The Story Traveler’s Bible: 5 Easy Ways We Teach Our Children About God

5 Ways we teach our children about God

Our number one priority is that we set our children off on the right track spiritually.

We aren’t training them to live to please just their parents, society, or a set of rules.  Once you’re an adult, those things all become mushy anyway.

We’d rather they have a relationship with God. It’s not about religion; it’s about knowing how to pray, knowing why they believe, having faith, and making these choices on their own. It’s about feeling responsible to a being higher than ourselves.

We want them to know that through any crisis in life, and the good times too, they can cry to Jesus, to our Heavenly Father. Alan and I will eventually die. Their brothers will too, so they need someone who will always be there. That’s what they can find in their relationship with God.

The Story Traveler's Bible 5 Ways we teach our children about God

Here are 5 super simple ways we foster their relationship with God:

 

#1. We teach them to pray.

From the time they are babies, we pray with each child individually before they go to bed at night. Sometimes it’s just Alan or me, but usually it’s both of us with each boy. When they are babies, I say all the words.

By the time they are talking, I let them say their own prayers, and I give them ideas for what to say by having them repeat after me. I change it up, not saying the same old thing every night.

For example:

“Thank you for this day. Thank you for my mommy, my daddy, my brothers, and (whoever else comes to mind). Thank you for my toys. Thank you for my house. Thank you for my food. Please help (insert sick relative) get better. Amen.”

By the time they are 3, they rarely repeat after me. They say whatever is on their mind, and sometimes it is adorable, and sometimes it is downright hilarious.

One of my boys used to say, “Thank you for

my mom and dad. Thank you for polar bears. Please help the polar bears. Thank you for badgers, raccoons, sun bears, grizzly bears, dolphins, beluga whales…” and he’d go on and on and on naming every animal he knew. So precious.

As they get older, we add in teaching them about praying for forgiveness when they’ve hurt their brother or disobeyed.

 

 

5 Ways we teach our children about God

Daniel, proudly displaying an award he earned at church.

#2. We take them to church.

It’s so much work when they are little to get them all cleaned up and dressed and to the church on time, but it’s so incredibly worth it. Hearing these Bible stories from another adult, hearing about how God loves them, and getting another Christian’s perspective on walking with the Lord is powerful. 

It backs up everything they are learning at home, encourages them in their faith, and exposes them to other leaders and kids like them. I have had so many mentors over the years that were my Sunday school teachers and other Christians who enhanced my understanding with their unique experiences.

 

5 Ways we teach our children about God

 

#3. Talking about what the Bible says

I should actually do this more. I tend to remember when I discipline the boys. I tell them, “Hey, Mom doesn’t like to punish you, but it’s my job. God tells me to. The Bible says an undisciplined son is a shame to his parents.” And well, we all know that’s true.

I try to remember to use Biblical examples when I’m coaching them on how to handle difficult people or situations or jobs.

#4. Modeling good habits

Feel free to laugh at me here because I guarantee you I’ve taught about as many bad habits as I have good…ahem…

But that’s okay. Kids need to know that people aren’t perfect, and we have to love and accept all sorts of people and be very forgiving.

We all know “more is caught than taught.” I want my children to see me reading my Bible, see me praying, see me helping the poor, and know that I am a kind, loving person who truly believes what I’m teaching.

For example….

I remember when I was home-schooling. Caleb and I were both going through a phase where we were having trouble with our out-of-control emotions. His was probably the result of my BAD modeling because I was going through a difficult time, but at least I was able to coach him on how to control his own emotions, by learning from my own mistakes.

I said, “Caleb, you may not ever be able to master your feelings on your own. When you feel that anger start to rage, and you want to give in to it, immediately stop and pray. Pray for God to help you keep it together.”

So one day, one of my boys came in, all upset and indignant, to tell on Caleb.

“Mom! Mom! I accidentally (did whatever), and Caleb got mad, and he HIT me, and then he just got down on his knees and started PRAYING!” said the flabbergasted and deeply offended brother.

I was so happy I could have soared with the birds.

