Yesterday, Clarissa, over at 1+1+1=1 posted on her blog about her struggle to be a more Christ like parent. This got me thinking about my own struggle. In my home Entitlement has crept in and it's robbing my family of happiness and hurting our relationship with  the Lord.

Like Clarissa I "Know" the right things to say and do in my head but in the moment when the kids push my buttons my blood pressure spikes instantly and it goes out the door then words are coming out of my mouth sometimes in a very loud fashion and I am not even thinking about what I am saying. Then moments later I am hit with regret and remorse as I realize I have just said the exact things I was trying so hard not to.  To add to the guilt, my husband is a yeller and he does say ALL those things that we learn through positive parenting we shouldn't. You know what I am talking about, threats (mostly empty), name calling (stop crying like a baby), comparing (why can't you ... like your (sister/ brother) etc. I've been to a few parenting seminars and classes, I've read a fair share of books on parenting and on age appropriate development. All of this has helped to shape me into a better parent and leads me to be a more Christ-like parent BUT...sometimes it all goes out the window.

My daughter is a real mystery to me. She is SO SENSITIVE and she is seemingly always sad or mad about something. She doesn't have a large interest in her brother in less it is to boss him around. It makes my heart very heavy. Most recently I joined a parenting group at my church. Our facilitator had gone to a workshop on entitlement. The lights went on and suddenly so much made sense. I went home and purchased the book From Innocence to Entitlement a Love and Logic Cure for the Tragedy of Entitlement by Jim Fay This book has changed my whole mindset and has really influenced the way I parent more than all the other workshops, books, seminars and meetings with a parent coach. I discovered that my daughter's issues are most likely related to her sense of entitlement. The book tells us that Entitlement robs us of our happiness. It causes anger and depression.  (It's not fair.  How come he gets...? But I wanted the ... one. But it's mine, Everyone else has... etc.)

Since reading this book I have mostly done away with the empty threats and the exasperating sarcasm  (hurry up, it shouldn't take all day to...) I am using what the book calls "Enforceable statements" Mom's car is leaving in 5 minutes if you don't have your shoes on you'll have to leave without shoes on. ) Another example is instead of "Why can't you brush your teeth like a big girl? " (Because she is playing around being silly, making a mess etc) to "You have 2 mins to finish brushing your teeth and cleaning up your mess before you start using your bedtime story time".  It is working -when I remember to use the enforceable statements.

I've also assigned my daughter (almost 5) the task of putting away the clean silverware. After the third day she asked me why she had to do this everyday. I simply told her "because we are a family and in a family every needs to help each other". She then asked why her brother didn't have to do a job. I just told her "when he is 4 he will have a job to help the family also."  I want my children to feel like they have something to contribute to the family. I want them to give back and not just take.

My children are entitled. My house and back yard are overrun with toys. They want for nothing; but to ask them there is something they want that they don't have I'm sure. I don't even have any room/ space for ANY new toys. My Daughter has over FORTY stuffed animal toys/ dolls. (sorry about the lighting in the picture). My son has over TWO HUNDRED hot wheel cars and this is only one example for each child.  My Husband and I are to blame. We did this. How can my children appreciate anything when everything is always given to them or done for them? So now we are working on helping them become more independent and appreciative. Mom is NOT doing EVERYTHING for them anymore. This has been so hard on me because I am so use to anticipating and acting on all their needs and wants. I have to pause and consciously think to myself, "Is this something he/ she can do?" I have to be ok with letting my children experience being uncomfortable (struggling through a task) so they can grow and become independent. This is hard with my daughter because when she struggles she shuts down and just cries. It's a process for sure.

My daughter is still sad and angry often and I still forget and yell sometimes but it is getting better. I recently borrowed the book Too Many Toys by David Shannon from our local library. We've read it now 5 times I'm not entirely sure she has made the connection to herself but she has made a couple comments about her brother and all his toys.-LOL  We've read books about good character, especially sharing. I realize it is a long road ahead of me but I really do not want my children to have this sense of Entitlement. I want them to be appreciative, respectful, loving and most of all I want them to Love themselves in a  healthy way and know that they are perfect because God made them.

Sigh-  We did two weeks on bugs, two weeks ago and I have not been able to find my camera anywhere. I haven't posted what we've been doing since I couldn't find my camera to upload the pictures.

