Monthly Archives: November 2016

More Grids, Fragments, and Quib

iamthedivaczt This week’s Diva Challenge is pretty much a repeat of last week’s challenge with the added twist of turning the fragment in each square.

The  Square One: Purely Zentangle focus and Shading Zentangle focus is Sindoo (by Sharon Robinson), which seems to be a reticula and fragment  tangle, so it worked well with this challenge.

The WZTV challenge is Quib. I like Quib even though I haven’t used it much. The last tangle I used is the tangle of the day on pattern-collections is Feeta by Smita Toke.

I decided to have two different grid sections. Grid is just a lot easier to say than reticulum or reticula, since I have a hard time remembering which one to use when. I put them on a diagonal to add a little interest and allow for some space for the other two tangles I wanted to include.

Here it is before shading.

Grid, Fragment, Sindoo, and Quib ~ Lifeofjoy.meAt the top is Sindoo, Quib is the the right, Feeta is to the left, and my fragment is at the bottom. I used fragment A2 from the June 1, 2013 Zentangle newsletter. In the unshaded version I have a dot in the section I was supposed to blacken in but wasn’t ready to commit to doing yet. ;)

Here it is shaded.

Grid, Fragment, Sindoo, and Quib ~ Lifeofjoy.meI didn’t know quite how to shade Feeta. I tried a little drop shading but was not fearless enough with it. ;) I love how Frag A2 turned out! I could’ve been a bit bolder in my shading but I was racing the clock (and losing) to get this done. I have a big announcement very soon (check back on Friday for sure) which has been taking up a bit of my time of late but soooo worth it.

Any way, thank you so much for your kind comments. It always means so much and is so encouraging. I’m glad you all like to see he comparison before and after shading; it is pretty remarkable.

Well, I gotta run. Have a great day!

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

Amish Cinnamon Bread ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Amish Cinnamon Bread

I first received this wonderful bread when Michael and I had only been married about three or four years. A dear lady in the church brought us a loaf one day. I loved it so much that I asked her for the recipe. She happily agreed, as she informed me that this bread uses a starter and told me how easy it was to make. She also told me that if I wasn’t going to make the bread for a while, I could freeze the starters. This was good news, because the recipe says it makes three large loaves of bread.

Here’s the deal, you use a one cup starter, stirring it once each day. On the fifth day you add flour, milk, and sugar to it and stir for two more days. Then let it rest for two days.

Day 10 is the baking day but first you add another cup of flour, milk, and sugar. Then before mixing up the batter, you remove three starters, one cup each. These starters can be given away to friends or even frozen.

So here’s the deal, although the recipe says it makes 3 large loaves ours doesn’t because my family doesn’t like the raisins added and only likes the nuts on occasion. As you can guess, this means there is less bulk in the batter reducing the number of loaves it produces.

Years ago, I shared this recipe (and a starter) with a friend. One Christmas she decided she wanted to make a double batch to give as gifts. She did the math and measurements and found that if you take out just one starter, you have two batches worth of starter left and could double the recipe, which is what we do every time.

Amish Cinnamon Bread ~ Lifeofjoy.me

I believe you could create your own starter by combining 1/3 cup each flour, milk, and sugar in a container, loosely covered, and leave it out on the counter for a couple of days.

Combine all the ingredients.

Amish Cinnamon Bread ~ Lifeofjoy.meWe like this recipe in muffins more than the bread. Although Sean and Tiffany really like there to be a gooey bit in the loaves.

Amish Cinnamon Bread ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Amish Cinnamon Bread ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Amish Cinnamon Bread

Ingredients

  • 4 cups flour, divided
  • 3 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 cups milk, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2-3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 large box INSTANT vanilla pudding mix
  • 1-2 cups nuts
  • 1 cup raisins

Instructions

  1. To use frozen starter or starting with 1/3 cup each milk, sugar, and flour:
  2. Take out of freezer (or sit new starter on counter, loosely covered) for 2 days, on 3rd day start counting as day 1.
  3. Day 1: Receive Starter
  4. Day 2: Stir
  5. Day 3: Stir
  6. Day 4: Stir
  7. Day 5: Place starter in larger container for room to rise and add 1 cup each flour, sugar, and milk.
  8. Day 6: Stir
  9. Day 7: Stir
  10. Day 8: Do Nothing
  11. Day 9: Do Nothing
  12. DAY 10: Add 1 cup each flour, sugar, and milk.
  13. Take 3 cups and put 1 cup in each of 3 small containers with lids; these are for your friends, yourself, to start again, or to freeze.
  14. To the remaining batter, add:
  15. 2 cups flour
  16. 1 cup sugar and all the rest of the ingredients beginning with salt, listed above.
  17. Grease and flour pans. Pour batter into pans and bake at 325º. Muffins bake in 15-20 minutes and loaf pans bake in 45-60 minutes. Can wrap and freeze when nearly cool.
http://lifeofjoy.me/amish-cinnamon-bread/

If you try this, let me know what you think, and how making your own starter worked out.

