Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Parable of the Bread

I decided to make some bread and pizza crust today. Everything was going fine--ground my wheat, quinoa, buckwheat and spelt. Put my other ingredients in my mixer with the freshly ground flour and began to let it mix.
It's about a 1 1/2 hour process--start to finish. This is how my bread usually looks. It's whole wheat with other grains and apparently that type of bread is prone to cracking, but I assure you, it is delicious and moist and healthy! I'm working on the aesthetics.

Here's where the problems started tonight:

I had 3 young observing children sitting on my counter--a major distraction.

I added wheat too hastily, so I had to rectify this by adding more water. A lot more.

After I about had it right, I realized I forgot a really important ingredient: salt. Uh-oh. )Salt helps to control the yeast, not to mention, add flavor. Pretty key in this recipe.)

I added some more water with partially dissolved salt to it, and then had to add more wheat. I soon discovered that I had added too much water from the previous mistake. So I kept adding flour.

Because of the amounts I was adding, I figured that I needed more honey and oil.

Can you tell this was becoming a disaster? I had made so many mistakes in my recipe.

I thought about trashing it and starting over, but I kept working with the dough to make it work. I ended up baking it, and it turned out fine (mostly) though it tasted slightly different, but definitely still edible. Because of all the extra water and wheat, I ended up with an extra loaf of bread and a really large pizza--luckily, there's 8 people in my family to eat up the extra.

I realized how much of this relates to life. We venture out to accomplish something, or are simply trying to make it through today, and so many things go wrong. We make a lot of mistakes. Thankfully, we can start over or we can fix the mistakes we've made. Obviously, as with the bread, it would have been better to not make the mistake in the first place. You may be filled with regret, guilt and sorrow, but you may turn it all into happiness, peace, joy and learning.

How often are we distracted by the world?
How many times do we forget to do something really important (like add a key ingredient, perhaps)?
Do we over compensate in another area in our life to make up for something lacking, only to have to go back and fix the original problem (my water and wheat)?

No matter what we've done wrong, there is ALWAYS a way to rectify it. An apology, a change of direction, a change of heart and healing through the Atonement. Sometimes, you may need a complete do-over; other times, you just need to fix what you've started. It is NEVER too late to change, and you have never gone too far to repent.
"However late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don't have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have NOT traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower that the infinite light of Christ's Atonement." -Jeffrey R. Holland
I LOVE this quote. I think it is perfect. Have faith and keep becoming better every day. It's a process, not an event. Here's another quote to illustrate my point:
"Seek heavenly guidance one day at a time. Life by the yard is hard; by the inch — it's a cinch. Each of us can be true for just one day — and then one more, and then one more after that, until we've lived a lifetime guided by the Spirit, a lifetime close to the Lord, a lifetime of good deeds and righteousness." -President Thomas S. Monson

As with my bread, it turned out just fine in the end, even with the numerous errors I made. See?

Don't give up.

Keep trying.

It will all work out.

© Wendy 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

When 'Sorry' Isn't Enough

I'm sure we have all had things that have happened in our lives that have required an apology--either from us or to us. These can be really heartbreaking, frustrating, and life-altering experiences. Regardless, there are times when 'sorry' is not adequate to fix the wrong or heal the gaping wound left behind.

In my life, there have been more than one of these occasions. Sometimes, there has been an apology. Other times, there has been no acknowledgement by the other person that something wrong had even happened.

In one such occasion, from which I am still trying to heal and gain closure, I even emailed the person about all of my feelings and ways I had been hurt over many years of my life. I won't go into the awful details, but for those who know me well, you may know what I'm talking specifically about (though not all of the details). For me, it was good to get all of those thoughts, feelings and emotions out, but the hurt was never quite resolved. The person did not even acknowledge my email. Never said I'm sorry. Never replied. Never called. Nothing. Nada.

I felt (and still feel) like it was such an email that needed, no, required a response, if not a discussion, or at least a simple "I'm sorry." I know it was received, as I still get mindless forwards all the time from this same person, as well as a few group messages (short, one-liner types).

It's a pain that resides deep in my soul. An emptiness and void that I am trying to fill. A broken heart that I am trying to heal. A relationship (or lack of) that I am trying so hard to understand. A burden that needs to be lifted. A sense of abandonment that even as an adult I carry.

