Impress Them on Your Children

Parenting is a process- a marathon, not a sprint. Those who are closest to me know this is true, for they have seen me and my children in our natural habitat. They know the true story, the story behind the scenes that I don’t let people see on Facebook. (I should really do an “outtake” post.)

Because our family has chosen to use God’s Word as our baseline, Aron and I prioritize integrating it into our daily lives, teaching our children the promises we can believe in and the rewards that come through our faith-filled obedience. (It’s not easy to obey some of the things God asks of us.)

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 gives us a picture of how parents can plant the seeds of God’s Word into their children on a daily basis:

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”

This may look differently in each family, but I decided to share some of the resources that we use:

Adventure BibleNOTHING can replace putting a Bible into a child’s hands and letting them hold it, open it, flip through, and read it’s content.  We bought our two older children the Adventure Bible for Early Readers as an Easter present a couple of years ago.  We’ve been very pleased with it.  Sweet Tart loves holding and flipping through the tiny New Testament she was presented as a baby when she was dedicated.

Right now, we are doing a devotional with the kids right before they go to bed.  We use Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids.  {We ask our older two to look up the verses that are used in the writings.  For now, Sweet Tart holds her little New Testament and flips through the pages.}  I love these “letters” from Jesus packed with scripture and really relevant messages for children (well, anyone really).  I appreciate how they have enough content to make an impact, but short enough to keep their attention.

Devotionals

We have also loved the Jesus Storybook Bible.  I love how every single story points back to God’s Rescue Plan: sending Jesus to Earth to live, die, and rise again so that we can have a relationship with Him.

Devotional Covers

I truly believe that children will want to dig in their Bibles and value God’s Word if they are taught how to use it, its content, and its purpose.  I think a great place to start is teaching kids the books of the Bible so that when they open it, they know how to navigate it.  Something I’ve loved is a song used by the Awana program.  Our family doesn’t participate in Awanas, but I was searching through iTunes for a good song, and this was the least “hokey” version I could find. We’ve loved it.  It’s called “The Perfect Book.”  {A great way to help visual learners connect is to use a homemade poster listing the books of the Bible while they sing the song.}

Perfect Book Song

One of the best resources I’ve come upon EVER is the “Buck Denver asks…What’s in the Bible?” DVD series.  I cannot say enough about this series.  It’s a full on education about God’s Word. Please go to this link and watch the “Race to the Finish” video that gives a good idea of the content and value of this series.  Aron and I have been amazed at what we’ve learned along side of our children even though both of us grew up in great churches.  We love watching these together. I love knowing that, when I stick these DVD’s in to keep the kids busy while I finish something, that my kids are absorbing wholesome and useful info AND are entertained.  Please check it out…Sunday School Lady with her flannel graph is my absolute FAV!

What's In The Bible Series

Cover Volume 1

Volume 1 Back

{Jelly Telly, the company that produces What’s in the Bible, is a great resource to get to know the awesome characters and view some clips before you invest in the DVD’s.}

There are other things that can be done to teach God’s Word throughout the day that are FREE.  God’s Word is applicable in any situation, in any question that comes up, in any area of discipline or everyday living.  That’s where my daily discipline of devotions and knowing God’s Word myself comes into play.  Here’s where the rubber meets the road:  Do I really know God’s promises?  Can I weave God’s Word into any given conversation? Do I really know the “what” to my kids’ “whys?”

Thank God for His grace and patience with me and thank God it’s a marathon, not a sprint!

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My Little Morning Helpers

When I was little, I had a security blanket. It was pink and so soft and, even, more importantly, my mom made it for me. Carrying it around made everything feel better. It enhanced my good times and comforted me in bad times. (Confession: it actually made it to college with me and into my first home with Aron after we got married. It met its untimely demise when our boxer chewed and shredded it to bits. I still have the tattered remains. I am realizing how strange that sounds as I type this…)

As an adult, I still have “security blankets” that I like to call “My Little Helpers” – just some things I put to work EVERY day without fail to make things a little more bearable and functional.

