Archives for April 2014

An Artist, A Friend

This past Friday I went with some of the other moms from my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group to a painting class. You’ve probably seen pictures on Facebook of these classes; everyone paints a version of the same picture. The teacher has a starting image, then paints alongside you, guiding you but also letting you get creative with the base image.

paintingclass

 

That’s me on the far left. And I LOVE my tree.

But what I loved more was being with friends for a couple of hours. We talked about sewing and crocheting, cruise trips and beach vacations, potty training and sleep schedules, and a couple things that are too darn weird and/or gross to disclose here. (I blame Stephanie.) We joked with the artist, maybe drove her crazy with our different attitudes toward our paintings.

It always does my heart good to be in the company of other women, especially without my kiddos. I adore my kids. But I am with them almost 24/7 some weeks. I need some kid-free time occasionally to remember how to be ME. Just like we’re advised to still date our spouses once we have kids come along so we can remember how we function as couples, having time with friends reminds us that we are all women. Not just moms.

I wasn’t sure I’d really enjoy the painting part of the evening. I didn’t especially like the painting we were going to paint. When we decided to switch at the last minute, I knew I would at least like the finished product. But I was sure my artistic skills weren’t up to par.

I found something in me releasing, though, as I started with the beautiful sunset sky. I wanted the lightest of colors, the biggest swirls, and whimsy. I wanted my tree to dip and dive, I wanted a rolling hill, I wanted to feel my picture. I was brought back to memories of oil pastels and watercolors, painting at our kitchen table in Richmond, Virginia, as a child and teen.

I draw badly. But my painting, it’s not too bad! I loved glimpsing the creative side of myself. Usually my creativity is expressed in writing, and it’s nice to delve into a different branch every once in awhile!

So I remembered Friday night not only that I am a woman and a friend but also that I am an artist. Someone who loves to create. We are multi-faceted people. God created us that way! So take some time, as we end the week and get into the weekend, to remember you are more than a parent. Parenting is of utmost importance … but you are other things, too. And that is wonderful.

Friday Links

Did you read or write something you’d like our readers to see? Leave a link in the comments, on our Facebook page, or send us a Tweet!

Added to Saturday Linky Love at JessieWeaver.net.

What to Do with Leftover Plastic Eggs?

Using Leftover Plastic Eggs

Have your kids already emptied all their eggs, scarfing down jelly beans and sweet tarts left and right? We try to dole out candy gradually, but with a potty-training three-year-old I’ve been going through it quicker than usual.

I keep finding empty plastic eggs laying on the floor. While I hate not to just save them for next year, we don’t actually fill our own baskets – all the eggs we have came from church and preschool hunts. But tossing them – even in recycling – seems wasteful.

So I scoured the web and found all kinds of fantastic ideas for using up those empty egg shells! Here you go!

It seems like there are a ZILLION ideas out there! Now I’m excited to go play with our empty eggs.

Have you ever done anything fun with your leftover plastic eggs?

The Singing Bible Drill

Does your 4th-6th grader need some last-minute help memorizing verses for the Bible Drill State Competition?

Check out the Singing Bible Drill! Every verse is set to music! Watch the example below and then check out even more  at singingbibledrill.com.

 

Giveaway! Explore the Bible

etb-logoThis just in! LifeWay is giving away one year of their new Explore the Bible series! Have you heard about this great new small group product? Keep reading … and be sure to enter to win below!

Explore the Bible is a book-by-book Bible study for small groups and Sunday School classes of all ages that takes participants deep into the context of God’s Word and challenges them to live it out in their own context. From preschool to adults, Explore the Bible presents a rich, age-appropriate study experience that pursues biblical context through:

♦ A balanced study plan

♦ Archaeological and historical background

♦ In-depth Bible commentary

♦ “Context passage” that reveals larger biblical context

♦ Engaging group discussion questions for every book of the Bible

Explore the Bible also challenges participants to live out biblical truths in their own context through clear application points in each session and shared memory verses for groups and families in each session

Visit the website to watch a trailer and get more information as well as to preview one month for free. Be sure to stop by the Explore the Bible: Kids page to see more age-specific information!

Click here for your chance to win one year of Explore the Bible for your church!

Emergency Room vs. Urgent Care Center

203-urgentcareDid you know that more than 100 million Americans go to the emergency room every year? Maybe you’ve been there even recently with a sick or injured child and can relate to this information firsthand. While most of us visit the ER only for true emergencies, others use the ER for conditions which may be better resolved by a local urgent care walk-in center. Common visits to the ER include stomach and abdominal pain, step throat, seasonal allergies, flu, fever, headache, and back pain. All of which are easily treated at an urgent care center and for a time and cost significantly less than the ER. I don’t know about you, but I love the idea of saving time and money!

