Memory and Chocolate

Well, I may have promised to give you a few tricks for doing more with less time... I'm sure I had some genius ideas.  I just can't remember them!  I haven't been getting too much done around here.  Addi and J-toby have been out of sorts, and getting anything done has been an accomplishment.  But, I will give you a few thoughts. Very few.

Give the kids some baking soda and scrub brushes and let them go to town on the bathtub while you wash the sink & mirror.
Let your kid take a bath while you do your make up.
That's it.  Really.  That's all I got.  Maybe later I'll remember my original brilliance.  And, maybe I won't.  We'll see.

Speaking of memory, I had promised to talk a bit about working with your small children to memorize scripture.  My mom was really good at doing this with us when we were tiny.  It was a great foundation in our lives.  As I grew, I continued loving to know and meditate on scripture.  As a teenager I not only continued memorizing scripture, I did it as a competitive sport.  (Did you know that  existed?  Its great fun!) Now, I'm the mom. 

I started having Addi memorize verses when she was about 18 or 19 months old.  I didn't do it for bragging rights, I just figured she could remember other things, (books, songs from movies,)  so she may as well learn some verses.  So I started teaching her Psalm 33: 4, 6, & 9.  I actually had no idea until looking up the reference right now that I skipped 5, 7, & 8.   I just wanted the very first verses she learned to be about the word of God, and about his Character.  I used to have all of Psalm 33 memorized, and apparently, I taught her the condensed version.

I began just telling her the first verse three or four times each night before I put her to bed.  Letting her become linguistically acquainted with its sounds and rhythm and words.  I choose certain words to emphasize.  "For the WORD of the LORD is RIGHT and TRUE, He is FAITHFUL in ALL He DOES."  After a week or so of this I started occasionally dropping "WORD" to see if she could fill in the blank.  It was almost like a game for her.  Once she got that I started dropping other words out to see if she could fill them in.  She had a hard time remembering the word "faithful" so that was something I really had to reinforce.  Once she was fairly solid on this verse I added verse 6.  I did the same thing, letting her fill in all the blanks from the first verse, but just getting her used to the sound of the next verse.

One thing to remember when memorizing scripture with your kids is REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT.  You aren't going for some random words being in order, you are going for the truth, essence and rhythm of the verse to become deep and real to them.  Like a story book that has been read too many times (if that were even possible,) and now is quoted for no reason, just because it's in your kids thoughts as they do day to day stuff. (Like I am with "You've Got Mail.") There are verses that I loved and knew from my childhood, that only since being an adult have I felt like they came to life within my understanding.  If they hadn't been on the tip of my tongue and the back of my mind as a child, I would have never had the revelation that I have come into as an adult.   So, repeat!  Be consistent, have fun.  Make up motions!  Make extra sounds.  Let it be alive and real.  And REPEAT.  As Paul said, "I say it again!" (Philippians 4) 

Get a little notebook or a notecard binder, and keep all your verses in one place.   And, if you are going from your own memory, check to make sure you have it right before you pass it on to your kids. :)  Once they have a few verses, it can get really fun.  It's lovely when I can tell Addi, "Listen, The worship leader is reading YOUR verse!"  
That's it for now.  Maybe more on this later, but that's the basics.  Have fun, be consisitant, and just speak the word a lot.  Simple.

Finally, I said something about Chocolate.
Hot Chocolate.
It is time for us to grocery shopping, which means that my menu gets so much more *eh-hemmm*... Creative. Today, I had cranky kids and I wanted a fun treat for them after their lunch so I pulled out an old "Mary Original recipe" from my milk free days.  Here it is:

1/2 Can of Coconut milk (The kind used for making curry, usually found in the international isle. Shake it up before you open the can. )
1/3 cup water 
1/3 to 1/2 cup unsweetened Cocoa powder 
1/2 cup brown sugar (powdered sugar works in a pinch)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
(If I had it, I would have used a few drops of almond extract to make it more "Almond Joy"-ish.  But, like I said, I need to go grocery shopping.  If adding almond, I'd guess you'd need to  skip the cinnamon.)

I heat this up slowly, using a whisk if possible, to stir.  Of course you could use the whole can of Coconut milk, and just double the recipe.  I tend towards using a bit more chocolate, because I love chocolate. I add more of this or that, but this is skeleton recipe that I start with.  I add water to keep it from being way to rich to drink, but love the creaminess that the coconut gives to the concoction.  Love it!  (It reminds me of that thick chocolate drink Starbucks came out with six or seven years ago. Mmmmm.)

I think I better buy a few more cans of coconut milk.  Good thing I'm going shopping soon!

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