How Myers-Briggs is Helping Our Family

book2

I’ve only recently delved into Myers-Briggs personality typing, even though I’ve been fascinated with personalities ever since high school.

I’ve never been 100% sure about my own MB type–I’m not good about objectively answering questions about my own personality, although with recent reading, I felt pretty confident in 3 out of the 4 letters.  After reading MotherStyles, I finally cemented the last letter in my own type, and it’s so obvious I felt really foolish for not figuring it out earlier.

In this post, I commented how my child with the personality most like mine is the most difficult for me to relate to.  After reading MotherStyles, the way I view the personalities of my family has been turned upside down and realigned, and I think it’s going to be a game changer.

According to the authors, the two middle letters of your type is your personality core, so people that share those two letters see things similarly, and are usually compatible, even if they have other differing characteristics.

I always thought my husband and I had very differing personalities–he’s ENFP, and I’m INFJ. I looked more at the outer two letters than the inner letters, but our personality core is actually the same.  We share the NF, even though he’s extroverted and I’m introverted, and he’s perceiving and I’m judging (contrary to how unflattering that makes me sound, I really am a kind, open minded person :-) .)

Here’s where it gets really good:  I was able to type my oldest two sons using MotherStyles, and I discovered that one son is ENFP just like my husband.  My other son, that I previously thought had a personality similar to mine, is ISTJ.  He and I are both introverted judgers, (again, couldn’t they have come up with nicer terminology?!)  but we have trouble seeing eye to eye because of those middle letters.

I feel like a hundred light bulbs have gone off, and now that I’m armed with this information, I feel like we can make huge strides in improving our communicating and in our understanding of this child.

I highly recommend MotherStyles for any mother.  it gives so many concrete examples, and instead of a traditional quiz where you check millions of boxes in a row, it give real life scenerios that (for me) were much easier to identify ‘yes, that’s just like me’, or ‘no, that’s not like me at all’.

The authors cover how to use the personality types to foster better communication in the whole family.  They talk about what careers are best suited for children with different types of personalities, which I think is so important.

There’s also information on what types of careers are best for you as a mom, depending on your personality type, and how having children might change what your ideal job looks like.  The book also talks about identifying personality types of your parents, and how growing up with their personalities shaped yours.

As soon as I finished this book, I started reading it again, to soak up and reapply my new knowledge.  I’m planning on buying it as soon as possible, so I can take notes and highlight.

Here are other books about personalities and how families relate to each other that I’ve found helpful:

book3

book3

book2

What I’m Reading Twitterature Edition–November 2014

This is the should have-would have-could have month–I’ve finished none of these books, (okay, I did make it through the board book)  and sadly, haven’t even started many of them. But sometimes life is that way, and hopefully I’ll carve out more reading time in the near future.

book5I am completely in love with BabyLit books–and I’m so sad that my boys are too big for them now!  You can check them all out here.  These would make such wonderful baby shower or Christmas presents.

book2

In the spirit of Sense and Sensibility being an opposites primer, the last children’s books I reviewed were about mummies–if you’re curious, check them out here.

book2I’ve been listening to this, after reading The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers.  Also on my list is Meeker’s Strong Mothers, Strong Sons: Lessons Mothers Need to Raise Extraordinary Men.

book3This is my 742nd time re-reading this book—why is it that my child with the personality most similar to mine is the most difficult for me to figure out?  This is my favorite book on highly sensitive children, although Kurcinka calls them ‘spirited’ children.  If you think you have one, I highly recommend this book.

book4In my quest for understanding and communicating with my boys, yet another parent/child personality book…

book6I love Guiliano’s other books, and I’ve thumbed through this one very briefly.  Her books always remind me that taking care of myself helps me take care of others better.

Watching The Secret Garden (1987 version).  My 3rd grader’s teacher read the book aloud to the class, and then they watched the newer version of the movie.  This was one of my favorite books and movies growing up–my school librarian found an old copy of the movie for me, and I watched it over and over.  I haven’t seen it since I was a little girl, but I’m determined to see it this weekend.  I just realized it was filmed at Highclere Castle, where Downton Abbey is filmed.

book8After reading this post from Jill at The Prairie Homestead, I had to check out this book to see if we could implement any no-work ideas into our garden this summer.  So while it’s snowing this Saturday, I’ll be dreaming of playing in the dirt in warmer weather.

book7These were my purely for pleasure reads, and I haven’t even opened the covers–A Bookman’s Tale is about a newly widowed antique book dealer who relocates to the English countryside, where he finds a Victorian watercolor resembling his deceased wife.  It leads him on an investigation back through history and deals with the truth of Shakespeare’s true identity.

