Holiday Road Trips

Are you taking several holiday road trips?Holiday Road Trips Episode 455

Are you taking several holiday road trips? Whether it is Thanksgiving (already passed by the time I record this podcast) or Christmas it is important to be prepared! Take it from one who has traveled with kids in the car on extended trips, I’ll share some must-haves with you!

Please visit the Media Angels website for deep discounts and specials throughout the holiday season – if you missed our big sale, be sure to subscribe to the email list here, at the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network for updates.

Are you packed and ready for a holiday road trip? Whether you are heading to grandma’s house that is in another state or a trip that is a few hours away, these holiday tips will save you time and money. The most wonderful time of the year tends to be filled with stress and anxiety as we prepare not only to decorate our own homes and create some holiday family traditions but then to pack up the family and head out of town to celebrate the holidays somewhere else.

When we think of road trips we remember asking our parents the age-old, “Are we there yet,” after twenty minutes or less in the car, or complaining of hunger. This was because we were bored and today with built-in audio systems for audiobooks or video the trips go so much more quickly with the children entertained. But there is more to keeping them engaged and also thinking of this as a time to create a family bond and memories.

There are many reasons people plan holiday road trips:

  1. Visit family or friends
  2. Vacation time with the family
  3. A way to leave sad memories behind

Planning a trip can be fun with the right tools. One is to plan ahead if at all possible. This means having someone take care of things at your own home if you have pets or pipes that might freeze. It means giving away perishable foods or freezing things that will keep. It can mean planning to purchase clothing for the kid’s cooler items if you are heading to a warmer climate or warming items if you are heading somewhere colder (or asking if you can borrow extra coats and jackets for the kids whenever possible).

Handy List of Planning Ahead:

  1. Make provisions for your home and/or pets.
  2. Plan for appropriate clothing depending on the climate. Borrow whenever possible if you are not planning extended trips (and even if you are, kids grow out of their clothing so quickly).
  3. Driving or flying? Mode of transportation and checking early enough to get flights at a discount or plan on a car tune-up before a big trip. Proper tires, etc. for snowy weather.
  4. Planning wardrobe. Items that can be worn more than once (jeans, leggings, etc.) and paired with other things to make it look like a new outfit. Harder with kids who seem to get every item of clothing filthy without trying.
  5. Suitcases and carry-on if you are flying – be sure you look over the list of what is needed and sizes for carry-on luggage.

If you are driving, perhaps your road trip is a time to bond as a family and create some holiday memories of your own. I remember times we took day trips with the children. It was during a busy time of the year and it was one day to unwind and see some local sites such as a science museum we passed often but never made the time to visit. This locale became a family favorite for years. (More on the audio – listen in!)

Try to think of family trips not only to get to an end destination but also to create family memories that are special and the kids will talk about and remember fondly. Again, less is more and we can over plan, but here are some ideas.

Here is a quick list of things that will help if you are planning holiday road trips.

  1. Plan to stop. If you are going long distances it helps to get into the mindset of frequent stops, especially with little kids. If you can map out the rest stations this is a tremendous help.
  2. Car activities: some kids get carsick so be sure they are not looking down. An activity like matching license plates with a state map that is labeled with each state is fun. The kids can add a tally to each state where they see a license plate. Use clipboards to keep the maps in tack. Of course, there are audiobooks for the entire family. Adventures in Odyssey was a family favorite and now there are longer audiobooks you can rent from the library or purchase on online services. Of course, there are videos on devices such as tablets, but if at all possible I’d keep those to a minimum.
  3. If you are going a long distance consider printing out state maps with the route you will take. You can print this on mapquest or a similar website. The kids can use a marker to circle towns you pass as well as keep track of how far you are from your destination. It keeps the question, “Are we there yet?” to a minimum!

Here is a quick list for flying:

  1. Leave enough time to get to the airport and plan ahead if you are leaving a car in extended parking. Sometimes it takes time to get from the parking garage to the airport, longer than expected!
  2. Carry-on for the kids should be back packs with things the kids can do. Simple activities like mazes, puzzles or one year I brought a rock collection and wrapped up the rocks in tissue paper and gave the kids a marble bag with the rocks and a tiny rock identification book. Each of my two kids had different rocks and once they identified them, they traded with each other. This kept them busy on a two hour flight and the older gentleman on the other side of the aisle was so fascinated the kids had to share their rocks with him.
  3. Be sure to pack hard candy or gum, and bring an empty bottle to fill (there are places to fill up water bottles) or plan to buy water after you go through security. This helps with equalizing air pressure in the kids ears. Snacks are also a good idea. You can bring food even through security check just be sure it is in clear bags. You can also buy food once you are through security to bring on the plane.
  4. Audios are a good idea but be sure to download them on your device. Steaming costs money and the service is very slow. An audio book or music works well. You can download videos to your tablet ahead of time as well, usually the entertainment available on some airlines may not be what you want your children to view.
  5. Books are always a good idea if your child is a reader and a new book is fun to pick out ahead of time.

