Fourth of July Family Camping Trip

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Fourth of July Family Camping Trip!!!

This weeks To Do List Tuesday topic is…

…Camping Meal Planning!

That’s what I am doing this week as the top item on my To Do List because Saturday we head out on a family camping trip with my brother and his family! I will be preparing our family’s “Camping Meal Plan” for our Fourth of July Camping Trip today so I can begin my prep work for the food on Friday. Camping is about having fun, making memories and being one with nature for a bit, therefore planning ahead and being prepared can save you valuable time and stress while preparing your meals. This is a trip I definitely want to save myself some time during and allow myself more room for memories!!!

Here is some of my camping background:

As a kid camping was the only summer vacation I knew until middle school. We would visit different campgrounds around various parts of Ohio as a family unit of 4, myself, my brother and my mom & dad. By the time I was eleven my parents had purchase a piece of land in southern Ohio for my dad and brother to use for hunting property and within that first year we had built a cabin on our land for us to use, allowing an alternative to tent camping. We had no running water, no gas heat and very minimal electricity available in our cabin but it got us off the ground inside of tents and into a large one room barn with a loft making week-long stays more comfortable, less wet when rain interfered and easier to achieve a few times a summer. We had a grill on a small deck platform on the front and my parents did most of our cooking on that or with the use of our fire pit.

When I met my husband and learned that his family had also instilled a love and appreciation of the outdoors in him, I knew camping would become a common practice in my life again. We were only together for a year or so before we purchased our very first tent as a couple and began building our Camping Kit! Many of those first purchases are still in our Camping Kit, one thing that is no longer included however, is a traditional camp stove…….

…..WHY? This may seem silly, a camp stove helps you eat right? Well in my experience one of these……..

…………… can help you eat when camping MUCH FASTER!

In our original Camping Kit as a couple we had purchased one of these ever so popular portable camp stoves and after our second camping trip the “convenient carrying case” was already broken and no more than a few uses later the handle to open the lid melted right off. I felt like I had wasted my money and the few times I had used it to cook it felt like I was preparing our meal with a stove version of an Easy Bake Oven. The food took forever to cook, it overcooked one side to a char but somehow the food was still cold, or worse I would fully prepare my hubby’s food and watch him eat it all before mine was even half done cooking! Frustrating to say the least, that was about 14 years ago and that was also the last time I prepared meals for a camping trip with the sole use of a portable camp stove. Now my meal planning takes a totally different approach. The bonfire is my primary source of food heating now and I plan to share some of my favorite Bon Fire Cooking Tips here, but first a look inside my Camp Kitchen!

Camp Kitchen

I plan to cover this in more detail in a future post about how I set my Camp Kitchen Up! Keep an eye out for it!

 

Here’s the deal with this specific 

Fourth of July Family Camping Trip!!!

My brother has two sons who live in Florida with their mother, while he resides here with his fiance & their combined 5 other children. It’s been years since my little family has seen them and they happen to be in town for a few weeks this summer! When their visit in Ohio with my brother was set on the calendar and it was scheduled to span over the Fourth of July, the idea of a family camping trip seemed natural.  My girls couldn’t be more excited to have some time to spend with their cousins and I am excited to have the opportunity to spark some memory making fun!

We will be heading out Saturday morning to a campground a few hours from home, a place that has been the site of memory making for our family for years! That cabin my parents bought when I was a child has since sadly been sold, but it is right around the corner from the particular camp grounds we will be staying at. As kids, my brother and I grew up visiting those camp grounds to access the beach and shower houses with my parents during our long stays at the cabin. After the cabin sold and about 4-5 years ago, my brother, my husband and I stayed a fourth of July weekend there with the combined 5 kiddos that we had amongst us. The oldest of my brothers sons had a broken arm at the time, wrapped in a cast and unable to be doused with water at the beach and limiting his adventurous abilities.

We went knowing there was a beach, but when we were kids there was a cement platform in the lake for jumping off of and 2 aluminum playground slides in the water as well. When we arrived for that last trip as adults, we came to find a full floating inflatable playground in addition to our childhood options. We felt terrible and so we planned then to make sure to take another camping trip at a later date when the cast would be gone. Unfortunately we didn’t anticipate it taking so many years to pull off that camping trip, BONUS now we get my sister-in-law to be and her brood of kiddos too! Together we will be camping…….

the 4 adults and………….

children in the gender/age line-up as follows:

B16, G15, B15, B13, B12, B10, G9, G7, G5, G2

We will be missing one of my nephews but sadly he is unavailable due to a conflicting schedule. He will be missed for sure but with the combined 10 kiddos that will span 16 – 2 years old it is sure to be a great opportunity to create memories!

Here’s the line up of meals I have planned to feed my share of this bunch and then some:

Our 4th of July Camping Menu

Saturday, July 1st
Lunch:
Deli Meat Sandwiches
(sub rolls filled with a variety of deli meats & cheeses with a selection of condiments for sandwich dressing)
*Served with cut fruit & potato chips.
Dinner:
Foil Pack Dinner
(Pre cut chicken & beef cubes drizzled with oil & seasonings. Add veggies of choice of cherry tomatoes, potato chunks, mushrooms, onion & sweet peppers. Fun for each person to personally build to taste!)
*Served with condiments for dipping & rolls warmed over the fire with butter.
Sweet Treat:
Birthday Cupcakes!!!
(Cupcakes for Uncle Len’s Birthday!)
*Served with Sherbet!
Sunday, July 2nd
Breakfast:
Pancake & Bacon Sticks
(Precooked bacon warmed & covered with pancake batter allowing them to be dipped and eaten with fingers! Less waste!)
*Served with juice &/or milk boxes of choice & a piece of fruit
(apple, banana, bunch of grapes)
Lunch:
Deli Meat Sandwiches
(sub rolls filled with a variety of deli meats & cheeses with a selection of condiments)
*Served with veggies, dip & potato chips.
Dinner:
Choice of Walking Taco’s or Frito Chili Pie’s
(Pre cooked taco/chili meat to build your own)
*Served with mini bags of Dorito’s & Frito’s and a selection of taco toppings.
Sweet Treat:
Smore’s & Roasted Marshmallows!
Monday, July 3rd  
Breakfast:
Sausage Egg & Cheese Breakfast Burrito’s
(Precooked scrambled eggs & sausage stuffed with cheese & wrapped in foil to make burrito’s!)
*Served with juice &/or milk boxes of choice & a piece of fruit
(apple, banana, bunch of grapes)
Lunch:
Hot Dogs & Cheeseburgers
(Topped with cheeses & a selection of condiments)
*Served with watermelon & potato chips.
Dinner:
Overstuffed Fire-Side Baked Potatoes
(Fire roasted baked potatoes to be topped)
*Served with bacon crumbles, chili, cheeses, sour cream, scallions & other toppings.
Sweet Treat:
Dessert Hobo Pies
(Bread filled with pie filling, chocolate & Nutella)
Tuesday, July 4th   
Breakfast:
Hashbrown Breakfast Muffins & Cereal
(Precooked scrambled & cheese filled hashbrown muffins with cereal side)
*Served with juice &/or milk boxes of choice & a piece of fruit
(apple, banana, bunch of grapes)
Lunch:
Cheddar Bratwurst
(Fire roasted with a selection of condiments)
*Served with watermelon & pasta salad.
Dinner:
Barbeque Ribs @ Home
(Fire roasted baked potatoes to be topped)
*Served with baked beans, corn on the cob & left over camping sides.
Sweet Treat:
Strawberry Shortcake @ Fireworks!
(Shortbread circles topped with strawberries & whipped cream)

Before I get to the actual Prep Ahead Process, Here’s a few BONUS tips!

*When planning my menu for a camping trip I try to choose meals that will repeat ingredients but in a slightly new way and I try to set meals in a certain order across our trip based on the reuse of ingredients as well as the ease of cooler storage.

