Quaddler Approved! {Casdon Toy Dyson Vacuum Review}

When choosing toys for the quads, my favorites inspire imaginative play, problem solving, and creativity.  Consequently, I was pleased when they received a Dust, Sweep and Mop set from a friend for their second birthday.  At first, they seemed to think this toy was best suited for swashbuckling so I safely tucked it away, and temporarily forgot about it.  A couple of weeks ago, I rediscovered this toy and demonstrated how to use it.  In fact, the crew happily “helped” me tidy up for a party we were hosting.  Later in the week, my heart exploded with joy when Mason independently pulled all of the chairs from our kitchen table to sweep the crumbs below.  This particular not only inspired imaginative play, it encouraged chore completion, a major win in my book!

Melissa & Doug Broom

Melissa & Doug Broom

I was delighted when Casdon’s Toy Dyson Ball Vacuum arrived for the quads to test drive since it is exactly the type of toy I prefer.  It encourages imaginative play while also helping the quads learn a valuable life skill.  I planned to surprise the quads with it after bath time, but they spied it prematurely and squealed “It’s a vacuum!!!”  I couldn’t squelch their desire to clean so we immediately opened the box and loaded the batteries.  It only took about a minute to assemble and load the batteries, which was good because the quads were chomping at the bit.  The biggest problem?  There was one vacuum and four eager toddlers awaiting a turn.  Toddlers are notoriously impatient, especially with new toys, but everyone got a turn before bath.

Casdon Toy Dyson Ball Vacuum

Seriously, who can resist this face? He was ecstatic about a vacuum

The quads easily learned to operate switches and didn’t mind the realistic sounds. Thankfully, the toy is much quieter than my Dyson because when they hear me vacuuming, they cover their ears and whine.  In addition to a colorful spinning cyclone, it also provides real suction from the base, which can pick up small bits of debris and dust. (Don’t get too excited though…remember, it’s just a toy so it won’t replace your vacuum.)  The quads are a little young for to operate the removable dustbin independently, but they will learn in time.  They did, however, try to remove the clear container on the front since that’s how I unload the dust from our actual Dyson.  Toddlers really watch every single thing we do, which is good reason to model what we desire for them.  The quads didn’t seem to notice, but I appreciated the gender neutral color since our boys and girls will be playing with this toy.

Casdon Toy Dyson Ball Vacuum

Though the age range suggested on the box is three to eight, I think kids about 2.5 to 5 or 6 would be better suited for this toy.  My kids aren’t quite three and adore it, and I suspect most eight year olds would find it a bit immature (or too small) for them.  In fact, I’d be inclined to teach an eight year old how to operate our real Dyson as part of a chore chart.  If you’re looking for a last-minute gift for a toddler or preschooler this year, consider the Casdon Toy Dyson, it’s quaddler approved!

Casdon Toy Dyson Ball Vacuum

hugs!

Amber

Disclaimer: I would like extend a special thanks Casdon for providing a Toy Dyson Ball Vacuum for us to try for the purpose of review.  No other compensation was received, and all thoughts/ opinions are 100% my own. 

I have provided Amazon affiliate links should you choose to make purchases via Four to Adore.  Please visit my disclaimer page for further information regarding affiliate links. 

Dad’s DIY {Up-cycled Bulletin Boards}

My wife loves doing art projects with the kids, and even more displaying them. At our old house, we created a simple children’s art display using open frames with clothes pins and ribbon. It worked relatively well in the old space. When we moved to the new house, the art display came along. Because the kids started creating a lot more art, Amber added a few more frames to the art gallery wall. After a while, the frames became overly crowded and cluttered looking. Also, they were crooked on the wall most of the time. Of course eight little hands also rearranged the frames frequently.  It bothered me. I had an idea to streamline the gallery and give each child a designated place for their own work.

Here’s how the art gallery wall looked with open frames.

Children's Art Display using empty picture frames

To create our new display, I began with the following materials:

  • 4 x 8′ plywood sheet, cut into four equal size boards (the hardware store will cut the boards to size)
  • packet of wall hanging brackets
  • roll of batting
  • 3 yards of fabric
  • 2 packages of wood trim
  • painter’s caulk
  • liquid nails
  • 1 large foam floor puzzle (we up cycled a few that we used when the quads were crawling, they were well loved and gnawed so not good to pass down)
  • staple gun with staples and brads

This is the step by step process:

DIY Bulletin board

Lay out all boards on a flat surface

DIY Bulletin board

Draw a line 8″ down from the top on each board (This is the BACK).  You will use this line later to place hanging brackets.

