Next Week: The Big Swap

We’ll share more details as we get closer to the date, but we wanted you to have some advance notice about next week’s event. We’re going to be hosting The Big Swap – a chance for you to share what you’ve got (and borrow something great in return)!

Think about it…

Do your kids have some cool toys that they’re just plain bored with? They’d be exciting to someone else’s kids… And when you get it back, that toy will be new to your kids all over again.

Do you have any kids’ stuff that you wish you’d been able to try out first before you bought it? You could give that awesome opportunity to another family by lending it out for a couple of weeks.

Do you have a great parenting book that you’re not actively using anymore? Maybe some kids CDs or DVDs that you could use a break from? Maybe a DVD set from a favourite television show that you think someone else might love?

Start scouring your houses… Next week, we’ll all meet up and set up some borrows and trades with the other moms in the group – and hopefully all go home with a (temporary) treasure or two!

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Wrap-Up: Parenting – Lost in Translation

Don’t you just love coming home and having something new to think about for the rest of the week? Today’s guest speaker – Laurie Schellenberg – provided plenty of food for thought as she shared about her own experiences as a mom and the importance of understanding your child’s unique gifts and love languages.

She referenced a number of books that you can pick up if you’re looking for more information on this subject:

  • Discover Your Children’s Gifts (also Discover Your God-Given Gifts and Discover Your Spouse’s Gifts) by Don + Katie Fortune
  • The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
  • Hold On To Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld

We talked a lot about the idea of nature vs nurture and how it’s very common for our children to take after one parent or the other (or a combination) but how understanding the colour of lenses in the sunglasses they are born with can help us communicate love and deal with parenting challenges – in THEIR language, and not necessarily in ours.

Later during our group discussion, many moms shared about their struggle to get their husbands to engage in these types of books and ideas and a couple of great strategies were shared:

  • When you’re reading something that really speaks to you, try writing that passage or idea on an index card. You might have 10 or 15 index cards at the end of a really fabulous parenting book – and your husband will likely be much more willing to read (and discuss) those ideas vs reading an entire book.
  • One mom shared about a weekend trip to Grand Forks that she took with her husband. While they were driving there, she read to him from a parenting book – then put the book away for the weekend once they arrived. On the way home, they read again and had some great talks about it.
  • When you’re excited about a book, make the focus SELF improvement. If you think your husband could benefit too, don’t push it on him as a self improvement thing… Make the focus YOUR positive change, and encourage him to read it as a way to better understand the changes he’s seeing (and likely appreciating) in you. Who knows… He might end up turning the focus on himself as he’s reading, and then EVERYONE benefits.

What was the biggest idea or piece of information that you walked away with after our talk today? What would you write on your ‘index card’ from this morning?

Wrap-Up: What’s For Lunch?

This morning, Corinna shared some great tips + ideas to help make lunchtime a little more appealing for toddlers and preschoolers. There was a lot of knowing head nodding going on, so it’s obvious that most of us can relate (or will be able to someday very, very soon).

She shared some tips on getting your child to eat healthy foods:

  • Add fruits and veggies to a smoothie
  • Puree and hide veggies in sauces and other food
  • Get your toddler or preschooler involved in growing a garden, grocery shopping, or meal prep
  • Find songs or books that encourage them to try new things
  • PRESENTATION, PRESENTATION, PRESENTATION
  • Keep trying… (it can take 10 to 15 tries before they will accept something new)
  • Have a plate of fresh fruit or veggies just before meal time
  • Be a good example
  • Make a ‘one bite’ rule for new things (or try ‘bites by age’ for a meal – they must try one bite for every year old they are)
  • Try one new food paired with a favourite
  • Serve it with a dip
  • Be creative (Corinna showed us how to make ‘spider dogs’ by quartering the ends of a hot dog and boiling or roasting it that way and ‘squid’ by adding uncooked spaghetti into the end of a hot dog chunk and boiling it)
  • If all else fails, LIE (‘Superman LOVES broccoli!’)

We all headed to the kitchen to try our hand at some toddler-friendly bento lunches. Everyone’s lunches were unique, colourful, and fun (and hopefully our kids agreed!). I think we were all surprised to discover how easy the bento lunches were to make.

For more ideas – and some pretty inspiring bento boxes! – be sure to check out:

Best Books for Moms

A few moms today were talking about how hard it is to find new (GOOD) books. The topic of devotional books for moms – or for women – came up specifically. If you have a great one on your shelf, click to comment and tell us about it! (And maybe think about loaning it out at our swap morning on October 7.)