But really, an "I'm sorry" would only be a start in this situation. It could in no way make up for the pain, suffering, fear, anxiety, feelings of self doubt, low self worth, and lost time and lost relationship. Though, I know that this person is likely not even capable of an apology at this point in their life, I still have hope for this person, and for me.

I have been learning and growing and expanding in my knowledge of the Atonement of my Savior Jesus Christ. He is the Healer. He knows all of the pain, sorrow and suffering that I specifically and individually have felt, as he does know for each person who has lived or ever will live upon this earth. Through Him, I can be healed. You can be healed.

The Atonement is not just for those who have done something wrong and need to repent and receive forgiveness. It is also for those who need to be healed from a wrong. I have forgiven this person (I think, I may still be working on it), but I still have the wounds that are healing. This person, even apologizing, is incapable of undoing what has been done and healing another person. Only Jesus Christ can fully heal a person. The healing can take place, but what's done can never be undone.There are consequences to every action--good or bad.

I hope, that for the sake of this person, that they can come around and truly repent--which may require many apologies and a lot of time, healing and learning.

I recently read a really tremendous book by Lloyd D. Newell (he's the red-haired guy that does Music and the Spoken Word with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Sunday mornings!). It's called "The Gospel of Second Chances." (Incidentally, I have a review coming soon on this book.) There were so many things in this book that I loved, but especially the parts about the Atonement--which may actually be the whole book.  The main point of it is to instill a belief in second chances (and also in third or fourth chances), not only for yourself, but also for others.

Newell states:
 "The Atonement of Jesus Christ fully compensates for all unfair disadvantages suffered during mortality, including never having the opportunity of hearing the fullness of the gospel, or never fully learning or understanding it, having been "blinded by the craftiness of men" (D&C 76:75)." (p. 49)
My favorite part is that first line that says the Atonement "fully compensates for all unfair disadvantages suffered during mortality." Isn't that a great message? I also love the other part where there will be such leniency for those who have been confused by the world or who have not been able to learn about or understand the gospel. I think the Atonement is a lot more beautiful than we can even imagine. A miracle, for sure, and a tender mercy even more.

I know that in the end, everything is going to work itself out. There will be repentance and forgiveness; there will be healing. It is our duty to forgive others and ourselves, and to then rely on our Savior's Atonement to fill in the many blanks when sorry is not enough.

© Wendy 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Building Relationships With Your Kids

Here's the thing. The kids were out of school yesterday. If you're a mom, you probably understand that that means crazy, loud, busy day. That's exactly what it meant for me, and then add screaming, tattling, messes, fighting (really--it was the kids, not me!) and a baby that was super grouchy and clingy, and a husband that was working late (again).

The day left me feeling overwhelmed, exhausted--mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally--and completely under-qualified to run a house.

I wanted to run away.

Far away.

I wanted to cry--especially after we had put the kids in bed, and the baby was awake screaming and flailing on the floor in what looked like a tantrum, or like she was in pain. Who soothed her? Not me. I didn't have the capability to do it. My husband did. He shooshed in her ear and told her it was okay as he swayed and patted her and she was soon asleep.

I felt like a terrible mom and like I was not doing anything right.

Can you relate?

I emailed one of my confidants and expressed some of this frustration. She always has the best encouragements and reminders, and to her, I am eternally indebted. Basically, it's about love.

The most important thing you can do is to simply love your kids, and make sure they know you love them. There is a peace in dropping all of these things that we think we have to do because society, or our neighbors, or our family, or our friends tell us we have to do. Do we have to make cutesy lunches? What about making sure your kids are dressed like models with perfectly done hair? Do your kids have to be involved in every dance class, sporting event, music class or other activity available? Is it the end of the world if you don't read to your kids daily (and let them watch TV instead)? What about a perfectly clean house?

While some of these are fun and in moderation can be great, it is not the most important thing. Oh, the house part--yes, being perfectly clean is not important, but you need to keep it at least to pass health codes! You need to provide for basic needs of food, clothing, safety and love. All of the extras are exactly that--extra.

I read and reviewed a book recently that I loved and really helped simplify and put it all into perspective. I really recommend it--"Deliberate Motherhood: 12 Key Powers of Peace, Purpose, Order and Joy" compiled by The Power of Moms. It was the first book that I've read about motherhood that did not leave me feeling completely overwhelmed and inadequate. Instead, I was filled with simplicity and peace, realizing that all I really need to do is focus on loving my kids.