I took a few pictures today of The Princess doing some money activities so I thought I'd at least post about these.  She is not only learning what each coin is called and it's value we are also adding coins together to make sums and learning how to read the name of each coin.  Like the average child she is still confusing the Nickle and Quarter but other than that she pretty much has it down.  Today we did a matching activity where she had a sheet with the denominations and she had to put the corresponding coin on top. A similar activity with the words rather than the denominations and then we played a game where we put the coin cards on top of the denominations (this Carousel game came from a File Folders- Time and Money book).  The boards for the first two activities were a freebie from

The Little Man has been obsessed with "having a car wash" ALL WEEK.  We did shaving cream with paint brushes two days, cars in the bath with a scrubber and bath gel and today we had a bin full of soapy water and a bin full of clean water and a tooth brush.  He has REALLY enjoyed his car wash activities. Because I can not find my camera I didn't take any pictures.

On Friday I took a few shots on my camera phone just so I could actually put up a new post. So here is what I got on camera.

Here the Princess is placing coins on her math mat which has denominations written on it. This was a Freebie from Counting Coconuts  (Money Math from May 30th).

Similar activity but now the math mat has the coins' names and she is matching the correct coin to its name.

This is a math mat activity from the Scholastic book Math Mats  & Games Money.  On these activities there is a denomination written on a piggy bank in the center (this sheet says $0.07) Then the student adds up the coins in each box and finds pairs that add up to $0.07.

Here we were playing a money game from the Scholastic book File Folder Games Time and Money. This is a carousel theme which is great for my pony loving princess.

Here is Little Man washing his "Crazy Coupe" This was our carwash activity for today.

A few months ago I took a wonderful parenting class at my church it was based on the book Being the Parent You Want to Be by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrot.  I went to the class hoping to get a few tools for my parenting tool belt but what I got instead was a Divine Intervention that quite possibly may have saved my marriage.  Now there isn't really anything wrong with my marriage right now mind you  except that all my time and energy is spent taking care of my kids and then what little I have left I use to attend to my Spouse.
I've been to two different parenting presentations and told by two different Marriage, Family, Life Therapists that you have to take time out for your self (happy, recharged mommy = better mommy for the kids) and time out for just you and your spouse.  This as we all know is so much easier to say than to put into practice.  But in all honesty I've noticed that in the 14 years I've been married I feel like my spouse and I have drifted the farthest apart in the last 4 years (post kids). This is not his fault and it is not my fault. Life just happens.
This weekend my husband and I attended a marriage seminar at church titled The Art of Marriage, and guess what. There it was again, this idea that the marriage has to be before the kids. WHAT?!  But here is why and it makes sense.  The kids will grow up and leave when they marry their own spouse. They will Leave their mothers and fathers to Cleave to their own spouses. This is God's design and how wonderful that is.  Our spouse is God's Gift to us. Our spouse should be valued above all others with a certain reverence that demands our attention, our love, our understanding and patience and our forgiveness.  Our loyalty should lie with our spouse.  So often I hear other women talking negatively about their Husbands- his short comings, his latest offenses etc.  I too am guilty of taking part in this. But NO MORE. I get it now. My Spouse is the one person who is a true confidant, the person I can be myself with, the one person who will cheer me on to be a better person always, the one person who will be there- ALWAYS.
Now I LOVE my children, they are the world to me and I want all sorts of happinesses and successes for them. But the GREATEST gift I can give to my children is to love their Dad first and always.  This will give them confidence, security and a great role model of what a healthy loving relationship should be. When I think of the marriage I want for them (happy and loving, with attentive and forgiving spouses) I realize that I need to first have that and model that. I can not do that if they get 95% of me and my Husband gets 5% of me.
I don't want to find out in 15+ years as my children leave for college that my spouse and I have grown so far apart that we are really strangers with little to nothing in common because I was so busy taking care of the kids that I neglecting his needs. I am living intentionally in the present making time for my spouse and I to reconnect often. It might just be making a special dinner once a month for just the two of us after the kids go to bed, or taking the time to walk into his office and rub his shoulders for two minutes while he's working.  I make sure to kiss him before either of us leave the house and to acknowledge him as soon as one of us return home.