You may want to have gifts shipped unless you are driving or consider gift cards as gifts for the year you travel. Some families open gifts ahead of time at home before they leave, others use the trip itself as the family gift. Whatever you do, make this time special, stop daily and enjoy that day with your family and thank the Lord for all the blessings you have each and every day!

And I thank God for all of you, you have helped me tremendously in these years by sharing my podcasts with a friend and giving me a star rating on your mobile devices and I thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The most wonderful time of the year is not what you think. It is not overloading or overdoing, it is rejoicing in what is the most important in your life. In this podcast, we drill down on how to make this season the best ever.Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Episode 454

The most wonderful time of the year is not what you think. It is not overloading or overdoing, it is rejoicing in what is the most important in your life. In this podcast, we drill down on how to make this season the best ever.

Please visit the Media Angels website for deep discounts and specials throughout the holiday season – if you missed our big sale, be sure to subscribe to the email list here, at the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network for updates.

Are you singing it with me, the refrains of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?” well if not, let’s remedy that with this podcast that will hopefully get you to number one, put things into perspective and number two give you permission to not overstress the holidays.

So, when are you listening to this podcast? Is it weeks before Thanksgiving and Christmas, or is it right around the corner? No matter what time, I pray that this show helps you to see that life is too short to stress the stuff that really isn’t important in the long run. If you are a long-time listener you’ve heard me come full circle in many ways. I was the person that had to bake or make everything from scratch. I knew about DIY before it was even a thing. I could take those scraps like toilet paper and paper tubes from paper towels and come up with craft ideas and decorations for our table, of course with the kids helping and checking art off our homeschool list.

The Not So Wonderful Times

During the holidays if there is a family crisis, illness, or worse, it is difficult to be jolly and want to participate in all of the holiday festivities. At times like this, we lean on our other family members or friends. We look for the joy that comes from our faith and those loved ones we can surround ourselves with as a reminder of what is important.

Trying to do everything yourself can be was exhausting and terribly frustrating at times. But, if you keep things in perspective you can have a wonderful time this year with decorations, food and so much more that will not break the bank. I am a great believer in having the kids help if they are age-appropriate. And, kids love to feel needed and wanted.

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

First things first. What is really important to you this holiday season? Is it:

  1. Spending time with family and friends?
  2. Entertaining?
  3. Holiday traditions?
  4. Getting rid of stress?
  5. Making Memories?

Always remember the reason for the season. Most of us celebrate Thanksgiving because it is a day on the calendar, but taking a few minutes to talk about this with your children (all ages) allows us to put things in perspective. While it is nice to remember the past, my family’s focus is on how to create memories and focus on how thankful we are for our faith and family and the blessings in our lives. Sure, some years we have to dig deep to find a reason to be thankful but that too is a learning moment.

The same with Christmas. Are we caught in the trappings of putting up two or three trees, of buying gifts that cause us to go into debt, or are we focused on the real reason, celebrating the birth of our Savior into the world and rejoicing that there is a hope that brings us joy? We celebrate with extended family each year and sometimes even friends, but we look at our lives and balance these times with a look at the days leading up for our family which means an Advent Wreath and prayers each night leading up to Christmas Day.

What makes this time of the year wonderful? It is the feelings of love that bring joy. I think if I had to select one word I would say, love. There is love in the making and baking of foods, the decorations, and even in the giving of gifts. We give of ourselves and put thought into what we want to gift our children and our neighbors and friends. Then there are the smells of the season, beginning with cooking and baking but also in the scents of pine cones, or pine needles, or cinnamon and cloves. These things bring back memories and hopefully, they are good, if not make new memories with your children.

