How To Teach a Tween Who Already Knows It All

How to Teach A Tween Who Already Knows It All

I don’t know everything.

That’s a fact.

However I do like to think that I know more than an 11 year old.

Apparently that’s become questionable. I have an 11 year old…

and she doesn’t always believe me!

She is indeed a very gifted, intelligent and knowledgeable girl. With a little time and very little guidance she can figure most things out on her own. She has always been able to do that and lately, “I know, mom,” has become one of her favorite phrases.

I am convinced that she has known how to walk and talk since day 6, she just needed to wait for her legs and mouth to catch up!

In fact, I have a very vivid memory of her being obviously frustrated as a 5-month old. She just would not stop bellowing a tearless, yet ferocious cry. This was not just a once in a while occasion, this was sort of her way of life.

Unpredictable, inconsolable, adorable, delightful and persistent!

Beyond the obvious—a diaper change, sleep or food—I could never fully figure out what she needed, what went wrong or how to fix it.

Welcome to motherhood. 

Was It Just Me?

As a new and fairly young mom, I just did not know what to do with her. Surely something was wrong. It had to be.

So I did what I had to do.

One day we hoped in the car and went for a 2 hour drive back home to my family. When we arrived I handed my unhappy baby over to the capable hands of my aunt and immediately found an empty bed and crashed—I needed a nap! Shortly after, I awoke to the oohs and ahhs of a delightful 5-month baby girl. I was so confused.

Was it just me, her mother, that she didn’t like?

My sweet aunt must have recognized the look on my face because she looked up at me and said, “This baby girl is going to be just fine. Nothing is wrong with her, she just knows what she wants and can’t wait to tell you what to do!”

At the time I did not quite know what to do with that information. Eleven years later however, I completely understand what she was saying.

This girl of mine knows exactly what she wants…even when I know better!

Now that she is learning to express herself verbally, think logically and behave rationally (mostly), I find myself trying to balance between a few things.

Between her strength as an amazing young woman and my authority as her mom.

Between her desire for control and God’s call for obedience.

Between her need to express herself and my desire to just fix it.

I am learning how to give her the knowledge I have, but the freedom she needs to process it.

She needs to own her growth.

There is no doubt in my mind that God is writing a beautiful story with her life and one of the hardest challenges I face as her mom is giving her the space she needs to grow in His wisdom and understanding.

Giving Your Tween the Space Needed to Grow

So how do you handle giving your growing tween what she needs regardless of what you know?

Here are 4 tips that are helping me daily:

1.  Do more than you say– even when she doesn’t want to listen, she sees you. Let your life and your actions show her what to do.

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. ~ 1 John 3:18

2.  Ask her questions that you don’t need answered. Ask her questions that cause her to think about what she knows about God and pray that it leads her to seek Him for understanding.

Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance. ~ Proverbs 1:5

3.  Seek Wisdom– we just need it. Always.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. ~ James 1:5

4.  Remember Who She Belongs To.  She has been His and will always be His. He created her just the way she needs to be to fulfill the purpose and plan He has for her life in His Kingdom!

Psalm 139:13-15

For you formed my inward parts;

you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works;

my soul knows it very well.

Blessings,

~ Wynter Pitts, ForGirlsLikeYou

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For Girls Like You: A Devotional for Tweens

For Girls Like You DevotionalTween girls have access to an unbelievable amount of media and information with just a simple click of the remote or mouse. Every outlet they turn to attempts to subtly influence their worldview…and what they believe about themselves directly affects how they live.

Wynter Pitts, founder of For Girls Like You magazine, gives girls a new devotional showing them a correct definition of themselves, opening their eyes to God’s truth and the differerence it makes in their lives. Each daily devotion includes a prayer to help girls apply the lesson. ~ from the Publisher
(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Available here: For Girls Like You: A Devotional for Tweens 

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How to Keep Stress From Stealing Your Joy This Summer

How to Keep Stress from Stealing Your Joy This Summer

The word “summer” did nothing magical to my stress level . . . how about yours?

