Monday, January 30, 2012

Food Coloring and the amazing turn around.

Wow, I haven't blogged in a while! It's been a little busy around here I guess.

I noticed something during church yesterday, and someone else pointed out the same thing to me. We were told by two different people that our kids are well-behaved during church and one of the commenters said that she can't believe the difference between a year ago and now, especially with Noah.
This made me think back to a year ago and I tried to remember what church services were like then. I was pregnant and about to pop with Elsa, Anna was 1 1/2, and now that I remember, I didn't get to hear much of a message.
I remembered that I used to have to sit next to Noah either holding his hand, rubbing his back, or with my hand on his knee or he would be bouncing, sniffing, doodling, twirling his fingers, or some other nervous habit. Also, Kayla and Lela would often be fidgety and at least one of them would have to be taken out at least once during a single service.
But yesterday it was not so! Noah sat with his Bible and notebook taking notes and only being distracted a few times by noisy children. Kayla and Lela were not as fidgety, although they are still just kids. Kayla even tried to read her Bible along with the Preacher. Anna was....a 2 year old, and Elsa slept.
But I was amazed that I could also see such a difference! I guess the change was so gradual that I didn't notice. What do I attribute to this amazing change? I will definitely credit the absence of artificial food coloring.
Last year around April we cut out artificial food coloring and while we didn't really notice a difference without it, we really noticed a difference when they had some! It was remarkable.
I would suggest every parent research the affects of AFC in children. red40 causes attention problems, and yellow5 and 6 contribute to asthma problems. I'm not a doctor and I'm not a scientist, but I am a mom and I can tell you 100% that cutting out food coloring has helped our family drastically!
AFC is mostly found in things kids shouldn't eat anyway; candy, fruit snacks, "juice", sodas, and a lot of pre-packaged foods. Other weird things they're in is pickles (except the Claussen kind), Pillsbury doughs, chips, jelly, and some other things. If you want to cut out AFC just go through everything you have in your cupboard, or pick up to buy, and check the label. They're usually at the end of the ingredients list and if it's a color+a number, it's bad. You'll eventually know what things have it and what don't, and you can easily avoid it.
If our children are given candy with AFC, we exchange it for chocolate. We buy fruit instead of fruit snacks. We get chips that don't have AFC, we spend a little more for Claussens but eat pickles less. It's not hard to make the no-AFC switch, and I can tell you from personal experience, if your children have issues with asthma or hyper-activity, it will be worth it!

Monday, January 16, 2012

The kids have done 4 straight weeks of formal schooling, so I thought this week we would do some Casual Schooling and have some fun! Today I deemed "Outdoor Exploration Day". They were already playing outside since it's a cool, clear day. This was their mission:
Find 3 things outside that you can see, hear, touch, or smell. I excluded taste because I didn't want them licking everything outside. Then they came inside and they could write, draw, paint, color, or make their 3 things. This is what they did.

Noah drew a comic, and painted a picture.

First box: "Did you see that?" "Yeah" Second box: "That was awesome!" Third box: "It's windy." "Yeah" "I'm cold" Fourth box: "Ouch" "What was that?" Fifth box: "The trees!" Sixth Box: "They're attacking!"

Noah's 3 things: Wind, trees, a bird

Kayla wrote a song and painted a picture.
Her song, with her spelling:
I can her (hear) the berds (birds).
And I can cea (see) the trees swish arawnd (around).
And I can feal (feel) the wand (wind) blow on me.

She swears she saw a rainbow even though it hasn't rained in 4 days. I think she just wanted to paint one.

Lela just painted, since she can't write yet.

Lela painted a bird eating from a bird feeder (I think she did an excellent job!), the wind, and an acorn.

Anna also painted and she said it was the wind.

