21 Day Tech Less Challenge; Why I Took Our Kids Electronics Away

 

21 Day Tech Less Challenge - Why I Took Our Kids Electronics Away-2 Do you have a love hate relationship with electronics? I know I do! I love it and I love to hate it.

But, recently I have found myself ‘hating’ it more than ‘liking’ it. Everything is in our face 24/7; the good, bad, and the ugly. Our kids are becoming increasingly aware of the crazy world we live in. And, we can agree it is crazy, right?

Over the last year I have fought it, ignored it, and knowingly made a choice to turn my back on it – the problem; our kids and their tech use. What started off as innocent gaming in the morning while mommy wrapped up her work – eventually led to asking for more screen time in the afternoon, and then asking for electronics again before bed.

I found myself increasingly frustrated with our children; their shorter than normal attention spans, lack of listening, and aggressive behaviors. With each passing day I resented those little devices just a little more. Until eventually I had enough and snapped.

I was scared to take them away. It was as if I felt like I was doing them some sort of disservice by eliminating something so prevalent in todays world. I struggled with feelings of being the ‘mean mom’. However, I knew in my heart – it needed to be done but, man the struggle was real!

Those little devices we hold in our hands have an ever increasing amount of power over us.  I’m guilty too {I’m sure you can relate} – if I’m searching something on my phone, can I really hear that my child is asking for a glass of water?

It’s only after I hear; “Mom, mom, MOM…for the 100th time….

I snap; “What?”

“What do you need?”

Why do we do this? Because we weren’t really listening to them in the first place. Heads down and self absorbed in our own little worlds – we are missing the little moments as well as the big.   Why I Took Our Kids Electronics Away

These feelings of hatred towards these little devices only grew with each passing day…a tug on the strings of my heart. “I have to do something!”

But, what? I can’t possibly get rid of electronics in my homeschooled kids lives – after all I need to make sure our kids are ‘normal’. {By the way, when someone figures out what “normal” is please let me know – thanks}

I am a teacher. I see it. I hear it week after week in my classroom. I hear the conversations of my students – our children today aren’t talking about riding bikes, playing outside, or meeting at the neighborhood park. They are talking about “how do you get _______ ?” in such and such video game. “There’s a new update in________”, and “I found this great cheat on ______”.

Ok. let me make something clear – I’m not anti-electronics. I love technology and all that it has done for us. I blog {obviously}, I can be found on most every social media platform out there {Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Periscope, and have recently ventured into the Vlogging world over on YouTube}.

Thanks to the internet I have friends all over the world – some of which I talk to more than my ‘in real life friends’. I pray for their children and their families as they do mine- they teach me and I teach them from afar. It’s wonderful gift.

The time had finally come – I needed and craved an electronic/life balance and, our home was well over due for some much needed limits and boundaries. It was time I stepped up my mothering game and not just choose the ‘easy’ road {any parent who has ever entertained children in a doctors office for any length of time will likely agree Steve Jobs is a saint.} I needed to regain control: control over the one thing I can’t buy more of – time!

21 Day Tech Less Challenge - Why I took are kids electronics away for 21 days

Our 21 Day Tech Less Challenge

We agreed that ’21 days’ would be a good ‘cleanse’ for our family – we didn’t get rid of all screens {we are still able to watch tv and use electronics for education/work purposes}.

We are currently doing a 21 Day #techlesschallenge on Instagram and have decided as long as technology is something we are engaging in TOGETHER than it is ok. But, six people with faces down in their own self absorbed electronic world was now, going to be a thing of our past.

We are already on day 3 of our 21 day #techlesschallege and the results could not make me any happier. Our kids are blossoming in so many ways – they have actually missed their little electric devises very little.

Shockingly, the child who is struggling most is the three year old. Likely because he doesn’t understand the abrupt disruption to his routine but, I know in time he too will ‘see’ all that he was missing with his face buried in that little square of bubbling lights, music, and sound.

If your reading this shaking your head – thinking ‘yes, this is my house’ then let this encourage you to make a change too. Join us and take the challenge; “putting family first, exploring more, and using tech less”.

