Making a Plan for Summer

Making a Plan for SummerThe school year is ending. Summer vacation is upon us. It’s a time of transition from rigid schedules to a more fluid time with fewer commitments.

With this new found freedom can come stress for parents. Here’s a strategy to keep balanced and on track this summer. Begin with a family meeting focused on summertime. Prep family members before the meeting to have a few ideas for family adventures, projects, and activities each would like to incorporate into the family calendar for the summer months. Print out a copy of June, July, and August calendars to use as a draft, reserving dates that are already scheduled for sports, camps, and family events like weddings, reunions or vacations.

At the family meeting, have each family member read off his list. Since this is a brainstorming and planning session, no idea is a bad idea! Choose at least one item from each child and parent to add to the family calendar. In the past, we’ve done things like sailing, attending a movie outdoors at a local park, visiting the arboretum, spending a day at the zoo. One year the boys built a treehouse in the backyard. The sky is the limit to the ideas!

Be intentional about family time this summer. The months can fly by so quickly. Make a plan to put family first and enjoy one another.

Here are a few related posts for summertime fun and learning.

Summer Reading List and Bingo Board
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting has great book title for babies to adults. There’s also a link to a Summertime Book Bingo Board to encourage kids to read.

Finding a Balance with Summer “Vacation”
Megan Stone, founder of Stone Foundations of Learning and member of the 1 Corinthians Parenting team, has ideas for parents to keep children learning over the summer months.

Summer Sanity Savers
If you begin to feel like a cruise director with your children, Jenna Hallock has great sanity saving tips for parents. Jenna works with Family Time Training and is a member of the 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting team.

I’m Bored
Here’s a post with an idea to use when the dreaded, “Mom, I’m bored” is uttered. Trust me, this idea really works!

Enjoy the sunshine and laughter! Make memories! Love deeply!

A glad heart makes a cheerful face…
Proverb 15:13a


Three Types of Girlfriends

Labors of LoveIn regards to Labors of Love, friends are classics! When I think about the women who inspire me greatly, most of them are close to my heart.

This post is one of my most popular probably because it strikes a cord in women. We love our friends and they love us. We celebrate and help each other, encourage and support one another…through thick and thin. That is a labor of love.

With faith, hope & love,
xo Becky

Three Types of Girlfriends

Silver, Gold & 3 AM GirlfriendsFriends are balm for the soul. Ladies, our girlfriends are a special gift from God. And the benefits of friendship are plentiful! Proverbs 27:9 tells us, “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.” When we face difficulties, friends help us though with love, support, encouragement, and empathy. They cheer us on and dry our tears. They also hold us accountable. (Only a very good friend would discourage dessert if she noticed your jeans were getting a little tight!)

Silver, Gold & 3AM GirlfriendsGirlfriends are there to celebrate mountaintop experiences and to walk through dark valleys in life. God gives us girlfriends as a present, to be present when accomplishments need celebrating or events are heartbreaking. We are to be there for one another. Scripture tells us, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is the Father who is full of mercy and all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble, so when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). We learn through our friends and experiences how to be a blessing to others, to be the hands and feet of our Savior.

Silver, Gold & 3 AM Friends 2When looking at friendships, there are three types: Silver, Gold and, I Need Help NOW. Silver friends are typically short term. They’re those people in life we become friends with for a specific reason or for a specific time in life. Gold friendships are those that have withstood the test of time. You know…the girlfriend you haven’t seen in ages but when you do get together, you pick up right where you left off. Then there are what I call 3:00 AM friends. If I need help in the middle of the night, these are the people I would immediately call. (First, because they love me. Second, because they wouldn’t be irritated by a late night call. And third, because they know I’d do the same for them!)

silver, Gold & 3AM Girlfriends 4Friendships need to be intentional. How often do you get together with your good friends? The Internet, long work hours, a transient society, and busy schedules make time for social gatherings difficult. Toss in the responsibilities of being a parent and caring for an elderly parent and it’s even harder to find the time and energy to put into relationships. But don’t let that hold you back. You are the friendship model for your children. It’s good for kids to see Mom enjoying her friends.

Scripture tells us are wired for relationships; first with the Lord and then with others He has placed in our path. We’re to choose our friends wisely. “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Proverbs 12:26). Choose well and cherish deeply those He has given to you as a gift.