Okay, granted, we don’t have school schedules or lunches to pack or papers to sign, so for a few days we’ve appreciated a lightened load.

But life as “mom” continues, right?

There are still hungry people around — is it just me, or are they now hungrier? — and there’s still laundry, and errands, and of course the um, “boredom” to deal with.

On top of that, a lot of moms have part-time or full-time jobs, volunteer positions at church, special camps, lessons, practices and who-knows-what-all going on!

I’m preparing to launch a project very near-and-dear to my heart in a few months, so my summer doesn’t quite look like life by the pool either.

But I don’t want to let stress swallow precious memories or steal my joy this summer.

I’m trying to let those shoulder muscles relax while I think about how God wants me to handle everything on my plate.

Wanna give this a try along with me?

First of all, let’s meet with God.

Spiritual warfare is so real, and the battle is never more intense than when my day starts and I think my to-do list has to take priority over time in God’s Word and prayer.

We all know this, right? Yet we forget how it plays out.

Scripture and communion with our Living God changes our perspective, brings light to dark situations, and provides strength for the day.

We need Him, oh we need Him; every hour we need Him… Let’s remember where our help comes from!

Secondly, let’s prioritize.

We will reap what we sow.

A stressed and overworked mom yields a frazzled family.

Too many “good” activities will wear us out. Too much time spent on making money or following a dream and too little time investing in our husbands and children will leave our families emotionally bankrupt.

Conversely, any energy put into our loved ones will yield a bountiful crop of peace, joy, and fun.

Thirdly, let’s remember He’s got this.

Whatever issues are pressing on our hearts and minds aren’t too big for God.

We’ve each got our burdens.

Maybe some things are good stressors — things we’re thrilled about, but things that still take a tremendous amount of output.

Then there are the daily issues — did I mention hungry (or noisy) kids?

And some of us have some heavy stuff as well — things that make us wonder if life will ever be the same again.

But He’s got it all.

There’s truly no need for us to drag this baggage along when He extends the invitation to cast all our anxieties upon Him (1 Peter 5:7).

He cares for us, friend, and He’s going to see us through.

Joy isn’t found in summer, or any particular season, really… It’s in Christ.

It’s in surrendering to Him again, prying our fingers off the stuff we can’t control anyway, and enjoying His goodness.

Let’s experience the love of Christ in the warm days ahead, let’s love on our families, let’s allow Him to amaze us with His faithfulness.

*Have any thoughts to add?

Blessings,
Jennifer
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What You Need to Know – and Bring – If You’re Camping with Kids {& Free Printable Checklist}

Club31Women.com_What You Need to Know- and Bring - If You're Camping with Kids {& Free Printable Checklist}

I know.

You’re a little surprised.

Because you’re having trouble imagining why I – of all people! – would be writing about camping.

As I don’t exactly have the reputation of being a happy camper.

And it’s true. I’m not very enthusiastic about camping.

Of course, I have good reasons for this.

Here, I’ll list a few of them for you.

  1. I don’t like dirt.
  2. I like to sleep in a soft, cozy bed at night.
  3. I don’t care for bugs.
  4. I love my hot shower. Every morning.
  5. I can never seem to find a plug-in for my hair-dryer.

I could go on and on, but that’s really enough to give you the idea, don’t you think?

What to Know and Bring If Camping With Kids

But I Married a Mountain Man

Apparently, I should have spelled all this out to my husband before we got married because, as it turned out, I got myself a regular Mountain Man.

Let’s put it this way: I was raised in the comfortable Southern California suburbs . . . while he was growing up in the great wilderness of northern Canada.

Think civilized, warm sandy beaches vs. sub-zero temperatures and grizzly bears.

Think Ritz Carlton vs. a pup tent.