DIY Bulletin board

Flip each board over and draw lines 2″ in from all sides so you have a rectangle drawn(This is the FRONT).  This will show you where to place foam and trim.

 

DIY Bulletin board

Lay interlocked puzzle pieces on each board. Then, use scissors to cut them to fit into the rectangle drawn on each board.  Finally, use liquid nails to adhere puzzle pieces to each board.  Allow to cure overnight.

DIY Bulletin board

Cut batting to fit over puzzle pieces and secure with a staple gun.  This step ensures that surface is smooth.

DIY Bulletin board

Cut fabric to fit over batting then secure with a staple gun.

DIY Bulletin board

Miter cut trim at 45 degree angles and secure to board with brad nails.

DIY Bulletin board

Once all trim pieces are attached, each board should look like this.

DIY Bulletin board

Using a nail set and hammer, push nail heads into the trim.

DIY Bulletin board

Flip each board over and attach hanging brackets to the backside. Use the previously drawn line as a guide for placement.

Use painter’s caulk on the front side to cover nail heads and fill gaps at the joints.  Finally, use one coat of paint to hide imperfections in the trim.  Enjoy displaying artwork!

It cost about $25 per board to make, and I’m really pleased with the result.

DIY bulletin board display using up-cycled foam puzzles

DIY bulletin board display using up-cycled foam puzzles

George

Annual Sit with Santa

When the quads were infants, we were on lock down due to their premature immune systems.  Although I wanted them to have keepsake pictures with Santa, it wasn’t worth the risk of taking them out in public.  Even lock down couldn’t keep Santa away from the babies.  He surprised us with a visit and we captured some adorable keepsake pictures.

Santa watching over sleeping babies

Last year, we were still hesitant to take them to wait in long lines and still had lingering fears of germs.  Santa was kind enough to drop by our house for a second visit.

Santa

I think we’ll always worry a little about germs (the mere thought of FOUR sick kids is horrible), but we are letting go of them to experience the world.  This evening they had an opportunity to visit with Santa at our mothers of multiples Christmas party.  I’ve seen the classic kids wailing on Santa’s lap pictures, and wondered what the quads would do this year.  They didn’t grin for the camera, but not one tear was shed.  They treated Santa just like everyone else we meet.

Santa

Santa wasn’t satisfied with just visiting the children, and insisted Mom and Dad have a chat too.

family picture with Santa

 

Hugs,

 

Amber

Gateway Church Southlake {A Spot to Visit with Tots}

Lists of places to take toddlers in Dallas Fort Worth

I’ve found that everyone’s mood and behavior is always best when we play outdoors at least 30 minutes daily.  However, sometimes winter weather puts a damper on outdoor play.  I’ve been searching for indoor options to help keep everyone active.  Thanks to our local mothers of multiples groups, we’ve discovered several fabulous indoor play areas.  Many of our local churches maintain indoor play areas that are free and open to the public.  This week, we joined our mothers of multiples group for a play date at the Children’s Indoor Play Area at Gateway Church Southlake.  Someone counted 19 children and seven moms with our group.  It was a nice turnout!  The quads had a great time playing in this cheerful, bubble themed play area.  I was grateful that my friend, Kristin, tagged along to help me watch all four.

Location:

700 Blessed Way

Southlake, Texas 76092

Hours:

8 am – 8 pm weekdays

Cost:

FREE!!!

Favorite Features:

Did I mention it’s FREE???

Since the play area is indoors, it’s climate controlled and clean.

The play area includes several ride on toys (e.g. train, ark) that do not require coins to operate.  There are small climb on toys for young toddlers and a large climber and slide for older children.

Tips:

The entrance to the children’s play area is on the north side of the church.  Look for the signs and you can park close to the entry.

Shoes cannot be worn in the play area, so be sure your kids are wearing socks.

Gateway play area

Sydney and Mason were the only ones brave enough to climb to the top of the play area. Sydney had so much fun, I had to go up and get her down myself.

 

IMG_3499.JPG

Gateway play area

The boys got plenty of practice taking turns driving the coveted fire engine.

Gateway play area

Rylin did not care for the larger climbing area and instead took refuge on this pack of gum.

If you aren’t in the Dallas Fort Worth area, chances are local churches in your area have similar play areas. Ask around! There are several other indoor play areas we plan to try this season.

hugs!

