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Family Matters: Child Development


BabyLet me start by emphasizing that each child develops at their own pace! There is no hard and fast rule for when a baby should be doing something. My mom tells me I never crawled, just went straight to walking at age 9 months, whereas my boys didn’t walk until 13 months and 15 months, respectively.

I found people are quick to point out when they think your baby isn’t doing something he should be, and that can be nerve-wracking on a parent, especially a first-time mom or dad. So, remember that each baby is different.

With that said, there are some things to watch for as baby grows.

If he’s NOT doing these things between 7-12 months, you might want to check with your doctor.

  • Doesn’t crawl
  • Seems to drag one side while he’s crawling for a month or more
  • Can’t stand with support
  • Doesn’t try to find objects you’ve hidden in front of him
  • Doesn’t say any words
  • Doesn’t use gestures, such as shaking his head “no” and pointing


Family Matters: Are You Spoiling your Baby


BabyWhen I had my first baby, I always heard experienced mothers – that means much, much older mothers – tell me that I’d “spoil” the baby if I picked him up when he cried or jumped when he sneezed.

That’s not really true.

Responding to your infant promptly helps him feel secure and conveys that he is loved. You can certainly help him learn to soothe himself by offering him a pacifier or a comfort object, but letting him cry at this age only frustrates him. You can continue to “spoil” your baby by talking to him throughout the day and carrying on a dialogue with him. He can’t respond verbally, but his physical cues should let you know how he’s feeling. Hold him while you read books, share cuddles, play games and stay in close proximity during tummy time. 



Family Matters: The Last Word…


Last WordsRecently, our family has endured the loss of several parents and close friends. These times bring sadness, but they also bring to light the life that was lived and to be remembered by those left behind.  As I have sat through the services, it has made me evaluate my own life and how I live each day. If it was me, what would be the “last word” said about the person I was?

Are we kind, considerate and loving to those we meet each day? Are we generous and giving of ourselves, our time and our talents? Do we judge others by who they are or where they came from? Do we greet everyone we meet with a smile and give words of encouragement? Are we honest, trustworthy and dependable? Do we work hard and diligently in everything? Most importantly, do we have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do we live daily to reflect it? The list may be different for each of us, but the question is – when they stand to honor your life, what do you want the “last words” to be?

I want my life to reflect things that will make my husband, kids and family proud. I want to be known as a Christ-centered wife, mother, sister, friend and (one day) grandmother who loved the Lord and had a faith that changed the lives of those around me. I had several friends who attended my father’s funeral tell me, “I wish I had met your father; he sounded like a wonderful man”…and that he was.  What a legacy he left for his kids and grandkids that he was loved, admired and respected by so many over the years. 

It isn’t too late to finish writing your story. It is up to you who you want to be. We all make our own choices in life; we just have to decide if they will be something that we want people to remember about us. What do others see when they look at you? What will your legacy be when you are gone?

When we hear the “last word,” it comes with tears, a deep sorrow and, in the end, an everlasting remembrance of those lost. Though they are gone, they will not be forgotten because their legacy lives on in the lives of those left behind. Praying your “last words” will be an encouragement and life changing to those who hear. Give thanks daily for the time you have with your family.

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Family Matters: Don’t Run Out of Time


RunningI’m sitting at my desk; it’s 5:45 p.m. and I have no idea what I need to do next. My email is 12 inches deep. Do I need to stay at work and finish returning emails? Do I need to go home and cook dinner for my family? I missed my workout earlier this week, and I would really like to go work out tonight. My son, Luke, has a track meet tonight. Should I go to his meet since I have not been able to attend one this season? I have no idea what I need to do, but I need to make up my mind right now!

I chose to go to my son’s track meet. Thank the Lord I did because he placed first in both of his races! Had I not gone, yes, he would have been disappointed, but I would have been heartbroken that I did not get to share that experience with him. 

Life is about finding balance every day. We have to learn to put our lives into compartments. We get up in the morning and focus on our families, making the most of the morning rush. Then, we get to our jobs, and we need to do the very best we can to be successful in our careers. At the end of the day, we should turn the office lights out, go home and focus on what’s really important: our family, our personal life and our health. 

The benefits we will gain from finding daily balance in our lives is so rewarding. Picture my son down on the starting block about to run his race. He turns around and waves at me saying, “Mom!” He was making sure I was watching. After he won the race, he runs to the stands and calls me down to the track — me, his MOM! We high-five each other and cherish the moment. 

In twenty years, I will not remember all those work emails, but I will never forget my son turning around on the starting block and waving at me, his MOM! Don’t miss out on opportunities to seize the moment with your family. Count your blessings and give thanks for those special moments.

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Family Matters: Pets


Washing the DogMy friend lives in a beautiful home in the country where her four big Labrador retrievers have plenty of space to run and roam.

They take full advantage of it, coming home sweaty and more than a little stinky most times. But there’s nothing worse than when they encounter a certain black and white adversary on their adventures.

This happened not too long ago, and all four dogs came home “skunked,” that is, sprayed by their furry foe as it tried to protect itself.

Luckily, she knew exactly what to do.

She kept the dogs outside while she prepped the anti-skunk wash.

