Saturday, February 21, 2015

Trying To Raise My Modern-Day Knight

Disclosure

Since we moved to Maryland, I’ve done a lot of thinking about how I’ve been raising my boys. Lots of thinking, not lots of “doing” or “changing”. We moved from our home where they had a LOT of people investing in them. People at church, family, friends, neighbors, teachers, etc. We truly lived in a community where we were a village raising our children. It was wonderful, blessed, and beautiful.

We’ve tried getting connected at church, but the boys haven’t really made any friends there. We don’t know our neighbors except one person. I never see any kids and that’s probably because we live on a very busy street on the outskirts of the neighborhood. We live two hours from family and only see them every other month or so. The boys, at least Buddy, has one teacher pouring into his life. Needless to say, this has been a hard transition for us. We’re not “surrounded” any more.

Men's Breakfast

I’ve tried to parent my boys in a similar way I did with my girls, at least when it comes to the basics. I think my boys talk to me a lot more than my girls ever did at this age. My girls had great friends they could confide in as well as adults they could turn to if they wanted to talk to someone other than me. I could relate to my girls though. My boys…not so much.

Inside I’ve struggled knowing I don’t know what it’s like to be a boy growing up into a man. I’ve tried to teach them my expectations as a mom on how they should behave, but I don’t know what boys think about or what they struggle with. As we go about our daily lives, I try to pour into them about how they should treat others or what to do in certain circumstances. Basically I’m raising a modern-day knight. At least I’m attempting to. It’s not easy to do in a world that shouts out against that kind of thing. Meh, I don’t take any lip so I’m fine going against the grain of this world.

My boys only get to talk to their dad on the phone since he’s still living in Minnesota. That means he doesn’t have a lot of opportunity to parent them. Now, I will say that about once a year I have to ask him to have a serious talk with the boys about their behavior. It always seems to do the trick. Thank goodness! He and the boys, as well as their grandma (and now Auntie Beryl) have been memorizing Matthew 5. Every week they add a new verse and they each recite how far they’ve memorized. It’s really an amazing thing to listen to!

Reciting Scriptures

I’m very thankful to have Fred in the boys’ lives as well. Since we’ve met, he’s shown the boys how to treat a lady and how to take care of her. He is always kissing me and telling me he loves me. He opens my car door every single time (unless I beat him to the punch). He makes us dinner. He goes out with us. I mean, there’s so much he does just living his life that is a great example to his kids and my kids. He showed Jacob how to shave for the first time. Recently he took both boys to a men’s breakfast at church. He’s involving the boys in his life. I hear Buddy saying to me now, “What would Fred think about such and such?” It’s pretty cool and happens on a regular basis.

Learning To Shave

Now, my son is coming up on his 16th birthday. I can’t really talk about it because I’ll probably burst out crying. How can my little boy be that old? It’s mind boggling to be quite honest. I recently read some really neat ideas on ways to make turning that age more meaningful in Raising Modern-Day Knights. There are different milestones to make those transitions a beautiful gift and experience. Of course, it’s done by dads for their son’s in this book, but as a single mom, the task falls to me.

I took one of the ideas and modified it to make it our own. I took Galatians 5:22-23 and asked 9 men who have had an impact on Jacob’s life as a young boy/teen to write a letter based on the main words in that scripture. So, one will take: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I asked them to write him a letter explaining what that word means to them as men of God and what it should look life in his life as he grows into a man of God. I plan to put them into a book somehow and present it to him on his birthday. I’ve also asked his dad to write him a general letter about what it means to be a man of God. I’m so thankful these men are on board and have found it an honor to be asked. Each man I asked about each of their words were men who I thought exemplified each word. Not that they all don’t live that scripture completely, but I felt like the Lord showed me what each man should write about.

Also, suggested in this book was to give your son a coat of arms like the author’s did for their sons. It was a really neat story, and I thought I’d try to make one online myself. I went to quite a few websites and never found anything that compared to theirs. The other ones were just cheesy. Guess there’s no real reason to reinvent the wheel, eh? This coat of arms is pretty heavy duty and much more than what I expected it to be. I truly can’t wait to share that day with my boy!

