The Mommy Bloggy

Reflections of a Mother's Heart

Weekend in the Mountains October 26, 2010

Filed under: The Ferguson Family — Michelle Ferguson @ 12:40 am

We met some good friends of ours this past weekend in the mountains.  Overall, the trees were beginning to show their brilliant colors, but some individual trees were absolutely gorgeous!  I love the mountains, and I love fall!  I love everything associated with fall:  cozy fires, hazelnut coffee, smell of burning leaves, cool, crisp nights, curvy mountain roads with falling leaves, pumpkins, family gatherings, and fall desserts!!

On Friday, we ventured to Chimney Rock State Park.  We’ve driven by it dozens of times, but have never taken time to stop and spend the day there.  All nine of us, from age 4 to 40-something, hiked two of the trails.  We began with the Skyline Trail, labeled “moderate to strenuous.”  Let’s just say I’m glad we started with this trail!  It was only .7 miles round trip, however, it was straight up flight after flight of stairs.  The kids lost count at 800-something steps!  All that climbing was worth it, though, when we reached the Rock displaying the American Flag and the highest lookout at Exclamation Point.  We had awesome views of Lake Lure and the surrounding mountains.  We descended the stairs to the Chimney Rock level and took the elevator down through 26 stories of blasted rock!

We found a picnic spot and ate the lunch we had packed.  My friend, Karie, shared with us Nutella, which I had never bought before.  It’s a hazelnut cocoa spread.  We dipped pretzels in it for a delicious dessert!  Okay, now I’m addicted to the stuff!

After lunch, we hiked the Hickory Nut Falls Trail.  The brochure describes “the reward for hiking this trail is standing below all 404 feet and feeling the mist of the waterfall.”  I was super excited to get to view this natural wonder, featured in the 1992 remake of “The Last of the Mohicans.”  My excitement was soon dashed (slightly) upon viewing the falls, which actually was more like a trickle!  Maybe with lots of rainfall, the water fall is more full, but we certainly felt no mist!  We beat the crowd to this spot and ventured onto the rocks for photo ops.  

We (the adults) were thoroughly exhausted, but the kids kept going strong into the evening…I’d love to harness some of that energy!  When we got back to our little mountain house, I laid down for a nap, but was soon interrupted by voices yelling to get my camera.  The guys had taken the kids to walk and play around the grounds and found a gorgeous tree where the sunlight was just perfect for pictures.  After several snapshots, we headed back for dinner.  We ended our evening at the amphitheater with a series of short skits by the five children.  They made us laugh with their antics!

On Saturday, we headed to Sky Top Apple Orchard.  We enjoyed apple cider donuts, samples of apples, roaming through the Bamboo Forest, feeding apples to the goats and sheep, and of course, taking pictures!  I bought some delicious Asian pears!  We went to Hubba Hubba’s BBQ for lunch…yum, yum, then visited The Wrinkled Egg, my favorite gift shop!!

After packing and cleaning the house, we headed to Jump Off Rock on Laurel Park Highway, near downtown Hendersonville.  It offered a beautiful view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and more hiking trails, one of which we hiked.

It was a little sad to have to head home, but we have treasured memories!  We had a marvelous time!  Friends make everything more fun!

 

Just say “No!” October 20, 2010

Filed under: Parenting with Purpose — Michelle Ferguson @ 8:12 pm

Since this conversation has come up between my friends and myself quite a bit over recent months, I thought I would take time to make my thoughts into a blog post.  I was talking with a home schooling friend yesterday who told me she feels very overwhelmed trying to keep up with two different curriculums.  Another friend confessed that her children’s extra curricular activities have stressed her.  I, myself, have felt overwhelmed at times with all that we do.  I home school my children, but I often find that we are not at home!

It made me think:  “Why do we, as moms, do this to ourselves and to our children?”  Sure, we want our children exposed to all sorts of things for the sake of being well-rounded, especially when they are home schooled.  We want to make sure they are not social misfits (ha ha)!  So we sign them up for church activities, volunteer opportunities, preschool, ballet, piano, guitar, horse back riding lessons, art lessons, cheer leading, soccer, football, baseball, basketball, tae kwon do, archery, foreign language clubs, chorus, cooking classes, ice skating lessons, and swim team.  No wonder our kids are frazzled, ill behaved, and falling asleep in the car between activities!  No wonder mom is stressed out, emotionally, physically, and financially!

