by Stephanie Partridge
As 2011 rolls into view and the holidays are in full swing, our thoughts turn to making those ever popular new year's resolutions. Traditionally, the theme and intent of these resolutions have been focused more on the individual. They may resolve to work out more, lose weight, manage their time better or any number of other things that need "tightening up" in their life.
This year, however, take a step outside the box. Let's not just make resolutions for ourselves, let's engage our entire family and make resolutions that will help us build a stronger, healthier family. Get the kids in on the venture and work together as a team. One great benefit here is that when we all have one common goal, we can support each other. This will help you stick to our goals.
Family new year's resolutions will also allow you to make decisions as a family, and as each person contributes you may be exposed to ideas you hadn't considered. What's more, just the act of making the resolutions, creating a plan of action for sticking to them and helping each other stick to them helps to bond you as a family.
In our home, the kids and I are already making our family new year's resolutions. We are still in the "draft stages" of our resolutions, but these are a few that we are currently fleshing out. Maybe they will inspire you.READ More on Make 2011 the Year of the Family: New Year's Resolution Style
by Stacey Schifferdecker
Have you heard the new Christmas song by Matthew West and Amy Grant called Give this Christmas Away? Every time I hear this song or see the video, it brings tears to my eyes.
The video is on the latest Veggie Tale DVD, St. Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving or you can see it on Youtube.
If you are inspired to give Christmas away, here are some ideas to help you get started. It may be too late to try some of these ideas this year, but you can get a head start on next year.
Fill a Shoebox
The Give this Christmas Away video features children receiving Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes through Samaritan's Purse. Operation Christmas Child is a great way you and your children can share God's love and the true story of Christmas with children from around the globe. All you do is wrap a shoebox (wrap the lid separately) and then fill it with toiletries, toys, and school supplies. You can choose whether you are filling a box for a boy or a girl and for what age. Then you just take your box to a local collection center; the website lists collection sites all over the United States and Canada. Samaritan's Purse asks that you include $7 per box to help with shipping costs. If you pay the $7 online, you can get a code to track where your box ends up.READ More on Giving Christmas Away
by Stacey Schifferdecker
My husband tells a story about an ice cream social on his family’s farm when he was a boy. His family and some friends were sitting outside enjoying the beautiful weather and eating delicious homemade ice cream – the kind made with an old-fashioned wooden churn that you had to crank for hours. It was high summer, but this was Bible belt Kansas and the conversation turned to God’s blessings. Everyone began sharing what he or she was thankful for, just like many of us do around the Thanksgiving table. The adults were all thankful for the big bowls of ice cream, the good weather for crops, jobs that paid well, healthy kids, and other big stuff. When it was little David’s turn, he said, “I’m thankful for the water!” The adults all got a good laugh at the little boy who was enjoying a bowl of homemade ice cream but was thankful for the glass of water he was drinking with it. But to David, that water made his enjoyment of the ice cream even greater by cleansing his mouth between bites. READ More on What Children Can Teach Us about Being Thankful
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When you are getting your kids up in the morning to get ready for daycare or school, it can definitely become frustrating and stressful. Often morning mania occurs, which has you dreading those mornings during the week. If you're tired of dealing with this problem, there are things that you can do to deal with this in a positive way. Here are a few tips that can help you go from morning mania to something a bit less hectic.
Tip #1 – Make it a Routine
One of the most important tips for taming morning mania in your home is to make getting up and ready for the day a routine. If you don't start a routine and make sure your kids know that this is not an option, your mornings will become a lot easier. Establish a routine that is non-negotiable and talk to your kids about consequences that will occur if they not follow the routine. Without a routine you'll end up with tantrums and morning melt-downs, which will mean everyone begins their day in a stressful way.
