An Encouragement for Decent Moms Everywhere

Tonight as I reflect on everything I heard this weekend – so many great mothers speaking a message of Truth and Grace for the mission of Motherhood – I’m struck with the question of why so many of us mothers (women in general, I think) spend so much time, energy, & emotion cutting each other down, when those resources could be more wisely spent encouraging one another & walking together.

Motherhood is hard! Raising civilized, well-adjusted people is a two-decade-long process, filled with pitfalls and inevitable mistakes.

Fearing judgment or harsh scrutiny, I have seen at least a few mamas isolate themselves from other women. Still others have suffered harsh criticism, even ostracism, by other women. And what for? Does it encourage or edify? Absolutely not. Or does it just give the other woman delusions of superiority in her own parenting methods? Is it an effort to lessen her own feelings of insecurity and inadequacy?

This weekend at the Mom Heart Conference, I am so refreshed just being around these other moms. We’re learning together. We’re crying & laughing together! I don’t feel judged or scrutinized or rebuked (for my many mistakes in my still-brand-new career as a mother) – I feel inspired!

How refreshing to know that other moms have kids that act like children (gasp!); how encouraging to have someone to cheer you on to fight another day!

How life-changing to be reminded that our job as mothers isn’t to create perfect automatons, it is to fight the daily battle for their minds and hearts and souls, guiding them into Life and Truth … That an excellent education means nothing without depth & quality of character.

Why can’t we walk in this all the time? Why can’t moms build each other up & support each other when it is needed most?

I think it’s time to show each other a little understanding and a lot of grace. Time to quit seeking the approval of others & time to seek the heart of Jesus.

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Working on My Mommy Skills

… And also, let’s be honest – I’m having a blast & getting super refreshed at the Mom Heart Conference in Las Colinas.

Learning a little bit about discipline & a little about grace. Can’t wait to share with you!

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How I Got My Toddler to Eat Vegetables

So, I’ve had the hardest time trying to get Heidi to eat her veggies. I’ve done my best to offer them to her at every meal, providing a wide array of options over the last few months. I’ve tried not to make a big deal about them, and tried especially hard to avoid any negative associations with them – no scolding, pressuring, etc if she didn’t eat them.

But she just wasn’t interested.

Now, I’ve seen lots of ideas and suggestions floating around on the interwebs about how to do it: offer it at every meal (no takers), slip it into other foods (too much effort, not practical for us), mix it with other foods (like broccoli in the mac ‘n’ cheese – she just picks it out), etc.

Nothing helped.

But today, as I was chopping away at stacks of veggies for tonight’s dinner, she wandered into the kitchen, looking for a snack. I was too busy (read: too lazy) to grab something from the cupboard, so I threw a few red bell pepper sticks into a small plastic bowl and put it on the coffee table in the living room where she was playing (a spot I can see from the kitchen).

Went back to chopping in the kitchen. Didn’t say a word to Heidi. Did my best to not even pay attention.

Next thing I know, she wanders back into the kitchen – CHOMPING. ON. A. RED. BELL. PEPPER.

What??!

After she FINISHED the bowl of bell pepper sticks, and came asking for more, I thought I’d push the envelope just a tiny bit. Putting on my best poker face, I put a scoop of the Black Bean & Couscous Salad that I’d just prepared in the little bowl on the coffee table.

In addition to black beans and couscous (and those yummy red bells), this particular dish also features corn, green onions, and cilantro. With cumin, rice vinegar, and olive oil for a delicious kick.

Not exactly chicken nuggets or mac ‘n’ cheese.

But – no lie – as I sit here typing this, she is devouring the stuff. She just came to show off a bit of green onion she discovered. Then she popped it in her mouth!

GREEN ONION.

This is mind-blowing stuff folks. This girl won’t even touch corn. Even if it’s slathered in butter.

I should write a book.

^Super sarcastic. This whole situation is a completely fluke-based discovery. I really hope it works for you. If it doesn’t, no worries. Just keep trying! Maybe one day they’ll just give up and eat some vegetables.

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(Maybe that’s the real reason behind this “development”?)

Exploring the Wide World of Vinyl (courtesy of Expressions Vinyl)

So I’ve NEVER played with crafty vinyl before, but I’ve seen the folks over at Pick Your Plum get really excited about it … so when I saw an Expressions Vinyl giveaway over on Marty’s Musings … I put my name in the hat, since I have friends with Cricuts =)

AND I WON!!

Yeah, that NEVER happens. But I did!

So I ordered a bunch of Black, Lavender, and Soft Pink vinyl in the hopes that I’ll eventually figure out how to cut out an airplane for Heidi’s bedroom wall.

