The Irritation List (or Keeping Your Sanity)

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Here’s a little project that really helped me focus years ago.

I remember Rick coming home one evening. I had several kids at the time- probably 5 or 6. He asked how my day had been and I told him not so good.  It seemed like a thousand things went wrong. When he asked me what they were, I couldn’t really focus on what they had actually been– there were just a lot of them.

So he told me the following day, whenever I was irritated by something, to write it down in a notebook. I thought, “ok, but I’ll be writing all day long!”  What I actually discovered the next day was that it was only a few things that were frustrating me, but they kept happening again and again.

These were some of my irritations:

1-One of my sons, not intending to cause problems at all, would fling the door open and holler, “MOM” so he could discern where I was. It was not only irritating to be hollered at, but sometimes it woke the baby who had been difficult to get to sleep in the first place.

2- Also, when putting the laundry away, I reached up to put jeans on the stack on the closet shelf and the whole tippy stack came falling down on my face.

3- After school I told the kids to put their books away. Everyone seemed to need help because the bookcase was crammed with books and they wouldn’t just go in easily. The pages were getting bent, too.

4- Another of my sons seemed to think it was his place in life to irritate the others, and he was good at it. I’d hear his name whined out loudly by the toddler multiple times during the day.

Continue reading The Irritation List (or Keeping Your Sanity)

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Teaching Your Kids to Care: Part 5

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Teaching kindness - one child helping another up a rock
Teaching Your Kids to Care

In the last 4 posts, I’ve tried to give you some “shoe leather” – real stuff-  you can do with your family, not just pie-in-the-sky ideas that sound good but aren’t practical. I’ve been doing this type of thing for MANY years now. I just completed my 37th year homeschooling and graduated my last child. Whew! But, I’m not done yet. Just beginning. I’ve got 16 grandchildren with number 17 on the way in March. And yes, I’m not their parents, but Scripture does hold me responsible to influence my grandchildren in a godly fashion.

I KNOW it’s not easy having a bunch of “littles” in your home to work around and cart with you in car seats when you go places. Believe me, I know all about it! But, listen to me- IT’S WORTH every minute of it.

What do you want to see at the end of your life? I want to see kids and grandkids and even great grandkids who are thoroughly committed to the Lord, who are living lives pleasing to Him; a big part of that is investing themselves in others. People go to heaven. Things don’t . People can be saved. Things can’t. People can be encouraged and inspired to attempt great things for God and even do things that others may see as little things, but are really BIG things in God’s eyes.

Continue reading Teaching Your Kids to Care: Part 5

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Teaching Your Kids to Care: Part 2

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Miss Part 1 of this series? Read it here

Mark 12:30-31: ” And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

We want to raise our kids to be kids of character. That means more than just mentally knowing what character is.  Sure, that’s the first step in training your kids. They can’t take steps to implement it if they’re unaware of it. After they’ve learned that though, it’s important to take action. How do we do it? When do we do it? How do we find needs?

First of all, look around you. Look at your neighbors. Look at your church members. Look at your acquaintances. Those are the people God has put in your sphere of influence. Begin listening to them. It can almost be like a treasure hunt to see who can be attentive/alert and find needs that others have.

Continue reading Teaching Your Kids to Care: Part 2

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Teaching Your Kids to Care: Part 1

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It’s so easy, especially for homeschoolers, to inadvertently communicate to our kids that life is all about them. We’re looking for the perfect curriculum to meet their needs, engaging them in activities that they are passionate about, taking them on exciting outings, planning special parties and events and all that is good. We should be doing that, BUT, are we failing to instill in them a higher calling?

Why are we here? Why does God leave us on this earth after we get saved? Why not just take us to heaven then and there? What are we trying to equip them for? To get a good job? To be happy in life?

Continue reading Teaching Your Kids to Care: Part 1

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Things I’m Glad I Did While Raising My Kids- Part 3

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I grew up without being exposed to Scripture, so as a young mom (age 20) it was all still very new to me. I was under great teaching that helped me to realize that all the answers for life are contained in God’s Word, so as I began searching and learning it myself, I sought to find ways to teach it to my little son.

We began by hanging verses around the house and Rick and I started memorizing portions of Scripture together. By the time we had 3 little boys (all 18 months apart), Rick began recording Scripture for the boys to listen to when he was at work. It seemed he was gone for most of their waking hours, so it was his idea to record and explain Proverbs for them to listen to at nap time and bed time.

He gave example stories to explain the what it was talking about so the kids could understand. The results were far-reaching and amazing!! He recorded other portions of Scripture as time went on, and as the boys and then girls grew up, they spent MANY hours listening to Dad read and explain the Scriptures to them.

We often read the Proverb of the day- there are 31 days to the month and 31 Proverbs. Rick always told the kids to raise their hands if they had any questions when he read.  One day he began reading the Proverb of the day and the kids finished the verse before he had a chance to. It happened again and again. When Dad asked them how they knew so many verses, they said, “Well, you have us listen to Bible tapes every night and we just know them.” It was true!! It was incredible!!

Not only did they memorize it, it began to affect the way they thought. God’s Word does that! When they were faced with temptations, verses they didn’t consciously realize they even knew, would pop into their heads giving guidance in everyday decisions. Isaiah 55:11 says, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” It is so true.

Continue reading Things I’m Glad I Did While Raising My Kids- Part 3

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Things I’m Glad I Did While Raising My Kids- Part 2

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I’m sure I didn’t do everything right when raising my kids. No one does. There is no perfect parent, but it sure is sweet when you realize you did something right, even if you didn’t realize all the implications it would have when you did it. (Be sure to read Part 1 of this series, too!)