*Investing in a large and tight sealing cooler will make the entire trip easier! If you are using a collection of smaller or middle range coolers I encourage also packing your coolers based on meal time as well (ie. all your breakfast & lunch foods in one and dinner needs in another). I do always encourage keeping your beverages in a separate cooler no matter how many coolers you need to use to store your food. Drinks are the main reason people open coolers, if you keep them in one easy to identify cooler then your food and perishables won’t suffer the consequences of the cooler being opened every time someone is thirsty!

*I STRONGLY RECOMMEND you purchase a quality set of Plastic Food Storage Containers, it will pay off when your solid ice turns to arctic water. Having a water tight seal will benefit you greatly by allowing you to still use most of that arctic water without it seeping into your food storage containers, allowing you not to drain that water & waste extra money on a ton of new solid ice. My personal favorite are THESE by Rubbermaid.

2.5 Gal Easy Find Lids Container                                                                                                     EFL_44pc_Front5

Value Pack: 9 cup / 14 cup Easy Find Lids                                                                                            5.5 Cup Easy Find Lids Container Rectangle

Available in a wide variety of sizes you can purchase a variety that work best for you and your families go to dishes. Last, HERE’S a great resource for other camping hacks!

Now Let’s Get to the Prep Ahead Process!

*For this process I prep ahead not in order of when the actual meals will be served but rather in order of meal time (i.e. all breakfast prep before moving on to any of my lunch prep, dinner prep, ect.). This keeps things more sanitary first and foremost but it also allows me to keep my small kitchen less cluttered and more efficient, keeping only a small collection of my shopping list ingredients at hand on my counters. It also allows me to gauge the quantity of one ingredient that I use in one dish, in relation to the other meals that will also need the same ingredients.

I put together a PDF of my Grocery List for this menu (keep in mind the items on the list that specify quantity will feed a small army, so for the average family of 4-6 I would stick with half the quantities, but adjust as you see fit to the appetites you are feeding!). In addition, I typed up a PDF version of My Prep Ahead Process to walk you through my Prep Day. I plan to complete the bulk of my shopping Friday morning, with the exception of my produce because we have a local farmer’s market on Saturday mornings and I will get better produce for my money going there Saturday morning before we head out! The rest of the meals will each have some level of prep in order to obtain maximum ease at time of execution & preparation over the campfire. I did my best to walk you through my process for prep and my fireside instructions, but of course make whatever necessary changes you see fit to best suit your family!

Prep Ahead Process & Fireside Prep Steps

Pancake Bacon Dippers

Here I am finishing up the last of our pancake & bacon dippers at last years family 4th of July Camping trip in the mountains of Pennsylvania!

With the food made simple there’s more time for memories!

I put the extra effort into prepping the day or so before the trip to allow us to eat well while not spending the entire time at the campsite preparing, cleaning up from, and waiting on meals. This leaves time for fun activities and excursions around the campgrounds! Here are a few of the campsite activities I have planned to keep the kids entertained while they are bound to the campsite, though I do anticipate more time at the beach and looking for adventure but in those in between moments and moments of downtime I like to have a trick or two up my sleeve to ward off melt downs.

The First Activity is: Painted Rocks, I don’t know if your neighborhood or home has caught up with the rock painting phenomenon or not, but we have a whole Facebook Group devoted to it in our county. I will be taking a collection of acrylic paints & paintbrushes for the kids to paint rocks they are bound to collect around the campsite.

Painted rock / rock painting / rock art / painted stones / adventure / up / balloons     99 DIY Ideas Of Painted Rocks With Inspirational Picture And Words (56)

Next is this cute UP Adventure Booklet that I found over at http://www.family.disney.com, where I found a few other great UP inspired activities that seem cute as well. For this campout we will just use the booklet though.

In addition, I searched Independence DayCamping Hiking while I was looking around http://www.family.disney.com and found these great coloring pages featuring Mickey & Minnie & their pals too.

I borrowed this idea for Outdoor Adventure Hunts from this brilliant mom, I printed mine on paper and taped/stapled them to lunch bag sized paper bags with handles so the kids can easily carry their hunt finds!!! Here is another previous solution I have used for this idea!

Scavenger Hunt Bags

This is a picture of some I made for a Labor Day Camping Trip we took our girls on the summer after #4 was born! I personalized the bags and also the Scavenger Hunt to the areas I knew we would be visiting and the activities I knew we would be doing!

 

To go with them on their “Adventure Hunt” we will assemble some Toilet Paper Roll Binoculars, like these from “Make Life Lovely”.

Well there you go! After a marathon of a To-Do List Tuesday, our meals are planned, activities are prepped and the steps and processes, tricks & tips that come so naturally to me have now been turned into a detailed document to be duplicated by anyone interested to try them. I hope I have inspired you in some way, to try something new for your next family camping trip and I also hope that something I shared will help you take less time working and more time making memories while you camp! Don’t forget that a little planned time to prepare ahead can make all the difference in the memories you make! Now go forth and Dazzle in the woods or wherever you plan to travel with your crew this summer, just remeber the point of trips and vacations with the ones you love is to make memories!!!

As always, thanks for reading!

~Rebecca

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K.O.B.F Week #3 Ocean

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This week continues Mission: Keep Our Brains Fresh

Week #3 – Ocean

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As previously explained in Mindset Mondays, I am on a mission to keep my kiddos brains fresh this summer break from school. Every year I try to focus on hiding some learning opportunities into our summer fun and this year my oldest daughter and I have put together this weekly plan of attack.

Our Plan As Follows

Every week of summer we will have a new weekly theme and we started these themes on Memorial Day (Monday) as this was the first official full week of summer break for us. Read about our first weeks K.O.B.F. plan K.O.B.F Week #1 Outer Space and our second week K.O.B.F Week #2 Science as well. We should have started week three last Monday, however life happens and I am no stranger to that fact, so sometimes plans change. This past Monday upon our return home from Romantic 10 Year Anniversary Road Trip my husband found himself admitted to our local hospital for 3 days. This left me holding down the fort with 4 crazy excited little girls that we were home but stir crazy as I was back and forth to the hospital regularly.

My girls spent the week doing some left over worksheets from previous weeks and really focusing on reading, (and as it goes sometimes, more screen time than normal) once they completed their daily chore’s and Summer Devotion Time.  SO this week I am excited to be home from vacation, with my husband out of the hospital, following his discharge orders & making the appropriate follow-up appointments AND back to the normal swing of things around our house during the summer with my kiddo’s. I’m even more excited that our theme is ocean, especially after having just spent a relaxing trip with my toes in the sand & ocean tide again!!!

Here’s the overview if you wanted to follow along:

The weekly themes my oldest daughter (she is helping me run & organize it this summer, just call her my “PA” personal assistant!) and I have decided to focus on are as follows:

  1. Outer Space 
  2. Science
  3. Oceans – This weeks learning theme!
  4. Bugs & Butterflies
  5. American History
  6. Colors & Shapes
  7. Caves
  8. Dinosaurs
  9. Super Spy School
  10. Rainforest
  11. Lego’s
  12. Water Fun

The idea we have regarding the weekly learning theme’s is to focus on a different theme each week that gives us a commonality to incorporate multiple different subjects under the same topic, much like daycare’s and preschools do. Each Monday I will be posting a new blog with our weekly theme and some of the lesson ideas and tools we will be using that week. I plan to focus about an hour an afternoon on a different subject each day but which days I execute which “assignments” will depend on the flow of each week . We will only be taking an hour out for assignments on typical school days, Mon. – Fri. As I mentioned before, I don’t want their summer learning to ever feel like they are attending summer school for 3 months straight.

Each week I hope to cover these subject areas in our daily

Mission: KOBF hour are…

…Arts & Crafts, Vocabulary, Reading, Math, a Physical Activity or Outing, and also a few Fun Food Ideas!

 

This weeks Ideas:

– Art project or craft, I don’t plan for this to be a big production every week. Most weeks will likely be coloring, painting or drawing, but again, depending on the theme for the week, I may change-up the difficulty level & intensity of the arts & crafts sometimes.