Coat of Arms

Raising boys isn’t an easy task and not for the feint of heart. We have a lot of work ahead of us, especially single moms. I’d encourage you to find men who can pour into the lives of your kids. I know a dear friend of mine got her two boys hooked up with men from the Boys & Girls Club after her husband passed away unexpectedly a few years ago. It’s something I had always wished I’d done, but again, we had a great circle of men in my boys lives from church. Don’t be swayed by what the world says boys and men should do and how they should behave. We should care about what the Lord wants from our boys. What does He want them to grow up to be. My end goal is for my boys to love the Lord with all of their hearts and to be men who love their family. I want them to walk with integrity and know that in the end they will hear from God, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

What’s the most important thing for you to teach your son?

Friday, February 6, 2015

A Scrumptious Valentine’s Day Dessert

new eli logo 4 color

Last month, Eli’s Cheesecake dropped me a line asking me to review their Tira Mi Su (yes, that’s how they spell it) Cake for Valentine’s Day. HA! They could’ve just sent it instead of asking if I’d be interested. I love all of the Eli’s Cheesecake desserts we’ve been able to try! I had my first taste of tiramisu about a year ago. Fred and I found a cute little Italian restaurant and he picked us up a couple. I was game since I like coffee…and cake. Well, it was a bit mushy so I wasn’t very impressed. I figured if Eli’s Cheesecake made their own version it’s probably heavenly.

I actually didn’t expect it to arrive frozen. I thought it would be cooled to keep it safe while being mailed to me, but nope, it was frozen. So, yea, a little sad because I couldn’t take a huge bite out of it. I waited, but very impatiently. I took the Tira Mi Su over to Fred’s house for dinner and we dug in. Oh my goodness, it was amazing. I liked that it had that yummy coffee flavor, but it wasn’t mushy. Now, I do have to say, I didn’t let it defrost all the way, and that’s the way I’d keep it. He and I polished off the first off the first slice without saying much because all we did was focus on how amazing the dessert way.

Tira Mi Su

Now, if you haven’t considered a dessert for Valentine’s Day, get this for you and your sweetie. I’d say if you’re single, invite your friends over and you can all enjoy this together! We haven’t eaten the entire cake yet because, well, it’s just Fred and I who like these desserts. The benefit of that is after we have our dinner out on Valentine’s Day, we can head back to his place and dig into a slice to end our evening!

Let’s talk about Valentine’s Day while we’re at it. Late last year, Fred and I started talking about getting married. Ok, well, we’ve been talking off and on about getting married since we met. Ask him! He brought it up early on in our dating. Yes, him. Then life happened and we went back and forth as to what our future was going to hold for us.

Tira Mi Su Top Cake

A year ago he was considering asking me to marry him, but some things came up that put the brakes on for both of us. Not what I was hoping, especially since I’d moved to Maryland and we’d done some premarital counseling. We didn’t make it through the rest of winter and into spring unscathed in our relationship. We went on hiatus for a brief period because things were just so off kilter. Then summer came.

We went to Massanutten with my boys while his kids were in Germany for the month of July. We got a double condo for the week and spent it doing a lot of family things together to test the waters. It turned out to be a rather good week. It was also the week of my birthday. The rest of the month was pretty smooth sailing and gave way to a decent fall for us. Winter found us talking about the future again and what it might look like if we got married. Blending a family y’all isn’t easy. God didn’t create us to bring two separate families together. It’s no bueno. It’s stinking hard to be honest.

Tira Mi Su Cake

December rolled around and we actually went to look at rings to get an idea of what I might like. Turned out what I liked was different than what I expected. At the same time we started talking about the future, I started looking at the calendar to see what wedding date might work for us because there are a lot of factors to consider. I thought he might ask me over Christmas, but nope. January came along with Fred mentioning to me that he’d gotten my ring, and finished up with my brother proposing to his girlfriend of 3 yrs on their 3 yr anniversary! I was SO excited for them! Guess who’s still waiting? Yea, this girl. Impatiently I might add. Just ask Fred.

He’s already told me he won’t be asking me on Valentine’s Day and that leaves me wondering when it will happen. I’m thinking it could be St. Patrick’s Day since that’s the next holiday and I think he needs to do it on a holiday because it’ll help him remember the date. We’re looking at getting married in June so he better get on the stick because I refuse to start any actual planning until he’s put a ring on it.