Basically, I tell people that we have a cross-cultural marriage. Although this did not become fully evident until the day we went . . .

CAMPING.

Oh my.

While I was searching for that cute little cabin in the woods (preferably providing fresh linens each day), he was off somewhere digging a flat spot in the dirt where he could pitch our tent.

Oh my.

By the time I figured out how that (stupid – don’t tell my kids I said that) rickety camp stove worked . . .

he had built a fire….caught a fish…and had cooked it to perfection over the hot coals.

Oh my.

What to Know And Bring When Camping With Kids

But the clincher. And this really was the clincher . . .

Was the red plastic cup that had been innocently set out on the picnic table in front of our camp.

Our darling toddler had somehow escaped my careful watch and grabbed the bright red cup and drank down every last drop.

Which was when his Big Sister screamed.

Screamed good and loud and nonstop.

Entire campground-alarm screaming.

Personally, I found it a bit of an overreaction. I mean, yes, it was her red cup, but it merely contained water and the last I checked, water was readily replaceable.

But when Big Sissy finally calmed down enough to explain her outburst, she told me the problem wasn’t so much the water . . .

but what was in the water.

You see, this was the cup she had used to go “fishing” in the lake that morning. And so this brightly colored cup was full of lake water and . . .

LAKE MINNOWS.

Basically, my sweet baby boy had just swallowed about 147 tiny lake fish.

Raw and wriggling.

Bunches and bunches of bitty fishes down the hatch.

So then it was my turn to SCREAM.

Something of a screaming duet.

Oh my.

What to Know About Camping With Kids

And now you can see why I’m not a huge fan of camping (that, and about 93 other stories just like it).

And why camping with kids is not for the faint of heart.

But also why I’m the perfect person to write up a list for Camping with Kids.

Because, friends, I get it.

You know I do.

Camping With Kids – A Checklist

So I’ve put together a short list of things you might want to pack if you’re up for the adventure. Just a few items – not more than a hundred – that you’ll want to throw in the back of the truck.

And while your husband might complain that you’re “packing as if you’re going up the Amazon,” don’t pay him any attention.

Because, I’m telling you, that this is the stuff that you’re going to need.

What to Know and Bring If You're Camping With Kids - Page 1

 

Download the printable of first page HERE: 

Camping With Kids – Check List (1)

What to Know and Bring If You're Camping With Kids - Page 2

Download the printable of second page HERE: 

Camping with Kids – Check List (2)

The End of the Story

Now, in case you’re wondering, there doesn’t seem to be any lasting harm to eating over a hundred live lake minnows in one gulp because the little guy never complained once. He’s reached 12 years old and appears to be just fine. I mean, he’s turned out to be a very strong swimmer, but I think that’s just a coincidence….?

So with that,  I hope you have many wonderful adventures on your camping trip!

*Just don’t let your babies drink lake water out of bright red cups, okay? 

Blessings on your summer,

Signature small

 

P.S. Would you believe that on our walk together this morning, my husband began planning this summer’s camping trip? Said he wants to go back to some hidden lake—some secret camp-spot that you can only reach by canoe. Oh my. I was afraid to ask him about the bathroom facilities….Pray for me? 😉

100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

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Keeping Tots Out of Trouble: 27 Fun Things for Toddlers To Do At Home {& Printable}

Keeping Tots Out of Trouble: 27 Fun Things for Toddlers to Do At Home

So I happen to be blessed with a bunch of good friends . . .

who also happen to be mothers of young children.

Very young, as a matter of fact.

Little, little, little.

And so our conversation, quite naturally, often turns to the subject of toddlers and all things related.

Finger foods, potty-training, and throwing tantrums.

You know, that kind of stuff.

Although recently the topic revolved more around how quickly these little guys can get into mischief.

Like lightening fast.

And then my dear mom-friends shared how they feel they’re spending a rather large portion of their day keeping these babies out of trouble and telling their tots, NO.