Amber

Lifespan of a Pumpkin {Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake & Spiced Pumpkin Soup}

This year, my mom charged me with making desserts for Thanksgiving.  My Dad, sister, and I enjoy the tradition of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, but it’s not my mom’s favorite.  In order to make something my mom would like, and preserve tradition, I thought pumpkin pie cheese cake would fit the bill.  I found a recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake bars, but it wasn’t pie-like enough so I adapted it.

As I made my shopping list, George reminded me that instead of using canned pumpkin, I could roast sugar pumpkins for a more robust flavor.  And, better yet, I could use the sugar pumpkins from the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch to make fresh pumpkin puree.  I was slightly hesitant since these pumpkins had been on our porch a while.  George gently reminded me that pumpkins sit outside at pumpkin patches all season and are still good to eat as long as the flesh is firm.

Roasting sugar pumpkins is a simple process, but I was thankful George took over and involved the quads.  First, he washed the pumpkins well and peeled the monogramming from them so the paint wouldn’t leech inside.  Next, he cut the pumpkins in half and scooped out insides.  Finally, he laid them face down on a foil lined baking sheet.  They roasted in the oven for an hour at 400 degrees.

he cut the pumpkins in half and scooped out insides.  Finally, he laid them face down on a foil lined baking sheet.  They roasted in the oven for an hour at 450 degrees.

The quads took turns helping to scoop out the insides.

roasting pumpkin

Roast pumpkin face down 400 degrees for an hour

The aroma of roasting pumpkin was delightful!  Once the pumpkins were roasted, we removed the skin and pureed the pumpkin in our food processor.

roasted pie pumpkin

I added about a cup of water to the food processor to smooth the pumpkin.

IMG_3425

Once the pumpkin was done, I used it to make my Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake.

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake recipe made with roasted pie pumpkins

To make your own Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake, you’ll need the following:

Crust
    • 1 1/2 c. graham crackers crumbs (I used a food processor, and it was about 3/4 sleeve of graham crackers)
    • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
    • 1/4 c. melted butter
Filling
    • 4 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 c. roasted sugar pumpkin puree (1 can of pure pumpkin would also work)
    • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (you can also combine equal parts nutmeg and cinnamon)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a spring form pan, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter then press evenly across the pan.

Using a stand mixer, combine cream cheese, vanilla, eggs, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin pie spice.  Pour filling into the spring form pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for an hour.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool before refrigerating.  Keep in the refrigerator at least 3-4 hours before serving.  Garnish with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice.

I was admittedly a tiny bit nervous about serving a dessert on Thanksgiving that I created and had never tasted before, but felt confident in the ingredients.  It was a winner and enjoyed by everyone, including the quads!  I think it will be on our Thanksgiving menu annually.

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

I had quite a bit of pumpkin puree leftover after baking my pie.  I decided to use the remaining puree to make Spiced Pumpkin Soup from a recipe we clipped from a magazine years ago (we’ve had it so long, I don’t know the original source).

spiced pumpkin soup made with roasted pumpkins

You’ll need:

  • 4 tbs. butter
  • 2 minced onions
  • 2 tsp. minced, jarred garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed coriander
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 6 cups pumpkin puree (you can also use three 15 oz. cans of pure pumpkin)
  • 5 c. chicken broth
  • 2 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar

Melt butter in a stock pot then saute onions until clear.  Add garlic until aromatic then stir in spices.  Cook about another minute.

Add pumpkin and broth, stirring well.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat.  Simmer 10-15 minutes. Slowly add brown sugar, then milk and cream.  Serve with crusty bread.

I’ve been enjoying our spiced pumpkin soup for a few days and have enough to freeze for later.  From the farm to the table, our pumpkins had a quite a lifespan, and I’m happy they didn’t end up in the garbage.

What is your favorite pumpkin recipe?

 

Hugs!

 

Amber

 

P.S. Now that Thanksgiving was fully celebrated, the Christmas decor commenced at our house!

Dear Thanksgiving, You Aren’t Forgotten

The week following Halloween, George and I took the crew to Half Price Books in search of Thanksgiving books.  Behind an elaborate Christmas book display, we found a meager shelf labeled, “holiday”.  This shelf contained a conglomeration of holidays ranging from Valentine’s Day to Easter with a smattering of Thanksgiving books.  Sadly, the majority of the Thanksgiving books were geared to older children.  We snagged two age appropriate books worth purchasing so we’ve read these two at least once daily all month.

