Christmas Cookie Exchange Tips

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I am gearing up to start my 1st of 2 full days of baking over this next week to satisfy almost 20 dozen cookies for two different cookie exchange parties, one that I have attended for the last 8 years and the other a new tradition to my family that I started last year. As I get myself ready to begin the first batch tomorrow afternoon I decided to share a few of my tips & best practices for cookie exchanges! Hopefully it helps any newcomers  to a cookie exchange or any of you on the fence about starting this fun tradition!

The goal behind a Christmas Cookie Exchange is for each of guest to bake one kind of cookie each and then everyone comes together to celebrate the season and still manage to leave the party & go home with a variety of cookies without the extra effort! Plus it makes a fun and yummy excuse to get together during the holidays and helps you have a variety to fill those last minute cookies trays to take to all your Christmas festivities! The exchange cookie for the other one I attend is my family’s spritz recipe passed down from my great grandma, an absolute Christmas staple in our home and a recipe I will not share but most families have a version of it and if all else fails scope out Pinterest or Google for a suitable alternative! I will bake my Pecan Fingers, staple #2 for this exchange next week! You will find that recipe at the end of this post for your enjoyment. I enjoy these with my morning coffee in the days after the holidays to stretch the season out a little longer.

Here are my top 5 tips for pulling off a successful baking session SPECIFICALLY for a Cookie Exchange

1- Decide on a cookie you are comfortable with and feel capable of achieving without adding too much stress & chaos, the point is to join a cookie exchange to save you stress without sacrificing variety with your cookie baking during an already busy time of year! I like to choose a cookie with a pretty good # yield per batch to eliminate a bunch of ingredient multiplying or tons of batches needing to be separately prepped & baked. Less room for error and an easier process for you!

2- Plan to have a window of time within 2-5 days of the party to do your baking to ensure you are swapping the freshest cookies possible because freshest is bestest! 😍🍪😍🍪😍 depending on the cookie you choose, you may be able (or need to) prep a dough and let it rest, this may help break up the task (if need be) and allow you to have some work done ahead of the actual baking day!

3- Be sure to mark your calendar to attend because the main reason I began hosting one annually was to have a fun & functional holiday excuse to get together for fun & laughs with my girl friends & family! Attending is far more than half the fun I PROMISE! Games, food and a white elephant gift exchange that guarentees laughs!

4- Once you pick a cookie and decide on a safe and airtight way to seperate your cookie by the dozen for exchange (ziplock bags, plastic container, tin, or gift box ect.) Then you are ready to bake & bag! Preheat the oven, Gather ingredients, Wash hands, Don the apron to save your outfit, Turn the Christmas music on & bake away! Again try to pick a low mess & low fuss cookie to prep, bake & decorate!

5- Once cooled prep for bagging & set aside in a safe place away from all kids & husbands until it’s party time! 🎊🎈🎊 When party time arrives kiss the fam goodbye, don’t feel guilty & come have so much fun you never want to miss a year!

 

Pecan Fingers

*Preheat oven to 350*

  • 1/2 # Margarine (softened)
  • 6 Tablespoon Confectioners Sugar
  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Cups Finely Chopped Pecans

Cream together the softened margarine & sugar. Begin to add the flour gradually, once all flour is incorporated add the chopped nuts be sure to mix well. Once all ingredients are blended shape the dough into finger sized and shaped cookies and place on an un-greased cookie sheet and bake for 20 mins. Once the cookies are cooled entirely place them a few at a time in a shallow bowl of powdered sugar and coat each finger. Enjoy with coffee, tea or milk & store any remaining Pecan Fingers in an airtight container.

Pecan Fingers Printable Recipe Card

 

As a BONUS little added tradition, because I am all about traditions new and old  (especially this time of year!) last year just before Christmas and my 1st annual cookie exchange, I told my husband that I wanted to start a Christmas Cookie Jar collection so that I can have a variety to decorate my kitchen for the holidays and double purpose to store all my delicious Christmas cookies from this cookie exchange and other holiday traditions! Some day when my girls have homes I can pass one down to each for them to decorate the kitchen counter too!

