Friday, May 27, 2011

Positive Discipline Chapter 3-The Significance of Birth Order

Sorry it's taken me so long to get this posted, but I'm here. 
This chapter was more of infomation to understand your children, not very much as far as techniques go.
The reason to even talk about birth order in the first place is not so you can treat your kids differently because of their birth order, it's to understand how they see things.  As we learned in chapter 2, behavior is based on the child's interpretation of the world around them.  It's like a family is a play and children try to each fit a different character or role.  If one child is the smart one, another will try to be the athletic one, or the rebellious one, or the needy one!  Basically, it boils down to the oldest often see themselves as a leader, and that they must be the best at everything.  The youngest tends to either expect to be pampered or strives to keep up with the older sibling(s).  The middle(s) vary a lot but generally feel that they must be different in some way, which could mean being more outgoing, overachieving or underachieving, rebel, whatever.  There are a lot more factors that can make these things different, like age gaps and how many and in which place and which gender other siblings are.  It's very dynamic.  But, the main point is that we need to help our children not get the wrong perception about themselves and let them all know they're loves.  Nelsen points out that children will likely be fine being themselves rather than trying to fill a role if the parents are loving and cooperative with each other and agree on child-rearing, and if children feel they are loved and are being treated fairly.

So I guess I couldn't really put this into practice, but it helps me be aware that my children may be acting the way they're acting because of a perception in their minds of their place in this family.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pho Soup (slow cooker)

So it doesn't look so soupy, but I still enjoyed it!  It's not something that I think I would want EVERY day, but it'll be nice to change things up every once in a while!  And to my great shock, my kids gobbled it up!  I thought it's be too strange and different for them, I guess they were hungry!  The original recipe called for one teaspoon of fish sauce, and setting the ick factor aside, we have a child with very bad fish allergies, so I omitted that entirely, but if you're brave, knock yourself out!  The original also called for a chunk of fresh ginger, but the store only had large bags of ginger and I only needed a small chuck, so I got some ground ginger.

6 cups beef broth or stock
1 heaping tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp anise
1 cinnemon stick
2 sliced green onions
1 pound thin sliced beef
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 package rice noodles

Put everything except noodles in slow cooker, mix, cover, cook high 3-4 hours or low 4-6 hours.  Done when meat is fully cooked.  15 minutes before serving, add entire package of rice nookdles to the pot. Push them under the liquid with a wooden spoon and cover.  Garnis with bean sprouts, basil, or lime wedges if desired.
We didn't garnish with anything and still enjoyed it.  I had it going while we were at church on Sunday and it had a different smell when we came home, so don't let that put you off!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Washing Clothes by Hand 2

I just wanted to add to my post the other day about washing clothes by hand.  Our time without a washer and dryer has been longer than I'd hoped, so we've had to do some of what I call wholesale hand washing.  This is very much like what I put in my other post about hand washing, except on a larger scale.  There are a few variations.  The kneading-like method used in regular hand washing is a lot more difficult with a lot of clothes, but should still be used when possible.  One thing that I've found works quite well is to aggressively squish the clothes down while the tub is filling up, then do a little more kneading/swishing (I recommend squatting by the tub while you do this to keep pressure off your back and give you a great leg workout!), then..........let it soak.  Yes, soak.  It's easy and passive.  The thing I've noticed is that it works a LOT better if you agitate and THEN soak, then a little more agitation for good measure.  Here is a load primarily of my husband's work clothes (he works at a tire shop) which I squished and then let soak for about 20 to 30 minutes.
All together now:  EEEEEEWWWWWW!!!!!   I did not darken this in any way.  In fact, I think it looked worse in person.
So afteryou get the copious amounts of yuckies out of the clothes you pull the plug and drain the water.  Then I pile the clothes in the middle of the tub and kind of pushed to one side (so water can get past) and use a large cup to rinse out the side of the tub opposite of the drain.  Then I wring out the clothes over the drain, and place then in the cleaned out spot.
To the left are wrung out clothes, to the right the still sopping wet clothes.
After that I repeat teh process, including the soaking, and sometimes I'll do it again for good measure, especially with my husbands work clothes because as you can see from above, they get VERY dirty!  The next thing to do is find a place to hang it all!  Good luck, we usualy have to blocj some doorways as well as the shower, but hey, it works!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Positive Discipline Chapter 2-Some Basic Concepts is a really upfront chapter, it really points out a lot of things that most parents do any why they don't work.
At the start, Nelson Talks about the difference between winning over children and winning children over.  "Winning over children makes them losers, and losing generally causes children to be rebellious or blindly submissive.  Neither characteristic is desirable for children.  Winning children over means gaining their cooperation in developing mutual respect, responsibility, self-discipline, and problem solving skills." (22)  She goes on to talk about what we do is not as important as how we do it.  If a child spills mild on the floor, it makes sense to have them clean it up.  But if you snap at them, call them clumsy, or tell them they can never pour milk because they always make a mess, you have entered into the humiliation spectrum.  Then we move on to the basic concepts themselves:
1. Children are social beings-  "Children make decisions about themselves and how to behave based on how they see themselves in relationship to others and how they think others feel about them."

