It's all about R-E-S-P-E-C-T

June 9th, 2011 | Posted by Bryn in Kids - (Comments Off on It's all about R-E-S-P-E-C-T)

The part of parenting that I know is necessary, but that I definitely don’t enjoy, is discipline. Some days I feel like the majority of my interactions with my kids involve breaking up fights and telling them to “knock it off” or “go stand in the corner” (our version of time-out).

Most days, though, my kids play well together and we all have a lot of fun. I really don’t have a lot to complain about when it comes to my kids’ behavior.

Lately I’ve been trying something new. When I’m talking about my kids to other adults and I know they’re listening, I’m always very complimentary about certain skills.

"Go stand in the corner!"

Like I’ll say, “TT is really great at helping me with his sisters. He’s getting to be such a big boy.”

Or “Peach always listens to me. She’s a good listener.” Then later on, TT will ask if he’s a good listener too. And I get to say, “Yes, of course you’re a good listener too. I love it when you listen.”

It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more I talk about them having good behavior, the more I see it in action. Try it out, and let me know if it works.

We talk a lot about respect in our house. Respect for all adults, for each other, for God, even for their toys (I don’t want them turning into Sid from Toy Story). Every time I treat them respect, look them in the eye and talk to them, I see it coming out of them as well. I must be an example of respect and patience for my children.

Do you have any other tips on getting kids to be respectful?

You're Gonna Miss This

June 6th, 2011 | Posted by Bryn in Kids - (Comments Off on You're Gonna Miss This)

When I was in college I was a big country music fan, and I still really enjoy country songs because they all seem to tell a story. One of my favorites came out a few years ago – “You’re Gonna Miss This” by Trace Adkins.

You’re gonna miss this
You’re gonna want this back
You’re gonna wish these days
Hadn’t gone by so fast

These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you’re gonna miss this 

When we first got married, we had a little one bedroom apartment with the shag carpet. I’d get home from class and prepare crappy simple suppers because at 21, I didn’t know how to cook at all. We prayed before our meals, and dreamed about what it’d be like to own a house, get three dogs (NOT my idea), and have 10 children. Yes. Ten.

Six years later, here we are, proud parents of three children so far [and zero dogs.]:

TT

TT – The Bashful Boy

TT is our oldest, a shy three and a half year old boy who loves race cars, four wheelers, his little sisters and just being outside. He was the only kid who cried on the first day of preschool because he wanted to be home with his mom. 🙂 TT already has an attitude and a good sense of humor. He’s “TT” because when Peach was 14 months old, she started calling him that. His name doesn’t even have a T in it.

Peach

Peach – The Wild Card

Peach, our two year old princess, is our wild card. She gives the most hilarious dirty looks, the biggest smiles, and has been feisty since she was born. She started climbing furniture before she even learned how to walk. We’re going to be in trouble when she’s a teenager. She’s “Peach” because that’s the only princess her dad could think of… thank you Nintendo.

Vanilla

Vanilla – The Mellow Miss

Vanilla, our youngest daughter, is just five months old, but she’s already laid back and sweet. She really gets a kick out of her older brother and sister, and she goes with the flow really well. She’s “Vanilla” because that’s what her brother named her when I was 20 weeks along.

Someday, I’m going to look back on these days – when I had three children under the age of four, and these are going to be the “good ol’ days” – as my mom would say. Although I’m almost sure I won’t miss the tantrums, whining, funky diapers, telling them to “knock it off” 50 times a day, etc… there are some things I KNOW I’ll miss when they’re gone.

  1. Movies and a picnic with popcorn on the living room floor
  2. Watching our parents form relationships with each of our kids as individuals
  3. Solos in the van to the chorus to “Love Will Hold Us Together”
  4. Their faces and laughter when we blow bubbles outside (what is it with kids and bubbles?)
  5. When TT asks if I’ll lay down for a nap with him
  6. Random kisses on the shoulder, leg, or wherever Peach can reach in that moment
  7. The way Vanilla looks at my eyes and not my mouth to see if I’m smiling
Okay, this list could go on for pages and pages, but the point is – I better enjoy these moments while I can. Pretty soon TT is going to be embarrassed to give me a hug when I drop him off at school. And Peach is eventually going to think singing in the van with her mom is lame. And Vanilla will be crawling, then walking around and climbing the walls with the other two maniacs all too soon. I’m cherishing today.

