Monthly Archives: April 2011

Bear Necessities of Rounding

Counting Bears have been a bear necessity for our home school.
I remember eyeing them in Wal-mart,
waiting for the day I could afford them.

When I found another set at a garage sale,
I was ecstatic. 
It felt better than that dream
of picking up money in the streets,
cuz this was real.
Doesn’t take much to make the
Momma of home-teached kids happy,
does it?

I said that on purpose – remember the name of my blog?

Any-hoo, we were trying to learn the
concept of rounding to the nearest ten.
As always, the first time a concept can be introduced,
it can be confusing.

First time mastery brings confidence and enjoyment to any subject.

I pulled out my pile of tricks from overstuffed and underorganized shelves and got to work.

We started with the laminated number line that goes from 1-100.

A small bear was placed on the number 18,
the number we needed to round.

Rebekah had to tell me the two tens her number was between,
in this case 10 and 20.

Large bears were placed on the tens.
If your items aren’t different sizes, you could differentiate with colors.

At a glance, she could tell the 18 was closer to the 20.
(double-click to enlarge and print)
We repeated with different numbers,
emphasizing the rule~
numbers ending in 1-4
are rounded down,
numbers ending in 5-9
are rounded up.
Yep, counting bears
are the bear necessities
of a hOme tEaChEd life.


Doing the Poddy Dance

Today at lunch time, someone was discretely doing the
poddy dance.
Ya’ know, that little side to side motion done while sitting on a chair?
As if jiggling the bladder will magically make all the stuff go away.
The sitting motions aren’t as obvious as the standing motions.
That can be ridiculously embarrassing,
especially if they add their hands to the leg jiggling,
leg-crossing motion.
If they bend over, you know the dance is over.
All moms know the
poddy dance.
The little dance that tells you someone  has to go to the bathroom,
but won’t take the time to go.
It’s an irritating motion ignored
only until the annoyance builds up into vocality.
Something has to be said before there are puddles.
The music has to be stopped for the
poddy dance.
Finally, Rebekah looked at me and said with laughing exasperation,
“Mom, just go to the bathroom.”
I guess she recognizes her old tricks.
The poddy dance works so well,
it’s no wonder kids use it.
I don’t think I’m the only Mom who thinks she’s too busy to go poddy.
A friend once confessed she held it so often during the day,
she actually started getting bladder infections.
After prescribing cranberry juice, the doctor sternly told her to slow down
and take time to go to the bathroom!
We spend hours training the little ones to use the bathroom,
but never seem to make time to actually go ourselves.
Today, when I finally went in to go poddy,
yes I know TMI,
I thought of a solution.
When poddy-training our kids, I always used candy as an incentive.
I would keep Smarties or M&M’s in the bathroom,
 sealed in a container and hidden behind the towels.
So, for all you Mommies who need to be poddy-trained,
like me,
so you can stop getting bladder infections and doing the
poddy dance,
keep candy in the bathroom.
It worked for the kids, it should work for us.

Training Toddlers to be Teens

On Friday, I blogged my heart.  Why is Mothering so Hard?

On Saturday, I read a blog from a wonderful mom of four young kids who had one of THOSE days.  You know those days, when little fingers get into so many things, you don’t have time to recover from one episode, before another drama unfolds before your eyes?  Those days when you wonder how someone not able to even speak in sentences can render you into the same condition.  Yea, one of those days.

Her blog made me miss little kids so much, it took me a few minutes to remember the overwhelmed feeling that often accompanied those little blessings.

I still have those days, but not with those kind of trials.
My kids now read books, not just throw them off the shelves or eat them.

My children no longer unwind a whole roll of toilet paper just for fun.  Not saying they’ve mastered hanging a roll of toilet paper, but I haven’t seen this scene for years.

The kids are driving larger, more expensive vehicles we have to insure and fill with gas.  Road rage is absolutely NOT tolerated.

I miss little kids.  Having a “baby” who’s 8 going on 24 is not the same as being the mom of a baby or a toddler. I love my kids at every stage, but I miss those early years.

I miss little problems.  I miss the simplicity of wiping up spills and putting away a bajillion Legos for the kajillionth time.  At the time these problems seemed so hard, and they were, but now seem so simple compared to the situations we face now.

As I look back on those early years, there is more than just love of little ones tearing at my heart.  There’s regret.  I didn’t completely understand what I was doing.

I loved what I was doing.  I planned to be a mom.  I prayed faithfully.  I studied the Bible.  I asked older women questions.  I was in my element, serving in the career I had chosen – MOTHERHOOD.

But, somehow, I missed out on some important aspects of parenting.  I didn’t understand the small problems, like spilled milk,  were preparing me for larger problems.

I also didn’t understand I needed to handle my children’s small problems in a way that would build trust and confidence so they’d come to me with their bigger problems. Over reacting and ungodly anger can prove inability to handle their problems.  If you’re faithful in little issues, you’ll be prove faithful in larger issues.
Do you want your teenager to come to you and confess the true details of how they dented your car? Be patient and gracious now when they tell you how they broke your glass or your vase.  Yes, they still might be reprimanded  for playing ball in the house, but they have to know you value their right standing with the Lord and their safety more than your possessions.

