Please Help Me Launch My New Book

I am so excited to finally share more details with you about my new book, At The Well.  It is a book for Christian singles, taking them on a journey through Genesis 24 – the story of Isaac and Rebekah – where God reveals the most beautiful blueprint for finding love and pursuing marriage.  You can read more about the book here.

Now, I realize that here at Celebrate Every Day With Me, our readers are primarily MOMS!  So, while I know this book may not apply to you directly, I am guessing that some of you have kids who fall into the Christian single category or you have intentions of talking with your children about seeking God when looking for a husband or wife.

Whether this is you or not, I really need help for a successful book launch.  Would you consider joining my launch team?  Being a part of a launch team means reading a pre-release PDF copy of the book, writing a review and sharing about the book.  Then on launch day (February 4, 2018), you’ll post your review on Amazon.  Don’t worry, we will lay everything out to make it as simple as possible!

Click here to join the launch team and start reading At The Well before everyone else!

How to Be Purposeful About a Slow Summer

Do you need a SLOW SUMMER-

If there is one thing I’ve been looking forward to as we wrapped up the school year, it is a SLOW SUMMER.

The last month has been crazy.  Not only have we been over-scheduled and over-committed, we went and threw a puppy into it.  And friends, let me tell you if you didn’t already know, those puddles of fur are a lot of work!  I’m talking new baby level kind of work.  (At least our sweet girl sleeps through the night.)

In all the craziness of the last four weeks, my heart, my mind and my body are craving SLOW.

And that is what I’m going to be purposeful with this summer.

Slow.

I’m putting aside a packed schedule.  I’m dropping the lengthy summer bucket list.  Truthfully, I’m lowering my expectations.

 

I want days at home . . .

hours with friends . . .

plenty of down time . . .

and lots of free play.

 

I want adventure in the woods with the kids, meals in the treehouse and fun at the pool.

 

I’m thinking family games, rainy day reading and space to help others.

 

All of this is only possible if I tame the family schedule and plan slow.  We have a very limited number of day camps, some library programs and a couple special events.  Other than that, we’re keeping it slow.  We only have 18 summers with our kids.  I’m already half way through with one of my babies.  I want to make the season count and stop the rush.

Here are some ideas for a Slow Summer:

  • Lighten the schedule.
  • Relax bedtimes.
  • Turn off the alarm.
  • Get outside often.
  • Don’t plan a long bucket list.  Pick your top three things and stop there.
  • Allow for margin in your days and weeks.
  • Learn to love white space on your calendar.
  • Pick a fun book to read this summer.
  • Take relaxing walks.
  • Remind yourself and your kids that “bored” can be good and a great opportunity for the imagination.
  • Be spontaneous.  If you are so busy, being spontaneous isn’t even a possibility.
  • Talk with your kids.  Really talk.  Learn something new about them.  Let them learn something new about you.
  • Say no.  You don’t need to say yes to everything asked of you.  Read The Best Yes (affiliate link) for encouragement.

What are your thoughts?  Is a SLOW SUMMER gnawing at your heart, too?

Friends, it’s time to slow down, to enjoy the moments and celebrate the days.

 

5 tips for taming the family schedule

Celebrating Childhood: How to Protect the Innocence of Your Child

How to Protect the Innocence of Your Child

This is not a post I am eager to write.  However, the fleeting innocence of our children has weighed heavily on my heart for quite some time. And with so much going on nowadays, I felt the Lord’s compelling voice that this is the time.  So grab your cup of coffee and come close.  We need to talk.

Have you noticed that as a nation, our children are growing up too fast?

I don’t mean that time moves quickly; I have other posts about that.  No, I mean that our children are maturing too quickly.  They are learning about too much of the world too fast.  They are exposed at young ages to things beyond their years.  Friends, their innocence is in jeopardy.  What was once playful and fun has become a cultural push to expose our children to mature language, issues and behavior.  All one needs to do is turn on the tv or go to the movies.

I can’t tell you how often I read or hear about parents who are letting their little children watch movies with ratings intended for teenagers.  Parents who don’t mind what is on the TV in the background of their family room because they don’t think their kids are paying attention.  Even the commercials of sporting events parade the inappropriate before the eyes of our children.  What are our kids taking in?