Tip #2 – Try Planning Out Outfits
Morning mania can often be caused by missing socks, shoes that are mismatched, or a shirt that suddenly has a stain on it. To avoid the frantic shuffle trying to find clothing to wear, try planning out outfits for your kids ahead of time. For younger kids, help them pick out what they'll wear, allowing them some input. This should include everything, from socks, to shoes, outer clothing, underwear, and anything else they are going to wear. Plan ahead and lay it all out the night before. It will save a lot of time. Older kids can choose their own clothing, but have them choose the night before as well so you avoid clothing drama in the morning.
Getting back in the dating scene can definitely be difficult for single parents. After all, it's probably been awhile since you went out on a date. Of course, dating as a single parent brings with it many challenges and pressures that you have to deal with as a parent. It can be difficult enough being a single parent and adding a relationship to the mix can definitely bring up some complications. However, while there are unique challenges ahead, it doesn't mean that you can't have enjoyable dates and find someone special again. To help you navigate this new territory, here are some helpful single parent dating tips that will make the entire process easier for you, your date, and your children.
Tip #1 – Never Lie About Being a Parent
While it can be tough to get dates as a single parent, it is important that you never lie about being a parent. When you are dating, you want to make sure that your date understands that you are first a parent. Don't try hiding this. If you try to lie about being a single parent, eventually the truth is going to come out. Besides, anyone that is worth your time should be fine with the fact you're a single parent. If they aren't comfortable with this fact, then move on to someone else who can deal with the fact that your priorities are your children.
Tip #2 – Talk to Your Children
Another important tip to remember for single parent dating is to talk to your children. It isn't a good idea to hide the fact that you are going out on a date from your children. They will probably find out anyway and it is better if they get the news from you. Talk to your kids and let them know you're going out to enjoy some adult time with a good friend. At this point, this is all your kids need to know. Keep it simple. Talk to them, but don't get into too many details at this stage in the game.
Halloween is almost here and more than likely your kids are already trying to come up with a great costume. Sure, you could go to the store and buy one, but often the costumes available aren't very original, not to mention all the money you spend on something your kids only wear once. One great idea is to make your own homemade Halloween costumes for your kids this year. You'll ensure your kids have a unique costume that no one else is wearing and you'll save a lot of money too. Maybe you think you have to be a master seamstress to accomplish this – that's not true. There are actually many simple ideas you can find that won't require sewing skills. To help you out, here are some great ideas that you can easily make at home and some great money-saving tips you can use this Halloween as well.
Great Costume Ideas You Can Make at Home
From classic costumes, to box costumes, to character costumes, you'll find that you can easily make most of them yourself. Here are several great costume ideas and instructions on how to make them. Follow the instructions, add in a bit of creativity, and you'll be sure to create some great costumes for this Halloween.
Cowboy or Cowgirl Costume
One easy and classic costume idea is a cowboy or cowgirl costume. All you'll need is a western shirt, a pair of jeans, boots, and a brightly colored bandana. If you can find one, a good cowboy hat will complete the costume.
Designing a mummy costume is pretty simple. You'll need white clothing underneath, and then strips of white sheets or some gauze can be used to wrap around your child. You may need some safety pins to hold the strips in place. Make sure you leave ample room for their mouth, nose, and eyes.
A scarecrow is definitely appropriate at this time of year. You'll need a flannel shirt and a pair of jeans. Patches on the jeans make it even better. Use some duct tape on the inside of pants and sleeps to attach some straw so it sticks out. Add a straw hat. You can take an eyebrow pencil and use it to draw triangles around each eye and a bit smile on your child's face.
It's easy to dress up your child as a soldier. You'll need some camouflage clothing, camouflage makeup, and perhaps a homemade compass, canteen, and other accessories to make the character believable.
Although carving pumpkins may very well be the most recognized Halloween craft for the Halloween holiday, it might not be conducive to the climate in which you live. For example, if you live in Texas the humidity would cause the pumpkins to suffer a much too early demise. Also safety concerns arise when using a sharp knife to carve them, it is not exactly an activity that everyone, especially the children who are so in love with Halloween, can do.READ More on Pumpkin Painting – Halloween Fun and Safe for the Whole Family