It Happened so Quickly / Activities to do With Your Kids

fullsizeoutput_929cIt happened so quickly.

My son, Bates, was seven years old when he started coughing up blood uncontrollably – over and over – it wouldn’t stop.

Earlier that morning, my son was happy as can be. He had his tonsils out several weeks before, but was ready to go to school.

I got a call to sub last minute in the classroom across the hall, and boy am I glad I took that job.

While I was teaching, my two daughters rushed across the hall to me (they’re triplets and were all in the same class). Out of breath, they said, “Mommy, Bates is spitting up blood. You need to come.”

The situation was far worse than I imagined.

One of his arteries had opened in his throat. I remember the horrific scene of him leaning over the sink in the classroom, the teacher rushing the other kids outside.

I rubbed his back in panic mode, wondering, When will the bleeding stop? What if it doesn’t stop?

The school jumped into emergency mode and the ambulance was on its way.

We had a moment in the foyer of the school – my son was in the wheelchair, the amazing school nurse held the cup for him to cough into, and I prayed for him.

I didn’t know who else was near me – I didn’t care. I asked Jesus to heal Bates, then and there. I prayed the Lord would stop the bleeding and that the power of Jesus would heal him, quickly.

As we waited for the ambulance, we saw bits of smiles rise from my son’s lips. Even though it was still actively bleeding, he had stopped coughing.

I could breathe. He was turning a corner.

Bates spent the night in the hospital and his artery closed, so he didn’t need surgery. We are so grateful to the Lord for healing Bates, how quickly he recovered, and the strength he had throughout it.

Fast forward to last night (a year and a half later), my son ran downstairs, fell into my arms, tears streaming down his cheeks. He had his first nightmare about it – he said he was coughing up blood at the hospital and was so scared.

I cuddled him into my arms, giving thanks to the Lord that I could cuddle him into my arms – that he was here.

Earlier that day, I was frustrated with him for not remembering to put something away. And, in this moment, I could have cared less about that – how trivial it seemed.

I was just so grateful that he’s alive, well, thriving.

Mamas, I know it’s so easy to take our children for granted. I catch myself doing it at times. But, let’s remember that they are gifts – gifts we could lose in an instant.

I’ve heard about two families who lost their little angels just today. My heart aches for them. It’s another reminder to treasure what is right in front of us.

Today, our kids are here, with us. Today, we get the luxurious gift to hold them, be with them, walk alongside them.

It doesn’t mean we can’t have time to ourselves. I think that is healthy and makes us better moms.

But, in the midst of the daily burdens and beauties, let’s enjoy them and not forget to let them know we are for them and on their side. Deep down, they long for our acceptance.

Today, we get the chance to be for our kids, with our kids. What a gift.

“Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3



When my natural reaction is to ignore my kids’ bad behavior and pretend it’s not happening, these words in Proverbs make me want to follow through.

One thing I have learned is that consequences work far better than constant reminders. Children remember consequences. They empower kids to change their behavior.

I don’t think that means we should constantly be throwing out consequences. I think some reminders are great and offer grace. Lord knows I need reminders.

But, if we get to the point where we want to pull our hair out from the continuous reminders or our kids get to the point where they don’t do something unless we ask several times, something needs to change.

Maybe we can come up with a reward system if it’s a behavior that needs to be practiced (I’m all about positive reinforcement). See my post about a reward system that worked for my kids helping with their dishes, vacuuming, and washing the table after meals without being reminded:…/idea-to-motivate-helping-out-…/

If it’s a sassy or disrespectful attitude that’s happening, giving reminders of what’s acceptable and doing devotionals about the topic at a later time are great tools to use.

But if it keeps happening, consequences give children motivation to change their behavior.

The consequence will be different for each child based on age and personality. But some I think are helpful are spending some time in their room to calm down, time outs for younger children, taking away a toy or other important thing from them for a time period, or cancelling an event they were looking forward to.

My preference would be for positive reinforcement, but consequences have their place. They do take more time and energy on the on-set, but they sure pay off later.

This is another positive enforcement idea that can be used with listening the first time, choosing peace over arguing, or anything else:…/08/07/listening-the-first-time/

You got this. We got this.

Lord, as we parent, give us wisdom in giving consequences, reminders, and simply parenting. Help us not be entangled by details, but to look to you to lead us. Remind us as we raise our children that love matters most. In Jesus’ name, amen.



1. “I’m bored.”
Response: “I have cleaning I could use your help with. If you can’t find something to do, I will definitely find something.”

2. “But my friends get to do it!”
Response: “Every family is different. I know that’s tough, but these are our family rules.”

3. “I want more food.”
Response: “Try again.” Then, wait until you hear “Please.”

4. “I don’t have any clothes!”
Response: “Let’s go through your clothes and find ones that work and give away ones that don’t.”

5. “I don’t like this food!”
Response: “That’s what’s for dinner. Let’s be thankful. If you complain, we can have it again tomorrow.”

6. “But all my friends have that toy!”
Response: “Good for them, but we have plenty. Many kids only have one toy or none. Let’s find some to give away.” (The “Rich Young Ruler” is a great Bible story that talks about this. Along with the story, I would tell my kids and still do at times, “more, more, more doesn’t make you happy, but Jesus, family, and friends do.” The Rhyme Bible reflects this story really well for younger kids.)

7. When they speak rudely to a friend or sibling.
Response: “(Insert your family’s last name) speak kindly. That’s not okay. Try again.

8. “That’s not fair!”
Response: “I know that’s hard, but you’re right, life’s not always fair.”