So, until then, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and I’m sure he’s planning to pour on the romance. I suppose we shall see!

What are your plans for a Valentine’s Day meal and dessert?

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Skill I Wish I Had

I’m doing a blogging prompt that was supposed to be for yesterday, but Sunday was a really busy day with church and then going for a long hike with a Fred and each of our kids. Today’s (for me) prompt is “something I wish I knew how to do.”

Now, there are a LOT of things I wish I could do. One skill I’ve always thought would be awesome would be to learn how to quilt. I remember my stepmom taught me how to do those latch hook kits as a kid. As I got a little bit older, she showed me how to cross stitch. I loved cross stitching. One thing I know she wished I had taken up was sewing. That just wasn’t my thing. I never had a desire to sew any of my own clothes and at the time thought that was pretty much all a sewing machine was good for.

I remember going over to my friend, Helen’s house for one of our book club meetings and she had all of these gorgeous quilts around her house. Her love for creating those quilts spilled over to me. The amount of time and care put into quilts was something that drew me in. I also remember going on a field trip with one of the kids to a heritage house and they had a quilting rack with a quilt on it. I think the kids were all able to stitch on it.

My only problem with wanting to learn how to quilt was finding the time. At the time I was introduced to it I was reading lots of books for my blog and scrapbooking like a crazy woman. I just couldn’t add one more thing. I mean, I still can’t. I want to, especially when I see a quilt that has been created for memories. The thought of being part of a quilting circle, bonding with ladies over the course of creating a quilt just sounds wonderful.

When I saw Shelley’s post featuring one of her readers, it once again touched my heart! Barbara’s story makes the quilt so meaningful. It reminds me once again why I’ve always wanted to learn how to quilt. Can you imagine all of the stories you could stitch into a single quilt?

blazing-star Quilt

Photo Courtesy of Still Blonde After All These Years

I remember talking to my boss a month or so ago, and she showed me a quilt that was created using her sons’ sports jerseys, fabric from her wedding dress, and other meaningful pieces. It once again reignited my desire to learn how to quilt. That’s something I would love to do with fabric from items I’ve saved over the year from all 4 of my kids.

Maybe I won’t ever make a quilt, but I’d love to have a couple made for me, or even buy one here or there. I have blankets laying around the house for any of us to pick up if we’re chilly, but I’d prefer to wrap myself in a quilt made from love. I also love seeing them displayed around the home. Our friend Helen has them hanging along her wall, on her beds, and draped on her couch.

That being said, if you reupholstered your furniture, you wouldn’t need a quilt. You could just snuggle into your chair. Check out my blogging buddy’s picture! Her mommie-in-law redid this chair from old quilts she’d picked up at an estate sale. You’ll have to check out the blog post to see the whole transformation!

Quilted Chair Back

Photo courtesy of My Turn for Us

I figure one day, when I have lots of free time, this will be the first thing I learn how to do. It’d be wonderful to not only make quilts for myself, but treasures my kids would be able to have one day. Maybe even down the road when I have grandkids!

Do you have a skill of some sort you’ve always wanted to learn? What’s stopping you?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Choosing Healthier Meals & Giveaway #RealisticResolutions #ad

I realize that at the start of the year most people make a resolution to diet and lose weight. I have to admit that having gained 10 pounds since moving from Minnesota, losing weight sometimes crosses my mind. As with other years, I didn’t make a resolution to start the new year off. Like my kickboxing trainer said the last time to the class before the new year, “You’re ahead of the game. You don’t have to make a resolution to take care of yourself because you’re already doing it!”

Actually, I don’t mind my weight. I just really want to be fit and healthy. If I could weigh what I weigh now and be in better shape, I’d be a happy camper. That comes with two pieces: how I eat and how active I am. Working from home, sitting on the couch, doesn’t give me any activity so that’s where the kickboxing comes into play. Of course, that’s usually only two nights a week. I need to take care of myself more than two nights a week.