Through really loving your child, you will then be able to have good relationships with them. I think there are a few ways to love them that will help them to know they are loved.
  • Spend time one-on-one together (this is hard for me because there are lots of kids that need that time). You can do this at bedtime, on special dates, or doing something they enjoy. 
  • Ask questions and be interested in what they are doing at school, their friends, things they need.
  • Be present in their life. Support them at school activities, be home when they are home, be willing to stop being on the computer, or phone and really communicate.
  • I also think that spending time together as a family doing fun activities will also strengthen the bond between you and them, and the whole family as one unit.
Patience. That is really what I need to work on more. I joke that I have a lot of patience, but by the end of the day, it is gone, and I become a lunatic. Any patience suggestions?

And, remember to focus on now...one day at a time.

Luckily, school was back in session today, and my day was a lot calmer. Tender mercies.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Quinoa 'Pancakes'

Okay, so my mother-in-law made up this recipe, I follow it but often change some things/amounts. My kids mostly like it, and it is so good. Here it is:

Cook quinoa as directed (as I said before, I actually do 3 cups of water to 1 cup of quinoa. Oh, and sometimes, I add quinoa and boiling water in a thermos and let it cook over night).


approx. 1½ cups cooked quinoa,
1 tsp cinnamon
1 TBSP flour (this can be rice four, buckwheat, whole wheat, etc)
2 eggs
1 TBSP jam (I use the Ed Smith brand from Costco, or whatever flavor/brand you like)
1-2 tsp Grapeseed oil

Stir well, and then cook on a pre-heated pan in a little grapeseed oil. When the edges look a bit drier, or browned, flip over and cook on the other side.

After it's done (it may be crumbly), you can put jam or jelly on it, agave nectar, syrup or, my favorite, raw honey.

If you try this, let me know how it works out!!

Quinoa is a great food because it is super easy to digest, has many amino acids and is a good protein source. Also, raw honey can help with allergies and also has many amino acids as well.

© Wendy 2013

Quinoa Stir-Fry

I like stir fry, some of my kids do too, some tolerate it and some won't touch it. But, it's super easy and healthy. Here's what you do:

Cook quinoa according to the instructions on the package (however, the instructions say 2 cups of water and 1 cup quinoa, but I actually do 3 cups of water to 1 cup of quinoa).

Cook chicken (for my family of 8, I cook 5-7 frozen tenderloins, but you could do more or less or none depending on your preferences). I like to season it with garlic powder, and then cut into smaller pieces.

When that is done, I add frozen vegetable stir-fry mixes to the chicken (2 bags). There's different varieties to choose from: broccoli, asparagus, sugar snap pea, etc. I usually mix a couple of different blends together.

Add desired amount of soy sauce and let cook until completely heated.

Serve stir-fry mix over quinoa (great rice substitute!) and enjoy. That's it. Pretty easy, right?

© Wendy 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The 'Ultimate' Career

A wise and beautiful friend shared this quote with me the other day:
"The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only - and that is to support the ultimate career. " -C.S. Lewis 
Think about that for a minute.

The "ultimate career" = motherhood (and/or fatherhood, being a parent.)

Our family was watching an LDS General Conference talk on Monday. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf was addressing the world as he talked about people having regrets when they passed on from this life into the next. He said that the biggest regrets were:

  1. I wish I had spent more time with the people I love.
  2. I wish I had lived up to my potential.
  3. I wish I had allowed myself to be happier.
He then tells us to:
  1. Resolve to spend more time with those we love.
  2. Resolve to strive more earnestly to become the person God wants us to be.
  3. Resolve to find happiness, regardless of our circumstances.
How do the quote and the talk relate to each other? Given that I am a mom, and am living the ultimate career, the regrets and resolutions apply directly to me. Often mothers wish away the time, hoping for easier, less demanding days. However, we need to be happy now, with those we love, and trying to be what God wants us to be.

I think the world and Satan want to make moms feel like their job is lesser, or of little or no importance. Mothers are told that if they don't work, then they not as smart, or not worth as much as a man or other working women. 

