Lessons learned watching a skinny man.
Friday, February 26, 2010

We had chili for dinner this week.

Here is how Jonathan and I proceed when eating chili:

Jonathan fixes a bowl of chili.  Then he eats it.  This picture represents his bowl:

I fix a bowl of chili.  Then I top it with sour cream.  Sharp cheddar cheese.  Green onions.  And oyster crackers. Then I eat it.  This picture represents my bowl of chili:


Obviously, mine is the more robust and interesting bowl of chili.
Also......mine is the more robust waistline. 

I'm sure there is a lesson there somewhere.  I need a while to think about it.  I will need to think about it and come to no conclusions until after then next time we eat chili.  I'm afraid the lesson might involve giving up sharp cheddar cheese or sour cream, and that makes me unreasonably sad. 

the 2nd year
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I have a good friend who is currently enduring the trials of raising a spirited 2 year old daughter.  Ahh...how well I remember.  That time of life is a time of much joy, much laughter, much discovery, and many tears.  (From the mom.)

I've been reflecting back on when Lauryn was a spirited 2 year old, and I must say I'm glad we both got through that year in tact.  I discovered that sweet little girls, so different from their rowdy big brothers, come with a whole different set of parenting challenges.

I stumbled on this video taken right after Lauryn turned two.  What a sweet little thing, huh? [insert dripping sarcasm]  The look on her face.  The tone of her voice.  The sweet-as-pie overall demeanor.   Ahhhh.....the memories.


Pure sweetness. That's my girl.  (Might I add that she generally wouldn't have been allowed to talk to her brother that way without a consequence.  I just decided in that instance to record the moment for posterity. Aren't you glad I did?)   (Might I also add that as a four year old, she is true delight to be around, more than making up for the challenges of year two.)  (Generally.)


POSSIBILITIES Women's Conference
Tuesday, February 23, 2010

If you live in or near Lubbock, I want to encourage you to attend the POSSIBILITIES Women's Conference hosted by Trinity Church.

Lisa Harper will be the featured speaker, and yours truly will be among the break-out session leaders.  Click here to register! 

DIY Baby Gift
Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I recently made these burp cloths for my friend Cheri and her new baby Kate. (Apologies for the poor picture quality - blerg!  Imagine them way cuter.)    I followed these basic sewing instructions, but instead of using terry cloth I used a basic flannel, so I could embroider Kate's name onto them.  

I tied them up all cute like, and put them in a matching simple-to-sew little gift bag.  

 Ta-da!  Quick, easy, and a fun project to knock out in a day.  



Embroidery is quick and easy! And who doesn't love a personalized gift? 

First create your image, and embroider your fabric before sewing the burp cloth.

  I used www.picnik.com to create these images:

When you're ready to print, click into "advanced settings" and select "mirror image."  (If you don't have that option, you can print as normal, then hold the paper up to a window and trace on the opposite site.)   Use a red transfer pencil to trace your reverse image.  Lay your reverse image onto your fabric, iron, and your image is ready to embroider.

Or, if you're great at free-handing, just use the red pencil to draw directly on your fabric and skip all the reverse image, tracing, ironing hoopla. 

Here's how to embroider.  Instructions start at about the 1 min 22 sec mark.  But having a grandma teach you is much preferred to watching a video!!!  So procure a grandma (or friend with grandma tendencies) to give you lessons if possible. 

Lesson Learned:  Careful when choosing a swirly fru-fru font.  One could make a good argument that I've created a lovely burp cloth that says "Hate" instead of "Kate". It's always something with me! 

Surprisingly Effective
Monday, February 15, 2010

In the not so distant past, telling the boys "Go Clean Your Room", wasn't nearly so simple as saying those four little words.

I would say those four words, yes, but then I would make 4 or 5 trips back to their room (each time having been told "We're finished with our room!") only to give more specific directions about what exactly a "clean room" looks like. "Pick up those legos peeking out from under the bed....Clean off your dresser....Your shoes don't belong in a giant heap in the middle of the closet....Your dirty socks don't belong on the ceiling fan and I don't even wanna know why you threw them up there...." Anybody tracking with me here?

After one such afternoon of many trips to inspect a "clean" room that really wasn't, I made this list for the boys and stuck it on their dresser mirror.

