When the Going Gets Tough: Academics

when the going gets tough: academics

When my kids were growing up, I often wished they would just stop growing up!

This was especially true in regards to school–it just kept getting harder. And that meant more and more and more time on school and less and less and less time on us. It also meant that they would, at times, become discouraged. Well I didn’t like that and neither should you. Yes, academics are tough but so are moms and we can help our kids! So here are 3 ways I help my kids when the going gets tough: academics!

1. Give Special Encouragement in the Tougher Years:

Everyone knows that some grades are tons harder than others. Sometimes, it’s those difficult grade transitions jumping from one school to the next. That means there are at least 3 opportunities for sure to look out for: between elementary and middle school, between middle school and high school, and between high school and college. Other times it’s subject jumps that throw kids. For mine, it was usually math. Certain math years are tougher. When your kids hit a difficult year you can keep them going with a lot of encouragement and prayer. I have often used notes in the lunch box. It was my way of inserting a little hug in the middle of the day.  Words like, “I am praying for you during your math test at 2:20. You can do it!” For encouraging word ideas you can print iMOM’s lunch box notes, fill in the blanks, add a little sweet treat and make your child’s day! (teen version here) For ways to pray for your child print these: 10 Ways to Pray for Your Child, 10 Ways to Pray for Your Teen

2. Enforce Helpful Habits:

School is exhausting especially for boys who have a hard time sitting still. So I let my kids have a break for a snack or a shower, if they had a practice after school, but then I make sure they knock out the homework before they play. Enforce a habit of work before play–it’s a great life lesson. Other great habits at our house include no TV/video games during the school week.  Yep, I am a meanie. My kids have actually grown up with that rule and so they never really complain. And they don’t have stereo’s or TV’s in their rooms either so it was pretty quiet–well as quiet as it could be with 5 kids. 

3. Discourage Competing with Classmates:

One of the biggest challenges our kids faced at school is the pressure to compete with other students. We have a really competitive high school with dozens of crazy hard AP class options. Once my kids understood the weight that test scores hold, they will naturally wanted to do as well as their classmates—or even better. As parents, it is our job to discourage our kids from comparing their own academic abilities with others’ because it can lead to one of two things.  Either they will get discouraged if they can’t beat their classmates scores or they will become prideful if they do. Teach your child to focus on doing the best they can because at the end of the day, that’s what matters.

What does your child struggle with academically?  And how do you keep them going?

Posted On: September 29, 2014     cat-folder Be Encouraged Leave a comment


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Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken and Banana Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken

Don’t you just love sisters? I feel like I’m always being saved by mine, whether it’s for advice or sharing a good laugh! I have been traveling all week with my husband and I just haven’t been able cook for this week’s Sunday Supper. So here I am, pondering what I should share with you ladies when all of the sudden it came to me… Kathie must be cooking for her family tonight. She is so good.  So, I called and asked, “What’s for dinner”, she got confused and wondered if I was in the area stopping by for dinner. Then she realized I needed her help. And of course, I kid you not, she answered me that she was making this the day I called her! Putting this together, pictures and all, was easy for her because this is a go-to recipe for her. And because she already had dinner planned because is committed to eating together as a family. So….

This weekend make my sister’s delicious  and easy grilled honey mustard chicken and banana cake with browned butter frosting. She paired it with simple veggies –green beans and fresh corn on the cob. Thanks again to my sister, Kathie, who saves me in more ways than this one!  

Grilled Chicken Conversation Starters

Main Dish


Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken
  1. 2/3 Cup Dijon mustard
  2. ½ cup Honey
  3. 4 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  4. 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  5. ½ tsp. salt
  6. 1 teaspoon A-1 steak sauce
  7. 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pound them out a little so they are an even thickness)
  1. Mix the mustard, honey, mayonnaise, garlic, salt and steak sauce in a small dish or measuring cup.
  2. Pour ¾ of the mixture into a Ziplock bag and add the chicken.
  3. Zipper the bag closed and massage the bag to coat the chicken.
  4. Refrigerate for an hour.
  5. Grill the chicken on a lightly greased grill until the juices run clear or the internal temperature is 155 degrees. Baste occasionally with the reserved marinade.
Susan Merrill http://www.susanme.com/



Banana Cake with Browned Butter Frosting
Banana Bread Bars
  1. 1-1/2 c. sugar
  2. 1 c. sour cream
  3. 1/2 c. butter, softened
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 3 large or 4 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  6. 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  7. 2 c. all purpose flour
  8. 1 tsp. baking soda
  9. 3/4 tsp. salt
  10. 1/2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Brown Butter Frosting
  1. 1/4 c. butter
  2. 2 c. powdered sugar
  3. 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  4. 2-3 tbsp. milk
Banana Bread Bars
  1. Heat oven to 375F.
  2. Grease and flour 15x10-inch jelly roll pan.
  3. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. Beat sugar, sour cream, butter, and eggs until creamy.
  5. Blend in bananas and vanilla extract.
  6. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  7. Add nuts (optional).
  8. Spread batter evenly into pan.
  9. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Don’t over bake.
  10. Glaze cake while warm.
Brown Butter Frosting
  1. Brown the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. It should get a nice golden brown color and smell nutty. Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla.
  3. Add the milk a Tablespoon at a time until the consistency is runny like a glaze and easily poured onto the warm cake.
Susan Merrill http://www.susanme.com/
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Posted On: September 25, 2014     cat-folder Sunday Suppers 2 Comments


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Marriage Lessons Learned the Hard Way

marriage lessons: the song

I think David is one of the most fascinating people in the Bible. He was a man after God’s own heart, yet he fell so far short in many ways. One of them was in his role as a father. As much as he loved his children, he did not always guide them as he should have. His son, Solomon, followed David on the throne and asked God for the gift of wisdom. He received it, but lost it as he lost his way in life.

The story of Solomon’s rise and fall, and how difficult it must of been to grow up in the shadow of such a revered father, is the theme of the really great, new movie, The SongIt’s set in modern times and follows a young singer as he tries to step out of his successful father’s shadow and make his own mark. Well, without spoiling the movie for you, I can tell you that he does find success, and he finds love. But like Solomon, his choices lead to heartbreak, loss, and lessons learned the hard way.

Win two tickets to the new movie, The Song and a restaurant gift card. Make it a fun date night. Enjoy dinner and a movie courtesy of iMOM. 



Posted On: September 25, 2014     cat-folder Marriage Leave a comment


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