Banned Words

She always goes first!  

She never takes turns!

My fourth grader is currently using the curriculum Institute for Excellence in Writing.  In one of the early lessons, the students were given a list of banned words.  Words such as good, bad, like, and said were banned from their papers.  The students were given a list of alternative words to use to make their writing more interesting to the reader.  For instance, using words such as  state, assert, claim, and announce rather than using say and said.

It has certainly helped to advance her writing ability.

My girls don’t fight often, but when they do it escalates quickly.  This week has been one of those weeks.  I was reminded (during an argument between the girls) of a rule that we have in our home that fits the “banned words” category.  When they want to “report” on each other  (tattle) they often say, “She NEVER or she ALWAYS.”

At the beginning of this year, I banned those words.  I have to remind them every now and then but they understand that using those words isn’t accurate.  There are very few instances in which someone ALWAYS or NEVER does something.  It just isn’t a true statement.  It is an unfair assessment.

Banning those words has actually caused the girls to pause before making an accusation against someone.

As an adult, I know that I often need to stop and think before I speak.  Hopefully I can instill this in them in the early years!

What about you?

Other than the obvious inappropriate words, are there words that you don’t allow in your home?


Go Outside to Play

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Have my children played outside today?

Recent studies like this one show that our children are spending more and more time in front of screens.  I’m sure this doesn’t surprise any of us.  We see it all around us, possibly in our own home.  Maybe it’s hard for us to admit that we would surpass those numbers ourselves.

Today, I read this article about the need to reinstate play for healthy kids. I took a trip down memory lane as the author described how she would play as a child.  I could NOT agree more about the importance of outside time and it rekindled my desire to model and monitor this important part of our day.

We are believers in going outside to play.  I was raised in the country and we played outside for hours.  I’ve passed that on to my kids and they know that I believe that we need to spend some time outside every day.  If they forget it,  I remind them! 😉  I am not naive enough to think that, if allowed, my children wouldn’t sink into the couch cushions with a bowl of cereal and stay for days.  But for right now, we are playing outside and enjoying it!


If they run out of ideas, I can give suggestions and let their little imaginations soar.  They do start to complain about the humidity and heat in July but I just throw some ice onto the trampoline and tell them to have fun!

These are some of the ways that they keep themselves entertained.

1) Get dirty!

2.) Catch critters!

They are in constant pursuit of a frog, a lizard, or a dragon fly.  The poor snails aren’t fast enough and are often confined to snail city.

3.) Make fairy houses.

4.) Plant a garden.

They’ve grown tomatoes, carrots, and potatoes on their own.  They love to grow flowers and have great luck with zinnias.


5.) Create houses.

These were as a result of a Five In a Row unit that we had just covered about wigwams and turf huts.

6.) Ride bicycles.

Their bicycles usually have names, long manes, and live in stables.

7.) Jump on the trampoline, swing on their swings,  skate, and spin on their gym dandy teeter go round.

8.) Take pictures!

They photograph things that they find interesting.   These cameras have lasted for two years and provided endless hours of fun.

9.) Observe and study.

When they see something and need to identify it, they are quick to take out their animal or plant guides.  This makes my teacher heart happy!

I hope that we can delay the desire to be staring at a screen…….  Possibly forever!

What are some of your favorite outdoor activities?



Perfect Moms Unite

Gorillas. Gorillas. Everywhere.

I love gorillas, too. I really do.  I wish they weren’t locked up for people to oooh and aaah over.  I wish they were just allowed to do gorilla things in the wild.  But they are. So, I don’t think I can really change that.  It doesn’t mean that I have to like it.

I also eat meat so I really can’t get all overly hypocritical here.  I have not done a lot of research but I am sure that many of the products in my home have in some way damaged habitats or animals themselves (I’m thinking the 2 x 4’s that make up my walls!)

So, what happened in Cincinnati?

