Celebrate the 4th of July as a Family This Year

Be intentional in celebrating the holidays this year by creating a 4th of July itinerary for food, family and fun! 

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CELEBRATING THE 4TH OF JULY

What a year.

I have never lived through a more intense year politically than 2020. But I still love this country. There are some things we could do better (ok a lot!), but every day I wake up in a country where I am free. I can be a Christian without persecution. I can be a woman who can vote and work or stay home with my kids.

It seems like our country is a mess sometimes, but the truth is, the world is a mess! We were never meant to live in conflict, and I believe as Christians we are called to be peacemakers and show the world what a little bit of heaven on earth looks like.

Thank the Lord we can worship him freely in this country of ours! We may be broken, but we are not without hope. Let’s celebrate what it means to be blessed to be an American this year.

IDEAS FOR YOUR 4TH OF JULY

Here are a few fun ideas to create a holiday your family can celebrate together!

1. Play in the Water

You may not have a pool, but finding a way to cool off in the summer is a must! Here are a few of our favorite ways:

  • Buy a blow up pool
  • Have a water balloon fight (Have you seen these new ones? They are SO much easier than what we had when I was little)
  • Have a water gun fight
  • Play in the sprinkler
  • Have the littles play with a water table
  • Install a misting cooling system (we’ve talked about buying one of these this summer)

2. Eat American Food

Think barbecue this 4th of July. What can you throw on the grill for dad to cook? Here are few ideas:

  • Hotdogs and hamburgers
  • Steaks
  • Shish-kabobs
  • Brisket
  • Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Don’t forget sides and desserts!

3. Wear Red, White and Blue

We always love a good dress up day! Old Navy never disappoints with their 4th of July t-shirts, so this year we’ll have to grab a few!

4. Make an American Flag Craft

Just a quick search on Pinterest and you’ll have more than enough ideas to keep the kids busy! Here’s what I’ve found.

5. Play “America Land”

Download my “America Land” board game for a fun family activity! Use coins for playing pieces and a dice to roll.

6. Say the Pledge and Sing the National Anthem

If your kids don’t know this yet, it’s a great lesson to teach before school starts! Here are some YouTube videos on the Pledge of Allegiance and the Star Spangled Banner.

7. Watch Fireworks

Some of my favorite memories as a kid were going to the local high school to watch the fireworks show. If you can shoot fireworks in your neighborhood, we love sparklers and the fireworks that stay on the ground. Ask for suggestions at your local fireworks stand.

8. Listen to Patriotic Music

Every party’s more fun with a good soundtrack! Make sure to blast some good old fashioned American tunes. Here’s a playlist I found on Spotify: 4th of July BBQ

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For more holiday activities and family fun, check out these other posts:

Happy 4th of July!

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Teach Your Kids the Fruit of the Spirit with this Summer Study

Teach your kids the fruit of the spirit from Galatians 5:22-23 with this printable 10 week workbook.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY “THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT”?

One of the best pieces of advice I was given from a seasoned parent was to make the Fruit of the Spirit our family rules. At the time, I knew the phrase but didn’t remember what they were or where to find them in the Bible.

My husband and I helped teach a kindergarten class one summer and we learned the Fruit of the Spirit song. I loved the simplicity and ease of teaching a complex subject like the Holy Spirit when I applied the verse of Galatians 5:22-23 to my family:

“For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” 

Galatians 5:22-23

I even included it in my Family Goals Poster I created years ago. But to simply tell children (especially little children) to be these things is not enough. We have to model these behaviors and teach our kids what it looks like to be kind, faithful, good, gentle and to practice self-control.