“Oh, wow! That’s wonderful!” I joyfully answered.

“What! Wonderful?? What! He HIT me!!”

“Don’t you see? It would’ve been much worse for you if he hadn’t stopped and prayed. He stopped and prayed to keep from hitting you any more. Be thankful!”

 

#5. Using illustrated children’s Bibles to teach them God’s Word, like the Story Traveler’s Bible.

Reading the Bible to the boys goes over a whole lot better when we use a book with mesmerizing pictures, like this one. You should’ve heard the weeping and gnashing of teeth we used to hear when Alan would make our 7, 6, and 2 year olds listen to an entire chapter of the KJV Bible straight up.

Bible time should not be torture. We’ve come a long way since then.

Allow me to introduce you to a fabulous new children’s Bible that our family is currently enjoying reading:

5 Ways we teach our children about God

Includes 85 Bible stories

I love the details of the Bible stories that it includes.  Plus, it’s so helpful how she includes these memory verses in the margins!

5 Ways we teach our children about God 5 Ways we teach our children about God

The boys love the brightly colored illustrations by Tim Crecelius.

5 Ways we teach our children about God

In fact, for a week I could not find the book, and I thought I’d looked everywhere. It finally turned up in my nine-year-old’s room, in his little reading corner.

Now that’s good silent reading material!

5 Ways we teach our children about God

Look at these beautiful pages:

5 Ways we teach our children about God

In this book, 3 modern boys and girls travel through time and visit all of these old Bible stories and places.

5 Ways we teach our children about God

the Samson story

 

 

5 Ways we teach our children about God

 

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You can order the Story Traveler’s Bible here, for $9.94 from Amazon.

I hope you got some ideas or found some of this helpful. If you have any ideas to add or questions to ask, comment below.  Good luck on the giveaway!!

 

 

4 Almost Free Ways to Spend Time Together as a Family + Giveaway

4 Almost Free Ways to Spend Time Together as a Family + Giveaway

As much as we’d love to be a Disney family, high tailing it off to Orlando a few times a year, that’s not really practical for most of us, is it? No, and even if you do, there will be plenty of time between to fill up with memories at home.

Here are 3 things I’ve found lately to have a BLAST with my children without spending much money at all and without leaving our house.

4 Almost Free Ways to Spend Time Together as a Family

Retail $34.95 on Amazon. I got it for $3.95 at Goodwill! Hurray!!

Board Games

This one can be even cheaper than you think. I buy almost all of our games at Goodwill or other local thrift stores. Part of Daniel’s birthday gift this year was an Angry Birds game I found for $3.95 at Goodwill. Maybe $3.95 doesn’t sound cheap, but when you figure the whole family could play it, it was in perfect condition, and retail it would have been more like $34, it starts to sound like a steal.

This morning we paid Spongebob Monopoly, and while 3 of 4 boys quit early on from boredom, Daniel hung in there and beat me SOUNDLY.

So did everyone have fun? Sort of. Everyone did for a little while. And one of them had the special honor of beating mom. Also, he learned so much about counting money and making change.

 

We bought this net for ~$40. This one at Amazon actually comes with birdies and rackets.

Playing Sports Outside…..and yeah, sometimes inside

What we play depends on what they are into at the time. Last year it was always baseball. Now it’s mostly basketball, but lately we’ve been all about badminton.

Here’s my best tips for introducing your kids to badminton or tennis:

  1. Buy any racquets at thrift stores. Thrift stores almost always have tennis rackets, and when you are playing at home, you can totally play badminton with big giant tennis rackets. In fact, it makes it easier for the kids to hit the birdie.
  2. If you don’t have a net, designate a line on the driveway as your “net”. By the way, the one above is a nice one. You can also buy super cheap ones, but I can’t vouch for how good they will be, but they might be better than just the line on the driveway. Ha!
  3. Our family just used the crack in the driveway as our “net” until we had time to go buy a net.

Most sports can be simulated at home without actually owning the equipment. In most cases, you just need a ball.

4 Almost Free Ways to Spend Time Together as a Family + Giveaway

Charades!