We found out the results of Sam's blood work. He has cancer in the lungs, in fact the xrays show several tumors. He is coughing a lot and we have him on predisone. We had a nice talk with the Princess so she now knows that Sam has a "doggie sickness". We didn't want to use the "C" word or say he was sick because he is old or anything else that would scare her. We were honest and told her that he would die sometime soon and that he would not be with us for another Christmas. We told her that he had hard lumps in his lungs and it made it hard to breathe.  We explained that he would get sicker and when he got really sick Mommy and Daddy would take him to the vet to get some special medicine that would make him feel a little better but wouldn't heal him and that he would not be coming back home when that happened.  It was hard to talk about it and I was so glad my hubby and I had discussed what we were going to say ahead of time. I started to get all teary eyed and got  a huge lump in my throat so the my dear hubby did most of the talking.

I thought she would ask if he was going to go to heaven and what would happen when he died. I had read up in my 200 questions kids ask about God and the Bible and 104 questions kids ask about heaven and angels and I was ready--  but she didn't ask. So, now we will try to make Sam as happy as we can for the time we have left with him.
This weekend we had an impromptu visit from Grandma and Grandpa. The kids were over the moon. Friday night Grandma and Grandpa took them to a pizza place for dinner (one of those places that has games and tickets), while me and my dear husband got to have a nice dinner out together at a restaurant we hadn't tried yet. Saturday my sister joined us and brought her daughter and we all went to the Duck Pond together. Grandma and Grandpa got to spend time with all three of the California grandchildren.

My hubby didn't get to join us at the Duck Pond because he had to take our older dog to the vet. Our dog, Sam, had been coughing quite a bit and seemed to be running a fever. He called me while we were at the duck pond to tell me that the vet had taken x-rays and it looked like Sam may have lung cancer, but it also might be a viral infection and we could have blood drawn if we want to rule out the viral infection.  So $220 for the x-ray and $240 for the blood draw later--- we are waiting to hear the results. The vet seemed pretty sure that our boy has cancer though.  He is eleven and we've had him since he was 10 mos old. So, he is an old guy.  Now we have to figure out how to break the news to the kids.
So I finally finished the power point for the kids that has the pictures from our nature walk. (read original post here.) I still haven't gone back out to find "n" so that page is blank in our show :(. The slide show is inspired by the book ABC A New Way Of Seeing by Arlene Alda.  I used a green color scheme since our theme is nature. She uses a black and white theme in her book.  I think it came out pretty nice. I hope the kiddos enjoy it. You can click the file below to see it.

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Here is a pond theme game I made a couple months ago for the Princess to practice short vowel sounds. The frogs mats have a short vowel on them. Players choose a mat and then take turns drawing bug cards that have CVC word parts on them. If player can make a real word by inserting the short vowel on their frog they keep the card and thus feed their frog. (For example if I have the short a frog mat and I draw a bug cart that says m_p I can make map and thus keep the card. But if I draw b_x I have to place my bug card in the pond and that bug is set free. Game ends when all bug cards have been played.)These cute graphics are from  the Pond http://frompond.blogspot.com

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Here is a freebie for all.
When I play popcorn with my daughter to practice her sight words my son always wants to play with us. So I made him this ABC version. Just like the sight word version players take turns drawing popcorn pieces out of a container. Players identify the letter on the popcorn kernel if they are correct they get to keep it. If they are incorrect the kernel is returned to the bucket. I bought the buckets that look like theatre popcorn containers at the Dollar Tree so we use those.  We end the game when a "pop" piece is drawn. This set has capital and lower case letters you can combine them or use them separately.  I added a number game too. Enjoy.

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File Size: 426 kb
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So this week The Princess is on Spring Break, my Little Man and Husband are sick with colds and I am feeling quite lazy. We have done a few activities here and there (mostly with The Princess) but I have not had camera in hand. Today I took the Princess with me to my MOMS Club monthly meeting for an egg hunt but it was kind of soggy since it rained last night and has been sprinkling on and off all morning here.