Last year one of my gifts was a fun Santa Lumberjack Cookie Jar, this is one of my hopes for this year. But more than a new cookie jar this year, I want YOU to join in on this fun Cookie Exchange Tradition in your own bubble! Be sure to follow my blog page so you don’t miss any future recipe’s, tips, tricks or best practices to dazzling your way through the holiday season this year and for seasons to come!

 

HAPPY BAKING my DAZZLING friends! As always, thanks for reading and I hope it inspires you to start or join a Christmas Cookie Exchange so that you can be apart of a beautiful & fun tradition like this!

~Rebecca

 

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Staying Ahead of the Holiday Mess Making

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Keeping house because I can’t pay a housekeeper solutions series…

This series was designed to be an ever growing blog series meant to tackle solutions to everyday housekeeping challenges in different seasons of life specific to the different seasons in nature. To explore other previous House Keeping Challenges I have tackled simply look under my blog categories for “Keeping house cause I can’t pay a housekeeper!” Now for the House Keeping Challenge I solved for Autumn 2017…

Challenge: Getting a Cleaning Schedule to stay Ahead of the Holiday Mess Making!

Weather Season: Autumn         Parenting Season: Multi Child/Toddler to School Age

Goal: To create a manageable but still thorough cleaning schedule that allows you to celebrate the season in a clean home but manages to leave more time for memory making as your busy family heads into the hustle & bustle of the Holidays!

Adventure’s & Activities Ideas: Achieving the Goal allows you to have more time freed up in your life allowing you to spend this newly found time with your loved ones around all the activities & sports that back to school has resurrected for the year. Autumn brings with it a crispness in the air and an array of trees changing color under a still bright sunny sky and releasing their leaves in the perfect temperature’s to reap great harvests & create lasting memories by taking on adventure’s like apple & pumpkin picking, and wooded hikes. Family football games and big Sunday dinners, movie nights curled up on the couch or with a homemade drive in movie feel in the back yard complete with bonfire’s & roasted movie snacks!  Hayrides, Haunted Houses, or fall themed story time at the library for the younger kiddo’s are just some more great ways to spend quality time with your newly freed up time from getting ahead & sticking to a cleaning schedule heading into the beginning of our busiest seasons as women!

With that I introduce to you the……..

 

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I CAN NOT TAKE CREDIT FOR DESIGNING THIS SCHEDULE. I came across this somewhere online and saved the image to my phone awhile back for use at a later date because I felt it was well designed and had hoped to implement it, I did not realize at the time that the original source was not credited in the image so if you know where this came from please let me know so I can properly credit the source.

I plan to begin implementing this basic idea for a cleaning schedule into my weeks and months starting in this upcoming month of October. I do currently do many of the “Daily Chores” to begin with as part of my own (and my children’s chores as discussed in Our New Chore System!) but I will be more disciplined in doing so and will incorporate the “Weekly Chores”, “Monthly Chores” & “Yearly Chore’s”. Feel free to rearrange the days that your chores take place on to fit into the flow of your week reasonably. To do this more easily I have re-imagined the image above and created a Fillable Cleaning Schedule to allow you to rearrange the Weekly & Monthly Chores to work best into your week.

What I like the most about this approach is that it is evenly spreading the work across the entire month with a carefully planned approach that breaks it into manageable tasks that should take only about an hour spent in your home cleaning 6 out of the 7 days of the week. If we are honest with each other, we waste more than an hour a day on social media or in front of the TV or some other time drainer in our life. If we focus roughly one hour or even two a day on a scheduled daily task then it becomes much easier to manage while still getting the tasks accomplished. For me when the tasks are done and I have a schedule or plan in place to ensure other repetitive tasks will get handled then it ultimately makes it easier to justify spending and hour playing dolls on the floor with our daughters or going on a family adventure without guilt creeping into my brain.