A visit to the emergency room can cost up to five times more than a visit to an urgent-care center. Emergency-room treatment for non-emergency medical conditions is a major contributor to the rising cost of health care. It also ties up ER staff members, who spend valuable time treating non-critical cases, such as skin rashes and ear infections, rather than treating life-threatening conditions.

Want the numbers? The average wait time at the ER is 55 minutes versus 12 minutes for walk-in center. The average copay for ER is $125 versus $25 for a walk-in center.

Urgent care centers are popping up all over the United States, giving you lots of options, such as 203-Urgent Care, in the Connecticut area.

Have you saved time and money by visiting an urgent care center near you? Tell us about your experience. Your experience could be helpful to other parents!

Friday Links

Did you read or write something you’d like our readers to see? Leave a link in the comments, on our Facebook page, or send us a Tweet!

Added to Saturday Linky Love at JessieWeaver.net.

Making Easter Dinner in Advance

Easter 06 I [Ham]

source: boodoo via Flickr Creative Commons

I really love to cook. In my fantasy lands, I am a chef, or at least I get to go to culinary school and learn more about the art of fine meals. In reality, I’m a mom of three little kids and my bad back makes it hard to stand in the kitchen for more than an hour. But who knows? Maybe someday …

What I don’t love is just attempting to get the cooking done. With kids and time restraints, it can require a small miracle to get everything cooked at the same time and on the table. Multiply that times 60 when we’re having guests over.

I love having people for dinner, truly I do. I love entertaining. But – without fail – every time we do I make myself insane in the hours leading up to the event, trying to bake and cook and decorate and get our home into a passable state. (No one wants to show her guests to the bathroom to find out her kids have colored on the toilet and left used Kleenex on the floor.)

We’ve had standing Easter plans with friends of ours since 2006; we’ve been together every Easter except last year (when I had a 2-week-old) during that time, even when we moved 2 hours away. So I’m preparing to host them for Easter dinner in a few weeks. And today it struck me that JUST MAYBE I should go ahead and get some things ready so I won’t be so stressed on Resurrection Day.

Here are some great, special-dinner foods that you can make ahead and freeze!

  • Some of my friends swear by potato salad for Easter dinner, but I have to have Special Potatoes. Cheesy, creamy, potatoey goodness.
  • What can I say, I’m a traditionalist. I love Green Bean Casserole. I love this one even more because it uses homemade cream sauce and real mushrooms!
  • I love making bread, but it can be tedious and near impossible when you have a lot of other things going on. These rolls can be made ahead, but baked on Easter for fresh taste.
  • For dessert, this Rice Krispies White Chocolate Trifle sounds amazing! Or you can bake cake layers ahead of time, wrap them well in plastic wrap and then foil, and freeze until you’re ready to use them.

With just a ham to make the day-of, I might find myself actually enjoying the preparations for the holiday this year. Happy Easter!

Real Life Solutions with Dr. Linda Mintle

Q: My husband is very anxious about the birth of our second child. He is feeling the economic pressure of our expanding family and worries about everything. He is making me anxious because of his state of distress. What can I tell him to calm him down? I know God will provide if we are faithful.

A: You are so right. God is faithful and promises to provide for our needs. Maybe this study published in Pediatrics will help him realize he needs to trust and let go of worry. The study included 32,000 children and found that the psychological distress of Dad during pregnancy did impact child development. Specifically, fathers were given a screening questionnaire regarding their mental health status during their partner’s pregnancy. Later, mothers were asked to also fill out questionnaires regarding their child’s development. Controlling for a number of variables, a link was found between the fathers’ mental health and their children’s later developmental problems. Dads who scored high on anxiety and distress when the mom was 17 to 18 weeks pregnant had children who were more disruptive and anxious at age 3! We don’t know exactly why this is, but maybe the mental health of the father later impacts his parenting, or maybe his mental health impacts the mother’s mental health, or maybe there is a genetic link. The point here is that the mental health of the dad, not just the mother, impacts the developing child. So let your husband know that his anxiety and distress could be affecting your child. It is time to trust God to meet your needs and let go of worry. Your new baby is too important and you want to give him or her the best start possible.

Dr. Linda Mintle is a licensed therapist and an Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics. She is a national speaker and bestselling author with 18 book titles currently published. Visit her website at drlindahelps.com.

Weekend Links

Did you read or write something you’d like our readers to see? Leave a link in the comments, on our Facebook page, or send us a Tweet!

Added to Saturday Linky Love at JessieWeaver.net.