New start

When people start talking about spring cleaning, my silent self wants to ask “so what are you doing about clutter?”. Yes, I love the clean of a deep cleaned house,  sweeping out the fireplace ashes so it is ready for next year, organizing that coat closet, packing away the warm gloves and hats, and generally getting ready to spend time outside of the house. Yes, I love to put away the candles until Fall sweep the garage clean of all the  “chat” or salt or whatever is on our roads whenever it snows. (Don’t get me wrong, I love that our city takes care of our road in icy weather- just don’t want the leftovers in my garage.) as well as anticipating the casual togethers and the quick suppers brought about by summer.

Then what is my problem with spring cleaning , you ask? Nothing except many times we take everything out of a closet or off a bookshelf, clean and vacuum the said closet or bookshelves and put 97% back… only to go through the same process year after year.

What if instead of putting everything back we take the time to really look at what we have accumulated and ask ourselves one question about each item.  If I gave away, sold, or donated this item would my life be  worse off?  An earth shattering question sometimes, because we have invested either money or emotion into almost every item we decide either consciously or unconsciously to keep. This very investment can keep us from making a decision to simplify  our lives and cost us precious time that could be spent with family and friends.

For many years, I focused on the “organization” part of deep cleaning and had a box for every season, every size of children’s clothes, and every craft. I was an expert at labeling boxes and 95% of the time could find what I was looking for as I had my “stuff” organized. However, my aha moment came a couple of years ago and I realized that the baskets I had collected had to be dusted, the china I used just once a year had to have a storage place, and the crafts that were popular at one time are just not going to happen again if I wanted time to spend with those I love.

The answer is not simple because some of the items have a string directly to my heart and I had to decide if those items were worth the time it took to keep them organized.

 

 

Easy Homemade Whole Wheat Waffles

7 Steps to an Organized Pantry

One of my favorite chores is to organize my pantry. When you are done you have a neat organized space and hopefully one where you can find the items you need to cook those fabulous meals for your family. Follow these 7 steps to a more organized pantry.

  • Make a list of what you want to keep in your pantry. From spaghetti to tomatoes. From applesauce to soup. Know what you want to store.
  • Take everything out of your pantry. Yes, everything. This may seem like overkill but it will be worth it.
  • If you don’t have storage containers you absolutely love, buy canning jars from 1/2 pint (jelly jars) to 1/2 gallon. Glass canning jars are the most economical as well as practical because you can see what you have and how much of it you have.
  • Label your storage containers. Before you even begin to put your pantry back together, label everything. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just freezer tape and a sharpie right now.
  • Put the cans back first and find the best place for them, preferably all together. Don’t put them in alphabetical order. Put them in convenience order with the most used in the most convenient place.
  • Now add in the storage containers of spaghetti, flour, sugar, oats or whatever you keep. Again try to group them together so you can see what you have.
  • Step back and enjoy knowing you have a place for the ingredients you want to keep on hand.

How a Baby Learns – Visually

When a precious baby is born we are so excited but it seems like within a few weeks, parents, grandparents, and friends start to ask: Have they rolled over yet?, Do they smile yet?, and then the questions get  difficult. Relax! A baby is a baby so let them just sleep and eat and enjoy holding them. Every baby comes with their own set of standards and many of those standards are based on the baby’s learning style. In other articles, I have talked about the Auditory and the Kinesthetic babies so this article is for the parents of the Visual Learner.

A Visual Learner is the baby  many of the “Baby Books” are written about that make parents of other learning styles wonder what they are doing wrong. Because a Visual Baby is happy to be looking around, they are the ones who are content looking at a mobile in their bed or just about any other object and are able to “self soothe” early just because it is easy to find something to look at. A Visual Baby will many times be content to sit in your lap or lay on the floor and just quietly go to sleep. Their favorite object to look at will be your face.

A Visual Baby is the one who very easily learns to stay on the mat or rug or where ever you put them as long as there is something interesting to look at. When they are older they will  find toys sufficient and not intent on changing their location as frequently as others.

One of the other benefits of a visual learner is that schools are geared to the visual learner and for the most part do well in school.

Now, to the downside. Remember the questions from the first paragraph? Visual Babies don’t typically roll over, sit up, crawl, or walk as early as Kinesthetic Babies. The Visual Baby doesn’t always  talk (jabber) as early as an Auditory Baby. They are learning and sometimes more quickly than their counterparts, it just doesn’t seem like it because their milestones aren’t as obvious as some other’s milestones. They will catch up but sometimes it is quietly with little fanfare. All of a sudden you are saying “When did you learn to do that?”