I am guilty as charged!  Over the summer, I attended a Classical Conversations home school conference, and walked away with one truth that has totally  impacted my life.  “Our children are souls created in the image of God, not products to be measured.”  Wow!  If we daily made the choice to view our children as souls created in the image of God, this would revolutionize our parenting and our priorities!

Our children’s spiritual development should be our number one priority.  How do we nuture their spirits?  We spend time with them!  If we are going to spend quality time with them, we need to learn to just say “No!” to too many outside commitments.  Extra curricular activities are good, but balance is an absolute must!  Sometimes saying “No” means saying “No” to good things.  However, saying “No” can bring freedom, the freedom to spend more time with your children!

How do you spend time together?  My daughter and I do a Bible study typically on Sunday afternoons.  My children and I read out loud (some of my favorite times!), bake, and volunteer together.  Quite often, my husband and I will take our children to local parks and museums.  My kids love a good picnic and actually had one on our front porch this week!  Spending time together strengthens our relationship and allows natural conversation about life and the Lord to happen.

This fall, we have allowed our children one extra curricular activity outside of school and church.   My boys play soccer and Lindsay takes riding lessons.  In addition to their school and church activities, we keep busy, but not too busy for time together at home.  I have discovered that, as Mom, I am the one who needs to protect my children’s schedules.  We may think we can do it all, but it’s just not reality.  If we are honest, I believe we sometimes have our children in so many activities because that’s what we want!  Take time and ask your children what they want to do and listen to them.  Be picky about who gets to set your schedule.  When you turn your children over to coaches and other teachers, you lose say in your schedule.  Ask God to reveal to you your children’s gifts, talents, and interests and then focus on those.  Try different activities at different seasons.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 declares “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”  God is telling us to teach our children about Him and His word.  We do this at home, on walks, lying down and rising up.  We have to spend time together in order to teach and to nurture the souls God has entrusted to us.  It’s okay to just say “No!”

 

Lessons in Litter October 18, 2010

Filed under: The Ferguson Family — Michelle Ferguson @ 4:29 pm

Well, my four-year-old has done it again!  He has swallowed yet another non-food item.  This time he swallowed cat litter.  What am I going to do with that little boy?  You may be thinking, “How in the world did he swallow cat litter?”  Well, that was my exact question for him.  Here is the story I got:

All three kids were playing outside yesterday with a neighborhood friend.  Wait a minute, I need to back up a little bit more…the day before, my husband retrieved cat litter from the cat’s litter box to put over a small oil spill in our driveway.  The kids’ friend decided to pick up that cat litter and carry it to the backyard and put it on the trampoline (I never found out why…maybe to watch it pop up into the air as they jumped?).

As they all jumped, Luke fell mouth first into some of the litter and swallowed it.  Logan came running in to me saying “Emergency!”  (not what Mom wants to hear when her kids are outside playing on a trampoline!).  I went out the back door to find Luke crying.  Then I got the above story out of them eventually.

Through this incident, my husband and I taught our children to stand up for what’s right.  If they see a friend doing something that they think may in any way not be a wise thing to do, they need to stand up and not “go along with the crowd.”  Just because a friend does something does not make it right.  If there is a check in their spirits, they need to speak up, stand up, and stop it!  We explained that the cat litter was dirty and even possibly full of motor oil.  It’s not a good thing to swallow!  As a big sister and a big brother, it is important they they protect their little brother from all kinds of harm because if there is anything around that could possibly be swallowed Luke will manage it somehow.

After praying over Luke, we are watching him for any signs of sickness.  I think he will be fine, but it’s always stressful when a child swallows something he shouldn’t (especially since we are right at a year after his hospitalization for Staph Scalded Skin Syndrome)!  If my kids learn a lesson in litter, then I guess it will be worth it.  God can use anything to teach us, shape us, and hopefully change us for His glory!

 

 

 

Renaissance Festival October 14, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Michelle Ferguson @ 6:21 pm

I took my children to the Carolina Renaissance Festival yesterday.  During our forty-five minute ride, Lindsay read some highlights of the Renaissance period from our study guide to us.  We learned the important phrases:  “privy” means “bathroom” and “Good morrow” means “Good morning.”