This week our arts & crafts will be very largely based on coloring pages incorporated in the link I provided for the vocabulary section below. Also I have a large supply of toilet paper rolls on hand for random crafts or repurpose needs and I found this great idea to make toilet paper roll fishA simple fish craft made from a cardboard tube using a flatten and cut technique

I may complete a “Field Trip” with them to a local beach to acquire sand & shells to be used for shoebox diorama’s as well. For now we have a fair amount of rain in this weeks forecast though so that will be played by ear! 

****Here are a few other ideas I don’t think we will have time for but may be fun for you and your kiddos! Like Crystal growing Seashells as explained and documented by “Little Bins for Little Hands” blog, I as excited to come across this demonstration because it can sneak a little science into your week of learning!Crystal Seashells Borax Crystal Growing Experiment Also this could be super fun to do, a cute  Swimming Jellyfish Paper Plate Craft idea! 

 

– Vocabulary Lesson, this may be as simple as providing a list of words to have my 7-year-old copy for practice neatly writing into a short sentence each and also for my older daughters to include in a creative writing assignment.

This week our vocabulary lessons will come largely on Monday & Tuesday through the Ocean themed printables and coloring pages that I found from this homeschooling momma here at 3 Boys & a Dog Blog. (This is a resources I will likely refer back to also, she has a vast collection of coloring pages & worksheets on many topics) 

 

– Reading, storytime style taking turns from one week to the next depending on the difficulty of the book chosen each week. Some weeks my 7-year-old will read it out loud other weeks it may be one of my older two and on some occasions it will still be me (we have quite the expanse of books in our home so most of the books will likely come from our existing collection but I will share those titles when available in advance).

This is another area where we can accommodate a pretty wide variety of reading selections based on the beach & ocean from our personal book collection. As in previous weeks, I will encourage my girls to find selections they will enjoy to read to each other while I prepare for our weekend campout. However since I will be home, I will try to slip one or two into a bedtime storytime session one evening. I don’t have any specific book titles to offer but I always encourage a trip to your local public library to let your kids explore the many titles and find books within each topic that interest them specifically. This helps them get excited about books even more when you let them have an opinion on what they read!

 

– Math, this will be a practice session with themed math worksheets whenever I am able to find or create them within our theme. On some occasions though they may be hands on activities, like baking or cooking, or measuring to create (i.e. helping to prepare a dish for a camping trip or family cookout=measuring lesson)

This week our math lesson will be an activity. I took some inspiration from one of my favorite blogs, “The Imagination Tree” to come up with our math lesson for the week. Their idea was to Fish for Letter Sounds as explained on their page. I decided instead to write numbers on the ping pong balls and give them a basic math problem. The first one to “catch” the correct answer using their net to “fish” will win a point. After a series of problems the winner will be presented their Prize Goldfish Cup!

 

– Physical outing or activity, it may be as simple as a dance session to some kind of music that fits the theme or it may be a game or sport altered to fit the theme but whatever it is it will get our hearts pumping! ( because our family has a wide age range we may personally incorporate multiple variations of play to whatever activity we do. Take the liberty of personalizing our recommendations to fit your families dynamic & age span).

I plan to sneak a beach obstacle course in during our Field Trip to the beach if we can manage that around the weather. I will draw out the course in the sand and encourage them to run it against each other 2 at a time. Running in sand is a great way to get a little extra leg burn into your play!

 

– Snacks, I have always been a food lover and as a creative person I find it fun to “play with food” in my family fun theme’s, learning experiences and celebrations. I’m a super cheesy person and love a good theme! I will use our weekly themes as an opportunity to look at our meals, snacks and treats through a different lens through the summer so look out for some fun snack/treat ideas inspired by our theme selections!

Now this is the one area I may have let you down in last week but I do have some simple fun ideas planned for this weeks Ocean theme! I do always encourage you to challenge yourself to come up with some cute ideas based on your kiddos diet & preferences. If you do get creative please share them in the comments or via my Dazzling Domestic Dreamer’s Facebook Page! I would love to see what you come up with! Here is what we will be doing this week, we will be decorating Ocean Cupcakes and making a Simple Seaside Snack Mix. In lieu of a lunch or dinner I will serve Fish & Chips!

For the cupcakes I am going to bake some boxed mix cupcakes and frost them with basic blue frosting. Each girl will get one cupcake and a variety of ocean themed candy to decorate their cupcake, like these sour octopus gummy’s, this great gummy sea critter variety pack, and not to be forgotten, one of my favorite’s Swedish Fish! For the Simple Seaside Snack Mix I will place some goldfish crackers, salty  sunflower seeds (inspired by the salty sea water) the last of the gummy candy’s and some pretzel rods (inspired by driftwood) into a large Ziploc bag so I can shake it to mix it up. Each child will get a personal sized cup to snack on! My last idea is to serve Fish & Chips by way of fish sticks & seasoned oven fries for dinner one evening!

We’d Love You To Join Along!

As I can fit them into our theme I will be looking for “field trip” opportunities and we always welcome friends along for those fun outing so watch out for those in our weekly plans if you are local to us! Also we welcome play dates in the summer schedule too. If you can’t join us in person we would still love to hear about your fun summer themes if you decide to put this plan in place to fit your kids and your family! Share pictures and stories in the comments!

Whether you plan to execute this identical to my plan and future blogs on the topic, or whether you use is as a vague guide, or even not at all doesn’t really matter to me. What matters to me is that you are proactive about allowing your kids brains to properly be stimulated WITHOUT electronics this summer and that you make it fun for your kids specifically. Remember, while you are doing this you aren’t just keeping their brains fresh, you are creating memories!  So go make memories this summer in general, but their teachers will thank you in the fall if you implement some form of our K.O.B.F Mission this summer, and don’t forget to check back for more ideas on our future themes and other summer fun memory making ideas! Now Dazzle your way to an Ocean themed week of Learning & Intentional, Productive fun!

As always, thanks for reading!

~Rebecca

12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 5: Patience

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Today kicks off week 5 of our 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Challenge that I am doing with my family this summer. As explained in my introduction to our 12 Weeks of Virtues Summer 2017 Challenge this blog series is based on a 12 week challenge I designed around the book “In This House We Giggle” by Courtney DeFeo that I read this past April. The line up of virtue’s and schedule during which I am completing this challenge with my family is included in PDF form 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Plan.

Our first virtue was Joy (check that out here at 12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 1: Joy),

Second virtue was Love (check that one out here at 12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 2: Love)

Third virtue was Forgiveness (check that out here at 12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 3: Forgiveness),

Fourth virtue was Faith (check that one out here at 12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 4: Faith).

You and your family can start at anytime from the beginning or in any order you choose according to your family’s desire. Our fifth value that is our focus of this weeks devotions is Patience…..

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Like so much of this book, In This House We Will Giggle and the other sentiments the author Courtney DeFeo includes, I love the statement above, but I feel an overwhelming panic deep inside over having to teach this virtue to my children because I have VERY POOR PATIENCE!!! Yes, this virtue is something that we need to thrive to teach our children early and well but how do you teach them something you struggle with yourself so terribly. That’s like asking me to teach my children Calculus when I can barely tackle basic math day-to-day.… I know that I have said that I struggle with some of the other virtues in previous weeks, but none compare to my struggle with PATIENCE. I actually stopped praying for patience, because I realized God only put me in more situations to demonstrate patience when I did pray for it! All joking aside though I really do struggle with this virtue more than probably any of the others. So let’s get into it…

What is Patience? 

The Kids Definition of Patience is:

Waiting with a happy heart.

Part One: Waiting…

My biggest difficulty when it comes to patience is the WAITING! I have a very hard time waiting. Depending on what I am waiting on, sadly affects the happy heart part, but I am working on that actively in my faith walk and I am passionate about figuring out how to instill that virtue in my children. As a child I remember my mother telling me regularly, “Patience is a virtue, be patient” but despite my mothers frequent prompts and virtually seamless demonstration of patience, it is the one area of my faith walk that really challenges me.