People ----- IT. WORKS.  It's nearly magical.

Now when I tell them to clean their room, and they come sauntering out in .27 seconds and tell me they're finished, I ask "Did you do everything on the list?"  And they sheepishly retreat to their room and finish the job.

It's nearly magical.

I need to beware the power of the list.  My husband may turn it on me and post one in the laundry room. 

My husband and our daughter.
Friday, February 12, 2010

My husband and our daughter.

She lights up when she sees him.  He lights up when he sees her, too. 

She wants to marry him when she grows up.  She won't be persuaded otherwise.

They look forward to their special Daddy/Daughter days.  Spending time together.  Just the two of them. 

He is her hero.

He protects her.  He delights in her as she matures and grows up before our very eyes.

Because he loves her, he disciplines her.

He dreams big dreams for her. 

He protects her from things she's not ready for yet.

He tells her she's beautiful and he means it more than anything.

And I love witnessing all that love between them.

Because now that I've seen
the love of a father for his daughter up close,
I understand so much more the love of my Heavenly Father
for His daughter.


-originally written for www.prize31.com 

ABC's for wee little ones
Wednesday, February 10, 2010

If you have some extra fabric laying around...and have little kids who are learning their letters...and you're a novice at sewing and need some practice....here's a good project for you!

First sew a basic tote bag, and applique "A B C", or your kiddos name, or whatever else you please, on the front of your bag.

Then, click here and follow these instructions for making Rag Quilt Letters.


This was a project I did for Dylan some time ago.  He's moved past learning his ABC's, so now he mostly carries the bag around with various "weapons" in it, hurling the letters at his brother like they're grenades, leaving trails of fabric letters all over the house.   Nice.   

If I had the initiative, I think it would be cute to use all different prints, and correspond each letter with what's on the fabric (apples for the A, balls for the B, cars for the C, etc), and make a few letter sets and matching tote bags to give away as gifts for preschoolers. But there's no way I'll make that happen, so some of you more industrious readers feel free to take that idea as your own!

I've also thought it would be cute to attach the letters by their corners and  make a "Happy Birthday" banner with birthday print...or a red and pink "Happy Valentine's Day" banner....lots of cute stuff you could do with these if you were so inclined!

So many questions.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Me, to Dylan:

"Why did you take the toothpaste out of the bathroom?

Why did you stand in the middle of the living room holding the toothpaste?

Why did you take the lid off the toothpaste in the living room?

And WHY, when you were standing in the living room with the toothpaste with the lid off, did you then squeeze the toothpaste tube harder than would ever be necessary, shooting six inches of bright blue sticky gooey toothpaste out of the tube and onto the floor*?"

The world may never know.  The inner-workings of the six year old mind are beyond comprehension.

 *full disclosure: There was a blanket laying on the floor that the six inches of toothpaste landed on.  Which is why I'm able to blog about this story, instead of shampooing the carpet while fussing at a cute yet mischievous six year old.


My husband is a gifted communicator.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010

He really is.  I wish you could hear him when he's speaking from the heart. 

I know I'm biased, but the man can open his mouth and inspire, especially if he's speaking to his passions.  One of his passions is to equip and empower parents to lead their children with purpose.     

This Wednesday night, February 3rd, at Trinity Church, he'll be teaching a parenting class.  It's designed for parents participating in the Child Dedication Service at Trinity Church, but it's open to anyone who would like to attend. He desires that parents would lead their homes with creativity and devotion, and he will give you great, practical tools to enhance the way you lead and connect with your children.

If you are a parent and live in Lubbock, I encourage you to attend.  Even if you think you have it all together as a parent (do those people exist?), I know you'll be challenged to rethink the weight of your responsibility and the purpose behind your parenting. It's worth your time. I'm praying I see some of you there!

We've gotten nothing but great feedback from previous participants in the class; I'm confident your feedback will be just as positive if you attend. 

Go to www.trinitytoday.com/childdedication for more information, or shoot me an email if you have questions.  (You can click that little "contact" button in the top right corner of this page.)  Thanks! 

Cliff Familyt

I'm Starr Cliff. A domestically-challenged mom, climbing over mountains of laundry to bring you my stray observations and amusing stories about my kids. (more)



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