Their innocence is in jeopardy.

Just last week, I had to email my son’s teacher to say that my son was not allowed to watch a particular movie in school and that I would make arrangements to take him out of class.  This movie portrayed drunkenness, immodest attire for a scene and swearing.  Now, it didn’t end up being the movie watched, but it was one of three possibilities for his third grade class.

What I am about to say below is for all parents, but I am speaking specifically to my Christian brothers and sisters . . . to those of you who fall under the name of Christ, who want to follow biblical principles and raise godly children . . . to those who want to keep one eye on who their child is now and the other on what kind of individual they will become.

Friends, our children are being bombarded by content intended for those much older.  Rude humor, immoral choices, and downright sin made to look normal and glamorous.   I was at a marriage conference last weekend that said that married couples in the U.S. are now outnumbered by couples choosing to live together without the commitment of marriage.  I am crushed.  I am sickened for the world that our children will grow up in.  A culture that makes light of the plans and beauty of what God created.  

We are losing our children to the world.  Christian families are losing their children to the world.  It is up to us to provide a firm foundation of faith, morality and family values in a culture that says there are no absolutes, it is all about me and I can do whatever I want.

How to Protect the Innocence of Your Child - James 1.5

So what do we do as Christian parents?

We guard the innocence of our children.  We ask for wisdom (James 1:5).  We make educated choices.  We open our eyes to the deceptive nature of our culture.  We tune our ears to voice of the Holy Spirit.  And then we . . .

Assess

Ask the questions about what your kids are watching on TV and in the movies.  For example:  What is the movie about?  What are the questionable issues in the movie?  Is there content for which my child is too young?  Is the violence age-appropriate?  Are there provocative scenes?  Are women’s bodies treated disrespectfully or men regarded as stupid?

Do your due diligence in investigating a movie.  Read the reviews.  I love Common Sense Media and Plugged In.  Common Sense Media applies ratings to different components of the movie.  It tells you specifically what occurs under each category and even their recommendation for viewing age.  I also like Plugged In which is Focus on the Family’s movie review site.  If you want to quickly know what is going to happen in a movie, check out these sites.

common sense media on phone

Pictured Screenshot from Common Sense Media.

When possible, first preview the movie yourself.  While this may be inconvenient at times (and I have definitely watched children’s movies alone for this solitary purpose), you can watch the film with your child’s age and maturity in mind.  If this is not possible and reviews haven’t yet been posted (usually the day after the movie releases), seek out another parent who’s opinion you respect.  When the live-action Cinderella movie came out, we wanted to see it right away.  But I had heard that the death scenes were intense for young children and could stir feelings of insecurity.  I called my cousin who had seen it the night before and asked for details.  Knowing my child and equipped with information, I was able to make a sound decision and we went to see the film.

Explain

If you have decided that the movie is inappropriate for your child, explain the reasons to him or her.  For that school movie last week, I specifically told my son what was disconcerting to me about the movie.  And you know what?  Once I plainly told him, he didn’t want to see the movie after all.

Last December, my son (my poor son) was invited with an older boy to go see Rogue One the week it released.  Knowing how much he wanted to see this Star Wars movie, I so badly wanted to let him go.  But as I poured over personal reviews from pre-screenings, I became convinced that he was too young to see the movie.  Over and over, I was seeing that the recommended age was 10+ years old and that the violence was war-like and unrelentless.  Some even compared it to Saving Private Ryan without the gore.

Well, he was crushed when I told him.  But as I began to explain the reasons, he demonstrated a maturity and understanding.  In fact, as this sort of thing has happened more than once now, my husband and I believe that he has fortified his trust in us, knowing what is best for him.

Of course, if even the subject matter is something of which your child is unaware, you don’t need to go into detail.  In a recent situation, I told my daughter that the movie simply portrays something that does not please God and goes against the teachings of the Bible.  I didn’t get more specific than that.

Teach God's Word -

Now what do you tell your child when everyone else in their class has seen a movie and they haven’t?  First, I acknowledge that it stinks.  It totally does.  It can feel so lonely.  I remember when I was growing up, having to leave a neighbor’s house because they were watching a PG-13 movie and I wasn’t old enough.  It stunk, but I respected my mom for making the call.

