Top Ten: Advice on Parenting


I spoke today at the reunion of our MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group.  How wonderful to see so many friends and to realize how many different ways our lives have intersected as the years have passed.  I thought for several weeks about what to talk about.  I was very tempted to just go crazy and sing these funny mother parodies I’ve been writing lately.  But I was too chicken.  Also, I had a feeling that maybe I was supposed to share something more helpful.  So I came up with the top ten pieces of advice I’ve had on parenting:  the advice which actually worked.   When I get up to speak and work only from an outline (like I did this time), I never actually know what is going to come out of my mouth and (worse) never exactly remember later what I said.  Because I have reading glass issues, I’m not even sure I actually read what was on those few notes.  However, a couple of people have asked for my outline, so I’m posting it here for anyone who wants to see it.  I’m adding in the books too.

Virginia’s Top Ten

Advice I’ve gotten on parenting (and where I got that advice)

         1.Enjoy the season you are in—each season has its own challenges and joys—don’t worry about the ones to come or you might miss where you are.  Don’t try to do so much that you miss where you are. (Personal experience and my mom)

        2.Ordinary suffering molds us to be the people God wants us to be.  Don’t seek to help your child avoid all suffering.  Do seek to talk them through their experiences so they can learn from them and learn to emphasize with other people. (BSF lesson—my mom)

     3. Envision for your children who they can be—what God made them to be—seek to know their gifts, strengths, talents and positive personality traits and help them to see how they can be that person (Katie Peebles–mentor and friend before my marriage)

    4.  Envision the good qualities hidden in the negative ones—bad behavioral traits are good ones misused.  Seek to bring out the good ones. (God’s Pattern for Enriched Living,   by Verna  Burke –available on Amazon along with other books by this author)

        5. Spend time doing things which are important to your husband (and each child)—what matters to that person is important.You will feel you accomplished something if you know you did something that they wanted. (Love Life for Every Married Couple:  How to Fall in Love and Stay in Love by Ed Wheat)

     6. Don’t Panic (should be written in large friendly letters on the front of each newborn).  You have more than one try at most parenting situations. (Adaptation from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

7. Don’t discipline the behavior, mold the heart—beware of hidden anger.  Make the good of the child the point of your discipline, not what other people think about you book (Minrith Myer book)

  8.  Family Vacations are important—you can never have a vacation when your kids are the age they are now (lessons learned, time together)

  9.   Let your child learn to entertain themselves and put themselves to sleep (Krista–mom friend of 4 when I just had a newborn)

    10.  Schedule your day so that your child gets enough sleep (Ann Colina–mom friend of 2 when I just had one)


Science Fair Information


As the co-ordinator of Woodway Elementary Science Fair and as a parent who has helped my kids do science fair projects over the past ten years, I’ve learned a lot about how to make a kid’s science fair project an enjoyable process for everyone.  Originally, I just posted the information I’d made for parents at our school here on my blog, but I’ve gotten thousands of hits, so I know that many people found it useful.  I’ve expanded and moved this information to my Hubpages account.  I include links to good resources as well as lots of pictures of how to do projects and how to make them into a poster.  Here is the link:

On a Wing


Our yard in Texas is at the top of the hill and my husband is always trying to attact butterflies.  It worked!  Now each year we have thousands of migrating Monarchs going through our yard.  See more of my photos at VirginiaLynne on hubpages.

RTA cabinets–Can I build it?


I’m still plastering and painting, but some of my remodel jobs are done.  I finished building the RTA cabinets we put in four rooms of our house (kitchen, craftroom, laundry and living rooms–all of which are part of an open floorplan). RTA stands for ready to assemble.  Each cabinet is flat packed with all of the hardware you need to assemble it.  There are instructions, but it helps to have at least some knowledge of how to put things together in order to figure them out.  I’m not a cabinet builder but I do have experience in refinishing wood and in general remodeling projects.  Looking back, I’m wondering if I was crazy to think I could really build 31 cabinets all by myself.  But I did it, with only a couple of minor mistakes which we were able to hide in the installation.  The cabinets are beautiful and solid wood throughout.  I know, I built them!