ABSOLUTELY FREE: CHARADES!!!

Alan took some papers, cut them into squares and wrote names of people we know, movies we’ve watched, and places we’ve been to on them. Then he made a paper bag for each category, and put the papers in the bags for us to draw out.

The boys LOVED it. It was more personal this way. We used family members, and then they’d act out what they’ve noticed about those family members. The cutest was when they were being their cousin Wesley, and they got on their knees, to show they were short, and then went around hugging everyone! Ha!!!

For places, we used random ones like the driveway, the pumpkin patch, and places we used to live. Just talking about it makes me want to do this again. We all laughed so much.

Include the little ones too. Just whisper in their ear how to act it out. As long as there’s one person to guess, you’re good. When toddlers get involved, I promise it will be hilarious. They may even announce to everyone who they are being, like JD does, and that’s okay.

Turn something they LOVE into a family activity!

Light sabers? Family jousting tournament

Legos? Building contest! And name a different prize for each kid. Maybe even make little construction paper ribbons.

Dancing? Dance Party.

For example, the ever so obnoxious BOTTLE FLIPPING!!

Does any mom or teacher out there not hate this activity? Why? It’s loud. It’s annoying, and it always spills water.

Did you know they make games for Bottle Flipping? As in board-game like games? They do!

 

We chose this one. It’s $24.95 on Amazon.

 
I decided to give this a shot. This is the very first time I had ever attempted to flip a bottle, and I’m here to tell you it is way HARDER than it looked! I have new respect.

4 Almost Free Ways to Spend Time Together as a Family + Giveaway

Best of all, my older boys got a real kick out of me participating in bottle flipping with them. My oldest wasn’t even going to play with us at first, but once he saw us having fun, he joined in and then insisted that we play again.

4 Almost Free Ways to Spend Time Together as a Family + Giveaway

Score board, caps, and cards are all included. Cards are funny. One said, put your elbow in your shirt, and flip the bottle like a T-Rex. Haaaa!!!

In fact, I want you all to join in on this fun, so this week we are giving the Bottle Flippin’ Game away for FREE to one of you!

***This giveaway is sponsored by the Bottle Flip Game.***

I love giveaways!!!

To enter just Log in with Facebook or your email below, and click one of the options. If you have trouble, just send me your email address, and I’ll enter ya.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Good luck!!!

Making Do and Yard Sale-ing: How we send our kids to private school

making-do-and-yard-sale-ing: how we pay for 3 kid in private school

Our family is living on a budget for the first time…..since 8 years ago when we read that Dave Ramsey book.

This year was a huge change. We went from paying about $3,000/year in school tuitions to Classical Conversations and preschool to paying about $15,000/year total in private school tuitions. That’s two full school tuitions plus a partial one for my kindergartener, who has a partial scholarship. It was a big jump. We realized we were going to have to make major changes in how we live to pay for all of this.

I want to share what we are doing to make this work:

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#1. We down-sized our house.

We went from a 5-bedroom home in luxurious Monterey, California to a 3-bedroom home in Georgia. The difference is so vast, but I’ve actually enjoyed this change! No more stairs to go up and down. Hmmm Maybe that’s why I’ve gained weight….Plus, our new house still comfortably fits us. It has everything we need, and it came with a way better backyard, so this was not a hardship. This was a win. We only lost about 500 square feet. We ditched a room or two worth of furniture, and all is well.

We do have four kids in a 3-bedroom house, but only one of them complained, and I think it’s good for them.

#2. I took on a part-time writing gig with MontereyPremier.com in September, and I resumed product reviews and sponsored posts here on Stories of Our Boys.

Every little bit helps, and I’m still spoiled because I’m working from home. I still get to be with my three-year-old all day long. I can still cook dinner by 12 pm, and I’m able to pick up the boys from school every day. The only hitch is that I literally get paid by how much I work, so if I spend my day jumping on the trampoline with JD, baking, and sweeping, I don’t actually make any money at all. Ha….yeah, that happens a lot..