Until next time, God bless,

 Michele ºÜº

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Disagreements

Disagreements ~ Lifeofjoy.meLast week I mentioned that Michael and I have disagreements. It is my opinion that if you don’t have disagreements with your spouse then one of you is not really sharing your heart.

Michael and I are very different in a lot of ways, which has helped us grow individually into more rounded people. I have definite opinions about lots of things and when Michael’s opinion is opposite mine, clashes are bound to happen. There is nothing wrong with the clash as long as you are staying on topic and not resorting name calling and such. The conversation should be about the topic and not switch to being about your spouse, to where he/she feels attacked, disrespected, and/or unappreciated.

It is also alright to postpone a discussion for later, if it is becoming too heated. Find a way, to lessen the tension and agree to think on the subject some more and talk about it again later, be it in a few hours, days, or even next month.

Another important thing to remember is to reconcile to your spouse quickly, and I mean within minutes, when a disagreement has gone too far. If you have said something hurtful, even though you believe that what you said was true, you can apologize for the way in which you shared your feelings.

You can tell him/her about something he/she is doing that bothers you without throwing it at him as an insult or being hurtful or spiteful.

One tactic I learned when I was in the workforce was to sandwich a critique in praise. But even more helpful is that when you share a problem to put the emphasis on yourself. For example, “My feelings get hurt when you . . .” rather than, “You hurt me when you . . .” or “I feel unappreciated when you don’t let me know you’ll be late” instead of “You could at least let me know when you’ll be late.”

In the last instance, you could sandwich it with, “I appreciate you working so hard on your job and doing a great job. But I feel unappreciated when you don’t let me know you’ll be late getting home. You’re such a good man and I’m so thankful for you.” Something like that takes the sting out of the critique.

Now you might be thinking that it sounds like a great idea but . . . I agree totally. I’m very bad when it comes to praise, ask any of my family members and I’d bet they’d readily agree but it is an area I’m working on because I know that everyone flourishes when they know they are appreciated.

So when Michael does something little, like rub my back or bring me a glass of water, I am sure to thank him and let him know he’s wonderful. :)

It is important to reconcile your differences quickly, so that you give no place for the devil to work. He’s already working to undermine marriages and cause families to break apart, don’t give him an easy target. Be quick to forgive and move on, not taking account of wrongs done to you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

Thanksgiving and the Gift that Kept on Giving

Thanksgiving was yesterday! Amazing! It seems that this year has simply flown but when I stop to think about last Thanksgiving, it seems so far away. Time is a funny thing.

It was a good day. I got a lot of Liam snuggles. img_4097Liam and Me ~ Lifeofjoy.meI was good though. I shared! My dad held him some while we were working on dinner.

~ Lifeofjoy.meAt one point, Liam found my finger and loved gnawing on it. LOL

~ Lifeofjoy.meIt was a good day and we were blessed and full. :)

The Feast ~ Lifeofjoy.meSean took a photo with Mom’s phone while we waited on my dad to get the power cord for his camera, whose battery died before Sean could set the timer on it. (So this picture is missing both Sean and my dad.)


Last Christmas I gave my dad a gift certificate for four desserts to be delivered throughout the year. The first one was delivered in late March, Sunday Pudding. The second was delivered around June, Apple Crumble Pie. The third was given around September, I think, and it was Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Cookies. Well, I wasn’t sure what to do for the fourth. I considered a No-Bake Cheesecake (I made one of those for my brother-in-law two weeks ago) but wasn’t sure. Then while I was thinking about it the other week, I remembered that he has long wanted prune pierogies. I think his grandmother made them when he was young but I have never had them and thus had no idea how to make them but not too long ago I saw a food show about pierogies and learned that the prune filling is also referred to as Lekvar. After that I found a couple recipes and decided this would be a great forth installment. :)

The prune filling (aka Lekvar) was easy enough. I made that one day because it needed to be cold before I could use it to fill the pierogies. The dough was a completely different story.

Granny was Slovak and the Slovak recipe I found had 3 cups of flour and 6 eggs. It did not turn out well at all. It was way too sticky and I eventually gave up and tossed the dough. The Hungarian recipe I found had 2 cups of flour, 1 egg, and some water. Whereas the Polish recipe had no eggs but it had specific directions. I decided to go with the Polish recipe but replace 1/4 cup of the water with an egg.

Long story shorter, I did this recipe twice because I over mixed the dough the first time. The second time I followed the timing of the Polish directions and it was a success.

It was suggested that you could boil the pierogies and then coat them in a little oil, flash freeze, and then bag them up. Then when you want to eat some, take them straight from frozen and fry them. I hope he likes them. There was way too much to eat yesterday for me  to fry him up a couple. So, we shall see.

Well, I’m going to run for now. Have a great weekend.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

 

Thanksgiving and Cinnamon Bear

Thanksgiving and Cinnamon Bear ~ Lifeofjoy.meI hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I am celebrating at my parents’ home with my parents, sisters, and nieces. Of course my children will all be there, as well as Liam, my sweet little grandson. :)

Cinnamon Bear ~ Lifeofjoy.meHave you heard of Cinnamon Bear? It was an old radio show with 26 episodes that aired in ’30’s, ’40’s, and ’50’s. It aired 6 nights a week beginning Thanksgiving night and went until Christmas.

It is an adventure of Paddy O’Cinnamon. Here is a synopsis if you want to know more details. On this webpage you will find all 26 of the audios. Finally,they are also available on this page, and if you go down to Now Try Download Land, you can download the original coloring book (mind you they are very childish drawings) that your kids can color while listening or later for fun.

The episodes are very short so you should be able to find a few minutes, even during the busy days of December, to listen to an episode. If you do happen to get behind, they are short enough that you can easily catch up again.

One word of caution though, this  does have Santa Claus in it. I sure wish I could find the old You Were There Nativity series. I listened to it once a LONG time ago on the radio and have never heard it since. Well, that’s a topic for another time. For now, go download the audios and make some memories with your kids. :)

Until next time, God bless,
Michele ºÜº

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Reticula and Fragments

iamthedivacztThis week’s tile is a solo challenge tile, meaning I only participated in one challenge or focus with it. This week’s Diva Challenge is using a reticulum and fragments. When I started thinking about this challenge it didn’t even occur to me to check my other groups to see what their focuses are this week. Oh well, no problem; this was a tough enough challenge for me.

I didn’t want to do the typical plain square grid. I thought something with triangles would be fun. So I did a diagonal square grid, which made it kind of diamond shaped, I guess. Then I did some lines straight down through all the intersections. At some point when it was way too late to do anything about it, I realized I should have drawn a horizontal line through each intersection. Oh well, my sections were just odd shaped and that’s okay. :)

Next I decided what fragment to put into each section. At first I thought of a teardrop shape but that seemed too common. Then I decided to just draw a squiggle line from one point to the middle of the opposite side. The hard part was trying to figure out HOW I wanted to go about it. I started in the upper left corner and things quickly got out of hand. So I decided to start in one of the center pieces and work out from there. That worked much better.

When I was done with all the squiggles, I considered blackening in one side but quickly decided against that. I opted for simply drawing some lines on one side. About halfway through I realized I was kind of drawing a variation of Meer. Oh well, so much for being original. :D

So here is my tile before shading.
Reticula and Fragments ~ Lifeofjoy.meNow for the shading. I knew I wanted to cover up the messy section up in the upper left corner, so I decided that my light source would come from the bottom. That was the easiest part of shading this thing because there were so many shading options but none of them were easy when considering the light direction.

I decided the next easiest shading effort was the edges, since I seem to really like to do that lately. I tried to make it darkest up in the upper left and lightest in the lower right. I then carried that over to the lined sections of each squiggle fragment.

Well, without further adieu, here’s my final tile.

Reticula and Fragments ~ Lifeofjoy.meI actually think it looks better when rotated but I’d already signed it. But here it is flipped, for your viewing pleasure. ;)

Reticula and Fragments ~ Lifeofjoy.meSo, which way do you like it best? Or doesn’t it really make any difference?

I appreciate all your kind comments. You all are a great community and are very encouraging. Thank you!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

 

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Chicken Lasagna Florentine ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Chicken Lasagna Florentine

A creamy, cheesy, chicken dish with spinach.  You could serve this over pasta of some kind or zoodles, if you desire but we just eat it the way it is. Good served with broccoli, to share some of that yummy sauce.

Well, Tiffany and I dropped the ball yesterday. I was working on my dad’s final dessert completing his Christmas present from last year, so Tiffany began working on dinner, which was this recipe. Well, since I was dealing with a bad recipe, I didn’t remind her to take pictures. Then when I finished what I was doing and helped prep the ingredients she needed, I was so frustrated with my recipe flop that I didn’t even think about the pictures again.

So, she finished layering the ingredients and put it in the oven and that is when I remembered. Crazy! Consequently I tried to figure out something else I could share but I just couldn’t come up with anything else. Thus I’m sharing this recipe without procedural pictures. Sorry guys!

First you cut up the chicken into bite-size pieces and cook in a skillet with a little bit of oil.

Cook Chicken ~ Lifeofjoy.meNext prepare the alfredo sauce. Melt one tablespoon of butter in a pot and add a clove of garlic, minced, cooking for about 30 seconds or so.

Making the sauce ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Then add  one and a half cups of heavy cream and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Alfredo Sauce ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Then add 1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese and 2 ounces of cream cheese.

Alfredo Sauce continued ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Combine well. Simmer the sauce on low for about 10-15 minutes. This is important because the sauce will thicken during this time.

Meanwhile, prep remaining ingredients (I don’t have all of the spinach pictured here.)

Chicken Lasagna Florentine ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Preheat the oven to 350º.

Add the chicken to the sauce.

Chicken alfredo ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Now it’s time to layer it into a 9×9 or similar pan. (Pictures show an 8×11 pan.)

Chicken sauce,

Chicken Lasagna Florentine ~ Lifeofjoy.me

spinach, which we like to give a rough chop,

Chicken Lasagna Florentine ~ Lifeofjoy.memozzarella

Chicken Lasagna Florentine ~ Lifeofjoy.me

And repeat chicken sauce, spinach, mozzarella, parmesan.

Chicken Lasagna Florentine ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Bake for about 20 minutes, uncovered. Can broil for a few minutes to brown the top a bit at the end.

Chicken Lasagna Florentine ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Let it stand for about 10 minutes, if you can, and the cheese will stiffen up a bit and make it easier to serve and look less like soup. As you can tell in this picture, we didn’t wait. ;)

Chicken Lasagna Florentine ~ Lifeofjoy.me

Chicken Lasagna Florentine

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella, shredded
  • 2 cups spinach, I slice mine into ribbons
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan, shredded

Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken breast into bite-size pieces and brown in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
  2. Melt butter in pot and saute garlic for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add heavy whipping cream and simmer 5 minutes.
  4. Add cream cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, Whisk to combine.
  5. Simmer 10-15 minutes on low to allow the sauce to thicken up a bit.
  6. Preheat oven to 350º
  7. Add chicken to sauce.
  8. Layer ingredients into 9x9 pan:
  9. chicken sauce, spinach, mozzarella
  10. chicken sauce, spinach, mozzarella, Parmesan
  11. Bake about 20 minutes.
  12. (Can broil for a few minutes at the end to brown the top a bit.)
  13. Let sit for a few minutes when it is finished to allow the cheese to set just a bit and make it easier to serve. 😉
http://lifeofjoy.me/chicken-lasagna-florentine/

Good served with even more spinach underneath individual servings or with a side of broccoli.

Chicken Lasagna Florentine ~ Lifeofjoy.me(Updated 1/30/17: Added pictures for each step and changed featured image.)

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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Thanksgiving: Husband

Thanksgiving: HusbandIt is Thanksgiving week here in the United States. So naturally that and family are heavy on my mind. I also have Christmas on my mind because I like to have my Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving or at least the biggest portion of my shopping done by Thanksgiving. It was a little tough to do this year but I think I’m going to make it. :) I still have a couple of days left. ;)

It is so easy to take my husband for granted. He is so faithful and loyal. But I don’t want be like that. I want to be sure that he knows how much I respect, love, cherish, and enjoy life with him. Now that isn’t to say that we don’t ever have disagreements; we’re both way too passionate (and stubborn) about what we believe for that. ;) But that’s a topic for another day (literally, I just made myself a note to write about that sometime ;) ).

