Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Intentional Easter | Giving Meaningful Gifts Throughout the Year

This post contains affiliate links.

After my initial post on an intentional Christmas, I began really thinking about ways to be intentional with other holidays and events.

Valentine's Day and a birthday have come and gone, and those were thought out with intent (and if I ever find myself with some time like I found right now, I'll tell you about those).

This weekend was all about Easter. Because I knew how busy we were going to be (I am currently the interim Children's Ministry Director at our church so Easter weekend was really busy), I planned ahead of time some crafts that we would do together. We also began our Resurrection Eggs and the book Benjamin's Box: A Resurrection Story week and a half before Easter so we could make our way through them in a relaxed manner.

I also carefully thought through our Easter outfits. Our church was having services on Saturday night and Sunday. I knew my family was going to attend on Saturday night, so I purchased new items reflective of the time they would be attending church but also items that could be worn multiple times throughout the hot summers in here Florida.

We have always given our children an Easter gift of some kind, but this year, I thought about the intent of the gifts. Was it just to give them "stuff" or was it to provide items they needed (and wanted) and would continue to use?

We chose to give each child a keepsake box with identical items that were gender specific.

Both children got:
  • toothbrush (so they can use the Disney timer app)
  • toothpaste (again, so they could use the Disney timer app)
  • sunglasses (with their favorite characters on them)
  • A sticky-climbs-down-your-fridge-when-you-throw-it type thing
  • A movie (Big Hero 6  and Annie )
In addition Ian got Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Underwear and Addie got a set of headbands.

We stayed away from the candy knowing that our family would be giving them lots of candy later on Sunday afternoon (hence the need for fun toothbrushes and toothpaste!).

I know that none of our gifts to the kids will end up in the garbage or a garage sale. I know that the movies purchased will provide entertainment to them as we take long trips during the summer (digital downloads are awesome!). I know that needs and wants were met within a reasonable budget. I am thankful that each child knows that they are equally loved because they received the same gifts.

After the kids opened their boxes, Addie burst out with, "This is the best Easter ever!" I think that somehow, even she understood what made this Easter different from past Easters.

(And don't worry, I didn't forget about my husband. He had to hunt for his gift! I used this free printable from the Dating Divas.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Motivate Your Child | Review

This post contains affiliate links.

Have you ever tried a new system thinking it would help motivate your child to take responsibility of certain chores or just to be an active and involved member of your family, only to find that the system works for a few days or (if you're lucky) weeks and then the thrill and excitement wear off. (Yes, my hand is raised!)

After reading Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent's Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told, I realized that the methods I was using were only using external means of motivation. And quite honestly, external means only motivate us for so long. Motivate Your Child teaches parents through real life example how to give our children the gift of internal motivation.

There are so many books on the market that give general ideas, blanket answers, and a one-size-fits-all answer for raising and teaching children how to do what is asked of them. Motivate Your Child is the first book I have read that gives at least two to three examples per chapter of real life families and situations and  how to approach each situation in a way that will not only correct the behavior in the present but will also impact the child's heart for the future.

Have you ever read a situation and thought to yourself, "That is my family they are talking about! I dealt with that same situation last week!" I cannot tell you how many times I had those same thoughts run through my head as I read this book.

Every once in a while a book comes your way that really impacts and changes the way you approach what you "normally do." "Motivate Your Child" has made me realize that we need to teach our child to be motived by internal means (conviction) because our ultimate goal of correction and loving discipline is to bring them to Christ.
Although I read this for the review, I can tell you honestly that I will be rereading it again in the next month with my husband. As parents, it is so important that we are on the same page when it comes to raising our children for the Lord, and using the same techniques and having the same information can make a huge difference.

Child raising books are everywhere, but this one deals with more than just raising a child. It deals with the heart of child with the ultimate goal of bringing our children to Christ- not just having "good" kids. I don't just want kids that obey and are good. I want kids who have a relationship with Christ, and because of that relationship are motivated to obey and be good.

If you are tired of trying a new technique every few weeks to keep your children motivated, I would recommend that you pick up a copy of  Motivate Your Child today. The first time your child shows motivation because of what is happening in their heart, you will reap the benefits of your investment.

To learn more about this book and its authors, check out their website.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Motivate Your Kids

I am excited to share with you about a new book I’m reading this month -- Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent's Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told. Doesn’t that sound amazing? Isn't that what you want for your kids?

$150 preorder

God's Word gives us a better way to parent, one that builds strong internal motivation in children. When parents change the way they parent, kids change the way they live.Motivate Your Child is a practical book that explores a theology of internal motivation and then gives parents real-life solutions to equip their kids for life.

This is the newest book by parenting experts, Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN from the National Center for Biblical Parenting (NCBP), also authors of The Christian Parenting Handbook.

In order to motivate parents to Pre-Order the book, the NCBP is offering a $150 package of resources for FREE! There are video, audio and print items that can be used on a variety of devices. You can learn more on the Book Website.

You can Pre-Order the book now from any retailer, and then follow the instructions below.

Pre-order from Amazon INSTRUCTIONS: Purchase the book. Email the receipt to The NCBP will send you the link and a special code to access these downloadable products. This offer is good until January 31, 2015.


Friday, January 9, 2015

Growing Up Social

I was recently given the opportunity to review the new book by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane entitled Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World. As I read this book the one feeling I continued to get was that of


I heard the comment once, "What parents do in moderation, the children do in excess."

The more I delved into this book, the more I became aware of how much screen time I allow myself on a daily basis. The more I became aware of that, the more concerned I became about how that would affect how my children would view screen time.

