Friday, August 31, 2012

Car Question: Do Beetles have Bras? - Teachable MOMent #2

'Tis the season to be in the car – driving to and from school, practice, etc.. Sadly, my natural instinct when we pile in the car is to distract my children with snacks and eletronic devices to keep the quarreling and the bombardment of questioning to a minimum.
While there is nothing wrong with taking a break occasionally, let me encourage you and myself to fight the temptation to make this the travel habit. Instead, take advantage of the fact that your car is one of the few places where your children are your captive audience!
Car time is a great time to get to know your kids better and talk about life lessons!

Open up the lines of communication. Ask them questions. For some kids this will require a pry bar and for others it will require a time limit so that everyone gets a turn to share.

After School - "Tell me three good things and on bad thing about your day."
For Labor Day - "What do you want to be when you grow up? Why?
For Toddlers - "What animals do you like? Why?"
For Teaching - "What is kindness (or any other character quality)? How do you show it?
                         Do you know anyone who is kind? What does Jesus tell us about kindness?
Get ready to field a few questions from them as well. I am so glad that my toddler and I have been talking instead of vegging out in the car lately, or else I would have missed some great questions she has for me. For example,

"Where are chicken's shoulders?" and

"Do beetles have bras (this is the word my girls use for boobs)?" My initial reaction was, "I don't think so." However, after we examined the beetle that she had found and brought with her into the car, we both realized that it really did look like it had bras where it's middle legs were connected to its body. Also, as you can see from the picture above, Volkswagon Beetles also have bras. So, I was surprised to realize the anwer is: YES!

You learn something everyday - especially if you use car time to talk to your kids.

Have your kids asked you any great questions lately?
What questions do you like to ask your kids to open up the lines of communication or teach while you have a captive audience?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Always be Kinder than you Feel

Wake up and face the Monday Moms!

Today I would like to encourage you to do something that my husband and wish I was better at. I am not sure why I woke up in such a funk today, but I am still not up to par. It may have something to do with the thunderstorm that kept me and two of my girls awake most of the night, but there is really no excuse.

These feelings reminded me of some good advice I found from

She says her marriage is helped by her following this simple rule:

The real beauty of kindness is when we:
(1)ask God to help us and
(2)actually take action to be kinder than we feel, we almost always will then
(3) begin to feel kinder as well.

 Can you think of a time when this was true for you?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

SUPER Simple Teachable MOMents - Teachable MOMents #1

First day of school 2012
To kick off the official first day of a new busy school year, I wanted to start a new weekly event called - Teachable MOMents.

Now that summer is over, I know your schedule is getting busier than ever. With all the busyness, we don't have time to plan and prepare character lessons for our kids.

Hopefully these fun and  SUPER simple ideas using objects and activities that you are already doing, will help you diligently teach your children while you "sit in your house, walk by the way, lie down, and rise-up" (Deuteronomy 6:7).  Here goes:

Teachable MOMent #1 - "Create in Me a Clean Heart"

Activity: Bathtime with kids

Lesson: Just like we clean our bodies regularly because we get dirty, we should also clean our hearts regularly because daily sin makes our hearts dirty.

Talking Points:
     1. Discuss what kinds of sins you or they may do on a regular basis or did that day.
     2. Discuss how to clean our hearts. It's as simple as asking God to forgive us.

Scripture: "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me."  Psalm 51:10-12

For Fun: The bathtub has great accustics. Sing along with Kieth Green to his great song - "Create in Me a Clean Heart". I like this YouTube version from TheSongsofWorship because Kieth helps the younger kids by saying what words come next part of the time.

What is your favorite fun or teachable idea for bathtime?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Are You or Your Kids Worried? - Back to School #4

I have one child who gets anxious often especially when we start talking about school.  However, the other two are usually just fine until they see me trying to pretend that I am not worried while I talk about reasons why we shouldn't worry. Then they start thinking, "Should I be worried about something?" That is when I generally become a human tree with three little worried monkeys attached to me somewhere.
Our children can sense our fears. Spend some time in prayer over the next few days to prepare yourself for sending your kids to school. The more we trust in Christ as moms, the less anxious we will all be. If we show confidence in our kids and in Christ, it is easier for them to do the same.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that my favorite secular magazine published "prayer" as one of the solutions in their First Day Jitters article. Go to their sight or my favorite Christian magazine  for more ideas for easing anxiety on the first day of school.