As in,

NO, don’t touch that.

NO, don’t go there.

And, NO, you can’t do that.

And that’s when my mom-friends asked me, “How about you? Were you constantly chasing after your toddlers and telling them NO?”

At which point I replied, “Well, NO, not really.”

Then here’s what I shared.

It’s best to keep those little hands busy so that they don’t have as much time or opportunity to get into trouble.

Oh yes, raising toddlers requires brilliant strategy and creative thinking (and a whole lot of patience). These little people are smart, they’re quick, and they’re curious.

They are also BUSY.

So the key to toddlers is to keep them busy doing what you want them to do, rather than leaving them to their own imagination. Trust me

Keeping Tots Out of Trouble

Now in case you, like my sweet mom-friends, are looking for some fun activities to occupy those darlings at your feet?

I’ve come up with a few tried-and-true ideas for you.

Well, 27 to be exact.

You might notice that a number of them shockingly resemble chores and you may question why work would be on a list for tiny people who can barely walk.

But you know what I noticed early on? These children – starting at the youngest age – love to help. They want to learn how to do things. They also want to be given a bit of responsibility.

And, above all, they want to be with you and do what you’re doing.

So here are some fun ways to do just that . . . .

27 Fun Things for Toddlers To Do At Home

27 Fun Things For Toddlers To Do At Home

1.      Arrange the silverware drawer. It might not be easy for you to let go of your desire for perfectly arranged cutlery but, believe me, it’s worth it.

2.     Plant flower or vegetable seeds/starts. You might be surprised at the hours spent watching those seedlings come up out of the dirt. *Bonus: So many good lessons can be taught with this simple visual. 

3.     “Wash” dishes in soapy sink. Invest in a few unbreakables from the Thrift Store and let them have at it!

4.     Read library books. Come home from the local library with arms full of brightly colored and interesting books to pour over. *Don’t forget the non-fiction section. Some of the best are here: books on animals and plants and bugs are fascinating!

5.     Play in the sprinkler. No explanation necessary.

6.     Set the table with spoons and napkins. They might be slow to start off, but they’ll be experts at setting the table by the time they’re five! You’ll be so glad too….

7.      Blow bubbles. This can provide entertainment for a ridiculous amount of time.

8.      Eat popsicles in the backyard.  Although you might have to hose them off afterward. 😉

9.     Help unload the dishwasher. Have them hand you one plate or cup at a time. You might even want to consider dedicating a lower cupboard to the cause and letting them put the dishes away too.

Keeping Tots Out of Trouble - 27 Fun Ideas for Home

10.    Throw a little tea party for two. A small pitcher of juice and a couple of crackers or cookies can provide more fun than it might first sound.

11.     “Cook” with pots and pans. I know. They’re loud and admittedly obnoxious, but hey! it’s easier to clean up than coloring on the wall . . . right?

12.    Sort beans or popcorn kernels into egg cartons. I think nearly all of my kids had a love affair with the dry navy beans at one point or another. Don’t ask me why. Just go with it.

13.    Play dress-up. *Secret: They usually prefer the “real thing” to the made-for-kids stuff. Back to the Thrift Store! 

14.    Pretend with a large cardboard box. One of my personal favorites. Who would’ve thought so much happiness could come from one over-sized cardboard container? It’s almost worth buying a large appliance, just so you can have the box…

15.    Dust furniture with a small duster. You never know what will grow out of this one! One of my daughters has turned into a dusting-fiend – at the age of 16. Makes me want to hug her just thinking about it!

16.    Throw rocks. The cheapest entertainment anywhere. *Just make sure there are no windows or people nearby?

17.     Clean with a small water-sprayer and rag. You know those 99-cent spray bottles you find at the check-out of nearly any retail store? Buy FIVE of them! You won’t be sorry. And think how your house will sparkle!