“Children have neither past nor future;
they enjoy the present, which very few of us do.”
Jean de la Bruyere

Summertime and Cloth Diapers

June 2nd, 2011 | Posted by Bryn in Living Simply - (Comments Off on Summertime and Cloth Diapers)

Aaahhhh. Summertime. I know I’ll be sick of the heat by August, but for now… it’s just peachy. Playing outside all day and into the evening, the smell of freshly mown grass, and CLOTH DIAPERS!

Oh how I love cloth diapering in the summertime. It’s so much easier to get cloth diapers smelling clean and fresh when I hang them to dry on the line outside.

My backyard clothesline

For those who remember cloth diapering “back in the day” with those huge diaper pins and rubber pants, cloth diapering sure has evolved since then! I use pocket diapers, which consist of the covers – shown in the picture – and microfiber inserts that are stuffed inside. The covers are a waterproof shell that’s still so soft on the outside and a suedecloth or fleece inner to keep baby’s bottom dry. They fasten with either hook and loop (like velcro) or snaps and are almost as easy as a disposable.

Brands of Pockets (that I have)

BumGenius

There are several different brands to choose from. Pockets are one of the more expensive routes to cloth diapering, but they are more convenient than some of the other available methods. My favorites are my 6 bumgenius one-size pocket diapers. I’ve had them for almost a year and they still look brand new. The newest ones retail for $17.95 apiece for the solid colors and $19.95 apiece for the cool “artist series” which have several adorable prints. You can order them online at CottonBabies or get them delivered free in the Quincy area at Cloth and Carry.

Kawaii

Kawaii One-Size Heavy Duty diapers are my second favorite of the cloth diapers I have. They are also one-size pocket diapers (meaning they snap down to change sizes for different size babies, so baby can use them from about 2-3 months till they’re potty trained). They have held up perfectly – still look brand new after nearly a year, but they run a bit larger than bumgenius, so they are a little loose on my 5 month old 14 pound daughter, even at the smallest setting. They’re perfect for my two year old daughter though, and the inserts that come with it are fantastic. They retail for $8.99 apiece at Cloth and Carry.

Nubunz

The last kind of pockets I have is Nubunz. They were the most inexpensive, and they work well, but they definitely don’t look quite as nice on the inside as the other two. Instead of suedecloth on the inside, they are microfleece, which still wicks moisture away from baby’s bottom, but pills up like crazy after only a few washes. It doesn’t affect how the diaper looks, though and they still look great on the outside. Nubunz run about the same size as bumgenius, so my youngest daughter is able to wear these with nearly no leaks. They are on sale right now for only $4.50 per diaper at Nubunz.com, a price that can’t be beat for new diapers! Their website looks crappy and kind of shady, but I’ve ordered from them twice and gotten these great diapers in a reasonable amount of time.

Try it out! And get some good detergent!

If you just want to try cloth diapering, order one pocket diaper and just try it out. It’s not as bad as it seems! One more super-important thing about cloth – get the right detergent to wash your diapers, otherwise your baby could end up with a wicked rash. I had no idea what I was doing when I started, and I got a “free and clear” detergent that gave my older daughter a terrible rash. I’ve had good luck with Rockin’ Green. If you’re just trying cloth for the first time, you can get samples of this awesome detergent here. Our local cloth diaper web store – Cloth and Carry – also has several types of “natural laundry” detergents, so if Rockin’ Green doesn’t work for you, there are other options.

If you have questions about starting cloth diapering, please feel free to comment, and I’ll get back to you via email as soon as possible.

Easiest Hummus Recipe Ever – with pictures!

May 28th, 2011 | Posted by Bryn in Recipes - (Comments Off on Easiest Hummus Recipe Ever – with pictures!)

I had a friend tell me that she wanted to learn how to make her own hummus, and it’s so easy that I had to post my “recipe”… It’s not authentic Greek hummus or a gourmet recipe by any means, but it sure is tasty!