MY LITTLE HELPERS in the MORNING:

COFFEE in a CUTE MUG

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I usually make 4 cups of coffee, and drink a big mug in the morning. I take it with flavored cream, enough to make it tan and delicious!

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I LOVE Kahve coffee in House Blend. I’ve tried most of their coffee, but this is my favorite for the morning. It’s got the best flavor and one good mug is strong enough to give the pick me up I want. I also love Kahve because I order it online and it gets delivered straight to my door.

20130509-135925.jpg I always feel more confident and cozy if the mug I’m drinking out of is cute. My mug has to be big enough that my finger tips don’t touch when I clasp my hands around it. This one is from West Elm.

A SIMPLE SKIN CARE ROUTINE
I don’t put make up on my face every single morning, or even take a shower, but, like my mom taught me, I take care of my skin. My skin {hearts} ARTISTRY. I already use the Time Defiance stuff with the anti aging properties. I pamper my face, neck, and my eyes and it only takes 5 minutes.

Here’s my routine and, also… my morning face. These aren’t professional Before and After’s, the lighting isn’t the same in each picture (apologies to my fellow melancholy friends), but I’m pretty sure the results are clear, especially around the eyes and forehead. I always get a better start when I feel like I have a fresh face (and fresh breath.)

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AHHHH! This is my starting point. Gasp.

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This is after using the Time Defiance Cleanser. I also like following up with a toner. FRESH!

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This is where my face gets REAL happy! I dab some Lifting Eye Creme under my eyes with my ring finger. It really helps make those fine lines, dark circles, and puffiness settle down. I follow that with the Essentials Alpha Hydroxy Serum which exfoliates and smooths and gets my skin to the right texture if I want to use foundation. I think this makes the most dramatic difference in the whole routine and that’s why these are my two absolute favs.

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I always use a moisturizer or foundation with SPF in the morning. I have really dry skin and fair skin. This is the Time Defiance Day Time Creme.

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Just for balance’s sake, here is my face totally done with some concealer, tinted moisturizer, eyeshadow, mascara, and blush.

If I get a cute mug of good coffee and a fresh face in the morning, I feel so much better! Watch out World! Here I come!

{Most of these “good goods” are items that can be found in my online shop, http://www.hallteamsolutions.com. I used them and loved them even before I started selling them. I just made the decision to make some money from things I was already buying…I am excited about sharing them because they WORK and because helping people find products and services that they need has allowed me to be able to stay home as my kids grow up, a childhood dream/goal.}

Framed

I turned 25 for the 8th time at the end of April.  I’ve started noticing some changes in my body, mainly with my eyes: I’m not seeing distances clearly anymore.  I need “correction.”  I don’t like the idea of learning how to put in contacts everyday.  I think I want framed glasses.  I LOVE tortoise shell frames.  I found a fake pair of glasses in a style I think I’d like…and bought them…and wore them…in public.  (I just wanted to see what they’d feel like and if I’d want to wear them more than a day when I had a bunch of courage.)

This is so unlike me.  I used to care so much about what others, even strangers, thought of me. I’m changing as my years add up.  I’m not as hesitant anymore.

But seriously, what is it about these frames that make me want to take silly-faced selfies?

I sent some of these pics to my friends and said, “One step closer to realizing my dream of becoming a librarian…”  My sister said, “What are THOSE?”  I laughed so hard.

(I think they’re a too big, but I do like the style and color.)

Book Look

My husband knew I needed time to myself the other night, so I went to Barnes&Noble to relax. I got a small coffee and went right up to the “Christian Life” section, which is also surrounded by “Self Improvement,” “Psychology,” and “Biographies.” I was in my happy place for sure and did what I would now like to call a “Book Look.” I took pictures of the books I saw that intrigued me so I wouldn’t forget.

Books I want to read:

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(I definitely want more info on some of these authors before I read, because I’m not just going to read anything, but all of these titles got my attention.)

Book I want to own for reference:

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Book that I’m not sure about, but definitely tempting:

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Books I own and want to read again by Mark Batterson:

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Books I used to own and have no clue where they are and really miss and want to read again:

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This is literally like three years of reading…we’ll see.