#3. We cut the bi-weekly cleaning lady, the gym, the pest control service, and the lawn care service.

Yes, we would like to have ALL of those services, but they are a luxury, not a necessity.

#4. We are “making do” with things that we’d like to replace, and saving up money to replace them later, rather than spending all we have or taking on a car payment.

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My minivan? It’s a 2007. One of the doors has taken on a mind of its own, so you now have to do these special maneuvers to get it to close, and if you do it wrong it will go “Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding!” Only it won’t start all that dinging until AFTER the car is driving, so then you have to find a place to pull over and shut that door to save your sanity. Also, the defroster is having issues. I guess that’s what paper towels are for.

The minivan is paid for, and the engine runs perfectly. Just don’t stand in the trunk putting away groceries too long because it will randomly start to close the trunk door on your head. Nice little adrenaline rush as you quickly remove all body parts and small children out of the way!!!

However, we are thankful that we have two cars that run. That van has never broken down, and it has 4 good tires. We’ll make do another year.

My mattress? 

It’s 14 years old, and my hips were starting to hate, hate, hate my flattened out old mattress. It wasn’t giving much anymore. Soooo…we bought a $25 quilted mattress cover. That didn’t help much. Then we bought a $15 egg crate and put that on top of the quilted mattress cover, and we’re good again! That’ll buy us another year, I’m hoping.

Our sofa?

Well….we’ve only had it for 3 years, but it got ripped in a few places with the move. I don’t even know how because it was all wrapped and padded. I have no idea why we didn’t put in a claim on it while we had the chance, but we didn’t, so now we are stuck with a sofa that’s all hurt looking and sad.

It’s on my list to get replaced first, but not until Christmas is taken care of. Here’s hoping for a new sofa in January or February!

#5. My favorite part: Yard Sale-ing!!!

You might recall that my parents had a house fire this year, so when we moved down here I started going to yard sales with my folks. It is so addictive!!!

Here’s a list of some of my amazing finds:

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I brought this bench home seriously muddy, but I spent an hour scrubbing it down, and it’s lookin’ good!

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My fall porch–Time to re-decorate again! Oh, and that ‘Welcome’ pumpkin door sign? It was only $15 at Big Lots.

-2 benches for $10 each

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$1 wall art. I love this, and I sometimes remember to pray before I hit the sales that I will find things we need at good prices.

 

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$1

 

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Look how pretty!!! Excuse the background. If I cleaned up all these photos, I’d never finish a blog post!

-Large Coach bag in PERFECT condition–for only $25!!!

-5 pairs of boys size 14 blue jeans for $2 a pair! Wow!

ladies shirts $1/shirt

-yoga pants $1

jdbaby

-Mom got a computer chair for $5!

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-Sunglasses $1

-Baseball themed ceiling fan for half of what you’d pay in the store–I can’t remember how much! But it’s in one of the bedrooms at my parents’ new house now!

-Countless costumes, toys, books, and games

This is my new hobby. I’m all about it. Now I do realize that many people are into the Facebook yard sales now, the perpetual bargain fares. But have you noticed how over-priced they are? I can rarely save much over what I’d pay retail on those sites. Yard sales are still my favorite.

Thrift stores can be good too. I recently bought a nice set of shelves for only $15, plus a bag of AR books, all at Goodwill.

I love Aldi.

I love Aldi.

#6. Buying groceries at Aldi

I’m not a coupon-er, so I have to find the absolute most affordable place to go grocery shopping. Aldi is the cheapest store near me. The commissary is usually a great deal too, if you are military. But the best way to find out what place has the most affordable food is to shop a different store each week and make a comparison chart. When we lived in Texas, I was surprised to realize that Walmart actually was the cheapest, even better than the commissary!

I hope I’ve given you some ideas here for ways to stretch your budget. We are constantly looking for more ideas! Please share in the comments or email if you have more ideas for how you save money! How do you “make do” and find discounts?

Speaking of discounts….don’t forget to enter my gratitude giveaway….

parentinghack

Just log in via FB or email, and choose 1 or 2 options! Good luck!!!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

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