18.    Water the garden. Hand that kid a hose or small watering-can and watch the joy!

Keeping Tots Out of Trouble - 27 Fun Activities to Do At Home

19.    Enjoy a picnic outside. One blanket + sandwich + drink = good times.

20.   Play Dough with cookie cutters are fun! Yes, there’s some mess involved, but it could be worse…?

21.    Tape “butcher paper” across the kitchen table and color away. So much freedom and expression when there are no lines or limits to the coloring!

22.    Play in the dirt. Yep. Forget keeping your kid clean for an afternoon. Our 19-year-old daughter says that it’s one of her happiest memories….So what’s a little dirt after all?

23.    “Sort” laundry – towels and washcloths are easiest. As long as you’re not a control-freak, this is a terrific chore for small people.

24.    “Organize” the pantry. I actually made the entire bottom level of our pantry “kid-friendly.” All cans and buckets – they were allowed to “organize” to their heart’s content. Highly recommended. 

25.    Stack the bookshelves. Similar to the above, the lower shelves were dedicated to kids’ books and it was their “job” to stack them.

26.    Scrub the kitchen floor with little scrub brush. I mop while he/she scrubs. Cleaning buddies. And we still clean together, even though they’re now grown up!

27.    Cuddle with mommy. The best of all and the funnest thing ever.

Keeping Tots Out of Trouble - 27 Fun Things for Toddlers to Do At Home

To download this free printable, click the link below: 

27 Fun Things for Toddlers to Do At Home

So enjoy those precious ones, my friends. I’m thankful for you and your faithful mothering.

And don’t forget to give them a little love from me!

Blessings,

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*So what would you add to my list here? I always appreciate hearing your ideas too!

100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

That Thing Every Mom Should Know About Raising Children {& What I Wish Someone Told Me 20 Years Ago}

That Thing Every Mom Should Know About Raising Children {& What I Wish Someone Told Me 20 Years Ago}

It was a few weeks before final exams, and one of my students was pushing back about how hard he thought the final would be. He looked at me with eyes filled with fear and said, “What about my 4.0?”

Freeze frame.

This could go two ways.

The normal me, the one I brought into parenting and brought into the classroom when I got my teaching job, would melt into a puddle of acquiescence. I would apologize for how hard I had made the exam. I would be thinking really fast about how I could change the test, in order to make this student happy.

But not this day.

On this day I brought something new with me to school –something untried and a little dangerous if you ask me. Something you have to have, moms:

A backbone.

“You’re just going to have to study hard, if you want to do well,” I told the student. (Would someone please present this woman a medal of valor?)

The Great Pushback

When I began parenting and then began teaching, I was completely unprepared for the way children and students would resist any work that was unpleasant or difficult.

I was blindsided by the quiet FORCE, which can be a two-year-old little boy who does not want to clean up his toys, thank you very much, or it can be a 16-year-old student who is bored and does not feel like studying vocabulary today.

“Do we have to make flashcards?”

“Do I have to empty the dishwasher right this second?”

Or a big sigh, with eye-roll, indicating the mother is evil for asking so much.

I think there should be a class for moms when a child turns 17-months-old, just before he begins what I am naming “The Great Push Back.” (Cue ominous music.)

We will call the class Resistance Training 101.

When a child turns 11, there will be a mandatory refresher course called Get a Backbone, Mom. Get a Backbone. Or maybe Stand Your Ground, Woman.

The class would require role play, where the mom would have to pass through a battery of scenarios, in which the child would give the most woeful look of misery, after being told to carry out a task. The mom would have to insist the child do the task anyway. If she were to cave in to “the look,” she would have to run three laps and do 20 burpees. Then she would have to enter the scenario again, from the beginning, until she got it right.

If you are a new mom, you cannot even imagine how that wee babe will one day push against your authority. You cannot even imagine it.

But let me tell you what I wish someone had told me 20 years ago: If you require your child to empty the dishwasher in the moment in which you have asked her to do it, she will not die.