I would love to hear about any of your ideas for ways you help your kids have confidence in themselves and in Christ. We will talk more about this on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Do Unto "Otters"... - Back to School #3

Watch this 8 minute video of this super-cute book reading of Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller, for a fun and quick lesson on manners, the Golden Rule, and kindness.

A lesson in kindness is one of the best ways to prepare our students for back to school and all the fun times, peer pressure, hurt feelings, and anxiety that happen inside and out of the classroom. Becoming others (or "otters")- focused will help your child become less focused on their own anxieties and make them a welcomed friend and a better student. 

 "To ease another's heartache is to forget one's own." - Abraham Lincoln

 (Thanks to Sarahken100 on YouTube for this video. Search "Do Unto Otters" on YouTube if you can't get this video to work here.)
 For more fun and simple ideas for teaching kindness and helping your child become "otters"-focused, see the "Who will Teach your Kid Kindness" download listed under Free Downloads at Your child’s teacher will thank you for it.
It really doesn't take much to brighten someone else's day. What are the little things that you and your kids do to brighten other's day and help teach your kids to be "Otters" focused? "Otter" moms would love to get some great ideas. Please post them in the comment area.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What Does Your Kid's Hair and Clothes Say about You?- Back to School #2

Get your cameras ready and make a plan for your first day back at school pics.
1. You can make a cute frame for them to hold (thanks to James N' Mel Z on Pinterest)
2. Make a sign for your kid to hold saying what grade They are in.
3. Make a short video, and ask your child what a few of their favorite things are or what they want to learn more about.
4. Or just take photos on the front porch super casual like I do.
Whatever you do, you don't want to miss documenting your child's first day back at school in some way.

I love seeing how my kids change year after year, and looking back at these photos helped me notice not only how much they had changed, but how I have changed as well. Notice how cute and well put together my girls are in the first photo on the right (2 years ago PreK and K5). Then take a look at the second photo below on the left (1 year ago K5 and 1st).  They are still cute of course, but it does not take a well trained eye to notice that these girls are not quite as well groomed.

The funny part is that this really is one of their good days. Typically their hair and clothes are crazier than this. So what do these two photos tell me about myself? I admit at first, I was a little embarrassed and thought twice about posting this, because I thought this second picture said I wasn't being a very good mom.  Then I realized that I am still a work in progress, and this picture actually says to me that I am an even better mom now than I was a year ago because it shows that I am doing a better job at working toward:
1. Caring less of what other people think of me because of how my kids look and more about my accountability to God for raising my kids the way He wants me to.
2. Stopping being such a control freak about appearances and other things, and letting them become more independent and responsible for dressing and grooming themselves.
3. Being a more laid back fun mom with Godly priorities, and less picky perfectionist mom.

I am still a work in progress and so are they. Don't judge me because of how my kids look and I will try to give you the benefit of the doubt as well.

Here is this years photo. (Jolie in 3rd, Summer in 2nd, Kyah age 3).  I would looooooooooooove to see your kids first day photo.

Go to my website - and use the handy tool on the blog to post your photo as your comment!

How have you and your kids changed this year?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Clever Encouragement - Back to School #1

I just can't get enough of all the clever ideas that you wonderful moms pin on Pinterest.  Check out my Back to School Board for more clever ideas to encourage your kiddos, their friends, and their teachers the first week of school. Here are my favorites from each category:

 7-up FOR MY KIDS  - I love this 7-Up bottle idea because using Scripture is one of the best ways to encourage anyone, and my kids get super excited when they get to drink any kind of soda! (from

 Chocolate Mints FOR THE TEACHER - In the one in a million chance your teacher does not like Andes mint's, these are still great for her to pass out to the class or keep on her desk for others. I also love the idea that everything is "Mint" to be because our heavenly Father is in control of all things - big and small. Make sure you talk to your kids about this big concept called - God's Providence. (from

Cookies FOR FRIENDS - You can make cookies or buy them. Either way, your kids and their friends will be sure to enjoy these.(from

How do you like to encourage your kids as they go back to school?