Part Two: With a Happy Heart…

This, as I mentioned earlier, for me is based on circumstance more often than not. I am humbled in this virtue knowing that my trust in the Lord and His promises should make the happy heart part easier. Sadly I fall to flesh desires more often than I am proud to say when it comes to waiting with a happy heart. I like to be in control, I like to know the plan, the steps & the process and when I don’t I all too easily become unhinged. I will keep working on this personal flaw. I am thankful for God’s grace every day and every time I fail in this area.

This chapter in the book is incredible for not just explaining patience and what it means to have patience, but it also gives you some tools to be intentional daily when trying to create an environment that encourages our kiddos to demonstrate patience. Once again there are some great “Catch Phrases” for talking TO your children about patience as well. This chapter also reminds us why Patience is so important in the first place….

If we trust in the Lord, we need to trust in His timing. If we can teach our kids to trust in God’s timing with the little things in their days then we will enable them early to trust in God’s timing in the much bigger things later in life. My first years of adult decisions were not always made patiently waiting in His timing and the lessons I have learned are priceless but the road has been far more of a struggle than God ever intended for me, all because I didn’t embrace Patience and trust in God’s timing. A mistake I pray for my kids to avoid.

It’s because this area in my faith walk is an area that has been the most constant struggle for me in my years of knowing Jesus that I was further confirmed about this journey to giggle more that God wanted for my family this summer and also in this blog series. This blog series is quite literally an act of me following Him and in doing so I must also be disciplined in patience for Him to use this blog how He plans in His time, NOT MY TIMING! This blog is for Him and I will actively work patiently to prevent myself from sabotaging His will for it. Like so many other things in my life, I feel God leading me in a direction and asking me to follow certain steps, except all to often then I lose my patience and hurry ahead ill prepared or I just throw the towel in all together impatient for the process. I also tend to not just lose my patience but also my temper and my words unfortunately sometimes. My mission with my blog is an active challenge for my patience. I will keep using it for His will and I must stop questioning His plan for it or His timing for that plan.

This chapter has acted as a very humbling reminder to myself that I MUST be better in this area. I MUST be a better example to my children and it is because I need the visual reminder this week more than absolutely any other week, that I have again included printable decorative PDF. For each virtue I look for a quote that I have found either in the book “In This House We Will Giggle” or elsewhere to encourage me each week as well. This weeks quote jumped of the page at me again and will actively convict me through the week as I begin my battle with my patience and inherently my temper also. I will be printing it for my office also so I can reference it easily & of course regularly. Inspirational Quote – Patience

Each week I am going to share with you my “Weekly Outline” for each new Virtue and the PDF’s for the printables that I created and intend to use with my children for this 12 Weeks of Virtue Challenge.

Weekly Outline:

Sunday – Introduce PATIENCE Virtue & the Memory Verse for the week & explain the Weekly Activity (the weekly activity alone is a great reason to order or buy the book). For each chapter there is a two page Activity Idea detailed and explained. This weeks activity is Taste the Sweet Rewards of Patience and it may be a perfect opportunity to test my Patience as well, because though this weeks Activity Idea is a fun and very creative way to teach your children (and potential grandchildren and so on and so on) patience I can see it not working out the way at least one of my girls will like so I may have a bonus teaching lesson! Once again I recommend you pick up the book “In This House We Will Giggle” by Courtney DeFeo to get the full two page Family Activity Instructions & explanation! A quick general explanation is that you will be creating a now or later choice option with your children incorporating a smaller immediate treat they know or a mystery treat that is better but not until the next day.

Memory Verse: But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.   Romans 8:28

I have created a PDF that includes a printable Memory Verse that I plan to print and display on my refrigerator door for the week on the top and the Family Discussion Questions for the virtue that you can print for free to use.

Monday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Psalm 27:14; 37:7-9 and introduce Taste the Sweet Rewards of Patience

Tuesday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Proverbs 16:32 and discuss first 5 Family Discussion Questions included in the Memory Verse PDF

Wednesday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Romans 12:12 and partake in a Bring Out the Giggles Idea. The book includes “60 ways to bring out the giggles” and in my 12 Weeks of Virtues Summer Challenge Schedule I included 12 that I chose for my family. I encourage you pick up the book at your local Barnes & Noble or pick it up online through Amazon so you can read the whole book and also have the full list of “60 ways to bring out the giggles” to choose what will appeal to your family most!

Thursday – Daily Devotion for the day, read 1Corinthians 13:4-8 and discuss the remaining 5 Family Discussion Questions.

Friday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Ephesians 4:2 and participate in this weeks Encourage Activity, this weeks we will be drawing pictures of patience and giving them to the most patient people we know!

Saturday – Daily Devotion for the day, read The son of laughter in “The Jesus Storybook Bible” as well as participate in a fun Family Activity Day, for this I will be introducing a Family Fun Night while they enjoy the wait a day treat from Tuesday reminding them how they need to practice self-control & patience while they wait for today to come. The anticipation of this Family Fun Night will test their patience well.

Virtue five-Patience Overview of the week

Virtue Five Memory Verse and Discussion Questions-Patience

10 Ways to Break a Bad-Mood Cycle a great tool from the book to reference through all 12 weeks!

Lastly I also created a FREE printable PDF including the other six Daily Devotional verses included here Devotions Verses-Patience. I encourage you look up all 6 of the bible Daily Devotions at the start of each week. You can just look them all up at the start to the week and then cut these cards apart to use each one as a page marker for the verse in the bible so you can be prepared. Even though I provide these each week I still encourage you pull your bibles out & be in the pages of His word looking them up in the translation most comfortable for you. I bookmark them for quick reference but encourage my 3 oldest girls to take time to look them up in their own bibles. With all 3 of my older girls reading it helps get them familiar with their bibles and gives them ownership over the task.

I hope you choose to join me & my family in this 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Challenge and if you do decide to, please let me know in the comments! I will be trying to post the remaining Weekly Virtues outline’s in the morning part of the day on Sundays for the next 7 weeks. My week will be busy as my husband and I are preparing to head out-of-town a Family Fourth of July Camping Trip but I do still intend to have a few new pieces to release throughout the week. Life has a way of making certain things and people priorities when you try to live intentionally in God’s will though and that means sometimes my plans for myself change! Have a blessed and Joyful LOVE and GRACE filled week, remember the best way to teach FAITH is to live faithfully and be sure to exercise a little PATIENCE as you head into a busy holiday full of summer fun! Check back tomorrow for an unrelated post about how I plan to keep my kids brains academically fresh during the summer! Go Forth & Dazzle your summer away making memories with your kiddo’s everyday!

As always, thanks for reading!

~Rebecca

Romantic 10 Year Anniversary Road Trip

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This weeks To Do List Tuesday is to…

…pack my bags for a romantic 10 year wedding anniversary road trip with my main squeeze!

 

We married 10 years ago on June 15th 2007 and we covered the bulk of our wedding expense ourselves. Because of this we had plans to take a second Honeymoon when we reached the ten-year mark because after paying for the wedding we wanted with family & friends we couldn’t take the honeymoon we had originally hoped. Our plans originally included a vow renewal ceremony and a Caribbean vacation but our plans have very little to do with our real lives!

After the rough start to our year, and the realization that in the 10 years we have been married, we have only managed a handful of nights away together, but not more than one night at a time and really only a handful of times, my husband and I knew we had to still manage some sort of getaway to celebrate. Ten years is a big deal especially in today’s culture and generation of all time high divorce rate. And even if it wasn’t a big deal to the rest of the world, it’s a big deal for us. We have had our fair share of ups and downs in our 15 1/2 years together, the large majority of those in the 10 years since we have been married. Our lows at times coming so swiftly behind the last that we could barely keep our heads above it all, in those times it has been he that I have needed more than any other person in my life. I regularly tell him, in this crazy ride we call life, He is the only decision I’ve made that I am certain of day in and day out. He is my best friend, my partner in crime, the most amazing baby daddy, loving father to our 4 beautiful daughters and provider above all other than God for our family. Cliche it is but I love him so much more today than I did the day we got married.

