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…


Self-Care for the Homeschool Mom

self-care for homeschool moms

Self-Care for Homeschool Moms. Are You Taking Care of Everyone but YOU?

As we begin a new homeschool chapter, I have been chewing on what my first educational blog post of the year should focus on. I have many ideas for the future, but the one thing that keeps coming back to me is this — how is mom holding up?

Self-Care for Homeschool Moms, No Matter Your Season

Some of us are “seasoned” homeschoolers, whatever that means. Some of us are just starting out. I think I am in the “half-baked” stage — not done yet, and so I still need some more seasoning. So much to learn, and at times I feel like I need to unlearn some things so that I can have more flavor in our school. Life would be pretty boring if every family school consisted of the same ingredients. It’s something to chew on.

But, as we begin a new year, I am reminded of mom. Most likely, you are the principal teacher in your homeschool. I realize there are exceptions, and I’m not trying to exclude anyone; if this applies to you as dad, grandma, or whomever, then take it to heart. I know it applies to moms.

Self-Care Amidst Your Busy Schedule

As teaching moms, we get excited about new projects, new curriculum, methods of teaching, craft supplies, fun field trips, and the list goes on and on, doesn’t it? We drive our troops to music lessons, practices, clubs, counseling sessions, play dates, Bible studies, birthday parties, service opportunities, jobs, and Grandma’s, not to mention the hours at the table, in the garden, reading on the sofa, or in the woods taking nature walks. And then, there’s often a husband who has needs and expectations too!

But, what about you, homeschooling mom? How do you meet your needs? How do you avoid burning the midnight oil to get everything done? How do you avoid burning out because you’re so busy doing good for everyone else that you forget about your own needs?

self-care for homeschool moms

Close to Home: Self-Care for Homeschool Moms like Me!

As I sit here on a Friday afternoon, reminding myself to guzzle more water to battle a nagging UTI, I just want to encourage you — not because I have it all together as a home educator, but because I see a genuine need in all mothers who tend to take on too much. My words to you are these: It is not selfish to take care of your own physical needs. 

Your family needs you, and you are very much aware of that. But, they need you healthy. They need you cheerful, and that’s very difficult to pull off when you’ve stayed up until midnight again. How do I know this? Well, because I’m living it! 

We are instructed to teach our children cause-effect relationships. But, we have to be real with ourselves and realize that bedtime is not just for babies; our bodies need water; and a little exercise and fresh air will do wonders for our attitudes as moms, just as much as for our children.

Home educating is no joke!

It’s not a tea party, and despite what some will think, we do much more than just sit around and do crafts with our children! We have real stresses. We worry about our children’s attitudes and characters — a LOT! We wonder about their futures, and wonder if we are doing it all right, because we don’t have a second chance. Often as we take on all of those unknowns, we find ourselves running around to grab at any perceived learning opportunity, maybe even to the detriment of our peace of mind.

At times, we even burn out, or come close to it! For more on this topic, see Homeschool Seasons, and Courage for the Worn Out Homeschool Mom

So, what is the answer?

I can only share with you what I am learning myself on this enjoyable, yet, exhausting road. These tips are not in any particular order, except for the first one.

bible study
  • We as home educators absolutely need our time with God! I find that I can get so edgy and driven with my children if I don’t have the softening influence of the Holy Spirit for myself! And, praying for my family particularly helps me to look at them differently. •Sometimes I wake up late, in a rush, and find that mid-morning, or sooner, I have to go close myself in my closet with the Lord to regain my perspective, and to just cry out to Him for help. Satan will capitalize on any chink in our armor, so putting on the full armor is so important! This is truly the best gift we can give to our children and husbands — a heart that has met with Jesus and surrendered, so that when we deal with them, we will treat them with grace. 
self-care for homeschool moms, resting
  • Sleep. I can’t say how much youneed, but I know when I need more of it! That’s when I get irritable about little things, feel like weeping over trifles, and start to feel fuzzy in my head the next day. I have gone through times when literally every time I sit down to read with my kiddos, I knock out. A little more sleep is needed! 
  • For me, practically, this means 

Post continues. Please click this link.

Friday Friendship Feature #2

Friday Friendship Feature—A time to share an Inspiring Read

Sometimes I get to blog hop. I enjoy meeting new bloggers!

This week I stumbled across a wonderful post by Shannon, at From the Hearth.

The reason I enjoyed this read so much was because I see the truth of her words in our own family. I can say that our boys have been blessed with amazing grandparents. Our boys consider them to be among their very best friends. And that makes me very happy.

I really think you will enjoy this article, some of which I have included here. You’ll have to catch the rest over at From the Hearth, and while you’re there, you can see what else they’re up to!

Friday Friendship Feature #2

5 Things I’ve Learned While Watching My Parents Interact with My Kids.

We recently had the pleasure of having my parents visit for a little over a week. My kids adore their Grandma and Mebop (their name for grandpa), so it’s always special when we can all be together.