As a really young mom, my kids were born pretty close together, and I didn’t have much time for anything but my kids. But as some of the kids got a little older, God impressed upon me that I needed to teach my kids to serve others. Sometimes that’s best learned through doing.

There was an elderly couple who used to come to our church. They had been missionaries to Germany during the time just before World War II . We invited them to our home for dinner one day and began to get to know them. Soon after that, the man, who had diabetes, had to have his leg amputated and their visits to church become less frequent. We would watch for them to arrive each week, though, and we’d help to wheel Mr. Hutchinson in to church as it was a bit hard for his wife to do that.

Then we began to visit them. I would always take Laura with me. She was about 10 years old. I’d talk with her on the way out to their house (they lived about an hour from us) about how to listen for hints of things they liked or things they needed to have done that we might be able to do. Aunt Lillie, as we called her, would often ask Laura to play her a song on the piano when we visited.

Continue reading Things I’m Glad I Did While Raising My Kids- Part 2

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Things I’m Glad I Did While Raising my Kids- Part 1

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My youngest (of 14 children)  just turned 19. She graduated from high school this past June – a few days after she got her private pilot’s license!

Reflecting on this, I thought I would write a few posts on things I’m glad I did while raising my kids…..

#1- Let them explore their passions. Make opportunities to allow them to learn what they’re interested in.

Kasey had a real passion for planes ever since she was very little.

We were talking one day about my dad, who was in World War II. She became interested in learning about the places ‘Gramp’ had been on his ship the Teton in the navy. He was a signal man.

We started reading about the Battles of Midway, Guadalcanal, Okinawa, etc. Then, in the course of shopping, Kasey started noticing men in stores wearing their World War II caps. She asked me to go up to them and thank them. We began approaching them, shaking their hands and thanking them for their service.

It was out of my comfort zone at first, but we soon found it meant so much to them to have a young person be interested in their experiences and grateful for them. Often we’d ask what branch of the service they’d been in, where they had fought or been stationed. We’d make an appointment to go visit them later. Then we’d go home and read about where they said they had been so we could ask more intelligent questions. Kasey made a glider out of PVC pipes and canvas after hearing of one vet who rode the gliders into Normandy. It was a bit too heavy- didn’t work very well, but she learned from that.

Boy, did we ever learn a lot of history from these men and developed some incredible friendships in the process. One of the men we became friends with was Bill Overstreet who had been an ace in World War II. He had flown his plane underneath the Eiffel Tower to shoot down a German Messerschmidt. He had been captured once and escaped. As we would visit, he’d share more of his experiences.

Continue reading Things I’m Glad I Did While Raising my Kids- Part 1

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 50 Rainy Day Activities for Kids

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Rainy Days getting you down?

It’s true- after a few days of rainy weather, the kids are just bored and full of energy, and you feel worn out trying to keep them occupied.

Here’s a few ideas to spark some new interest and add a little fun to these otherwise gloomy days.

All these ideas cost very little, or nothing at all, and they can all be done from the comforts of home.

I have included some activities for all ages- preschool, elementary age, and even teens. (plus it always amazes me what little ones can do if they see the older ones doing it.)

We’ve used so many of these ideas in our own home over the years!

You might even see your kids all excited when a rainy day comes!!

1. Bubble stuff– let them don raincoats and step out to blow bubbles in the rain

2. Play dough

Here’s a less crumbly type of play dough you can make, and the kids will enjoy helping to make it and choose their favorite color to distinguish theirs from everyone else.

  • 1 c. flour
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/2 c. salt
  • few drops liquid food coloring
  • 3 Tbsp. cooking oil

Mix and cook in saucepan on medium heat until mixture coagulates into a ball. Cool. Store in air tight container.

3. Outlining– gather a bunch of objects- jar lids, combs, Popsicle sticks, cookie cutters, bottle tops, containers, etc. and let the kids place them on a sheet of paper and trace around their outlines.

4. Gluing shapes– cut a bunch of rectangles, circles, squares, triangles, and so on from construction paper and use glue sticks to glue them down in creative arrangements. If you have older kids, they can cut the shapes out for you.

Continue reading  50 Rainy Day Activities for Kids

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Teach Your Children God’s Word

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Psalm 119:97 says, “ O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day”.

Kids need to be involved with God’s Word during the day.

Memorizing is the first step in meditating. Meditating has been compared to a cow chewing her cud. First she swallows it, then brings it back up, and chews it all over again.

In order to meditate you have to first commit the Scripture to memory by getting it into your mind and then contemplate it, think about it, and finally decide how to apply it to your life. That’s when it makes it’s way from your head into your heart and works out in your life.

Our kids need us to help them with this.

Do you want your kids to be wiser than their enemies? Then teach them God’s Word.

Psalm 119: 98 “Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies, for they are ever with me.”

Do you want your kids to accomplish greater things than you do? Then teach them God’s Word.

Psalm 119: 99 “I have more understanding than all my teachers, for thy testimonies are my meditation.”

Continue reading Teach Your Children God’s Word

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Summer Time Tip: Assign Chores for Next School Year

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Summer is always the time I would reassign chores to each of my kids.

I made a master list of everything that needed to be done in our home on a regular basis. Then each summer, I would run off a new copy of the list and evaluate who in our home was the best choice for each chore for the next year.

The reason I did this in the summer was because that was the best time for training each child in the chore they were responsible for. It doesn’t work to just say, “Go clean the bathroom”, for instance. Your child will do what they think makes it clean but they need to be instructed and trained as to how to do it correctly.

It’s kind of fun to change up the chores each year so everyone learns how to do all the chores eventually, and since we’re not doing school in the summer, I took that time to train everyone. By training them in their chores in the summer, the school year would flow more smoothly, rather than having to train in chores as well as doing school work.

Continue reading Summer Time Tip: Assign Chores for Next School Year

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