A Getaway is needed…

          We need a break…

                    A chance to Refresh…

                            Time to Relax & be playful grown-ups again!

So off we are headed to satisfy this list! We head out in a little over a day thanks to my awesome mother who will be staying with our girls while we are gone, allowing their routine to stay as normal as possible because our absence is bound to be noticed! Our kiddo’s are already expressing their woes that we are leaving….

…This brings me to my 1st of 5 tips to a successful romantic road trip!

Tip #1 – ACTUALLY TAKE A ROMANTIC GETAWAY!

You are only going to continue being happily married and have a successful cohesive parent unit for your kiddo’s if you take time to just be the two of you again. This needs to be done regularly at a far more scaled down level by way of sneaking out for a date night or even setting up a date night in after the kids are in bed. However you do manage to do it, do it often, but occasionally you have to go big and give yourselves the chance to really get back in those places in your mind, memory and heart that will remind and rekindle the feelings you had when everything about your relationship was easy. We all have things that fight for our attention on a daily basis but we must remember to make our spouse a priority amidst all the chaos. Despite the crying children who just don’t want you to go, you must set a plan in action. Find a trusted, responsible caregiver to help you out, friends, family, who ever is in “your village” that you trust with your kids while you two sneak away and then you must actually sneak away, have fun and rekindle…

Tip #2 – TAKE A LITTLE TIME BEFORE YOU LEAVE TO GET YOUR CHILDREN’S CARE & ENTERTAINMENT HANDLED…

This may sound like just another series of things to put on your to-do list but I assure you it WILL pay off while you are gone. (A) If it is possible to get someone to watch your kids in your normal residence that will greatly help keep your kids from wanting to call a hundred times a day to tell you how much they miss you. Being in their personal comfort zone with a caregiver they trust is the first key, in my opinion, to keeping the kids in a calm head space while you and your Honey get away.

(B)You may want to consider either preparing ahead meals for your caregiver to just do basic prep, heating & serving for your kids while you are away but I urge you to at least do a good grocery shop before you leave to be sure to leave food and drinks that your kids will not fight  about with the substitute caregiver. If you chose a few recipes you know the kids will enjoy you could drastically improve the stress at mealtime for them by at least having the ingredients and snacks of choice on hand while you are gone.

(C)Also I recommend you do find a way to take the time to prepare some fun new ideas or activities for the caregiver to do with your kids. No one knows your kids better than you, so taking a little time to prepare ahead for some of their entertainment can be the key to the boredom buster and in my experience when kids get bored and restless they tend to push their luck more. Whether you pick up an inexpensive new toy to help them be excited and distracted by or a new movie they have been wanting to see, some steps of preparation in advance will be greatly appreciated by your caregiver and your spouse alike! It could be a simple as a new book or coloring book, just something fresh & new to them will be a helpful distraction.

(D)It almost goes without saying but, be sure to be ahead of the dirty laundry also because there needs to be a good selection of clean clothes for your kids while you are gone too, and you want the best selections from your closet available for you to pack  from also of course! With no kids to get ready while away, you can take  little extra time to make yourself look & feel fancy again. A good night dressed up and out with my man can do wonders for my self esteem!

Tip #3 – GIVE YOUR VEHICLE A GOOD DETAIL THE DAY BEFORE YOU LEAVE…

This tip may seem like a waste of time because you are heading off on a road trip and you are bound to get the new detail job messed up right? Well yeah you may, but do it anyways! (A)Realistically detailing your vehicle is allowing your contained date space for the road trip to be clean, comfortable and clear of all kid paraphernalia. This is the first step to making sure that you have a good atmosphere for your romantic road trip in your driving date space and let’s be honest you are not messier than your kids, it will likely stay that way the majority of your travels, excluding any crappy weather situations.

(B)While detailing and de-kid-cluttering your vehicle make sure any safety seats for your kids are removed and properly installed in your caregivers vehicle so you know they are installed correctly & safely giving you peace of mind over their travels while you are off on your romantic escape.

(C)Also take the kids music, movies, ecetera out of the player and make room for you and your boo’s  favorite music! No Wiggles, or Disney soundtracks, or Kids Bop cd’s need to be on hand for your romantic getaway. Instead pre-load your wedding songs and any other music sentimental for you two into your vehicle by way of cd’s or blue tooth connection with your phone. We actually have a CD from the DJ at our wedding with all of the key songs and an assortment of others music played during our reception and you can bet that will be going with us so we can musically stroll down memory lane!

Tip #4 – MAKE A LIST & BE DISCREET WITH YOUR PACKING UNTIL THE FINAL GOODBYE

I give this tip because my kids do not like when I or my husband, and especially both of us, are going to be gone. (A)If they watch me wander around packing at the last minute it just creates more unnecessay build up for the moment of the final goodbye. If I pack in stages across the week before leaving I can get the bulk of the work of packing finished completely under their radar before we even load up the vehicle.

(B.)I absolutely always have to write a list, and I start this list usually about 2 weeks out from the departure date. This let’s me tweak my list some on paper based on any changes in the weather or itinerary that may come up and still allows me to have a clear picture of what needs to be packed to work off of when I start pulling things aside. Taking time to actually go through a detailed list of items from, Toiletries to make-up, and clothing selections with shoes and accessories can prevent you from taking too much. Instead of packing a bunch of “in case” and “maybe” items you can focus clearly on the trip at hand, the itinerary & weather you will be anticipating and your actual preferances for outfits.

(C)Remember, the idea of a romantic getaway is to rekindle and reenergize the bond between you two. This means it’s not only ok to put a little extra effort into you “look” while vacationing together, it’s totally encouraged! Don’t try too hard, and be natural for you, but don’t be afraid to try to impress him again like you would have while you were still dating and getting to know each other. Just because you now have spent all these extra years of wedded bliss together doesn’t mean you have to give up trying on behalf of the other! Put the spark back into your confidence and your relationship by allowing yourself the ability to get dolled up for you while you can with no little hands grabbing or little bottoms trying to sit in your lap, and prepare for it.

Tip #5 – ONCE YOU HEAD OUT ON THE ROAD, TRY YOUR VERY BEST TO KEEP ELECTRONIC DISTRACTIONS AND DIFFICULT TOPICS AT BAY!

This tip should go without saying in my opinion but in this super über technological age we are living in, keeping electronic distractions at a minimum can seem almost impossible. (A)If you are partaking in the distractions together, simultaneously and focusing on the same exact distraction then I consider it occasionally ok, but the point of this trip is to get a mini retreat for just you two, so shutting down excess distractions is first and foremost a step you should take. no mindlessly scrolling in the passenger seat of across the table from each other during your meals. No being pulled away for one work trip, or a friend who really needs you, over and over again. With the exception of checking in on your kids via phone, facetime, skype, ect. I don’t really encourage outside phone calls. Be serious and intentional about spending this time together creating memories and talking about your future together. The only time you should be reaching for your cell phone is when you are getting ready to snap a picture of  a moment you want to capture, then if you feel led, QUICKLY share it with the world and move on to the next part of your adventure!

(B)This brings me to the last part of this tip, don’t discuss difficult topics if it can at all be avoided. There is a time and place for these to be discussed but likely on a romantic getaway is not the best time to get into the nitty gritty of life, focus your discussion in a positive, uplifting place as a couple as much as humanly possible. Now if there is a rift to begin with and this getaway is an attempt to correct & repair that rift, then I understand the need to take advantage of the quiet uninterrupted time with no kids to discuss, but remember to talk. Calming, not defensively, not overly offensively, not heated, not loudly and not too much. Be respectful of each other and look for activities and outings that can draw on the nostalgic beginnings to tap into that good old-fashioned puppy love again.

(C)Be mindful not to forget the ROMANTIC part. Now I am a bit of a verbal prude in the romance department so for this part of the tip I encourage you to tap into what works for you two and allow yourself to be vulnerable & excited about spending this time together. Naturally those sparks will ignite again in ways you may likely have forgotten if you are intentional with each other and in tune with the butterflies of renewed quality time.