Thanksgiving books for toddlers

The Best Thanksgiving Ever is a charming story about a family of turkeys that gather to celebrate their many blessings. Naturally, their feast consists of corn.
Let it Fall describes the change in seasons and family activities during autumn. The illustrations are beautiful and capture the beauty of family time.

After our trip to the bookstore, my Facebook news feed began overflowing with pictures of children clad in Christmas attire as they visited Santa, evidence of wrapped packages, and fully decorated Christmas trees.  Seriously, this began around November 3rd.  Anytime I entered a retail establishment, holiday music lingered and Christmas products were in the fore front.  It started feeling as if it were December already, and there was an urgency to prepare for Christmas. Then, our neighbors began adorning their homes in twinkling lights.  It became such a trend that our home owner’s association left notes at homes where decorations were out 30 days prior to the holiday.   Consequently, the HOA president has been dubbed “Scrooge of the Neighborhood” by some overzealous residents.  Holiday light citations may not have been necessary, but I tend to agree with the notion it’s too early to commence Christmas activity the first week of November.

Instead of following the masses, I dug my heels in this year and refused to begin decorating for Christmas when the turkey hasn’t been carved.  This year, the quads are learning about the seasons and holiday traditions, and I want to teach them about Thanksgiving as much as any other holiday.

To give a little attention to Thanksgiving, we spent time decorating die cut leaves and then writing what we are thankful for this season.  (In case you were wondering, the quads dictated, and I transcribed.)  Since the quads have been working on prayers expressing gratitude, this task was an easy one for them.

Thanksgiving activity: have kids decorate die cut leaves then write what they are thankful for on them.

For a little festive fun, we also made turkeys from paper plates and toilet paper rolls.

Turkey craft: cute paper plates in half and decorate with glued on feathers.  Staple a toilet paper roll onto the plate and add goggle eyes and a beak.

Once we finished our Thanksgiving crafts, I nestled the turkeys into our mantle decor and taped the die cut leaves among the autumn garland.  The leaves are nice reminders of the little things we appreciate in our lives.

Autumn mantle

Add "thankful leaves" into fall garland as an activity for the family

Despite my reluctance to start celebrating Christmas before Thanksgiving, I did purchase the quads Christmas pajamas.   In my defense, I was burned the first two Christmases with the quads.  I waited until after Thanksgiving and found barren shelves!  Harper was forced to wear pajamas about a size too small two years in a row.  I wasn’t making him do it again.  They’ll get to wear their new pajamas the night our Christmas tree goes up.

When do you begin decorating for Christmas?  Perhaps you’re an eager beaver.  Maybe you wait until Christmas Eve. Maybe you’re like me and want the turkey gobbling to cease first. Or maybe you celebrate a different holiday altogether.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Amber

Bass Pro Shops {A Spot to Visit with Tots}

Lists of places to take toddlers in Dallas Fort Worth

Over the course of the week a pesky cold was passed from one family member to another, and successfully kept us confined indoors.  In fact, Mason missed his dental visit due to said cold.  Yesterday as everyone was on the mend, a thunderstorm rolled successfully holding us hostage.  Everyone (including me) was cranky and unpleasant.  We needed to go somewhere to restore our spirits.  There don’t seem to be many Thanksgiving family activities, but Christmas festivities are already in full force.  After cruising the Fort Worth Mom’s Blog for places to visit, I found a thorough listing of holiday venues.  Since Thanksgiving has not yet been celebrated, I could not bring myself to go all in on the Christmas cheer, but settled on taking the kids to the Bass Pro Shops.

Location:

Bass Pro Shops are available nationwide, check here for the location nearest to you

Hours:

November 15 – December 24 during normal store hours

Cost:

All activities are FREE!  Santa’s wonderland includes kid friendly crafts, games, a carousel ride, and a visit from the jolly old man himself.  Bass Pro Shops provide a complimentary 4 x 6 photo with Santa.  You may choose to purchase a complete package of photos with Santa or you can take snap shots with your own camera as well.

Favorite Features:

What’s not to love about FREE family entertainment?

The quads enjoyed taking a spin on the carousel.  Since all children under 42″ must be accompanied by an adult, three of our littles enjoyed their ride from Santa’s sleigh allowing me to supervise all of them.

Free Carousel at the Bass Pro Shops

Harper apparently felt slightly intimidated by the ride, but once it was in motion he settled down.  The fear of the unknown tends to get the better of him.