The family is being eroded by a number of lies, misconceptions, and low morals right now. People are evolving to think that having children outside of marriage is okay, living together unmarried is okay, and all manner of other sins (which if you don't agree with or are tolerant of, than you are viewed as a bigot, or hater, etc). God is in charge. Not the government. Not man. Family, and marriage between a man and a woman, is ordained of God. What is more important than family? Nothing.

Families are meant to provide safety, learning, and love. My job as a mother is more important than any monetary gain or any public accolades I could receive as a career driven woman. What will fame and fortune mean when I am lying in my death bed? What will be important to me when that time comes? I hope that I will not find myself regretting and wishing for the days of spending time with my children, grandchildren, family and friends. I hope that I will not have wasted all of my days stressing over things that do not matter and looking for happier days ahead when I need to seek to be happy now.

Being a mom is living up to my greatest potential. I am a teacher, a nurturer, a doctor of body and spirit, a psychologist, an accountant, a problem-solver, a cook, a guide, a comforter, a disciple of Christ, I am a mother. There is no other job that allows you to learn and become as much as being a mother. Tending children, neighbors, friends, the elderly, the poor and needy, the sick and otherwise afflicted is what we are meant to do. Serve.

In Matthew 25:40 it says,
 "...Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
If you have chosen to take care of one another, it is like you are caring for the Savior. Conversely, if you are treating others poorly, you are also doing it to the Savior (which opens a whole discourse on the Atonement, but I will save that for another time. It has to do with the Savior suffering for all of our pains, not just sins).

Another scripture I love that goes along with this is in the Book of Mormon, Mosiah 2:17:
"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."
Being a mom is not glamorous. Changing diapers, cleaning up vomit, taking care of household chores, helping with homework, mending wounds, and being up in the middle of the night with sick kids is anything but easy. Look at it this way though. Did the Savior, during his time on earth, mingle with the rich and the fancy and require servants as any other king would do? No. You would find him with the sick, the weak, the poor, the children, and those who wanted to be near him. You would find Him serving others, uplifting and teaching others, and seeking His lost sheep. We are doing His work on earth by serving and taking care of others, especially those who cannot care for themselves.

I think that being a mom most importantly teaches us how to be like the Savior--how to love, forgive, care and have compassion--which is ultimately what I am striving for.

© Wendy 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Kefir Smoothies

If you haven't heard of kefir before, you can read more about it briefly here. Basically, it's fermentation that results in really great probiotics for optimal gut health. I bought a start and grew them into the grains they are now. They look like little cauliflowers or popcorn and I put them in milk to grow, and then you use the "milk" in your smoothies. I can't find the place that I originally purchased mine from, but apparently, you can get them on amazon.com (there's a great pic of them there too).

The hard part about kefir, is that it really tastes like sour milk. I'm not a fan, and neither is my family. So, I hide it in smoothies--or, as Mary Poppins says, "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down." I have come up with two different smoothies so far that adequately mask the sour flavor.

Strawberry Kefir Smoothie

Pour about one cup of the kefir into your blender (I use a VitaMix, but whatever you have will do).
Fill blender with frozen strawberries (or less, but my family is large), 3 packets of Super Orange or Tangerine Emergen-C (I love this stuff--it adds some really nice "kick"), and about 6 spoonfuls of sugar (I'm sure there's an easier way to measure this, but I'll let you figure it out). Blend well and serve in cups. :)

*Note: I also use some sort of high omega oil in this...I blend it alone with the kefir for a minute and it actually helps your body utilize it better. There's a book about it, but I don't know what it's called...sorry.

Tropical Kefir Smoothie

Follow the same instructions as for the strawberry smoothie, except use the tropical blend frozen fruit (usually has something like mango, papaya, pineapple and strawberries), and use Tropical Emergen-C (I found mine at Costco in a box with raspberry and super orange). This hides the sour taste even more so than the other, and is almost like drinking a piña colada.

You can also do other recipes that go with your tastes. Kefir is also sold ready-made and sweetened/flavored somewhere in the milk/cream/yogurt section of your grocery store. Smoothie are a great place to hide healthy little morsels from young and picky taste buds. Don't be afraid to experiment a little! You can also do this with yogurt, but kefir has scad loads more probiotic strains.

