Just ONE Thing - Free February Download

As parents, we are going to make mistakes.

I get overwhelmed when I think about all the things that I need to teach my kids before they head out into the mean world.

I have to remind myself, that I am not in this alone. My Heavenly Father's burden is light (Matthew 11:30).
All Christ asks me to do is seek Him for strength and direction as I teach my kids the Two Greatest Commandments - to Love God and Love Others. (Matthew 22:37-40) "..on these two commandments rest all the Law and the Prophets."

So, really there is only ONE thing that I need to teach my kids - LOVE

One of the best and easiest ways to teach our kids to love others, is to LOVE them.

Dr. James Dobson encourages me with these words, "A relationship that is characterized by genuine LOVE and affection is likely to be a healthy one, even though some parental mistakes and errors are inevitable."

So, this Valentine's Day, go love your family well!
Find more great ideas for teaching love from my FREE February DOWNLOAD on LOVE.

Out of Thyme! - Overscheduled and Overwhelmed


I was making the best and easiest Chicken Pot Pie recipe for dinner, but I couldn't find the fanciest of the six simple ingredients (recipe below). 

As I said to myself, "Oh no, I am out of thyme!" I realized that this was true not just literally, but also metaphorically. Lately, I was constantly out of TIME.

I was overscheduled and overwhelmed. Something was going to have to give.

As moms, it is sometimes hard to figure out what has made our lives become unbalanced. You may have to do some serious soul searching, ask your children, or even make a time journal.

However, I had no trouble figuring out what part of my life was causing the problems. 

Was I spending too much time making meals from scratch, instead of convenience foods like the recipe above? (My friends and family are all laughing) No, this pot pie is honestly one of the fanciest dinners I make. 

My family did not even notice when I just left the thyme out of this pot pie, but when I didn't have real TIME for my family, it did not go unnoticed.  My girls were continually clear about where they thought I spent too much time, "Awwwwwww, Mom, are you on the computer again?"

There are many great and good things to spend your time doing. Helping moms teach their kids character is a great and even Biblical. However, this does not mean that God wants me to do it right now - especially if it takes time away from my main priorities. 

So in light of this revelation, this year, I am cutting way back on my blogging and business. Hopefully the free monthly downloads on my site will give you all you need to continue to grow character in your family. To get the very few "Teachable MOMents" that I continue to write delivered right to your e-mail, subscribe by clicking on the cute frame at the top of this site.                   

In the meantime, continue to use simple life object lessons to teach your kids character.  For example, as you make this pot pie with the ingredient THYME, talk about time management. If we use the wrong amount of time on wrong things, our life won't turn out right.  Too much thyme in this pie, or any thyme in a cherry pie would make them both turn out bad. This recipe makes two. One to eat, and perfect for an all-in-one meal to take to a needy family or new mom – a great use of your time.

                                                  Easy Chicken Pot Pie Recipe 

Mix below ingredients and spoon into thawed deep-dish store-bought pie crusts (Makes two pies):

    1 can Great Value Bacon and Potato Soup (or 2 small cream of potato
    2 cups of cooked diced chicken (I usually use canned chicken)
    1 can (15 oz) of mixed veggies drained (like Veg-All) 
    ½ cup of milk 
    Pepper to taste
    ½ teaspoon THYME (optional)      
    Cook in pre-heated oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. 
    Cool at least 5 minutes before serving.    

What areas in your life need better time management?  Is there some area that God is leading you to get rid of or scale way back?

U R Forgiven, Start Fresh, B FAITHFUL! - FREE Download

Click on FREE DOWNLOADS tab at top of page!

Happy New Year!

I love New Years because it is a wonderful time to start FRESH.
It doesn't matter how bad we messed up in 2012. That is all behind us now.
Tell God (and whoever else you need to) you are sorry, and you are ready to do better.
God is FAITHFUL to FORGIVE us!
It is now time for the new you that is FAITHFUL in all things. You can do all things through Christ!

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come!" - II Corinthians 5:17

This month's character focus is on FAITHFULNESS.

Click on the FREE DOWNLOAD button above to get your FREE 3 page download on FAITHFULNESS
packed full of family traditions, stories, snacks, Scriptures, activities, and more.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the Character Mom and family!

I am taking a break from the computer to celebrate this wonderful season with my family.

Let me encourage you to do the same and to remember to
keep Christ in Christmas as you celebrate!

And the $100 Winner is....

Congratulations Rebecca! You and your two wonderful daughters won the $100 to the charity of your choice. Please contact me soon to let me know where I can send the check.