I haven’t read every.single.article on the topic but I’ve read enough.  It seems that the mom got distracted.  The kid did his own thing which involved going somewhere he should not have been able to go.  He shouldn’t have been able to go (away from mom) and he shouldn’t have been able to get in there at all (through boundaries meant to divide).

But. he. did.

And then people went crazy.  It is sad.  It is.  Honestly, I can’t imagine reliving that nightmare of having to make that decision or watch that unfold.  The whole event was tragic.  Heartbreaking.

But people!

A little boy was in danger.

People have made death threats to the mom.  (Not the dad.  Apparently he’s off the hook because?) That is so sad that we as a society think that resorting to that is the answer!

I wonder how many of those people have kids!  Be careful what you say you will never do.  This is what I think when I read many of the comments.


When I brought my first born home from the hospital, I was filming him with one of the old recorders that was about the size of a piece of luggage.  I’m holding it on my shoulder and thinking that I will touch his face to get him to make baby noises.  Oh, I did all right!  I was watching through the lens of the camera and didn’t realize how close I was.  I stuck my finger right into his eye.  He made baby noises for a really long time!  I’m so glad facebook wasn’t around and I didn’t post that for public shaming!

Every child that I have (seriously probably all five) has had their head bonked because I was walking through a doorway cradling them and wasn’t used to the “extension” there.

When my son (same son… sorry) was around three months old, I left him on the bed.  I came back.  He had learned to roll over….right smack onto the floor.

My daughter was about six months old when she ate a napkin while she was sitting at the table with my mom.  Scary stuff!

I was once playing with my son (other son now…need a balance here) and told him I was going to throw him out the door.  That sounds harsh but it really was a time of joking.  So anyway, I’m swinging him around like an airplane and I open my front door which was never used.  Wasps flew in and stung him!  What!!???

Just this past weekend, we drove four hours to my mom’s home.  It was at that point that we realized that my daughter had apparently unbuckled her booster seat.  When?  Who knows?  But she rode at least most of the way without restraints.  (Like I did my whole childhood but that’s another post.)

A friend of mine went to Disney World with her family of six.  One daughter quietly stopped to tie her shoe and everyone else kept walking with the crowd.  She was lost in Disney World!  Thankfully, she found security and was able to find her parents!

I’m sure that every single parent has their own set of stories (that they don’t want to make public) that ended with them being thankful that the worst possible scenario did not play out.

And all the momas breathe a collective sigh of relief that they aren’t on the news during their worst parenting moments.

We, the people, are so quick to judge.

Law, Justice, Court, Judge, Legal

I agree 100% that there are thousands of parents who are neglecting their children.  There are.  (Leaving your child in the mountains without you for punishment comes to mind.) It is sad and it hurts my heart to read of cases of neglect or abuse.  From what we can tell, this is not the case here.

Mary and Joseph left Jesus for three days!  They lost him for three days!  God himself chose Mary to be Jesus’ mother and she left town without him.  If facebook had been a thing, we would have probably read about that.  Mary, Mary….smh.  I can just see the comments now.

So, let’s don’t be too quick to place guilt on every single person who doesn’t get it exactly right.  The difference is that she didn’t get it right publicly.

What about if we built up other moms by doing a few nice things:

  1. Help moms!  Many mothers are overwhelmed and lonely.  If you see those signs in someone, be helpful.  Take a meal.  Sit with the kids.  Help with laundry.
  2. Listen.  No one wants to admit that they can’t do it all.  That’s what successful mothers do, right?  Be a real friend (as opposed to a fake one) and assure them that they will be ok.
  3. Educate people.  We, as a society, have to educate people on what is appropriate.  We get all excited that kids can do the whip and nae-nae and hit a ball with a stick and we forgot to teach them  how to act!
  4. Give grace.  To yourself.  To your kids.  To other mothers.

We aren’t perfect.  NONE.OF.US.  That is no excuse not to try to parent and love and protect and be the best possible.  But we are going to mess up.

I pray that our children, yours and mine, grow up healthy and happy.

Now, I’m going to get off of the computer and go outside to watch mine because they are outside alone!

See……not perfect!