We live in a world that puts an emphasis on the material the things we can buy. Yet, our focus should be on the things that money can not buy. During a time of financial difficulty I use to look at the sky and say to the Lord, thank you for the beauty of your creation and for all the things I enjoy each and every day that are free and cost nothing. That year we were inspired as a family to make many gifts and those gifts are still treasures I’ve kept throughout the years. The kids painted shells they found at the beach and the larger ones were glossed and I used them as a place for paperclips on my desk. Those crafts last longer than most of the store-bought gifts. I will be recording a podcast on holiday road trips and Christmas traditions you can celebrate for less than ten dollars. These are wonderful reminders that the most wonderful time of the year should focus on the importance of the love we have for each other.

Let me take a minute and talk about that love. If you are in strained relationships in your home, take the time to sit with your spouse and children and figure out solutions to the problems. Just saying I’m sorry, or will you forgive me goes a very long way in mending fences. Talk honestly about working as a family during the holiday season to give the gift of generosity and love to each other. (If you missed my character planners on the topic you can find them in my Media Angels store – go to MediaAngels.com). They are free currently for all email subscribers.

The most wonderful time of the year means different things to different people. This Thanksgiving I will hand out brown, orange, and yellow slips of paper to each person and ask them to write, not what they are thankful for — but what makes this the most wonderful time of the year. We will read them out loud as a family. (They do not need to sign them unless they want to!) The idea is to think of this time of the year as a new beginning and a new start, not a marathon to just get Thanksgiving or Christmas or even at some point Easter over with!

Is there something that bothers you or you detest doing? Take it off the list. If you are not in the best frame of mind for entertaining if it is your turn to host the family, get on your knees and pray that the Lord blesses you and keeps you focused on Him. If we do something for someone and we are not thanked we can remember that the Lord was not thanked for His sacrifice either. Friends, I get it especially if you are a parent it is the most rewarding and the most thankless job there is, however, we do it because as I said earlier of that one word – the word love. I pray that the Lord blesses you and your family this holiday season and brings you the real joy that makes this, the most wonderful time of the year!

Kids Choosing Good Behavior – Special Replay

Are you a kid? If you had a choice of choosing good behavior over bad, which would you pick?Special Replay: Kids Choosing Good Behavior

Are you a kid? If you had a choice of choosing good behavior over bad, which would you pick? Is that a silly question? That is what I want to talk to you about today. You are going to be very surprised when I explain some things to you so that you can take charge of your actions.

Check out this episode – Kids Making Good Decisions.

Books for tweens – Truth Seekers Mystery Series. 

I love talking to kids. I think you guys are great. You have so many good ideas, you are full of energy and fun. Even those of you that are quiet have amazing things to say if someone would take the time to listen to you. I have five kids and eight grandkids and each of them is a blessing. While we might not always agree, and yes my kids messed up (but so have I), I think they are amazing people. I really wish I could see you and tell you this while I am looking at you. But you are an amazing person. You may not think you are, but I believe that God made us and He does not make junk. I want you to think about that if you really do not think you are amazing and special. You are here for a reason. So, let’s begin!

Do you know an adult in your life? Is it a mom, a dad, a grandparent, aunts, or uncles? Did you know that these adults in your life were once your age? I bet you don’t think about that often. Yes, we adults were once kids, we were teenagers, we were young adults, and we finally, after many years and possibly getting in trouble ourselves we grew up, got married and had kids of our own. We learned from our past mistakes and we want to pass on this wisdom to our kids. That is why you get in trouble. We do not want you to make small mistakes now that can turn into big mistakes later. And that means we want to teach you how to choose good behavior.

It’s not easy to do what is right all the time, because no one is perfect. Right? Well, that may be true, but we can make our lives a whole lot easier if we take charge of our own behavior. Since I can’t see you, I don’t know if you are listening. But, I’m going to challenge you. If you want a happier life, please take the time to listen. As I talk, I will ask you some questions and you can stop this recording and answer them before you hear my remarks.

I like kids who think for themselves. Do you think? Of course, you do. But do you think before you speak or act? Sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t. You see the problem is when you act badly, say or do the wrong things, sometimes you get in trouble and sometimes you don’t. So you might be confused.

Let’s talk about what type of behavior gets you in trouble:

  1. Being disrespectful to your parents or adults (arguing, yelling, and saying, “no I didn’t do it.” when your parents clearly see you did.)
  2. Hitting others in your family. Many kids actually think this is fun!
  3. Breaking a rule. For example no snacks before dinner.
  4. Forgetting to do a chore or something your parent asked you to do.
  5. For homeschoolers – losing a book or not completing your schoolwork.

Now, let’s take each of these things and talk about what won’t get you in trouble.

  1. Being respectful to your parents. If you mess up, saying you are sorry or taking responsibility for your actions.
  2. Keeping your hands, feet–you know, general body parts to your self.
  3. Following the rules.
  4. Remembering to do your chores or follow through if your parents ask you to do something.
  5. Keeping your books together and finishing your schoolwork.

Wow, that was easy. Just be respectful, keep your hands to yourself, follow the rules, do your chores, and finish your schoolwork. So, what am I missing? How many of you think you can do this? Hmm… why or why not. Let’s think about this. Will life be easier and happier when you do what is right? Of course.

Choosing Good Behavior: You Are Not A Puppet.

Do you know what a puppet is? A puppet is controlled by someone else. The puppet has can’t think for itself or do something it wants to do on its own. Maybe you have never seen a puppet, but you know what I am talking about. A puppet has no free will. You on the other hand have free will. You can make decisions, you have a choice. You can decide to be the kind of person you want to be. Right? Do you agree? If not, why not?

Do you want to know what I think? I think there are many reasons why kids get in trouble.

  1. Laziness. Sometimes it is easier to not obey.
  2. React out of anger or because you are upset.
  3. Don’t think about the consequences. If you do something wrong what will happen?
  4. You are a gambler. What does that mean? A gambler takes chances. You know what you are doing wrong and you hope that you either won’t get caught OR if you do get caught the punishment won’t be bad, or maybe you are hoping for no punishment at all.
  5. Simpy forget to do what you are supposed to do. And one reason this happens? You really don’t care.

Did I forget anything? Is there another reason I did not list as to why you get in trouble?

I think the reason most of us get into trouble is that we do not consider what will happen afterward. This is called cause and effect. If I drop a glass on a hard surface, like concrete on purpose what will happen? If you said break, you are correct. We know glass sometimes shatters. Not all glasses but most. Have you ever dropped a glass? Or spilled milk or water? Sure, everyone has accidents. The cause of the incident – in this case, the glass breaking was done on purpose. The effect of my dropping the glass is it breaks. What about the accident? That is different. If we did not mean to do something then while the cause is the same – we are at fault or we did it (we dropped the glass) the motivation – or the why we did it is different.

So, let’s break this down.

  1. Things happen because we cause them. On purpose or by accident.
  2. We can sometimes control our actions or words and sometimes it is truly an accident.
  3. If we can control our words or actions, that means we are in charge.
  4. If we are in charge and are in control we can choose right or wrong. Because, hey, we are not a puppet.
  5. If we have a choice, which will we do?

So, there you have it. Choosing good behavior is up to you. You are not a puppet. You can make your own decisions. And, I for one hope you decide today, right now to make good choices. Think about what will happen if you make a good choice and what will happen if you make a bad choice. The decision is up to you! If you mess up and make a mistake apologize. That is different than saying you are sorry and not really meaning it. You should ask my kids how many apology notes I have written over the year.

One last thing to think about. Do you want to be around people who always get in trouble? Do you want to listen to people who do the wrong thing on purpose, or just because they think it is fun to have everyone yelling or arguing? Some people actually like to cause trouble. If you would not follow someone like that, then you should be the person God created you to be–and that means making choices that are wise.

One more thing – I have more shows planned just for you this month. So, stay tuned!

 

Discipline Kids and Holidays. Oh. My!

When kids misbehave parents get upset, and rightly so! In this episode, we tackle discipline, kids, and the holidays. We bring you real-life examples and the results that work.Discipline, Kids, and the Holidays. Oh. My! ~ with Meredith Curtis

When kids misbehave parents get upset, and rightly so! In this episode, we tackle discipline, kids, and the holidays. We bring you real-life examples and the results that work.

Visit Meredith Curtis at Powerline Productions here.

See all of Felice’s books and classes here Media Angels, Inc., and her Media Angels Membership here.

Our sister podcast network, The Ultimate Christian Podcast Network is here with podcasts relating to Christian topics, faith, and family.

More podcasts on discipline here.

During the holiday we are distracted and we want to spend time visiting with our family and friends. After all the holiday prep we are so busy serving others we often forget to enjoy the day ourselves. Yet, in the midst of distractions, our children can be struggling for attention or worse, get into situations that are not permitted.

Here are some ideas to help you in the midst of the holiday so that you can spend time enjoying your family!

