celebrating 100

Has your child ever celebrated a 100th day of school?  Perhaps it was in a kindergarten class.  I don’t know why but in thirty years of homeschooling we never had a 100th day of school celebration.  The point of this celebration is to help students gain a grasp of just how of much something is one hundred.

I have been blogging for seven months.  It has been an adventure.  I have not written 100 posts yet.  My most popular post was   https://dianesergeant.wordpress.com/2015/05/20/open-door/   Two days after it was posted it had 103 views.  It was my first post to go over the 100 views in a day.   It was worthy of a celebration.   2006_0507(012)

What things in your child’s life do you celebrate? Achievements, awards, accomplishments, and successes are all worthy of celebrating.  I propose creativity, effort, kindness, honesty, generosity and a host of other positive character traits should be celebrated.

A lesson that I did use a few times on the first day of a new school year was about initiative. I would begin with explaining that the first letter of a name is called the initial. Each student would write their initials.  Then we would discuss having and taking initiative.  Initiative can be seeing a need and addressing that need before being told to do so.  It is being the first to take action.  I would often watch for and support initiative in my children.  I intentionally developed initiative in them by talking about it, encouraging it and complimenting them regarding it.  This kind of positive reinforcement can be used to promote any character trait.  Celebrate affirmative character attributes.

How about giving thanks to our children for cooperation or humility, for being quick to forgive or volunteering to do something difficult?  Our daughter was always generous with her three older brothers even though they did not always return the favor.  She would regularly and willingly share her bag of candy or other treats. Sometimes they took advantage of her generosity, but that did not inhibit her. Today she is a generous adult.  Promote and applaud thoughtfulness, courtesy and appreciation.  Think about the character traits that you admire in yourself, your spouse, and others.  Begin to intentionally nurture those traits in your children.

2007_0104 Many adults struggle with being responsible, respectful, polite, flexible, patient, self-controlled, and dependable.   You may have to find separate methods for each individual child in order for them to each fully comprehend and desire to apply to their lives. Teach by your example.  Teach by using words of explanation or characters in a movie or story.  Tell them about your failures and how you should have handled something differently.  Teach with questions, such as “what are the possible responses or attitudes in a particular situation?”  You may be amazed at their perception and answers.

Whatever relationships, careers or paths your children choose to pursue as adults they will be better equipped to do so with strong positive character traits to aid and support them.


Truth or Consequences

D. C. & D.Were you shocked the first time your child lied to you?   It seemed to happen so naturally.  Their first words are so cute and anticipated.  Soon they were talking in complete sentences and suddenly they were also able to lie with their words. When they are little and tell a lie it is so obvious it is almost humorous, but do not allow them to see you laugh. When they tell their first lie is the time to begin discussing truthfulness.

If you value truth and honesty then you should consistently correct and object to all lies.  Most people tell lies as self-preservation.  It is a cover up and trouble avoidance technique.  However, eventually truth is known and lies are exposed.  Help your children learn this lesson while they are young.   If a parent is seeking information such as who broke the lamp, maintain self-control because any demonstration of anger will cause the offender to avoid confession.

We often told our children they would be in less trouble if they admitted quickly to an accident or even wrong doing, than if they hid it or lied.  The later would always result in a stronger action or punishment.  Be careful to be truthful yourself, if you establish this precedent.

As a child, I was often unable to consider possible outcomes of an action in any way except to do the action and see what happened.  I often did things without any thought of consequences what so ever.  One day when I was about twelve (yes, at twelve years old, I should have known better) I stuck a broken pocket clip from a pen into a car trunk keyhole.  I lost it in there and did not know how to get it out. IMG_1486 I figured I was in big trouble and tried to forget about it.  When I told my, also twelve year old cousin, Lin, what I did she quoted scripture to me.  She said, “John 8:32 says, ‘Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.’”   This scripture is symbolically referring to Jesus as the Truth.  I took it literally and soon found my dad to confess the truth to him so I could be free of the guilt of my deed.   His response was that he had wondered how that little piece got in the keyhole and he had easily removed it with a pair of needle-nosed pliers.  My worry and guilt was my only punishment. No physical damage was done to the car.
Trust is built on truth.  As your children age, they will be in more and more settings where you must trust them.  Help them to embrace truthfulness.  Recognize and reward truthfulness in them.  Whenever you are interrogating them (I mean questioning them) about a situation choose your words carefully so that you are not condemning.  Restrain your emotions so they do not feel accused and become defensive.

One day at my sister-in-law’s house someone put a can of root beer in the freezer and forgot it.  One by one she calmly questioned her 3 and our 4 children.  No one admitted to have any claim or knowledge of the soda. She cleaned up the huge mess inside the freezer from the exploded can. Liquid when frozen expands and cannot be contained in the same amount of space as cold or room temperature fluids.  A day or two later our father-in-law suddenly remembered his root beer and went to the freezer to retrieve it.  Even adults make mistakes.

Disobedience and lying were the two offenses which we were the strictest about with our children.  It was exhausting, but our efforts resulted in our children being honest people.  It is a character trait that honors God, and is highly valued by spouses, friends, and employers.