If your reading this and patting yourself on the back because ‘your kids don’t use tech’ – humble yourself a bit and really ‘check’ do you have another vice that is holding you back from being the parent you were called to be? Reading? Television? Any ‘escape’ that carries your mind from the present situation…..change that and regain control of your most precious gift. Time!



How Blogging Helped Me Find My Passion

How Blogging Helped Me

For those of you who have been around this space for awhile you may to may not remember ‘why’ I first started this blog. Remember the day’s of no, and I do me ‘NO” sleep – the days of food sensitive children, sensory issues, and nursing babies.

Some of that hasn’t changed much as we still have food issues although, not nearly what they once were. Praise God! I ‘do’ still have children who wake but, they all sleep in big kid beds now and mommy just snuggles up next to them – gone are the day’s of sleeping vertically on a couch blogging at 2AM. Why do I share this, because years later I am still here – blogging and writing.

It was those very years of blogging and writing to simply ‘pass time’ that have helped me find my passion. I have taught myself skills and worked at a craft I never knew I had any interest in pursuing. Trust me,  you can learn a lot about yourself when you are up for 15-20 hours a day – 7 days a week. {By the way I am not encouraging nor advocating you do that.} God got me through those long days and nights – and, truly no one in their right mind would ‘choose’ to do such. I was in survival mode –

It was during those same dark nights and through my 7+ years of (on and off) blogging that I have learned – I love to write and love ministering to others using my words. I have also learned a great deal about technology, HTML codes, graphics, and media. {My middle school computer teacher Mr.Belf would be so incredibly shocked – friends, I could lock a computer like the best of them; and yes, it was the stone ages so, words like “YAHOO” made not an oodle of sense to me.} Most importantly though, through all of this I have learned the desires of our heart, the timing of our days, and the season which we are in are all tiny pieces to a much bigger picture.

The days and nights that were simply spent ‘passing time’ were a piece to a much bigger picture – one I venture to say even I have only seen glimpses of- a picture of a future story left untold.

Tell me, what pieces are being put together for your story?

Hungry for more? Check out How to Grow Your Presence In a Noisy World

15 Simple Time Saving Kitchen Tips




15 Simple Time Saving Kitchen Tips

Sharing 15 Simple Time Saving Kitchen Tips today to help you work smarter not harder. I can honestly say, I have never met someone who wasn’t looking to save time or money- myself included. Even as a busy work at home, homeschooling mom of four the one place I could certainly spend the most time is in the kitchen — does anyone else have kids with hollow stomachs?

I am always looking for kitchen tips and ways to cut a corner or two in the kitchen: but, most importantly without putting my family’s dietary needs at risk and without compromising our healthy living lifestyle. Cooking gluten-free, dairy free,and nightshade free has certainly had a learning curve of its own. However, like anything once you have your routine down and a good plan –the shopping, cooking, and clean up can be streamlined allowing more time with family and less time spent slaving over the stove.

Kitchen Tip #1) Keep a well stocked pantry, freezer, and fridge….see how my family of 6 shops once a month here. 

2) Organize Your Shopping List – whether you organize your list based on the layout of a specific store or if you simply do it like myself — which is, by store location (Trader Joe’s, Costco, Farmers Market, Etc.). Regardless of how you do it, the key is knowing exactly what, how much, and from where you will need to purchase a particular item(s).

3) Bake and cook in bulk- Why should waffles and pancakes only be served on the weekend? Why make one meat loaf when you can make two? While you have the griddle or waffle iron out double or in our case triple your favorite recipe, make extras, and freeze the rest for later. Once they are cool place in gallon sized zip-lock bag and freeze. Those busy school mornings that were once filled with heavily processed convenience waffles from the grocery store are now spent enjoying a homemade family favorite. We take the homemade waffles straight from the freezer and pop them directly into the toaster–no thawing necessary–grab, toast, and enjoy.

Soups, stews, stocks, and sauces are the perfect big batch cooking items.Take my tomatoless sauce recipe for example a batch made on a Sunday afternoon can be froze in individual size portions and used for weeks to come. Make the mess once and enjoy the fruit of your labor for weeks to come.

