Monthly Archives: October 2009

Parents

Parenting, a mixed blessing, is hard.  I love being a mom.  I am very proud of my children and I am very blessed with the best.   I’m convinced my mother had something to do with that……she knows I have very little patience!  I imagined her striking up a conversation with specific instructions with God, Himself, about the two souls that became my babes.

Now that my 12yo is in Middle School, the parenting I dreaded the most has come upon Mark and I.  I am very thankful that she is a GOOD girl and a beautiful young lady.  She definitely has her head on straight.  She loves God and overall, she’s  a wonderful spirit.  BUT I could do without the “Middle School Attitude.”

You know the one:  rolling eyes, heavy sighs, and grunts.  “Can’t tell em’ nothing!”  I heard my mom say more than once about us,  her Middle School aged kids.  I remember saying, “I don’t want to teach Middle Schoolers all day and then come home to one.”  Thank God, I don’t teach anymore.  But, being a former MS teacher I know a thing or two about attitude.

I can remember parents complaining, “I just don’t know my kid anymore.”  Reassuring them that it is just a MS phase was just the first step.  “Continue communicating,” was the next step.  Now, I am living what I advised.  I see this beautiful young lady whom was once my baby girl.  I used to pull her up in my lap and tell her how beautiful she was, followed by a hug and a kiss.  Now, a shoulder shrug is all that I am graced with  and I am thankful that she at least acknowledges me.

Last evening  we had a talk  with Ms. Attitude.  She declared last week that she knew her Algebra and didn’t need to study for an exam.  Bombing it proved otherwise.  Mark and I told her to study but we were dismissed and obviously so was Algebra.  The Mike Brady talk went smooth.  She knew she messed up and wasn’t even trying to defend her actions.  There was no MS Attitude present.  Only a young lady that had disappointed those she loves the most.

The message in Proverbs 13:24, “He who spares the rod hates his son; but he who loves him is careful to discipline him,”  is a very important one.  I believe in the careful discipline.  We have not spanked our children but we live by example.  If they need discipline, we match it with the behavior.  Mark and I discuss in detail, what the behavior was and the punishment we feel should be made especially now that they are older.  The time out corner  followed by the pointing out of the behavior that landed them there worked.  We always discussed in a loving manner what we expect from them.   And once again, communication (loving communication) is the key.  Trust me, they know the smoke coming out of my ears and the red glow of the angry mommy monster but I have always calmed down before laying down a punishment.  I love them too much to leash the beast on them!  I want to be reachable when they really need me instead of being afraid of coming to me with a problem that may have the potential of disappointment.  And guilt is rarely used.  Guilt trips was big coming from my mother but I always ended up feeling like I couldn’t measure up.   Now that I think about it….. I put a guilt trip on my girl this morning over applesauce…. did the whole “starving kids” spill.  (Mental note:  fix that… smooth it over….ask her what she wants in her lunch.)

I have been asked several times over the years, how to raise children.  “I am not expert” was my response.  I know what works for my kids.  I know love works best.  Giving and earning their respect is important.  They feel our love and do not want to disappoint.  And again, I truly believe my mother had something to do with these good kids.  I am proud to be their mom!

God bless……

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Simple Beauty

Everywhere I look, I am bombarded with images of the “perfect” woman…..sleek shiny flowing hair, tall slender legs, flawless beauty, perfect hips and dressed provocatively.   Then, I look in the mirror.

Not so long ago, I could only see the graying, adult acne dotted face staring back at me.  I can remember examining my body…ha…. not so sleek, nor slender.  I would smear the make up on and tease the hair spending over an hour getting ready for work.

When we made the decision for me to stay home, our budget became our top priority leaving my vanity behind.  We were spending $50 a month on haircuts.  I was spending $75 a month on creams, gels, and make up….not to mention hair color, hairspray and shampoos.  We had to make  sacrifices.