Sneak in some new adventures and outside of your typical “box” of ideas!

I am super excited about our chance to sneak away and I look forward to getting to experience some fun first’s together again, explore new areas and enjoy a place of nostalgia for us with no kids in tow this time. I love my girls and I really would do just about anything for them, but I only got them by loving my man well and being open to God’s newest adventure’s for my life, because He knows well that my plans for myself didn’t include any of what I now have. In an effort to continue letting His Will be mine, I know that require’s some nurturing of my marital relationship in a very intentional way. My kids will only be under my roof for a season and though I want to soak in every last second of them being young, I also long to nourish my connection with the man I’ve chosen to spend my life with because when my girls are all grown and off on their own life adventure’s I still want this man to like and love me, and I still want to like and love him back! But maybe even more important to me is taking the time I have with him to create lasting loving memories of just us as well as our family because truth be told, I don’t know how many years God plans for our life here on earth to continue together and I want to be certain there is an overflowing well of memories should God’s Will include one of us needing to draw on them alone one day.

So now I must head back to my list of things to do for our trip and I will leave you with this last thought, before there was a little family tree, there was just the two of you, take the time to nurture just that part of your family tree intentionally, your children need that of you, to allow generations of love to continue to grow from the roots you two have planted together! Now go forth and Dazzle your way through this beautiful summer week and start thinking about the little and potentially BIG ways you can begin to pour back into your marriage roots, maybe you start with a little night out or maybe it’s a Romantic Road Trip! The important thing is that you take a step!

As always, Thanks for reading!

~Rebecca

From Baby Nursery to Big Girl Room

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This past weeks To Do List Tuesday was to transition…

my 2 yr. old from a Baby Nursery to a Big Girl Room!

 

My youngest daughter turned TWO during this past Memorial Day weekend and it was then that she also successfully managed to climb out of her crib for the first time, while it was set at the lowest setting. It was in that moment that it occurred to me, like a ton of bricks, that my sweet little baby girl was a baby no more. In anticipation of getting to this point, we had purchased a toddler bed set with her pals Anna & Elsa on it. It was because my older 3 girls all transferred from crib to bed just after they turned two that we had planned to be prepared. She is the most petite of my girls so I was extra grateful to have a crib that converts easily to a toddler bed

 

We went from an over crowded space with a changing table crammed between a nightstand and a bookshelf and a crib and rocker with ottoman under a full size loft bed. You do what you must when it comes to fitting 4 daughters in across two bedrooms roughly 140 square feet each. Removing the side rail from the crib and turning it into a toddler bed made getting my little one into bed easier (keeping her there is a whole new process though). We took one of her bulky crawling toys out and decided the changing table and rocker with ottoman could go as well opening up more floor space to be used for play. The rocker found a new home in our living room and the changing table and crawling toy will be sold at a garage sale this summer.

 

With the new open floor space I was able to create 3 different vignette play spaces with her most favorite toy sets, ones that she and my 7 yr. old enjoy playing with together so it’s even better!

 

 

We made sure that we highlighted some of their favorite accessories and decor items while putting together this Enchanting Frozen Big Girl Bedroom. There are a few elements that still need completing, I have made a glass block Frozen nightlight that is not pictured because it has not been given to my girls yet. I also purchased a set of removable wall stickers that will replace the aged and peeling Winnie the Pooh ones left from the nursery (3 times re-used). Of course the new ones feature none other than Anna & Elsa and some of our other chilly pals !

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My littlest girl’s souvenir from our last trip to Walt Disney World in Aug/Sept 2016 and boy does she LOVE playing with these chunky plastic versions of her Frozen Friends

 

Both of my girls who share this room where very excited about the changes and the new look of their bedroom. In the week since the bedroom has been set up in its new arrangement and revealed to them, my girls have had plenty of playtime together and for the most part have been very effective at picking the room up before bed every evening allowing it to remain functional still! Yay for the small victories!

Getting my little one to stay in the bed for bedtime or naps has proven to be equally as difficult as it was with my other girls though. We have found her asleep on the floor more nights than in her bed because if she is able to get out of bed, she certainly will. Fortunately she is slowly warming up to laying in it for nap time (I do accredit this partially to the fact that when we find her on the floor after she has fallen to sleep I move her back into ger bed so she still wakes up in her new “Big Girl Bed”!) I know eventually she will catch on, and how could I expect any different when her big sisters would still prefer to sleep on a couch, the floor in a fort or in each others rooms over their own beds at 7, 9 & 15?

So there you have it, my 4th completed transition from Baby Nursery to Big Girl Bedroom! As exciting as this fun new transition is, I did sniff back some tears, and I was sure to rock her in that rocker one last time the night before the big transition so that I could savor it one more time. Savor the smell of her sweet freshly bathed & washed head, the tickle of her wispy hair on my chin & nose and the weight of her quickly growing body upon my chest, because I knew it would be the last time I would do that before laying my sweet girl into her crib for the very last time.

After 4 children, I have learned not only to cherish the 1st’s in our children’s lives, like their first words, first steps and first day of school, but also and maybe more importantly, to cherish every moment because we never know when they will be their last’s. When they will suddenly be too cool to come running to mommy to be swept up into our arms or God forbid not here at all to run to us. I consciously try to keep myself in the moments whenever possible when I am with my girls so that I don’t begin to take them for granted.

My girls are my reason for pushing myself to keep trying to be better than I was the day before. I don’t always succeed, if I’m entirely frank, I fail more days than I consider myself successful in this area, but I do still try to be better every day and I am guilty of getting distracted from time to time but thank the Good Lord for GRACE because He knows I ill fail and He loves me regardless because He knows my heart. Every time I am blessed to lift my head off the pillow again in the morning I try to be better in my spirit and better in my flesh. Better for my girls, better for myself, and most importantly better for God & His Will for my family and I encourage you to do the same! Check back again later today for this week’s To Do List Tuesday (…hint, hint….I will be giving you my favorite tips for packing & prepping for a road trip), because I am doubling up today due to my technical difficulties last week! Now go forth this week and DAZZLE through whatever transitions you may be facing and remember, if you are reading this, you are blessed with another day to live intentionally, so go DAZZLE while you do!

As always, thanks for reading!

~Rebecca

K.O.B.F Week #2 Science

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This week continues Mission: Keep Our Brains Fresh

Week #2- Science

As previously explained in Mindset Mondays I am on a mission to keep my kiddos brains fresh this summer break from school. Every year I try to focus on hiding some learning opportunities into our summer fun and this year my oldest daughter and I have put together this weekly plan of attack.

Our Plan As Follows

Every week of summer we will have a new weekly theme and we started these themes on Memorial Day (Monday) as this was the first official full week of summer break for us. Read about our first weeks K.O.B.F. plan K.O.B.F Week #1 Outer Space. We should have started week two last Monday, however life happens and I am no stranger to that fact, so sometimes plans change. This past Sunday in my prep for the week I was putting in my organization hours for the new week ahead and I found myself suffering from headaches and dizzy spells whenever I sat down at the computer, so I was only able to get so far with the technological preparations. Monday my headaches continued and then Tuesday upon finally having relief from the headache, I discovered I had somehow been locked out of my laptop. This meant that finding the necessary printables and science experiment specifics on my computer was not possible until the end of the week when I had finally resolved the problem. After fighting a bit with my technology again I was finally able to put some occasional time on the computer allowing me to begin the catch up project on my work Friday.

My kids enjoyed a traditional lazy week of summer playing outside once they completed their daily chore’s and Summer Devotion Time BUT  they expressed many times during the week the fact that they missed having the work and my 2nd daughter brought it up at least twice a day. I felt super bad but alas plans don’t always pan out as we’d like.