Then she mixed together:

  • 1 quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 tsp liquid dishwashing soap

Of course, she had to make four times this much.

Wearing rubber gloves, she washed the dogs with this solution, being careful not to get it into the dogs’ eyes. She rubbed it in, but don’t let it sit too long as it can bleach their coat. Then she rinsed each dog with the garden hose (luckily it was warm outside).

After that, she shampooed the dogs with regular shampoo and left them outside in the sun to dry completely. By that night, they were ready to come back into the house, stench-free.



Family Matters: Finger Painting


Finger PaintingThis age is a great time to get crafty with your little one! Try this homemade finger paint recipe. It’s non-toxic, so don’t be overly concerned if baby wants to taste!

Ingredients:
2 cups cornstarch
1 cup cold water
4 1/2 cups boiling water
liquid food coloring

Directions:
Mix the cornstarch with the cold water and stir together. Pour in the boiling water and stir between each cup. Keep stirring until it reaches a pudding-like consistency. Separate it into individual jars or bowls, and add the color. Paint away!



Family Matters: Teething Biscuits


Baby BiscuitsBaby should start getting teeth, so make sure they have something to gnaw on to soothe their gums. You can make your own teething biscuits, just remember to never leave baby unsupervised with anything that goes in their mouth!

Teething biscuits

Ingredients:
1 cup infant rice cereal
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 mashed banana
2 tsp cinnamon
4 to 8 Tbsp water

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 425° F. Mix everything together in a medium sized bowl, starting with 4 tablespoons of water and adding more if necessary. Mix well until a dough forms. Roll out on a floured surface until about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick. Cut out shapes using cookie cutter or cut into squares. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and bake for 15 minutes.

Let cool completely. Store in air-tight container. These can also be stored in the freezer. 

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.



Family Matters: Making Baby Wipes


Baby WipesMaking your own baby wipes at home is easy at 1, 2, 3. The basic recipe is simple and effective, and it can not only save you money but also give you assurance you know exactly what’s touching baby’s delicate skin. Once you master the basic recipe, you can add a few drops of essential oils if your baby’s skin can tolerate them.

Original Recipe for Wipes
1/8 to 1/4 cup baby shampoo
1/8 to 1/4 cup baby oil/olive oil
2 cups lukewarm water

Mix liquid ingredients gently. Place the wipes in the container, then add the solution and invert a few times to make sure the wipes all get sufficiently moistened. Use just enough solution to moisten. Extra solution can generally be kept refrigerated.

For the wipes, cut a roll of premium paper towels in half across the middle. Thread one end of the wipes through the cardboard roll and they’ll dispense easily.



Family Matters: Slow Cooker Delight – Sweet BBQ


BBQOur family enjoys all types of barbecue, and recently a friend shared a recipe which we absolutely loved and have made several times already. The recipe is so easy (which with a family is great), and it cooks while you sleep or while you are busy during the day. Try it and see for yourself!  

Slow Cooker Delight – Sweet BBQ

Ingredients:
pork loin or pork roast (medium sized)
1 pkg McCormick Grill Mates BBQ Rub
1 1/2 cans Dr Pepper
1 (16 oz) bottle Claude’s Barbeque Meat Marinade (liquid)
6-8 fresh garlic cloves
1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce

Place pork in large slow cooker and rub the Grill Mates BBQ Rub all over the meat. Add the Dr Pepper, Claude’s Barbeque Meat Marinade and the fresh garlic cloves. Cover and cook 6-8 hours (until it is falling apart). Once it is cooked, pour out all of the liquid and garlic cloves in the slow cooker. Add Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce over the pork and heat to serve. 

The pulled pork can be served as a main dish with vegetables and a salad, or make pulled pork sandwiches served with chips or french fries. My kid’s favorite is to put the pulled pork and grated cheese in a flour tortilla and make a rollup. 

It is simple and easy recipes like this that give you more time to spend with your family and make great recipes to pass down for generations to come. Make this recipe and fill more than their stomach – fill them with sweet memories. Count your blessings daily, and give thanks for the time you are given with your family.  

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.

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Family Matters: Never Too Old for Story Time


ReadingMom, will you read me a bedtime story? Cherish these words spoken from your child because they will not say them forever. My daughter Grace is now twelve and we are long past the bedtime stories.

The other day I was reading an article (nothing I haven’t really read before) about the more you read to your children, the more they will enjoy reading and the better readers they will be. I thought about Grace and how reading and spelling are not her favorite subjects in school and thought for a moment, maybe I should go back to reading her bedtime stories. I finished reading the article and didn’t think too much about this anymore.

Later that same night, I tucked Grace in bed like I usually do, kissed her on the forehead and said good night. As I was walking out of her bedroom, I heard those familiar words once again. Mom, will you read me a bedtime story? Did she just say what I think she said? My 12-year-old just asked me to read her a bedtime story! I am a woman of faith, so I believe the Lord was looking down at me with a wink in his eye and saying here is your opportunity. What are you going to do with it?

We have been reading together every night for the past two weeks. This is a special time that we both look forward to and one that I am going to cherish. Don’t miss out on opportunities to seize the moment with your family. Count your blessings and give thanks for those special moments.

 



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