advice I get from the daily Eat This Not That emails I receive. Today’s email is tips on how to Improve Food: Better By Half.  The tips included using half a not so healthy cereal that you just can’t give up (like Lucky Charms) and mixing it with half of a much healthier option (like All Bran cereal).  Also, mixing half of  a fruit yogurt which are generally really full of sugar with half Greek yogurt.  Love these ideas, check out Improve Food: Better By Half for more!

Parenting Tip: If It Doesn’t Hurt ’em, Let ’em

I’ve read a lot of parenting books over the last couple of years, thanks to the most stubborn child in the world.

One of the greatest pieces of advice I have read was this:

If it doesn’t hurt your child physically, emotionally, or break any moral rules that your family holds…let your child do it.  Yes, even if it’s a mistake.  It’s called “realistic consequences.”

It’s a hard one to do.  And you, of course, need to use some common sense while teaching your child this way.  But here is what it would look like:

Charlie has a shoe/sock “thing”.  He doesn’t like to wear them.  Ever.  I can’t begin to tell you how many times we have fought with him over it.  Summer time is fine because he loves flip flops.  But once the chilly weather came this year, we knew we were in for it.  I spent so many days fighting with him to wear shoes with socks.

So. Many.

I didn’t want his feet to get cold or wet.  More importantly, I couldn’t stand having another parent stare me down in the grocery store with that “Look at that poor baby in flip flops, his feet must be freezing, what was that Mother thinking?!” look.

Then one day, I read this book and I decided, that was it.  Charlie was about to learn some realistic consequences and the judgy ladies at the store could go fly a kite.  Would going to the store in flip flops on a cold, rainy Fall day physically hurt him?  Nah, he wasn’t going to get frost bite or anything.  Would it hurt him emotionally?  Nope.  Would it break any moral rules in our family?  The last time I checked, we didn’t have any cold wet feet policies.  SO, this was it.

Realistic Consequences.

“Charlie, it’s raining out and it is quite chilly today.  I would prefer it if you wore shoes and socks today.”

“Nope.  I don’t like them and I’m not going to.”

“Ok, that’s fine, it’s your choice today.” (notice, I said TODAY)

(looks at me like I must be possessed with the soul of another, more easy-going, Mommy)

So we go to the store.  Charlie, in all of his four year old glory, walks right through a puddle.

Wet. Cold. Feet.


“Hmmm, why are your feet wet, Charlie?”

“Because I walked into that puddle!”

(trying super hard not to be sarcastic, but instead, very matter of fact)
“Oh, I’m so sorry that you got your feet wet when you walked through the puddle in your flip flops.”

The End.

I didn’t rub it in.  I didn’t pull out the I told you so that hung on my lips just waiting to be spit at anyone who would listen.  I let him feel those realistic consequences.

He whined.  He complained.  I ignored and said it again and again.

“I’m so sorry…”

Then when we got home, we had a little chat.  You know, after his toes were warm and dry.

“Charlie, how did it feel today when your feet got wet and cold after you walked through the puddle in your flip flops?”

“Uh, I hated it!  YOU should have carried me! YOU should have…”

“I did not choose the flip flops.  You did.  I gave you the choice and you chose flip flops.  What can you do next time to avoid getting wet and cold feet on a rainy day?”

“I don’t want to talk about that, Mom.”

“Ok, that’s fine, but if you ever do, I will be right here.”

The next time we went to the store (and I made sure to go on a wet, cold day).  I told him:

“Charlie I would prefer it if you wore socks and shoes today because it is cold and rainy.  But today, I’m going to let you choose.”

He stops, he thinks….I can see it happening.  The remembering…the wetness, the coldness of the toes, it was all coming back to him.

“Ok, Mom.”

GASP…it worked.

Now I hear a lot of your concerns already.  What about the times when I really do need my child to do what I ask?  That is the beauty of this.  When you give a little to your kids, they learn that when you “demand” something, you mean it.  When we are going to Church and I tell him he can not wear flip flops today.  He knows I’m serious.  Because all of the other days, I let him choose.

That conversation would sound like this:

“Charlie, we are going to church today.  Your choices for shoes are these brown sandals or these shoes with socks.”

“I want flip flops.”

“Sorry, that is not a choice today.  Your choices today are these brown sandals or shoes and socks.  Maybe you can wear flip flops tomorrow.”

They may not get it right away, but they will get it eventually.

Some people might say, “That kid needs to be bent over the knee and do what he’s told, none of this choices garbage!”  I respectfully disagree.

I don’t want obedient robot kids who do what they are told because they are afraid of me.

I want to raise responsible children who choose to do the right thing because…it’s the right thing.

Life is all about choices.  And when we teach our children, through realistic consequences, they learn what it means to make a good choice and a bad choice.

This kind of thing takes TIME.  CONSISTENCY.  PATIENCE.  But if you can just wrap your mind around the results, results that will last your child a lifetime, it is so worth it.

For more advice like this, check out Love and Logic.  I love this list of one-liners to get you off the hook in an argument with your kids and get the kids thinking!

Mommy Guilt

It all looks so nice, doesn’t it? My pretty, organized (as it can be because I am not that techy) blog. My homemade recipes. My thoughts on parenting.

So nice, indeed.

Yet here I sit, feeling not that nice.

It’s Mommy Guilt, and it’s hovering over me.

I reacted to the situation instead of responding to my son.

I yelled too loud.

I sat too long and cleaned too little.