  1. We either train our children to obey or we train them to disobey. When we raise our voice and do not follow through – or train our children to only listen when we are yelling, our children will only respond when we are angry. Pay attention to this and see how and when your children respond.
  2. Follow through. If we are going to ask our children to do something and they chose to disobey we have to follow through or we are again, training our children not to listen.
  3. Remember: you are the adult. The child must listen to you – require obedience.
  4. Teach your children to honor people rather than dishonor and disrespect. An important aspect in their future emotional well-being.

Some parents only discipline their children in public when they are embarrassed by bad behavior. This again trains our children not to listen. Tell your children what you expect, especially ahead of time if you are going to an event such as a party or a place where you have certain expectations. If you do not tell them how will they know?

When Discipline Kids and the Holidays Work:

Commandments: Honor thy Father and thy Mother –

Use the following as an outline toward changing misbehavior in your children:

  1. Tell your children that you love them too much to have them be disrespectful and that you require respect.
  2. Practice at home, especially when there is cause to correct disrespectful attitudes.
  3. Explain to your children that if they see others misbehaving that does not give them permission to misbehave as well.
  4. Gray hair is a crown of splendor – it is wisdom that comes from living life and learning from our mistakes. Honor of the elderly must be explained.
  5. Children who act out often have an underlying cause for this – find out why. Is it for additional attention, feelings of selfishness, or insecurity?
  6. We are children of God and as such are held to a higher standard! As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Holidays can be a joyful time, take a few minutes and explain what you expect to your children. You can also explain there will be a consequence for misbehavior, it may be the next request is a no, or perhaps the loss of time (the time it takes to discipline is your time lost.)

 

 

 

Best Christmas…Ever!

Best Christmas Ever with KidsBest Christmas Ever … with Kids!

The best Christmas ever is possible and best of all, it can be celebrated with our kids! Did you know that the holidays are what we make of them, and often we are interested in the outer wrappings that we forget the heart of our child! I learned this the hard way one Christmas when I was in the midst of homeschooling and trying to prepare for the Gerwitz-Family-overload-Christmas bash! I way overbought presents and I ended up hiring my daughter’s college friend to wrap for me. She loved it (who wouldn’t enjoy making some extra cash at Christmas?) but I realized I was doing Christmas all wrong.

The emphasis was not the real reason for the season, no the emphasis was on the kids getting presents, most they didn’t even ask for. I realized five things that year.

Best Christmas Ever – Does Not Require:

  1. Kids do not need to allot of presents to enjoy Christmas.
  2. The emphasis on Christmas was not on Christ.
  3. I was exhausted and frustrated.
  4. No one was having fun – and everyone was stressed.
  5. We would never do *this again!

[Want a free character planner for the kids? Be sure to sign up for our eZine – monthly access to a new character planner here.]

So I asked the kids what they wanted to do to celebrate Christmas and the Christmas break we would take from homeschooling and this was their list!

Best Christmas Ever Kids List:

  1. Spend time with friends.
  2. Go to the park.
  3. Do crafts.
  4. Make Christmas presents.
  5. Bake cookies.

Wow, nothing on that list that is far-fetched or difficult to do! And, these were all of my favorites as well. We took things easy, we spent the mornings reading books that were focused on the real reason for the season, we added some things like works of service. We selected angel tree gifts to make or give. The kids did a combination of both and selected kids their ages using their own money to buy gifts and wrap them. It turned my stressed filled season into something that was so much better. We played games, we played Christmas songs 24-7 and we watched some beloved Christmas movies such as the Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, and some other oldies. (This was before the 24/7 Hallmark Christmas specials!)

The children got so much more out of the season than I even expected. And, I learned something about myself as well. It was okay to say no to the things I didn’t want to do. While I loved baking I realized I did not have to bake for half of my city or mail cookies to families that baked as well! I could give some Christmas cookies as gifts to go for the family that visited, but that was it! I also learned I did not like sending out 100s of Christmas cards. So, I paired down my list to essential family members and that was all I sent out and that also was such a blessing for me!

Here is my advice:

  1. Ask your kids what they want to do to celebrate Christmas.
  2. Cut out anything that is stressful such as baking, cards, or crafts.
  3. Enjoy time with family and friends.
  4. Read and enjoy time with your children.
  5. Make your own Christmas memories as a family.

Let’s face it having matching jammies is fun for Christmas morning but if it doesn’t bring the entire family joy, let it go! What are ways that you celebrate Christmas that are joyful?