MODELING GALATIANS 5:22-23

Here are a few examples you can use to model the Fruit of the Spirit to your children:

  • LOVE: the next time you celebrate a birthday in your family, explain why you honor that person
  • JOY: model how to make the best of a bad situation by pointing out what you are thankful for
  • PEACE: try not to raise your voice with your spouse in front of the kids, showing that you can disagree and still be kind
  • PATIENCE: when you are stuck in traffic, be aware of how you’re acting about it in front of the kids
  • KINDNESS: next time you see a homeless person offer to pray with them, give them food or money
  • GOODNESS: be honest with your kids about something you struggle with, but tell them that you choose to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do
  • FAITHFULNESS: tell your kids about a time it was hard to trust God and why you did anyway, then pray together
  • GENTLENESS: it’s hard not to yell when your kids are disobeying, but it gets a better result when you speak calmly the next time they get angry
  • SELF-CONTROL: point out to your kids that you really want all the cookies in the box, but you only have two for dessert because it’s not healthy for your body to eat lots of junk food

FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT WORKBOOK FOR KIDS

I’ve created a 10 week workbook for kids on the Fruit of the Spirit that you can use at home! The product is a digital download, so you can buy once, and print a workbook for each of your children! The best way to use these are to put the pages in a 3 ring binder, in a folder or simply staple them all together.

The first week introduces all the Fruits of the Spirit with a:

  • Galatians 5:22-23 coloring page
  • Cover page for your child’s name
  • Tree and fruit of the spirit cut and glue page

Each of the following weeks teaches one Fruit of the Spirit with a:

  • Memory verse page with visuals and activities for memorizing the scripture
  • Choice board with 6 activities to practice that week’s skill
  • Bible story lesson with drawing and writing page
  • Journal prompt for reflecting on how they applied that skill during the week

ORDER YOUR FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT WORKBOOK

Print this instant download for a 40-page workbook on the Fruit of the Spirit. Includes 10 weeks of Bible-based challenges to help you teach your child about the 9 Fruit of the Spirit based on Galatians 5:22-23 (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control).

INCLUDES:

  • Cover Page for your child’s name
  • Galatians 5:22-23 Coloring Page
  • 9 Themed Choice Boards
  • 9 Bible Story discussion prompts
  • Fruit of the Spirit cut and color activity tree
  • 9 Memory Verse Pages with activities
  • 9 Journaling Pages for Weekly Reflection

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I love creative ways to teach kids about the Bible and I look forward to sharing more of these with you this year. For more posts like this, check out:

You’ve got this!

WANT TO LIVE YOUR DAYS WITH MORE INTENTION? SIGN UP HERE TO GET INSTANT ACCESS TO MY FREE PRINTABLES: 

Tips for First Time Moms

Being a new mom is hard. I give you tips on how to get through the sleepless nights and new parenting fears.

THE TRUTH ABOUT BEING A NEW MOM

Motherhood. It’s hard. The idea of being the perfect mother is just that: an idea. Not a reality. But that’s okay. Too often we run around like chickens with our heads cut off while trying to give the impression that we actually have all of our ducks in a row.

When my husband and I started trying for a baby, I was pregnant within six weeks. They say you should wait until 8-10 weeks to tell people, but I called the day I found out. I was ecstatic. A week later I started bleeding. After seeing the doctor and staying in bed a few days, it was confirmed I had miscarried. For the first time, fear crept in.

Fortunately, we were blessed with another pregnancy 6 weeks after that. Throughout my entire pregnancy was a constant nagging fear that something would happen to my baby.  I worked until the end of the school year and sat with my feet elevated during the hottest summer North Texas had ever seen.  Two weeks before I had my baby, my mother-in-law died from brain cancer.  She had been battling it for a year and a half and her time had come.  I began having nightmares about her death and would wake up crying in the middle of the night.

SINGING THE BABY BLUES

I wish I had been told about baby blues before I had my son.  I think I may have handled my depression better being told in advance that I wasn’t crazy.  They say pretty much every woman experiences “baby blues” after having a baby.  It’s normal to have it for about 2-3 weeks.  Postpartum depression is a more intense depression that lasts longer..  Mine was more than baby blues, but whether it was postpartum depression or post-traumatic stress, I don’t know.