The Queen of the Tearling is a fantasy set in the future, although the setting resembles medieval times–people have rejected modern technology, and a 19 year old girl, Kelsea, is destined to take the throne of her kingdom.  I usually don’t read a lot of fantasy, but I have high hopes for the book, if for no other reason, the cover is beautiful and it has a ribbon book marker.  Irrational, I know.

What good books have you read (or intended to read) lately?  Linking up with Anne at Modern Mrs Darcy–head over there for more great book recommendations!

Mommy’s Mummies

I didn’t celebrate Halloween as a child, and I’m pretty leery of letting ‘scary stuff’ in our home, but we do help our boys pick out costumes and attend kid-friendly Halloween events. When one of my younger sons came to me saying he was scared of the dark because of mummies, I was perplexed.

We had a conversation, and I tried to be comforting while explaining that mummies are real, but they don’t come back to life or hurt people; they are an interesting part of science and history.  In the back of my mind, I realized I could be making things worse instead of better.

He went onto sleep with no problems, and I put all the children’s books about mummies on hold at our library.  When they came in, I previewed all of them, putting one in the return pile before anyone ever saw it.  I took a day or two to think about whether I really believed it would help him to further discuss mummies, or if I should just let sleeping dogs lie.

These are not books that are appropriate for all children, and I don’t think they should be given to any children without accompanying adult supervision and conversation.  Once again, I seriously contemplated whether I was doing the right thing or not, but I forged ahead.

mummy1I was surprised at what I learned–when I hear the word mummy, I think of Egyptian pharaohs, but there are mummies from all over the world, and they were preserved in a variety of ways.  Some of the mummies’ skin is preserved so well you can see intricate tattoos of tribal or cultural designs.

My son looked at some of the pictures, and said, “Gross!”, but I could tell it was a ‘gross’ that actually delights little boys, and not something that would keep him up at night.

There are lots of photos of artifacts that were buried with the mummies, and some mummies have clothing and/or hair still intact.  National Geographic shows what they believe some mummies looked like when they were alive by creating a model from studying CT scans and X-rays of a mummy’s skull.

Scientists can tell a lot from a mummy–age and gender, what the person ate before they died, what kind of activities the person did daily, and often, how they died.

Mummies come from literally every corner of the globe–bog mummies from northern Europe, bundled mummies from Peru, mummies kept in Italian catacombs, the popular Egyptian kings, dried mummies from China, and even modern day mummies.

Vladimir Lenin and Evita Peron are both individuals who have been mummified in more recent years.  Their bodies look like wax figures, appearing as thought they are sleeping, and have been or are on display for the public to view.

Our study of mummies has been a positive experience, but again I want to emphasize that there are some very unpleasant issues covered by these books.  Some of the people died a violent death before being mummified, and some of the Inca mummies were child sacrifices.  All of the mummies are in various states of decay, and while none of them are gory, some of the pictures are startling.

Studying different groups of people and cultures from around the world from a historical and scientific approach helped my son overcome his fear of the imaginary.  I think introducing topics that could be distressing for children takes common sense from the parent in knowing what is appropriate for each individual child, and lots of conversation between children and adults.

Your Reading Personality

book1I just took Oprah’s reading personality quiz, twice. I generally have a hard time taking quizes, so after completing it the first time, I went back and took it again, and came up with two profiles that are pretty true to what I read. The first (and what I think is my dominant reading personality) was

“The Starry-Eyed Romantic

Remember all those summer childhood afternoons you spend sprawled under the forsythia bushes in the garden, reading Love Story, Little Women and Jane Eyre (and maybe Judy Blume’s Forever) over and over?  We won’t tell your parents.  Romantic readers crave sexy encounters, fantastical happenings and storybook endings, whether those endings be (mostly) joyful (Pride and Prejudice, Twilight, How Stella Got Her Groove Back) or tragic (Romeo and Juliet, Me Before You, One Day).

So…bring on true love and vampires, heartbreak and dragons and Earl Grey tea.  Romantic relish a good cry or epic drama–which partially explains their embrace of A Game of Thrones.  Romantics have a soft spot for YA fiction, as it suits their taste for efficient plotting and satisfying outcomes”

 

Guinea Antics

guinea2This morning I let the birds out early, and later on, I noticed the mother hen bringing the chicks and guineas out of very tall grass–and there was only two guineas with her, instead of three.  This made me nervous, and I looked around for the third guinea, which was no where in sight.

