4 New Year’s Resolutions that will change your life

I wasn’t planning on publishing my blog until after the new year so I hadn’t thought about writing about New Year’s Resolutions.

But since I did…I am! HAHA!

Making New Year’s Resolutions really isn’t my thing.  I’m usually too busy to follow through unless I’m led to do something specific and that usually happens at other times besides New Years…

But there are 4 things I did that changed my life.

Although not all of what I did happened around the new year, I’m going to share my experiences with you!

So I’ll start with when I did lent:

1.  Replace social media with reading God’s Word

Many years ago, when Facebook was still fairly new, I was reading many, many posts about Fat Tuesday. I was curious about what they were talking about…so I googled it…just out of curiosity.

I THOUGH IT SOUNDED LIKE A GREAT IDEA: So I decided that I was going to stay off Facebook for lent and read the bible instead…starting immediately… (since I was going to bed and it was already late on Fat Tuesday.)

IT… WAS… LIFE-CHANGING!

I did my normal devotions and quiet times but instead of getting on the computer to check Facebook, like I normally did, I read through the gospels instead.

Here’s what happened:

~ I learned. I grew. I felt closer to God. A M A Z I N G!

~ I felt peace. Real peace. No anxiety. No fear. Less worry.

~ I was happier and more content.

HMMM… Sounds like something I’d like to do AGAIN!

2. Focus on your family

Twice because of health problems I was having and not necessarily because of New Years, I didn’t commit to anything outside the home and just focused on my family for a year.  I focused solely on their needs and the needs of our home.

Besides homeschooling my own children, I didn’t teach outside the home, and we didn’t participate in any homeschool group stuff.  The kids participated in their church activities as usual and we, of course, went to church. But I took a break from volunteering for things and yes…

I felt guilty!  (I don’t say “no” very well!)

Here’s what happened:

~ My house was clean more often.

~ My family ate healthy, home cooked meals from scratch, more often and on time.

~ I was able to spend a lot of quality time with my husband and children.

~ I was less stressed and more relaxed.

~ My family was less stressed and happier.

~ I was able to heal physically.

3. Stop complaining

This is the one thing I DID do for a New Year’s Resolution…twice!

(And probably should do it again…soon.)

I said that I wasn’t going to complain for 6 months, or at least cut my complaining in half. I don’t really consider myself a complainer but I did noticed some habits that I wanted to change.

Here’s what happened:

~ I realized that I did complain A LOT!  Who knew?!

~ I started focusing more on the blessings in my life.

~ I was happier and didn’t get as frustrated or aggravated with things.

~ I started to complain less.

4. Watch what you eat

This next one is also one of those things that I didn’t do for New Year’s. But after reading on Facebook about a bunch of friends doing the Whole30 diet for 30 days, I decided to do it too…immediately!

So, I went 30 days with just eating fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, and nuts.  No sugar of any kind, no grains of any kind, no rice, no beans, no dairy, no artificial stuff, no processed foods etc.

(It wasn’t easy…I’m not gonna lie..)

Click here to learn more about the Whole30 diet.

Here’s what happened:

~ I lost 23 pounds in 30 days (needed to lose 30.)

~ I didn’t feel tired or dizzy ever.

~ I didn’t have any stomach issues or headaches ever.

~ I learned that I had some bad eating habits.

~ I learned that I won’t die if I don’t feed my sugar addictions and food cravings.

~ I learned that eating healthy is actually really quite delicious!


THERE YOU GO: These 4 life-changing New Year’s Resolutions are guaranteed to make a difference in your life and in the lives of those who live with you.  🙂


1. Replace social media with reading God’s Word for 6 weeks.

2. Focus solely on your family for a year.

3. Stop complaining for 6 months.

4. Watch what you eat for 30 days.


Do you have a New Year’s Resolution?  What kinds of things have you done that has changed your life?  Please share your thoughts and ideas.  I’d love to hear from you!

Also:  If you like what you read…please share this post!  😀

Thank you!