We as moms need to find our own balance. We must be present in the lives of our children because they are only little for a blink and we are their only mom, the only one who can mold them with the same kind of unconditional love, compassion and grace besides Christ. We must take this role as homemaker & mother seriously and that means not taking it TOO seriously and remembering to make time for fun, silliness & adventure while remembering to be present when we do put the housework aside. Being present means being able to push the stressors and the chaos of the world out and managing our responsibilities so they don’t manage us and we can enjoy time in the moment with those we love. I hope this schedule helps you to maximize efficiency while trying to clean & maintain the housekeeping of this upcoming busy season so you can be present with your family in this season of Autumn Splendor!

As always, thanks for reading! I hope this helps you dazzle your way to a dazzling house!

~Rebecca

Our Christmas Kindness Elves

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December 1st, 2017

It is December 1st and in our house this is a big day! It’s actually a big day for more than one reason but today’s blog topic is only about the MERRY one of those reasons. December 1st is the day my husband and I decided to make a go at a “committed relationship” after just one week of knowing each other and thus began our holiday season love story but that isn’t what this blog is about. Maybe I will write my own Hallmark Holiday Movie about our love story (that would be the MARRY reason lol) but today, I am here to introduce you to  the MERRY reason, Joy & Caleb, our Christmas Kindness Elves! They arrive with a little mini Christmas Kindness Brunch on December 1st and this is our 2nd year with them visiting for the month of December.

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Here’s a bit of the backstory…

The Kindness Elves just began visiting our family last Christmas, after I had spent about 4 years debating the idea of beginning some sort of Elf on a Shelf alternative. {*DISCLAIMER* I say alternative because I am not a big fan of the Elf on a Shelf, I was never a big fan of Elf on a Shelf in fact. WHY?!? Keep on reading…} First, the well known Elf on a Shelf fad didn’t begin to the over the Christmas season until after my first daughter was halfway through her Santa years so it would never have been something I could have pulled off introducing to her without having red flags go up in her mind about Santa all together. Being a bright kid and being raised by a few sceptics, we had barely managed to keep her on board with the Santa thing to begin with when she first began to question it. By the way, if your child hasn’t begun to question Santa, just wait for it, it will come (and if you are anything like me it will hurt when you hear it for the first time). For us it came almost immediately after our oldest began kindergarten and her peers began to become “unbelievers” so………………. I wasn’t trying to throw any other red flags her way when it came to the big guy.

Aside from that fact though, I don’t really love the idea of having an “elf” trick my kids into behaving through the holidays by telling them that this elf goes back to Santa, I mean that’s the whole reason we play the Santa card, I don’t want to double bride them to behave by giving myself another “job” to do during the holidays because let’s face it, I do all the rest of the holiday prep most of the time anyways! Then add to it that half of the appeal (if not in fact the ENTIRE appeal to the kids) is that the Elf on a Shelf gets into mischief and makes messes while we sleep! REALLY, my kids do enough of that during the day, now I have to let an elf make messes at night too? I just counted my blessings and laughed at the Facebook feeds of all the funny, creative and sometimes somewhat inappropriate Elf on a Shelf posed pictures that filled my newsfeed while silently enjoying the fact that I had escaped it…

I thought I had escaped the elf thing all together, until daughters #2 & #3 were both in school & preschool and then teachers started using them in the classrooms and soon my girls began to question why all their friends had an elf visit and we didn’t……..

…….this went on for a few years until, in a moment of weakness I blurted out,

“We don’t have an elf because I told Santa not to send us an elf that is only going to make more messes and get into more mischief than you girls do already! My hands are full with four of you little mess makers, I don’t need anymore!”

….to which I received big shocked, doe eyes on both their faces, and then I felt bad. Really bad. It was that moment I knew we needed to have some “Kindness Elves” in our life, to encourage US ALL to remember to be kind through the stressful holiday season.