Felice Gerwitz is a serial entrepreneur and she and her husband own and run three businesses, one is Media Angels, Inc. a company she started in 1995, she also began this Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network eight years ago to bring home schoolers and parents free podcasts! Visit Felice’s podcast’s at Vintage Homeschool Moms and A Few Minutes with God Podcast.

 

Great Gifts Kids Can Make

Are you ready for the just for kids series? Here are some great gifts kids can make! And for cheap.Great Gifts Kids Can Make – Special Replay

Are you ready for the just for kids series? Here are some great gifts kids can make! And for cheap. The holidays are coming soon and you may be thinking about what to buy people in your family. Well, it is time to think about this and to be on the lookout for the things people really need.

Here are some more great podcasts for gifts kids can make!

  1. Gifts Kids Make
  2. DIY Christmas Gifts
  3. Thanksgiving Crafts
  4. Gifts Especially for Mom

I’m going to give you some great ideas about the things that your family may want and also some ideas of how to make things instead of buying them. Sometimes you will need to look at information online so make sure you have an adult with you. They can use the links I have on my show notes page. Some of these gifts take the help of an adult so you may want to ask another adult –not the person you are making this gift for, to help you! I am a grandmother and I love to help my grandchildren to make things for their parents or even their aunts, uncles or cousins.

I love handmade gifts much better than store bought gifts because it shows that the person making these gifts really cared about me and took the time and used their talents to make the gift. I’m going to share some of my favorite gifts. One is potholders. Some of these were decorative that means you can’t really use them on hot things, but they looked pretty when they were hung up on the wall. Others were paintings or pictures. Sometimes the kids made me jewelry—and I have to admit that I did not wear the necklaces or even earrings they made. But, my mother—their grandmother did! She loved the bead necklaces so she just added the ones the kids made her to the group of necklaces she already wore.

 

So, here are some things I want you to do.

  1. Look around. So, here is where your deep-deep-undercover skills come in. You don’t need binoculars for this assignment but you do need to look around you and think about what people need or want. Does your mom or dad have a favorite mug they use every morning? If you look at the things your parents like, maybe your mom or dad collects different things. My grandmother loved wind chimes and I do as well. These are easy to make. Or you can’t have enough hot pads for the table. So, take some time to look around.

 

  1. Think about the gifts you liked. Think about the gifts you get and try to remember your favorite presents. What are they? So many times we cannot remember any super-favorite gifts because they either broke or we didn’t really enjoy them that well. I really wanted a camera, but when I got one I didn’t really use it that much. Why did I want a camera? Because I liked painting and I thought I could take pictures of the things I wanted to paint to make it easier to remember what I wanted to paint. I could paint but only if I looked at a picture. So, think about why you liked the gift—and maybe your reason is like mine.

 

  1. How much time to make a gift do you have? Often we don’t have as much time to make a gift—but then we can be creative. I’m going to give you some great ideas of some other podcasts I did for creating gifts that might help you. Easy gifts are ones that take the things you have around your house, and here is a great insider’s tip—did you know that you can turn things that are broken into presents? Yes, you can and for pennies!

 

  1. How much do you like crafts or making gifts? If you say, not very much—don’t worry! I have a great solution for you so hold tight. The solution I have will have some that are super-fast-gift giving ideas. But even though it is fast, you have to put some thought into what you will do and wrap it up beautifully.

 

  1. Do you have a talent that can be turned into a gift? Time to think—again! What is something that you do well that can be turned into a gift? Can you draw or paint? Can you bake? Can you make something out of wood –or even legos? Do you collect things? Think. Think. Think.

 

So, here you go –here are my top 5 gift making ideas for kids.

  1. Office accessories. For example a pencil holder. Yes, I know this sounds lame but it is one of my mom’s favorite gifts that I gave her. Here is how you do it. Supplies: A middle-sized empty can playdough or fast-drying clay, and pasta shells, seashells, old buttons, or something to stick on the clay.

You cover a can with the clay and then you can use pasta shells, or button, or even seashells to cover the can. Have someone help you to put a clear spray over the can, or you can even paint the pasta shells ahead of time. You don’t even need glue because the shells stick really well.

Once it dries you can add some pens, pencils, highlighters, or sharpies to this set! You can use a variation of this covering a small box and using it to hold office supplies like paper clips.