If you love Pinterest, too. I would love to add you onto my group board The Character Mom's Pintentional Parenting Board.
Follow my board, and I will invite you to pin.
(Contact me if you don't get an invite within 24 hours.)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Olympics Splink! - Welcome Wednesday

I wanted to share this great resource as well as these great ideas about learning faithfulness through the olympics with you. Don't miss the website at the end with stories about God-glorifying athletes.

Splink is a great family fun resource from D6 (Deuteronomy 6) Ministries. I would highly recommend signing up for this free weekly           service at

August 5 - 11
Finishing Well
Pick a job or chore the whole family can do together; one you may have been putting off all summer (clean garage, organize family room, clean a closet and get rid of clothes that don't fit, wash the deck, etc.). Work together until the job is done and then reward yourselves. Go out for lunch or for ice cream, go on a picnic, play mini-golf; do whatever your family enjoys.
Talk about it:
How do you feel now that the big job is completed?
How did you feel while we were still working?
Why is it important to keep going, to stay with a job until it is done? (It will never get finished if we quit; it feels good to be faithful even if it is not easy, etc.)
Why is it important to stay faithful to God? (He deserves our best, He is faithful to us, it feels good to know that we are pleasing Him, He will reward us someday, etc.)
Staying the Course

Invite the neighbor kids or friends to have an Olympics celebration.
Play some of the following games:
Discus throw--–see how far you can throw a paper plate or Frisbee
  • Trike race—line up at a starting point and see who can cross the finish line first
  • Races—three legged, egg and spoon, relay races, etc.
  • High jump or long jump
  • Javelin throw—with pool noodles
  • Hit the ball—put a tennis ball in the toe of a sock or pair of tights, attach it to a kid's belt or waist and run a relay to see how quickly the team can make the ball in a sock swing (without using hands) to hit a second ball toward the finish line
  • Hockey—choose two teams and try to be the first team to hit the potato with the hockey stick to a designated point and back
  • Swimming activities if a pool is available  

Don't forget to make or buy some medals. Make a winner's grandstand and give out the medals.
A healthy snack idea: make barbells by sticking grapes (if you have older kids) or marshmallows on each end of pretzel sticks. Have plenty of water or juice on hand.
In order to win, one has to stay the course—stay faithful. One cannot win by quitting. Cheer each other on to stay with it!

A Medal of Worth
Watch the Olympic events together, and talk about athletes that are faithful to God. Share the stories of some of the Christian athletes. Look for more stories at
Sanya Richards-Ross, a Christian athlete who may be the fastest female runner in the world, is representing the United States for a second time in the 2012 Olympics. Sanya became a Christian when she was 12 years old. She desires to be faithful to God and she recently committed to reading through the entire Bible. One verse she says frequently to herself is, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).
She says that her faith encourages her to give her best. She says, "I know that my talent is God's gift to me, and how I use it is my gift to Him."
What do you think athletes need to do to compete in the Olympics? (Talent, work hard, and to stick with it even when they don't feel like it)
Many Olympic athletes practice all day every day so they will be ready to compete. They give their best to win a medal.
Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.
Why do athletes run or compete? (To get a prize that will eventually fade away)
What qualities do athletes need to win? (Self-control, determination, willingness to practice and work hard, etc.)
What do we need as we live for Jesus? (Self-control, determination to do what is right, faithfulness to follow Him, etc.)
Paul says we should run the Christian life with the same determination and self-control an athlete has when he or she competes for a medal that fades away. We will receive a reward from God some day if we are faithful to do what He has asked us to do.

Monday, August 6, 2012

What Can You Learn from Your 3 year old?