Everything in our house isn’t always smooth sailing, but these responses have helped a lot. When our kids do show humility and gratefulness, let’s recognize it!

A Note to my kids on Mother’s Day…



Fun Activities to do With Your Kids

1. Create Awesome, Huge Bubbles! Your kids will be entertained for hours. Dissolve 1/2 cup sugar in 4 cups very warm water by mixing with whisk. Mix in 1/2 cup Dawn Dish soap.

Then, create a Bubble wand. We just shaped a pipe cleaner into a circle and then twisted the two ends around a stick (leave room for your hand to hold the stick. My kids played with this for hours. It was so much fun! You can even add an extra pipe cleaner to the end of the stick to make “double bubbles”.

2. Make Oobleck. (Mix 2 cups cornstarch, and 1 cup water. If it’s too stiff, add a little water at a time. Add food coloring or liquid water color paint to color the oobleck.

They loved putting a handful of oobleck in a strainer and then watching it fall through the holes. Then, we put more food coloring drops in the oobleck without mixing it. My daughter “drew” on the food coloring with the oobleck that dropped from the strainer.

(Notice the easy clean up with the disposable pan and the towel underneath the activity so you can shake it out outside when done.)

3. As an extension of the oobleck, we talked about static electricity and how opposite charges attract. I asked them what they thought would happen when the balloon had some static electricity after being rubbed on their hair and brought close the ooblek. It was a lot of fun to watch!

First, rub a balloon on your child’s hair or yours and show them how it creates static electricity. Quickly get a spoonful of oobleck and pour it near the balloon. Watch how it draws near to the balloon and how some of it jumps to the balloon!

4. Have fun with sidewalk chalk. Our kids enjoyed “coloring” the pictures with paint brushes.


I hope these activities over the past few months have been fun for you and your children to do together! Who’s excited su mmer’s almost here! Let’s welcome SUMMER!!!


Enjoy creating bubbles, oobleck, and other fun things!



🌟 Week One – 5 Screen-Free Activities🌟

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Fun, simple ideas to bring fun to learning beyond the screen! (Add your ideas in comments)

Activity #1: Oobleck: Mix 1 cup water and 1 cup cornstarch (it seems stiff, but when your hands touch it, IMG_8620it loosens up. It’s a lot of fun. You can add an additional teaspoon of water at a time if you want to loosen it up more. We make it together and then start centers. You can add little plastic items to it also to make it more fun.

Activity #2: Treasure Hunt. Talk about directions North, South, East, & West. With painters’ tape, make a cross/compass on the ground and write the directions, N, S, E, W in the appropriate place so they remember.

Tell them they will follow directions to find a treasure. Ask if they believe that there really will be a treasure at the end. Share with them that that is Faith: believing even when you don’t see it. Give your child the treasure to hide (I gave mine a lollipop).

Have them start where you made the painters tape compass. Then, tell them to write down a list of directions to get to the treasure. For example: 5 steps North, 10 steps East, South 3 steps, etc. to get to the treasure. Have them try it out to see if they did it correctly. Then they give the directions to someone else in the family to follow. My kids had so much fun doing this.

Activity #3: Writing Prompt: If you could make your dream house, what would it look like? Slides instead of stairs, upside down house, etc.? Then, have them either draw the house or create it with play dough or boxes, paper towel tubes, egg cartons and other items.

Activity #4: Foam Dough. Mix 1 cup shaving cream & 1 cup cornstarch. You can add a little washable paint for color or food coloring. This is more crumbly than regular play dough, but still fun to play with. You can always use regular play dough if your kids would enjoy that more. I got this activity from the great book, 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids. 

Activity #5: Painting Ice. Fill a few different-sized plastic containers with water and IMG_2896
Freeze them overnight. The next day, pour them into different pans. Your kids can paint
on the ice with plastic utensils, paintbrushes, or their hands if they don’t put their hands in their mouths. The design of painting the ice looks so cool, especially mixing and matching different colors. The texture is awesome for the kids to feel. (Previously published on Focus on the Family.) 

You can also put little plastic items in the containers with the water, and then freeze them. The next day, put the blocks of ice in the sun and the kids can paint and then chip away at them to free the items from the ice.

I usually have one child do the creative center, while one does school assignments on the computer, and one works on Sunshine Math with me. I don’t always do a creative activity each day in the school week, but I try to. After 20 to 25 minutes, we switch.




0-3When my dad was younger, he had a rebellious side. Raced cars in the alleys, sat in detention every Saturday at his military school, and well, got into trouble.

He had a line of step-dads, seven of them, and his mom died at 49.

His mom was the “life of the party”. One of his step-dads was the Assistant Director of the Lassie series, but my dad wasn’t star struck by him. He was star-struck by her –because she was his mother.

My dad has an uncanny way of looking at life in contentment and making the most of it.

He could have wallowed. He had every reason to, but he chose to move past it.

You would think he’d follow in his mom’s footsteps and marry time and time again.

But, he chose the beautiful way of commitment – true love. My dad and mom have been married 47 years.

Despite the roller coaster of his childhood, he has been a remarkable husband and dad.

Not perfect, but just the dad I need and just the husband my mom needs. My mother has also been the stronghold he needs.

If your past is marked with pain, you do not have to stay there.

You have a choice to be the person God calls you to be. To choose differently. To pave a different path.

You don’t have to follow the footsteps of the ones who went ahead of you.

You can follow the steps of the One who created you.
The One who formed you.
The One who believes in you.

Look to him and follow the footsteps marked out for you by the One who is perfect.
By the one who loves you.
By the One who calls you by name.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
Before you were born I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1:5

Enjoy Getting Creative!