  1. Decorations: For example wall art. You need a piece of art paper, glue, and either spray paint like white or some other solid color. You will need an adult to help you. Also, look for a place where your family can put these on the wall—sometimes you do not have much wall space, but be creative. Can you put these pictures in a hallway or even the bathroom?Do you have plants in your yard that would not miss a few leaves? Or even weeds that might work? You can take a big piece of art paper, like watercolor paper, or even a piece of thick cardboard and pick an odd number of leaves. Bigger leaves work well—but in the winter they may be hard to find. You can even use twigs, pine needles, or pieces of pine cones. Be creative! So, what you do is you make a design on a piece of paper. Once you have a design in mind you can take these things and glue them to the paper. Be sure that you do not have any dirt on your leaves, twigs, etc. Once glued allowed it to dry. Then, take a solid color of spray paint and paint over the entire thing—you may need an adult to help you and do this somewhere where the overspray won’t be a problem. You can also take a large brush—like a wall paintbrush and paint and paint a solid color. Believe me this looks great! You can make a pair of pictures to hang up. They do not need to be big.

 

  1. Personal care items. For example hand scrubs. You will need a glass container with a lid, sugar or salt, and some type of essential oil. You an even add a few drops of light oil like olive or cooking oil.

 

In the winter, especially our hands tend to get dry and you can make a sugar scrub very easily with a few items. You can use sugar or salt, and what you do is measure out one cup of sugar or salt in a bowl, add a few drops of essential oils like lemon or even lavender (ask your parent’s permission for these things!), and stir them up. Many people like to use sugar for a sugar scrub but I actually like the salt scrub better. You then add a few drops of oil. Put a tiny bit of oil in a bowl and add ¼ of a teaspoon at a time and mix it up. How does it smell? If you can not smell anything you may want to add a few more drops of oil. Now, you can place this in a glass container, add a ribbon, and wrap it up! Variation: You can make bath salts as well. This is super cheap and it works great. (One of my favorite presents) Take Epsom salts and just add a few drops of essential oils an mix them together, and then place it in a mason jar. Add ribbon and wrap it up!

  1. Fun Gifts Wind-Chimes, hot-pads, and vases. Now it is time to get creative. If you are not holding on I saved the best and easiest gift for last! So, for this gift, you need scraps, broken items, and creativity. Wind Chimes: You can make wind chimes using things that make noise. Is there a bent spoon, fork, or something that your parents are throwing away that when it clinks together makes a nice tinkling sound? You can make a wind chime.

Hot pad: Did a pretty glass dish or glass break? Instead of throwing it away, with your parent’s permission ask if you can keep the flat pieces. You can either use a scrap tile or even wood and cover the bottom with material or felt. That is to keep it from scratching a countertop or table. Then you can draw a picture and cover it with the glass OR you can make a pretty mosaic out of the broken glass. Be careful, glass cuts. You will need clear drying glue for this activity. Flower vase. Do you like to bring your mom flowers from the yard—they may be weeds but they still are pretty! You can search for a tiny container that does this… keep an eye out! Lots of times small olive jars, or small containers that contain things your mom or dad buys at the store are often thrown away or used to recycle. You can use these as a flower vase. Either add a ribbon to the top and tie it or you can use sheets of tissue paper. Tear off the sheets of tissue paper and use clear drying glue. You can paint on the scraps of tissue paper. You can even use a mason jar and add a candle for a votive light that is pretty. Again, ask for things that your parents have around the house and be on the lookout!

 

  1. Gift Cards: One Free Gift Card – you will need note cards or small pieces of paper and neat handwriting or do this on the computer and cut it out!

Another of my favorite gifts include gift cards from my kids to me! For example, one free car vacuuming and cleaning up, or one free car vacuuming, or neck rub, or do the dishes or baby-sit the little kids. Believe me, your mom or dad or grandparents will really love these gifts! And the best news you do not need any craft or artistic talent to do this. And, for fun, you can wrap it in a small box, but the small box in a bigger box and keep wrapping it up—again ask your parents for permission to use cheap wrapping paper and tape!

So, what do you think? Do you like any of these ideas? There are other ones I listed in my post but these take a little more work and sometimes even spending money on supplies. Do you have a favorite gift idea? Please share it with me!

