The Twinkie Effect—Attitudes

Can a Twinkie really help to Conquer Bad Attitudes? 


If you’re hitting brick walls with your kids —finding that you are having a difficult time connecting with them, and they just don’t seem to LIKE you — maybe you need to know about the Twinkie Approach!


Are you thinking that this gal has finally headed right off the deep end? I mean why would anyone in their right mind give Twinkies to a difficult kid? Solve your attitude problem with junk food? Give me a break, right?

Just stick with me for a minute, and maybe you will change your mind. The Twinkie Effect is the results of applying the soon-to-be-famous Twinkie Approach in your home. You heard it first here.

🙂I have added some affiliate links for your convenience.  If you choose to click on the highlighted links, then make a purchase, I may make a small commission, but you’re price is exactly the same as it would be by purchasing without the link.  This helps to fund this website, so I appreciate any help out there!  😃

Bringing the Twinkie Effect Close to Home

Sometimes in our home, we hit that brick wall. It’s really bad when it’s with every kid in the house, but it happens, and more often than I’d like to admit. I’m not talking about school only, but it shows up there too. It’s when the people of the home feel like they’re not appreciated, and resulting sad/sour/hurt/angry/(you fill in the blank) attitudes follow.

So we all know that something has to change, but it’s a real challenge to do it, even if we know that we should. It’s that “stuck in my rut” mentality of always responding in the same way.

Enter Twinkie.

Let’s back up a few years. When my husband and I were first married, we had two cats: Buster and Bubbles. They were our kids back then, and we had a lot of fun with those two!

Buster (orange and white) was the rascal, and Bubbles (pure white) was the old lady. They got along quite well, except when old Buster kicked into his play mode! But, they were a good pair, nonetheless, and our little animal world felt complete.


Ridge Haven Homestead. Twinkie Effect

BUSTER THE WELL-LOVED CAT and Andrew when he was little

Sweet Little Stray

Then a church member brought us Twinkie, a little stray they had felt sorry for and rescued, who needed a home.

Could we possibly give this little black kitty a home? Why not, we thought. So we took her in, and within a week we discovered the little secret that the church member hadn’t noticed. Little kitty Twinkie was a teenage pregnancy, and we were the happy grandparents-to-be! What joy! “What a bargain,” we groaned.

Twinkie Effect

Twinkie the Mommy

So poor little Twinkie kind of had a bumpy start in our home. It wasn’t her fault, but she was a very young cat, and not exactly equipped to be a mama. So, when her little tribe arrived, she spent more time playing with them like a sibling than mothering them. She always retained a bit of the wild cat mannerisms.

Twinkie–What a Boring Cat!

Once her kittens were homed out, Twinkie stayed with us, but always rather like a dark shadow on the sidelines, and not as much like a family member. Maybe it was because of her wildness, or maybe she just had a boring personality — we didn’t know. She just didn’t click with us like the other cats. We fed her and cared for her, but never really bonded with her much, and we never gave it much thought.

The Twinkie Experiment

Then one day when my husband and I were talking, he said to me, “I think I will do an experiment on Twinkie. Every time I pass her by, I will pet her and say something nice to her, and I just want to see what will happen.”

I didn’t give that much thought. Twinkie was just there, and I figured that was how she’d always be — that quiet presence.


It was probably several months later, maybe more, that we realized that the experiment was having an effect after all. 

Read more…


Friday Friendship Feature, Number 3

Friday Friendship Feature #3, Creating a Morning Ritual or Routine

Friday Friendship Feature #3

Welcome to the Friday Friendship Feature #3! 

Today, on our Friday Friendship Feature #3, I am sharing an inspiring post that I ran across, written by another homeschooling mom. She shares on a very important topic: carving out your morning routine. She calls it a ritual, but to me that sounds hard! So I just call it a routine. You call it what you want!

Routines and Our Comfort

A routine or ritual is a habit that you make, that soon becomes just the way you always do things! I think that rituals/routines/habits become a comfort to family members, who learn to depend on them.

This post continues…click below.

Time, space, time together – Lessons…and lessons

Five Love Languages of Children–time

time together in family

Sergeant Mom

Today, I acted as sergeant. We had stuff to do, and I wanted it done ASAP. If not sooner. School, jobs, clean-up project, Sabbath prep. Food to cook, baths to take, the whole nine yards plus some.