In the joyful and the dreadful, reach out to your girlfriends to celebrate or commiserate. Plan a lunch date or a fun night out. Maybe even make plans for an adventure. Most of all be thankful! Each girlfriend is a precious gift, from God to you.

Today, I thank God for the women in my life who have prayed for me, held my family up in prayer, and rallied around the four of us when the road has been bumpy. Thank you!! 

How have your girlfriends supported and encouraged you? How have you been a blessing to your girlfriends?

Originally posted: August, 2013

College Boot Camp

Do you have a soon-to-be high school graduate headed off for college? Two years ago, my eldest son and a few of his friends took part in College Boot Camp with Megan Stone of Stone Foundations of Learning, Inc. It was a great experience for the boys and a helpful time of preparation.
Enjoy Megan’s words of wisdom!
xo Becky

College Boot CampCollege Boot Camp 

College is way different than high school! Parents are acutely aware of this fact, but not necessarily teenagers. Yes, they realize life will be different with living away from home, new friends, and more freedom. And it can be a great time in a young person’s life! It can also be a challenging time.

Over the last twelve years I have worked with many college/university students that run the gamut of soaring academically and socially and on the other end struggling with homework and friends. The students who have difficulties share one common factor, they didn’t understand or prepare for the major pitfalls in this new chapter of life.

College life has three major aspects: academics, social life, and preparing for professional life. To be successful students need to understand how each of these facets will be different than what they have experienced in the past.

If you have a child heading off for academic pursuits, here are a few key points worth discussing and investigating before leaving the nest.

• College and university professors are very different than K-12 teachers. Teaching is only one part of their job while researching and writing in a particular area of study is another.  Because of this fact, it’s important for students to communicate with professors, developing a relationship early on to learn class expectations.
• There is very little “homework” in college! Students need to develop a plan to regularly study and learn on their own. Understanding the syllabus, planning assignments and study times, knowing exactly how the class is graded, and how they earn points are essentials.

• Balance social life and school! Being too social or not social enough can cause problems.
• Develop a study schedule and how social activities will fit in each week.
• Find activities of interest in before arriving on campus. Research contact numbers and websites for clubs, intramural sports, church groups, or organizations that sound interesting. With this information, students will be more likely to make connections with people who have similar interests immediately.

• The last reason to go to college is to get a job. A student should explore the many options of classes to determine what he really enjoys doing.
• Find research positions, during the regular school year or during summer breaks, in the field of study. This is a great way to discover new career options and it looks great on a resume.
• Keep a file with numbers and contact information for people they meet throughout their college career. This information is essential in getting coveted internships and first jobs.

Empower your teen for the next chapter of life with College Boot Camp! With the knowledge of how to navigate academics, social life, and professional pursuits, your child can have the power to positively affect the college experience and get the most out of the next 4+ years.

Megan-blogFor information regarding College Boot Camp contact Megan at Stone Foundations of Learning.
Buy copies of her book,  Own Your Education: A Student’s Guide to Greater Success in School (and Life) for the graduates on your list!

Megan Stone has her Master’s Degree in Science Education and has taught in Minnesota. She is the founder and president of Stone Foundations of Learning and has been working with students and faculty members across the country for over fifteen years. The mission of Stone Foundations of Learning, Inc. is to help students and educators build confidence in and outside of the classroom by teaching organizational skills and improving their quality of work while developing a student’s ability to advocate for themselves, encouraging them to take responsibility for their own actions through ownership. This confidence in the classroom then carries over to every aspect of their lives. Stone Foundations of Learning is also committed to training educators in new educational techniques and helping them to teach students how to take ownership over their educational experience. Stone Foundations of Learning, Inc. offers parent seminars, teacher seminars, individual parent training, and one-on-one coaching for students. Megan also consults with school districts and colleges to better equip faculty to handle students that lack the tools to “do” their job of being a student and to help build educational ownership. Megan has published “The Ownership Series” with Pearson Publishing for post secondary students. Her newest release, Own Your Education: A Student’s Guide to Greater Success in School (and Life) was released on March 15, 2014. She continues to develop new materials for Pearson at all levels of education as well as presents training seminars nationwide.

This blog was originally posted on on June 20, 2013.