Why pick RTA?  I picked them because I was not impressed with the Home Depot cabinets we had ordered for our bathroom remodels.  They were expensive, but they had laminate inside and we didn’t even get shelves in one of the units.  On top of that, I didn’t like the order process.  The Home Depot people came out and designed the kitchen for you.  I wanted to have more control over the process.  I knew I could measure my kitchen and I wanted to be able to look at the different available pieces and make my own design.  With RTA cabinets, I probably had a more limited choice of type of cabinets in some instances, but I was able to know what my choices did to the overall cost of the project.

Why RTA Cabinets Unlimited?  I was hoping to get cabinets that were not oak or maple. Most cabinets available are in those two woods. However, RTA Cabinets Unlimited offers a line of cherry cabinets called Tuscany and another walnut line called Warwick.  We liked both of them and after ordering samples decided with much trepidation  to use both cabinets.  The cherry in our kitchen/craftroom area and the walnut in our living room and laundry.  The living room opens into the kitchen, so we weren’t sure how this was going to work, but in the end, we think the reddish woods match well.

I was impressed at the service from this company.  Several times, the salesman, James, called me to ask if I needed anything.  The first time he called, I was just starting to assemble my first cabinet and he gave me exactly the advice I needed.  After we had installed everything, I received a hard copy catalog which very clearly proclaimed that they were a Christian company.  James’s kindness and patience in helping me get everything right in the order showed an attitude of service.

It wasn’t easy to put all of the cabinets together, and a few slightly warped sides had me worried that things might fall apart, but now that they are all assembled and installed, I’m very happy with them and sort of amazed that I actually did this project.  RTA cabinets are not for the faint of heart, but if you have some skills and more time than money, they can be a good choice.

Update May 2011—For more information see my articles: I know these all sound the same because I kept on planning to write a review of RTA Cabinets–then as I wrote, I ended up on a different topic.  I’d added pictures and video before I realized that the http was not what I’d actually wrote!  So see the title in front for the real topic!

Can Homeowners Build RTA Cabinets? (includes videos which show you how to assemble them)

How to Choose RTA Cabinets (Step by step guide of how to choose)

Review of RTA Cabinets Unlimited

California Dreaming


Do we get to ride on the skyline at the airport?
Do we get candy?
I love the escalator!
This is so fun.
Can we get pizza?
I love airplane rides!
Look at the clouds.
Will we take another bus to the rental car?
Are we there yet?
There are the red mountains!
Are you going to put this on your blog?

trip to California 2009

Steffi’s First Joke


    Steffi continues to be a delight.  I’ve had at least four of her teachers at church and school pull me aside to say, “I just love her.  She is just so wonderful. She is so sweet.”  That is true.  Yet she has also become rather stubborn at times and she will deliberately slow down when we are trying to get somewhere or get something done.  Although it can be annoying, I know it is good for an “always obedient” child (especially an adopted one) to feel safe enough to disobey sometimes. 

   Another joke, this one from Mollie (I’ll have to make a page about it).  I was praying for the girls and thanking God for each one being special, and playing on a book I read the kids all the time which talks about all kids being the favorites of the parents, I said, “and we thank you God for our Steffi, who is always everyone’s favorite.” 

Mollie burst out, “She’s not MY favorite!”

Sophie and I looked up and laughed.

“Well,” stammered Mollie, “She’s NOT!”

I guess we need to work on the “love others” part of the Great Commandment.

Ode to Der Wienerschnizel


After taking Violet for her haircut, we decided to go out to lunch at Der Wienerschnitzel.  I remembered going to an A-frame one after library trips in my hometown, Riverside.  Chris and I once went there on a date before a Baylor concert, eating polish sandwiches outside and watching the busy intersection of Franklin and New Road.  On this trip, we thought it was odd they were out of corn dogs.  When you only have four menu items, you shouldn’t run out of one of them.  However, the kids were consoled by these really marvelous chocolate covered cones.  Plus, we enjoyed watching the grackle antics.  The next week, we drove by to find the Hot dogs gone, replaced by a sleezy “Loans on your Car Title” joint.  Goodbye Der Wienerschnizel.  Thanks for the memories.

Note:  I’m still remodeling–working on painting the outside and finishing painting and plastering the inside.  However, I’m also going to try to get back to blogging at least a few days a week.   I didn’t write down what I used for this layout, but I think everything comes from Scrapgirls–my favorite!