Menu Plans

Do you make a menu plan?  Do you eat the same thing week after week?  I hate making the plan and the accompanying grocery shopping list. I like variety but it is so difficult to achieve.  I have never started the day with the thought, “hooray, today I get to make a new menu plan.”  Never.  But, I love having it in place when it is finished, especially if I force myself to make a plan for two weeks.   Having a plan avoids the daily struggle of deciding what to prepare that day and will I have on hand all the necessary ingredients or will it require another trip to the store.IMG_1482

There are some meals which I think are only seasonal.   Bacon, lettuce, tomato sandwiches should only be eaten in the months when homegrown tomatoes are ripe.  I had one today and two last week.  I rarely eat or serve soup, homemade or pre-packaged, in warm weather.  But in cooler weather we eat soup about once a week.  Using a gas grill instead of charcoal allows outdoor grilling to be stretched to nearly 8 months of the year.

I have attempted to get menu ideas from my children with various results.  One creative and helpful son usually suggested something such as “fried whale blubber”.  None requested vegetables.  Although, some would eat a few vegetables.  For many years our daughter was a “starchatarian”.  Two of our sons loved to guess what was being served based on the smells wafting towards them as they approached the kitchen from another level of the house.  Most often they were correct.

Long ago I began posting the weekly menu in a prominent place so that all could read for themselves what would be served each day.  My husband rarely asks what’s for dinner.  He will, however, ask what time it will be served. If I avoid foods that are spicy, he eats most anything. I appreciate that. I seldom cook on Sunday evenings preferring to eat just popcorn and fruit or cookies.

I enjoy cooking with other women because I always learn something new.  Last winter an elderly friend taught me to how to make homemade noodles and chicken.  I have a 100% failure rate for anything containing yeast.  Occasionally I am brave enough to attempt it again.

What does menu planning have in common with parenting?

  1. Planning, preparation and organization goes a long way towards reducing stress and making life easier.
  2. Both require some flexibility and adjustments along the way.
  3. Communication is vital – keep the plan visible and clearly communicate behavioral and other expectations and consequences.
  4. Ditch the plan and start over when necessary.
  5. Keep learning new recipes, trying new foods, new cooking methods, and new parenting strategies.
  6. Ask an elderly person for their techniques in cooking, for a recipe or how they handled particular parenthood issues such as potty training or sibling rivalry.
  7. Remember your goals are delisious, nutritious food and independent, mature adults.
  8. Dry, burnt, tasteless food can be endured or tossed. Recipes can be scrapped or redone.
  9. Forgive your spouse, yourself and your children and give them do-overs also.

IMG_1483Aunt Betty’s  Sausage and Gravy

In a deep skillet using medium heat, cook and crumble one pound of breakfast sausage.  I prefer Bob Evans original.  Do not drain the grease. Sprinkle with 1/3 c of flour and stir well.  Add 3 c. of milk and cook till bubbly and thickened.  Season with salt and pepper. Serve over homemade biscuits or Grands refrigerated biscuits in the tube baked per instructions.    We all like this for breakfast or supper.        Enjoy.


Have you ever thrown a life line to someone? Have you ever needed a life line? I needed one today.  I was on the floor but I had not fallen.  I was hugging the commode at the public library.  I thought it was a simple visit to the restroom when face flushing, cold sweat and nausea suddenly hit full force.   Then the vomiting commenced.  I had succumbed to food poison.  Fortunately, I had my cell phone on me.  I called my husband to ask him to come into the ladies restroom to help me get up, out to the car, and go home.   A couple of hours later I was totally fine.

We generally think of lifelines as being used only by boaters or the elderly to assist them when they have” fallen and can’t get up” or have some other medical emergency.  Sometimes we need to be a lifeline for our children.   We need to be available and willing to bail them out of a rough situation.life line

Our eldest son was fourteen or fifteen years old when he stayed overnight at a friend’s home.   This friend had numerous siblings including a couple of very cute teenage sisters.  About bedtime one of the siblings asked another if they had seen the pet ball python, which was not in its aquarium.  No. No one knew its whereabouts.  No one seemed too concerned either, except our son who was afraid of snakes and was awake most of the night in his sleeping bag on the floor.  He decided it was better to stay than for his friend and his sisters to discover his fear.

I wish he had called home.   A couple of years later we obtained an 800 number connected to our home phone, for which we paid a small monthly fee.  This enabled our children to call us from anywhere.    We often told them that if they ever felt they were in a dangerous or uncomfortable situation, they could call home at any time around the clock and we would arrive to come to their aid.  house phone

Many homes do not have landlines.  Most adults, teens, and some children have cell phones.  If your child does not have a cell phone, probably their friends do.  They just need to understand that you genuinely will not mind an interruption to rescue them any time day or night.

As children enter their upper teens and early twenties, parents should not have the same rescuer role.  Remember a parent’s goal is to raise an independent adult.  Independent adults should be making wiser decisions and facing the consequences when they fail to do so.  This can be very difficult for parents, but very necessary for the children.   Help your children to grow up.  When they are twenty do not take care of them in the same way you did when they were twelve or fifteen.    Gradually they need to become more and more independent and less and less dependent on parents.

A few months ago I spent a weekend with our adult daughter, who lives 200miles away.  I was there to assist her as she had her four wisdom teeth pulled.  She needed a lifeline and I was willing and happy to give her some physical assistance for a couple of days.  I didn’t mind assisting her and felt like my help was appropriate and healthy.  Each of our children are independent people and responsible for their lives, for which I am thankful.  They seldom need lifelines from us.  But as a family we are willing to throw each other a lifeline when needed.   I surely needed one while in the library restroom.