She will be okay.

The look on her face and the stance of her body will communicate otherwise, but these expressions are nothing but smoke and mirrors. She will be fine. I promise. She won’t be happy, but unhappiness is not harmful.

Unhappiness is not harmful.

Unhappiness is not harmful.

Unhappiness is not harmful.

Part of backbone training is to define what we want for our children (and our students, if you’re a teacher.) We have to know the end goal and care about our kids enough to keep them on course toward maturity and responsibility, despite their objections.

One day  your child will thank you for teaching him good work ethic. He’ll thank you for it.

So stand firm.

~ Christy Fitzwater

100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

3 Ways To Growing Your Family’s Identity in Christ

3 Ways to Grow Your Family's Identity in Christ

We are a family of girls, four of them to be exact.

Within a 5-year span, my husband and I found ourselves surrounded by various shades of pink and we’ve loved it ever since!

I often joke that I should wear a sign that reads, “Yes, 4 girls! And yes, they are all mine!”

My husband’s version would probably read, “Nope, no boys.”

Whether on a family trip to the park, a daddy date to the movies or a mommy outing to the dollar store, we are reminded by others that our hands are full.

I could not agree more.

Our hands are full, but not by the implied definition.

Let me explain.

There is no denying that raising children, boys and girls, is a big job that requires all hands on deck. But our responsibility as parents is much greater than sorting through hair bows, counting chicken nuggets, finding shin guards, and keeping track of the heads that enter and exit our minivans. Yes, that is a plural – minivans. My husband needs another shirt that reads, “Real men drive a minivan.”

But furthermore, our hands are full because we are called to be the heart, hands and feet of Jesus to those around us.

Being a Christ-focused family is what defines us.

Raising Christ-loving, world-changers, is what we are striving to do.

Four daughters are what He gave us.

As a family, our responsibility is to personalize our journey together and intentionally live His identity out loud.

As God’s chosen people our identity must be rooted in His grace and defined by His love.

1 Peter 2:9 

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

In every season, phase and stage of our journey as a family, we are seeking to make Christ the focus and the priority of our hearts and our actions by committing to these 3 things.

Join me on this journey!

3 Ways to Grow Your Family's Identity in Christ

Raising A Christ-Focused Family

  1. Follow Jesus passionately

19 And He said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”” Matthew 4:19

Christ reminds us that our ability to lead others to Him is only possible through our ability to seek and to follow Him. Our passionate pursuit of a real and vibrant relationship with Jesus has a direct impact on our ability to lead others, including our children, to God’s grace. As a family, are you committed to following Jesus, wherever that may lead?

  1. Lead them wholeheartedly

Ironically, leading starts with following. With Christ as the head, set clear boundaries and expectations for areas that you want your family to grow. And ultimately, lead the way by example.

  1. Serve others enthusiastically.

“…even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”” Matthew 20:28

Choose to give of yourselves. Whether you are serving each other, your church, or your community, find ways to give. Do it even when it means sacrifice. Is your family giving of its own time in order to serve your neighborhood, church, or another family? Are you serving each other?

Identity is everything.

Not just what people see in glimpses as you trek through the grocery store, but what you believe and how you live is what defines who you are.

When the world sees us, they must see Christ.

~ Wynter Pitts, ForGirlsLikeYou

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For Girls Like You: A Devotional for Tweens

For Girls Like You DevotionalTween girls have access to an unbelievable amount of media and information with just a simple click of the remote or mouse. Every outlet they turn to attempts to subtly influence their worldview…and what they believe about themselves directly affects how they live.

Wynter Pitts, founder of For Girls Like You magazine, gives girls a new devotional showing them a correct definition of themselves, opening their eyes to God’s truth and the differerence it makes in their lives. Each daily devotion includes a prayer to help girls apply the lesson. ~ from the Publisher
(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Available HERE: For Girls Like You: A Devotional for Tweens 

 

100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).