First, gather your tools and ingredients: Colander with a bowl underneath, can opener, garbanzo beans, extra virgin olive oil, Cavender's Salt-Free all purpose Greek seasoning, salt & pepper, and a food processor

Next, open the can of garbanzo beans and pour them carefully into the colander, saving the juice from the can in the bowl.

Pour beans into food processor (Mine's a Tupperware Quick Chef Food Processor and Chopper) - I have the chopping blade in there now.

Add about two tablespoons of olive oil (I used my 1/4 c. measuring cup and filled it halfway)

Add a generous sprinkling (probably at least a couple teaspoons) of Cavender's Salt-Free All Purpose Greek Seasoning. I found it at our local Hy-Vee.

Put the lid on and process until almost smooth.

Take out the regular blade and put in the whipping blade

Remember that liquid you saved from the can of beans? You may want to add some of that in depending how smooth you like your hummus.

Whip the mixture until it's smooth and the texture you like. Then make sure you TASTE IT! You may need to add some salt and pepper, cumin, or a little garlic powder. Experiment by adding just a little until you find out what you like.

Once you get it tasting the way you want - put it in a bowl and dip tortilla chips or fresh veggies. You can also spread it on a pita with lettuce and black beans or put it on a tortilla and roll it up with a little bit of lunch meat. It's good for you and very versatile, so you can eat with many different things. Enjoy!

Oprah's Favorite "Things"

May 25th, 2011 | Posted by Bryn in Living Simply - (Comments Off on Oprah's Favorite "Things")

I just read a blog post entitled “How Oprah Winfrey Implicitly Endorses Consumerism and Materialism”

Read more: http://money.blogs.time.com/2011/05/24/how-oprah-winfrey-implicitly-endorses-consumerism-and-materialism/#ixzz1NQepkOdz

In that post, Brad Tuttle talks about how Oprah is NOT compensated for any of her endorsements (you know, her “favorite things”), so people want them even more because they know that she just likes them. But is that what “living your best life,” as Oprah says, is really about?

I stopped watching Oprah a few years ago when she started getting into The Secret. It seems like that goes along with her feel-good consumerist attitude. It’s like she’s saying that life is all about doing what’s best for ME, doing what feels good for ME. doing only what I want to do – all the time. I honestly don’t believe that thinking of yourself all the time and buying things makes anyone truly happy.

At my funeral (I know, it’s sort of morbid to imagine your own funeral, but anyway), I really don’t want people to say, “Bryn was so great because she had a really nice car and an awesome cell phone and platinum dipped dinner plates.” If that’s all someone will have to say about me, I will have lived an embarrassingly self-absorbed life. I’m hoping they’ll say something like, “She really changed people’s lives for the better. She was a woman of God. She spent her life humbly serving others.”

Real happiness comes from connecting with others – our families, a significant other, friends, and God. Everyone feels uplifted when communities come together to help someone in need. The tragedy going on in Joplin, Missouri right now is a prime example of how people just want to help and serve others. Thousands of people are donating cash, essential items, and blood so that those trying to get their lives back together in Joplin can succeed. And it gives us all that warm fuzzy feeling inside to think about how people can come together in the midst of tragedy.

When it comes to “living your best life,” think about what’s really important.

Oprah, I know people are devastated that your show is over, but I’m sure some other narcissistic hollywood richer will come along soon to tell us all that our possessions make us happy… but they’ll be wrong too.

…and I forgot!

May 24th, 2011 | Posted by Bryn in Kids - (Comments Off on …and I forgot!)

When I was a little kid, my mom had little notes and drawings we had made hanging on the inside of her cherry kitchen cabinets. I remember she had cut out a little poem from a newspaper that read:

“On Judgment Day, if God should say,
‘Did you clean your house today?’

I will say, ‘I did not,
I played with my children, and I forgot.'”

It still hangs in that same cabinet today, and I try to look at it almost every time I’m there. I have no idea who wrote it, but I’ll give credit if someone can tell me who did.

I always remember this little poem so I can keep my priorities straight. Our home will never be the perfect, put-together house that I would like. But I do cherish my children. Don’t get me wrong, I have days when I wake up in the morning and wonder how I will ever get through the day with three kids under the age of four. I lose my cool on occasion quite often, and I pray for patience all the time… I just want to have patience right now.