I set a timer for the first round, then laid out the day. Such and such will be done by one hour, then this next project, and so on.

time five love languages children


That worked well for 2/3 of my sons. The other son worked, but at a slower pace, and he did not meet the deadline. Grr…

The next phase also stretched out, and I began to get cranked up. More orders, more frustration all around. Less efficiency, and not so much getting done! Have you been there?

Can you win and lose in the same day?

Yes, you can.

You can win battles, but lose hearts.

And that’s what I was doing. Trying to win at all costs. Oh, I didn’t know it. I just knew that my boys needed to shape it up and get moving so we could get things done!

sad boy five love languages children

Giving orders

As you have probably experienced in your homeschool and family, giving orders doesn’t do much to bring everyone into harmony.  Well, it didn’t bring harmony here either. It just led to frustration for all, plus the added bonus of people giving up! When a couple of kids give up, less gets done, and leads to the Grumpy Mom.

Grumpy Mom, Grumpy Kids

Happy wife, happy life is true. So is Happy Mom, Happy Family, even though that doesn’t rhyme!  Mother is the queen of the home, and if she has sunshine, the rest of the home usually will reflect it!  Of course, everyone has a grumpy day here and there, but as long as everyone is not contributing, that person can usually climb back up onto the happy path soon. So, Mothers (and Fathers), you have a huge influence in your home!

smiley face

Brick walls

When you begin to hit those brick walls, you need to do some self-evaluation. Prayer is key. Humility also is necessary. But first, you have to stop and actually ask yourself (and God), “What’s going on here?”

If you’ve been here before, or if you want to hear how our day turned out after our rough start… READ ON at my self-hosted site,

Time, space, time together – Lessons…and lessons

An Experiment–hugs and tickles

Day one:

I’ve started reading a book on my Kindle, out of my sheer need to understand more about my kiddos and how they think.   It’s the Five Love Languages of Children, by Gary Chapman.

I’ve been a mom for over eleven years, yet still I fumble in this area of figuring out what love language my kids understand.  My husband said it should be fairly straightforward to figure out, and maybe it should, but I’m a little dense sometimes. I get caught up in day to day thinking and often don’t stop to think about how what I’m communicating really feels to those around me.

I’m not a good communicator generally.  I like to write.  I don’t think enough about other ways to communicate love.  I do them, some intuitively, and some not so naturally, but I really don’t stop and think about who needs what, are they getting enough, etc, and I wonder why I get brick walls sometimes.  I don’t even know my own love language, and I’m not too sure about my husband’s. So much for women’s intuition.  🙆

I decided that, as I read through this book, I’d try to go ahead and put into practice each love language as I learn more about it, and see who responds most to which language.   Everyone needs all the ways of showing love shown to them, but we all have a particular way that we best understand love when we see it.

The  five love languages, according to this book, are 1). Physical touch. 2). Words of affirmation. 3). Quality time. 4). Gifts. 5). Acts of service.   Interestingly, the only person I know for sure that I know their love language is my mom.  I’m pretty sure her love language is gifts. If not, she’s pretty good at faking it!  🎁💝🎄

Today’s language is physical touch.  This includes hugs, pats on the back, running fingers through hair, fist punches, high fives, and just any kind of loving touch.   This language doesn’t come completely natural to me.  Somewhat, it does, but not all the time.  I think of giving hugs at bedtime, when someone gets hurt, or when I say good-bye, but I don’t always think about walking by and patting someone’s head, or just giving a little tickle.

I do know that one of our sons seems to have a yearning for this kind of love.  He’s the one who always has a kitty in his arms to hug, loves to tickle others, and who even loves fuzzy things to feel.  🐣  He has a love for snuggles!  And sometimes, I hate to admit it, but I feel smothered when someone gets too much into my personal space!   So, this language is one that I need to work on during the regular events of the day, and not to just save hugs and pats for predictable times.

My goal for today is to give a pat or some physical expression of love to each child, as I remember, and to my husband, too, and just see what happens!   It’s currently almost eleven in the morning, and I’ve already started.  I gave head rubs and little thumps on the rumps as we walked along, in good fun, gave some hugs, and little back pats as we prepared for school and as we are sitting here doing our schoolwork.   I’ve already received looks of surprise and smiles, and to my surprise, have begun to receive some pats on my own back–not from my middleman, as I expected more, but from my eldest, who seems less physical.  It’s food for thought.  👩💭

Because I can’t resist the urge to make a homeschool assignment out of everything, I gave the boys a creative writing assignment on this topic.  I think because I feel so dense about what they each need, I wanted to hear what they think love looks like.  I gave them a page of prompts for ideas to get going, then asked them to write down how they would know if Mommy or Daddy loves them.  I told them they could keep it a secret if they wanted to.  Wish I hadn’t said that!  😕  One boy took me seriously.  That won’t help me much, but I’m hoping maybe he will change his mind!