I lost my patience, even my mind maybe?  Just for a minute.

I am coming to realize, in my thoughts, in the stopping and listening to that little voice in my head and The One the puts them there, that this whole Mommy Guilt thing is not getting me anywhere.

What’s more important…

That I DO more. Or that I BE more.

Yes, that is the balance that I am trying to find.  Because it’s ok if I feed my kids corn dogs for lunch once in awhile.  I mean, I can’t make everything from scratch for goodness sake.

And it’s ok if we stop at Krispy Creme with Grandma.  Because, simply, I love donuts. 

And it is most certaintly ok that sometimes, my living room looks like this:

Because sometimes, what’s more important than a clean room are the memories being built amongst the blanket forts and the imagination that is growing in my boys’ reality-invading minds.

Yes, Mommy Guilt, you may as well leave now.  I have no more room for you in my busy mind.  It is too full of love and memories and good thoughts to share with my dear friends.

A Time And Season For Everything

The weather has been cold and snowy and I just want to curl up with a cup of coffee and a good book.  Spring seems so far away as they are calling for a couple more inches of snow tomorrow.  *sigh*  I’m ready for sunshine, yard sales and the farmer’s market.

Lately all I want to cook are comfort foods.  Breads, muffins, casseroles.  And while these recipes are not as healthy as their raw veggie and grilled chicken counterparts, I have decided that’s ok. Because

There is a Time and Season for Everything.

We still eat pretty darn healthy around here.  We watch our sugar intake, eat whole grains, snack on raw veggies and fruit.  But sometimes, you just want something warm and gooey, like homemade Macaroni and Cheese.  And that’s ok.  Because,

There is a Time and Season for Everything.

Once Spring and Summer hit and the farmer’s market is overflowing with fresh fruits and veggies to experiment with and munch on, my recipes will reflect that time, that season.  For now, you may see more recipes like this instead.  And that’s ok.  Because,

There is a Time and Season for Everything

One thing you will notice though, is that my recipes will still be homemade, which is really more the point.  Even when we prepare comfort foods and yummy desserts to indulge in, we can do it homemade!  You know what ingredients are going into what you eat and you are not adding any additives, preservatives and other chemicals to your food. Soon, oh so soon, I will be posting recipes full of fruits and veggies and summer time deliciousness.  And that will be perfect for that season.  Until then, go ahead, make a Snickers Cheesecake from scratch and enjoy it while you can, because the season of comfort food is coming to an end.  And that’s ok, because, you guessed it,

There is a Time and Season for Everything

And I just love it that God made it that way.

Parenting 101

I think it’s the hardest job on the planet, by far.  These sweet pieces of heaven are sent into our lives with nothing but a hungry belly and a loud mouth.  No instructions. No How To DVD.  Not even a tag on the back so you know how to wash it.

I have made my fair share of mistakes with my boys. I have no problem admitting that.  I just wish I would have known what I know now when I first brought them home. But that is part of the parenting process. Learning by trial and error.  And hopefully, by the end of the day, we’ve done more good than harm!

So here are just a few things I wish I would have known!

*It’s ok for a baby to cry.  OK, don’t get me wrong here, I don’t think you can spoil a newborn. I think you should attend to their needs as quickly as you can. They will not learn a lesson from crying at this point.  But at some point, you need to show your child that they can wait. If they are not hungry, in pain or covered in poop, they can wait just a moment. Stir dinner so it doesn’t burn. Go to the bathroom without balancing them on your knee (it’s possible, people, just not convenient).  Take a moment to breathe and calm down if you need to.  They can wait.  The world will not fall out from underneath them if they sit in their swing for just one moment longer so I can brush my teeth before noon!

*It’s ok for kids to feel disappointment.  It’s good for them.  We can’t always get what we want, but for some reason, we think that shouldn’t apply to our children!  I made that mistake with my first born.  Oh, he doesn’t want that, get it out of here! Oh, he wants that, quick, give it to him before he cries!  NO, NO, NO! Please, for the love of God and your own sanity, do not do this!  A toddler is old enough to understand that sometimes, you are told no.  Sometimes, plans change and no we can not go to the zoo today because it is raining.  I can remember trying so very hard to avoid every possible moment of disappointment with Chandler only to have ruined him.  He is getting better, his 9 year old mind is able to understand life a bit more now.  But there were some hard (unnecessarily hard) years of him not being able to handle the slightest let down.  Lesson learned for Mom and Dad!

*Make healthy eating and exercise habits from the start!  There is nothing harder than changing the eating habits of a three year old.  So start how you mean to go on.  Do you want an obese 13 year old with diabetes? Of course, not, so don’t feed your child twinkies and coke at a young age because it’s inevitable that as they grow, they will continue to make bad eating habits and cringe when you try to feed them healthy food.  Encourage your children to spend more time being active than watching tv.  You can’t change the rules on a six year old who’s used to playing video games for hours on end without a fight.  So teach them young that exercise is a priority and tv and video games are a luxury.  But take heart, while changing to a healthier lifestyle when your kids are older is more difficult, it is not impossible! You can do it and they will thank you later!


*You are your child’s biggest example…so watch it! You yell, your kids yell.  You forget to say please and thank you, you will have an ungrateful, demanding child.  You eat junk food, they won’t touch veggies with a ten foot pole.  It’s a simple idea, but a lot of work.  But when you choose to become a parent (or when God chooses for you) you don’t have a choice.  Do the work.  You won’t regret it!