As I watched my parents interact with my kids during this last visit, I realized that there are a number of life lessons that I can learn from their interactions. Here are 5 of these lessons.


  • It’s often the little things in life that bring the most joy.

Post continues here

Language of Encouragement, Part 1 – Lessons…and lessons

Want to learn to speak the Language of Encouragement?

Encouraging Words is one of the Five Love Languages.

I spoke about the first two of the Five Love Languages in my posts aboutTime Together, and Hugs and Tickles(Loving Touch). In my next few posts on this topic, I will talk about Encouraging Words, or what can be called The Language of Encouragement.

I did not come up with this term. But I know a good thing when I hear it, and I want to share a helpful resource for you! All parents, homeschoolers, teachers, grandparents,friends, employers, employees, and pretty much anyone can benefit from learning this language. 

Listen to The Language of Encouragement talk (it’s free)

I want to refer you to a talk that I had recommended to me several years ago. This talk has impacted me, inspired me, and little by bit, is changing me. But I will be honest. The Language of Encouragement does not come naturally to me at all. For this reason, I have listened to this talk many times over the last several years, because I lose my way over and over, and fall back into my old rut of non-encouraging words! 

The talk, entitled The Language of Encouragement, authored by Maria Nebblett, can be downloaded here on their family’s ministry website. You may also find more encouraging talks at that site. I strongly encourage you to listen to it! Just scroll down to the category Family, and it’s the last talk. You will certainly be blessed!

If you prefer video, the talk can be seen here on Vimeo. Sometimes I like to watch a person talk, but more often, I like to download the talk to listen to it while I walk in the morning.

Please listen to the Introduction

For this post, please listen to the Introduction of The Language of Encouragement, or about the first 15 minutes of the audio file. This will give you a good overview of the talk, and plenty of food for thought. 

Free Printable, The Language of Encouragement

Go ahead and print the free printable (below) if you like! This will give you a visual aid as you listen. The Printable is also a nice poster to hang up in a prominent place as a reminder of the principles you want to put into practice! You may color it if you like, and laminate it to help it to last longer, or just leave it plain.

Printable is available on my self-hosted site (for free).

The Language of Encouragement, a talk by Maria Nebblett, has encouraged me. Here is a free printable coloring page/prayer guide to accompany this talk.
— Read on

Five Love Languages for Children, Hugs and Tickles – Lessons…and lessons

Five Love Languages for Children, Hugs & Tickles – Lessons…and lessonsEA2A8A33-A904-40B7-A47B-7ABEA79D6932The Five Love languages for Children–do you know your own love language?  How about the love language of your children?

I’ll be exploring the five different love languages over the next several weeks, especially as they pertain to children and families.

My first post talks about an experiment I conducted in our home four years ago, which I have repeated this past week, on the love language of physical touch.

Come on over and read what happened…at Lessons and Lessons

Here’s an excerpt:

The Five Love Languages for Children, My Experiment

What is your child’s Love Language?

What is your child’s Love Language?

Day One, Again

Four years ago, I performed this experiment–try out one of the five love languages on my children for a day at a time. I was curious to notice any changes, if any, in my three boys, as a result of receiving different love languages for that day. I hoped to better pinpoint the needs of my family. I wrote the blog below at that time. I don’t think that I moved on with the other languages; at least I didn’t write about them. Let’s change that!

Recently, I have reexamined the five love languages. Boy, do we need them here! Read what I wrote four years ago, then the results as I performed the same experiment now, with two teens and a tween!

…continued…click below

via Five Love Languages for Children, Hugs & Tickles – Lessons…and lessons

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!



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


What Matters Most

Take a minute and remember why you stay home with your children, and what matters to them when they look back on their family life.
This was a poignant reminder for me to keep focused on what really matters. For those who are unaware, the author of this article died unexpectedly–her choices are made. We who still have today can make our choices. Here’s to no regrets! 🙂

Copy work for Mom

Many people have their children do copy work for various reasons; I could list many. But, in my opinion, one if the best reasons to require copy verse is to engage the hands with the mind in the process of learning some worthwhile passage of writing.

Here is my personal copy work that I copied into my prayer journal tonight.

-Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

Self-denial means to rule the spirit when passion is seeking for the mastery; to resist the temptation to censure and to speak faultfinding words; to have patience with the child that is dull and whose conduct is grievous and trying; to stand at the post of duty when others may fail; to lift responsibilities wherever and whenever you can, not for the purpose of applause, not for policy, but for the sake of the Master, who has given you a work to be done with unwavering fidelity; when you might praise yourself, to keep silent and let other lips praise you. Self-denial is to do good to others where inclination would lead you to serve and please yourself. Although your fellow men may never appreciate your efforts or give you credit for them, yet you are to work on. – {4T 521.2


World Changers

Do you enjoy challenges?