One way I have found for getting around this is to see if there is an option of reading the book (assuming the story line is not your issue).  This is precisely what we did when The Force Awakens came out and we didn’t think my son was ready for the intensity and violence.  I found an appropriate junior novel telling the story . . . and this way he knew what had happened and could keep up on the conversations at school.  Then a year later, he got the movie for his birthday.  🙂

Stand

Having made the hard decision then, stand in knowing that you are choosing your child over your culture.  His welfare over your popularity.  Her growing character over a fleeting 120 minutes.  This world is not our home.  It will never be comfortable.

Standing for biblical truth is not popular, especially in today’s cultural climate.  But do it anyway.  Do what you decide is best for your child and rest in that.

And when you know your child is missing the movie or the activity, create a super fun replacement.  When I told my daughter that we would not be seeing a particular movie at the theater (one to which she was greatly looking forward), she was heartbroken.  But you better believe that we planned the best, most special and incredibly fun evening in its place.

Let them be little. - Article on protecting the innocence of your child.

Being vigilant for our children’s childhood and innocence is no easy task.  

In fact, it is inconvenient.  It is isolating.  It means making the hard choices.  At times, it will require you standing alone.  And hardest of all, it will mean that sometimes your child stands alone.

So is it worth it?

Let me tell you, the rewards will be heavenly.  You will raise children who have a moral compass lacking in our lost culture.  You will raise children who have the discernment to know right and wrong.  You will raise children who see your example of a life lived for Christ . . . the trials, sufferings and glory, and be able to say it was worth it.

 

I would love to know your thoughts on this and how you handle these kinds of situations.  As always, be kind.  We may choose to disagree, but we can still be respectful.

Want to Take it a Step Further?

  • Read this post that I wrote on this topic for The Better Mom with other things you can do.
  • Start a prayer group for your children and schools.  Check out Moms In Prayer.
  • Fight to save filtering.  Read more on VidAngel’s battle and how you can  help.
  • Vote with your pocketbook.  Don’t support films with which you take issue.
  • Download the Movie Screening Checklist below.

Inspire your Family to be Thankful with Spring Blessing Boards

inspire your family to be thankful with a spring blessing board

Whether we’re talking my own heart or those of my children, I constantly need to be in remembrance of the things for which I’m thankful.  I find that for myself, it is so terribly easy to see everything there is to be done and to focus too much on that.  And my kids . . . well, they are kids.  But I still work to train their young hearts to count blessings and be grateful.

A couple months ago, we made winter blessing boards with cute fingerprint snowmen.  It was fun and the boards came out so well.  But then it dawned on me that I am waiting for spring and my mudroom still houses our winter scenes.  So of course, we had to make Spring Blessing Boards!  Flowers, kites, birds . . . snails.

And once again, the reminder to be thankful.

spring blessing boards (8)

Here is what you’ll need to make your own Spring Blessing Boards:

  • Chalkboards (I picked these up at Walmart)
  • Acryllic Paints – spring colors
  • Paint Brushes
  • Paint Markers
  • Wooden Creatures (Walmart or craft store)
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Felt Pad Protectors, optional
  • Chalk

spring blessing boards

 

First, set up a painting station.  I always use a junk plastic table cloth to protect my surfaces.  (Because I’m thankful for a beautiful wood table that I wouldn’t want covered in paint.  See?  Thankfulness starting already!)

 

spring blessing boards (1)

spring blessing boards (2)

 

Paint the wooden creatures and allow to dry completely.

 

spring blessing boards (3)

 

Next, write the permanent text at the top of the chalkboard with paint markers.

Ideas:

  • My Blessing Board
  • Name‘s Blessing Board
  • I’m Thankful For…

 

spring blessing boards (4)

 

Then, choose the placement of the creature on the chalkboard so you know where your child can paint more pictures.

 

spring blessing boards (6)

 

Allow your kids to paint any other desired designs: flowers, animals, birds, kites…

 

spring blessing boards (7)

 

Hot glue the wooden creature to the chalkboard.