Do you want your teenager to come to you and discuss all friendship/relationship problems? Begin now training their relationship skills and your listening skills in dealing with their sibling confrontations.  Hear both sides.  Teach them to confess and ask for forgiveness.  Let them know that nothing they tell you will freak you out.  Allow them to entrust their relationship problems to you.

Do you want a teenager to admit to their weaknesses?  Don’t deride and rail on them for their weaknesses as children.  Have a bed wetter or one hard to poddy train?  Be patient.  Be encouraging.  Be supportive.  Even when you have washed the bedding for the third night in a row, bite your tongue. Do you have a child prone to stealing?  Lying?  The goodness of God leads to repentance, deal with them with firmness and a determination to find the truth, but in a spirit of grace and not offended anger. But, let them trust you with their weaknesses.

Picture how you want your children to act as teenagers and young adults.  Then trace backwards to the stage they’re at now.  Pray for wisdom, and ask the Lord to show you how to root out sin in their life, teach them to apply the Word of God to their weaknesses and help them grow into that godly young adult you envisioned.

I Thessalonians 5:14
“Now we exhort you, brethren,
warn those who are unruly,
comfort the fainthearted,
uphold the weak,
be patient with all.”
Motherhood, despite having those days, is still the best job I’ve ever loved.

MM Meditation – Not a Fairy Tale

The resurrection of Christ
and the fact of the empty tomb
 are not a part of this world’s complex and continuing mythologies.
This is not a Santa Claus tale-
it is history and
it is a reality!
The true church of Jesus Christ is necessarily founded
 upon the belief and the truth that there was
a real death,
a real tomb and
a real stone!
But, thank God, there was a sovereign Father in heaven,
an angel sent to roll the stone away
and a living Savior in a resurrected and glorified body,
able to proclaim to His disciples,
“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth!”
Brethren, He died for us,
but ever since the hour of the
He has been
the mighty Jesus,
the mighty Christ,
the mighty Lord!
Our business is to thank God with tearful reverence for the Cross,
but to go on to a right understanding
of what the resurrection meant both to God and to men.
We understand and acknowledge that the
has placed a glorious crown
upon all of Christ’s sufferings!

A.W. Tozer

Why is Mothering So Hard?

For years we  primarily looked after ourselves. Yes, we served others, but in the timing and way WE chose.   Some of us taught Sunday school, Bible studies or worked with youth groups.  We might have babysat, worked with Daily Vacation Bible school or a kids Bible club ministry.  We might have even been very, very active in working with younger people, but it was usually according to OUR schedule.

Now, as a Mom, there is no timing, no control. 24/7 you’re on call for the needs, desires and even wants of your kids. It can be tiring. It can be utterly exhausting

It can be hard to discern at 2am if the cry is a need to be fulfilled, or a want to be ignored. Answer their cry or let them cry it out? Pick them up and comfort them or let them learn to comfort themselves back to sleep?

 When do you stop what you’re doing, intervene in a situation, and when do you ignore?

 When do you make them eat, and when do you allow them not to? When do YOU eat?  When do you play with them and when do you make them entertain themselves?

I don’t think I initially understood that

parenting is setting myself aside and putting my children first.

I saw them as an addition to my life, not my entire life. I loved my children.  I wanted a houseful of children.  I just didn’t know how much I would have to give.

I quickly learned. Fulfilling their basic needs took way more than I expected  I’d need to give.  Time for Mommy to read, craft, sew, bake, visit, shop and talk on the phone could not come first. Sometimes it was an easy sacrifice because I love babies and small children so much, and was thrilled to have my own.  Sometimes, it was a hard sacrifice.

Why is Mothering so hard?

It showed more ugly than I expected was beneath the surface.

I never expected to get impatient with a little one who whined just because they wanted to be held in my arms, again.

I never expected to be frustrated that a little one couldn’t master a new skill that would relieve me, even slightly, of some of the burden of their care.

I never expected my heart to be cold to the cry of a little one, just because my bed was so warm. It wasn’t always with a joyful heart that I bounded out of bed to pick up a precious little one.

I never expected that every sin hidden in the corners of my heart, mind, body and soul would be stirred to the surface by these precious little ones entrusted to my care. 

I never expected it, but the Lord did. That’s why He allowed it.

 Why is Mothering so hard?  Because Fathering is so hard!

I also learned God the Father is never impatient when I need to be held in His arms, again.

I also learned He is infinitely patient when I can’t master the victory over sin that would relieve Him some of the burden of my care.

I also learned when I cry out to Him in the darkest of night, He never sleeps nor slumbers.

I also learned that whatever ugly sins are stirred to the surface during my parenting, He will cleanse and send them as far as the east is from the west.

I never expected it, but the Lord did.  That’s why He allowed it.

