Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Why We Don't "Do" Santa Claus

Christmas will be here before we know it! As of today, there are 72 days left until Christmas! :o

With Christmas being so close, people have started saying to my boys, "Better behave, Santa's watching!" I know they mean well, but I have to correct them: "We don't really do Santa."

But why? Why have we taken this beloved childhood icon away from our children? For two reasons.

1. I felt bad lying to them. I really try to tell my kids the truth. I expect honesty from them, so I try to present honesty to them as much as possible. By telling them Santa was coming and they'd better behave because Santa was watching, and making up reasons why he could get in our house when we have no fireplace, I was lying to them. And God was convicting me. Big time. I felt horrible every time Santa was mentioned in this house.

2. It took the focus off of Christ. I'm not saying you can't believe in Santa and know the real meaning of Christmas at the same time. You most certainly can. But I didn't want my kids to behave because Santa was watching and if they weren't good they'd get coal in their stockings. I want them to behave because it honors God. Because the bible says to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1). Because God is watching, not Santa.

Some moms I know refuse to "do" Santa because they are afraid that once their kids found out they were lying about Santa, they'd think their parents were also lying about God. I don't hold this same view. One only mentions Santa around the last 1/4 of the year. We don't go to church every Sunday and praise Santa. There are not whole radio stations and television stations based on Santa's teachings. People don't dedicate their lives to loving and serving Santa.

If you're afraid of your kids dumping God because they found out Santa isn't real, try making God real to them. How do we make Santa real? We leave milk and cookies for him, then we show them the empty plate and glass in the morning. We tell them Santa left presents for them. We take them to see Santa in malls and stores. We try to have an answer for every question they ask about him.

So let's make God as real to them as we've made Santa. Every time something good happens, point out that God had a hand in it and have them thank him. If they want or need something, have them pray about it. Then, when the prayer is answered (whether it's in their favor or not), point out the fact to them. Take them to a good, bible-believing church. Research questions kids might ask about God and Christianity so you're ready with real answers when they ask. (This book is a good place to start.)

So, what happens when other kids start talking about Santa? I realize that not everyone shares my view about Santa Claus and that their kids still believe in him. And that's fine. I don't think he's evil or that believing in him is bad. If Santa works for you and your family, by all means, do it. My kids are instructed not to tell other kids that Santa isn't real. That's up to their parents and/or other family members. My kids are instructed to sit quietly while the discussion of Santa is happening. It's worked so far. :)

What about you? Do you let your kids believe in Santa?

Friday, September 12, 2014

My Newest Love

I have super long, super duper thick hair.
It's messy today (I haven't done anything with it yet), but you get the idea.

My hair tends to get in the way when I'm cooking or cleaning. I've tried those plastic claw clip thingies, but even the extra large ones wouldn't hold all my hair up. I don't know how to do a proper bun, and elastics get caught in my hair and have to be cut out, so i was forced to pull it all back with a scrunchie. Not very attractive. Plus, it gave me headaches and was very uncomfortable. I could cut my hair, but my husband likes it long. (And, truth be told, so do I.)

I was walking through Great Homeschool Conventions - Cincinnati and I saw a display for these really pretty hair clips. I stopped to look, wishing one would hold all my hair up. The woman working the booth asked if I'd ever heard of Lilla Rose before. I said no, but they were lovely. And I lamented how I'd wished one could hold up my hair. She looked at all my long hair, and held it in a ponytail with her hand to feel the thickness. "You'll need an extra large for a french twist, and a medium for a ponytail or a half-up." Then she directed me to the clips she had available in those sizes. Skeptical, I bought the extra large one. I took it home, and this is what happened:
It held my hair up! All of it! I couldn't believe it! Not only that, but this clip was comfortable, it didn't pull my hair, and I didn't get a headache even after wearing it all day!

After that, I was hooked. I tried the medium like she suggested for a ponytail and half-up:
It worked also! I can't express enough how much I love these Lilla Rose Flexi 8 hair clips!

And they're not just for people with long and thick hair.
Here's someone wearing a mini:
They also have bobbi pins and u-pins (the stars in the above pic). And headbands.

So, if you want pretty jewelry for your hair, just click here for my Lilla Rose website. You will not be disappointed! :)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

First Day of School Traditions

It's nearing the end of July. For those that don't homeschool year round, that means it's back to school time! We try to make this special day fun so that it's easier to say goodbye to summer. Here are some of our traditions for back to school time:

New school supplies - How could one not take advantage of the Back to School sales many stores have after the 4th of July? You can get everything you need for the whole year at a super low price! So, we like to go early (as in, the July 5th - lol!) to get our supplies. That way we know everything will be in stock. Then, I separate everything into 3 boxes (one for each kid), and put the boxes up. Out of sight, out of mind. Then, when the first day of school arrives, I get the boxes out and let each boy organize his supplies as he wants. They get so excited over new school supplies! It's like Christmas! lol!

Special Breakfast - I usually fix something special for the first day of school breakfast, something we don't normally have. Like Smiley-Face pancakes, Monkey Bread, or something similar. It's just a special treat to let them know that this is a very special day.

Half-Day - Actually, the first week of school is filled with half days. We've found that it's easier to get back into schooling from a long summer break if we only homeschool half days the first week. I also let them sleep in if they want to, and they can homeschool in their jammies. :)

Best Part of Summer Discussion - My boys get to relive their summer on the first day of school by describing their favorite moments from the summer. Then I let them draw pictures of their favorite moments and display their drawings all over the schoolroom. Dad likes to come into the room and admire their artwork. My boys beam with pride as they explain their pictures to their dad.

