Thursday, December 1, 2016

Creative and Fun ways to make the Holiday Season Meaningful!

The holiday season can be amazing, traditional, overwhelming, exhausting, fun, crazy, relaxing and a number of other things! However, if we want our Christmas to be meaningful we often have to put a little intention into it. Here are a list, with links, of some fun holiday activities to help you usher in the holiday season with intention!!

Check out a fun free resource here. In fact Focus on the Family has been doing free advent devotions for years and list them on their website as well.

If your kids are into crafts and you have some time, you'll want to check this fun and cheap ebook out here.

My kids and I have been reading this book for years. It's fascinating to learn where so many of our Christmas traditions came from. Check the link out here.
Short on time, but looking for something that includes a devotion and activity? Check this book out here.

Ann Voskamp writes a Family devotion for Christmas as well as one for us mom's to read in our rare--QUIET- times! You can find both these books on Amazon!

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas

 If you do have a little extra time, or want to make time to sit and reflect--how bout a Christmas coloring book with thoughts to reflect on this holiday season. Check it out below?

 Want to get the kids involved in something fun? Check out this  website where you can print off a list of random acts of kindness to do with your kids throughout the month!

 Check out this link to print a Christmas Bucket List for homeschool families!

A few other fun ideas: 
  • Make a stocking for Jesus—and fill it with kind things you you do or say to/for others. Love makes a great gift!
  • Plan a trip to a nursing home or around your neighborhood to deliver cookies and sing a Christmas carol!
  • Have a candy cane hunt with friends. Simply hide candy canes at night, indoors or out! Give all the kids a flashlight and have them collect the candy canes. Then tie it in with a book about the Legend of the Candy Cane and a craft or treat!
  • Serve at a soup kitchen together. Ask a friend, family or neighbor to give you one specific thing you could do to make their life better--then go do it!
  • Declare Cookie Week: Instead of driving yourself crazy to bake all in a day, let each member of family choose one item to bake every day for a week. Let them lead the effort. Baking in small increments is much more enjoyable--and at the end of the week--you have a fridge/freezer full of goodies!

How about you? Do you have any fun and creative ways to make the holidays meaningful? If so, please share! We'd love to hear from you!!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Are We Born Lazy?

Author: Lorrie Young

Last week I had a great conversation with another mother friend who was simply picking my brain about how to get kids to do chores--diligently and consistently. I readily admit this is a struggle with our kids, and probably all kids if we are honest. In fact, I would say it's a struggle for us as adults too! It's not easy to keep the ball moving in the direction of being intentional in all areas of our life, and not drifting toward laziness. Right?

However--Ben and I believe it is a battle worth fighting for. We both grew up in families that modeled hard work, honored it, and taught it. And we are better for it. Sometimes it’s easy to say things like, "Well my son or daughter is such a hard worker by nature...but my other son/daughter is just sort of naturally lazy. We have such a hard time getting him/her to do this or that."

Now this may be 100% true. All children are made with different personalities and bents toward different areas. But is this acceptable? Here's a big secret that keeps me content as a stay-at-home-homeschooling-mother. Listen carefully---I DON'T DO EVERYTHING MYSELF. My kids and husband pull their fair share of the weight around here--we are a family--we encourage, and expect everyone--to be part of our team. Our kids are good kids, and almost always they are willing to help out without much prodding or complaining. Yet our goal--through deliberate training and prayer--is that they will begin to initiate more, and be more attentive to noticing the needs around them and then learn to dive in on their own. I  recently read this quote from a book called Teach your Team to Fish by Laurie Beth Jones:

"When values are internalized
 the need for rules diminishes."

Ben and I truly believe this to be true. The more we help kids understand what the Bible says about something, and then help them to value those things--the less need we will have for rules and charts. They will follow because they want to, and they will see the benefit in doing so. Will this happen overnight? No. Will this happen without intention? No. Will they need reminding? Yes. And re-reminding? Double yes.

As parents, we cannot give up or settle for laziness in our home or or in the hearts of our children. If we have a child that has a tendency toward laziness--we need to sit down and take time to teach, train, and pray for their hearts in this area. We can and should expect greater things from them.  I know sometimes it seems easier to just do something ourselves, rather than teach and train our kids to work hard. But eventually we will get burned out, bitter and annoyed. We aren't doing our family any favors by allowing them to think that someone will always be there to pick up the slack, tend to every need, cover over mistakes, and make sure they don't face the consequences of their laziness.

 Below are some practical tools to help us lead our kids in the right direction. Of course, keep in mind our example, by far, is the most powerful tool! We should take some time to evaluate our own heart, and how we measure up in this area. Then with prayer and God's strength make the necessary adjustments

 This story of The Grasshopper and the Ants drives home the lesson of the consequences of laziness and is a great visual for the kids. Watch the video of the Grasshopper and the Ants here.  See also the printable version of story here.

Something to go along with it find coloring pages and crafts here.