2. Behavior is goal oriented- "Children are good perceivers, but poor interpreters."  A good example is when mommy brings a new baby home from the hospital, the child perceives that mommy loves the baby very much, but then makes the interpretation that mommy doesn't love them as much anymore, and then either acts out to get attention, or acts like a baby.

3. A child's primary goal is to belong and to be significant- As explained before, misbehavior is based on a mistaken belief about how to achieve belonging and significance.  We'll go into more detail on this in chapter 4.

4. A misbehaving child is a discouraged child- We're kind of getting redundant here, but it's an important point to make: a misbehaving child is trying to tell you that they don't belong or feel significant but they don't know how to do it.  Armed with this understanding, it's a lot easier to be patient and look for the root of the problem.

5. Social Interest- basically, to instill a concern for others and a dire to contribute to society.  "What good is academic learning if young people do not learn to become contributing members of society?  We have gone through an age of supermoms and super-teachers, where children have learned to expect the world to serve them rather than to be of service to the world.  These are the children who think it is unfair if they don't get their own way.  When others refuse to serve them they feel sorry for themselves or seek revenge in some hurtful or destructive way.  When they seek revenge they always hurt themselves much more then they hurt others.  Positive Discipline helps children and adults end these vicious cycles by encouraging social interest."

6. Equality- We all know that a child is equal to an adult in value, but this has more to do with dignity and respect.  Again, why humiliation is not part of this approach.

7. Make sure the message of love gets through- the key concept that unlocks all doors.  When we have a screaming match with our child because we fear that they are making decisions that could eventually lead them down a destructive path, they may get the message that we dislike them and that they are a burden.  Again with the perception thing.  They need to be reminded that our agitation is fear and concern for their well-being, not anger or fed-up-ness (I made that word up!)

One thing that I have been working on is focusing on the cause of the misbehavior.  My soon to be 3 year old has really been teaching me how much patience I don't have.  For a while he was screaming at me and hitting his baby brother.  Even though he loves his brother, he was still hitting him really hard.  Through some one-on-one talks with him, my husband and I found out that, even though I would talk to him personally every night and read him story of his choosing twice a day, his siblings were around and he wanted some real one-on-one time with me.  After a calm and brief talk about how wrong it is to hurt others, we decided that the next morning he and I would go to Walmart together, just the two of us, since my hubby didn't go to work until the afternoon that day, so he could be home with the other kids.  When my two year old and I went to Walmart he helped me put food in the cart, and I let him pick one special treat for himself, he chose chocolate pudding in those individual cups.  Then I caught eye of the discounted bakery items and I was having a major sweet tooth so I decided to get a small cake and I let him pick which one of the two I liked to take home and share.  He seemed so happy for the rest of the day, he shared his pudding with his sister without being told (in fact, we told him he didn't have to share this time).  So he got one on one time with mom, got to make some choices (he felt like he had control over some things in his life), and he got a treat!  Notice that I didn't use a treat as a reward, it was just because we were having a special time together.