The Orange Monogram

This month on Faith First Parent, I invite you to get to know a few moms who are making a difference using their God-given gifts and talents. Each has found her sweet spot. I hope you’ll enjoy their stories and be inspired by their passions and labors of love for the Lord.
With faith, hope & love,

The Orange MonogramCandace Slagle, Creator and Owner of The Orange Monogram

I first became passionate about monograms while living in the Phi Mu sorority house at The University of Florida. Upon graduating from UF (Go Gators!) with a degree in marketing, I moved to Georgia and started moving my way up through Target as a retail manager until my son was born. After 9 months as a stay at home mom with a husband that travels frequently, I learned that I needed something to occupy my time when Connor was napping and Keith was out of town.

I purchased a used embroidery machine from a friend and had a blast learning how to use it. After monogramming most of our house my hubby suggested I should “find an outlet” to embroider for other people – and that I did! I opened up an Etsy shop called The Orange Monogram. That little Etsy shop has turned into so much more! Lately, I have been doing more orders for local families, which is very rewarding to serve others through affordable embroidery. I love making my clients and their gift recipients feel special with personalized items for life’s big milestones – what a joy to share in their celebrations!

I really enjoy learning the ins and outs of starting my own business and being able to provide “fun” money for our family. It also affords me the flexibility to volunteer at our church and attend weekly bible studies.

It has been very inspiring how God has provided for The Orange Monogram and helped me to balance business and the responsibilities of a stay at home mom. It seems like He really knows what I can handle and continues to bless my family by not giving me more than I can handle!

Fear not, for I am with you.
I am your God. 

I will strengthen you. 
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  
Isaiah 41:10

photo 2Candace Slagle is the creator and owner of The Orange Monogram, a custom embroidery business. She married Keith in 2010 and became a mother to Connor in 2013. Since then, she has been a stay at home mom and enjoys the creativity, flexibility, and challenges of starting a new business.

Connect with Candace and visit The Orange Monogram!
Etsy Shop

Labors of LoveRead more stories of amazing women and their Labors of Love!

Making Mother’s Day Special with 1C13P!

Mother's Day 1C13P 1And now these three remain:
faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

Happy Mother’s Day!

Make Mother’s Day special with special pricing in paperback and Kindle versions of Raising Little Kids with Big Love or Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love. The books are being offered for a short time, through Mother’s Day, on Amazon. The paperback copies are at a discount and the Kindle versions are only 99¢ each!

Raising Little Kids...Raising Little Kids with Big Love 
Have full blown tantrums and high-pitched whiny voices made their way into your home? Do you feel a little frustrated? Do you wonder what happened to your precious baby bundle and your patience? You must be the parent of a toddler to nine-year-old. When parenting little ones, big love is needed. Raising Little Kids with Big Love reveals fifteen qualities of love. These are demonstrated through anecdotes and the authors’ conversational style, bringing the characteristics of 1 Corinthians 13 love to life in your parenting and in your youngster.

Discover how to:
•increase your child’s self-worth by demonstrating patience
• act in kindness to build family unity
• foster sibling relationship rather than sibling rivalry
• control your anger and effectively deal with tantrums
• be your child’s advocate in the school setting
• support your gifted or special needs child
• build a relationship with your kids that will last a lifetime.

Read the 5 star reviews on Amazon for Raising Little Kids with Big Love.

Find Raising Little Kids with Big Love on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

Raising Big Kids...Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love
Are you dealing with big sighs and rolling eyes in your home? Are you feeling challenged? Does it seem as if your child has morphed into someone else? You must be the parent of a tween or teen. You need supernatural love to raise that big kid! Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love reveals fifteen qualities of love to infuse into your family. These characteristics are demonstrated through vignettes and the authors’ conversational style; bringing 1 Corinthians 13 love to life in your parenting and in your young person.

In Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love, you will…
• realize the difference between kindness and enabling
• discover how to adjust your parenting approach
• increase family cohesiveness put respect back into your family
• replace rivalry with relationship
• deal with your anger (and your child’s)
• provide tools for your young person regarding temptation and more!

Click HERE for Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love reviews.

Get the special price for Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love in paperback or Kindle on Amazon!

Both books have study guides for a deeper look into the attributes of love from 1 Corinthians 13.