My church is putting together a community outreach project, a Mentoring Moms group where the kids can get together and play on the BRAND NEW tot yard and the moms can get together to offer support to each other. I have a feeling that this is group is about to be my next project. My term as Vice President of my MOMS Club is coming to an end and I feel ready to branch out now that my kids are getting older. We did enjoy the Preschool group I got started but it never really turned into the Co-op I had hoped for. That too is coming to an end for the year.  So now I am thinking what next.  I really like this Moms group that is getting started at the church so I will put some energy into getting that going.

My husband and I have been deciding what to do with the Princess for Kindergarten next year. We looked at our home school, which is the second best school in our district, we entered the lottery for the fundamental school  (the first best school in our district) and we went to the Kindergarten orientation at the private school where she is this year. She will be entering Kindergarten but she already reads at a late 1st grade level and has mastered the math standards for Kinder and is now working on more advanced math skills. I don't push her mind you, she is just interested and is like a sponge when it comes to all things academic. I found a hybrid program at a school about 19 miles from our home and I think that this is our best option for her with her social issues and academic success this year in Jr. Kindergarten.  I've been praying about the decision as well as the option of homeschooling for several months now. I have a great group of prayer sisters that have been praying as well. I feel that if God pu the desire in my heart to homeschool than maybe that is His plan for us. I was a public school teacher for ten years and as such I am not a huge proponent of homeschooling although I know there are benefits to it. After much prayer and research and consideration I applied for the interdistrict transfer from my home district to the district that houses this hybrid program. My mom really thinks that I should not homeschool her so I'm sure there will be some tension there but this program will allow her to have classroom instruction one day a week with multi age kids (K-3rd) which I think will be excellent for her since she will not necessarily be the brightest or most knowledgable in the group all the time. She will also still have some traditional classroom experiences while being able to grow as a learner at home studying things that are interesting to her.

I also just signed up for the Great Homeschool Convention which is coming to my area in May. Although the program I hope to enroll my Princess in offers curriculum at no cost to us, I am not sure that it will be the right curriculum for us so I am going to go take a peek at what is out there. So stay tuned to our schooling adventure. The next step after we get confirmation that our transfer application has been approved will be to get my husband to add a sun room onto our house so we will have a space to homeschool. Otherwise my living room (my favorite room of the house) will have to get a makeover :(

If you know of any great blogs of parents who homeschool their
This week we focused on Easter. Jesus, eggs, bunnies, and all. The kids have really been enjoying the Resurrection Eggs. (See my beginning post on the Resurrection Eggs here).I was too until we got the day 5, 6 & 7 where the eggs contained a whip, crown of thorns and nails. So hard to discuss something as ugly and the crucifixtion with a 3 and 4 year old. Naturally I focused on the Love Jesus shared and I knew in my heart that the story of Easter rally is pretty dark up until Easter itself.  Even the whole story of Judas betraying Jesus for the thirty pieces of silver.My kids couldn't understand why his friend gave him (Jesus) to the authorities. Again so hard to explain. None the less they continue to ask to open the eggs each day and get quite excited in anticipation as we read the scripture passage for the day.

I made the week a light fun one because we had quite a few activities to attend out side of the home this week and Daddy was on a business trip. And wait for it... the big news... we were POTTY TRAINING!  I didn't think Little Man would ever decide to go for it. He was pretty committed to his diapers and very vocal about wanting to keep them.  I kind of felt that Daddy telling him often that Big Boys don't wear diapers and he needed to be a big boy was having a negative effect on him. I asked Daddy to stop saying that and waited a week. I admit that i had to kind of push the first two days and we were not very successful but by day four we had an accident free day- Woo Hoo! An Easter Miracle has occurred in our house.

This week I just lacksidaisically (sp?) put out various Easter themed activities for the kids. One the Princess enjoyed was tossing small wiffle balls into a Spring Themed Basket. She was pretty good at it too. We lined up and took turns tossing the balls from a few feet away. My Little Man really liked the felt board Easter Eggs he played with them almost everyday. I used a few Easter Themed printables as well. Here is a little peek at what we did this week.

We link up with Preschool Corner at Homeschool Creations, 1+1+1=1, Montessori Monday at Living Montessori Now, Science Sunday at Adventures in Mommydom, Fun Stuff Fridays at Toys in the Dryer, Teach me Tuesday at Preschool Powol Packets and the TGIF Linky Party at Living Life Intentionally each week. Be sure to check them out to see what others are doing.