15 Simple Time Saving Kitchen Tips- From a busy work at home mom of four...

4) Pre-cut, dice, chop, and freeze produce that is used regularly.Buy onions and peppers in bulk– prepare and freeze in quart sized freezer bags for later use. I can not emphasize enough how much time this step alone saves–no more cutting onions for chili, meatloaf, and sauces–it’s a one time deal. Buy, cut, freeze, measure out what you need, and refreeze the rest. (Do not thaw the entire bag– just measure out the desired amount for use).

5) Dinner and Lunch Salads in a Flash — no excuses. Making salads admittedly although, one of my favorite things to eat is not my favorite thing to make– too much washing and cutting for this girl. I have found buying lettuce, giving it a quick wash, a rough chop, a spin through the salad spinner, and then proceed to line the spin basket which contain your mixed greens with paper towel it is there that you can safely store them for future use (I have kept washed and prepared greens for up to a week using this method of storage).

6) Keep a garbage bowl on the counter for all the peels, wrappers, and scraps that our not needed for your meal. A large bowl or container on the counter during your food prep can save a fare amount of time walking to and from the garbage can– hey, every bit helps, right?




7) Clean as you go — I have experimented with this several times, but I still feel I save the most amount of time when I clean as I go. Who really likes cleaning a pile of dishes at the end of a meal prep? I work better when I start and end with a clean space. A sink full of soap can be a great start for soaking dirty pots, pans, and utensils–a spray bottle of vinegar water can be a life saver for keeping the counter tops clean and crumb free eliminating any potential gluten cross contamination issues.

8) Ice cube trays don’t only make ice – make batches of frozen basil, mint, and coffee cubes for all of your future recipes. Fresh basil frozen into cube form is the perfect fit for a pot of homemade soup. Add a thawed coffee cube to your favorite brownie recipe–and mint, oh’ how I love thee–from teas to flavored water there is nothing quite like it.  

9) Cook ground meat in large quantities in your crock-pot. Yes, if you have never done this your missing out. Simply put a bulk amount of raw beef, turkey, etc. in your crock-pot (it can still be frozen) cook on low/medium heat. Cook until heated and cooked through. I find in our crock-pot I can cook 3 lbs in 2-3 hrs–a quick rough chop with a spatula, let cool, and freeze in recipe size portions for future dates.

10) Buy chicken, beef, and pork in bulk, prep, marinate, and freeze. Let’s make something clear–I do not like cleaning meat. So any opportunity to make the process a one shot deal I’m going to jump at it.

11) Make that 5 lb bag of fresh chicken breasts your new best friend–trim of all fat, prep for kabobs, chicken nuggets, chicken strips, fajitas, and just plain marinated breasts. I like to prepare any marinades in advance and then add to the gallon zip-lock bag of prepared meat. While the meat thaws it is marinating in all of those juices adding extra flavor and moisture to your dish.

12) Wash grapes and strawberries in those perfect colander like hole containing packages. Make what you have work– there is no need to dirty another kitchen gadget if the freebie one it came with will work. Spray, wash, and rinse your produce in the package.

13) Broccoli, cauliflower, brussel-spouts, and other stem like produce can be cut directly off the stem straight into a colander. There is no need to cut it on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife and holding one end of the stem cut away from you with a downward motion (this works best if you do it over a sink) cut the produce off directly into the colander where it will then be washed, rinsed, and used.

14) Portion out snacks when you first arrive home from the store. Whether you are separating out baby carrots in snack sized bags or pretzels. Those few extra minutes of prep when you first get home can make a world of difference when packing lunches or when temptation for a convenience snack should arise– be prepared and plan ahead.

15) sign up —-> for your free copy ofThe Homestead Daily” for meal plans, tips, tricks, and freebies.

Although, the kitchen certainly does take up a good deal of our time– it doesn’t mean there aren’t a few areas we can cut some corners–whether, you are a newly wed, a half crazed mom like myself, or a seasoned veteran in the kitchen the recipe is the same- work smarter not harder.

I would love to hear some of your kitchen saving tips–share them in the comment section below.  I love hearing from you.

Image courtesy of Simon Howden/FreeDigitalPhotos.net