If you have a small group, book club, or couples group, use the book(s) for your next study! Contact me and I’ll get you started or provide a wrap up for the study. If you’re part of MOPs, a mom’s group, couple study, or Bible study and are interested in a class or retreat, let me know as I’m scheduling for fall and winter.Lori & Becky

Get Growing: Gardens for Kids

Get Growing- Gardens for KidsA fun-filled, family field trip for this time of year is the farmers market or your favorite nursery. Choose seeds to plant. Pick out seedlings for the garden!

Make it a family adventure. This is a great opportunity for a farm to table experience for children and a lesson in patience and delayed gratification. A backyard vegetable patch or even a pot with a tomato plant will work well.

Here are a few suggestions to make the trip enjoyable for you and your children. 

• Make a plan. What vegetables, fruits or flowers do you want to grow? How much space is needed? Where can you build a trellis for plants (morning glories, peas, beans, mini pumpkins, cucumbers)? Encourage your children to draw a garden plant. If you’re creating a container garden, follow the same principle. A pot for a mini salsa garden with a tomato, pepper, and cilantro plant can be just as much fun to tend as a large garden…and less weeding!

• Before you leave home, check the weather. Toss an umbrella in your bag just in case. Pull up the website to get directions and hours of operation. Special events are often listed too.

• Give kids a few dollars to spend and a basket or bag to carry their purchases.

• Encourage youngsters to pick out fruits or vegetables that are not familiar. Kohlrabi or parsnips might just end up being a favorite!

• Point out how wonderful God is to have created such a wide variety of food to eat.

• With little ones, identify colors and shapes. Count tomatoes on the vine. Older kids can manage their money, paying for purchases and calculating the price.

Grab a basket, load up the kids, and head out on your gardening adventure. It’s a great way to spend a spring afternoon!

Then God said,
“Let the land produce vegetation:
seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so.
The land produced vegetation:
plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit
with seed in it according to their kinds.
And God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:11-12

Get Growing: Earth Day

Get Growong- Earth DayHappy Earth Day!

Let’s celebrate creation by lifting our eyes to the Creator with words from the Bible. Print out this post or dig into the Bible for verses to share with your family today.

Use these ideas to extend the learning for your children.

• Show you kids how to use the concordance in the Bible to find other verses describing this beautiful planet God created.
• Cut out the verses from the PDF. Glue on construction paper. Encourage your children to illustrate.
• Take a walk today with your children. Notice all of nature (birds chirping, waves lapping, sun shining, etc.) Record your findings in a journal or notebook.

Many blessings,
xo Becky

In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Psalm 95:4-5

But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. Job 12:7-10

How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number– living things both large and small. Psalm 104:24-25
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy…                    Psalm 96:11-12
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Romans 1:20

For in him all things were created:
things in heaven and on earth,
visible and invisible,
whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things have been created through him and for him.
Colossians 1:16

How will you celebrate Earth Day with your family?

Credit for all photos in this post: 1C13P

Get Growing: Nature Field Trips for Families

Nature Field Trips for FamiliesGetting outside after a long winter is balm for the soul. Little kids, big kids, and grownup alike are looking forward to time in the sun, to run, play, and enjoy being outside unencumbered by snow gear.

When they were little, my boys would choose outside activities over indoor any day of the week. Things don’t change too much. Both boys still love to be outdoors. There’s just so much to do!

Enjoy springtime with your children with these family field trips.Here are a few ideas to get you started. I’ve added links to my favorites in the Twin Cities. 

• Landscape Arboretum
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

• Nature Center
Woodlake Nature Center

• Zoo
 Minnesota Zoo (Catch the Farm Babies exhibit April 1-30!)

• Farm
 Gale Woods Farm

• Conservatory
Como Park Conservatory

• Farmers market
 Minneapolis Farmers Market (Opens April 25th.)

• Local nursery

• Neighborhood park

Plan a destination. Explore creation. Encourage imagination. Most of all, thank God for this beautiful place and the wonders of spring!