One of the other things parents need to remember is to teach their child to obey the parent’s voice. It sounds obvious, however a visual learner can be so easy to live with because they are content when they have something to look at that we sometimes forget to teach them to come when we call or to follow our directions.

Visual babies will reach every milestone others reach – some earlier and some later so sit back and relax and enjoy that baby.

When my Auditory Baby is Crying- What do I do?

Many parents feel their  Auditory babies are difficult because they are noisy and cry loudly and often. . There are two very basic things you need to remember about the Auditory baby.

First, an auditory baby comes here loving sound whether it is their own crying or their own voice.

Second, noise of any kind can grab the attention of an auditory baby.

When you have an auditory baby please do not automatically assume that if they are crying, they are hurting. My auditory grandchild would as a baby scream and scream for about 2-3 minutes and then all of a sudden go to sleep while all the time while we were holding her. She was self soothing in the only way she could by making noise.  All babies cry, sometimes just to make noise because it is the beginning of speech . Auditory babies many times cry  often and loudly and parents begin to believe that something is wrong with their baby. Maybe a stomach ache or gas or some other problem. If a baby also spits up then a parent begins to wonder if their child has something serious wrong. By all means check with a pediatrician if you suspect a problem, but also try these ideas.

1. Place a white noise machine in their room at night. This will allow the baby to sleep without making their own noise.

2. Clap or snap to get the baby’s attention. Turn on some music or sing.

3. Above all don’t panic! If your baby or child cries very loudly and you have checked to make sure they are ok, just hold them and let them cry.  Your holding them will reassure them that they are ok and that even if they cannot control the crying you still love them.

 

 

How to Make Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

Whenever I make cinnamon rolls I make enough for everyone in my family. That means enough for 3 different households. This Recipe makes 24-32 rolls depending on how thick you cut them so everyone can have enough for breakfast or just a snack. I grind my own wheat so it is fresh every time I bake but you can use whole wheat flour from a health food store.

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How to Make Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls
Author: 
Recipe type: Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
As 2 hours of the prep time is for letting the dough rise, you only need to be available to put the rolls in the oven when it is time.
Ingredients
  • 5-6 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups warm water
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons Wheat Gluten (optional)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1½ cup White Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Place 2 cups flour, along with the water, oil, yeast, Gluten, and brown sugar in the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook attachment
  2. Mix for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the salt and an additional 1 cup whole wheat flour and mix for 1 minute.
  4. Add whole wheat flour to the mixture to make a soft dough that is not sticky. Do not add too much flour as it will make the bread tough.
  5. Roll dough into a 24" X 6" rectangle.
  6. Melt butter
  7. Mix White Sugar and Cinnamon together
  8. Smooth Butter over the dough.
  9. Add the cinnamon & sugar mixture on top of the butter.
  10. Roll up dough starting on the long side of your rectangle.
  11. Pinch dough along seam of dough to seal
  12. Cut into ¾" to 1" pieces.
  13. Place cut side down on greased cookie sheets.
  14. Let rise 2 hours.
  15. Bake 350º for 15 minutes

 

How to Parent the Kinesthetic Learning Child

Recently, had a chance to enjoy my adult children, my 2 big grandchildren, and my 2 soon to be born grandchildren. The occasion just happened to be my birthday supper. After we had eaten and were waiting to have dessert and open presents my Kinesthetic grandson simply climbed into my lap and proceeded to “cuddle” me. His method of cuddling is to rub his head against my chin while his body tries to back itself right up against mine. I love this but I also remember days when my children were little and at the end of the day I just wanted a little space. God gave ‘visual me’ 2 kinesthetic children and the wisdom to learn to let them cuddle me to their hearts content when they were little. At times it is hard because if you are not kinesthetic, you really do want a little space no matter what your age. Just remember that a kinesthetic child is not trying to “get on your nerves” or “get in your face” but literally needs the contact of others to feel comfort.

Some of the ways I learned to comfort the young kinesthetic were to:

  • Stroke their hair or put your hand on their shoulder if you are sitting in a restaurant or other public where they might want security but you might not want them in your lap or leaning against you.
  • Hold their hand and play finger games to both keep their hands busy and to keep their minds engaged so they will not wander off.
  • When you watch a movie at home let them sit right up against your side when they get too big for your lap.They will sometimes wiggle so much you cannot concentrate on the movie but you are building a bond that will last through their teen years. Someday you will miss the wiggling.
  • Teach them at a young age to sit still with their upper body but give them something quiet to do with their hands. (Silly Putty is wonderful as it doesn’t leave a mess unless you let it melt in the car)
  • Teach an older kinesthetic how to give the appearance of stillness at a table (or desk) and yet give them an outlet for their movement such as quietly bouncing one leg under the table (make it a game and let them learn to bounce it so no one looking on can tell).
  • Gently rub a hand up and down their back to keep them from becoming distracted.