Free Carousel at the Bass Pro Shops

Free Carousel at the Bass Pro Shops

After taking a spin on the carousel, George demonstrated how to drive a remote control monster truck in the toy testing area.

Bass Pro Shop Monster truck

We weren’t willing to brave the line to visit Santa (and I just don’t like the idea of seeing Santa before Thanksgiving), but we did check out the aquarium.

Bass Pro Shop aquarium

Bass Pro Shop aquarium

Tips:

If you plan on visiting Santa, see one of his elves first.  They have passes to get into the line at specific times, which will reduce your wait time.

Don’t forget to bring your own camera in case you’d like to snap pictures with Santa yourself.

Our trip to the Bass Pro Shops was a success in decreasing the tension and brightening our day.

After we celebrate Thanksgiving, I’d like to enjoy several of the local holiday scenes around town.  I’m really looking forward to celebrating our Christmas traditions with the quads since they can understand them now.

What are you hoping to do or see this season?

 

Hugs!

 

Amber

Divide & Conquer

At the quads two-year well visit, our pediatrician encouraged us to take the quads to a pediatric dentist.  We had so many appointments due in the summer, I put the dental visit off.   I finally scheduled an appointment for all four, and made sure it was a day when George was off work.   The week prior to the appointment, I read a Bernstein Bears book about going to the dentist and practiced looking at the quad’s teeth.  I also showed them pictures of some of our quad buddies at the dentist.  These kids were going to be prepared!  The evening before the appointment, Mason was fussy and his eyes were a little glassy.  We put him to bed with Benedryl thinking it was seasonal allergies.

By morning, Mason was moaning.  Under the cover of darkness, I got him out of bed and immediately knew he had fever.   I padded to the bathroom for an official temperature check.  The Exergen delivered the news- 101.5.  Fever.  Without much thought, I started pouring Advil into our Elmo dispenser.  All of this and I didn’t notice Mason looked like this:

IMG_3382

The poor kid looked awful.  I wanted to believe it was seasonal allergies, but fever indicated otherwise. Mason wasn’t going to the dentist.  As our 9:30 dental appointment approached I started troubleshooting.  I thought I’d haul the three healthy ones to the dentist and leave George at home with Mason.  I figured with a twin stroller I could contain two kids while leaving one free for an exam.  It would be hard but totally workable.  What I didn’t realize is that George wanted take the kids to their first dental appointment.  Yet, sending George with all three didn’t sound like a good idea.  It was time for the ‘ol divide and conquer play.

George took Sydney and Harper first while I kept the other two.  According to George, both kids opened their mouths and let the dentist check their teeth.  Sydney appeared most at ease so x- rays were attempted, but she wouldn’t stay still long enough.  Nonetheless, both got to choose a prize and new toothbrush.

dental x rays for a toddler

The dentist snapped this picture of George with Sydney and Harper.

first dentist's appointment

Once George, Sydney, and Harper were back home, I loaded Rylin into the van.  Though it wasn’t my original plan, I really enjoyed taking just one child to the dentist.  Rylin lapped up the attention.  In the waiting room, Rylin chatted up other parents telling them about her pink and gold beaded necklaces and fluffy boots.  Upon meeting the dentist, Rylin willingly opened her mouth for an exam and sat with the dentist.   Her favorite part of the visit was getting a pink princess toothbrush then choosing a fairy wand from the treasure box.  She also chose on Mason’s behalf, and we rescheduled his appointment.

IMG_3376

When we got home it was time for Mason to take another dose of Benedryl and Advil.  He wasn’t too keen on the idea so I gave him a straw.  He slurped it as if it were juice.  Before bed, I gave him a curly straw, which he really appreciated.  I think I’m onto something here.

Use a straw to get toddlers to take liquid medicine!

The ol’ divide and conquer play worked out well.  Everyone will revisit the dentist in six months and will hopefully tolerate a cleaning.

Hugs!

Amber

Proud Mama Moment

Yesterday was the coldest day of the season by far.  Temperatures were near freezing and the wind was gusting at about 65 miles per hour.  It was bitter cold (at least by Texas standards).  Yet, we opted to continue with our scheduled Christmas card photo session outdoors.  I layered everyone up with thermal onsies and warm socks, but it was far cooler than I imagined.  The quads fussed a little during the session, but did really well.  Our photographer offered to take a few extra shots at her in-home studio in case the outdoor ones didn’t turn out.  Everyone had noticeably red noses and hands.  We gladly accepted this offer, just in case the others were bad.  Naturally, everything took longer than we expected.  Traffic was brutal, we got stuck behind a sluggish train, and situating indoor lighting took time.   What we planned on taking one hour ended up running right past dinner time.   After the photo shoot, everyone was getting hangry (hungry + angry) and there was nothing quick to serve at home.  We stopped by our favorite Thai restaurant and crossed our fingers no one would expire.