© Wendy 2013

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas and Black Bean and Corn Salsa

I love, love, love Mexican food. I could eat it for every meal. We made this last night and I just had some leftovers for lunch--enchiladas and black bean and corn salsa. Here's how you make it:

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas
2 small cans of cream of chicken soup
1 cup of sour cream (or more, if you like)
2 cups of salsa of your choice (I use medium hot)
cooked chicken--cut up or shredded
corn tortillas
1/2 onion, chopped
anything else you may want to add--garlic, extra peppers, more onion, black beans, etc.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Cook chicken (I used 5 of the frozen tenderloins and sprinkled them with garlic powder). While that is cooking, mix cream of chicken soup, sour cream, salsa and onion in a medium bowl. Grate plenty of cheese. Halve some of the corn tortillas with a knife. When the chicken is cooked, cut it up, or shred it and then add to above mixture. Mix well.

In a 9 x 13 casserole dish, spoon out a small amount of mixture (I affectionately call it "goop"). It should be just enough to cover the bottom. Next, place halved corn tortillas around the inside of the casserole dish, flat side against the ages. They'll overlap; use three on the longer sides and two on the other ends. Then, place 2 whole corn tortillas to cover the center. Again, spoon on some of the "goop" and spread evenly and completely over the tortillas. Sprinkle cheese on top of this layer. Repeat layering the tortillas, goop, and cheese until you reach the top of your pan, ending with the goop covered by cheese.

Bake for about 30-45 minutes, or until it is bubbly and all of the cheese is melted. You can serve it with sour cream and vegetable of your choice. We had it with chips and this salsa:

Black Bean and Corn Salsa
1 can black beans
1 package of grape tomatoes or 4 or 5 tomatoes, diced (Roma tomatoes are about right)
1/4 onion diced (or use green onions)
bell pepper, chopped (I used several bright yellow, orange and red peppers that were rather small)
2 avocado (cut up into small chunks)
garlic (powdered or fresh)
1 cup of corn
a little salt or season salt
lemon or lime juice (fresh or bottled)

Drain the liquid off the beans, and mix all of the ingredients together. Like I said in an earlier post, I'm not big on measuring, so you can tweak this recipe to your liking, adding more or less or different items. Serve with chips.

Quick, easy, healthy.

We ate these two recipes together for the first time last night. So good. Most of the kids ate it too (though one is super picky, and the other was sick, so...you know.

© Wendy 2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A New Kind of Tuna Sandwich

Our dinner last night? Open-faced grilled tuna sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, grape tomatoes, and a smoothie. 

Here's the thing: not all of my kids like tuna. 

But, when I cook it like this, even my pickiest eater has some. 


  • Take a drained can of tuna (or 3 like I have to) and mix with Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip or whatever you usually mix tuna with for a normal tuna sandwich. 
  • Lay out a slice (or 2) of bread for every person in your family onto a cookie sheet. 
  • Spread tuna mixture on each piece of bread. 
  • Grate cheddar cheese on to the tuna, and then sprinkle with lemon pepper seasoning. 
  • Bake at 400° F until the cheese is melted
  • Turn on the upper broil to crisp edges (not burn). Usually for no more than 5 minutes.
Easy, pretty cheap, and tasty. You can serve it with whatever you want. 

Have you had this before? What do you think?

© Wendy 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Random Act of Kindness

Today started out like any other day. We got up this morning, gathered the kids for scriptures and prayer, got them dressed (or told them to do so), fed them, got 4 of the kids off to school. Husband left to exercise and go to work. I left with the 2 youngest to go to the gym and then go to the store.

At the store is when the day stepped out of normal.

I was in the check-out line, and I noticed a gal in front of me. After she was done buying her groceries, she kept awkwardly loitering around and looking back. I wondered if she was waiting for something from the cashier, who appeared to be now working on my groceries.

The gal started toward me holding two credit/debit cards. She asked, "Can I show you a card trick?" At this point, I was on to her, but I complied. She held out her two cards and said "Pick one." I had my 3 year old select a card. He did so, and then she said, "I want you to use this to buy your groceries."

Flabbergasted, I said "No, you don't have to do that. We're okay."

She replied, "No, I want to. Someone did this for me 4 years ago (she began to tear up) and I have been waiting for a moment that I could do this for someone else."

I couldn't take that desire, and opportunity she sought to serve, away from her, so I told her thank you and hugged this woman--a complete stranger. It was slightly awkward to have someone standing there waiting to pay for your groceries. I offered her a piece of gum (how dumb, right?) and we each asked about the others' family. She has 4 young children, close in age to my 4 youngest. Her name is Ashley.