This music album by Sovereign Grace Ministries is awesome, and this song, Lazy Bones is very applicable to this lesson. Ben, myself, and the kids love the entire CD--and often find ourselves singing it around the house. By entire album here.
The bible also has much to say on the topic--and spending some time reading through these verses will be a good reminder for us all.

Top Ten Bible Verses to Combat Laziness:
1. You lazy fool, look at an ant.
Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two.
Nobody has to tell it what to do.
All summer it stores up food;
at harvest it stockpiles provisions.
So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing?
How long before you get out of bed?
A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
poverty your permanent house guest! ~Proverbs 6:6-11 (The Message)

2. Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave. ~Proverbs 12:24 (NLT)

3. A lazy person is as bad as someone who destroys things. ~Proverbs 18:9 (NLT)

4. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. ~Proverbs 31:27 (NLT)

5. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. ~Romans 12:11 (NLT)

6. A shiftless man lives in a tumbledown shack; A lazy woman ends up with a leaky roof. ~Ecclesiastes 10:18 (The Message)

7. Despite their desires, the lazy will come to ruin, for their hands refuse to work. ~Proverbs 21:25 (NLT)

8. A lazy life is an empty life, but “early to rise” gets the job done. ~Proverbs 12:27 (The Message)

9. Those too lazy to plow in the right season will have no food at the harvest. ~Proverbs 20:4 (NLT)

10. Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper. ~Proverbs 13:4 (NLT)

How bout ya'll? Do you think we are born lazy? What are some ways you intentionally teach your children about the value of hard work?

Friday, September 30, 2016

Is Voting Valuable?

Oh My! Elections are right around the corner, friends! Whether we consider ourselves "political" or not, it's difficult to ignore the media, opinions, debates, and signs galore! 

Whatever our views may be, we can all agree that voting gives us a voice--and that's a great thing to teach our children. 

In our house we'll be learning the basics about elections this fall--using several great resources and letting the kids have their own election at home--complete with posters and promotions! 

Activity book here.
Another great resource here.

A friend recently passed on the following statistics that are quite shocking! Only 50% of our church congregations are registered to vote! Out of that 50%, less than half show up to vote. In order for faith-based values to win on Election Day, it makes sense that we need to get out there and vote! 

So let's spend some time this fall learning about the issues, helping our kids understand and appreciate our government system and presidential election! Let's first make sure we are registered to vote! Then grab your kids and GO vote. My husband and I make an effort at every election to take our kids with us right into the voting booth! We want them to value the people that came before us and fought to give us the privilege of voting, and the blessing of having a voice! Remember though, you must register to vote no later than 4pm on October 18, 2016 in order to vote in the November 8, 2016 General Election. Registering to vote is fast and easy. 

At the end of the day we must remember--we can do our part--and we should do our part, but we aren't in control of the end results! I recently read a great article reminding us why we don't need to fear elections. Check it out here.

Happy Voting!

Monday, September 5, 2016

upcoming events and trips!!

One of my favorite things about  being a part of the THESIS family are all the fun opportunities provided for our homeschool kiddos! Kids learn so much by getting out, traveling, and experiencing God's creation! We realize though, just because something fun is offered certainly doesn't mean EVERYTHING is going to fit into your schedule or be of interest to your family. However, we'd love for you to consider some of the fun trips and events going on in September! Hope to see you there!

Cougar    Wildlife Center

WHAT: WEST VIRGINIA WILDLIFE CENTER  see website for directions and information
WHEN:Friday September 16th  10am-12pm 
WHO: EVERYONE! (under 16 free, over 16 $1.00)
RSVP: THIS FRIDAY Sept. 9th (please sign-up at counter and place money in envelope with your name on it, in Karyn Burns mailbox)
*When you enter, there will be arrive-thru pay window on left. Tell them you are with THESIS, and then park. There is a gift shop and parking lot--we will meet around there. After tour there are picnic tables if you would like to pack a lunch. Please arrive at 9:50. Beth Anderson will be in charge that day.

Harvest Festival Poster

WHEN: Sept 17th 4-8pm
WHO: Everyone invited in the community!! THESIS members are asked to donate $5 for corndogs/apples to be sold that evening. Or donate a bag of apples or box of corndogs.  Proceeds benefit THESIS. Please see sign-up sheet on counter. 
NEEDED: Looking for volunteers to work the corndog/apple booth for 1 hour window. Great opportunity for teens/community service or families wanting to serve together!
CONTACT: Miranda Shields at for more information.

CSC Logo

WHAT: CARNEGIE SCIENCE CENTER see website for directions and information
WHEN: Friday September 23rd 10am-4pm
WHO: Everyone welcome! ($7.00/person Parking $5.00/car)
RSVP: Sept 9th (please sign-up at counter and place money in envelope with your name on it in Karyn Burns mailbox)
*You may pack a lunch or eat in the cafeteria. For more information contact Karyn Burns at