 

spring blessing boards (9)

 

Add felt pads to the back of the board if you are concerned about protecting surfaces.  Since I’m thankful for our newly painted walls and know that my kids will bump these boards like crazy on the wall when they are writing, I opted for felt pads.  Another thing to be thankful for!  😉

 

spring blessing boards (11)

 

And now, all that is left is to write with chalk that which you’re thankful for and then change it often.

Here is where our Spring Blessing Boards hang in the mudroom, next to the slide entrance.

 

spring blessing boards (10)

What are you thankful for today?  

 

You May Be Interested in The Thankful Tree idea I share at Motherhood On A Dime.

The thankful tree

A Great Family Getaway To Cedar Point

Cedar Point - a great family getaway

 

If your family has been in need of a little getaway that offers both excitement and relaxation, while providing fun for a variety of ages, read on!

I am guessing that your life is full-speed ahead like mine.  Busy with kids, school and homework, extra-curriculars, church life and more.  And for us, after the week that my daughter was in the hospital while Dan was out of town for work, we were most definitely ready for a little getaway . . . a chance to laugh, have fun and enjoy being together without a schedule.

So last week, we packed up the car and headed to Hotel Breakers in Sandusky, Ohio to visit Cedar Point, the Roller Coaster Capital of the World.  I have been there many times before (both for fun and for Bloggy Con) and this was the kids’ third visit.

You may think that taking young kids to a roller coaster amusement park isn’t the best idea for a family getaway.  In fact, just recently, I was talking with another mom who didn’t know all that Cedar Point offers for young families.  And boy, there is a lot!  It is a great place for the whole family, no matter what age.  Here is what we loved most.

Our Top 10 Cedar Point Memories (and why you’ll love a family getaway to Cedar Point!)

planet snoopy at cedar point

1.  Lots of Smiles

It is such fun for parents to see their children thoroughly enjoying themselves.  My daughter especially loved Kiddy Kingdom, Camp Snoopy and Planet Snoopy (three fun-filled areas that cater to guests under 54″ tall).  Tons of rides for little ones!

early admission at planet snoopy at cedar point

I should also mention how impressed I was with the park’s cleanliness!

cedar point iron dragon

2.  Riding Iron Dragon Three Times in a Row with No Wait!

As guests of Hotel Breakers, you can enter the park an hour before the public and enjoy riding a selection of early attractions.  My son loves Iron Dragon and of course, we had to ride it first thing in the morning over and over again.  Three times put my stomach at its limit.  But sitting in the first car without waiting is such a treat!  As you can see in this Instagram picture, he was completely thrilled.

one mile of beach at Cedar Point

3.  Toes in the Sand

Hotel Breakers and Cedar Point sit on one mile of beautiful beach on Lake Erie.  It is picturesque and relaxing.  The kids and I enjoyed putting our toes in the sand and walking along the water.  Definitely could have spent more time here!

Hotel Breakers at Cedar Point

4.  Fun Features and Convenience at the Newly Refurbished Hotel

Hotel Breakers was originally built in 1905.  It has a rich history and just finished a complete renovation.  It looks terrific!  The rooms were fresh and clean, and my kids loved sleeping under the roller coaster pictures above the beds.  The whole place has a great nostalgic atmosphere.

And staying at Hotel Breakers is so convenient.  It doesn’t get any better than a hotel encompassed by beautiful Lake Erie on one side and the amusement park on the other.  To enter the park, you only have to walk out of the hotel and down the boardwalk or the path.

I must also mention the Silly Mirrors in the hotel lobby.  While they did provoke a great deal of [loud] giggling, the mirrors occupied my kids quite well while why I was checking in.  And I would like to thank whoever it was that put five hooks in the shower.  Brilliant and perfect for families!

hotel breakers ceiling at cedar point

Check out this rotunda ceiling off the main lobby!  Gorgeous architecture and beautiful dangling lights . . . the wedding planner in me is seeing fantastic parties and receptions, with guests dancing under this rotunda as they enjoy a relaxing view of the lake.

woodstock's express

5.  Screams

Usually, any kind of screaming would not make my top 10 list of anything.  But hearing my daughter scream on Woodstock’s Express (a kid-friendly roller coaster) was a hoot!  Only to be followed by racing off the ride to run and see her photo on the screen.