I reflected on this on the way home. I was a wee bit emotional myself (I don't usually get too emotional). Interesting how one simple act of kindness can change people, make a difference, and conjure more acts of kindness. It's like a domino effect--one thing set in motion is passed continuously down through more and more events set into motion.

Often, these acts are referred to as "random." Random acts of kindness.

But what if kindness was less random, more like just kindness? Just being kind to others. Kind to your family. Kind to strangers. Kind to neighbors. All the time. Really become man"kind," or human"kind." Maybe those names for people are a coincidence. Maybe they're not.

Go do some "Acts of kindness," or they can be random if you want. But, I think the more focused we are on just being kind, the less random it will be and the more kindness will become a way of life.

© Wendy 2013

Meatloaf Recipe

I had some recipe requests, and since I am so accommodating, here's one. I must warn you, however, I use recipes as a guide, so my amounts are really vague. I just kinda add whatever looks/feels good. That being said, here's my "recipe" for meatloaf that I made for my brood last night (which I myself don't even stick to exactly).

Approximately 1 pound of ground beef (I like really lean beef the best)
2 eggs
1 small onion, chopped
A few cloves of garlic (powdered and/or whole)
Season salt or some sort of meat seasoning
Worcestershire Sauce
Crushed crackers, or oatmeal (dry), or dried bread crumbs, etc.

Place ground beef, eggs, chopped onion, minced garlic (and or powdered garlic), season salt--sprinkled generously, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce--poured generously, and maybe about 1/2 to 1 cup of crackers or oatmeal in a medium or large bowl. Mix. Place in casserole dish. You can put ketchup on the top as well or tomato sauce. Bake.

I baked it at 400° F for about 45 minutes (I'm guessing--I just waited for it to brown and then cut it open to make sure it was cooked through). Tastes great with ketchup on top--which is a hit if you have kids because frequently if you can put ketchup on it, it's a winning situation (at least with my kids). 

I know, I should have taken a picture, but I did not have that much forethought. Sorry. Perhaps next time.

We served it with mashed potatoes and peas and some juice spiked with Sierra Mist. Most of my kids ate it and liked it and wanted some more. Also, you can cut up carrots, potatoes, celery and add a can of stewed tomatoes and put it around your meatloaf in the oven to achieve some meat-flavored vegetables (though, I have a hard time getting the veggies cooked to a softness that I like).

Another bonus--it makes tasty leftovers! 

© Wendy 2013

Monday, January 7, 2013

Teaching Your Kids

It's been a long couple of weeks with all 6 of my kids home for break and my husband working long hours. As any mom can imagine, my sanity is waning.

They (4 out of 6 anyway) went back to school today, so things were a little bit calmer until my kindergartner came home--she's a boisterous one! After the rest got home, it's a mad dash to try to get all of the reading, homework, and chores all done. Not to mention dinner, pajamas on, teeth brushed and then in bed.

After the aforementioned activities were just about done, I came up the stairs to discover that a budding artist had been practicing on the walls in my front room--our piano room and ever-'clean' place for guests to come where kids are not to play. It was on three walls and in the window sill. I did what any mom should do: get the offending child, confront them, and then make him help clean the wall--even at bed time.

Luckily, it was blue washable marker, so we got it cleaned up without too much effort--and no repainting!

Which brings me to this point--kids need consequences, they need rules, they need to know right from wrong--whether it's coloring on the walls, or something far more serious down the road. In this case, he's only 3 years old, he colored on the wall. We cleaned it pretty easily. He was taught not to do it again, which will hopefully be the case.

Have you heard the term "helicopter parent?" If not, it's a parent who essentially swoops down to "save" their child--regardless of age--from unpleasant circumstances. Say, for instance, a child gets a bad grade at school. A helicopter parent will contact the teacher and try to get it changed, rather than teaching the child to do better next time, seek extra credit work, or to study more. This negative pattern can have tragic consequences later in life if the child does not learn how to cope with age appropriate problems.

Don't rescue your children from natural consequences--but do be there to guide and encourage. Set rules, have consequences (both good and bad), and teach your children. They will learn from your example. And, of course, most importantly, LOVE your kids, as well as any kids you come in contact with. You can never love too much.

© Wendy 2013