First, I cut my hubby’s and son’s hair.  This dropped our haircut cost to $35.  I talked to my hairdresser and explained my daughter and I need stylish yet simple and cost effective to maintain plus we could only visit every 8-10 weeks instead of monthly.  My long hair went short and my daughter’s went long.  I started coloring my hair with coloring from Dollar General which was 3 bucks.  Eventually, I stopped coloring my hair all together going natural and accepting the fact I have gray hair.  I simplified my make up, hair styling products and shampoos.  Not only did I save money but I was saving time.

The beauty of it all is that I am content.  My focus on myself has changed.  I am not a slob but I don’t make it a top priority.  I must say I have found freedom from the vanity slave.  It takes me 20 minutes to shower, dress, style and walk out the door.  It is amazing….and the best part…. my daughter isn’t consumed with her looks unlike a lot of her peers.  She likes the natural look and I am glad.  She could easily fall prey to the vanity bug.  And my hubby says I am more beautiful.  Now that makes me feel like a school girl……

God says in the Bible that He looks at the heart rather than the outward appearance.  Our outward beauty should come from living a righteous life.  We will have a glow and a shine that isn’t found in a bottle , cream or in a perfect cut, but from God’s love pouring out of us.  Trust me, I would rather shimmer from God than from any product purchased.  I think it is more appealing anyway.

So ladies, break away from the vanity and find the freedom of learning to be content in your appearance.  Not only will you save money and time, you will find a new satisfaction with yourself, especially if God is your beauty treatment.

Just remember:

Proverbs 31:30  “Charm is deceptive, and beauty if fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

Pack the Silver Bells

“This is my favorite time of the year,” Joellen matter-a-factly stated, “Christmas is coming and everyone is so nice and doing good.”

I just smiled and thanked her for today’s blog entry.

I am floored by  how early the Christmas decorations are displayed in stores.   The  carols are barked, meowed, and Santa even does a hip hop version of  “Wish You a Merry Christmas.”  We have even been talking to our kids about this year’s celebration.  Even our pastor talked about giving around the Christmas season, just this past Sunday.

It amazes me how generous people get between now and New Year’s.  Food banks are filled.  Toys are collected and handed out to children across the world.  People have a quick step and a Christmas tune on their lips.  Clinks of coins  into a red bucket warms the hearts of givers at the ringing of a bell.  Jo was right…. people do kind things around the holidays…..Perhaps that is why most love the season.

So answer this…..when we put away our silver bells why does the silver lining of giving have to be put up in the attic too?  Why do we feel the need to help out more during this time of the year instead of throughout the year?  That is the question Jo posed yesterday.  I didn’t have answer to that question.  She was right in saying that God doesn’t say in the Bible to take care of the orphans, widows, and the lame only during the Christmas season.

She’s so right!!  So, we at the Dettra house are planning a New Year’s resolution today…..In 2010, from January to December, we will be a giving family.  We are going to make a conscious effort to give….an not only our money but ourselves.  Even though we already volunteer weekly, there is so much more we can do.  Cookies baked and given to an elderly man sitting on his front porch waving at traffic.   Sending cards to family and friends throughout the year, will not only bring a smile but love felt.  I don’t know why I have no problem sending cards the Monday after Thanksgiving  and never drop a line throughout the year.  (Of course, send e-cards as a way to “go green.”)  How about a “just because” gift to someone in the office, in your church, or an old friend?  The possibilities are endless.

I challenge you to sit down with your family and find ways you can give more of yourself in 2010.  Start planning now so you can put it in your yearly budget.  Also, ask the kids where they want to volunteer.  You might be surprised.  They may suggest a local animal shelter, homeless shelter, food bank, or even to rake the leaves/plant flowers for an elderly neighbor.  If you plan it, you are most likely to follow through.  Happy Planning

God Bless…….

Wal-Mart Can Save You $55….

Have you seen the new Wal-Mart add?  The one where they tell you if you spend $100 a week on groceries you can save $55 a month by shopping at Wal-Mart.  Can I just say… I can save you more!!!