For now, I can only concentrate on the actual cleanliness of my house (You know, clean, but messy). Of course my house is going to be messy. As soon as I get one thing put away, the kids have already dragged out three other things… in a never-ending cycle.

I have quite a few friends – those Type A personalities – whose children’s toy rooms are decorated and organized absolutely perfectly. Anytime we visit their houses, I come home and think, why can’t I do that? Why can’t I be more organized?

And why can’t I? I’m not that person. I’m not naturally organized. And it doesn’t drive me all that crazy to have the kids’ toys everywhere. At the end of the day, seeing the toys strewn about the living room makes me realize how blessed I am to be able to stay home and just play with my children.

Playing together can be such a good learning tool. I always try to make everything seem like play for my children – even going to the grocery store. Kids like it when you just talk to them, and listen to their stories. My three-year-old loves going to the grocery store because he knows it means he gets to pick things out and talk to his mom the whole time.

My own mother did this… I can remember “helping” her bake and cook, and looking back, I realize that it probably took her ten times longer to get things done when we helped. She really has a way of making people, children in particular, feel special. I really hope I’ve inherited that skill at least a little so my kids can grow up knowing that they are a real priority in my life.

So, YES – I played with my children today, and forgot to straighten up my house. I think God will understand.

The "Simple" in Simply Fulfilled

May 20th, 2011 | Posted by Bryn in Starting the journey - (Comments Off on The "Simple" in Simply Fulfilled)

On my last post, I talked about what “Simply Fulfilled” means. I really focused more on the “fulfilled” part, but the “simply” part is equally important.

Yesterday, I went through my clothes and filled two garbage bags with clothes that I no longer need or want. And I still have a closet full of clothes.

There are many times throughout each day when I feel like I don’t have all the things I’d like to have – our house needs renovating, we still have an analog TV, and we don’t have a playroom for our kids, so their toys take over the living room.

But compared to people living in other countries, what we have is a mansion. We ALWAYS have plenty of delicious food for three healthy meals a day. We ALWAYS have more clothes than we know what do with. And at my house, we ALWAYS have clutter.

Ugh. The clutter is what drives me totally crazy… so here’s another goal for this blog – I’m hopping on the DECLUTTER train. My closet, my house, my file cabinet, and my brain all need decluttering. And away we go!

Starting this blog over. Again…

May 17th, 2011 | Posted by Bryn in Starting the journey - (Comments Off on Starting this blog over. Again…)

I have three kids, and not a lot of extra time. After two separate failed attempts at regularly blogging, here we are. Starting this blog over… again. Hopefully it’ll work out better this time around.

So what does “Simply Fulfilled” even mean? It is my goal for my life. I feel like this culture is constantly pulling everyone to do more, make more money, have more stuff, go on bigger vacations, get the latest fancy cell phone, etc. But is that what life is really all about? Do all those “things” really fulfill me?

My goal is to let what is really important in my life fulfill me – my relationship with my husband, the laughter of my children, and the love and mercy I feel every day from Jesus Christ. Hopefully this blog will help me to get some thoughts out there, and keep me in line with what I’m trying to do.

I’m sure there’ll be some mommy rants on here as well. Children always keep things interesting. Enjoy.

Welcome to Simply Fulfilled!

September 17th, 2010 | Posted by Bryn in Starting the journey - (Comments Off on Welcome to Simply Fulfilled!)

Welcome to Simply Fulfilled, a blog about the challenges I’m facing as a married Christian mother in a growing secular world. Although I always try my best to be “simply fulfilled” with what God has given me, I have many days when I’m not as grateful as I should be.

I also hope to include some recipes, various crafts, and projects as well as different suggestions on how to be frugal with money. My husband and I recently completed Financial Peace University (for more info, visit daveramsey.com) and we are working on getting out of debt. So frugality is a real part of my life right now as well.

I hope you find my blog to be interesting at least, to get a laugh or two, and maybe even to be inspiring at rare moments. Thanks for reading and check back soon for more updates!