Adjustable Waistband Prayer

Yesterday, I was scrounging around the mall department stores, rushed and frustrated-not a good combo. I was a mom on a mission to find a pair of boys grey slacks for my slender son. The other two sizes I’d found for him were still too wide. I needed the right size pant with an adjustable waistband, and apparently those are few and far between in the color I needed. I only had an hour window before I had to pick up my Sweet Tart at preschool and I really wanted to avoid taking her to the mall at ALL costs. I was not finding what I needed and it felt like no one was working in the children’s departments in ANY of the five stores. The tension was mounting. I had thirty minutes. I decided to chance it and go to another store. I went back to their kids section and I was looking and looking and didn’t see what I needed. I was silently screaming, “Kohls, don’t you know that this wedding is in three days and I literally have no time after 12:45 to shop sans Sweet Tart?!?!”

I suddenly stopped moving right there in the middle of the boys clothing and said (out loud), “JESUS, I need you to help me find my son a pair of grey pants!” I’m not really sure how loud I was, but I do know that I turned around and saw them…grey boys slacks in the size I needed WITH an adjustable waistband. (I swear I heard angels singing be hallelujah chorus.) I paid for the pants, jetted out of there, and picked up my preschooler ON TIME.

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As I was driving to the preschool I had to seriously thank Jesus for caring for me so much. He tells me that he wants to provide ALL of my needs, even as something as seemingly insignificant as a pair of pants with an adjustable waistband.

It’s a promise:

“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?” (Matthew 6:2, 28-30 NLT)

I don’t see Jesus as a genie in a bottle, but I do believe what He says in his word. He tells me to ask for wisdom about anything with the faith that he will provide an answer:

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:5,6 NLT)

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Thank you, Jesus, for helping find gray boys slacks with an adjustable waistband!

ABC Activty Sheets

When my two older children were little, I was very proactive in making sure that they had educational activities at their fingertips.  A few weeks ago, I was thinking about my youngest, Sweet Tart.  If I’m honest, I’m not sure that I’ve made the same effort with her.  I think I expect her to pick up concepts and skills by osmosis as she plays with her siblings.  (I forget to treat her as a three year old even though she sometimes acts older.) So, instead of beating myself up-so easy to do as a mom-I got on Pinterest for a few ideas.  I stumbled upon these FREE printable magnetic pom pom sheets from {Fab ‘n Free}.

I already had several of the “ingredients” from the road trip we took a couple of weekends ago, so I went to town.

free printables, super glue, Dollar Tree cookie sheet, magnet tape pom poms, sheet protectors, 1" binder

free printables, super glue, Dollar Tree cookie sheet, magnet tape pom poms, sheet protectors, 1″ binder

The most time consuming part of this project was cutting the magnet tape and gluing it to the pom poms.

Pom Pom magnets

I absolutely love these sheets.  They’re adorable and colorful and the kids watched me printing them out like it was a Disney movie.  They cheered for each new design.

ABC printables

The kids loved the finished product and I am so happy to have something awesome to do with my Sweet Tart.  So blessed to be at home with her and get her preparred for school.  {I am, after all, her first and best teacher.}

Finished product

{Storage:  Once all the printables were in sheet protectors, I decided to store them in a thin 1″ binder.  I’m putting the pom pom magnets in a pencil pouch in the notebook. Easy Peasy.}

This is also a great gift idea.  My twin niece and nephew are turning 4 this week and I’m sending this off to them as well.  I actually got the printables done at FedEx Kinkos as a time-saver.

911 Words

In the last 6 months, I’ve had to place a 911 call. Our water heater caught fire and I was home with our three kids. Thankfully it was only 6pm and two of the three kids were actually standing by the door…WITH SHOES ON. I got everyone outside and made the most nerve racking call of my life.

“911. What’s your emergency?”