My other posts:

Kindergarten is the HARDEST! (Part 1)

Kindergarten is the HARDEST! (Part 2)

4 Things to remember when things don’t go as planned

Recipe: Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

 

 

 

 

 

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS from our house to yours!

Since tomorrow is Christmas Eve (also my birthday haha!) I thought I’d write about Christmas.

Christmas is that time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. This is significant for us because Jesus is the Son of God…HE IS GOD! He came to die so that we can have life! Not only a life here on earth where we can enjoy a personal relationship with the Holy God who created us, but so that we can also have ETERNAL LIFE!!

Let’s take a moment to reflect on our Lord Jesus Christ and draw closer to HIM!


Luke 2:1-20

The Birth of Jesus

1 At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire.

(This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.)

All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census.

And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee.

He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born.

She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.


The Shepherds and Angels

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.

Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified,

10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.

11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!

12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,

    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger.

17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.

18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished,

19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.

20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.


What a birth announcement!!! The greatest event in history… the Messiah was born… so He can die for us! So we can enjoy life to the fullest and so we can enjoy eternal life with God forever!

~Psalm 86:12 ~
With all my heart I will praise You, O Lord my God. I will give glory to Your Name forever.

 Wishing you a wonderful weekend filled with memories you’ll always treasure~

M E R R Y   C H R I S T M A S !

 From The Keith Family 

 

 

Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

This is one of our favorite recipes that I make ALL…THE…TIME.  I thought I’d post this recipe for Christmas.  It’s not really a Christmas recipe but it is kinda breakfast-y…so I’m doing it!

I’ve been known to throw a few vegetables in most of my cooking, and this one is no exception…but I’m not going to include vegetables in the recipe below.  Just a little hint on something I’ve been doing for years.  So, I may or may not add grated carrots, zucchini, broccoli or spinach to these muffins sometimes…SSHHH!

(This particular batch has no vegetables in it.)

There really is no special explanation.  Just mix, bake, eat, and if you’re like us…REPEAT!!

Easy peasy!

 

I found this recipe and modified it to satisfy my great chocolate addiction. So don’t be alarmed if you think it’s too much rich and gooey sweetness.  You can use half the chocolate it calls for…but that’s just insanity…I never go chintzy on chocolate!  I just add vegetables instead HAHA!!

ANYWAY…without further ado… MY RECIPE!

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

PreHeat oven to 350*

2 eggs (beat, or like my kids used to say…”beat ’em up”)

6 Tablespoons butter (softened, really soft!)

1 teaspoon vanilla (pure, not the imitation stuff!)

3-4 ripe bananas (it works if you only have 2 handy.)

3/4 cup sugar (I always use raw sugar or organic)

(Mix this really well before adding dry ingredients)

2 cups of flour (I use unbleached but you can use gluten free flour too!)

6 Tablespoons flaxseed (meal)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

(Mix everything well before adding chocolate chips)

1-1/2 cups of chocolate chips (I use dark chocolate chips so I feel healthier, HA!)

Stir ~ fill muffin tins 3/4 full ~ bake 350* for 20-25 minutes ~ ENJOY!!

 

Mmmmmmmmmmm!

 

There you have it!  Healthy Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins! And if you added vegetables… I won’t say a word! 😉 Let me know what you think.  I’d love to hear from you!

 

My other posts:

Kindergarten is the HARDEST! (Part 1)

Kindergarten is the HARDEST! (Part 2)

4 Things to remember when things don’t go as planned

 

 

Kindergarten is the HARDEST! (Part 2)

My “Kindergarten is the HARDEST” post was so long that I had to split it up into two articles. But it’s worth it! These helpful tips were a huge blessing to me when I first started homeschooling…and still is!

A HUGE BLESSING!!

Click here for Kindergarten is the HARDEST! (Part 1)

Here are some fun and simple ideas to make your child’s Kindergarten year awesome. These ideas work great with the older kids too. Keep in mind that these are just a few ideas. There are many, many more things to do and you’ll come up with some on your own as you start working with your child. Pinterest is my best friend!