The weekly themes my oldest daughter (she is helping me run & organize it this summer, just call her my “PA” personal assistant!) and I have decided to focus on are as follows:

  1. Outer Space 
  2. Science– This weeks learning theme!
  3. Oceans
  4. Bugs & Butterflies
  5. American History
  6. Colors & Shapes
  7. Caves
  8. Dinosaurs
  9. Super Spy School
  10. Rainforest
  11. Lego’s
  12. Water Fun

The idea we have regarding the weekly learning theme’s is to focus on a different theme each week that gives us a commonality to incorporate multiple different subjects under the same topic, much like daycare’s and preschools do. Each Monday I will be posting a new blog with our weekly theme and some of the lesson ideas and tools we will be using that week. I plan to focus about an hour an afternoon on a different subject each day but which days I execute which “assignments” will depend on the flow of each week . We will only be taking an hour out for assignments on typical school days, Mon. – Fri. As I mentioned before, I don’t want their summer learning to ever feel like they are attending summer school for 3 months straight.

Each week I hope to cover these subject areas in our daily

Mission: KOBF hour are…

…Arts & Crafts, Vocabulary, Reading, Math, a Physical Activity or Outing, and also a few Fun Food Ideas!

~This week I am taking a slightly different approach than most weeks, as we are focusing on a different area of science to study each day. The 5 areas of study we will be focusing on this week are:

Monday- Human Body

Tuesday- Five Senses

Wednesday- Chemical Reaction Day

Thursday- Weather

Friday- The Sun

The week will be front loaded with a few more of the hands on activities because Wednesday evening my husband and I will be leaving to go out-of-town and my oldest will be in charge of the lessons each day with the supervision of my mother.  However I am still going to be sure to find many printables because at the end of every day during Space week my middle girls were looking for more worksheets!

 

This weeks Ideas:

– Art project or craft, I don’t plan for this to be a big production every week. Most weeks will likely be coloring, painting or drawing, but again, depending on the theme for the week, I may change-up the difficulty level & intensity of the arts & crafts sometimes.

This week our arts & crafts will be very largely based on Wednesday our Chemical Reaction Day. I have a few science experiments planned for that day so my husband & I can spend a little quality time with our girls right before we head out on our anniversary trip. I plan to use this afternoon to do a few fun experiments like the Elmer’s Glue SlimeHomemade Bouncey Balls, and last will be a Filter Paper experiment with markers and water (these will be reused in a few weeks when we do bugs & butterflies too!) I do also have a few ideas that seem simple enough to be executed by my oldest daughter with my moms supervision providing it works into their plans on Thursday & Friday for our weather & sun units. The first is Shaving Cream Rain Clouds as demonstrated beautifully through that link provided for this activity. Another fun activity may be to use new watercolor paint they received from their grandma at the end of the school year to paint some weather related images to cut out and create Weather Mobile’s like this great example! Also for Sun they will paint paper plates to use when they create their Sundials as explained further in Math.

****Here are a few other ideas I don’t think we will have time for but may be fun for you and your kiddos! Like Making plastic with milk! Also this super fun idea to do an Oil & Water Experiment would definitely be one if we weren’t traveling that I wanted to do! One last activity we may still try later in the summer but would be fun for Friday when we cover the Sun is this cool idea for Solar Oven Smore’s!!!

 

– Vocabulary Lesson, this may be as simple as providing a list of words to have my 7-year-old copy for practice neatly writing into a short sentence each and also for my older daughters to include in a creative writing assignment.

This week our vocabulary lessons will come largely on Monday & Tuesday through the Human body & 5 Senses printables that I found Here at Crayola’s website & also Here at Kids-Pages.com. (These are resources I strongly advise you refer back to as they have a wide variety of coloring pages & worksheets on many topics) Here is another great “Guts” Printable and this great Body Systems Booklet that my girls enjoyed today as part of our Human Body Day! For our weather day I plan to leave some of these worksheets for my girls to have extra entertainment while I am gone and so I found these cute vocabulary & word tracing weather coloring worksheets

 

– Reading, story time style taking turns from one week to the next depending on the difficulty of the book chosen each week. Some weeks my 7-year-old will read it out loud other weeks it may be one of my older two and on some occasions it will still be me (we have quite the expanse of books in our home so most of the books will likely come from our existing collection but I will share those titles when available in advance).

This is an area where we can accommodate a pretty wide variety of reading selections based on the weather and the sun from our personal book collection and since those are the topics they will focus on Thursday & Friday I will encourage my girls to find selections they will enjoy to read to each other while we are out-of-town. I don’t have any specific book titles to offer but I always encourage a trip to your local public library to let your kids explore the many titles and find books within each topic that interest them specifically. This helps them get excited about books even more when you let them have an opinion on what they read!

 

– Math, this will be a practice session with themed math worksheets whenever I am able to find or create them within our theme. On some occasions though they may be hands on activities, like baking or cooking, or measuring to create (i.e. helping to prepare a dish for a camping trip or family cookout=measuring lesson)

This week our math lesson will be incorporated in our science experiments because we will be measuring ingredients on Wednesday. I do also have plans for them to assemble Sundials with paper plates and paint brushes on Friday as part of their Sun lessons. The plan is based on this idea from Kids Play Box and it involves tracking the shadow hourly also incorporating time tracking into our math lessons. Our last Math lesson for the week comes by way of  These Rainy Day Clip Cards created by this talented momma that I printed to use for Thursday’s weather day. I plan to cut them and laminate them so they can be used over and over for more numbers practice in the future!

– Physical outing or activity, it may be as simple as a dance session to some kind of music that fits the theme or it may be a game or sport altered to fit the theme but whatever it is it will get our hearts pumping! ( because our family has a wide age range we may personally incorporate multiple variations of play to whatever activity we do. Take the liberty of personalizing our recommendations to fit your families dynamic & age span).

I plan to do some driveway chalking with my kiddo’s in the driveway, and trace their outlines encouraging they draw & label their bodies. This time outdoors will naturally include some running, skipping & casual playtime.  Also I think Human Body Day creates a natural opening to teach my 2 yr. old The Hokey Pokey with help from my older girls! Another great idea for a Field Trip that may work into your schedule better than my own would be to visit your local Science Museum as a family on Saturday!

 

– Snacks, I have always been a food lover and as a creative person I find it fun to “play with food” in my family fun theme’s, learning experiences and celebrations. I’m a super cheesy person and love a good theme! I will use our weekly themes as an opportunity to look at our meals, snacks and treats through a different lens through the summer so look out for some fun snack/treat ideas inspired by our theme selections!

Now this is the one area I may let you down a little this week, I have not spent any time looking for cute food or snack ideas related to science this week since I will be packing, & prepping to be out-of-town but I do challenge you to come up with some cute ideas and share them in the comments or via my Dazzling Domestic Dreamer’s Facebook Page! I would love to see what you come up with! 

We’d Love You To Join Along!

As I can fit them into our theme I will be looking for “field trip” opportunities and we always welcome friends along for those fun outing so watch out for those in our weekly plans if you are local to us! Also we welcome play dates in the summer schedule too. If you can’t join us in person we would still love to hear about your fun summer themes if you decide to put this plan in place to fit your kids and your family! Share pictures and stories in the comments!

Whether you plan to execute this identical to my plan and future blogs on the topic (feel free to use this PDF Document I compiled a few of the 5 Senses & the Sun printables I plan to use this week here, KOBF wk #2 Science)  or whether you use is as a guide, or even not at all doesn’t really matter to me. What matters to me is that you are proactive about allowing your kids brains to properly be stimulated WITHOUT electronics and that you make it fun for your kids specifically. Remember, while you are doing this you aren’t just keeping their brains fresh, you are creating memories!  So go make memories this summer, but don’t forget to check back for more ideas on our themes and other summer fun memory making ideas! Now Dazzle your way to a Science filled week of Learning & Intentional, Productive fun!

As always, thanks for reading!