People would come over to give us food and I’d excuse myself.  Everyday for two weeks I cried hysterically for hours.  I couldn’t stop.  I had a constant fear my baby was going to die and it would be all my fault for not doing the right thing.  It was paralyzing to the point that I didn’t want to take care of him even though I did anyway.  I felt trapped in my new life with my mom halfway across the country and my mother-in-law not being able to come over and help.

FINDING A NEW MOM COMMUNITY

So what did I do?  I asked for help.  It wasn’t until another mom friend suggested I talk to my doctor that I got better.  After I got on a prescription, I asked other moms about their experiences.  To my surprise, several women I talked to experienced the same emotions I had and if they didn’t get help, they were depressed for over a year.  It took me about two months to feel like I wasn’t swimming with my head just above the water, but once I started feeling better, it was like I was a brand new person.  It felt great to be able to look in the mirror and say, “Ok, I’ve got this.”

MY ADVICE FOR NEW MAMAS

1. TAKE BABY STEPS

You’re a new mom. This is new. That’s ok. When you’re overwhelmed in the moment, take baby steps.  Don’t worry about the next 18 years, your next baby, or even the dreaded “middle of the night feeding”.  Take each step one at a time.  Ask yourself: All I have to do now is ___________. (feed her or get her to stop crying or give her a bath)  Can I do that ONE thing right now?   Focus on the task at hand, not at all the things you have to do in the next 24 hours.

2. PUT AWAY THE PARENTING BOOKS

The more stressed I got, the more I thought I needed to read up on how to do things right.  The more I read, the worse of a mother I felt.  You’re doing great.  Don’t worry about schedules and waketime.  You’re in survival mode.  Is your baby breathing?  Are they eating?  You’ve got this.

3. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE

Most libraries have free weekly programs for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  During the summer, take advantage of morning movie deals for moms and kids.  Join a women’s Bible study at church.  Meet other seasoned and new moms in play date groups on meetup.com.  Run errands when your baby’s little–take advantage of this time in their lives when they sleep through everything during the day.  Many moms are terrified of taking their little ones out too soon.  Your baby sleeps most of his first month anyway and getting out was the best thing I did for myself to get worry off my mind.

4. TAKE “ME” BREAKS

It’s hard for a new mom to think clearly when you’ve had no sleep and you don’t have time to shower.  Trade off one night a week with your spouse to clear your head.  My husband would take the baby one night a week and tell me to go out.  I often left not knowing where I was going and ended up reading at a bookstore for an hour or two.  When I came home, I was excited to see my family and didn’t mind changing another diaper.  Make sure to plan time for your husband to recharge.  Saturday mornings, a weeknight evening–whenever–just give each other a chance to breathe. Just make sure you actually get OUT of the house for your break time–it’s not relaxing being in the tub hearing your baby crying in the room next door. 

5. FIND A BABYSITTER

Even if you only go out for coffee, go on a date with your husband.  Find out how work is going, what new movies are out, who is making news in Hollywood–anything!  Don’t forget to plan your next date night while you’re out.

When we couldn’t find a sitter, we swapped babysitting with friends and asked for references at church. We also have had great success using Care.com.

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Remember that this stage of your life won’t last forever. Being a new mom is just one stage of your life, and yes it’s a hard one, but you can get through it. Sometimes it’s overwhelming when a baby won’t eat or he projectile vomits for the 3rd time today. But savor the moments where he’s holding his head up on the blanket or he coos at you or he sucks his thumb while you’re rocking him.

Let me encourage you through this time of transition in my Fear + Anxiety Workbook. It’s Bible-based and walks you through verse studies on fear, peace, trials and mindset. It also includes verse coloring pages! You can order it in my shop:

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Take encouragement mamas, you’ve got this!

WANT TO LIVE YOUR DAYS WITH MORE INTENTION? SIGN UP HERE TO GET INSTANT ACCESS TO MY FREE PRINTABLES: