Wednesday, May 30, 2007

summer bible reading club

This summer our congregation is comitting to read through the Psalms and Proverbs over the course of 99 days-from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The reading schedule is very easy and is anywhere from one to three chapters per day. Although these are short readings, they are full of words to dwell on.

This is a great way to spend family time together. You can begin a daily or weekly family bible reading time together. If your kids are very small and don't sit still for long, you can do something like this in small doses, or read to them while they play (or put in a CD for them to hear it while they are playing.) This can become a tradition in your family, where you share together words of wisdom, drawing the family closer together and providing so much in the lives of both the adults and kids alike.

Ways to Help Others

Raising our kids' awareness of their place in this world is a life long pursuit. It is easier when we start when the kids are young. Helping the poor, the sick, those in need, these are ways to help teach kids about how to serve in their community. By drawing their attention to the needs of others and pointing out ways to help, we serve not only our community now, but the society of the future as well. Here is an idea going on right now, that would be easy to reach out with our kids:

This week many bloggers are pointing out the good that bloggers can do through their blogs. We can help raise money for folks in need, particularly those in the New Orleans area who are still not fully recovered from the devastation Hurricane Katrina rendered to that area. There are still supply and technology replacements that are needed by public schools. By donating , you can help these schools to purchase replacement items like computers.

Of course there are other needs that you can learn about here as well. For example, a teacher in New York is wanting to take a class field trip for underpriviledged students to a Broadway show. Or maybe you can help struggling students by donating to purchase books on tape.

There are many ways for us to help others in our "community", and as the world is getting smaller each day, our "community" is growing ever wider.

Help Public School Kids by Funding by Participating in a DonorsChoose Challenge

Teaching Teens About Loans

Teens are on the verge of making numerous life decisions, many of which they've never thought about. One of the best classes I took in High School was a consumer type class-I've forgotten what it was called. It dealt with checking accounts, financial questions, learning to get a loan , and many other real life issues that teens will be facing soon enough.

I don't know if schools teach this kind of thing these days. I do know that one of the homeschool math programs has a book addressing these very things.

The teen years is the perfect time to teach your teens about the day to day things adults must deal with and make decisions about. As you go about your day to day life as a consumer, be sure to talk with your children about what you are doing. If you are paying bills, talk about how you budget, what all the bills are, where you go to pay them, and other practical daily things we may take for granted.

If you are buying a house, buying a car, or getting a loan, these are opportune times to let your kids in on what all is involved. Before you and they know it, they will be facing many of these very same decisions. Having a knowledge base from which to pull when facing these decisions can help them to make better choices in these situations.

If teens can learn early about young people rushing to buy homes , how to compare loans online , and understanding mortgages , they will be so much better prepared to face these things as young adults.

Thank you for reading this sponsered post.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Let the Kids Cook

We have not done this in a long while, but when my kids were a bit younger, we would give them a night to be in charge of dinner. They came up with the menu, helped with the shopping and were in charge of cooking. Of course, we were available to supervise and help where needed, but for the most part, the kids did all the prep work. This can be a great adventure and learning tool for the kids. It can be an enjoyable meal for the whole family. Not only is this a fun way to spend time together, it is a great learning experience for the kids.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

American Idol

Many kids are really into American Idol. Many families are fond of the show as well. If your kids are into it, this is a good way to spend family time together. It can be a fun way to get your kids' perspective on the TV show and society in general. It can open doors for discussion of all sorts.

Tonight is a good chance to view this season's final episode of American Idol together. A winner should be chosen tonight as well as having the final 12 contestants reunited. It will most likely be the funnest segment of the season.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Some time ago I was introduced to Bookcrossing . This is a really fun activity that you can do as a family from time to time. It is almost like a scavenger hunt for books.

If you log into, you can find out how to become a bookcrosser. It is simple. You log in a book you want to release into the "wild". You print out a label for it, apply it to the book, then release the book. Who knows where the book will go. The idea is that another reader will find it, and log it in to the site, read it and eventually re-release it, allowing the book to travel to another place. Also just as fun is the hope that one day you will find a traveling book.

I have logged in several books and released them (you can view my bookshelf ). I have only had a couple "found". The best luck I have had is in actually handing the books to other readers, asking them to log the book in, read it and someday release it. Other successful releases for me have been taking them to an "official crossing zone". This is a box that stays set up at a local community college where books are rotated frequently.

It is fun, and a little sneaky feeling to leave a book laying around, just conspicuously enough to hope another reader will find it.

credit cards

My kids have always been interested in credit cards, as are many kids. It seems to them that it is a magic card that can be used to get anything you want. They do not see that there is real money involved, and this could potentially lead them into trouble when they get out on their own.

When your teen is out shopping with you, or begins to show an interest in shopping, this is a perfect time to talk with him/her about credit cards and their place in your life. You may want to share personal success and/or failure stories with them. Be sure and tell them how important it is to conduct a credit card comparison when the time comes for them to apply for one, and not to just blindly accept the first one they get in the mail.

Talk to them about the interest rates that credit cards carry. Let them know about how much that adds to the monthly balance. Have them check into 0% credit cards. Teach them about balance transfers . Let them see you pay off your credit card debts each month. If you do not, let them know about how this carries over to the next month.

Because it is so easy to get a card these days, it is imperative to honestly dicuss this issue with your teen and help him/her to make healthy credit card decisions. Using a credit card guide can help you know what questions to address with your kids. Brushing up on information before you discuss it with your adolescent could aid in your passing on information to help him/her make healthy financial decisions.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

berry picking

It has been strawberry season around here recently. We are blessed to live not too far from a really great family farm. They have really grown and changed over the last ten years, but my favorite thing is when strawberry season comes around! At this farm you can go in and pick your own strawberries. They are very reasonably priced and it is a great adventure for city kids to go out and pick their own berries. Amd the taste! Nothing is sweeter!