A few hours later I ran back out to check on them, and there were still only two guineas. I usually let them eat bugs during the day, so that they do their foraging when they’re the hungriest, and feed grain at night when I lock them up in the chicken house.  I thought about feeding them just a little to round up all the birds, and maybe get the guinea back before he got too far away.

guinea4I was standing in the chicken pen, contemplating my next actions, when I noticed an upturned water tub move.  The tub is very lightweight, and holds maybe three gallons of water for our sole duck.  (Ducks need something they can submerge their beaks in to fully clean their nostrils, rather than just sipping out of a standard chicken feeder).

guinea3I watched the water tub scoot across the pen, and when I picked it up, a bundle of feathers launched up into the air, and beat itself against the wire ceiling of the pen.  Over and over.  (The guineas don’t understand wire, even after living in it part-time for over a month.)  I felt terrible that the guinea had been stuck in the upturned tub all morning, but if it had just stood up straight, I think it could have overturned the tub and escaped.

guinea1I waited until it drank as much as it wanted, caught it with a net, and reunited it with the other guineas and baby chicks. I really hope these guys do a number on our snake population, because they sure aren’t smart.

guinea5

What I’m Reading Twitterature Edition–October 2014

book2

Highly sensitive people, this book’s not for you.  I enjoyed the first Cormoran Strike book, and eagerly dove into this one, but The SIlkworm is grisly and graphic.  Both books are murder mysteries, but The Silkworm goes overboard in describing horrific details.

I slogged though the entire thing, skipping the overly descriptive passages, since I’m sure there will be more in the series, and I’m hoping future books to be less gory.  Honestly, I really lost interest in the characters and plot–it really drug out for me, but perhaps I couldn’t get past my distaste for the bloodbath.

book1Let’s move on to the good stuff–Everyone is Beautiful is about a stay at home mom of three boys, something I certainly can relate to.  I’ve read online discussion about this book, both pro and con–some people read fiction to escape, and don’t want to read about a SAHM with a life similar to their own.

I liked the book, partly because it gave me hope that change is always possible.  Lanie is deep in the day-to-day survival of having three young boys, yet she still is able to make positive changes in her own life, both in her physical health and in finding a new interest outside of parenting.

Also, reading about other mischievous boys makes me feel better in my own parenting skills–when her boys ruin the bedspread at her girlfriend’s house?  I breathed a sign of relief that mine haven’t done that (yet).

book3Hogshead claims that to be more successful, you do not have to change who you are–you have to become more of who you are.  This book focuses on how others see you, and teaches you to identify strengths in your personality that will enable you to communicate better with others.

It’s written from a business perspective, but I think the results translate into any aspect of your life.  While my copy was a library book, and I didn’t have access to the code to take the online quiz, I feel confident that I was able to pick out my own personality archetype just by reading the profiles.

Care to join me as I dive headfirst down a rabbit trail?  Hogshead provides asterisks throughout the book, providing tidbits of information she finds interesting or noteworthy.  One toward the end of the book made my geeky little brain explode a little.  While discussing taglines, she states that the state of Virginia’s tagline used to be “Virginia is for Lovers”.  The asterisk says, “Which is a little ironic, considering that Queen Elizabeth I was ‘the Virgin Queen'”.

Yes, Queen Elizabeth I was known as the Virgin Queen, yet she actually had more than one romantic relationship that may or may not have also been a physical relationship. (So perhaps the state of Virgina wasn’t that far off track).  Elizabeth was known as the Virgin Queen, while her virginity is still up for debate.  Her mother, Anne Boleyn, was known as the Great Whore, while most historians agree that she likely remained faithful to her husband Henry VIII.  Now that’s ironic.

book4I really enjoyed le Billon’s other book, French Kids Eat Everything, and this tells you how to accomplish the fantastic and varied eating that the French have mastered.  We have one picky eater in our family, and we are beginning the games and strategies outlined in this book.  From reading through it, I’m hopeful that we’ll have good results, even though we’re late in the game (our picky eater’s 7).

Linking up with Anne at Modern Mrs Darcy’s Twitterature–check out more great book recommendations there!

Our Trashless Lunches

I’m no expert, nor have I researched all the options that are available.  However, I’ve been packing school lunches three and a quarter years now, and for the most part, they’ve all been trashless.