Today my daughter, Kyah, turns three! Happy B-day Kyah!
We can learn so much from 3 year olds for instance:
  •  how to thoroughly enjoy life. 
  • They live in the moment never
            worried about tomorrow. 
  • They are little sponges excitely
             soaking up all the new things
             around them with a teachable
             and humble heart.  
  • They are generally happy since
             they are silliness experts
             (see my last blog about how
             silliness ability is important
              to your happiness).
 Yet today, I was surprised to realize that Kyah can even teach me about the two greatest commandments - Love God and Love others more.

1. Love Others - Kyah never says to me, "You are in my personal space." Physical affection is never awkward or uncool at her age. Kyah loves me, her Big Daddy, and sisters no matter what and always wants to spend time with us no matter how we are acting or feeling. We are her world. She is never too busy to drop what she is doing to spend time with one of us. One of her great hugs and a sweet smile can brighten our day like nothing else. I wish I was better at making people feel loved and special the way Kyah does.

2. Love God - Kyah has a true child-like faith, where she trusts and believes without doubt whatever I say. However, that is not how I want to be more like her.  I want to love my Heavenly Father, the way she loves her Daddy. He is definitely her favorite. She is her Daddy's girl! She even has a favorite shirt that says, "My heart belongs to Daddy." She follows him around outside "helping" him with his chores.  But her favorite time is when they just sit and talk. I love to watch her and her Daddy as she soaks up every word he says, and enjoys sharing with him the new things she has learned or experienced that day. This is what my daily quiet time with God should look like. I do an okay job of walking with God throughout my daily activies, but I really need to work on sitting quietly to spend quality time reading His Word and praying on a consistent basis.
The name Kyah means diamond in the sky, so I call her My Shining Star. She has her dramatic moments of sadness, selfishness, and stubborness as any diva does, but generally "My Little Star" truly brightens my life and our home like no one else can with her enjoyment for life and love.

How can you love God and others more? What can you learn from your kids?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What Makes Happy Kids?

Over the past few years there has been an explosion of hundreds of different scientific studies on the pursuit of happiness.  Check out these very interesting results from one definitive study about the three key factors that lead to happiness.
First Factor  - 50% of our happiness is determined by our DNA - I could not believe this percentage was so large.  However, any moms who have two very different children can understand this concept.  Just like me, you may have one child who has a natural tendency to view the glass as half full and another who tends to view it as half empty. (However, keep in mind that you can overcome negative natural tendencies with practice and the power of the Holy Spirit.)

Second Factor - 10% of our happiness is determined by our circumstances - I would have thought this percentage would have been higher. However, this is why you may know rich and powerful people who are not happy, and poor people who are full of joy. 
Which "Happiness Trigger" is Grandpa practicing?
Third Factor - 40% of our happiness is determined by life choices - These are the decisions that we make or ways we decide to spend our time and energies. Out of these choices there are 5 "Happiness Triggers" that you can do that tend to make people more happy.
        1.  Express Gratitude.
        2. Try knew things (Courage).
        3. Be kind to others.
        4. Play (the ability to be silly).
        5. Spend time with close friends or family.

I was excited to realize the first 3 of the 5 happiness triggers are character qualities - gratefulness, courage, and kindness.  So if we want to help our kids be happier, we can help them grow in character.  Last month, we focused on #2 Courage, so this month we will focus on #3 Kindness.

This weekend your assignment is to focus on #4 and #5 - Play with your family. Do something for no other reason than to be silly with your kids. What silly things make your kids happy?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Free Kindness/Back-to-School Download

Free Downloads at
Happy August! This summer flew by. It is already time to get ready to go back to school. This month's focus:
      1. Back-to-School Activities &
      2. Teaching Kindness

Your kid's teachers are there to teach them reading, writing, and arithmetic, but it is your job to teach them kindness.  A lesson in kindness is actually one of the best ways to prepare your child for school.

Use the fun and simple ideas in this free download to start teaching kindness today!

I would love to hear about any fun and purposeful
back-to-school activities you and your kids do.