Though I might be aiming too high since I really have no idea how to use the Cricut, much less vinyl … Anyone have ideas for how to use my loot? I’m super open to suggestions!

Time to Plant Early Spring Veggies in Fort Worth!

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Early Spring garden is planted! The broccoli and onion slips are the only visible plants right now, but soon little buds will start popping up: I’ve also planted peas, carrots, and soy beans … I’m excited to watch it grow and share my experience with you =)

I’m pretty new to raising these types of veggies – in the past, I’ve had very good luck with plants that love the heat. Peppers and tomatoes are a cinch in my raised beds. Here in North Texas, getting lots of heat over a long period of time is a pretty safe bet. But I’ve never really been “in the mood” for gardening early enough in the season to plant the early season vegetables. I’m curious to see how it goes!

On Fertilizers: I’m pretty lazy as far as gardeners go. Our soil here in North Texas is not exactly the easiest to work with, as it’s pretty heavy on the clay, so I have installed three 10’x3′ raised beds for planting food crops – DIY dirt! And while I’m not necessarily the most organic gardener (I’ve been known to use some fire ant killer at various times, and I’m not above a chemically-produced fertilizer, but I use that stuff as a last resort), I LOVE and *highly* recommend John’s Recipe by Ladybug Brand! I get mine at the local feed supply store, and I’ve also seen landscape and garden shops carry it. I have used it from the start and have never had a bad experience with it. Tomato plants seem to especially thrive on it. A little bit goes a LONG way in the home vegetable garden!

Anybody else in the planting spirit lately? I wanna know what you’re putting in the ground! What works well in your neck of the woods? What are some challenges you’ve had?

Trinity Trails – River Park Water Feature

Today’s post is part of a 52-week series on exploring parks all over the place. Enjoy!

The Trinity Trails system is probably the best all-around amazing place in the greater Fort Worth area for exploring. Not only is it a breathtaking way to see the city and its outlying areas, it is also free. Here at the Blogospherical Explorer, we are all about free. Especially if it’s beautiful. [And there’s a lot of beautiful + free to be found in and around Fort Worth!] You’ll see new parts of the Trails in each new post.

Just like last week‘s featured park, the water feature is really what makes this spot so nice! Although it doesn’t have any playground equipment, the area is perfect for walking, running, or cycling. Personally, I’ve been down to this park many times with Josh … it’s a beautiful place for a romantic stroll since it seems to always be either very busy or empty. I like watching the serious cyclists racing past the little families out looking for some sunshine. It is just so perfectly nostalgic.

For easy access, use the parking lot located underneath the bridge on the northwest side of the river. You have to take the River Park exit from Highway 183 (Southwest Parkway), and loop all the way around (you’ll take two forced U-turns) until you find the parking lot under the bridge by the river.

Also, there’s a beautiful overlook on the other side of the river at the top of the hill. It’s a great place for a simple date or a quick stop on a trail ride. You can get there via the low-water crossing, or just park on Bellaire Dr. on the other side of the river (exit Bryant Irvin Rd. from Highway 183, stay on the feeder road, then turn left at the dead end and park right there).

If you’d like to do some of your own exploring, you can find a full map of the Trinity Trails system at their official website.

Previous posts in this series:

Park Explorer: Let’s Go Outside!

Trinity Trails: Art Cowsen Trailhead

Trinity Trails: Oakmont Park

Trinity Trails: Meadows West Park

Trinity Trails – Meadows West Park

Today’s post is part of a 52-week series on exploring parks all over the place. Enjoy!

IMG_0318The Trinity Trails system is probably the best all-around amazing place in the greater Fort Worth area for exploring. Not only is it a breathtaking way to see the city and its outlying areas, it is also free. Here at the Blogospherical Explorer, we are all about free. Especially if it’s beautiful. [And there’s a lot of beautiful + free to be found in and around Fort Worth!] You’ll see new parts of the Trails in each new post.

Josh gave me a Canon Rebel T3i for Christmas, and I’ve been having a blast playing with it! Hopefully it’ll give me better pictures than I’ve been able to get with my cell phone camera … so yeah, the bar isn’t set too high, but you should see some improvement anyway. =)

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So my favorite thing at this park is definitely the water feature. I’m not quite comfortable calling it a waterfall since it’s pretty slow during the dry months and I don’t want to mislead anyone. Still, it’s a beautifully peaceful place to go and I highly recommend it.

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If you’d like to do some of your own exploring, you can find a full map of the Trinity Trails system at their official website.

Previous posts in this series:

Park Explorer: Let’s Go Outside!

Trinity Trails: Art Cowsen Trailhead

Trinity Trails: Oakmont Park