If you haven’t already found Angel Food Ministries, boy do I have a treat for you!!  Angel Food Ministries purchases food in bulk and distributes  boxes of dinners (a week’s worth for a family of 4) at local churches.  Now before you say to yourself, “I don’t need charity,”  “I make too much money,” or any other “downer” statement, hear me out.  Angel Food is not based on your income.  They say the only qualification is if you can eat.  I have been getting Angel Food for  years and to be quite honest, I would not be eating New York Strip steaks without it.  In fact I have tried to beat the $30 a box by comparing the prices to Wal-Mart.  {Click here to see the blog.} Hey, I don’t feel like I am taking charity when I pick up the food.  I am purchasing it at a discounted price…. no gimmicks, no bad feelings, and really good food.

Okay, so let’s take a look at the Wal-Mart challenge.  A savings of $55 per month comes to $13.50 a week in savings….. spending $86.50 for groceries.  Alright, now Angel Food only cost $30 for a week’s worth of dinners plus eggs and a small box of milk (I use the milk to cook with rather than drinking.).  Now, all you need is lunch which I discovered only to be 29 cents to make per day.  So for a family of 4 for a week, lunch will cost $5.80.  Okay and breakfast….for two boxes of cereal ($6.00), milk (3.00 a gal), toast (1.08 a loaf of Wal-Mart’s bread), and orange juice (Bright & Early brand $2.00).  That would be a total for breakfast for the week roughly $12.00.  (And may I add you could go cheaper if you made your own breakfast instead of cereal.) The entire week’s cost is $47.80 for the week.

So Wal-Mart can save you $13.5o and I can save you $52.20 a week which in turn means a savings of $208 a month.  Try it again Wal-Mart!!  You can keep your $55 savings… I am going with the $208!!

Granny's Bread Pudding

Growing up in the 1930’s during the Great Depression, many Arkansans, like my grandparents, had to depend on creative means to make their money stretch and to make use of every scrap of food, material, or paper.  My Granny, Aline Cornett, did not come from a farming family.  She grew up along the banks of the Arkansas River in North Little Rock.  Her family didn’t grow their own food in groves like most.  She always talked about the struggle her parents had to feed the family and that her mom was very creative in the kitchen.

Granny said that unlike some of the kids she went to school with, her family couldn’t afford to make apple pies or peach pies or any pie there was to be made…..and cakes were a luxury in her family’s eyes.   Ice Cream was not even a possibility.  As she put it, the dirt around their home was richer than her family.

To satisfy the family’s sweet tooth, her mom would make bread pudding.  Using the scraps of bread or stale bread that was too hard to eat, she would create this moist pudding that smelled like cinnamon rolls from the downtown bakery.  The pudding was served as a dessert and even for breakfast.  Granny said she felt like the richest gal in town when she was served a hot bowl of bread pudding.  “As the pudding melted away in my mouth, so did every care in the world,” she would tell us kids as she would stir the bread into the sweet milky liquid.

As my Granny aged, I began to ask for the recipe of her famous bread pudding.  She would say, “Little of this, a whole lotta that”  In other words there wasn’t a recipe to follow.  She knew it by heart and basically through together the ingredients.  I tried as hard as I could to reproduce that sweet sensational pudding.  Without much luck, the bread pudding I served was no match to hers.

Recently, I found a recipe that was published in our local newspaper.  A Debbie Goff from Bee Branch, Arkansas shared this recipe.  According to my dad, “This is as close as you will ever get to Granny’s bread pudding.”

This recipe is one of the foundations that brought my family together through hard financial times.  I, too, am making bread pudding and so, the tradition continues.

(Almost) Granny’s Bread Pudding

1/2 Cup margarine

1 3/4 Cups sugar

Ground Cinnamon or nutmeg or a combination, to taste

4 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups milk

4 or 5 slices of bread, cubed

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Place margarine in baking dish and melt in oven.  Meanwhile whisk eggs, milk and vanilla.  Add sugar and cinnamon.  Add bread.  Pour into baking dish and sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over top.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake 45 minutes.

God  Bless…..