Our first show was a pair of comic duelists, Don Juan and Miguel.  Don Juan came onto stage cracking a bull whip.  My boys’ interest was immediately captured.  After whipping a bundle of pasta out of Miguel’s mouth, the two began dueling with swords.  My boys watched intensely.

A Birds of Prey show was next, where we saw a harris hawk, a horned owl, a vulture, and a falcon.  We learned that the horned owl has a soundless flight which helps him sneak up on his prey and also that he actually has no horns, but rather feathers which look like horns.  We also learned that vultures are pretty smart birds.  This vulture cruised through the audience, waddling under our benches looking for food!

Next we watched court take place at the Royal Pavilion  with King Richard and Queen Isabella of England.  The “court” was open for children to ask the King and Queen questions.  Lindsay asked the Queen, “What do you do all day?”  The answer was managing the activities of her home.  (Sounds a bit like all moms…I guess we are Queens!)

We listened to Celtic music played on a harp and hammered dulcimers.  Logan recognized “Greensleeves” as the harpist played.   Both of these ancient instruments produce beautiful music.

The sights, smells, and sounds of the Faire were overwhelming.  We crossed paths with a Green Man, a knight, elves, fairies, and jugglers.  Food ranged from huge turkey legs and stew in a bread bowl to roasted corn and fried dough.  There were camel rides, elephant rides, a petting zoo, a rocking horse ride, a climbing wall, knife throwing, and circus stunts.

We also watched a magic show and a sword swallower.  I think I probably should not have taken my boys to see the sword swallowing thing.  When we got home, I came into the kitchen and found Luke with my huge bread knife out of its protective cover!  Goodness knows what he was going to do with it!

I think the highlight of our visit was the jousting tournament.  We took our seats in the arena and were greeted by the King and Queen.  My boys loved watching the knights talk their talk, then fight it out!  It was all obviously choreographed, but very entertaining!

We had a wonderful time learning about the Renaissance period.  Before we left, Lindsay got to pose with King Richard and Queen Isabella.

 

Soccer Sillies October 6, 2010

Filed under: The Ferguson Family — Michelle Ferguson @ 6:45 pm

My four-year-old Luke is playing soccer for the first time this fall.  He is so cute running around on the field, trying to keep up with the pack of kids around the ball.  He’s usually the one lagging behind the pack.  He’s also the one usually looking to his fans on the sidelines and giving the thumbs-up!

After his very first practice, he told me at home, “I really liked it when you yelled my name.”  What he was saying was that he really like the praise and cheering coming from his mom, dad, sister, and brother!  He melted my heart!

At his practice this week, he was making silly faces at one little girl on his team.  He also picked up the orange cones and placed them on his head for her to see.  (He is the future “class clown,” I’m afraid.)  When he came over to me for a water break, I told him to listen and obey his coach and to stop making silly faces at that little girl.  His response:  “She likes it!  She laughs!”

Oh my…where has my baby gone?

 

Cooking with Apples October 3, 2010

Filed under: The Ferguson Family — Michelle Ferguson @ 7:52 pm

After one of my children pulled our huge bag of apples, which we had picked in the mountains, from the pantry and strategically placed it in the middle of the kitchen floor where I would trip over it, I decided I would get busy and finally make applesauce!  Homemade applesauce is simple and healthy!  I cored, peeled, and quartered about 9 apples of varying sizes, placed them in a pot with  2 1/4 cups of water, and simmered until the apples were mushy and easily broken apart with a spoon.  Generally, you add 1/4 cup of water per apple.  We prefer to eat our homemade applesauce warm and sprinkled with cinnamon.  However, sugar or brown sugar may be added.  (My kids never asked for sweetener, so I didn’t offer it!)  It was delicious!

Later in the week, Luke needed something to do while his brother and sister were reading, so he and I decided to make an apple crisp.  He used my handy “Apple Peeler Corer Slicer” to prepare our apples.  Can you tell how much he loved this job?  We placed the apples in a dish, sprinkled them with nutmeg, and made a topping of 1/2 cup organic flour, 1/2 cup organic sugar, cinnamon, butter, and salt to sprinkle on top.  As it baked, my house smelled like fall!  It made for a yummy dessert!

Luke was so proud of “his” dessert!  Spend some time this fall in the kitchen with your children!  I cannot wait to make my pumpkin chocolate chip bread with them!