Thursday, January 31, 2013

Great Expectations

"Hooray! You got all A's!"
"Hooray! You got all C's!"
"Hooray! You got every letter in the alphabet!"

Yes, I could say these exact words on any given day after school. And mean them all. If I have learned anything in the past 13+ years is that ALL kids are different. Different abilities, different personalities, different everything. So we must have different expectations for each.

I expect one of the 4 sons to get mostly A's. School work has always come easily for him. I expect the one who has to study for every single point he earns might still bomb a test. And I expect the one who is not that into this whole school, studying, non-playing outside deal to need a little more nudging from every angle just to get his work done. And I expect Number 4, the cutest 5 year old in the world, to continue to like Kindergarten just fine!

One loves to read. One doesn't mind reading. And a couple still like for me to read to them. Math is easy for one. Harder for another. Looks like some of you are in a similar boat.

Our expectations are that they do their best. When they were younger we explained to them that that might mean they have different grade since we only expected them to do the best they can with the gifts God gave them. And since we are all unique creations of God that could look differently for each of them.

When it comes to grades,no. Our expectations are that they try their best always and take pride in their work. Each child is different and learns in their own unique ways. As parents we should foster their learning capabilities and help them flourish drawing out their strengths and helping ad encouraging growth in their weaknesses. For us the older ones excel academically but have problems with basic problem solving skills because they've never had to work very hard for their grades. Growing up I had to work hard for each of my grades and my sister did not, but my parents still expected our best from both of us.

That is a good question. Yes to all of the above, but realistically, we have one who is smarter than his brother. The brother will be an artist (if you catch my meaning). One is going to sail through school the other will struggle. Yes, we encourage them to do their best and to not make below B's. Realistically, we just want them to enjoy learning and not hate school. I talk to each kid differently. I help each kid differently, but I try to have similar expectations.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Baked Oatmeal Bars: Comfort for your morning

When one dreary grey-skied morning follows another it's time to add some comfort food to your breakfast table.  These shockingly delicious and versatile Baked Oatmeal Bars fit the bill quite nicely. 

Originally found on Real food in Little Rock, I only needed to  tweak this recipe a bit for our personal tastes.  It makes a perfect breakfast to go or slightly sweet lunch - not to mention delicious after school snack.  Actually, the baintrain will eat this yummy wholesome goodness anytime. 

Baked Oatmeal Bars
Original recipe here 
makes enought for two heart breakfast plus lunches&snacks

6 c. rolled oats
2 c plain kefir, buttermilk or yogurt
4 eggs, fresh from a farm
1 t nutmeg
3 t cinnamon
3 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t sea salt
3 grated apples or pears
1 cup melted butter or coconut oil (cooled)
3/4 c honey (or your preferred whole food sweetener)   
3/4 c raisins (optional) 

12-24 hours before you want to serve this, mix oats and kefir.  Cover with a towel and leave on the counter. This means before you finish cleaning the dishes on Monday you've already prepped Tuesday's breakfast.  If your kids eat like mine, there's comfort knowing what's for breakfast tomorrow.  

Preheat oven to 375. Butter your biggest pyrex and set aside.  Break up oat/kefir mixture and add baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Now get out a huge mixing bowl and throw in all the other ingredients.  Combine wet and dry, pour into buttered pyrex and bake for about 35 minutes.  It's really soft and gooey when it comes out, but becomes portable as it cools.

It's a break in winter's gray clouds when you don't have to cajole anyone into eating whole foods for breakfast.   That teensy little fact takes comfort food to another level...


Linked to WFMW, Jen and Kelly

Thursday, January 24, 2013

New year :: New {family} Word

Sooooo, it's been a while. Not sure where to start; if I should attempt a catchupallinone post or just move forward.  I suppose your Thanksgiving/Christmas/3-birthdays-in-six-weeks flew by in an Instagram blur too.  Right?  

I'll just jump in where we are right now.  We are living in a season of entrenched routines and days that seem tightly sewn together with a golden thread of sameness.  Milking, music practice, school, work, homework, dinner, bed, repeat. (Obviously I need to add blogging back in there somewhere.) Oddly enough there's comfort here.  Knowing what to expect and how to plan accordingly.  It's dovetailing into the word the boys chose for the year quite nicely.  

We managed a family meeting even in the midst of celebrations, parties and guests. We talked about what flag we wanted waving in our breeze of 2013.  We talked about last year's word, how it came to be and what it meant.  How we were graced by Practicing and how we could keep up our practice with a new word.

We prayed and slept and reconvened at the breakfast table. 
After a bit more discussion, the word they chose is Peace.  

Pretty interesting choice for a house full of boys who on any given day are fighting all kinds of imaginary and not-so imaginary battles.

Of course it's not co-incedence that the first verse on Peace we are practicing is about it passing understanding and guarding our hearts and minds.  Certainly that's the kind it will take around our daily battles to make a difference. 

Here's how we practice keeping this year's word in front of us during the week.  Fifteen minutes (ideally) before we head out, we huddle in the kitchen and one person reads the verse.  (Admittedly there is hurrying and calling for somebody to come on! We may or may not talk about where we think we need Peace that day.  Then we say the Lord's Prayer, followed by a dash for the door and everything that awaits.  

The practice of centering ourselves at the beginning of the day is intended to bring much needed Peace throughout the day. 

Curious about you have a word?  I'd love to hear how you maintain it during the year.



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