Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy Labor Day!

Hope you're having a great Labor Day weekend!

Love, all your friends at Play Eat Grow

Friday, August 29, 2014

{Guest Post} Approaching Puberty

Today's post is lovingly brought you by my sister-in-law, Amanda, who so graciously agreed to talk about this difficult subject. Here's what she has to say:

See that face? Isn't that a beautiful face? That is my daughter, Kat, a talkative, spirited, stubborn, bubbly, brilliant, and exuberant little girl who is growing far, far too fast. She turns ten in January and I honestly have difficulty remembering what life was like before she was born. The next thing I know, she'll be heading off to college, then getting married. While there are days that I want to tear my hair out, most of the time I honestly wish time would just slow down so I could enjoy her at every stage just a little longer.

That's not how God has created this world, and I have to be mindful that she is indeed growing up. Something that's been on my mind as of late in particular has been the big P word - that's right, puberty.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Five Peanut Butter Substitutes for Back-to-School

School is starting up again, and with it, packing lunches.  Wow - I really did not miss that over the summer!  Schools have all kinds of different food-related policies, and if your child goes to a peanut-free school your child may have to leave their favorite sandwich at home.  If you'd like to try a peanut butter substitute, here are some to consider.  And remember, these can be great to have around just in case your child wants to sit at the "nut free" table with a friend who has allergies, and can also be handy if you have visitors at your house who have allergies.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Stoplight Sight Word Practice

We've been slowly but surely teaching our Ada to read, and while she likes to do the phonics part, she easily gets bored when it comes to learning sight words. We've been trying to change it up in order to keep her interested in what can sometimes be kinda boring word work.

Jake created a stoplight to put the words in when we're quizzing her.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Hard Questions Deserve Honest Answers

To say that there has been some chaos in my family recently would be an understatement.  There's my husband's job search.  Our quest to house an international student as a way to generate extra income. There's the choir my oldest son is hoping to join this fall, and all the usual "back to school" transitions are coming up as well.  During breakfast last week, my seven year old asked a hard question.  (Side note: what is up with the hard questions at breakfast?  I can't talk about the meaning of life until after at least two cups of coffee.)

Mommy, who made God?

Ok, I think I can answer that on only one cup of coffee...  "No one made God.  That's one of the things that's so cool about him.  He was never born.  There was no time in history when he did not exist.  No one made him because he's always been here!"   I was feeling pretty good about myself with that answer, but Mr. Deep Thoughts was not done yet.

Well why did God make the world?

Just a minute kid, let me drink my second cup of coffee and see if I can find my philosophy book from college.  I was just about to embark on a long narrative about how the trinity is the ultimate definition of love and God desired to have even more people who could experience his love and some other stuff that would have us all singing Kumbaya My Lord before his waffles were done, when he followed up his loaded question with this statement.

Maybe he shouldn't have made the world.  Because, you know, we have a lot going on that we don't know how it's going to turn out.  We don't know if we're getting a student, or where Daddy is going to work, or how school is going to be this year...

As his sentence trailed off I could see the anxiety in on his face.  I forget, sometimes, how much he takes in when I think he's not listening.  That behind our hilarious conversation regarding the creative careers my husband could pursue (zookeeper?? professional wrestler?), this is something his parents are concerned about.  He knows that all the "we're not spending money on that right now" conversations mean he might not get to be in the special choir next year.  He knows his teacher's name but he doesn't know who will be in class with him, or if the girls will tell him his swishy pants are too loud, or if the playground bully will say he can't play football.  

On the one hand, I wish that I could protect him from all of this.  I wish his childhood could be "carefree".  On the other hand, that's not life and it's not even his personality.  Better that I address his concern honestly.  So I didn't give the pat answer.  I didn't say "It's all going to be ok". (In a philosophical sense it is "all going to be ok" but I knew that if I said that what he would hear is "It's all going to turn out the way I want it to", and that wasn't the message I wanted to send.) Instead I said, "Well, let's think about what we know about God."  And so we talked.  We know that God loves us. The Bible says that he will never leave us.  The Bible says that God never changes and he always keeps his promises.  Our memory verse from Sunday School this month is "My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth" Psalm 121:2.  We have seen God take care of us in many ways before - "Remember when we came home from church and found $300 under the doormat with a note saying it was to help fix our car!?"

He's right.  We don't know how it's going to turn out.  And that can be a scary feeling for a kid or a grownup!  But we do know the character of the God we trust in.  And when we focus on that instead of all the scary unknowns, then we can be thankful that God made the world.

I'm not convinced I addressed these concerns perfectly, but thankfully God does not require me to be a perfect parent. I was really grateful for this conversation because my son is like me in many ways, including a tendency to worry during times of uncertainty and change.  I don't always deal with my anxiety perfectly, and neither will he, but at least I can point us BOTH to the truth.  We feel scared sometimes.  That's ok.  God is big enough to deal with that.  And he strong enough and loving enough that we can always trust him.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Summer Squash and Corn Chowder

One of my favorite things about the summer is the farmer's market. I love going every week to get fresh fruits and veggies. And then I like eating them! One of my favorite ways to get that farmer's market bounty is in this soup: Summer Squash and Corn Chowder.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Board Books that Won't Make You Bored

Our Guest Blogger today is Hilary, MaryAnn's sister.  Hilary, a former librarian, is Mommy to one book eating toddler.  She's here today to share some of her favorite board books with us - books that are fun for toddlers and their parents!

Who says board books have to be boring for adults? The BabyLit series brings literary classics to a youngster’s level, all the while playing off of the adult’s broader knowledge of the story.  Though short on actual plot, this version of Romeo and Juliet incorporates many iconic elements of Shakespeare’s famous play that parents will appreciate.  Look for other fun titles such as Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre