The Mommy Bloggy

Reflections of a Mother's Heart

Winter Survival Tips March 11, 2011

Filed under: Tips and Tidbits — Michelle Ferguson @ 3:02 pm

Maybe I should have shared this at the beginning of winter versus the end?  Oh well, to share now is better than to not share at all!  As spring quickly approaches on the calendar (although it’s been here in the South since February…I think Punxsutawney Phil got it right this year!), I look forward to warmer weather, being outdoors more, and flu season being over!

In reflecting over our winter, I am so, so thankful to God for His care over us.  Besides a sniffle, a sore throat, and a cough here and there, our family survived winter pretty well this year.  What I mean is…no stomach bug and no missed school days to sickness!  That was not the case the year before when all of us were sick with the stomach bug at one or more points during the season.  Images of my poor husband with a tee shirt tightly tied around his nose and mouth make me laugh now as he struggled to clean up physical evidence of the horrible bug!!

Here are a few things we did this winter to help us stay well.  Disinfect surfaces with antibacterial wipes.  One of my daughter’s jobs is to wipe the bathroom counters down every other day.  Wipe light switches, door knobs, and cabinet hardware as well.  Change hand towels frequently, especially before and after having guests.  Change toothbrushes frequently, especially after a cold, sore throat, or stomach bug!  Use hand sanitizer with a  minimum of 60% alcohol content to kill microbes. All that alcohol can dry out your hands, so keep a good moisturizing lotion handy at bedtime!  Everytime I take my kids into any kind of public place, we cover our hands with sanitizer when we get back into the car.  We also keep our sanitizer on the table with us at restaurants.  I have also been known to carry antibacterial wipes with me in my purse to wipe down grocery carts.  This was especially helpful when my children were little.  Lots of places are now providing sanitizing wipes for their carts…use them!  I read an article recently at FOXNEWS.com that in a recent study of 85 grocery carts in 4 states, 72% tested positive for fecal matter and 50% for E. coli, dirtier than a public restroom!  Yuck!  When I can, I try to plan my grocery trips where I don’t have to take my children.

During the winter months, I give my children a multi-vitamin and at the first onset of a cold, I give them Sambucus, which is an immune booster of black elderberry and echinacea.  It is a tasty syrup with amazing results!  My husband and I also take a whole foods energizer multi-vitamin.

Washing hands frequently is the key to warding off those germs!  Every time we get home from being out, my kids have been trained to wash their hands first thing, even if we just used hand sanitizer in the car.  Hand sanitizer is no replacement for a good soap and water cleansing!

We are bound to meet germs around every corner, but I don’t want to go down without a fight!  Thank you God for the spring time!  And speaking of spring, don’t forget to move your clocks ahead one hour on Sunday because  Daylight Savings time begins!

 

Recycled Valentines February 15, 2011

Filed under: Tips and Tidbits — Michelle Ferguson @ 7:54 pm

When Lindsay and Logan were preschoolers and came home on February 14th with all their cute valentines, I could not bear to throw them away.  The precious handwriting of their little friends’ inexperienced hands and the sweet sentiments were treasured memories I couldn’t bear to part with!  (I am not that sentimental about a lot of things, because I am known to toss a lot!)

So I took those valentines and spread them over contact paper, covered them with another piece of contact paper, and trimmed to even the edges.  Then my children had a valentine’s place mat!  Now that Luke is in preschool and came home yesterday with several valentines, we made a place mat for him!  Lindsay really enjoyed looking at her old preschool place mat and asking who some of the children were and giggling over the cards!  Recycled valentines make the best place mats that can be enjoyed for years!

 

 

Soup and Salad Tuesdays January 5, 2011

Filed under: Tips and Tidbits — Michelle Ferguson @ 3:40 pm

I have decided to try something new for the next couple of winter months.  Tuesday night is now our official “Soup and Salad” night.  Tuesdays are busy days for us because they are the days our Classical Conversations (CC) home school group meets.  We stay after morning classes for lunch, a missions class, and then Play Ball (a sports program).  By the time we get home, it is 3:00, and we are all tired!

To simplify dinner on Tuesday nights, I thought it would be helpful to have already planned and prepared our dinner.  On Monday night, I packed our lunches for CC and put our Tuesday dinner together.  I made a beef stew.  I sauteed our stew beef with an onion in grape seed oil on the stove top, just until lightly browned on the outside.  I chopped carrots, celery, and potatoes and added them along with spices, beef broth, and the browned beef and onions to my crock pot.  Tuesday morning, I put my crock pot on low, and our dinner simmered all day.  The house smelled delicious when we got home from CC, and I think we could have eaten dinner then!

Since dinner was ready, we could eat early (which is always a plus!).  I made a mixed greens salad with orange slices, chopped apple pear, and feta cheese.  I served our beef stew over whole grain macaroni.  The macaroni helped the stew to go further.  Now we have leftovers, enough for dinner tonight!  Our RA’s, GA’s, and Mission Friends start up again for the new year at church, so dinner will be a snap tonight, too!

I do want to share a little more on the apple pear.  I had never heard of this fruit until this week when I was shopping our local grocery super center and came across the display.  I was curious, so I bought two of them.  Well, they were an instant hit at my house!  My kids were begging for more when we all gathered to sample this strange, new fruit.  (New to us at least!)  It is a very crisp, juicy fruit, that tastes more like a pear and looks more like an apple, but is both!  It is delicious, so if you see one, try it!

I must add that my Monday night prep work was possible because my wonderful husband cleaned up the kitchen and got the children in bed.  He liked the beef stew so much that he has agreed to clean up the kitchen every night!  Wow!  What a deal!