(It’s several hours later now, and, as I hoped, he did let me read what he wrote 😊)

What the boys wrote actually did surprise me.  Which does worry me, but I’d rather learn …

What our middleman wrote in his paper surprised me!   I thought I had him pretty much pegged, but he didn’t write that he feels like we love him when we give him lots of hugs!    Now, I know that he loves them, but what he shared actually indicated that he feels love through acts of service done for him, or maybe it’s a little bit mixed in with quality time.    I guess maybe I should have picked up on this.  My husband has commented before that he is really helpful at doing little things without being told, but where I see life, things are a little different.  I see the school end where we have to labor to keep focused, and so I don’t have as much opportunity to see this side of him.   But, I have some ideas now.  “How I know that you love me: when you help me cook…when you help me make my bed…”  I had no idea!  I so often push the boys out of the kitchen because I like a little space, but such a simple thing could increase our son’s feelings of being loved!   💡

And at the end of the paper was a command to me:  DO NOT TRASH!

(Don’t worry; I plan to keep it!)

Our firstborn, the secretive one for awhile, didn’t surprise me too much, but he did a little.  His definitely indicated a love for quality time spent together.   “How I know when Mommy loves me is when she lets me pick a video and when she reads me a story. ”

“How I know when Daddy loves me is when he lets me help him work and when he gives me a hug and says I love you…”  And he drew a picture of Daddy working along the railroad….  I found it interesting that the activities vary depending on who’s spending the time with him; he doesn’t find it loving for me to let him help me do my work.  🙍  Wonder why…

The little Little A…I think he just wanted to cover his bases.  Or else he, like me, doesn’t really know what he likes BEST, but he knows that many of the suggestions sounded good!   He wrote, “how I know if you love me is you would take a walk with me and play with me, give me a hug, and give me presents, and say I love you.”  💙  Pretty much covers it all, doesn’t it?   You’ve got quality time, touch, gifts, words of affirmation.  Not sure if there’s acts of service, but four out of five covers quite a few!

He wouldn’t give me the paper unless I promised I would keep it forever!  💎  Not a problem!

Well, the day’s come to the end, and I feel like this has been a good opportunity for our eyes to be opened.   I shared what the boys wrote with Mr. Friendly this evening, and he also was surprised at what was shared.   On the surface, most of the activities that make the boys feel loved are not difficult or expensive.  The difficulty lies in our own selfishness as parents, when we don’t want to step out of our routine comforts.

As for the results if the day’s experiment?  I found that today was the smoothest and most enjoyable of our days this week!  Really!  At the end, all was peace in the home, and I think that we all felt like we’d had success instead of defeat.  We didn’t have a perfect day, but I did find that the consequences that had to be given out were taken with much less drama than when we are all running on empty love tanks.

All of the boys responded to extra loving touch.  We had more smiles, and they all seemed more cuddly and positive.   And silly.   I can’t say that any one boy responded more or less than the others, they all responded.  I expected response from Middle A, and he gave more smiles and tickles. Little Guy was more reserved, and sometimes pretended like he didn’t like the attention.  But he did seem happy in general, and I don’t feel like he was unresponsive, just not so obvious about it.

But Big A did surprise me the most.  He really blossomed under the attention, and seemed half shy/half happier and surprised himself.  I really think that a lightbulb came on with me.  Our issues were so much less today.  We both were encouraged.  And what did it cost?  Just some extra focus on giving what the boys need to feel loved!  A few hugs, plenty of pats and hair ruffling, and an attitude willing to learn!

I am definitely looking forward to the next few days as we explore another way to show love.  Should be interesting!

Early learning thoughts….


I’m basically reblogging this post, because this article really helps to sum up many reasons as to why many homeschoolers, among other parents, believe that it’s okay, and even beneficial, to delay formal educational settings with children.

I found it informative. Maybe you will also.

Check it out.

The article first appeared on the website of The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada.

I think this article dovetails nicely with the educational advice given to us over a hundred years ago.

The First Eight or Ten Years—Children should not be long confined within doors, nor should they be required to apply themselves closely to study until a good foundation has been laid for physical development. For the first eight or ten years of a child’s life the field or garden is the best schoolroom, the mother the best teacher, nature the best lesson book. Even when the child is old enough to attend school, his health should be regarded as of greater importance than a knowledge of books. He should be surrounded with the conditions most favorable to both physical and mental growth. [1] – {CG 300.1}

I need to remember these thoughts myself!



I hope I always remember…

A few of my secret ramblings…

May the boys never stop running out to greet Daddy whenever his truck rolls in.

May they never tire of impressing Daddy with their “biggest hugs ever” or their specially invented kisses!
“A hug and a kiss and a gieg”

May we never tire of piling onto the chair and sofa for “one more chapter”.

May I never tire of tucking little flannel bodies into bed!

I hope I always remember tonight, and sticking our heads way out the window to see God’s spectacular star show!

May I cherish forever the little love notes, saying, “thank you for the nice munch lunch”.

May I remember that prayer changes things, not new methods, and certainly, not increased amounts of nagging! :-/
(Lord, remind me of how that worked today–what beautiful ways You can work in my heart and in our children’s hearts, if I turn to You instead of following my own feelings)

There is so much good–we can notice it and appreciate it, and this can change our home’s atmosphere!

How would we live if today were our last day? There would be more smiles, thank yous, hugs and love notes. Less, if any impatience. More conversation on lasting topics. More of Jesus working, I believe.

We don’t know. No one has tomorrow guaranteed. So live today like it’s your last. And tomorrow, if you have it, will be so much better for what you chose today!



Ramblings from the blueberry patch

This morning the boys and I were picking blueberries. We do it a lot here lately. One little guy would not pick, but insisted on picking on his brothers instead. Exasperated, I took him aside for a little talk. Instead of a lecture or threat, I heard myself saying, “if you can be a good helper in this section, then we’ll all take a break to swing.” That’s all it really took to get him on the team. And at the promised time, he did get that swing break.

“Mommy, watch me swing! See what I can do! Keep watching me!”

It hit me like a brick that these moments will be gone so very soon! Our youngest is almost seven, and he’s growing up so fast! Not to mention his older brothers! Where is the time going? Soon I was crying in the blueberry patch–sad, yet glad that at least we are spending the time together. I’d rather be tired from working together with the boys than at my leisure while we all grow apart. I’m content that I have time with my boys all through the day, yet I have to honestly deal with the fact that life seems to be spinning us along at its whim, while we try to hold on and just keep up!
My heart is a bit heavier right now because I believe I need to do a better job of choosing what really matters, not just allowing life to carry us along. We’ve been busy, but did I take the time to really enjoy the gifts that God has blessed me with? Family, friends, a story, a bird’s nest, and just laughing with my family…and, yes, watching my son swing because he wants me to still…I count it cause for praise!

This song is one my mom shared with me and my brothers when we were in our early teens. It touched me then, but it touches me much more now. This was sung at our firstborn son’s baby dedication. And it was what came to me this morning out in the blueberry patch.

Here is the link to watch it, but you’d better get your box of tissues ready, if you’re at all like me. It’s just beautiful yet bittersweet.

I count it as a privilege
I count it cause for praise
to kiss my children goodnight
at the close of everyday
for I know too soon they’re off and gone
and walkin’ out the door
and I’ll never have a child to kiss
goodnight anymore

It’s very strange how times have changed
from the present to the past
when did they grow so quickly
the time has flown so fast
for it seems that only yesterday
I helped him with his shirt
or pat my baby on the back
or kissed away a hurt

tell the story read a book
wipe a nose or tie a shoe
they never ask me to rub their back
the way they used to do
once it was a bother
just a troublesome kind of chore
now I would give anything
to do it just once more

mommy bounce me on your knee
daddy flip me in the air
throw a rubber ball to me
and help me comb my hair
mommy tickle my tummy
daddy hold me high
let’s go outside for awhile
or make a kite to fly

I count it as a privilege
I count it cause for praise
to kiss my children goodnight
at the close of everyday
for I know too soon they’re off and gone
and walkin’ out the door
and I’ll never have a child to kiss
goodnight anymore

And I’ll never have a child to kiss
goodnight anymore…

Words by Steve and Annie Chapman


Shopping with the Little A’s–A lesson in math

What an amazing weekend!

