Monday, April 13, 2015

Finishing What He Started

Both of my kids have signs in their rooms that say "Please be patient, God isn't finished with me yet." These signs are a good daily reminder to me as a parent to just take a deep breath and relax a little. Kids are kids and they make mistakes. Perfection is not necessary.

Did you realize that God gives us the same sign in His Word? He provides us with an assurance that He isn't finished with us yet. And He lets us know without any doubt that He will finish what He started. He's not going anywhere.

Thank You, Father, for promising to complete what You start in us. We can only do this life through You.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

DIY Home Security: Easy Ways To Make Your Home Safe

Home security can be costly. Many companies provide full home security, but at a steep monthly fee. There are, however, simple and effective steps you can take to protect your family. Here are some pointers to keep your home secure.

Appearance

Sometimes appearances can make all the difference. From gated driveways to "beware of dog" signs, there are a host of simple steps you can take to deter thieves from even attempting a heist.

First, consider placing shades over all major windows. Consider shades that let in a good amount of natural light, so to keep your living room, kitchen and office bright and comfortable. This can also let house light out during the night to make your house look occupied while also making it difficult for strangers to peer through your windows.

While leaving a light on in the kitchen or living room can be a deterrent, it isn’t always enough. Installing outdoor motion sensor lights can give the impression that you are home if a burglar approaches your property. These kinds of lights can be found at your local hardware store or online and are easy to install.

Last, it’s important to keep your yard clean when it comes to shrubbery and trees. Pruning and maintaining your landscape can limit the places thieves and ill-doers can hide. If you have large bushes near low windows or doors, it might be a good idea to have them removed and replaced with lower, thorny plants. Even professional burglars will be dismayed by thorny flowers and the lack of cover during a job.

Technology

While some security technologies can be expensive and put a strain on your budget, there are nifty and affordable gadgets out there that won’t break the bank. With surveillance cameras you can keep an eye on the safety of your home without paying an arm and a leg. Many systems offer step-by-step instructional videos on how to configure these gadgets. With day and night vision, full audio recording and IP options, these systems will help you keep track of everything that goes on around your home. Cameras look intimidating, and act as a deterrent to would-be thieves.

The Same Page

While these little projects can drastically improve your home's safety, one of the most overlooked resources is the other people in your family. Making home security a habit can be the most effective way to keep everyone safe. To this end, hold a family meeting where you can discuss security with everyone. Promote a habit of locking all doors and windows whenever the house is empty and at night; this includes second-and third-story windows that could be used as an entrance. Another good idea is to remove the hidden key from under the mat, or rock, or from inside the mailbox. These are obvious places for burglars to look (and unfortunately, where many households keep their hide-a-keys). Instead, entrust a neighbor with a spare key. If someone is locked out they can simply hop over to the neighbor's house.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Nothing Else

In this world of false gods, I think we all need to remember Who guides us.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

World Autism Awareness Day

Sometimes it is just tough.  Sometimes it is truly beautiful.  Whatever it is for you today, know you are not alone.

To all the moms and dads who have helped me along this journey, I say thank you.  You inspire me.  You encourage me.  You listen to me.  And you help me keep going.


And to my son... You make my world a better place.  God knew you'd be perfect for me and for your dad and for your sister.  We love you with every fiber of our being.  Continue just being you, always.

Teach the Kids the Value of Money: Ideas for Every Age


As a parent, you’ve probably noticed that certain life lessons require an on-going approach. While you can teach your kiddos about shapes and letters by the time they are in kindergarten, other topics, like money, are ones you will discuss for years. While very young kids might be able to learn the difference between a penny and a dollar, they probably won’t be ready for an in-depth discussion about identity theft and credit ratings just yet.


For Preschoolers: Show Them the Money

By the time they reach the age of 3 or 4, most kiddos are ready to start learning some rudimentary basics about coins and currency. You can show them how you use money to purchase needed items at the store, and you might give them a few coins so they can practice buying something, like a piece of candy or a banana. Start showing them how different coins look different, feel different and teach them the names of each.

For Elementary Schoolers: Time for an Allowance

By the time they start kindergarten or first grade, most kids are old enough to start receiving a regular allowance. If you are wondering how much to give them, an easy suggestion is to make it based on age—for example, 50 cents per week per year of age. So when your child starts kindergarten at the age of 5, he or she might receive $2.50 per week. Once they have some money burning a hole in their pockets, many kids are ready to hit the mall to do some serious shopping. This is a great time to show them how they might really want that new Frozen toy or LEGO set, but that they probably don’t have enough saved up yet to buy it. By teaching them what each coin and bill is worth and how many quarters and singles it will take to purchase a coveted toy, young elementary school kids will learn the value of money, saving versus spending, and a bit about delayed gratification.

For Middle Schoolers: Start Accounts and Financial Discussions

Preteens and young teens are old enough to start learning to manage their own savings account. Instead of opening accounts for them while they are in school, bring your child with you to the bank or credit union and have them help you fill out the paperwork to open their own savings accounts. Encourage them to deposit at least part of their allowance money as well as birthday and holiday gifts of money, and teach them about how the account will earn a small amount of interest. Kids at this age can also be included in some family discussions about money. For example, when planning your annual vacation, explain that you have enough for three days at a theme park or an entire week at a cabin in the woods. This will show your child that money is not an unlimited entity and the importance of budgeting.

For High Schoolers: Talk about Debt, Debit and Identity Theft

Even though teens may claim to know everything there is to know about money, parents must do more than just hand them an allowance or money for school lunches. Other crucial skills to teach teens include living on a limited budget, the dangers of falling into credit card debt, and the importance of keeping their personal financial data to themselves. Have a serious talk with them about identity theft and how easy it can be to have their personal data fall into the hands of unscrupulous people, if they are not careful. Give your teen the gift of a clean slate and peace of mind by enrolling them in an identity theft monitoring program. Show them how it will help keep their data safe from day one. Continue discussing the importance of saving money, and show them on paper how the typically high interest rates that credit cards charge can transform a $50 purchase into one that ultimately costs much more.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Have a Wonderful Easter!


Spring has definitely sprung in my neck of the woods.  My allergies are in full bloom along with the flowers.  The winds are blowing, the weather is wacky, and the kids are full of energy.

I hope each and every one of you has a wonderful Easter with family and friends this weekend as you celebrate the joy of our risen Savior.  I'll be back to blog more regularly soon, but for now I am focused on finishing up our homeschool year and getting this house scrubbed - ridding it of all specs of pollen and other allergens that have made me a puffy, watery-eyed, sneezy mess.

God bless you all... He is risen!
 
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