Next week, I am going to try a potato soup in my crock pot.  I will be on the lookout in the meantime for a good recipe!

 

Always Use a Straw July 27, 2010

Filed under: Tips and Tidbits — Michelle Ferguson @ 1:30 pm

This is what happens when you don’t use a straw to drink a smoothie!

 

Don’t Miss the Wonder May 24, 2010

Filed under: Tips and Tidbits — Michelle Ferguson @ 7:33 pm

When I started out for my walk this morning, still rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I met a neighborhood friend who was also out walking.  We decided to change our usual routes and walk together.  She shared with me some things on her heart, and I listened.  As we turned onto one street, we both inhaled the sweet fragrance of gardenias.  They were so overwhelmingly powerful, they hit the senses immediately!  We both commented on how wonderful the flowers smelled.

Then I began to think about what wonders of God I miss daily because of busyness, lack of appreciation, or lack of time.  How sad to miss something beautiful, wonderful, and amazing that God made just for us!

When was the last time you watched an ant crawl?  (My three-year-old keeps me accountable to this one!)  They are pretty amazing creatures to watch.  God makes flowers in all different shapes, colors, and scents.  He produces a variety of foods, each with a unique taste.  He placed planet Earth in the perfect position in our universe.  Any closer to the Sun, and we would burn up and any further away, we would freeze.  When water evaporates from the oceans, the salt stays behind, so rain falls as fresh water!  God created birds with hollow bones which helps their lift in flight.

Sitting on my kitchen counter is a Ladybug Land, and my kids and I  have observed the life cycle of ladybugs over the past couple of weeks.  They hatch from eggs into a larvae stage when they look like pieces of black rice with legs.  I was amazed to discover that ladybugs have a pupae stage where they cling to the side of their house and sit dormant for about five days.  When they emerge from the exoskeleton, they are the familiar looking adult ladybugs.  (For fun, up-close nature observation kits and activities, check out http://www.insectlore.com.)

I believe the wonder of wonders is human life.  Since we are made in God’s image, we are set apart as extra special!  There is nothing like holding a newborn baby and feeling her breath of life on your cheek.  The human body is absolutely amazing in how God created it to work.

The Bible declares in Psalm 111:2-3 “The works of the Lord are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them.  His work is honorable and glorious.”  God’s creation will point you to His lovingkindness.  Praise Him!  Take time to notice God’s glory around you, and don’t miss the wonder!

 

Promises, Promises March 16, 2010

Filed under: Tips and Tidbits — Michelle Ferguson @ 8:55 pm

As parents, we want to promise our children the world, but I have learned not to promise my children anything!  I learned that lesson the hard way!  I eventually found out that I could rarely follow through on them (and my children realized that, too!).  I used to promise things at their insistence.  Ever heard, “Do you promise, mom?”

A promise by definition means “a declaration that something will or will not be done or given” (Dictionary.com).  When we make a promise, we are banking on the future, and nobody knows what the future holds except God.  If you promise an afternoon play time at the park and then it rains, you break your promise.  If you promise to finish reading a book with your child and then you get held up on an unexpected phone call, you break your promise.  If you promise to bake with your child and then you get distracted on another project, you break your promise.  If you promise a special trip and then you get sick, you break your promise.

There is no way we can guarantee what is going to happen in our lives, and because of that, there is no way we can make promises.  We cannot predict the weather, bank on our day running smoothly, or know that everyone will be healthy.  Hebrews 13:8 says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”  It’s best to leave the promise making and keeping to Him!

I believe when someone makes a promise, he or she should carry through on it.  If not, their word doesn’t mean a thing.  I want my words to be meaningful and true, so when my kids ask about something, I simply tell them “We will have to see, but I cannot promise you anything.”

 

Speak Up! March 8, 2010

Filed under: Tips and Tidbits — Michelle Ferguson @ 1:26 am

I am a big believer in standing up for what’s right.  My standard of right is the truths found in the Bible.  I am just one person, but I believe God can use me (or anyone) to encourage, confirm, and respectfully share an opinion.  I believe in contacting my congressmen and senators and sharing how I feel on an issue and asking them to take my thoughts into consideration.  I believe in encouraging those who are in leadership and have great influence over many people.

One Saturday in January, I was watching a popular morning news show who had an interview with Jim Daly, the president of Focus on the Family, and Jehmu Greene, president of the Women’s Media Center.  The topic of debate was the Super Bowl ad featuring Tim Tebow, and the interview got ugly quickly!  I was so impressed with how Mr. Daly remained calm, cool, and collected.  The next day, I found Mr. Daly’s blog and sent him a note thanking him for his godly example, his strength under control, and for standing up for family values.  People in high places, especially Christians, are criticized, mocked, and judged unjustly, and God can use us to encourage them.

Recently, my husband and I were watching the Sean Hannity Show.  Sean made a comment to a guest on his Great American Panel that he is teaching his children to save sex for marriage.  He admitted he’s been called “nuts” for taking that stand by his critics who say that’s unrealistic in today’s world.  The next day, I found Sean’s website and e-mailed him a note telling him I did not think he was nuts!  I explained that my husband and I will be teaching our children the same thing.  I also encouraged him to tell his critics that, as Christians, we don’t look to the world for our standard of what’s right and wrong.  The Bible is our standard, and we are to be different!  I thanked him for making a stand on biblical principles.

Whoever the Lord lays on your heart to encourage, do so!  Your husband, your pastor, a neighbor, a boss, or your congressman or Senator.  Speak up…Your words may be just what they need to hear!