Introducing the Kindness Elves

Though I would love to take credit for the idea, because I absolutely am infatuated with the idea, I can’t. I stumbled into this idea about 4 years ago and fell in love with the concept.  You can check out where my rendition of it originated from here, at The Kindness Elves Home Website. Now even though I had known about this idea and this website for awhile I was only a fan of the idea in theory. For the first few years I was familiar with the concept I had no intention of introducing my family to it as another tradition, my girls were about 11, 6 & 3 at the time and it just didn’t seem necessary.  However things with kids have a way of changing and as I explained previously, my girls #2 & #3 became infatuated with the Elf on a Shelf and brought it up regularly for more than one Christmas season and then we added our little girl #4.

So last year in my moment of weakness when I had the revelation that we did all need a kindness reminder infused into our holiday I was in hurry up mode. Though the original idea has a ready made set you can purchase, I opted to find “elves” without ordering the original ones so I could still manage to execute it last year because I was deciding to jump on this idea last year just a few days before December 1st and I just plain and simple didn’t have time. Target to the rescue! They had some very cute fabric doll ornaments last year in their early Christmas inventory and when I saw them, I knew they would be perfect, and thus the idea was set in motion. I took them home and straightened out some paperclips to feed into their plush bodies to allow me some flexibility in the limbs & making them bendable and then I set off on creating our new Holiday tradition…

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Here’s a Peak at How Last Year’s Visits Went…

Last year when they arrived they left a trail of red confetti and a super SWEET Christmas inspired brunch. They continued to appear with confetti the first week, UNTIL the elves “got the hint” that it annoyed mom and then they started “to clean up after themselves” and the confetti stopped but the fun surprises and kind ideas they encouraged my kids to do didn’t stop. That kept on coming every morning until Christmas, and my girls loved it! They woke up and ran to find where our elves had moved to every morning and were eager to tackle the ideas and challenges the elves gave us every day amidst our existing chores, tasks and obligations. Joy & Caleb provided some great ideas about how to infuse our Christmas season with some Christmas Kindness with ideas like baking cookies for a friend, writing kind words for a sibling or peer, giving small gifts, hugs or compliments to people, and evaluating their own blessings by looking for ways to give back some of their blessings to those in need.

What I love the most about this idea is that it encourages positive behavior by getting the kids excited about their own positive behavior so I feel less like I am bribing them to behave for gifts until Christmas AND it is shifting the focus back to the real meaning of the season. I will be highlighting some of my favorite tips and tricks to executing the Christmas Kindness Elves as our season continues but here is a glimpse at our favorites from last season!

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If this is an idea you are interested in there is still time to execute this year, pick any small childlike dolls or elf dolls and introduce them into your holiday whenever it makes sense to your family! Maybe they appear after school on Dec. 1st, maybe the arrive when Christmas Break begins, maybe they only count down the last “12 days of Christmas” or maybe you just plan and plot this season for some ideas and ways to implement it next year! If you decide to give it a try in your family I would love to see pictures of your elves or hear stories about your success in introducing them to your family!

 

P.S. No judgement on ANY Mommas out there who have chosen the Elf on a Shelf tradition, you are great moms going above and beyond for your kids Christmas memories and that makes you a ROCKSTAR!

P.S.S. No judgement on ANY Mommas who have chosen to not incorporate ANY Elf’s, Elves or other magical miniatures into their holiday season, to each their own and I salute your willingness to just tackle the Christmas shopping and wrapping!

As always, thanks for reading, have a Dazzling Holiday Season and a magical memory making Christmastime with your family!

~Rebecca

I’m BAAAACK!

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Hello all! I am back after a busy, fun-filled and breezy last few weeks of summer vacation! My kiddo’s have been back to school for almost a full month of school and I am ready to keep writing, sharing and hopefully inspiring you all to dazzle the best you can in the life God has given you!