We had a lot of fun! They're outside again playing. I have some more things planned for the rest of the week. Hopefully it goes as well as today did.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Just Because

Sometimes when my kids get in trouble I ask them a really stupid question, "Why did you do that?" I don't know why I ask this because I know they probably don't know why, they're just kids. And also, they're already in trouble for the action, they won't want to get in trouble for their reasoning too. Because if Son hits Daughter and I ask "Why?" and he says "I was mad at her, and I wanted to get back at her." I probably wouldn't just shrug and commence punishment for the action. I would feel the need to give a lecture on why hitting is not a way to get even. So I completely understand why they say "Because". Or actually, they say "cuz", which drives me crazy for a completely different reason.
But I have come up with a pretty good comeback for the "cuz" answer which I think has backfired with my 2 year old, but that's another discussion. I usually say "Cuz is not a reason!" and then either demand a reason or commence punishment.
While I was pondering why I ask why, and why they say "cuz" instead of giving me a real reason, I started thinking about life and purpose. It seems that a lot of people are living life "just because". Parents are raising children "just because". Teenagers make bad choices and get in trouble "just because". Adults make bad choices and get in even bigger trouble, "just because". It doesn't seem like very many people have a purpose or a reason for their life. I see people wandering through life like the children of Israel wandered through the desert for 40 years. No purpose beyond that day, no goal beyond what is happening right now, no real reason for why they do things. They're living life "just because".
If you did a Google search (or Swagbucks search, as some may have it) on "The meaning of life" you would get 10,7000,000 results or more(I tried it, didn't win any Swagbucks). It seems everyone out there has their own opinion of the meaning of life. But what does God say our purpose is? Why are we here? Is it "just because"? Are we here because that's what happened in nature, and we'll live our life and die, and more people will live "just because"?
Mark 16:15 says "...Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Simply put, our purpose in life is to tell other about the gospel; how Jesus died, was buried, and rose again, and is in Heaven preparing a place for us to last all of eternity.
What about our purpose as parents? So often I try to get through my day, going through the motions "just because" it's what I'm supposed to do. I forget why I have to do those things, and what my goal is in why I do those things. When I live my day "just because" I get more frustrated, because I can't understand why. I am more tired, because I have no real reason why I'm doing anything. I get more stressed out, because I'm wandering through the day, unconcerned about the effects of my actions.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 gives us clear direction for what our goal as parents should be. It tells us our reason for doing everything we do during the day, and a way to do it.
"And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
Deu 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Our goal as parents is similar to our goal as people, as children of God. It is to teach our children about the Lord, about His plan, and His Word. If we aren't doing that, we aren't fulfilling our purpose and we're living life "just because".
How frustrating it must be for God to see us living life "just because" when He has given us clear instructions on what we are supposed to do. I imagine how frustrated I get when I get the "just because" answer from my own children.
Lord, help my life to have purpose and direction. May I live each day for You because You gave me this life which I live. May I stand before You with a well-thought out life that accomplished much for you and not stand before you and say "just because". And thank you for my children who show me my own faults and for using them to bring me closer to You.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My New Year Resolution

First of all I want to point out that it is New YEAR not New Years. There's only one new year, not multiple.
Now that I have that pet peeve out of the way, I can move on to my blog post!
I have never been a New Year Resolution kind of person. But then a few years ago I started making them, and then I made "New Month" Resolutions to stay on top of them. But this year I had an epiphany: I can't do year-long resolutions. I make a resolution to lose weight, and I get pregnant. I resolve to reach out to my friends more, and I lose my best friend. I strive to work out, and I hurt my shoulder. I decide to put my all into my online article, and we move somewhere that I don't get internet. Life is too inconsistent for me to make those types of resolutions. They may work great for how my situation is in January, but then we go to a new job site and they don't work anymore.
So this year I'm making one Resolution and one alone: I resolve to roll with the punches this year, and to always look for an opportunity to serve the Lord more.
Maybe we'll be in a church where I can reach out to another young mother and be a friend. Maybe a church we help needs someone to work in the nursery or play the piano. Or we'll work in a place where I can exercise with the kids or be comfortable leaving them alone. Or God could lead us somewhere that I can't even dream of, but I can be a blessing to someone because of that situation.
I don't know what this year holds, and I can't even fathom. This past year has been crazy, wonderful, scary, and pretty great. It has had some awesome moments like living 10 minutes from my sister for 3 months; spending 3 weeks at my parents' house and relaxing; giving birth to Elsa and my mom being able to be there. There have been some bad moments too; some that involve family, some in our church, and some in our group. But through it all God has been faithful and has never left me, so this year I resolve to trust Him and to know that where He leads us, He has a purpose for not only my husband or my family, but for me as well.