For what can be known about God is plain to them,
because God has shown it to them.
For his invisible attributes,
namely, his eternal power and divine nature,
have been clearly perceived,
ever since the creation of the world,
in the things that have been made.
So they are without excuse.
Romans 1:19-20 ESV

Pass on the NEWS to your friends in the Denver area!
HeartCORe Parenting Conference
May 9, 2015


Get Growing: A Science Experiment for Kids

Get GrowingThe snow finally melted. The grass is beginning to turn green. The onions, chives, and strawberry plants in my kitchen are popping up out of the leaves and soil. Springtime is here! It seems like it always takes a little longer in Minnesota to get things growing!

This month we are going to focus on outdoor fun in the garden, family field trips, plants, and recipes for children. Art, science, reading, and more are all part of Get Growing!

Now is the time to plan a garden with your kids. Spending time outside, digging in the dirt, planting, and harvesting are fun, especially with children. Get books on gardening at the library. Visit the local greenhouse to observe seedlings. Check out the many varieties of seeds available to plant. There are lots of ways to garden with children; a community plot, a sectioned off area in the yard, a raised bed or a single pot all qualify.

We are going to start at the beginning with a Germination Station. This is an interesting science activity for for children to observe seed germination and growth.

bean seeds
ZipLoc bag
absorbent paper towels
south-facing window
magnifying glass

Soak bean seeds in water overnight to soften. Fold paper toweling to fit snuggly in the ZipLoc bag. Moisten with water. Arrange seeds in bag on paper towel. Seal the ZipLoc bag carefully, pressing air from bag. The beans will stay in place if air is removed. Hang in window with tape, beans toward sunlight. Additional watering is not necessary as the water is trapped in the bag. Children can observe condensation forming in the bags, similar to rain clouds in the atmosphere.

Check the beans progress each day with your children. Make a chart with the days of the week to keep track of the germinating beans. How long did it take the beans to sprout? What color are the sprouts? Allow your children to examine the germinating seeds with a magnifying glass. Use the following questions to get the discussion going.

What do you think will happen to the seeds? Why?
What do the seeds need to grow?
What color are the roots?
Which direction do the roots go?
Which direction does the sprout go?

Encourage your children to hang the bag in a window, turning 90 degrees each week and record the results. Discuss what might happen. (Roots will always turn down, the sprout and leaves will go up. This will happen even if the children continue to turn the bags!)

Plant the seedlings in small plastic cups and then in the garden when the weather is warmer, after May 15.

Then God said,
“I give you every seed-bearing plant
on the face of the whole earth
and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.
They will be yours for food.”

Genesis 1:29

Do you live in Denver or have family or friends in the Denver area?
Take part in the HeartCORe Parenting Conference on May 9!
Register HERE!


Springtime Sweets

Springtime Sweets If you’re looking for a fun activity for the children, both big kids and little kids, here are two recipes for sweet treats that are sure to please. The mess is minimal, good for Mom. The projects are fun, good for the kids.

The end products can be used in a variety of ways for Easter. Place a cookie pop alongside each place setting at the dinner table. Serve the bird nests on a bed of green coconut  as a dessert. Both make darling hostess gifts too.

My sweet little nieces and I made the cookie pops and bird nests last week. We had a really fun time. I hope you and your children have a good time together in the kitchen too!

Springtime Sweets 2Pastel Cookie Pops

Double Stuff Oreo Cookies®
white chocolate
cake pop sticks
parchment paper
pastel-colored M&Ms®
cello bags

Place stick in cookie frosting securely.

Melt chocolate in microwave safe bowl.

Dip the cookies into the chocolate.

Set the cookies on a parchment-covered tray.

Decorate the cookie pops with the M&Ms®.

Allow the chocolate to harden. Wrap in cello bags and secure with ribbon.

Springtime Sweets 4

Springtime Sweets 3Springtime Bird Nests

2 C chocolate chips
½ C peanut butter
1 pkg. chow mein noodles
¾ C roasted peanuts
parchment paper
pastel malted milk balls

Melt chocolate chips in microwave safe bowl. Add peanut butter. Microwave for an additional 30 seconds. Stir well. Add peanuts and noodles. Using a large spoon, scoop the chocolate mixture onto parchment covered trays. Set a malted milk ball in the center of the chocolate. Allow to cool before packaging on paper plates.
NOTE: Shake shredded coconut in a baggie with a few drops of green food coloring to make a base of “grass” for the bird nests on a serving tray.

1C13P Series 1