Sarah over at In Light of the Truth has been hosting Family Focus Friday's for a few weeks now. Usually I get too busy by the time Friday has come along to post anything, but tonight I actually have some free time! I think the way I'll do this so I can catch up is just to copy and paste her questions from each topic and then answer them. I'll provide a link to each individual post so that you can go read the whole topic if you'd like.
So I'd love to know, what do you do with YOUR children??
What's your Bible reading time like?
We actually just started a routine of bible reading. We had been doing it pretty sporadically but a few weeks ago I finally decided it was time to get organized. Each day between 10/1030AM Em and I sit down for our morning snack and read a Psalm together and read a chapter from Matthew. The Psalms can be a bit difficult for her to pay full attention to, but she just loves reading in Matthew. She loves to learn about Jesus and really clings on to bits and pieces of the stories we read about. She's especially into John the Baptist right now and how he ate bugs. lol Once we're done with Matthew, we'll move on to Mark and keep right on going. Once we're done with the Psalms we'll move on to Proverbs, but from there I haven't decided where we'll go in the Old Testament yet. I am hoping that baby girl #2 will be awake (and happy) during Em's snack time so that she can participate in the bible reading as well. I'm sure I'll be making some adjustments when the new one arrives. Another goal I have for bible reading is scripture memorization with Emily. I've listened to her memorize all the words to a song, multiple times, and the other day it hit me that she's probably ready to start memorizing scripture. She loves playing school and loves to learn, so I'd really like to incorporate that into our days. I'm currently looking into material and weighing the option of having her attend Awana.
What decisions do you make to provide good nutrition for your family?
It was funny the day that I read this post because just a week earlier I had revised Emily's meals to incorporate healthier snacks. I'm still learning a lot about nutrition so our meals are constantly changing. Mainly I realized that I was carb loading Emily with the snacks I was giving her, when really I needed to be giving her a healthier option. So, I've been offering her things like a nutri-grain bar, apple slices, cheese sticks, rice cakes w/PB, etc. instead of goldfish, teddy grahams, nilla waffers, etc. I still give her the occasional carb treat, but certainly not as often. I was also definitely slacking at making sure she had a fruit and veggie to eat every day at lunch too. So that has been one of my main goals, to make sure that I have a fruit and veggie on her plate at each lunch meal. I also cut back sugar cereal to a once a week treat. And also a trip to McD's or Wendy's for chicken nuggets and french fries I cut back to only once a month. We try to make sure to have 5 servings of fruits and veggies each day. And I also try to make sure I couple carb filled meals with lots of protein. Lastly, I dilute Em's apple juice (heavy on the water) and try to make sure she has no more than two cups a day. I offer water for snack times and make sure that she has milk at least twice a day.
What is mealtime like for your family? Does it meet your vision? What changes can you make to enhance this precious time together?
In this post Sarah provides a lot of good resources on eating meals together as a family. If you struggle with getting everyone to the table at the same time I would encourage you to check out her post on this topic. As far as our family goes, I've always planned our meals so that we are able to eat together. I find that it's very important for us to all sit down and eat together and share with each other about our day. Em's favorite thing to say right now is "Mommy, Daddy, can you talk to me?". She's really gotten into the dinner conversation and telling daddy about how her day was. She also helps me set the table most days. She really likes putting the napkins on and putting the forks out. She's even started asking to set the table for baby sister. One thing I'd like to change about our mealtime routine actually has to do with the preparation. I don't like having to spend 30 minutes right when Stew gets home cooking up a meal. It's a bit chaotic and I don't think it's fair to him to pass off Em duties to him right when he gets home so that I can prepare the meal. I'd like to try to make dinner ahead of time, like during Em's nap, so that I can just put it in the oven to heat before dinner time which will allow Stew's coming home time to be a bit more peaceful. I've done this a few times already and everything seems to flow much nicer, so I'll be trying to do this more often.
Everyone has their own opinion about the holiday. What have you decided for your own family?
Just quickly, we decided not to do Halloween this year, but we are not completely against Emily ever participating in the holiday. I think it can be a good chance to witness to neighbors, esp. by passing out candy. I do feel that we need to equip our children to live in the world as born again christians so I don't fully agree with sheltering her from every "wordly" activity. However, I do like the idea of a harvest party much better than sending her out trick or treating. Harvest parties are great because they allow the kids to still dress up, have fun, eat candy, etc., but they add the element of a christian atmosphere with no scary demons or skeletons or things like that. Also, normally, there is a short message, which I think is a great way to encourage our kids to invite their unsaved friends that they might have a chance to hear the gospel message or just see that christians aren't that bad and DO have fun! :-) Anyway, turns out that it's a good thing we didn't take Em trick or treating this year. She went over to a friends house just a couple of hours ago, they were having a harvest party and he was dressed like a lion, and she lost it. She spooks easily. lol
So how well do you know your neighbors? What conscious efforts do you make to get to know them better? How can you get your children involved? Are there other children for them to play with? Do you welcome others into your home? When new neighbors come in, how do you welcome them?
Mainly, we've just made strides with two of our neighbors. The ones across the street we know really well. Their daughter babysits for Em and the whole family really enjoys playing with her. They've been super helpful with us and we always maintain conversation with them during the week. Usually at holidays I try to make them cookies or get the kids something small. We have been meaning to have them over for dinner though and need to do that. So, I think I'll add that to my list of goals. The neighbors next door have been great too. We usually chat a couple times a week, but I definitely haven't been as neighborly as I could have. I think I'll add to that list of goals, bringing them baked goods once a month. They are an elderly couple and I think she cooks all of their meals, so I certainly could get to know her better and offer to bring them a meal every once and a while. Our neighbors to the left we actually have never spoken to. I've tried to wave a say hello a couple of times, but they really keep to themselves. Still, that shouldn't have kept me from doing a small act of kindness for them, esp. during the holidays. I'll definitely add that to the list too. In fact, I think I'll add this neighbor topic to my prayer journal and ask the Lord to open my eyes on how to be a better neighbor. I think this summer I might like to host a 5 day bible school. We'll see....I need to get to delivering this baby first before I get ahead of myself.
OK, I'm getting exhausted so this is all I have time to catch up on tonight. Next Friday I'll try to finish up the rest to get caught up. To join in on the family conversation, link up over at Sarah's.