I don’t want the holiday season to go by without telling my sweetie how much he means to me. I’ve been trying to figure out what I am going to do for him for Christmas. Oh, don’t get  me wrong, I’ll get him gifts from his wish list but I’m talking about what I want to do for him extra, because he is my sweetheart, my honey, my lover, my best friend.

Last year I gave him a box of gift cards for our date nights. We managed to use it for several months but I’ve been doing keto and we did some fasting and all that threw us off the routine of going out. So, we still have quite a few of those leftover.

I’ve been thinking about either a Christmas countdown or twelve days of Christmas. The Dating Divas have some good ideas for both. I like the idea of the twelve days of Christmas starting with Christmas day and going to Epiphany but I’m not sure yet and can’t say here, just on the off chance he would read this beforehand and thus I lose my surprise.

Well, all of that to say that I am VERY thankful for Michael, my husband of twenty-nine years. He challenges me to be a better me and not to settle for things the way they are but to work at continuing to grow and change into all that God wants me to be.

I encourage you to take a moment this week and tell your sweetie how much he means to you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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November

I am not a fan of eighty degree temperatures unless I’m going swimming.  I am most definitely NOT a fan of eighty degree temperatures in November! I don’t like wearing shorts on Thanksgiving but I have at some point in the day, more times than not, in the years we’ve lived in Oklahoma.

Even my plants are confused. My rose bush has a couple of flowers and my Vincas, which I absolutely love for their heat and drought tolerance, are still blooming, even amongst the weeds.

November ~ Lifeofjoy.meNovember ~ Lifeofjoy.meIt is natural for the mums to be blooming though. I have some white ones, which sometimes turn a little bit purple, and some brown ones, which sometimes turn a bit of a dull yellow in the center of each flower.

Mike’s been waiting to paint the house until the temperatures cooled off a bit and wasn’t raining, which isn’t always an easy combination here in Northeastern Oklahoma. ;) But thankfully he’s gotten most of it painted and even sampled the “Sundried Tomato” color on the trim. I’m loving it. Unfortunately, the sun was starting to go down when he was finishing up yesterday and so the lighting isn’t that good in this picture, but it will give you an idea.

November ~ Lifeofjoy.me img_4015

Last Friday’s Holiday Blast was a lot of fun. I made sure we got the camera to the church and then asked Tiffany to take some pictures. Thankfully she did. They don’t do the decorations justice but you’ll get an idea of what it was like. We had about 110 in attendance – Great Turn-Out! We started with dinner and fellowship.

We didn’t get a picture of the food. We made nearly sixty pounds of turkey (three large turkeys) and about twenty pounds of ham (two large hams), green beans, mashed potatoes, and gravy. At the last minute we had another offer to bring rolls and butter, so that was added to our feast as well.

Tiffany, Gwin, and I made all the food. It was fun! We had a few hiccups, like when the mixer just wouldn’t mash those potatoes, but we got it all done.

November ~ Lifeofjoy.meNovember ~ Lifeofjoy.meNovember ~ Lifeofjoy.meNovember ~ Lifeofjoy.meNovember ~ Lifeofjoy.me

I was up and down all evening. :) We had door prizes, played some games, and had some singing.

November ~ Lifeofjoy.meI had the kids come up and share what they were thankful for during our Thanksgiving portion of the evening.

November ~ Lifeofjoy.meSean sang.

November ~ Lifeofjoy.meMary sang “Mary Did You Know” during our Christmas section.

November ~ Lifeofjoy.meDuring our Christmas section, we had dessert (apple, pumpkin, or pecan pies), played holiday bingo and winners got prizes. I should have stopped the game sooner because I ran out of prizes but they seemed ot have fun with it. I then had the children come up and sing a Christmas carol. I tried to get them to sing Away in a Manger or Silent Night but only one child knew those. 😯  So, I settled on Jingle Bells.

Next we celebrated New Year’s Eve. At my parents’ home, we play games on New Year’s Eve (and eat food). Two of the games we play are Taboo and Win, Lose, or Draw so I took the cards and put some in envelopes on each table so that everyone could play a little. When we play, we don’t use the boards that come with the game because there are about a dozen of us. We just use the cards and all holler out possible answers to the word or phrase on the cards. With Taboo, you can speak but cannot use the five words listed in your description of the word at the top of the card. For Win, Lose, or Draw, I let each person decide if they wanted to act it out like charades, or draw it on paper provided on the tables.

