Archive for the ‘homemaking’ Category

Siblings of the Second Chance

I’m sure I’m nowhere near alone in the “I’m-so-sick-of-my-kids-bickering-with-each-other” parental lament. We’ve talked and prayed with them about showing respect for one another, loving each other like Jesus loves us, showing kindness, letting things go. But, as my 5 11/12 daughter would say, “Nada. Zip. Zilch.” No progress. We have 3 children 9, 7 1/2, 5 11/12 and at any given time an argument will begin over who gets to go first, how we should play our game, who cheated at Rock/Paper/Scissors to determine who gets to go first and most recently, who pressed “A” on the Wii controller before passing it to the next player. Oops. Forgot the favorite: he’s/she’s looking at me!

Had a thought run through my head listening to our pastor talking about families this weekend. We are in a series “People Of The Second Chance“. Giving radical grace. It hit me that my kids give little grace within our family–including to mom and dad. When there is an offense and subsequent apology, they are usually fast to forgive and move on. But in day to day treatment, they use a contemptuous tone of voice with harsh words and are quick to point out faults. I know how to deal with that towards mom and dad. Its a big “oh no you didn’t.” But how can we teach them how to treat each other when all else seems to be failing?

I want them to be siblings of the second chance–giving radical grace to their brother and sister(s). But how to instruct? First thought is a family meeting. Usually when we have one of those sit downs, its because a HUGE shift needs to be made in our home. Perhaps that will get their attention. I want them to hear:

  • That everyone makes mistakes.
  • Not everyone knows how to play every game or can discern the system you have developed.
  • Think the best of your brother or sister.
  • You may not testify to a crime you have not personally witnessed.
  • Show courtesy.
  • Know what is your business and what is mom and dad’s to correct and instruct. Accept that, no, you really aren’t the boss of your siblings.

God gave us to each other as a family. We are a team. This home is to be a safe place. We have each others’ backs. As Michael Corleone would say, “Don’t ever take sides with anyone against the Family. Ever.” Does anyone have a way to communicate these things at home so children will understand? I don’t think a lecture will necessarily cut it but it may have to begin that way.

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Household Tip

When searching for an odd smell in the kitchen, be sure to check underneath the over-the-sink cutting board to see if its the dish soaking on that side of the sink. The dish that held the chicken breast from last week.

I’m pretty sure Kristen Jones just threw up a little in her mouth reading this.

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies…

There’s an old country song called “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys”  by Waylon Jennings. It  goes on to list the perils and pitfalls of being a cowboy.

Well, my thoughts go in a little different direction. Moms, don’t let your babies grow up only knowing how to use appliances. Teach them to wash the dishes by hand. Teach them to scrape leftover food into the garbage or your compost bucket–however you do it. Teach them how to use a broom and dustpan. Teach them they won’t die  if they have to wait in line for the bathroom.

People who have been to my house I’m sure are thinking, “um, Joni, just clean your house any way you can.” Yeah I know. But that’s what got me thinking. My garbage disposal breaks and all of a sudden, no one knows how to clean off their plates unless they dump the scraps in the disposal. So the dishes pile up on the counter because certainly we can’t do the dishes if there is food on them. The dishwasher wouldn’t clean them. Which brings me to…

If there are too many dishes to put into the dishwasher, why are the leftover dishes left on the counter? Can’t we just wash them by hand in the sink, dry them with a dishtowel and put them away?

I grew up in a house of 6 people, 4 of them girls with one bathroom. And we didn’t die. We just didn’t wait til the last minute to do our business. We LEARNED TO WAIT OUR TURN! Perhaps the addition of a second bathroom to homes has contributed to our instant gratification oriented society. Alright maybe not but I do tire of hearing the children complain about someone else being on the potty and they can’t wait unless of course they are distracted by playing with a toy or the dog. Then they just don’t have to go so bad. 

How did we ever get grass clippings and leaves off the driveways and sidewalks without blowers? And the bag is full on the vacuum cleaner. How can we clean the hard surface floor? BROOMS PEOPLE! Pick up a broom and sweep. This one especially cracks me up because my youngest daughter asked one of my friends, “what’s that auntie Heather?”  “Its a broom Annaliese. I’m sure your mom has one.”  Sort of. We have a dog. 

Teach them to handwrite a note and address an envelope, not always email. Teach them to call sometimes instead of text. Teach them to tie their shoes in case they can’t get velcro shoes when they’re 30. Teach them we used to have to listen to whatever came on the radio and wait til it was over for the next song.

So mamas, please let your babies(of all ages) learn a not so automated way of life. Speaking of which, time to clean my kitchen. Ick. Maybe I’ll go Twitter something instead.

Household Tip

If you wait long enough to clean the cabinet under the sink, you can use the water from the slow leaking garbage disposal to wipe out the dust and throw out all the paper boxed items that are completely soaked. This is both good for the environment(saving water) and helps keep down the clutter.

Fun with groceries

If you ever need to break the tension of grocery shopping with 3 young children, make sure to point out to the one who can read that the ham you’re buying is the “butt” portion. Then hold it up to your and their backsides. Fun for the whole family.

Household tip

If you keep the table leaves in after your guests go home, you have much more space to keep cluttered. Mail, groceries, prior meal’s dishes, projects etc. all have extended places to go so you won’t lament at how little counter space you have. Enjoy!

Thoughts on grocery shopping

Are we not teaching enough science or am I too ambitious to expect that food items prone to condensation (frozen & refrigerated foods) should be put in plastic bags while tortilla chips, jars of pickles and ketchup are quite safe in paper bags?

I feel bad watching all the cart collectors wandering the parking lot emptying the cart corrals while I put my groceries in the truck. And then put my one lonely cart in the cart corral. Their work is never done.

Even without my children with me, it still took almost 2 hours to go through the store. Perhaps I was actually able to look at the shelves for a change.

My grocery store has the best bathrooms. Equipped with about 12-15 rolls of toilet paper per stall on a very long bar, it has the freakiest jet engine hand dryer I’ve ever seen. Seriously, it creates folds in your skin and you do need ear protection before triggering the automatic “on” sensor.

I’m certainly getting old when I can’t even make it through a grocery store trip of 1 hr 45 mins. without having to use the bathroom.