When I told the operator the what and the where, there were four ladder trucks, two policeman, and one ambulance in front of our condo in under three minutes. The fire was out in under 10 minutes. {Unbelievably, the main cause of damage was smoke, and, in the end, most of our things were salvageable. The cleanup/remodeling process was amazing. I encourage everyone to get/check on your homeowners insurance.} All of the firemen, paramedics, police officers, not to mention our neighbors, were all incredible-I could type on and on and on. My main point is that I called, they answered, and they answered in amazing fashion.

The next call I made that night was to my parents. I told my dad what happened and, with zero hesitation, he told us to pack up a few things and come home. My mom helped me do about 4 loads of laundry that night, including the kids’ backpacks, to get that nasty smokey smell out of everything. They let me sit in their laundry room and sob while they read our kids a bedtime story. When all was said and done, with the crazy insurance process, Mom and Dad allowed us, ALL 5 of us and our dog, to live in their home for four weeks. It was over Thanksgiving and Christmas. They allowed the kids to help decorate their tree and Mom gave each of them their own ornament to look at.

Aron called on his family as well, and they hosted us over the Holidays for about 11 days. My siblings brought us food, kept us company, let us vent. My MOPs group, folks from our home church, and our parents’ friends brought us meals. In a way, all of these dear ones answered a 911 call and blessed us SO much. We were more than protected, clothed, and fed.

All of this makes me think of anther 911 call I can place.

One time, I asked one of my very best friends what she does when she’s afraid. She told me that as a child, her father taught her to read aloud Psalm 91, starting at verse 1…911.

Psalm 91:1-16 NIV

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord , “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the Lord , “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.””

(Emphasis mine)

I take great comfort in knowing/reading these powerful promises. For me, some are easy and some are hard to grasp, but the hardest part is the faith to believe that God will do what He says he will do. But faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17) especially if it’s my own voice reading to myself. This sounded crazy to me at first, but it’s proved easier to have faith when I read the scripture out loud on a regular basis. It’s difficult to hand my insecurities over to someone I can’t see, but when I have, God has ALWAYS been faithful.

It’s amazing how well cared-for we were in our time of trial by our family, friends, and even people that we’d never met before. But, even better, God says in His word that He cares for me more than any of these. I love how The Message says it:

Matthew 7:7-11 MSG

“”Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?”

All Better

All clean and moved back in…new floors, paint, and ceilings.

I can call 911 anytime, no matter the WHAT or WHEN.

Faith is the deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.

– Oswald Chambers

Handwritten Hotel Scavenger Hunt

On Saturday of our recent trip, I had a long afternoon ahead of me.  I knew I wanted to do a picture scavenger hunt, but didn’t make it up ahead of time.  I literally googled “hotel scavenger hunt for kids” and got several good ideas.  {Here’s one blog entry I found from Moms & Munchkins.}

I wrote them down…

and off we went.

To prove we found the things on the list, we took pictures.

We got all but 1 item, a diamond.

{The hotel staff was awesome!  They let us “behind the curtain” to get the pictures of the water fountain and the fire extinguisher. The kids had a great time and finished in about 30 minutes. }

The Governor

Road Trip Superlatives

{This was the longest road trip we’ve ever taken with the kids and they did an AWESOME job.  The way home was quiet with a capital “Z.”}

Here are the results of all the road trip prep.  We used everything, but these were our favorites:

*Most Popular Activity:  Pizza Pan Magnets

*Best Quiet Time Activity: DVD paired with Dum Dums

*Most Participated in by All Passengers: License Plate game

*Best Activity In a Pinch:  Pipe Cleaners with beads/cut up straws

*Best Food on the Trip:  Smashburger in downtown Louisville

*Best Hotel Time-filler:  Hotel Scavenger Hunt (I literally made this up in five minutes with a little google help.)

*Best Activity for the “Are We There Yet” child:  Map in a sheet protector+Expo Marker AND Interstate BINGO board

*Best “Getting the Wiggles Out” Activity: Outdoor time (thank God for pretty weather) and the hotel pool

*Best Activity For a Laugh:  Mad Libs

*Most Read Books:  Duck Duck Moose by Dave Horowitz and Fred and Ted’s Road Trip by Peter Eastman