 

fun server at Johnny Rockets - Cedar Point

6.  Crazy Fun Servers

Meet Jamal!  He was our fun server at Johnny Rockets and made the experience such a treat.  A throwback to the fifties, we enjoyed burgers, fries and shakes…and some entertainment from the staff.  PS – try the Chocolate Peanut Butter Malt Milkshake.  It was the best!

views from Cedar Point Sky Ride

7.  Views from Above

Whether we were on one of the big roller coasters or the Sky Ride, the views of the amusement park and the lake were awesome.

wind seeker at cedar point

 

My guys caught some terrific views riding the Wind Seeker.  Can you see their feet?  Nope, me neither.  They were so high up!

fort sandusky

8.  Hands-On Fun

There is plenty of fun for all ages, including young children in Cedar Point‘s Frontier Trail area.  You can go into 1800’s log cabins that were original to the area and relocated to park.  And my kids’ favorite part:  the barnyard and feeding the goats.

petting farm at Cedar Point

candle dipping at Cedar Point

There is also a cool candle shop where you can dip your own candles.  My daughter L-O-V-E-D this!

first car on his first ride on the Magnum at Cedar Point

9.  The Memorable “Firsts”

As the kids get older (and taller), it is fun to experience their “firsts.”  This photo is from my son’s first ride on the Magnum XL-200.  It was scary, but he loved it.  Nothing like choosing the first car for the biggest roller coaster he has ever ridden.  🙂

cedar point - a great family getaway

10.  The Anticipation of Return

The kids have already talked about what they’ll do on the next visit.  And with each trip, I’m sure they will find something new to try and we will continue to create great family memories.

Disclosure & Thanks:  Special thanks to Cedar Point and Hotel Breakers for hosting my family as their guests.  All opinions in this post are my own.  

10 FUN Ways to Celebrate Dad!

10 FUN Ways to Celebrate Dad! -gifts, crafts, games and crazy activities

Looking for some fun ideas for Father’s Day (or anytime you want to celebrate Dad)?  From crafts and gifts to games and crazy activities, these ideas will be sure to make Dad feel special and appreciated.

10 FUN Ways to Celebrate Dad:

Father's Day Gift - free printable - fill-in booklet

Have your kids fill out this Father’s Day Booklet and share their precious and favorite thoughts about Dad.  

 

DIY Father's Day T-Shirt .

Get crafty with this DIY Father’s Day T-Shirt.

 

Daddy Land

Make your own live version of Candy Land with this game!

 

father's day gift for the expectant father

Make an “I Do Diapers” T-shirt for the Expectant Father.

 

Following in your footsteps t-shirt for father's day

Remind Dad about his important role to your kids with this T-shirt.

 

We Love Daddy

Show the love and frame this photo.

 

Marshmallow Fight 3-2

Get some family fun going with this crazy activity.  The BEST Marshmallow Fight Ever!

 

 welcome home daddy - with a splash

Who wants to get wet with this activity?  Bulls-eye shirt for Daddy!

 

scavenger hunt for daddy

The kids will love this scavenger hunt as Daddy hunts for his true prize.

 

Water-Balloon-Ambush1-346x400

Another wet, but fun activity for the whole family.

 

What does your family do to celebrate Dad?

Make Memories with a Family Digital Scavenger Hunt & Walmart Family Mobile

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Walmart Family Mobile.  All opinions are mine alone.  #MobileMemories #CollectiveBias

Make Memories with a Family Digital Scavenger Hunt and Walmart Family Mobile

I love family games and adventures.  They are great memory-makers.  They help with team spirit and family bonding.  And, they are just plain fun! 

A family game is an opportunity to connect with one another, spend time together and laugh.  So today, join me on a Family Digital Scavenger Hunt (free printable below).  It will take your family (and maybe others) around town, snapping pictures and crossing items off your list.

For this adventure, you will need your phone.  I used my Samsung Galaxy Avant and the Walmart Family Mobile service to create these memories.

