In case I haven’t confessed this before, I am a big fan of desserts. I found this butter cookie recipe in a magazine several years ago and seem to always think of making them in the spring. That’s probably because I often tint the icing to create pastel colors – usually a light green, yellow or pink. I can’t bake these too often, though, because I have a hard time eating only one or two at a time!
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 to 4 tbsp milk
Food coloring, optional
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Drop cookies by teaspoonful on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes or until set but not brown. Cool on wire racks.
For frosting, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Blend in enough milk until desired spreading consistency is reached. Add food coloring if desired. Frost cooled cookies.
Note: If you would like, you can place the dough in a cookie press to create shapes.
Our last Mannerly Monday post dealt with being a guest in someone’s home. Today, let’s flip the coin and discuss being a mannerly host. Here are some areas to work on with your children when you have guests in your home.
- When your guests arrive, greet them at the door and invite them into your home. Offer to take any coats and hang them up.
- Make sure they have a comfortable place to sit. Let others take a seat first, while you sit wherever is left.
- With your parent’s permission, take the other children to your room or other area to play. Offer others first choice of what they would like to do. Make sure that you share your toys and games and always play fair. If there are several children, make sure that you are welcoming and friendly to all of them.
- At appropriate times, offer your guests snacks and drinks. Be willing to help your parents serve the family’s guests.
- When guests leave, walk them to the door or to their car and thank them for coming.
We always want to be hospitable and make others feel welcome in our home. The basic premise should be that the guest comes first. If you have suggestions for helping children learn to be good hosts, please share in the comments section.
Last summer one of my daughters began having trouble falling asleep at night. This is a noteworthy occurrence at our house because we have always been blessed in that both girls are good sleepers. She began stressing about lying there trying to go to sleep, but being unable to do so.
I tried everything I could think of – nightlight on, nightlight off; music on, music off; lying on the bed with her for a few minutes; letting her read in bed; staying up a little later – you get the idea. I asked friends and family for suggestions, but came up empty.
Finally, I called my pediatrician, who happens to be the father of five, and asked for help. His suggestion? Put a fan in her room and turn it on medium speed. He said that would drown out any noises, or lack thereof, she may unconsciously be listening for and the sound of the fan would also be soothing. Why didn’t I think of that??
Guess what – it worked like a charm! Almost nine months later and she’s sleeping well. I do occasionally worry that she’ll become dependent on that white noise for falling asleep. I guess she’ll be dragging the thing with her when she goes off to college, but for now – having that fan running every night works for me!
Check out Works for Me Wednesday at We Are That Family for other great tips!
Today I’d like to give a list of self-care skills that we can teach our children. Each child’s ability will vary, so there is not necessarily a set age at which a skill should be mastered. However, when you think your child is ready to try something new, it’s a good idea to spend just a few minutes a day working on it. Both child and mom can get frustrated if too much time is spent focusing on mastering a skill too quickly.
- Putting on clothes
- Putting on shoes
- Opening/closing doors (house and car)
- Brushing teeth
- Locking/unlocking a door (house and car)
- Opening/closing lids
- Brushing and combing hair
- Buckling/unbuckling a seat belt
- Pouring (from one container into another)
As we’ve discussed before, the more fun you can make learning, the better it is. There are dolls you can buy that have parts to help your child learn snapping, zipping and buttoning, but your own or your child’s clothes work just as well. Your child can practice pouring by playing with cups and pitchers in the bathtub or kitchen sink.I’ll go ahead and admit that my six-year-old is not yet tying shoes. In my defense, there’s not one pair of shoes with shoelaces in her closet. Most of her shoes have Velcro closure or are slip-ons; there is one pair of boots that zip up. I do realize that’s not an excuse and plan to tackle tying shoes with her soon. On the other hand, she has almost mastered riding her bike without training wheels!If you have stories about teaching your children self-care skills, or other ideas to add to the list, please feel free to comment. Check back in next Tuesday as we address beginning numbers skills!
It would definitely be a stretch to say that anyone at our house is an adventurous eater. Eveyone (except myself) prefers to stay with the tried and true when it comes to mealtimes.
Every once in awhile, however, I have to throw something out there that is a little different, especially since I’m constantly finding new recipes that I want to try. So, last night for supper, I tried Baked Chicken and Rice with Black Beans, along with some baked eggplant, fruit and bread. I thought the chicken recipe turned out great.
I originally clipped the recipe from a magazine and made a few changes for our tastes; then I received a few additional adaptations from my husband. The test for a new recipe around here is whether it goes into the recipe box after the first try or straight to the trash can. This one made it to the box! Without further ado, here it is.
Baked Chicken and Rice with Black Beans
1 (10-oz) package yellow rice mix (I used Mahatma brand)
1 cup chopped onion (I used red onion, but white, yellow or vidalia would work as well)
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained
1 (10-oz) can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
2 cups (8-oz) grated Monterey Jack cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare rice according to package directions.
Meanwhile, saute’ onion and red pepper in hot oil in a medium skillet over medium heat about five minutes, or until tender.
