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What's the big deal about Young Living

Parenting Mistakes I’ve Made {The Series}

Parenting Mistakes

If you’ve been reading here recently, you know I have started a series admitting some of the parenting mistakes I regret. My hope is to encourage you in your parenting journey and give you hope that you can recover from your mistakes.

One of the mistakes I made, in which I had only the best intentions, was isolating my children until I could see that one of them was actually depressed about having no friends.

Now, I don’t mean that she was sad one day about all the girls at church not including her in a slumber party.

I mean that for a period of 4-5 years there were very few kids at church besides our kids, and I did not go out of my way to invite those kids to interact with my own kids.

You see, I had read and believed that brothers and sisters could and should be best friends. And I still do honestly believe that they really can and should be the best of friends.

The problem was that I interpreted this to mean that they did not need any other friends.

And my sensitive daughter began to feel like her brother and sisters liked her and spent time with her because they didn’t have any other choice. They had to be her friend. They lived with her. They didn’t choose to be her friend. And she didn’t have anyone in her life who liked her because they simply wanted to spend time with her.

One day she came to me in tears because she had no friends. None. Zero. And when I comforted her, I couldn’t argue with that fact. When I tried to think of who she could count as a friend, I couldn’t come up with a single one.

When she confided to me that she was having severe anxiety issues, trouble sleeping, frequent stomach aches, grinding her teeth at night, etc. all because she wondered if she was worthy to have people like her, I was heartbroken!

What had I done???

I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed her anxiety issues before she brought it to my attention, and I was so sad that she felt that there was no one in the world who wanted to spend time with her by their own choice. And all this happened because I hadn’t seen the value of including outside people in her life.

I immediately set about figuring out how I could correct the mistake I had made. I invited friends over, signed her up for sports, and encouraged her to participate in youth group activities. I also asked her to forgive me for making such a hurtful mistake.

It wasn’t as easy as that though, since her self esteem was very low about how valuable she was as a friend. It took a couple of years for her to gain the confidence to feel like she was valued as a person to those outside her family.

The lesson I learned from this was huge for me. My children needed to know and experience that they are liked by those who are not required to be nice to them. They needed to know they are liked simply because they are fun to be around. And for us this needed to come from outside the family.

Now, I’m not saying every family should automatically take the steps I did and start signing your children up for more activities. (That could cause as much stress as no activities.) I’m saying pay attention to each child’s needs. Notice signs of stress and depression. Ask questions.

What is right for our family may not be right for your family. What is right for one child may not be right for every child.

But if you find that a child is suffering needlessly because of a parenting mistake on your part, ask them to forgive your and change your course.

My hope in sharing this story is to warn anyone else from making this same mistake. Your parenting journey will not be mistake-free, but we can learn from our mistakes and correct them to be better parents than we were before.

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Salads in a Jar

Salad in a Jar

I love these simple salads in a jar!

(This is a guest post by my college daughter.)

As a busy college student, I often find that I don’t have as much control over my meals as I would like.  Cafeteria food gets really old really fast, but most days I simply don’t have the time to prepare a meal myself, and going downstairs to use the dorm’s communal kitchen is a real pain.  Another option is fast food, but it gets pricey quickly – and even though fries every day seems like an awesome idea at the time, the freshman 15 would say otherwise.  So, what’s a girl to do?

Enter mason jar salads.

I’ve been trying to shift my diet towards healthier options recently, so although I’ve heard of this idea before, I really jumped on it this time it came around.  The idea is super simple: you just layer your salad in a jar and viola!  Ready-made salad for you to grab any time.  You can spend 30 minutes whenever you have free time and make your lunches for the entire week, and you don’t even need a kitchen!  I did everything in my dorm room. Then, when your busy schedule ramps up, you’ll just grab and go!  Here’s what you’ll need to do to get started.

Use quart sized wide-mouth mason jars, which will keep your salads fresh in your fridge.  I bought weirdly shaped short squatty ones because I thought they would fit in my mini-fridge better, but regular ones will work just as well. You’ll also want your preferred greens and an assortment of your favorite salad ad-ins and dressings.

Suggestions for salads in a Jar:

-feta cheese
-nuts
-bacon bits
-diced cooked chicken breast (I found a handy bag of pre-grilled & diced frozen Tyson chicken breasts, which is perfect!)
-tomatoes
-red onion
-strawberries, apples, and grapes
-black beans
-avocados

The possibilities are endless, so don’t be afraid to explore!  The best part about this is that you are in complete control of your salads.  Don’t like tomatoes?  Don’t add any!

When it comes time to layer your salads, you will want to add the toppings first, with the wettest ingredients at the bottom.  Make sure to squirt lemon juice on diced apples or avocados to keep them from turning brown.

After you have added all of your toppings, with the driest on top (such as nuts or cheese), fill the rest of the jar with your greens.  Keep an eye on how much space you’re leaving when you’re adding your toppings so that you have plenty of room.  Lastly, you can either add dressing now, or wait until you are ready to eat your salad.  I haven’t experimented with this yet, but I feel that saving the dressing until I’m ready to eat will probably help to keep the salad fresher, so that’s what I opt for.

And that’s it!  There are SO many different ways to change this up.  Here’s one I’ve tried so far:

Strawberry Avocado Chicken Salad in a Jar

1 avocado, diced
6-8 fresh strawberries, diced
1/4 red onion, diced
2 tablespoons pecans
1/2 cup cooked, diced chicken breast
Lemon juice
Fresh spinach
Poppyseed dressing

Add the diced avocado to your jar first and squirt a little lemon juice on top to keep it fresh.  Next, add strawberries, then onions, pecans, and finally the chicken.  Stuff the rest of the jar with spinach, screw the lid on tightly, and you’re good to go!  I had this one with poppyseed dressing and it was awesome.  I feel like a raspberry vinaigrette would also have been good.

See?  Super easy!  And if you want even more salad ideas, check out the post that inspired me!

I’m excited to be able to have healthy, easy lunches right at my fingertips this week.  How about you?  Will you try it, or have you already?  If you have a favorite salad-in-a-jar recipe, be sure to leave it in the comments!

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