Thinking About: Mommy Pressure

Today, Lindsay’s devotional focused on Matthew 11.28-30 and the concept of a yoke – something that is heavy and weighing us down.

As moms, there are so many pressures that we put on ourselves and even more that are piled on by others (HELLO epidurals, breastfeeding, vaccinations, preschools, extracurricular programs…).

This week, make yourself a cup of tea and take a few minutes to think about the pressures that are most weighing on you right now. Can you give that burden over to God and – as The Message puts it – ‘learn the unforced rhythms of grace’? Are there practical steps you can take RIGHT NOW to lessen your load?

Winnipeg’s Best Kept Secrets

Bethel MOMs is building a list of Winnipeg’s Best Kept Secrets – according to the city’s most important experts (moms!).

Take a few minutes to fill out your top picks in each of the categories below. Don’t feel like you need to answer every single one, and feel free to share two or three ideas in a category that you’re particularly knowledgeable about. If you want to add a few words to tell us why you’ve picked something, go for it! It’s all about pooling our resources and sharing what we’ve figured out with other busy moms.

Please copy + paste the list into an email or Word document and email your responses to Lindsay.

Voting will close at the end of September and we’ll unveil our master list of awesomeness on Thursday, October 21. Don’t miss it!

Best Places to Eat

Best Casual Date Night Restaurant

Best Fancy Date Night Restaurant

Best Family-Friendly Restaurant

Best Restaurant to Celebrate a Birthday

Best Place to Order a Birthday Cake

Best Kids Menu

Best ‘Kids Eat Free’ Meals

Best Ice Cream / Gelati

Best Coffee + Dessert

Best Places to Go

Best Place to Let the Kids Run Out Energy in Bad Weather

Best Place to Pamper Yourself

Best Outdoor Playground for Toddlers

Best Free Family Activity

Best Family-Friendly Local Festival

Best Daytrip with Kids

Best Place to Have a Birthday Party

Best Place to Go Trick-or-Treating

Best Kid-Free Weekend Getaway

Best Nursing Room / Family Washroom

Best Family Photo Location

Best Kids Haircuts

Best Place to Volunteer as a Family

Best Place to Donate Kids Stuff

Best Places to Shop

Best Place to Get a Deal on Kids Clothes

Best Place to Get a Deal on Diapers

Best Place to Buy Kids Birthday Gifts

Best Place to Buy Party Supplies

Best Place to Buy Toys + Activities for a Rainy Day

Best Place to Buy Kids Gear (strollers, high chairs, car seats, etc)

Best Place to Find Coupons

Best Place to Buy Organic Fruit + Veggies

Best Place to Buy Locally Made Clothes

Best ‘Mompreneur’ Company for Kids

Best Place to Buy Used Kids Stuff

Winnipeg’s Best

I think that Winnipeg’s best kept secret is…

Thinking About: September Resolutions

This morning, Leanne talked about three facets of motherhood that she’s resolved to work on this year: making time for hobbies, being deliberate about making family memories, and finding time for prayer.

Did our conversation inspire you to make some September Resolutions of your own? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section…

Next Week: What’s For Lunch?

Thanks to everyone who made it out this morning! It was so nice to see a mix of old and new moms. It’s going to be a great year. We know how crazy September can get (and how crazy getting out the door with babies and toddlers and preschoolers in tow can be…) and we appreciate the effort you made to come.

And in that spirit of trying to make our lives just a little bit easier, next week’s session with Corinna is all about making toddler-friendly lunches. Bring along TWO containers (something flat and rectangular would be ideal, but anything will work) and you’ll go home with lunch all ready to go! If you have a couple of fun cookie cutters to bring along, that would be great too. See you on Thursday, September 23.

NOTE: If you’re paying session-by-session, note that next week’s session drop-in fee will be $6. If you’ve paid $25 for the entire Fall Session, you’re covered.

Three more sleeps…

We’re so excited to see you all this week Thursday, September 16 for our very first MOMs morning of the year!

Come catch up with other moms – and meet some new ones – while we take care of registration for this session and talk about what’s coming up. If you have any questions about what time we start, how you can help, or what to keep in mind for childcare, be sure to explore this website (or bring your questions with you on Thursday).

Don’t forget to scroll down and comment on the first post. Share your favourite summer memory and you could win a prize on Thursday!