I do, sometimes, and sometimes, not so much.  Like most people, I guess.

But, as parents, we have a huge challenge to raise our children for usefulness in this life, and as Christian parents, we have an even broader challenge–to somehow raise our children so that they voluntarily choose, not only to accept Jesus’ offer of salvation for themselves, but then to make a difference for eternity.  Not that all will automatically choose to serve as visible missionaries or pastors, but we are all given the commission to “go” and serve others.   Why?  Because we have freely received, so we can freely give what we have found.

In our home, we enjoy reading stories of great people.  For me, greatness is measured by how much individuals have allowed God to work in their lives.   We are studying, this semester, and probably into next year, countries and cultures.  We are using My Father’s World curriculum outline as a kind of framework for our study, but we’re mostly going at our own pace.  Our focus is to see how God has worked through past and more recent history through men and women who have been called to serve God in each of the different countries that we study.   So far, we’re really just barely getting into our first country, which is the United States, but we have already been blessed to read about people such as Harriet Tubman, Ben Carson, Sacajawea, and others.  We have skipped ahead and read about Bruchko, and we’re currently reading about Cameron Townsend, as well as Brother Andrew.  We don’t always exactly stick to the particular country we’re in, because when a good book comes, we don’t like to wait!

But, perhaps the most “living”  histories that we can read are the ones that are being written as we speak.  In many countries, sprinkled across the globe, there are heroes who right now are sacrificing to try to share the good news of salvation with others who have never heard.  A highlight of our home for many years has been to read the stories of the current missionaries who are working abroad.   Our favorite magazine is the AFM magazine, the publication of our church’s Frontier Missionaries.   We have some good friends who currently work in the field, as well as several families whom we’ve never met, but in reading their stories from month, we feel like we’ve come to know.

(by the way, this is a free magazine that you may request here:

When I heard about a book that a current missionary that we follow wrote, I was interested.  When I read what the book was about, I decided that this was a book that this mom needed.  So, I used my Christmas money and purchased myself a copy.


(and you can get your copy here:

or here:

When I received my book, I immediately sat down to read it.  But then I decided that I did not want to just breeze through the book without really taking the time to digest each concept thoroughly.   I have prayerfully read the first five chapters so far, and I’ll tell you that so far I have indeed had my point of view challenged.  In a good way.

I will admit that much of the time prior to reading the introduction to this book, I thought that my job as a parent was essentially to prepare my children for a life of service here, while we are ultimately working along with God to refine our characters for eternal life in heaven.  And I believe that is our goal.  But, while ensuring the salvation of our children is our goal, it is not the only aim that God has for us, or for our children.  Jesus wanted His disciples to be saved, and He worked hard so that they could understand the plan of salvation.  But, that wasn’t His only goal for them either.  For The disciples, as well as for us, Jesus says “Go Ye.”   Go find someone that doesn’t know Jesus, or doesn’t know how to come to Him, and share with them.  This is a bit uncomfortable for any of us who live in our own little predictable worlds, wherever they are.  It means that we don’t continue to play church and feel good.  It might mean getting our hands dirty.

I wrote to the author, whose pen name is Barnabas Hope, and requested his permission to share what I learned from his book on my blog.  He was very gracious and granted me permission, with the hopes that others will catch the vision as well.  I want to go chapter by chapter and share just a few tidbits of what has stood out to me as important.    If you are in any way curious as to what Barnabas has to share, I really encourage you to look into reading his book.  He, by the way, goes by a pen name, because his family is currently living in a dark country where using his real name to share religious matter would be dangerous.

Since this post is really an introduction to the book, I think that it would be appropriate to share a little from the introduction to the book, so that you know the crux of why Barnabas wrote a book of this nature.    From the introduction, page 10, he writes,

“This book is birthed of passion.  It comes born of my own discovery that a Spirit-filled individual can change the world.  I believe a personal Holy Spirit yearns to take a surrendered young person and gift them and challenge them and use them to wildly delight the angels and cast down demonic strongholds.  As God spoke to Jeremiah as a boy, as God made promises to Samuel as a boy, David as a boy, and Naaman’s young servant girl, so too today, He is seeking the response of the young.  A child needn’t wait for degrees or titles to change the world.  However, they must learn to listen, to love what is innocent, to hate that which is evil.

“But not all youth, not even all Christian youth will grow up to make a significant contribution to the kingdom of Christ.  It’s a pity, but many, if not most, will lead mundane lives on nominal help to others.   Why?  What is the difference between those who become World Changers and those who don’t?  Simply put, for many the vision is never cast.  I believe a youth can only become a world changing believer if and only IF she has a determined mind to become one.  So where does a young person get that “mind to”? How do they embrace that vision?  That is the subject you are interested in and the theme of these pages.”

I hope that you will enjoy the tidbits that I share in subsequent blogposts, and that you, too will be challenged to plant the seed that can sprout and grow into one or more World Changers in your own garden.