It is amazing how screens subtly make their way into our lives, our daily routine, and our family time. Reading this book made me aware of each moment I held my smartphone, picked up the tablet, turned on the TV, or sat down at the computer. It caused me to put my phone on silent during certain times of the day when I needed to be present for my children. It made me close up the entertainment center so the TV would not be visible in the living room. It made me unsubscribe to a lot of emails that I received so I would only receive emails that were relevant and important. It made me assign specific times in my day to sit at the computer for work related items.

What can you expect to get out of this book? Here is what has been said about the book.

Although parents are not able to monitor every minute of their child’s screen time, they can guide them to make positive choices by example. Growing Up Social offers practical guidance on: 

  • Parenting Your Child Through Screen Life: Using technology to educate children on social skills, communication, gratitude, responsibility, and privacy; teaching them that people come first, and technology comes second. Understanding the A+ skills of affection, appreciation, anger management, apology, and attention.  
  • Screen Time and the Brain: Understanding how screen time is strengthening some parts of the brain (quick decision making, visual acuity, and multitasking), but weakening other parts (one-on-one people skills, empathy, reading, writing, and sustained concentration). 
  • Screen Time and Love Languages: Expressing love more effectively to your child, who is often engaged in screen time, by understanding their “love language.” (physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, and acts of service) 
  • Screen Time and Parental Authority: Implementing boundaries regarding screen time (i.e. during dinner time, bedtime, school hours). Advice if you find your child is involved with cyber-bullying, sexting, or viewing pornography. Abiding by a “screen safe family pledge.” 
  • Screen Time and Unhealthy Lifestyle Patterns: Preventing unhealthy habits caused by excess screen time, including a sedentary lifestyle, isolation from others, unhealthy eating habits, lack of sleep, and aggressive behavior. Also impacted is a child's inability to have healthy, positive friendships face-to-face.

Growing Up Social had so much to say. Words that will stay with me for many years to come as Brian and I raise our children in this digital age. Here are a few excerpts from the book that I hope will capture your attention and make you more curious as to what this book has to offer you and your family.

Technology is here to stay, and we believe you can find positive ways to utilize it for your relationships. No doubt your child is going to use emails, texts, and smart phones as he grows into an adult. (pg. 9) 

The AAP recommends that children older than two years old should get no more than two hours a day of screen time. This means if your child is on the computer for one hour at school, they should only have one additional hour at home. (pg. 19) 

Many screen-savvy teenagers are not taught to treat people with respect and courtesy online. Navigating friendships on a screen can seem more transactional than with humans. You can delete friends who bother you and just get new ones. People can be treating you like a commodity; they are there for your convenience to meet your needs. (pg. 63) 

Parents are needed more than ever to provide instruction, correction, and positive modeling to a child regarding screen time, even if this digital world seems like unfamiliar territory. We live in a brand-new era when children are digital natives and many parents are digital immigrants. In other words, many children know more technology than their parents, and that is quite different from how the world worked hundreds of years ago. (pg. 169) 

I am very particular about which books I keep long-term. This is one of those books I intend on keeping and reaching for every couple of years as a reminder of being intentional with our screen time as a family.

About the Authors:

Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of 31 Days to a Happy Husband and 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife. She has been a featured guest on Fox & Friends, The Today Show, The Better Show, TLC’s Home Made Simple, The 700 Club, Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah and Family Life Today radio. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, Arlene worked as the Associate Producer for Turning Point Television.  Arlene earned her BA from Biola University and her Masters in Journalism from Regent University. Arlene lives in the San Diego area with her husband James and their three young children.

Gary Chapman, PhD, is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling The 5 Love Languages. With over 30 years of counseling experience, he has the uncanny ability to hold a mirror up to human behavior, showing readers not just where they are wrong, but how to grow and move forward. Dr. Chapman holds BA and MA degrees in anthropology from Wheaton College and Wake Forest University, respectively, MRE and PhD degrees from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and has completed postgraduate work at the University of North Carolina and Duke University.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

What to Remember When Taking Pictures on Christmas Morning

As I was going through my camera after Christmas last year, I had to chuckle as I tried to find those perfect shots of our perfect Christmas.

This is what I found instead and decided to share with you so you will remember when you are trying to get those perfect shots on Christmas morning what really qualifies as a perfect photo.

You can forget about being in a photo yourself. Unless you can sign your name to each photo taken, there will be no proof that you were even there for Christmas. (And if there was a picture, it is pretty safe to say you deleted it before anyone had a chance to see it.)

Your subjects will move right when you snap the photo.

When you try to get pictures of the kids playing with their new toys, they will most likely be playing with the toys their siblings received.

Not everyone will cooperate with you. Okay, let's be realistic- no one will cooperate! And some photos may come out dark.

Hair will most likely still be messy from their night of dreaming about Christmas morning.

When you ask them to look at you, they will probably break out into some awkward pose you have never seen before. This is probably due to their extreme excitement.

But.... those aren't really the shots you will want to remember for years to come anyway.

The poses you will want to take are the ones when no one is looking at the camera because they are snuggling and so involved in the special Christmas movie that comes after all the gifts have been opened.

The photos of a happy child playing next to his exhausted father.

The smiles of gratitude for a day that went above expectations.

The sparkle of eyes that are truly experiencing Christmas and all of its thrill for the first time.

The way your child clings to his daddy because for some glorious reason, that he doesn't understand, Daddy didn't have to go to work today.

Your husband and son playing with each other and interacting with each other the way only fathers and sons can.

Because, after all, Christmas isn't about the presents under the tree. It is about relationships. The relationship that God wants to have with us, so He sent His Son Jesus as a Baby that first Christmas so long ago.


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