This same little man taught me another lesson at another point during one of his sleep-deprived temper tantrums.  After a long fit, I was letting myself get angry and went over to my angry looking screaming child to put him in his bed to cool down.  When he saw me move toward him, he help out his arms for a hug.  My heart went to mush.  I instantly recognized his need for love.  And hugging helped him calm down and helped me to calm down.  So we could talk about what I didn't approve of and he could tell me how he felt.

Positive Discipline
Chapter 1

Friday, May 6, 2011

Washing Clothes by Hand (My life history of laundry)

Recently, we moved into an apartment with washer and dryer connections.  We then bought a second hand washer and dryer and have very much loved the convenience.  Do you know why we've loved it?  Time for a bit of my life story....
After a series of major financial setbacks, our family was living in a motel for several months.  There were four of us at that time and it was very cramped and tight quarters.  We were very eager to get out and move into a real apartment as soon as we could!  When we finally had income again, It wasn't enough to get almost any place for several miles.  We FINALLY found something that was affordable.  It was about 600 square feet.  It was small, it was old, it was in an interesting neighborhood, but it was "ours."  It also had no washer and dryer connections, and as you can imagine, no room for portable units.  There was also no laundry facilities anywhere around.  We had to load up our laundry in the car and drive close to a mile to the nearest laundromat.  But the laundromats near us had very poor quality dryers, so we would either dump tons of money into the dryer or dry it till it was just damp, then hand it up as soon as we got home.  You can imagine how much space we DIDN'T have to hand things up.  We had some people from church let us do laundry at their house a few times, but each of hem seemed to have issues of their own to deal with so it was very rare that we could go over long enough to do laundry for 4 (and later 5) people.  We found a laundromat about 4 miles away that had free dryers as long as you did the laundry there.  It was great, except for the things that got in the way:
Money was tight, VERY tight, so we often wouldn't have money to do laundry very often.
Most of the time we lived there, we had a very small car and it was night impossible to fit our kids, ourselves AND our laundry all in there.
To combat that, either my husband or I would go alone to do laundry, but we had to wait until he did not have class, he did not have work, and the laundromat was open (the last was was at 9:30, but they always locked the door 5 minutes early).

So, when one of these things got in the way, and we needed clean clothes (for church or my husband's work uniform or just clean underwear)  what do we do?
Wash our clothes by hand.

For those of you looking to tone you arms, this is a great exercise!

So, now that we have a washer and dryer, what would make me think to write this post?

Our washer and dryer BROKE!  Within a week of each other!  When the dryer broke, we figured it was just the heating element, since everything else was working.  My hubby said he'd take it out and go get a replacement, but he's been swamped with school and work and hasn't had any time.  So I would just put everything on hangers and hang it all up in the closets and bathroom.  Since there''s an extra spin cycle on the washer, it wouldn't take TOO long for things to dry.  Then the washer started making funny noises and would be REALLY loud when it was agitating the clothes or spinning!  Consequently I would only do laundry when we were about to leave the house for about an hour so I wouldn't have to listen to it.  The laundry wasn't getting done as fast that was so yesterday afternoon I decided to just live with he noisiness for a few cycles, and put my husbands filthy work clothes in the washer.  After agitating, the washer made a weird buzz sound and then stopped completely, and wouldn't start again.  I could also smell a slight burning smell, which was strongest behind the washer.  I really should go into appliance repair to find out what these things mean!  I even tried leaving it alone for a while to see if it worked when I came back, but no.  So what's a homemaker to do?  I have a washer full of dirty clothes and dirty water, my husband has no clean work clothes to wear to work the next day....good thing I have experience in hand washing! 