I must begin this restart with a bit of a confession, I had high hopes and BIG ambitions entering into summer maintaining my blogging adventure on here, and I can certainly say I aimed too high and wound up falling short of my vision for my summer blogging series’ but I do not give up that easily. Instead of throwing in the towel and considering myself a failure at this blogging journey, I am readjusting my vision and evaluating my actual realistic available time and ability to produce fun,entertaining and helpful new content. Knowing that I set myself up for a far more challenging summer than I intended I want to be sure not to fail at anymore content promises moving forward!

That being said, the two series’ that I promised at the start of summer (12 Weeks of Virtues Summer 2017 Challenge & Mindset Mondays) and let fall to the wayside after week 3 or 4 are not dead! As promised I will still be producing the remaining weeks of these plans my family attempted this summer and I will be periodically posting the remaining weeks intermittently in between new seasonally relevant content!

So what HAVE we been up to?

Well, last I left off we were in the midst of preparation for our Fourth of July Family Camping Trip and the preparation, meal plans and fun that we packed into the camping trip created a family camp out we won’t soon forget! Fun, Food, Family, Fresh Air, Free Schedule…. that was the theme vocabulary for this trip! Take a peek at some of our highlights………..

 

As soon as we were home from the camping trip and settled back into our summer schedule, we set our sights on all things VBS (that’s Vacation Bible School in case you were like me and didn’t attend as a child). Our church is blessed to have the ability to put on quite a production for our vbs, hosting 300+ children with over 70 teen crew leader volunteers and almost 100 adult volunteers to do any number of jobs from main stage, to snack rooms, to game rooms, bible story rooms and all the administrative & behind the scenes jobs too! In our family it has become one of our favorite parts of the whole summer. I volunteer to run & decorate a video room, my oldest daughter is now a crew leader in charge of her own “crew” of younger kiddo’s leading them through their afternoon activities each day.  My middle two girls are still actively involved in the excitement in separate crews each year and my youngest gets to participate in her own mini vbs week in her volunteer childcare room.

I have been doing this for 7+ years and of the many different vacation bible school themes we have done, this particular theme for this year was an instant favorite for me. Our theme was “Maker Fun Factory” all about how our “Maker” God created us for a purpose just as we are. I will be sharing more in-depth about our fun week at “Maker Fun Factory” in weeks to come but here is just a glimpse of our fun and the room I decorated with my video roommate…..

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By the end of vbs week every year I am typically ready to take a week-long nap, however this year I had to immediately transition out of “Service” brain and into “Boss Lady” brain because my Thirty-One Conference took place in Columbus less than a week after our scheduled vbs ended so I was loading up and sneaking away for a few days of immersive focus on my business. I have been a Thirty-One Consultant for 6 years and have attended every year since I began except last year. I was in a wedding for one of my closest cousins and my family was heading out for our Disney Vacation immediately after the wedding and that was all taking place just a few short weeks after I would have been gone for Thirty-One Conference. I am good for putting a lot on my plate but last summer I was wise enough to not overload myself so I could more easily unwind with my family once we were finally on vacation together. Therefore I opted out of my “Boss Lady” weekend last year. I missed it and all my Thirty-One sisters dearly though and was extra motivated to make sure it was back in the schedule for THIS year.

So I did, I put it in my schedule and I made myself a priority for the first actual time since having my fourth daughter, I made my way back to my beloved “Pink Bubble” and I was certainly thankful I did. I will be sharing in more depth the Epiphany I had through my weekend away in a future post about how I decided to Enjoy my Story, but while you wait here’s a sneak peek inside my “Pink Bubble” and at my Epiphany in the making…

 

Upon my return home I promptly handed out my families souvenirs and thank you gifts for supporting me and my businesses and then transitioned immediately into “Momager” mode getting my 15-year-old ready to fly out to visit with my father in Florida for a week! She flew out just a few short days after I arrived home and THAT tested my ability to “let go” of my first baby girl who is barreling closer to driving, graduation & college faster every second much to my own dismay.

Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing her grow into the young woman she is, discovering herself and her hobbies & interests. I love watching her learn how to juggle the many things life throws at us and it is a little entertaining to watch her try to balance her extra curricular activities amidst her very demanding school schedule as she gets older. I am proud to watch how she handles herself with so much more grace and discipline than I ever did at her age and when she over loads herself too much and has to live out and accept the results of her choices I love watching her learn from that and try to make better choices with her time and expectations. It is a great thing watching her grow up, but I am NOT READY for her to grow away yet and this trip was a little window into the future and oh was it hard for me. It may have been the longest week of my life so far, but we all survived it and even managed to find enjoyment during the week.

She had an absolute blast being spoiled and entertained by my father and his wife. The memories they made are priceless and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to let her do it, as challenging as it was for me. She flew out by herself after I escorted her to her gate (and to get her Starbucks for the wait!) and with tears in my eyes I made my way back to a week of adventures with just my little 3…

Our week while she was gone consisted of me sneaking in a little work from the van or poolside while shuffling my other 3 girls to Nani’s pool or any number of parks to run them tired and to soak up every last second of Summer before it left us! Without my helper set of hands I was reminded how exhausting it is to have 3 under 10 to myself again! Thankfully my work travels well!

After the week was over we made some signs to welcome Chailey home and we explored the airport a little while we waited for her flight to land! We found Superman and some of the awesome Hard Rock guitars famously positioned all over Cleveland Then we were finally reunited with her! Now my girls bicker like the average set of siblings and they will tell you they don’t like each other from time to time or intentionally get on each others nerves but the excitement & embraces upon their re-connection spoke WAY louder than the bickering and fighting for sure Take a look at the photographic proof I captured!

She even picked up some souvenirs for all of us while shopping in Florida. She really took pride finding just the right items to gift her sisters and her father & I.

By the time Chailey was home we were done with summer, though summer break officially lasted another few weeks, we had to begin back to school preparations and Marching Band Camp began and thus our schedule began to fill back in with structure and leave less and less room for fun on a whim decision-making. We shopped for first day of school outfits and the many school supplies needed for 3 of them to be prepared all year. We walked through our schools “Stop & Drop” to meet the elementary teachers and we stocked the kitchen for rapid lunch box filling. We even dealt with a quick Appendix Scare the day before school started again and then away we marched to our first Day of school! A Sophomore, a Fourth Grader, a Second Grader and a sweet 2 yr. old who missed her mommy’s attention & quiet afternoon nap environment!

Now with Friday night lights back every Friday while my oldest girl marches her Sophomore year to a start and our weekends containing a Rec League Football game on the schedule most weekends for Cadance’s new cheer-leading squad and NFL football beginning as I type, I have to say fall is in full effect!

I love summer, I love not having to answer to anyone else about how I choose to spend time with my girls and when. I love being able to pick up on an adventure and have flexibility and variety mix into our week with any fun that comes our way BUT…

…I do miss the quiet few hours during the day where my brain can rest, the ability to get some chores done around the house without ALL the kids undoing it regularly behind me and the best part (for me) is hearing the girls come home sharing stories with me about their days at school & interactions with their friends and all of the MANY things they are learning about as they continue to grow too fast! I want to slow down time but I know I can’t, so instead I embrace each season I have with them…

So I kiss the oh so warm summer days goodbye and I welcome the crisp cool breeze of Autumn in the air because with the cool breeze comes a whole new season and a whole new opportunity to embrace each day & create memories with the ones I love! Apple Tree’s Ripe For Picking, Pumpkin Spice Everything, Candy Corn, Color Changing Trees, Leaves Falling, Football & Family, these are the things my Autumn is made of and I hope you with drop back regularly to see how all our Autumn Fun plays out! Now go Dazzle your way through this next season and be sure to take mental stock of the Sweet Summer Season your family enjoyed!

As always, thanks for reading!

~Rebecca

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

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