Looking for Fun Things to Do with the Kids?
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Summer is in full swing, and I have a feeling you may be looking for a few quick ideas to do with the kids. Here’s a some home-spun, creative fun:

Squirt Bottle Showdown – Have super soak wars using squirt bottles from the dollar store. Begin by allowing each child to decorate their own bottle with stickers and permanent markers.  Fill the bottles with water and create fun competitions. Try pushing a beach ball simply by squirting it. If you have a group, stand in a circle and try squirt-pushing the ball toward each other. If the ball touches someone, they are out of the circle. Shaving cream or soap foam can be added. Simply cover each other with foam (below the neck) and then have fun squirting each other clean. No squirting in the face.

Wacky Wardrobe– For indoor amusement, create silly hats and crazy outfits using items you have around the house. Foil, paper towels, gift bows, cereal boxes, wrapping paper. Use tape or string to hold it all together. Gallon jugs make great super hero helmets – just cut away the handles and cover the helmet with foil.  Allow your creative juices to flow as you design a wacky wardrobe. Show off with a fashion show, and don’t forget to video it.

Space Rock Scavenger Hunt – For indoor or outdoor fun, create a unique hunt with or without clues depending on the ages of your kids. All you need is some aluminum foil. Take a square of foil and crumple it up into a ball – and voila – you have a space rock.  Now hide the rocks just as you would hide Easter eggs around your house or yard. You can also put little items inside the foil (candy, favorite little toys, money, trinkets). You may want to give your super space heroes a helmet as they go on their scavenger hunt using the idea from Wacky Wardrobe (above).

Kitchen Kreations – Together with the kids, choose an interesting and delightful recipe from Pinterst. Make your shopping list, go to the store and then make the creation together.  Be sure to take pictures. You may want to assign one child at a time to pick the creation that everyone will make together. Be sure to divide responsibilities of pouring and stirring.

 

Don’t forget to be deliberate about good hearty discussions around the dinner table or in the car during those long vacation trips. Here’s a few conversation starters.

 

  • If you could choose to be any person in American History, who would you be and why?
  • If you could fly like a bird, where is the first place you would visit?
  • Which super-power do you wish you possessed?
  • Where is the one place in the world you never want to go?
  • Describe the movie you would create if you were a Hollywood director.

 

For more ideas and conversations starters, check out my $5 Special this month. It includes two books,

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Fun House and Table Talk. Click Here for more info.

 

The Mess of Summer
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kids in sprinklers

It can be the best of times. It can be the worst of times. Most of us know it as summer time. Yes, there is the joy of being with the kids, having a laid-back schedule and just enjoying some good summer games and activities. On the flip side, the heat, the togetherness and the clashes between siblings can tend to try a mom’s patience. There is also the mess that comes from having a houseful of kids (plus there friends and cousins).

As positive moms, we can’t go through life worrying about the mess!  Now, I know that we need to maintain responsibility and not allow people to go wild in our homes, but there is a healthy balance.  I have found it helpful to have things on hand to prevent any major messes (such as plastic table clothes and plenty of coasters for drinks).   I have learned that most things do clean up fairly easily, and of course people are more important than things.  Let your kids know what is expected of them, and also let them know their limits.

My friend Jennifer wrote a poem when her kids were little concerning mess.  Just a little insight into Jennifer, she had a business in which she organized people’s clutter.  You can imagine with her personality she is one who enjoys life when all her ducks are in a row.  Then she had kids, and realized that it’s not so easy to maintain the “perfect house.”  Consider her words:

Blessed Messes

By Jennifer McMahan

 

You’ll find them in the kitchen

And scattered down the hall,

 

Some are in the closets

And many a bedroom wall,

 

Some are made of crayon

And others red sticky jelly…

 

But the one I love the most

Is the carpet vermicelli.

 

Once there was a time when

I would not have been so calm,

 

But God has changed my heart

And blessed me as a Mom.

 

Jennifer’s poem is a reminder to us all that life is messy, people are messy and summer fun may be messy, but there are tremendous blessings because of the mess.  If we can maintain the outlook of openness to joy, laughter and fun, while ignoring the urge to keep everything perfect, we too can experience the wonder of hospitality and delighting in the people God has brought in our home.

 

For more fun ideas check out A Positive Plan for Creating More Fun, Less Whining on my website http://positivewomanconnection.com/books/  You may also be interested in my $5 special this month. Two books, Fun House (How to Make your Home the Fun Place to Be) and Table Talk (Conversations Starters for the Family

Don’t Tell Your Kids They’re Great
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Flattery will get you nowhere, and that’s especially true when it comes to praising our kids. When we indiscriminately lavish our kids with insincere words of praise, we may actually put them at a disadvantage instead of bolstering their ability to achieve. Kids who internalize their parent’s over-inflated views of themselves not only tend to become narcissistic, but they also put out less effort when it comes to applying the gifts and abilities they do have.