So I will now let you know how I wash clothes by hand.  In case any of you are ever caught in a similar situation.

To do this you will need:
a clean bucket ( you could just do it in a clean bathtub or cleaned out sink, but this seems to help contain spills in my experience)
laundry soap (the liquid kind is a lot easier on the hands and won't dry your skin out as easily, or you can wear rubber cloves, but I always for water in mine so I just use my hands.)
running water
dirty laundry

First, go through mount washmore and figure out what you need to wash the most.  If something is wet or has food on it, I wash that first.  Full your bucket loosely with he things you want to wash.  This makes very small batched of laundry, but I guarantee you those small batches will get a lot cleaner than one big batch!  Plus, after you hang them up, especially in a limited space, hte air can circulate around them better and they will dry faster than one big mega load.

Next, add laundry soap.  You don't need very much at all since there aren't many clothes in there.  I also like to add a bit of baking soda in, especially for work clothes or anything else that gets really sweaty.
See how there's only a little bit in there?

Now this is where you have to decide what you can do.  I do this in the bathtub so I don't get water all over the place, but doing this in the sink would save you back, but you'd have to worry about splashes, and filling up the bathtub itself takes a lot of water to be able to agitate the clothes.  I put my bucket in the empty bathtub.  That way I can agitate it really vigorously and if it spills out of the bucket it doesn't matter!

Now agitate the crud out of that little bucket!
My camera will only let me do 5 second videos, so I just have little clips.

After several minutes (5 to 10 depending on how dirty it was), or if you can see nay visible marks are gone, drain the dirty water out of your bucket.  If you have a clean bathtub, you can just plop the clothes right down in there, otherwise, just do slowly and when you only have a little water left, lay the bucket on it's side so the last bit of excess water can drain out.  If you have small children, most likely they're calling for your attention by this point, so now's a good time to let the water for a bit to figure out what they want, but don't forget about the laundry, you're not done! 

Now is the time to tone those forearms!  After rinsing any excess dirt out of the bucket, pick up each piece of clothing and twist and SQUEEZE!!!  Then put it back in the bucket.  Do this with each item until they've all been wrung out. 
For small things like socks, I just squish.
Then your clothes will look all crumpled and matted down.

Fill the bucket up with water again, agitate again, drain and ring out again. Repeat again if necessary. 

Shake out he cloths and hang then on hangers that won't rust, or on a drying rack if you're lucky enough to have one.  Hand the hangers somewhere where they will get lots of air circulation around them.  Doorways are good, but a little inconvienient if you have to go through them a lot. one of my favorites was at our last place we had cieling fans in every room, and at night  (so it wouldn't drive us crazy during the day) we'd hand na equally weighted hanger on each side of the part of the fan that comes away form the light and put the fan on the slowest setting.  Things dried so much faster.  Only do that with light items, and don't blame me if you break you ceiling fan.We called this our spin cycle!

So if you can't get to a washer and you need to do laundry, this could work for you too!

Note: I've also heard of people who one have to wash a few small items, putting those items in a Ziploc bag with a bit of laundry soap, then sealing it, mushing the bag around a whole lot, drain, rinse, repeat.  I haven't tried it personally, but it sounds good for traveling!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Zucchini Cookies

A while back I posted about zucchini bread.  Another thing that she did with the zucchini in our garden was make zucchini cookies!  I thought they were normal when I was growing up, but truly, home was the only place I ever had them.


1/2 cup shortning
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
                           Beat these ingredients until fluffy, then add:
3 cups grated zucchini
                           In a separate bowl, sift together
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4  tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
4 1/2 cups flour
                         Add to the other ingredients.Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Note: You can spread into greased cookie sheet and make bars.  2 cups oatmeal can be substituted for 1 cup flour, or you can grind the oatmeal in a food processor and replace cup for cup for flour.  If you like you can add 1 cup nuts or 1 cup raisins for variety.