BUT AT THE SAME TIME: Don’t be overwhelmed!  There is plenty here to keep you busy for many years.

Want to know the secret ingredient to a successful homeschool?

READ BOOKS!

I can’t stress enough the importance of reading a lot to your child. We go to the library every Friday and we all have stacks of books that we bring home.

We get:

~story books

~ picture books

~ nonfiction books about everything

~science books

~biography books

~ chapter books

~audio books and more.

I THINK YOU GET THE PICTURE!

I love to go through the nonfiction section for kids at the library and get a lot of books. There are so many books at the library to help them learn. You don’t have to read them all to them, have them browse the pages on their own. I have a daily 30-minute or more silent reading time even for the ones who aren’t reading yet.

Reading Writing Math and Bible

READING

In Kindergarten, you’ll focus on the basics… reading, writing, math and bible. For reading, I used “Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons” by Siegfried Englemann to teach all 5 of my children to read. The lessons take about 15 minutes and are divided up to make it easier. There are other wonderful books out there too but this is the one I used. Feel free to do a lesson a day or spread out a lesson during the week so you’re doing less each day. I always started out with a lesson a day but went to a page a day as the lessons got harder. It really depends on the needs of your child. There is no right or wrong way since every child is different. They say the book is for ages 4-6 but in reality, depending on your child’s personality, I think it should be for ages 5-7.  For younger children, you can still do the book but if they cry or get frustrated, just slow it down to meet their needs.

Here’s a short video sample of the book, “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.”

WRITING

Have them practice writing their letters and numbers. There is practice in their reading and math books but extra practice each day will help. This is the part of school where I have them practice as perfect of penmanship as possible, at least once. When they slow down and work hard, they can learn to write neatly.

MATH

 For math, I used Horizon’s workbooks from Alpha and Omega Publications for Kindergarten through 4th grade (I like Saxon Math for 5th grade and up). You can also print off worksheets online for free to get you started.  This picture is for 1st grade.  I don’t have any of the Kindergarten books handy but you can see the Kindergarten math book in the video I have posted in the “Reading” section of my blog. 😀

 BIBLE

 

 

I absolutely love Egermeier’s Bible Story Book. They have short, simple and engaging stories that keep little one’s attention as it takes them through the bible. They have simple questions at the end of the book that help the kids understand each story. I’m usually still reading this to them throughout 1st grade also. Your book probably won’t come with the fancy artwork on the cover!

  

Another thing I like to do is read verses from the bible. I start in the old testament and read through 5 verses at a time. I also do this with Proverbs and the new testament. You can do bible anyway you want. You can pick up your bible and read, or get curriculum. Reading the bible regularly to your child is important even if it’s just a few verses at a time. Read it and discuss it with them.

JOURNALS

One of my favorite things to do that I did with all 5 of my children (and still do) is having my children write journals. First, I have them draw a picture. It could be about their day, about a book, or about whatever they want, then I have them write about it. At first when they write about their picture, their letters are just scribbles, shapes, or random letters but I have them write anyway they want. I focus on writing their letters correctly and spelling correctly during another part of their school, but not journaling. When they’re finished drawing and writing, I have them tell me what they wrote and then I write out what they say. Then I always label their work with their name, date and their age. I keep all of their journals but you can keep the best of the week or month and put them in a notebook or folder. Or you can make a book out of them. As they mature and grow, you’ll start seeing them improve in their journaling.

CALENDARS

Every month we make calendars. I make them by hand but you can print out a template. It will give them writing practice in general, and they’ll learn their numbers, months, and days of the week. They can color and decorate their calendar and I remember getting stickers for their calendar for my first two kids, but not the younger three haha. When they’re first starting out, I fill in the entire calendar for them and have them copy the numbers in the squares and copy the name of the month. As they got older, I had them fill in more of the calendar by themselves. I usually do this through 7th or 8th grade but I get started in Kindergarten or even preschool.