I Choose to Love

Years ago, I was in the same fellowship as a godly older woman named Cheryle. She loved the Word. She loved her husband. She loved her boys. She was a smile erupting out of a heart filled with the joy of the Lord.

Cheryle’s husband was dying of scleroderma, her heart was still full of joy.

She had several boys going through the typical rocky transformations from teenagers into men, and she still had joy.

Sunday mornings, while our children were in Sunday school, the adults enjoyed visiting. Cheryl usually had a few younger sisters gathered around while she shared what she was studying in the Word.

When I learned one of her sons was engaged to a young woman I wasn’t sure was a Christian, I privately asked Cheryl about this. I might have been a little forward, but I craved knowing how she was handling this situation. Watching as a young mom with six kids not yet on the brink of these decision making stages, I knew someday I could be in her shoes.

She paused very deliberately, showed no offense to my question, but gave a wise and prayerful answer. Her pause, as she summoned the Lord for all the grace and mercy of Heaven, gave me an answer that has burned into my heart and soul for decades.

(heart traced into algae plagued lake water)
She smiled at me and simply said, “I CHOOSE to love her.” She didn’t say anymore.
I learned much from her answer.
1. She sought the Lord before she answered.
2. She didn’t gossip, nor did she brush aside the honest question of a younger woman. She didn’t share any concerns about this young girl who was soon to be her daughter, or her son, yet gave me a wise and kind answer.
3. She told me how to act the rest of my life with all relationships.
When my siblings married, usually to strangers, and brought them into the family,  I knew what to do.
When my children went through their own transformations from teenagers into adults, I knew what to do.
As my children began bringing home people they chose to love, I knew what to do.

Because, I had been taught –

Love is a choice.
Therefore, as Cheryle taught me,
 I CHOOSE to love.

Why Do the Wicked Prosper?

1 Truly God is good to Israel,
To such as are pure in heart.

2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
My steps had nearly slipped.

3 For I was envious of the boastful,
When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 For there are no pangs in their death,
But their strength is firm.
5 They are not in trouble as other men,
Nor are they plagued like other men.

We have probably all had times where we wondered´╗┐ why the wicked prosper.  Like Asaph, the writer of this Psalm, we can be grieved by their lack of troubles and our abundance of them.
I was blessed by the commentary by William MacDonald concerning this passage.  He is profound, yet  writes in a conversational, encouraging manner.
“What good has it done me to live a decent, honest, respectable life?”  The hours I’ve spent in prayer.  The time spent in the word.  The distribution of funds to the work of the Lord.  The active testimony for the Lord, both public and private.  All I’ve got for it has been a daily dose of suffering and punishment.  I wondered if the life of faith was worth the cost.”
“Then something wonderful happened.  One day I went into the sanctuary of God –  not the literal temple in Jerusalem but the heavenly one.  I entered there by faith.  as I was complaining to the Lord about the prosperity of the wicked in this life, the question suddenly flashed across my mind, “Yes, but what about the life to come?”  The more I thought about their eternal destiny, the more everything came into focus.”
I hear one sentence that solidified my thinking about  the presence of suffering in the life of a believer.
The Lord Jesus had a life of suffering,
why shouldn’t I?
But it isn’t just the suffering we share.
Romans 8:17
 if indeed we suffer with Him,
that we may also be glorified together.

The wicked seem to prosper on earth, but this earth holds all the glory they will ever behold. 

The believers, in the likeness of Christ, suffer on earth, but the earth holds all the suffering they will ever behold. They will prosper in Heaven for all of eternity.

The light of eternity turns our hearts turn from our earthly suffering to their eternal suffering. 

Then we fully understand their need to eat, drink and sleep for tomorrow they die, because when they die they face the judgement.

That isn’t prosperity.

Playing In Math Class

Beka and I love to play together.
We play dolls, store, raft, school, restaurant, store and servant.
She always lets me be the boss and she’s the servant, isn’t she sweet?
It’s hard to do school when you wanna’ play,
so we like to play during school.
It greatly improves math skills.
So does scratching your head, we learned.
In 2nd grade, Beka is learning money skills.
The worksheet introduced the concept of counting back change.
Having a cash register with a calculator and a change drawer that
“dings” when you open it, is a must for math class.
The worksheet was  kinda’ confusing.
It was kinda’ boring, too.
If Teacher Momma Mindy is bored,
I know my student is bored.
When the head scratchin’ didn’t help enough,
We opened a store.
While Beka priced her toys, I scribbled quick cards for each item.
The box on the left is the price, the bill used to pay is in the middle.
She had to use $5, $10 and $20 bills.
First, she had to figure out change, using the lease amount of each coins.
 Then, I came into her store many times, in character,
buying gifts for nieces, spoiled children, brats, and kids having birthdays.
She recommended an item, took my money, and counted back my change.
After I bought out the store, she had nailed the concept.
We went back to the boring worksheet, and finished it in a few minutes.
I’m thinkin’ boring doesn’t always mean just boring.
Confusion can bring on boredom.
When you are confident and understand,
math isn’t boring, it’s exciting.
Then, we played, because that’s what we like to do.
We play.