Sarah

thecharactermom@gmail.com

Our Favorite Christmas Tradition! - FREE Advent Activity Calendar

advent boxChristmas can be overwhelming! Don't go crazy trying to do every activity under the sun with your kids. Just pick a few of your favorites and make them memorable.

The best traditions are fun, simple, purposeful and can be enjoyed by kids of all ages year after year.

My kid's favorite is the Advent Box because daily they get to open a little door that reveals a tiny surprise! (It's not too late to start, you may find advent boxes on sale at this time of year:))

I love it because it helps me to remember to do something simple daily to prepare my children and my own heart to be loving, kind, and generous during the Christmas season.

My sister makes her Advent Box super simple by just putting candy (Ande's mints are my favorite) in every box and using that moment to talk about the wonders of Christmas.

Since this is the main tradition we have, I have tried to make our Advent Box a little more purposeful by filling each box with an item that leads us to an activity or object that teaches us more about the reason for the season - Christ!

All I did was look for tiny Christmas objects that I already had or were easy to purchase (check out oriental trading) such as magnets, felt crafts, tiny ornaments, or printable cutouts off Pinterest. Then thought about what we can learn from these objects.

For example:

1. Stars/Candle - Daniel 12:3 - Shine for Jesus! Go star gazing.
2. Coin - Acts 20:35 - Is Christmas all about money? It is more blessed to give than to receive.
3. Bells - Psalm 95: 2 - Make a joyful noise with music and praise! Play musical chairs.
4. Angel - Luke 2:14 - Messenger of God. Make an angel craft.
5. Wisemen (and any or all of their gifts) - Matt. 2:1-12 - Wisemen still seek Him. Scavenger Hunt.
6. Heart - John 3:16 - For God so loved the world...
7. Cross - John 3:16 - What does the cross have to do with Christmas?
8. Candy Cane - Luke 2:8 - What can we learn from Shepherds? Pretend play shepherd and sheep.
9. Tiny Present - John 10:10 &11 - What is the best gift anyone has ever gotten?
10. Tiny manger or basket - Luke 2:1-20 - Place baby doll in empty basket or manger that has been under the tree since beginning of December.

You get the idea. I think you can take it from here. Get creative. Make it personal with photos of your family or homemade items by your kids. Let the kids come up with things to put in the boxes, or see the free advent calendar below for more ideas.

Get a free advent calendar from ThrivingFamily.com http://www.thrivingfamily.com/free/advent.aspx

What is one of your family's favorite Christmas traditions?

$100 to Your Charity of Choice - Encouraging Character

We have so very much to be thankful for and to give to others. Sometimes during the holidays we get too busy with our own families to reach out to others, or sometimes we just can't think of a good family-friendly place to help.

This season, I would like to offer you a little incentive to share your ideas of how you get your family involved in showing God's love and generosity during the holidays.

I am going to mail a $100 check to someone made out to their favorite charity! It could be you!

All you have to do for your chance to win is add a comment below within the next two weeks.
Make sure it includes:
1. A photo of your child or the charity that your family likes to help with or give to.
2. A brief explanation of why or how you like to help this charity.

Deadline for posting is Wednesday, Dec. 4.
I will announce the winner on Monday, Dec. 10th!
(You will have until the following Monday to claim your prize.)

I have posted the first one to give you an example about Kingdom Kids Christmas where my family and I have already given to this year. See a short video below if you are interested in finding out more about Kingdom Kids.

Thanks for sharing about how you like to share God's love in a practical way during the holidays!

 

 

Thankful for EVERYTHING? Really? - Thanksgiving

Are we really supposed to be thankful in ALL things? Seriously?pollyanna

God's Word says,
"Give thanks IN ALL circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." - I Thessalonians 5:18

So does this mean when we go around the table at Thanksgiving, instead of saying we are thankful for our family, friends, food, health, etc.; We should say, "This year I am thankful for natural disasters, orphans in Africa, and suicide bombers?"

Since Thanksgiving is coming up, this week I was feeling guilty for not feeling very grateful for ALL things including lice, throw-up, and seizures. Then I realized that God's will for me was just to have a grateful heart IN all circumstances not FOR all circumstances.

Last Thanksgiving, I remember being surprised when my sister, Mandy, said she was thankful for her eyesight. This was an odd answer since it was not a typical Thanksgiving answer, and since Mandy had recently lost her peripheral vision.