NATURE WALKS

Another idea we love is going for a nature walk. We would just go in our back yard or the park and look for bugs, look at all the different plants, look at the sky, the clouds, the weather, and the birds, and then we draw and write about what we saw.

 

I’d have the kids “write” anything they want and then when they are finished, they would dictate what they wrote and I would write it for them. As they got older, they would ask me how to spell words for them, or they would even sound out the words themselves. There is no right or wrong way to do this.

 

LEARNING CARDS

 I did this next idea for preschool also and carried the activity into Kindergarten. I made big cards out of card stock. I drew or printed out pictures of an apple, boat, cat, dog, elephant, frog, etc. and glued them to the cards. I put names of the pictures on separate cards and also the first letter of each picture on the cards. I’d set out the pictures and have them match the first letter or the name of the picture with the picture. I also made number cards with a number on each separate card. I had them put the numbers in order, skip count them or put them in backwards order. The ideas are endless with this. I started out laminating them but as I did more of them, I just did the card stock without going through the trouble of laminating all of them.  It worked just fine.

LAP BOOKS & HOME MADE BOOKS

Pinterest has a TON of lap book ideas and samples.  I also have them make their own book based on a science or history book they read or a book report, or they’ll make their own “About Me” book or “Nature” books. Lap books are the same idea as homemade books but you glue their small pages and flaps in a manila folder. I took a class on making lap books at a homeschool convention but before that, I never heard of them.  The ideas are endless with this!

 LEARNING WITH BOOKS

Another idea: we like to get books from the library and then I have them draw a picture from the book, any picture, and then pick a word from the page and copy it. I usually have them do this after they’ve had some practice writing their letters so they know how to write the letters correctly for this exercise. Or I help them copy the word they chose correctly. My kids love this.

CHRISTMAS IDEAS

For December curriculum, I include several extra special things in school.

Scripture Reading: We read the Christmas story from Luke 1 and Luke 2:1-40.  I divide up the verses into the amount of days we have and I read a little bit of it every day.  I discuss each section with them and ask them to share what stood out to them.

CHRISTMAS SONGS: I take a Christmas Carol each day or each week and go over the lyrics with them and explain the meaning. Then we listen to the song 2-3 times. This makes me cry every time. My kids are more amused with me crying than with the actual activity but it’s an important tradition to me.  🙂

We watch Christmas movies: The Nutcracker, The Grinch, A Christmas Carol… you get the idea! I also try to find a new Christmas movie or special that the kids haven’t seen yet since we’re not real big on watching the same movies over and over… weird… I know! But the Nutcracker is always a MUST SEE around here!

CHRISTMAS CRAFTS: One year we made Christmas decorations and put them up around the house. The next year we made Christmas gifts for people and Christmas pillows. We also make homemade Christmas cards.

We bake Christmas cookies: That’s pretty self explanatory. Usually, we just make chocolate chip cookies and maybe put M&Ms on top. I’m not really an extravagant Christmas baker but that doesn’t seem to hurt anyone’s feelings too much.

Advent Calendars: Sometimes they’re homemade but this year I bought one and I have them take turns opening the little doors each day. The homemade advent calendar is usually a homemade calendar with Christmas stickers for each day.

OTHER RANDOM ART IDEAS AND MORE

 ~ Cut shapes out of colored construction paper and have them glue the shapes to cardstock. (It could be random gluing or they could make a house or pizza with toppings.)

~ Get markers (at your own risk haha), crayons, glue, glitter glue, paint and stickers for your child to play with.

~ BAKING ~ nothing thrills a child more than making cookies in school (enough said)

~ On pinterest: I find simple art drawing tutorials (key word is “simple”) and I draw them for my child to copy. Then I have them color their picture. The library also has books with step by step drawing tutorials for kids (and moms!)
    

