Friday, March 20, 2015

Featured Article: Growing Memories

Growing Memories
By Carrie M.

One of my favorite things to do in the spring is plant our vegetable garden with my kids. This is a tradition my husband started with our family as he used to grow a vegetable garden with his mom as a kid. I have heard many stories about him and his mom going out to the garden with a salt shaker and eating tomatoes right off the vine. It is a wonderful way to spend time outside as well as teach them that our fruits and vegetables come from the ground, not just the grocery store. What better way to teach kids about the environment then playing in the dirt?

We started our garden in February with some seeds and a small greenhouse. This is a great way for kids to learn about how plants grow from a tiny seed to a giant (and yummy) plant. Getting them involved from the beginning not only makes them feel involved in something fun but it helps them take ownership in the care for "their" plants. When the weather starts warming up we start getting our soil ready. This is a favorite for my kids because this is when they get to play in the dirt and find lots of critters. Worms and roley polies can entertain a young child for hours. This is also a great learning opportunity for me to teach them why worms are wonderful to have in a garden. Once the soil is ready we plant our seedlings that we started inside and plant some other seeds right in the soil. 

Every day we go out to the garden to see how our plants are doing. WE make sure they have enough water, do some weeding and see if anything is ready to eat. Last year, Case (5 1/2) helped me plant strawberry plants along our garden fence. I am happy to report that no strawberries made it in the house. When my kids plant and pick the vegetables in the garden, they want to eat them. If you have picky eaters, this is a great way to get them to try new things. They all have their favorite things to eat in the garden, so a lot of our harvest doesn't make it in the house. Since they love to eat things right off the vine, I learned many ways to garden without pesticides and growth hormones.

A garden is one of the best ways to teach life lessons on nature, nutrition, responsibility, and God's gifts to us. As my kids grow, so does their love for our garden. Each year they all get a little more involved with our garden. Whether you have acres to work with or a 4x4 area the possibilities are endless. I encourage everyone to take some time to play in the dirt with their kids this spring. You will grow more than just plants, you will grow lifelong memories with your kids. Happy Spring!

Originally printed in the March 2014 MOPS newsletter.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My Favorite Thing: Baby Product

Want to try a new restaurant but not sure where to go?
Are you pregnant and not sure what baby products you really need?
Are you unsure of what to cook on a busy weeknight?

What better place to turn than your fellow MOPS moms for ideas?

Our new feature My Favorite Things - will give you some ideas of where to start.
Each month we will feature a different question and recommendations will be listed by other MOPS moms in the group.

This month's feature:
What is your favorite baby product?
The one you can't live without!

  • Sound machine - Melony S.
  • I honestly can't remember - Alisha D.
  • Flushable wipes - Ashley C.
  • Cloth diapers - Jessica F.
  • Ergo baby carrier - Jane H.
  • Bouncer - Stephanie H.
  • Sound machine - Emily H.
  • Binky - Heather J.
  • Sound machine - Stephanie L.
  • ?? Diapers! - Alicia P.
  • Bottles - Lindsay R
  • Moby - Amy S.
  • Binky clips and diapers - Raychel V.
  • Teething tablets, gas medicine - Laura W.
  • Wipes - Kelly R.
  • Diapers! - Erin B.
  • Zipper sleepers - Karla T.
  • Shout color catcher - Julie K.
  • Boppy - Angela A.
  • Desitin (overnight) - Sara B.
  • Swaddle Me blanket - Carrie M.
  • Ergo baby carrier - Nicki F.
  • Baby Moby - Sara K.
  • Moby wrap - Sarah L.
  • First baby - Aden and Anis blankets, second baby - Baby K-tan wraps - Nicole P.
  • Wipes - Lou Ann C.
  • Pizza cutter - so not a baby item but my favorite tool to cut up many toddler sized portion quickly - Rachael K.

Want to contribute your ideas for our blog or newsletter? Check your MOPS folder for the My Favorite Things feature!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

What is Your MOPPET Learning: March

While we are enjoying some time with other mothers, the kids are busy in their classes as well. 

Each month we will post a sneak peak at the MOPPETS curriculum for the 2012-13 year.  

This year the kids will be studying the Fruit of the Spirit curriculum which has been a favorite in the past.

All kids in the Otters, Lions, Ostrich, and Giraffe classes will participate in a Bible lesson, craft, game, music, play time, short video related to the Bible lesson, (such as VeggieTales) and snack.

Here is a peek at the curriculum for the month:

March- Faithfulness
Song of the month- "Every Promise in this Book of Mine" Start practicing songs (of your choice) for the Mom's end of the year brunch
3/5-Lesson- God wants us to put our faith in him.
Story- Easter
Verse- Matthew 28:6a He is not here; he has risen.

For a list of the entire MOPPETS Curriculum for the year please check out the "About MOPPETS" tab.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Featured Article: A Spring Renewal

A Spring Renewal
By Sara K.

As the days get longer and the sounds of chirping birds fill the morning air, my whole demeanor changes, knowing spring is near. The warm sun rejuvenates my soul and fills me with contentment. Spring represents new growth. From the leaves forming on tree branches to the flowers starting to bud. I love watching everything become green and plush after a long winter. As I open the windows to let light and air filter in, I picture my house taking a deep breath and smiling too. As a mom I make daily mistakes with my kids. My patience grows think as the kinds energy gets all bundled up from the months of being cooped up in the house. They feed off of my sun deprived mood, and bickering begins before the coffee is often made. It casts a dark cloud of glooma on our day, one that I am shameful to say I often start.

The mornings are always a time of stress in our house. I was upset last week; we were running low on time, groceries, and patience. Milk accidentally spilled when my oldest two kids were in a squabble over the position of the cereal container. I started to open my mouth, upset that, I would have to figure out what they would eat before school now that all of the milk was gone, and I used the last of the bread for lunches, not to mention we had 15 minutes before the bus would be making its way up the street. But before I let anything come out, I saw my kids, the way they cringed as they looked at me, bracing for a verbal lashing that was sure to be the result of their tug of war with the now ruined box of cereal. They were gearing up for a war, ready to come back with a finger point blame, after my lecture was complete. I stopped dead in my tracks, ashamed of the look I saw, on those three faces the fact that they cringed. I took a deep break, asked God for forgiveness and then said it's OK, and started cleaning it up while brainstorming another breakfast option. So many times, I have let the mishap of spilled milk set my day. But who does that help, and yelling out at my kids while I'm frustrated certainly doesn't make me feel better. After the kids left with a hug and an apology from me for yelling at them during past morning disputes, I decided I needed a new plan.

Spring helps me remember that we are made new in Christ. I am taking on this spring with a renewed hope and attitude. With the new season approaching I have decided to choose joy. I have made an intentional effort to start each day with a renewed attitude to be happy. I want to start each day like the sun and shine warmth down on my kids. god has given me such a special job. I have three little people running around this world who call me mom. These three sets of eyes depend on me, for my support, mood, love, reassurance as they learn to figure out who they are. My attitude reflects the mood in my house. I have decided to strive for that joyous feeling when the air warms my skin and I see daffodils sprouting from the base of the tree. I was able to put this to the test this morning while tow of my kids quietly ate breakfast, my youngest didn't want anything to do with food. He was even letting the neighbors know his intentions with his loud voice. But I kept my positive attitude and repeated his options while given time to process. The others remained positive as well, following my footsteps and he turned around. A situation which could have easily soiled the morning, dissolved. While it might not turn out the same way next time, I am thankful for God who continues to show me the importance of a sunny attitude even during a rain shower.

Originally published in the April 2014 Indian Creek MOPS Newsletter.