Combine hot cooked rice, onion mixture, chicken, beans, diced tomatoes and chiles, and 1 1/2 cups cheese in a large bowl. Spoon into a lightly greased 13x9x2 baking dish; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 25 minutes; uncover and bake an additional five minutes or until cheese is melted.
I had some leftover so I will be enjoying that for lunch today! Visit Blessed with Grace for Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and a host of other recipes.
In my post yesterday on Five Mistakes I’ve Made in Parenting, I mentioned what a gift from God forgiveness is. Young children, especially, are so quick to forgive us, whether we’ve spoken harshly, lost our temper or expressed frustration toward them.
They are quick not only to forgive, but also to forget. They’re ready to jump right back into our arms and move on to whatever we wish to do next.
What a great trait for us as adults to have. After all, aren’t we to forgive others as God forgave us? He certainly forgives us over and over and His love for us is never changing.
I’m grateful for God’s gift of forgiveness; that which He extends to me, and the ability He gives me to forgive others, if I only will.
Laura at Heavenly Homemakers hosts Gratituesday; read there to find things for which others are thankful .
Will the perfect parent reading this please raise your hand?
While we all want to be the best moms and dads possible, most of us freely admit to making mistakes in the vital area of parenting. For those times when we know we’ve blown it, how thankful we can be that God made young children so willing to forgive us when we come to them in love and ask for it!
- Attempting to parent my children in my own strength without asking God for His help. I could probably avoid the other mistakes if I could remedy this one each day. Situations arise for which I have no answer, but if my first response is to ask God for His wisdom, I can be sure I’ll head down the right path.
- Assuming I know what happened in a particular situation before getting all the facts. This is the good old case of jumping to conclusions! This was closely related to our latest incident and I hope this has taught me to be slower to react, to give as much thought as needed to the problem, and gather as much information as possible.
- Taking my frustrations over an unrelated difficulty out on my children. This usually means I’m being short-tempered with them and not responding properly to their needs. Because my mind is preoccupied with other things, I don’t take time to deal with my children as lovingly and gently as I should.
- Talking about my girls to other people in front of them. I believe this starts when they’re infants; just innocent, casual conversation with other moms about our kids. However, as they get older and actually listen in, it can become something that makes our children uncomfortable. I was surprised when our older daughter had her feelings hurt because of things I was saying about her. They weren’t negative or embarrassing, but she did not like me discussing her with other moms. I am striving to do better in this area.
- Putting other tasks ahead of spending time with my girls. I need to take time whenever possible to be with them, even if that means putting off other chores. Key times for us are when they come home from school and bedtime; that’s when they seem to have a lot to communicate and I don’t want to miss that. I also want to take time just to do things they want to do, even if it’s as simple as sitting on the couch and reading a book together.
So now you know some of the mistakes I’ve made (glad I don’t have to share them all!) and areas in which I’m trying to get better. I hope by God’s grace to continue to grow in this area of child rearing.
We can all appreciate entertaining guests in our home who are polite and well-mannered.
It’s up to us as parents to train our children how to behave appropriately when they’re visiting others’ homes. Whether we’re going to another family’s house for dinner or sending our children over to play with friends, we hope that they will be on their best behavior.
Here are six guidelines we can teach them beforehand to ensure that they will be invited back!
- Upon entering some one’s home, always wipe your feet. If it’s their custom, remove your shoes and leave them near the front door, but out of the way.
- When in others’ homes, treat their possessions carefully. This would include sitting correctly on the furniture, being cautious around fragile items, and playing properly with toys and games. If you’re unsure if you’re allowed to play with something, always ask permission first.
- As you are aware of the rules of your host family, do your best to follow them. Be courteous when asking for something and remember to say please and thank you.
- Stay in the areas of the home to which you are invited. Don’t wander through another person’s home unless you have been given permission to look around.
- Be sure to clean up any mess you make. If you’ve eaten a meal, clear your place at the table once you have been excused. Pick up and put away any toys you have played with before you leave.
- Before departing, thank the host and/or hostess for inviting you to their home.
Hopefully these ideas can help us and our children be a blessing to those we visit. If you have other tips for being good guests, please share in the comments section.
As I’ve documented here before, our family loves books. I have been reading to the girls since they were born and some of those first books were board books.
Next week I will be attending a baby shower where it has been requested that each guest bring a favorite book for the mom-to-be to put in her baby’s library. I think that is a terrific idea! It got me thinking about what our favorite board books were when my girls were babies. It’s always hard for me to limit myself to just a few favorites when it comes to books, but here, in no particular order, are five of our favorite board books.
- Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill. Well before we had children, I first read this gem to the daughter of a friend of ours and saw how much she loved looking for Spot. It was a big hit with us as well.
- Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt. Lots to touch and feel; makes for a good read and a tactile experience.
- Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram. I got a warm, fuzzy feeling with every reading!
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin and Eric Carle. If I had a dollar for every time I read this one, I’d be a wealthy woman.
- Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton. I was reading this one to my nephew not long ago and he couldn’t get enough of it.
So there’s a selection of what I read to my girls when they were babies. Do you have others to suggest? If so, please share in the comments section.