At the start of this week, I signed up for the 30-Day Realistic Resolution Challenge with SparkPeople. I’d never even heard of them before I was given the opportunity to work with Gorton’s in conjunction with them. We were sent some coupons to get Gorton’s seafood and a package that would help kick our year off great! The SparkPeople are realistic in that, they realize changing how you do things needs to be done in steps, steps that are attainable. Day 1 was simply signing up. Day 2 is focusing on drinking more water during your day. Simple, right? Let’s be honest, right now, I need “simple” with getting into a new routine.

Since I’ve gotten out of the habit of making nutritious meals at home, I’m using the SparkPeople Cookbook to find some healthy meals that we’d all enjoy. Now, having the boys around I know that I might have to tweak some of the recipes or they might not eat parts of it, but I need to be offering it! That’s where I fall short most with my cooking...not offering a lot of good food to the boys. I think starting with this Slow-Cooker Salsa Chicken will make all of our tummies happy!

Earlier this week, Fred and I had a nice date night at home (his home) with Gorton’s Grilled and Simply Bake Tilapia. When it comes to straight fish, he’s more of a fan than I am, but wow, the Simply Bake was really good. Enough that I’d buy it again to eat even if I were by myself. Adding fish to our menu on a regular basis will make date night much healthier. We usually go out to eat, and that’s never a healthy meal. He knows we have to make a change, and I’m hoping we can make it together. I also want to get him into kickboxing…have I mentioned that? )

Gorton's Seafood Dinner

Now, for some exciting news. Gorton’s is giving you the chance to win a Cash Grand Prize in the Gorton’s Eat Smarter Sweepstakes!!

Gorton's Blogger Giveaway

Not only are they having a sweepstakes, I’m going to be hosting a giveaway for them. You can win: 2 full-value product coupons, an insulated tote, the SparkPeople cookbook, the Spark book and the SparkPeople Boot Camp DVD!

Gorton's Seafood Giveaway

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Introducing Peru To Our Kids

Before we got Peru, Fred and I decided how we’d surprise our kids. We were going to send a photo of her every day leading up to the Monday they were all going to be introduced to her. Of course, things don’t always go as planned. I sent one photo and that was it. Fred sent 3? I can’t remember. The day we introduced her to the kids, as they sat in the driveway we sent a photo of her face to all of the kids.

My two little girls. Peru and @kenzinoble_24

A photo posted by Fred noble (@boyradd) on

Actually, let me go back a few days before to when we were delivering bags of groceries to families in need. Fred, Doodle, and I were just leaving a house when Fred mentioned that the home owner’s dog probably smells the treats that he’d had in his coat pocket for his dog. Doodle looked at me and said, “Fred has a dog?” I had hoped he hadn’t heard, but yea, he had! He had to keep a secret for two days. I wasn’t worried about it. He’s good about those kinds of tings.

A boy and his dog. Peru meeting the entire family today.

A photo posted by Fred noble (@boyradd) on

I got to the house a few minutes before Fred and told my boys to wait in the car. Fred did the same with his kids. We got Peru on a leash and sitting at the top of the stairs. I ran down and unlocked the front door and we told the kids they could come in. I tried videotaping it, but it had a high pitch “scream” to it. So bummed, but thankfully Fred’s video came out just fine. I can’t share that because it’s on his phone. lol

Bulldoggin' with Ryan and Peru.

A photo posted by Fred noble (@boyradd) on

Peru was a little more than loved on by all of the kids. Fred’s oldest (his daughter), and my oldest son both kind of wanted the same kind of dog. I had really wanted to get Fred a greyhound because he’s always doing so much for everyone I had hoped he could have a dog of his choosing. His daughter had wanted a Boxer and mine had wanted a Bulldog. Thus, the mix in an American Bulldog was perfect!

The kids loved on her and took pictures of her. We took pictures of them with her. After a while we took her to the park so the kids could all run around with her. Let me tell you, that park is her happy place and she loves playing with the kids. She sleeps in Kgirl’s room a lot of the time. She came over to our house for the day, once so far, and she did rather well. Peru only wanted to eat the cats once or twice. We’re hoping to desensitize her to the cats.

As mischievous as Peru is, we love her to death.

Have you ever surprised your family with a pet?

 
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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.