In their book Nurture Shock, authors Bronson and Merryman site a study of fifth graders which revealed that kids who were praised for “being smart” did not perform as well as those who were encouraged for their effort. The study found that “emphasizing effort gives a child a variable that they can control,” but when kids were praised for just being smart, they tended to discount the importance of their own effort.

Simply telling children a blanket statement like, “You’re great,” may bolster their ego for a moment, but it won’t necessarily help them in the long run. Yet, parents shouldn’t be too quick to swing the pendulum in the other direction either. Research also shows that when encouragement is given in the right way, it can be a powerfully motivating factor in our children’s lives. How do parents know how to encourage their kids without overindulging? Here are a few tried and true principles to follow:

• Be sincere and specific when praising your kids.
• Commend your kids for their effort and hard work.
• Guard against comparing your kids to others, and instead encourage personal bests.
• Notice and highlight positive actions which your kids choose to exhibit toward others such as kindness, patience, sharing and compassion.
• Encourage learning and growth through their challenges and mistakes.
• Teach your kids the importance of encouraging and cheering for others.

Instead of simply telling your kids that they are awesome, use precise words to highlight their hard work, wise choices and honest achievements. When we offer sincere and specific words of affirmation, we not only give the gift of encouragement to our child, but we tie it with a bow and attach a note that says, this is meant only for you. Let us be givers of good gifts through our words and our presence.

For more keys to being a positive parent check out:
The Power of a Positive Mom

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book goes to ENGAGE Parenting Initiative, encouraging moms in at-risk communities. www.EngageParenting.com

When your Faith Feels Weak
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Have you ever struggled with your faith or dealt with feelings of doubt? Most of us wrestle with faith issues at some point in our lives. Perhaps your prayers have not been answered the way you thought they should. Or maybe you have been walking through unexpected difficulties, and you question where is God in all of this? When your faith feels weak, do not despair but rather take your doubts to a loving God. This month at Positive Woman Connection we will be talking about how to deal with the doubts that creep into your heart. Join us on Tuesday, April 28 from 12-1:00 at Bent Tree Country Club in north Dallas. We look forward to seeing you, and we encourage you to invite a friend to join you.
To make your reservations, click here or email Donna at dskell@roaringlambs.org

Come to the Table
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When my kids were young, I tried to make dinner time around the table a priority, and it wasn’t easy. Between soccer practice and gymnastics and homework, it was hard to bring everyone together at the table. Yet, recent studies reveal that having dinner together as a family at least four times a week has a positive effect on a child’s development. A consistent family dinner time has been linked to lower risk of obesity, substance abuse, and eating disorders, and an increased chance of graduating from high school. Time around the table together not only provides an opportunity for conversation, but it also bolsters a sense of security and togetherness. Studies also show that children who eat dinner with their family are more likely to understand, acknowledge, and follow the boundaries and expectations set by their parents.
Now if we can see the benefits of time around the dinner table together as a family, how much more is our life enriched as we sit at the table of our heavenly Father? Dining with Him and enjoying the rich nourishment from His word will not only give us a sense of security and togetherness, but will also make us more aware of His direction and desires for our lives. Spending time with our Father develops a deeper and richer relationship with Him and helps us in relating to others as well. Whether we are talking about family dinners or focused time with our heavenly Father, it begins with a decision, recognizing that this time is important enough in my life that I will make every effort to make it happen.
It’s easy to become content with being “lukewarm” in our spiritual lives and actions. Instead of seeing our need for Him, we try to work it out ourselves and blow through our day in our own strength. It’s interesting that Jesus addressed this very tendency in the book of Revelation. He said He would rather us be hot or cold than to be “lukewarm.” And then he added the antidote to spiritually lukewarm-ness, “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20). It’s not just an antidote; it’s an invitation. God wants us to fellowship with Him, to dine with Him and commune with Him. Our part is to listen to His voice, open the door, and spend time with Him. This is how we guard against being lukewarm, and are empowered to live a vibrant and meaningful life.
As we abide with Him, we find strength and guidance. We experience a peace that passes all understanding as we give our cares and worries to Him. We gain a new perspective on life as we thank Him and praise Him for all He has done and will do and is doing in our lives. God has wired us in such a way that we find our soul’s refreshment from our fellowship with Him. As a father has compassion on His children, so our Father has compassion on us. He welcomes us into His loving embrace each day. How can we not accept the invitation to sit at the table with Him?

This is an excerpt from Becoming a Woman of the Word. To get your copy, go to www.PositiveWomanConnection.com

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