Look around your area for a place that will let you come and pick berries in season. This is a great lead in to another family activitiy-cooking together. Jellies, cobblers, pies, cakes-lots you can do with those fresh berries!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Music Fest

One night, my husband was gone til late, and I was tired. Of course, the kids wanted to do something. They came up with an idea on their own (great!). They decided (and agreed!) that they would get their instruments and play all the songs they knew from memory. They allowed each other some time to go over music, then put it away. I was a wonderful audience-I laid on the couch and enjoyed all the wonderful music! This works well for big kids, but if your kids are little, you can still have a music fest they will love.

Simply allow them to put on a show for you (or join in with them) using what ever "instruments" they can find or create.

If no one in your family seems inclinded to play an instrument, put on some great music and dance around to it. Another option I used to let my kids do (when still small enough) was to pile the couch cusions on the floor and jump on them while listening to music. It's like jumping on the couch without really jumping on the couch!

Your family can find its own way to make beautiful music together.

Shopping for Kids' Favorite Characters

If you are in the market for a gift for a kid or a mom-to-be, you gotta see the baby products, infant and toddler products, even the kids and teens products available at They have a huge assortment of items that carry kids' favorite characters.

You can find kids' bedding and room decor featuring characters like Dora, Superman, Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, Spongebob, and many more. You can find kids and teen decor and furniture featuring High School Musical, Flower Pods and Ozone.

Are you looking for the perfect gift for the parents to be? You can choose from a wide assortment of bags and other baby necessities. Check out the Eddie Bauer backpack bag, or the Carter's Easy Access Bag . This bag has a sleek, stylish look for busy parents today. It is made of water-resistant, suede-like material, with a magnetic front closure. It includes an insulated bottle holder, a changing pad, and a “dirty duds” pouch for easy toting of soiled clothes. You can even have the bag personalized for a few dollars more.

Being a parent today means you are on the go more than ever. With items like these, it can make toting baby and all of his/her necessities a little easier.

Thank you for reading this sponsered post.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Scavenger Hunt

We have done scavenger hunts mostly while traveling. If we are ever somewhere where there is some down time or we need something to do, we can usually brainstorm a scavenger hunt to fit our situation. When the kids were younger, we would even do them around the house.

While we were camping last week, my husband went for more ice so me and the kids came up with a scavenger hunt to pass the time. We made a list of about ten items that we thought we could find, but too easily. As my kids are older, we all went our seperate ways, each armed with a list and a baggie to collect our items. It was great fun to see even the teenager get in on the hunt. We allowed thirty minutes for the hunt, then met back at our camp site to compare our findings.

You can create a scavenger hunt to fit just about any locale you find yourself in. Even if you are stuck in an airport, or waiting in a doctor's office. You don't necessarily have to make your list items that you can tangibly collect. You could look for items in your surrounding (for example, someone in a green shirt, a comic from a magazine, a seeing eye dog, etc) or you could make it for items that might be in your purse or bag. Be creative. This is always a fun way to pass some time together.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Make Ice Cream in a Baggie

This is a fun project we did last weekend. It was easy and had a great payoff!

You really can make ice cream using a few ingredients and a couple of plastic zip baggies.

Start by mixing 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cream, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla in a zip lock quart sized baggie. Seal it well. In a gallon sized baggie, place 2-4 cups of ice and a cup or so of rock salt. Place the quart baggie inside the gallon baggie and seal well. Squish and sqeeze the ingredients for about 15 minutes until you have thick, creamy ice cream. It is a good idea to use a towel around the baggie as it gets very cold, actually cold enough to damage the skin.

This is a great activity and can even be used as a science lesson.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


There are so many important things to share with our kids. It seems as if family nights are a great opportunity to do so. You can talk with them while doing other activites, or you can hold a family meeting designed for specific conversations. Both ways work at times, and both are probably needed at various intervals in your family's life.

One of the biggest concerns many parents have is drugs and drug usage by their children, especially as they near the teen and college years. This can be a big topic to cover, and seems best done so in many small conversations, as well as in a family meeting setting.

The discussion can range from drug usage to drug rehab and everything in between. Sometimes it is important for kids to know that outside help is available if they or their friends get into serious trouble. There are toll free hotlines that are geared to helping folks find solutions.

If you and your family are already in need of drug rehab treatment, some of the best options are the drug free rehab centers. The toll free hotlines can be a great resource.

Thank you for reading this sponsered post.

surfing the net, getting free stuf

If your family is like many others in this day and age, all the kids want to do is surf the 'Net. So why not incorporate something they really want to do with your family night activities. I am sure they would be thrilled and would be able to show you a thing or two in the process!

One really great site is The Free Site . They have a special page for free stuff for families. This could be a fun way for the family to spend some time together and maybe even benefit in the process!

My thanks go out to Sapheyerblu for pointing me to this free stuff for families site!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

bird watching with bird binoculars

A great spring time family activity is bird watching. As more and more birds are out enjoying the warm weather, so are many families. I have noticed several cardinals, mocking birds, even a few robins.

As we were camping over the weekend, we noticed many bird viewing areas and bird blinds. It would have been perfect if we would have had a pair of bird binoculars with us.

There is a bird park near our house as well. With a good pair of binoculars, we would be able to enjoy all that park has to offer. Choosing the right pair of binoculars is important to serious bird watchers. There are many to choose from. You can get a good pair for just under $300. There are even more affordable compact binoculars for $80. These excellent quality binoculars will really enhance your bird watching ability, making colors brighter and your view sharper.

Thank you for reading this sponsered post.