I could share many blessings that came our way in the last two days.  At the top of the list are the family and friends who came to stay with us for a little while.  Our lives are richer for the time we could share with Banana Man’s brother and sister-in-law, and, of course, their sweet and spunky little two-year-old girl.  I have to say that I personally soaked in the fun times of watching our active boys interact with their only cousin.  They just LOVE her!  Everything she does is funny, and the boys spent most of their time today and yesterday evening trying to think of things to do or share that would make her laugh.  Successfully, too.

Our weekend also included visiting time with missionaries and their families who are home from Africa for a little while, and reacquainting with another growing homeschooling family who came to visit.  That made the Sabbath full and interesting, especially when adults and children participated together in a nature scavenger hunt.    Good times!

The good times continued today, even after all of our guests left.  Then came an event that I’m considering adding to our annual school-preparation checklist–shopping!    Not just any shopping–school supply shopping!   This weekend we had tax-free days, so that made it a good time to purchase our school supplies.  I wanted to involve the boys more this year, and I thought that this might be an opportunity for some real-life decision-making.  So, I made a list of the supplies that each boy would be required to purchase for our school year, similar to the lists that the various schools put in the stores for parents and students.   Our list wasn’t nearly as long as the regular schools, but we did have several things that needed replenished, replaced, or just acquired for our lessons.  Then I told the boys how much money they would each get to use on school supplies.  I did mental calculation and estimated how much our supplies would take, and, at the discount prices, I figured that each boy should be able to get what he would need for around ten dollars (this includes paper products and crayons/pencils–not clothes).  We discussed what items each of them wanted/needed, and how they would need to be careful about the choices they made.  Beings that I am a generous mom, I threw in an extra buck for each, in case it was close. 😉

I will say that the boys were extremely excited about this trip.  Daddy came along too, and got to join in on the circus, er…fun!  First stop was Staples, and the boys quickly saw that the sales there this year were not in favor of them using their money wisely, so we passed on their deals for the boys.  But that was their decision.  Next we went next door and checked Big Lots.  Action A managed to find glue for 30 cents a bottle and the scissors he wanted for a good price.   Index cards too.  But I began to see that each boy  very carefully compared prices, and they all were reluctant to spend if they were not certain that this was their best price.

At this point, we took a little break to swim together at the Y.  Daddy impressed the boys with his cannonballs and can-openers off the diving board, and the boys excitedly showed off what they had learned in their swimming lessons for Daddy.  That was a nice refresher.  Then, back to shopping.

At Wal-Mart, the boys found the best deals.  They compared, searched, chose, then compared again.   Banana Man and I chuckled several times at the comparisons, the agonizing choices between one brand of colored pencils or the other, or whether to choose the cutely decorated binder or the durable one…these are choices that we all have to make.   We traveled from aisle to aisle until all three boys were satisfied that they had crossed off every necessary item, and then came the adding in a special little item or two for those who still had some leftover money.

I was surprised by several things, and really pleased by many as well.  First of all, having a limited supply of money to spend really made the boys focus in on what was necessary, good quality, and what things were desirable, but not really needed.  And, at this time of year at Wal-Mart, they make many, many, many things priced so low that you are tempted to buy it just because it is so low.  I found that having the list made before-hand, as well as the knowledge that if they buy this extra item, they might not have enough for something else forced the boys to focus and turn their eyes away from most of the tempting deals.  Secondly, after the boys had gotten their necessities out of the way, they each found that they could go back and trade an item for one that was a little nicer, or add that item that they weren’t sure they could afford.   For example, Ambulance Man and Acorn Boy both chose the smaller pack of colored pencils at first, even though they really eyed the bigger box.  Well, they both found after adding up their purchases that they still had some left, so they were both able to upgrade to the larger box that they really wanted.  So, that was neat to see that good choices paid off for them.   And Action A also found that by wisely using his money that he could get the little stapler that he wanted (don’t ask me why they want a stapler, but he and Ambulance Man both thought that that would be really cool).

At the end, it nearly drove Action A crazy to know that he still had a dollar left, and he just couldn’t see anything to use it on.  We assured him that this was a good problem, having money left-over.  Ambulance Man actually had a dollar and some change too, but Little Acorn came within three cents of using his entire amount.

I can’t really emphasize enough how I was impressed that this little shopping experience did much more for the boys in the way of seeing the value of money than anything I could have told them.  When they hold the money in their hands and get to experience paying for their choices, plus seeing what’s left (or not), they start to internalize that money is not endless, that good choices pay off, and that they have the power to make a good decision.  And that experience brings satisfaction.

🙂  Happily learning!