Here, Mandy was perfectly demonstrating how to, "Give Thanks in ALL circumstances."
1. She was trusting in Christ that He had a purpose in this new difficulty she was facing.
2. Also, instead of focusing on the negative that she had lost sight,
    she found a new appreciation and gratefulness for the sight that she still had left.  
    She has always reminded me a little bit of Polly Anna
     (- finding the good in bad situations and a little bit of a goody-two-shoes:))

A few weeks after Thanksgiving last year, Mandy gave birth to her seventh child, and we found out that Mandy's eyesight problems were caused by a tumor behind her eye, which led to brain surgery in January, which led to a damaging stroke and almost death, which led to a very difficult year for us here on "The Compound". However, looking back, for every extreme difficulty, I can see:
1. not only God's hand of Providence (He is in perfect control with a purpose for all things), but also
2. an opportunity for a renewed thankfulness for many blessings that we sometimes take for granted.

When overwhelmed with daily difficulties,
it is hard to find ways to truly be thankful IN ALL circumstances.
If you are having trouble, try:

1. Prayer,
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication with THANKSGIVING let your request be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4: 6 & 7

2. Playing "The Glad Game" - Putting a Positive Spin on your Problems.
Help your kids practice the essential skill of being thankful IN ALL things by using Pollyanna and her "Glad Game". I was pleasantly surprised at how good my kids were at finding something good at just about any situation I could throw at them. (You can watch the whole 1960 classic on YouTube to learn more about the Glad Game.)

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! Try to surprise your family by being GLAD for something different or difficult at your Thanksgiving table this year.

3 Easy Steps, Once a Month- We Choose Virtues Review

I was extremely delighted to stumble upon the We Choose Virtues resources on Pinterest.

The creator of We Choose Virtues, Heather McMillan, not only provides beautifully designed professional quality resources to teach your kids character; but she is a kindred soul who organizes her Pinterest boards by character quality just like me (- making it easy to find topical resources.) Follow her on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/WeChooseVirtues/.

My favorite We Choose Virtues resources, is the Virtues Kid's Kit or the Parenting Flashcards ($30.00). They make it easy for my kids to learn and remember specific character qualities using memorable catch phrases and an adorable cartoon character complete with rhyming names, short story, Bible verses, coloring book, and more to illustrate each quality.

Heather recommends a more wholistic approach to using her resources daily. However, since I am so easily overwhelmed, I find it more realistic for me to use her great resources to teach one quality a month in 3 easy steps. Each month:

1. Resource from We Choose Virtues - Hang up the Focus Flashcard on the Fridge -As I hang it up, I read the cute short story on the back that introduces the cartoon character to your kids. If you have the kid's kit, have your child color the character as well.

2. Reward - Offer some kind of incentive for when you catch your kids displaying this focus quality - a sticker (sold at We Choose Virtues), marble in a jar for big prize at the end of the month, etc.

3. Reinforce - Use my FREE holiday downloads, to compliment this resource with fun and simple games, activities, crafts, holiday traditions, etc. that also teach the same focus quality. Find these at (http://thecharactermom.com/downloads/ ). (Heather does offer a few teaching ideas on the back of her Parenting Flashcards, but hers seem to be more learning focused while I try to make mine more fun, family-friendly, and holiday tradition focused. I of course, am naturally more partial to my own ideas. Try them both and see which ones work best for your family.)

Don't worry if $30.00 is too pricey for you. Check out We Choose Virtues website or facebook page for regular deals and giveaways from Heather and other bloggers!

FREE Adventures in Odyssey Episodes - A Weapon for Veteran Moms

Happy Veteran's Day!

To become a veteran mom, one weapon that will help bring peace to chaotic car rides is one of my all time favorite resources - Adventures in Odyssey from Focus on the Family!

These entertaining episodes of stories on CD will not only give you the gift of quiet car rides (I know you are skeptical but it is true.), but they are also packed full of lessons about:adventures in odyssey
Christian character,
how to show God's love in practical ways,
Christian World View,
true historical events, and more.

To celebrate Veteran's Day, listen to this FREE Adventures in Odyssey episode at Whitsend.org. In this episode, fictional character Jimmy Barclay becomes a veteran in several different wars while he believes he is in the "Imagination Station" invented by Mr. Whitacker. The Imagination Station is a place where kids can pretend to experience time travel. Really, Jimmy was experiencing something incredibly different. You will have to listen to find out what. (The idea behind this episode was even purchased as a spec for the famous show The Twilight Zone!)


Also, to get ready for Thanksgiving, order the Adventures in Odyssey album "The Truth Chronicles", This 4 CD set has eleven stories on the Power of God's Truth including the true stories of the Pilgrims called the "Stepping Stones". You can buy the complete set from me for $24.99 (just e-mail me at TheCharacterMom@gmail.com ) or download just the two episode about the Pilgrims straight from Whitsend.org for $2.00 each.

To get a MULTITUDE of MORE FREE episodes, go to faio.org!

Do you know any great freebee sites like this one?

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