First Day of School Picture - Who hasn't seen these? You take a picture on the first day, then one again on the last day. This way you can appreciate how much your little blessings have changed in just a few short months. Here's our most recent one:
And, for good measure, the one I took in May. The matching Last Day of School pic:

EDIT: Our first day of school pic for this year:
 Look how big they've gotten. <3

What are some of your back to school traditions?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

An Opportunity Almost Missed

My oldest son (age 10) and I went to the grocery store. We went through the whole store, buying everything necessary to sustain a family of five for the week. Upon completion of our long list, we headed for the dreaded checkout. We got our groceries scanned and paid for them. YES! Another trip to the grocery store, DONE! :)

But what's this? Oh, it seemed I'd forgotten to pick up something my husband asked for. Bummer. Josh (my oldest) was tired and asked if he could sit on a bench at the front of the store by the checkouts. Not being a "helicopter" parent, I said yes, he could sit in the a/c and watch our newly purchased food. I'd only be a minute.

I walked quickly to the correct aisle, grabbed the previously forgotten item, and headed back to the checkout. As I waited for my turn, I glanced in the direction that my son was sitting. I saw him talking with an older man. He looked to be in his sixties. They seemed to be having a pleasant conversation.

I paid for my item and went to my son. "Time to go," I said.

"Ok," Josh said to me. Then he got up and turned to the man with whom he was conversing and said, "bye. It was nice talking to you." I beamed with pride at his manners.

The the older gentleman got up, turned to me with tears in his eyes and said, "Thank you for that moment. My youngest grandson, also 10, died last year from a brain tumor. Tomorrow would've been his 11th birthday. I've been having a hard time dealing with his death. I miss him. I miss talking to him. Your young man brought back so many happy memories. I felt like I was talking with my grandson again. I thank you for that."

I thanked him for sharing his heart, told him I would pray for him and gave him a hug. And I couldn't help but feel that if I had been a proponent of "worst-first thinking," afraid of child molesters everywhere, afraid of letting my tired son sit on a bench, this poor old soul never would've found comfort, even if only for a moment. I'm glad I could do that for him.

This is why we don't really do "stranger danger." Sure, I tell my kids not to go anywhere with people they don't know, and I tell them not to accept gifts from strangers without permission, but I don't teach them not to talk to strangers. I teach them to be polite and reply when an adult (or anyone else) addresses them.

To the man in the store: I am praying for you. You will find comfort in God's hands.I'm glad a short conversation with my son brought you such peace.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Essential Oil Test: Update #2

I have been using Lavender, Vetiver, and Cedarwood on CJ for almost 20 days now. And I have noticed a marked improvement. He is definitely less hyperactive. He can sit and concentrate on one thing longer than before.

But it's more than that. He seems calmer. Before, he'd get all wild and crazy over every little instance. Now he gets excited as any little kid would, but in a more controlled way.

He still seems to have trouble controlling his impulses, but now that we're getting his hyperactivity under control, that should (hopefully) begin to improve soon also. :)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Essential Oil Test: Update #1

The Veitver and the Cedarwood arrived on May 8 (which happened to be my oldest's birthday, Happy Birthday Josh!). I have already noticed a small difference. Very, very small, but a difference nonetheless. He behaved really well at Bob Evan's when we went for lunch today (Mother's Day).

Stay tuned for more updates! :)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Ultimate Test for Essential Oils

K, as some of you may know, I've recently fallen in love with Young Living Essential Oils. And they've helped me and my family immensely. My oldest hasn't taken his allergy medicine since we got the oils (and his allergies were really bad!), I don't have heartburn anymore, and we just feel better on the whole.

So I've come up with the ultimate test for how well these amazing oils work.
(Well, my husband came up with it.)

My youngest ("unofficially") has Impulse Control Disorder. He is unable to keep himself from hitting, kicking, breaking, throwing, etc.

Now. Some of you might be saying, "Well, he's 4. That's what 4-year-olds do." No. Not to this extreme. I've babysat, I've worked in daycare, and I have 2 kids older than him. Trust me, I know what 4-year-old behavior is. This is not it. I took him to the doctor, and he said it looks like Impulse Control Disorder. I am supposed to take him to the psychiatrist  get an official diagnosis, but they want to wait until the school does their testing. So, while I'm waiting for the school to stop twiddling their thumbs, I thought I'd give essential oils a try.

Also, I do not want to medicate him. So even after we get the "official" diagnosis, I will need to rely on oils for treatment.

These are the oils I'm using:

Vetiver – This musky, smoky essential oil is not well-known, but in a few years it might be. Just the smell of vetiver has an almost magical ability to calm over-energized kids and help them to connect and relate to people in more patient and agreeable ways. Children, teenagers, and adults can apply the oil on their big toes which is the brain reflex point. Vetiver is especially helpful for those ADD adults and teens who also suffer from depression.

Lavender – Known as the “universal oil,” lavender is good for almost everything. One of its most well-known properties is as a sedative and for calming the body and mind. Rubbing a few drops on a child’s feet, shoulders, or chest can help them relax and sleep more easily. But be aware: lavender is one of the most commonly adulterated oils and difficult to find pure (labels can be misleading on this one). That's why we've chosen Young Living.

Cedarwood – Considered one of the holy healing oils, cedarwood is often referred to in Christian scriptures. It is high in sesquiterpenes, the chemical compounds which stimulate brain function and mental synergy, and help the body to rewrite old genetic patterns into healthier new ones (useful for kids with ADHD because it's considered an inherited disorder). This oil can be applied on the forehead and neck, inhaled, and massaged on the brain stem at the base of the skull.

So... I'll be posting how things are going with him. I've just ordered the Vetiver and Cedarwood today, so it'll be about a week before I can fully implement this course of treatment. Prayers are appreciated! :)