While we awaited the arrival of our food, the quads played in the toddler area and befriended another little girl.  When dinner was finally ready, everyone noshed happily and cleaned their plates.

As we were wrapping up our meal a couple approached us.  The woman leaned in towards us and said, “Your family is beautiful!”  I beamed a little bit.  Then she said, “I just have to ask…” My heart sank.  What was she going to ask???  What did she feel compelled to ask at our dinner table?  Would it be one of the many curious, yet often intrusive questions we hear?  Our skin is getting thicker, and we are accustomed to reactions we get while out in public, but rude commentary still stings.  I held my breath just a bit as she continued, “Are they two sets of twins?”  WHEW!  Not bad.  At all.  I kindly replied, “Actually they are one set of quads.”  Instead of prying or asking 20 more questions, the woman simply added, “Well, they are exceptionally well-behaved.  You are doing a great job”.  It made my day!

At home, we work very had to teach the quads appropriate behavior.  They are two so they have plenty of tantrums, disobedience, and sibling scuffles.  A lot of these things, actually.  When we are away from home they do an exceptional job of demonstrating their good behavior.  It makes the effort worthwhile, and it makes me proud of them.

IMG_3346.JPG

What was a proud moment for you?

hugs,

Amber

But, Mom, We Forgot to Pray!

About this time last year, we started working on family prayers at mealtime and before bed.  By nature I’m not one to pray aloud; I prefer to pray silently in private manner.  When I pray aloud, I’m typically most comfortable reciting memorized prayers because that’s what my family did.

When we began introducing prayer to the babies, I attempted to adopt my cousin’s child-friendly mealtime prayer.  I remember her children reciting it when they were young and I’ve always loved it.  Ironically, since it was similar to my parent’s mealtime prayer, but not exactly the same I had a hard time recalling it despite it’s simplicity.  Plus, it proved a bit wordy for very young toddlers.  A year ago, they were working on signing “thank you”.  Yet, I wanted mealtime prayers and gratitude to be part of our family meals.  I abandoned the memorized prayer (at least at temporarily) and simplified things significantly for all of us.  Prayer needed to be something everyone could do and would become a ritual.

I started just teaching the quads to say, “Thank you, God for….”, and I’d model a few things to list (e.g. our food, family, home).  A few months ago, they picked up this simple prayer starter and began generating their own lists of things they are thankful for.  I think rice makes it atop their list at least once daily.  Other items they are thankful for include anything and everything that makes up their world from caretakers to toys. One evening, I overheard Rylin independently reciting her own bedtime prayer and she said, “Thank you, God for…. a bobcat.”  I was quite puzzled and couldn’t recall ever discussing bobcats.  She repeated, “Thank you, God for Bobcat.” then added, “and Billie”, which put it into context.  She was expressing gratitude for our dear family friends Billie and Bob whose nickname is “Bobcat”.  Oh how she melted my heart!  Hearing toddlers pray is music to my ears.

After the quads mastered the concept of list making items, I added a few other aspects to our prayer including, “Please God, help me….” (e.g. be generous, kind) and “Please, God help others….” (e.g. to heal, find comfort).  While the concept of seeking help and guidance is a bit more abstract, it is a work in progress, and in time they’ll learn.  Even though we are still learning to pray, making it a family ritual is mastered.  If we are ever in a hurry, even at snack time, someone will proclaim, “But Mom, we forgot to pray!”  There are also times we did pray and someone insists we forgot, so we pray again.

This particular evening, we forgot to pray before we began eating and Rylin kindly reminded us-

As I was scrolling through old pictures, I found snapshots of Rylin and Mason as infants with their hands clasped as if praying.  Perhaps they’ve been working on this longer than I thought.

IMG_0349.JPG

IMG_0350.JPG

Does your family pray before meals? If so, do you have a memorized prayer?  We will likely revisit a memorized mealtime prayer in the foreseeable future, but for now I’m enjoying our simple list-like prayers.

 

hugs!

 

Amber