By creating ways of meeting the need of a Kinesthetic child for movement, a parent can avoid some of the “over activity” that many times defines this learning style.

Learning Styles for Babies Too

In April I will gratefully welcome another grandson. What a privilege!It is always exciting to anticipate what a new baby will look like and who the baby will be like. Every baby I have ever known looks like themselves and acts like themselves. Oh, they will have this characteristic or that mannerism of someone in the family but on the whole, we finally come to terms with the fact that the baby was created to be just themselves.

Each baby will also have their own learning style. Yes, even babies have a learning style and if we are attentive to that learning style we can gain clues on how to help that child learn to live in this world with a minimum of fussiness.

For instance, if you have an auditory baby try placing a noise machine in the room with them. This child may not want a lot of rocking just gentle holding. If you have a kinesthetic baby, bounce them and swaddle them to keep them from becoming overwhelmed with life. If you have a visual baby, provide soft lights or no lights when they are fussy while keeping movement to a minimum.

Babies have so many adjustments to make that taking the time to discern their learning style can make that adjustment just a little easier.

 

How to Cook a Brisket

This is my Recipe for Brisket- Easy to do and plenty for later. One of the best ways to save both time and money is to cook once and save half for another day. Bar b que brisket is a meal which can be first a meal with rolls, salad and vegetables and later be sandwiches or a topping on baked potatoes. Take the time to cook the brisket slowly and it will tenderize while it is cooking.

When you buy a Brisket look for the larger end of the Brisket. First, find a whole brisket so you will know what it looks like. Typically, a butcher will trim some of the fat off a whole brisket and then cut in half. Both ends are good but you will have more meat on the larger end.

Cooking a Brisket
 
Ingredients
  • ½ Brisket
  • ½ bottle liquid smoke
  • ½ cup Worcestershire Sauce
Instructions
  1. Spray a pan large enough for the Brisket you have bought with no-stick spray.
  2. Make sure the pan is at least 2 inches deep as the Brisket will give off liquids.
  3. Place Brisket in the pan.
  4. Pour the liquid smoke and the worcestershire sauce over the meat.
  5. Do not salt and pepper meat. (At this point if you do not have time to cook the meat refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)
  6. When ready to cook, cover pan with aluminum foil (or an oven proof lid) and bake at 275º for 1 hour per pound.
  7. Remove meat from oven and carefully uncover as there will be steam under the foil.
  8. Take meat from pan and place on a large plate.
  9. When the meat is slightly cooled, cut the meat into long strips across the grain then take 2 forks and shred the meat removing any fat as you shred.
  10. At this point you can either freeze the meat or place bar b q sauce over the meat and refrigerate.
  11. Can be refrigerated up to 24 hours before using.
  12. When ready to use place in crock for at least another 1½ hours or in oven at 250º for 1½ hours.
  13. Carefully store the leftovers in the freezer and you can enjoy the bar b q brisket another day.

 

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Learning Styles – Basics

One of my favorite moments is talking to a mother of young children about learning styles. Many times one particular child has been seen as difficult but when the mother understands the learning style of that child, she understands the motivation of the child. This said, this blog is back to basics and getting to know your child.

The most misunderstood learning style is the kinesthetic child. This child is movement personified. As a very young baby, the kinesthetic child wants to be moving. Parents will find themselves bouncing or rocking when a kinesthetic baby is fussy. An older baby will want to be sitting up even before they are old enough to sit by themselves. Once a toddler is on the move it is hard to keep them still even in sleep, this is the child who wiggles and tosses all night. A kinesthetic child will want to empty cabinets and take things apart just for the joy of movement.

The visual child is one of the easiest as a baby because they will be content to just let you hold them. The visual child is usually content to be laid in their bed for naps or laid on the floor and watch you as you get your chores done. As they get older this child will watch the mobile and will be content to sit quietly and play with whatever bright toys they have. This child will love being read to as they look at pictures and a toddler will be easily kept from emptying all your cabinets by distracting them with almost any toy. A visual child is excited by watching things move and loves bright toys.

An auditory child is the one who loves noise. This child wants to be held just to hear your heart beat. A white noise machine may help keep your child asleep at naps and at night for two reasons. First, because the noise lulls the baby to sleep and second, because it covers any excess noise that might wake the baby up. The auditory child will love to be talked to and sung to and will make noise (including crying) any chance they get. When they learn to talk, the auditory child will mimic sounds and repeat anything they hear.The auditory child is a joy because they always have a song in their head and it will come out.