Archive for January, 2014

Committed: The Ties that Bond

with Angella Dykstra

I'm a mom of three, a professional accountant, and an amateur photographer and writer. I am not a marriage expert. But my husband and I take "Til death do us part" seriously, and here I'll be sharing how we keep our marriage strong while we both do that insane work-life juggle.

Check out my Work It, Mom! profile and my blog, Dutch Blitz.

Teaching Kids Not To Lie

Categories: children, discipline

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When kids are little, they are (mostly) innocent, but even the most angelic child can decide to lie. In the case of my kids, it’s usually because they are scared that they will get in trouble if they admit to something. They will don their “lying face” — my kids will never win at poker — and omit/stretch/lie about the truth.

Lying is something that is simply not acceptable in our house. Our faith aside, lying breaks trust. We spend a lot of time together as a family and I want to trust these people who I spend all of my time with, because life is so much better when we can trust each other

Here’s how we teach our kids not to lie:


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How to Prep your Big Kid for a New Baby

Categories: children

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So, you had your very first baby and somehow survived being up 18 times per night and your baby is now a kid. Or a toddler who is pretty cute and sweet and you think, we should do this again.

(As for me, my firstborn cherub was so cute, that we started trying for child number two pretty quickly. We had a positive pregnancy test on said cherub’s first birthday. Happy Birthday, G! Soak up 100% of the attention while you can.)

G has always loved babies — he loves to volunteer in our church’s nursery  — but here are a few things we did when we was but a baby himself to prepare him for his baby brother, and then baby sister.


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Kids and Censorship: How Much is Too Much?

Categories: Uncategorized, children

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I have three kids, aged eleven, nine, and seven. My poor oldest child is the guinea pig when it comes to parenting (as were both his Dad and I). He’s the one who is on the front lines of growing up and we are charged with making sure everything he is exposed to is age-appropriate.

The flip-side of that coin is that he has two younger siblings who live in the same house that he does. He’s old enough to watch/play some things that they are not and how do we balance it? We balance it like it happens in every family (Or, most of them) since the beginning of time. The rules are rigid for the first born, they become a little less strict for the second-born, and the third child has free reign to everything.(We’re not that free with our second and third kids, but it’s definitely a little bit looser.)
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How To Talk To Your Kids About Cancer

Categories: children, communication

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We’ve been very (VERY) lucky that nobody in our family has had to battle cancer.

(*Knocks on every piece of wood in her house*)

There have been others we know — or know through others — who have been diagnosed with cancer. A good friend of mine has Thyroid cancer, but I haven’t shared that with my kids because (She’s kicking its ass, and) I don’t want to burden them unnecessarily. Others we know here in our small town have been battling cancer and one little boy lost his fight, which brought the conversation into the open.
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How Do You Celebrate Your Birthday?

Categories: family

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My birthday is on January 20th — this coming Monday — and it’s an interesting time to have a birthday. The hype and excitement of the holiday season has come and gone and we’re left with a month that is grey all around. On top of the blah of January, the fact that I have a birthday only a few weeks after Christmas means that I get presents in a three-week period and then the rest of the year is a barren wasteland.

January is a month that hits many people upside the head with the fact that it is a crappy month. To combat this, I host a girls’ night at my house on the week of my birthday. It’s a potluck affair, with appetizers and desserts and wine. I don’t make it about me, but about having a fun night in a not-so-fun month. We talk and we laugh and we eat. It’s one of the highlights of my entire year.


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Teaching Your Kids Not To Be Quitters

Categories: children

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Being a parent is a balancing act on so many levels. One area that I struggle the most with is knowing when to push my kids to persevere, and when to let them quit. I want them to be committed when they sign up for something, but I also want them to be able to bow out if they are in above their head. How do we know what the best choice is? It depends on the circumstances, of course.

My husband and I decided a few years ago that we would take up skiing as a family. I skied sporadically with friends as a teenager, and he’d never been on skis a day in his life, but there’s a ski hill less than an hour away from our house and it seemed like a sport we could enjoy as a family. We enrolled the kids (and us) in lessons and made our way to the hill for said lessons.


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Explaining Divorce To Your Kids

Categories: divorce, marriage

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My husband and I aren’t divorced — and never plan to divorce — but as my kids are getting older, they’ve become more aware that not all marriages stay intact. My parents have both been married multiple times, and some of their friends have parents who now live in two houses.

There have been questions about why people get divorced and I don’t have much of an answer, because I don’t know the story. What I do tell them is that there are times when people decide that breaking up is better for them than staying together. This leads to them asking if their Dad and I will get a divorce, to which we reply with an emphatic no. We’re committed to forever, and continually work on our marriage to keep it vibrant and alive. We share the same faith, the same values, the same sense of humor, and the same fierce love of our kids and our family of five.

This is where I’d love to hear from those of you who have gone through a divorce. What do you tell your kids when they ask? And what do you feel is the best response that I can give my kids when they ask, so that they can be sensitive with their friends whose parents are divorcing?

Dealing With The January Blahs

Categories: fitness, health

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November and December may involve the snow and cold, but Thanksgiving/Christmas/Whatever You Celebrate festivities can distract you from the gray weather outside. Once New Year’s is over, all that’s left is three (or five, depending where you live) months of snow and cold and cloudy skies. It can be rather depressing.

I have never been a fan of winter, which led to a few years where I struggled with S.A.D. I had one January day where I was unable to do anything other than sit. I couldn’t read, I couldn’t write, I couldn’t do anything other than sit on the couch. I knew it was time to take action. Take action I did, and now I clap my hands with glee when the snow falls. (Truth.) Summer will always be my favorite season, but Winter no longer fills me with dread.

Here are a few ways to beat the January Blahs:


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Tips For Fighting Off Colds and Flu

Categories: children

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Having three kids of school age means that they spend five days a week in a petri dish of germs. When they were younger they tended to catch more bugs, but it’s gotten better as they’ve grown up. Part of it is due to the fact that they know to wash their hands, and part of it is because they’ve already had a number of the common colds and had built immunity.

I don’t like being sick because I don’t have time to be sick, and I don’t like my husband to get sick because it turns onto the dreaded Man Cold. Here are a few tips to fight off colds and flu that work for us to either stop us from catching anything or to temper the sickness so it’s not as bad as it could be.


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