I have two boys in school–one buys his lunch one day a month, and the other refuses to buy school lunch.  I’m thrilled with this arrangement, and the way I approached school lunches from the very beginning was to assume they would bring their lunches most of the time, and try not to make a big of a deal about it when they wanted to buy.

lunch2

The summer before our first kindergartener rode the big yellow bus for the first time, we hinted to grandparents that lunchbots would be a fun birthday gift.  (He also received his adventure backpack as a birthday gift–school supplies as birthday gifts for subsequent children doesn’t work as well, the novelty has worn off, fyi).

lunch4

The same two lunchbots (the uno and duo) have been used almost every day from kindergarten through 3rd grade, and they’re still going strong.  There is very minimal wear to the paint on the top of the lid, and to my knowledge, lunchbots changed the manufacturing of their lids in 2013 to eliminate the paint chipping.  I’ve read reviews on Amazon which state the company will exchange old lids for the current ones, although I haven’t felt the need to exchange ours. (The inside of the lid isn’t painted).

When #2 child headed to school, despite my satisfaction with the lunchbots, in the name of economy, I bought a set of BPA-free plastic lunch containers.  Not only did I not learn my lesson when the first set got destroyed, I actually bought a second set.  (Seriously, what was I thinking?!)  When those bit the dust, I realized that I had now paid almost as much as a set of lunchbots for pieces of plastic that ended up in the recycling bin.  (I’m a slow learner, but I do get there eventually!)

lunch1

This time I bought the bento trio–a sandwich and two (small) sides will fit in it.  The lid isn’t painted, so there’s no chipping paint to contend with.  The only downside to the lunchbots is the price–they’re not cheap, but I’m thrilled with their durability.  When I buy another set, I will probably buy aother uno and duo set–I prefer them for the type of lunches I pack.

lunch3

This year, since we had no kindergarteners, we bought each boy a Thermos to carry hot food in.  Both boys can open the thermos and unfold the spoon (their favorite part), although I’m not sure a kindergartener would be able to manage it alone.  Being able to take hot food to school has opened up a lot more options and variety.  Although, the thermos and duo lunchbot is much easier to pack than the thermos and bento trio lunchbot.  Live and learn.

Have you had good or bad luck with reusable lunch containers?  I’d love to hear–I’m still searching for a great drink container.

Storybook Inspired Cardigan

cardi12

I get really distracted by pretty, shiny things.  While window shopping recently, I found embellished tops and cardigans that gave me inspiration to make my own. If you’re not a sewer, as long as you can sew a button, you can make a cardigan like this–craft stores have lots of fabric and feather flowers that can be easily sewn onto any top.  However, if you’d like to see how I made my fabric flowers, which requires only minimal, straight-stitch hand-sewing, keep on reading.

This is the first top I spotted:Jewel button crop top, and here’s what I came up with:

cardi2

All of the buttons I purchased were from Hobby Lobby, from their Sew-ology line, and I bought them at 50% off, around $2 per button.  This top I already owned, so the only expense was the buttons.

cardi1

I also wanted to put my own spin on this cardigan: Lace printed cardigan.  I really liked the fabric, and actually found a similar fabric to make one of my flowers (from Jo Anne Fabric).  I bought a plain black cardigan from Old Navy, and found my charms/buttons at Hobby Lobby and Jo Annes–they were all purchased at 50% off.  When choosing embellishments and fabric for flowers, choose lighter weight options, and sturdier cardigans.

cardi3I used a 3 inch pyrex dish top for the smaller flower, and a 5 inch top for the larger flower.  Trace around your circle pattern on the fabric’s wrong side.  Cut out, fold the circle in half, and cut the circle in two.

cardi4Fold the half circle in half, right sides together, and stitch up the straight side.

cardi5Turn it right side out, so that you have a fabric teepee.

cardi6Fold your teepee in half, so that the seam goes down the middle backside of the teepee.

cardi7Make a single stitch (like a drawstring) along the curve of the bottom–use a matching thread, but I used red so you could see it better.

cardi7.5Then pull the thread, so the fabric gathers,

cardi7.75and continue threading all of the petals on the thread–I usually make 5 petals per flower.  When you have five, sew the first and last petal together to form a circle, making sure all the seams on the petals face the back.

cardi14You can sew/glue anything in the center of your flower, I used a flower button, and sewed it all together, and then hot glued a pin back to the flower, so I can easily remove it to launder the cardigan.

cardi9I use bar pins that are an inch and a half long, and I trace a quarter on felt, and hot glue over the pin to cover up all the loose threads.  Then I sewed on the smaller charms/buttons onto the cardigan, and pinned on my fabric flowers.  I discovered a line of charms at Hobby Lobby called ‘fairy tale’, and they have some really cute bookish charms based on classic books and fairy tales.

cardi10I really like the ‘Once Upon a Time ‘ charm, and I found this one as well, which I glued a pin back to:

cardi11There are a lot of cute Alice in Wonderland inspired charms in the fairy tale line as well, so I’d like to make something else as well.  What have you been inspired by lately?