November ~ Lifeofjoy.me

I sang “His Name Will Live Forever” and then we poured the sparkling grape juice in the plastic champagne glasses and everyone got out their horns, as we played a video of the Times Square ball dropping and counted down the last ten seconds. We then all blew our horns, said “Cheers,” and drank our juice. :)

It was a fun evening. My feet were back to normal size by Sunday morning, so not too bad at all. I had some great help decorating and getting the tables set up. We used the place settings as part of the table “decoration” thus less was needed. We had the papers and pens needed to play the games, on the tables as well. We also had the horns and some candy on them. I did have to tell the children not to blow the horns, early in the evening though. And finally, Kim and Sharon put the decorations on them. There were ornaments on the green tables and pumpkins on the orange ones. They did a good job sprucing things up.

We’d celebrated the holidays together and then everyone pitched in to help us get the sanctuary back in order. It was a tremendous help having everyone join in the clean-up efforts. Several ladies helped out in the kitchen, getting it whipped back into shape as well and we gave away what little leftovers were there.

Well, I’ve rambled a bit long today, so I’ll go for now. Have a great weekend. It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is next week!

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº

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Don’t Say These Phrases

Don't Say These Phrases ~ Lifeofjoy.meThis week I’m sharing an article from Kirk Martin of CelebrateCalm.com. In it he writes the three phrases that you should not use with children, especially strong-willed children. I hope it will be a help to you.

Until next time, God bless,

Michele ºÜº


3 Phrases Make You Sound Weak to Kids

If you are not confident, strong-willed kids will eat your lunch.
 
If you want to be confident, stop using these three phrases:
Your kids can argue better than you and wear you down. They sense weakness and vacillation from a mile away.

I encourage you, actually implore you, to stop using these three phrases when talking to your kids-whether they are toddlers or teens.

(1) No more “Sweetie, baby, buddy.” When you are giving directions to your child, even a toddler, do not use the sing-songy Mommy voice that sounds like, “Sweetie, baby, we don’t jump on the sofa now, do we?”

Well, when you ask it that way, your child’s internal response is, “Actually I do!!” Instead, talk to your 4 or 14-year-old like an adult. Use that even, adult tone that communicates this, “I respect you enough to believe you know how to make good choices so I don’t have to beg you.”

(2) Do not refer to yourself as “mommy” or “daddy.” Yes, I am dead serious about that. It’s too soft and sweet. It sounds weak to your strong-willed child. I don’t want you to be an authoritarian screamer. But I do want you to be a confident, authoritative leader because that makes kids feel safe.

When you sound weak, it makes your child feel like the adult in the home isn’t actually in control of himself or herself. I know there’s nothing morally wrong with calling yourself mommy or daddy, but I do know that strong-willed kids hear it as weakness.

(3) Stop adding, “okay?” to your directions. “We need to go to the grocery store now, okay?” It’s like you are asking for their approval or permission. It simply invites a “No!” because most of the time, kids don’t want to do what you want them to do. That’s called human nature!

Your kids will not respect you if you do not respect yourself. They will not follow your directions if it sounds like you are begging…or screaming. So listen as we teach you the exact tone and words that get even the most strong-willed teens and toddlers to listen and do what you say.

This is what happens when you’re confident: 

My daughter came home from school in a horrible mood last week. She was complaining and negative, which drives me crazy. Normally, I would lecture her about her attitude and remind her to be grateful. But I’d been listening to your bag of CDs that day so I knew what to do!

Instead of getting upset at my daughter for being upset, I controlled myself and used that even, matter-of-fact tone you taught me. “Go put your stuff in your room and meet me at the kitchen table for a piece of pie and we’ll figure it out together.”

It worked! She stopped being so negative and opened up about girls being mean to her. I asked her questions and she figured it out herself. It was a short conversation but it averted a big meltdown and mother-daughter power struggle!!

Fast forward to Monday, when she came home in a bad mood and crying because she’d failed a test. She walked in, put her stuff in her room, walked right up to me and said, “Can we have pie at the table and talk about my day?”

Wow! I now have an assertive child who knows how to problem solve instead of just have meltdowns and complain. So two points for Celebrate Calm! And probably two pounds on my scale… ;)

Visit the website for more information. (I get nothing for referring you. I just find his information helpful and want to share.)