There you have it: LOTS and LOTS of fun and easy ideas that work for kids of all ages…not just Kindergarten. If you missed my “Kindergarten is the HARDEST! (Part 1)” blog you can see it here. I have some ideas and helpful hints in that blog as well.

What are some of your favorite school ideas and activities that you do with your child? Do you have any special activities that you do for Christmas? I’d love to hear from you!

My other posts:

Kindergarten is the HARDEST! (Part 1)

4 Things to remember when things don’t go as planned

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Things to remember when things don’t go as planned!

2 Chronicles 15:7 ~ Be strong and do not give up for your work will be rewarded.

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Press on Friends. Mama said there’d be days like this.

As I’m laying back in the chair at the dentist office getting five fillings (yes, I know.  It’s a long story but a good one!), I’m thinking about all the things I want to get done that day.  Things I NEED to get done.

Our house is still a mess from our vacation, I have meat that needs to be cooked before it goes bad, and I have laundry everywhere, clean and dirty.  I want to have everything caught up before the weekend…before my husband comes home from work.

I’m making a long mental list while they’re finishing up at the dentist and all of a sudden there’s bad pain where they’re working and my neck goes numb.  They finish up, I swell up like a balloon, I pay my bill and my chest and neck are hurting really bad.

I go home.. I can’t get anything done because I’m miserable.  I assume it’s some sort of reaction to the shots and it will wear off along with the numbing.  It doesn’t.  It gets worse.

Long story short.. I end up back at the dentist, who sends me to the ER, who admits me in the hospital…for TWO DAYS!  There goes my weekend!!  I really didn’t want to leave my husband running our house and managing our son’s diabetes (Type 1), with a messy house, no laundry and meals uncooked and unplanned.  Our house was in the worst possible state and I was bound and determined to fix it fast…but I was too late.

By the way: it wasn’t an allergic reaction but an uncommon complication to dental work where the air from the instrument that blows air on the teeth filled my neck, esophagus, and chest around my heart with air. Who knew that was even possible?!

My husband did a terrific job at handling the situation (although one of our children did admit that he was frantic but so was I.)  My daughter cooked the meat, and the kids cleaned the house.  But I was flustered about being in the hospital to say the least and worried about my messed up plans.

 4 things to remember when things don’t go as planned

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Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I AM GOD.

1. Stay calm and turn to God

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

God gives us peace that the world can’t give us.  Do not let your hearts be troubled… turn to God, PRAY, and focus on HIM.  Even in the middle of chaos.

Psalm 46:10
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

Take a deep breath and BE STILL.  Give every concern to God.

2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Remember: we have the Holy Spirit living in us.  We have power, love and self-discipline.  Sometimes it’s easy to get flustered and upset when things go awry.  We have the power of God living inside of us.  Take heart!

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Psalm 86:12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.

2. Be joyful

That’s a weird subtitle to me.  I hate to admit it but it’s the last thing I do when things don’t go as planned.

James 1:2-3
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

It doesn’t say ‘if’ we face trials but ‘when’ we face trials.  Things are going to go wrong and we’re all going to have trials.  Why should we consider it joy when things go wrong? Because the testing of our faith produces perseverance.  Why is that significance? So that we can be mature and complete, not lacking in anything.  THAT’S HUGE!!!

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Isaiah 40:29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

3. Trust God and His plans for our lives

Isaiah 43:2
 When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, who have been called according to his purpose.
Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

We can trust that God is always going to be with us and work everything together for the good.  He loves us very much and wants us to draw near to Him and trust Him.  Sometimes I close my eyes and just focus on God and His love.  I also try to recite every single verse I can think of.  It’s amazing how much I relax and feel God’s peace during the most difficult times.

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Lamentations 3:22-23 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

4. Move forward

Galatians 6:9
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Hebrews 11:6
 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
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Psalm 143:8 Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.

As hard as it is sometimes we must not give up.  We must keep moving forward and trusting God even when we don’t feel like we can.  Keep moving forward by faith when things go wrong and watch God do amazing things!

Please share your story!  How has God helped you when things didn’t go as planned?