Did you know that Walmart Family Mobile is a 4G LTE service?  I was impressed with the good signal I had around town with my Samsung.  I was also pleased with the $29.88/month fee (for the first line) on unlimited talk, text and data which includes 1G of 4G LTE data.  As a girl coming from limited minutes and texts, I enjoy the freedom to talk, text and share my photos as much as I like!

So what is a Family Digital Scavenger Hunt?

Family Digital Scavenger Hunt Image(Free Download Available Below.)

A digital scavenger hunt is a list of photos to be taken.  All require at least one member of the team to be in each photo.  Our list includes items like:  mom smelling a yellow flower, one of the kids getting an autograph of a veteran, dad swinging high on a swing and more.

Some of the items will be easy.  Some will be harder.  And some will require you to ask for the help of others.  This digital scavenger hunt will take you out and about on a mission to capture as many pictures from your list as possible.

Do it alone or with other families!  We did the scavenger hunt on our own.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Invite another family to compete against you.  One fun twist:  stop back at Walmart to print your photos.  Then, meet at a central location, peruse each other’s photos and select a winner.

Here are some of the pictures from our family digital scavenger hunt.  Did I mention yet how much my kids loved being the ones to take the photos?

 

Family Digital Scavenger Hunt 1

“Dad swinging high on a swing.”

Family Digital Scavenger Hunt 2

“Mom smelling a yellow flower.”

Family Digital Scavenger Hunt 3

“Kid on a Sports Field.”

Family Digital Scavenger Hunt 5

“The Whole Family in front of an American Flag.”

Believe it or not, there was no one around to take a picture of our whole family with an American flag.  If this had been a competition against another family, we would have lost points for this one.  

Family Digital Scavenger Hunt 6

“Mom with Someone’s Pet.”

Family Digital Scavenger Hunt 4

 “Family Piggy Back in front of a Local School.”

I debated on whether to show you the “pretty” picture of Dan and my daughter alone.  But then I thought I’d keep it real and include the shot of my son and his tongue.  Hmmm…why do kids do this??

Family Digital Scavenger Hunt 8

“Dad Giving High-Five to a Walmart Employee.”

We had a blast on our scavenger hunt.  I loved how my son went up to 4 different people in a store to ask if they were a veteran.  The fourth gentleman we spoke to fought in Vietnam.  I thought it was great that my kids got to talk to him and we made sure to thank him for his service to our country.

Family Digital Scavenger Hunt 9

And what other way to end a fun outing than with ice cream?

Want the free printable?  Get it here:
Family Digital Scavenger Hunt

Here is where to find everything and get started on the Walmart Family Mobile plan.  Just head back to the electronics department.

walmart family mobile plan

What kind of memories will you make on your Family Digital Scavenger Hunt?  Be sure to use your Walmart Family Mobile plan to share them with others when you’re all done.

Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to http://cbi.as/8e03 or your local Walmart for current pricing.

Make Some Awesome Memories!  Family Digital Scavenger Hunt & Walmart Family Mobile

10 Reasons You Should Start a Family Lego Project Today

10 reasons you should start a family lego project today

Last month, my kids and I worked on a Creation Series in Legos.  It was even more fun than I expected.  We learned about God’s creation and had an absolute blast building together.  We built everything from land and sea to turtles and very colorful birds.  Some of our animals didn’t make the cut in the series on my blog, but one of those animals soon became my favorite.

Here is why.  My son started on a giraffe.  At first, it looked like a yellow horse with two brown spots.  When he showed me, I suggested making the legs longer and to give the giraffe a longer neck.  We worked on it together.  Another day, my daughter and I decided he should have more brown spots.  Later, my son changed up the face.  And then a couple days later, my daughter thought our little guy needed a tail (I hadn’t even thought of that.).

The process was enlightening and entertaining.  Days of adding to each other’s giraffe updates until about a week later, we had a cute giraffe, a sweet example of what we could create when we worked together.  We all agreed he was complete and that he was good.  Our little family lego project turned out to be so much fun.

Have you ever worked with your kids to build something?  If not, I’ve got many reasons you should get started right now.

>>Read my reasons at Motherhood On A Dime where I am guest posting today.