 

What I’m Reading

I’ll begin by a spoiler alert–the news about the latest Bridget Jones book came out so long ago that I’m guessing most people have heard it, but if you haven’t (and don’t want to), scroll down to my next book selection.book1When I heard about the situation with Mr. Darcy, my first thought was that Fielding took the easy way out.  Bridget is the quintessential single girl, and instead of changing and developing her character and storyline, Fielding thrusts her back into the single girl’s world, now as a single mom.

Many outraged readers boycotted this book, and while I didn’t take a stance that drastic, I was pretty suspicious of Mad About the Boy.  I’ll also say that I’m not a huge chick lit reader–I have read the first two Bridget Jones books, and I like some of Sophie Kinsella’s books, but that’s about as far as I’ve ventured into the genre.

I read the first 60 pages, and the last 10, and I gave up.  Did I give the book a fair shot?  Probably not.  But I just didn’t like the book, and I had too many other good books laying around for me to invest more time into it.  Usually I enjoy British English words, but there’s a lot of talk about nits, or lice in this book.  Which completely grossed me out, and did nothing to encourage my further reading.  If you loved it, and feel I really missed out, feel free to convince me in the comments!

book2

I really admire those that read a broad range of books–I don’t, and often when I branch out, I get annoyed, forcing myself through a book I’m not enjoying.  However, this time branching out worked, and I discovered that I enjoy mystery/detective books.  I sped through these three, trying to put the pieces together and figure out whodunit, and I’ll definately read more from both authors in the future.

book6All of the great things written/said about The Invention of Wings are true. I love stories told from two different points of view, and I found myself enjoying the fictional Handful’s story even more than the based-on-fact Sarah Grimke.

book3Since I like old houses, this book about a family living in a ramshackle English castle was right up my alley.  I watched the movie after finishing the book, and it does a nice job of transforming a book into a film.

book4Since I’m always on a quest to improve my lackluster kitchen skills, this book is full of helpful tips and tricks for a kitchen beginner like myself.  I also read and liked Payne’s The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking.

book5Dad is Fat is hilarious–I laughed out loud at so many parts of this book.  I realize it’s part of Gaffigan’s comedy to poke fun at himself, but I loved how he was so complimentary and had such admiration for his wife.

That’s what I’ve been reading–what good books have you read lately?

A Fowl Update–More Eggs, Less Snakes

Earlier this summer, we had a hen hatch three chicks in the yard.  Now the chicks are all grown up, and they turned into a rooster and two hens.

chicken6chicken5 After seeing what a devoted mother the hen was, I began thinking about starting a sustainable barred rock flock, and bought some day old chicks.  They stayed inside under the heat lamp for about 6 weeks.  When they had almost all of their feathers, we moved them out to the chicken house, where they still have a heat lamp at night.  The mother hen has adopted them, and treats them like her own.

chicken2Woe to any bird that gets near them; she even sends the roosters running.  She talks to her chicks constantly, clucking and fussing over them.  She struts around with all of her feathers fluffed, announcing to the world that her flock of chicks are on the premises.

chicken3Earlier this summer, I went to collect eggs, and was greeted by this:

snakeCan you see it’s getting ready to swallow that egg?!  I’d like to tell you that I responded with grace and composure, but sadly, that wasn’t the case.  There might have been some shrieking, hand wringing, and minor hyperventilation.  I’m terrified of snakes, and we have a lot of them.

I had never heard of a way to get rid of them, until I read this post.  Guineas as a snake repellent? Yes please!  Plus guineas eat bugs out of the yard, and forage for most of their own food? It just kept getting better and better.  I brought home guinea keets with the barred rock chicks, and raised them together.

chicken4The poor things won’t win any beauty contests, and are also known for their stupidity. I’d like to raise more of them in the spring–I’ll have a whole flock if they’ll keep the snakes away.  We have three, and I can’t tell if they are male/female yet.

chicken1These are royal purple guineas–I had hoped to combat their stupidity by raising them with the chicks.  One common complaint about guineas is that they wander far from the coop and are an easy target for predators.  So far all three of ours have stayed close to home, even when free ranging in the yard. (Mama hen does a really good job of keeping her eye on them).

If they do get separated, the one lone guinea runs around, screaming like a banshee, until he’s reunited with the other two. (If one is outside the wire pen, he gets frantic, trying to reach his friends, but can’t figure out how to walk through the open door.  How these birds survived in the wild is beyond me).

So the plan for the spring is more eggs, less snakes.  We’ll see how that goes…