~Rebecca

12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 4: Faith

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Today kicks off week 4 of our 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Challenge that I am doing with my family this summer. As explained in my introduction to our 12 Weeks of Virtues Summer 2017 Challenge this blog series is based on a 12 week challenge I designed around the book “In This House We Giggle” by Courtney DeFeo that I read this past April. The line up of virtue’s and schedule during which I am completing this challenge with my family is included in PDF form 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Plan. Our first virtue was Joy (check that out here at 12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 1: Joy), the second virtue was Love (check that one out here at 12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 2: Love) and the third virtue was Forgiveness (check that out here at 12 Weeks Of Virtue Week 3: Forgiveness). You and your family can start at anytime from the beginning or in any order you choose according to your family’s desire. Our third virtue that is our focus of this weeks devotions is Faith…..

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Like most of this book, In This House We Will Giggle and the sentiments the author Courtney DeFeo includes, I love the statement. Faith is something that we need to thrive to teach our children early and well and doing so with our words is far less effective than showing them with our actions.…

What is Faith? 

The Kids Definition of Faith is:

Knowing, loving, and following Jesus.

This chapter in the book is incredible for not just explaining faith and what it means to have faith, but it also gives you the means to be intentional daily when trying to create an environment that encourages their faith to thrive (without adding to your never-ending to do list). Once again there are some great “Catch Phrases” for talking TO your children about faith. It ‘s simple when you break it down into the 3 parts from the kids definition

Knowing Jesus

Knowing Jesus, for our children, begins with US introducing Jesus to our children, assuming you yourself know Him and have a relationship with Him (It’s now that I must pause for a second, if you have a personal relationship with Christ you know what I am going to say, feel free to skip ahead, this isn’t for you. If you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I AM SPEAKING RIGHT TO YOU. It is never too late to spark a fresh new relationship with Jesus Christ. You are not too blemished, too broken, or too full of sin for Him to welcome you with open arms. Jesus longs to be your source of comfort and peace, He calls to you and if you wish to hear Him I would love to have coffee and talk about it with you if you are near to me. I encourage you to find a Christ centered church in your area and connect, because it is in my personal experience that if you can, your understanding of His word and Will for your life will become far more apparent through the ability to connect & communicate with experienced Christian men & woman.)  

Loving Jesus

Loving Jesus, will likely come easy for your children after you introduce Him. Christ tells us to have “child like faith” for a reason, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Mark 10:14–15).  My personal understanding of these verses is that because children don’t have a natural tendency to over think and over analyze every last part of their faith walk or life-like adults do they have a more joyful, humble understanding of loving Jesus. Children don’t natural base love on condition like adults can so easily do. It will come far more naturally to them when they also see the example. For us parents though, watching our children loving Jesus will likely be something that grows us more in our faith while we watch them learn to love Him. I know that for me, watching my oldest (15 yr. old) daughter learn to know and love Jesus has brought countless opportunities for my own personal faith to grow as a result of her obedient faith walk. Watching my younger girls will surely bring me more of those opportunities. Now this brings us to the last part…

Following Jesus

Following Jesus is something that in my more than 2 decades of knowing Jesus, and Loving Jesus has always been the hardest part for me to continue to do as a Christian. I am a stubborn, opinionated, busy brained person, that is who my flesh makes me. I can follow Jesus well in the easy things most of the time, but in a few different seasons of my life I have struggled more than others with following Jesus in the big or hard things. Now at least in my case, this hasn’t been because I don’t trust His direction, rather the case is typically that I haven’t taken the time to consult Him at all. I have not always been good at spending time in prayer regularly to hear The Holy Spirit and His direction and sadly I have let my personal fear or doubt keep me from acting when I do know the way He wants me to go.

It’s because this area in my faith walk is an area that has been the most constant struggle for me in my years of knowing Jesus that I was further confirmed about this journey to giggle more that God wanted for my family this summer and also in this blog series. This blog series is quite literally an act of me following Him. I too often chicken out when I feel my faith being tested through acts of certain obedience. I must be better in this area and it is because I need the visual reminder this week maybe more that any other, that I have again included printable decorative PDF’s for each virtue with a quote that I have found either in the book “In This House We Will Giggle” or elsewhere to encourage me each week as well. This weeks quote jumped of the page at me again and is in this weeks title image also. I will be printing it for my office also so I can reference it easily & regularly. Faith Quote for Inspiration

Each week I am going to share with you my “Weekly Outline” for each new Virtue and the PDF’s for the printables that I created and intend to use with my children for this 12 Weeks of Virtue Challenge.

Weekly Outline:

Sunday – Introduce FAITH Virtue & the Memory Verse for the week & explain the Weekly Activity (the weekly activity alone is a great reason to order or buy the book). For each chapter there is a two page Activity Idea detailed and explained. This weeks activity is Our Heritage of Faith and it may be my favorite of all the activities. A beautiful idea, a very creative way to teach your children (and potential grandchildren and so on and so on) faith and once again I recommend you pick up the book “In This House We Will Giggle” by Courtney DeFeo to get the full two page Family Activity Instructions & explanation! A quick general explanation is that you will be creating a “family journal” of sorts where you and your spouse and even children can take time out to record stories and experiences of you trusting God and how He answered those prayers so you can reference back.

Memory Verse: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

I have created a PDF that includes a printable Memory Verse that I plan to print and display on my refrigerator door for the week on the top and the Family Discussion Questions for the virtue that you can print for free to use.

Monday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Romans 5:1 and introduce Our Heritage of Faith.

Tuesday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Romans 10:17 and discuss first 4 Family Discussion Questions included in the Memory Verse PDF

Wednesday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Deuteronomy 6:6-9 and partake in a Bring Out the Giggles Idea. The book includes “60 ways to bring out the giggles” and in my 12 Weeks of Virtues Summer Challenge Schedule I included 12 that I chose for my family. I encourage you pick up the book at your local Barnes & Noble or pick it up online through Amazon so you can read the whole book and also have the full list of “60 ways to bring out the giggles” to choose what will appeal to your family most!

Thursday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Galatians 3:26 and discuss the remaining 4 Family Discussion Questions.

Friday – Daily Devotion for the day, read Hebrews 11:1 and participate in this weeks Encourage Activity, this weeks we will be writing letters to people in our family to thank them for making positive decisions that have impacted our family .

Saturday – Daily Devotion for the day, read The beginning, a perfect home in “The Jesus Storybook Bible” as well as participate in a fun Family Activity Day, for this I will be introducing a Family Journal for our family to begin using to document those moments of faith testimonies, however since this weeks Family Activity is a onging activity, I will likely encourage everyone to take some time to write their first entry.

Virtue four-Faith Overview of the week

Virtue Four Memory Verse and Discussion Questions-Faith

 

10 Ways to Break a Bad-Mood Cycle a great tool from the book to reference through all 12 weeks!

Lastly I also created a FREE printable PDF including the other six Daily Devotional verses included here Devotions Verses-Faith. I encourage you look up all 6 of the bible Daily Devotions at the start of each week. You can just look them all up at the start to the week and then cut these cards apart to use each one as a page marker for the verse in the bible so you can be prepared. Even though I provide these each week I still encourage you pull your bibles out & be in the pages of His word looking them up in the translation most comfortable for you. I bookmark them for quick reference but encourage my 3 oldest girls to take time to look them up in their own bibles. With all 3 of my older girls reading it helps get them familiar with their bibles and gives them ownership over the task.

I hope you choose to join me & my family in this 12 Weeks of Virtue Summer Challenge and if you do decide to, please let me know in the comments! I will be trying to post the remaining Weekly Virtues outline’s in the morning part of the day on Sundays for the next 8 weeks. My week will be busy as my husband and I are preparing to head out-of-town for our 10 year wedding anniversary but I do intend to still have some new reading material to release throughout the week. Life has a way of making certain things and people priorities when you try to live intentionally in God’s will though and that means sometimes my plans for myself change! Have a blessed and Joyful LOVE and GRACE filled week and remember the best way to teach faith is to live faithfully. Check back tomorrow for an unrelated post about how I plan to keep my kids brains academically fresh during the summer! Go Forth & Dazzle your summer away making memories with your kiddo’s everyday!

As always, thanks for reading!

~Rebecca