Links for the parents:

These crafts looked great –but they need an adult to help. Marbled Coasters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Holiday Homeschooling Tips

What are the best holiday and homeschooling tips? When things get crazy these ladies Felice Gerwitz and Lisa Nehring come to the rescue.The Best Holiday Homeschooling Tips ~ Episode 452

Join Felice Gerwitz and special guest, Lisa Nehring as they discuss the best holiday homeschooling tips. When things get crazy and you can not add one more thing to the schedule, Lisa comes to the rescue with great tips and planning.

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc., and the online membership here.

Visit Lisa Nehring at True North Homeschool Academy and her podcast at LifeSkills101podcast.com

So what are the best holiday homeschooling tips? One is not to stress yourself trying to do too much. We are busy with managing a home and family, then adding homeschooling, and then when the holidays come it is…one-more-thing! Take a look at what stresses you out and cut it out if at all possible.

Holidays are Holy Days – set apart because they have meaning and relevance and there is something special about this day. Holidays bring relevance to our lives. There are special foods we eat, perhaps an exchange of gifts and other things that happen that set the stage for the event itself.

Lisa calls the mom the “magic maker” that can bring that extra fun into the holidays even with simple meals. She celebrates using a liturgical year. She talks about planning and taking time off from schoolwork in your schedule. This can be done by planning ahead of time.

Lisa’s Best Holiday Homeschooling Tips:

  1. Scheduling a break from schoolwork, or reworking your schedule so you have time for celebrations.
  2. Morning basket: 1 hour spent with the things you want to go over, such as flashcards, faith, etc. Be sure to pause and give thanks to God.
  3. We celebrate all of our feasts with our senses, think about how we can use our senses to the best.
  4. Biblical feasts, holidays, and festivals are great ways to celebrate.

Lisa shares how she and her family celebrate Old Testament festivals, which is a remembrance of God “tabernacling” with us. It helps to bring faith and community among family and friends. Being together and enjoying where you are at the present time. She reminds us that God dwells in community with family and friends.

Holidays remind us that we are part of something bigger, and even if we have to postpone some of our academic work, this is a lasting tribute we will remember. We are making memories with our families using the senses, such as twinkling lights, cinnamon, and music.

Sometimes keeping to the schedule is important such as homeschooling special needs and consistency is important to keep things on an even keel. Perhaps cutting back a little and allowing your child to know what is coming up in the near future. Planning with your child helps.

Teaching your children that giving is important during the holidays is another lasting tradition. Either adopting a family or singling out a person such as a neighbor in need.

Be sure to visit Lisa Nehring at True North Homeschool Academy.

Here are some other Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network Podcasts to enjoy:

Best Kept Holiday Prep secrets

Planning the Holiday with Tech

 

Special Replay: Discipline That Makes Sense And Works

Let's Talk About Discipline That Makes Sense And Works with Felice GerwitzLet’s Talk About Discipline That Makes Sense And Works with Felice Gerwitz

What do you do when discipline doesn’t work – or what about discipline methods that are unfair. What about just being your kid’s friend? Yes, there are all kinds of different types of advice about discipline but in this podcast Felice explores discipline that makes sense – and actually works.

Listen to Raising Moral Kids Here – with Felice Gerwitz

Thanks to our sponsors – Media Angels, Inc. – Visit the website here

Show Notes:

 

This audio isn’t so much about prevention – that is wonderful when it works and consists of:

  1. Warning the kids ahead of time of what to expect
  2. Being CLEAR and going over the rules so they understand what is expected

For example bedtime – make sure it is a specific time and have a routine/ baths, story etc. If they take too long no story – etc.

  1. Practicing especially when younger “coming” when you call them, answering yes mom or yes dad when directed with a question – that they heard you, etc. – Saying “Sorry” if they are wronged or admitting a wrong.
  2. Rewarding good behavior

Basically discipline falls into these three very broad categories:

  1. Intervention
  2. Time Outs
  3. Taking Away

Which works for your child is a puzzle you have to figure out – but one thing I want to discuss in this podcast is the discipline techniques that I have found really work well for my family – and this is no matter what their age.

  1. Discipline that fits the crime.
  2. Life isn’t fair
  3. Enlist the help of the first born – teach kids to be kind to each other – rule with love or privileges are taken away
  4. When kids have a meltdown or are whining etc.
  5. Money
  6. Consistency
  7. It is never ending – once kids do it once it is fun and they ask all the time.
  8. They are exhausted from staying up late – and eating too much junk and it takes days to get over it.
  9. Their behavior is atrocious and it takes days to get them “back to normal”
  10. When you say no – mean it

The best advice I can give is prevention, consistency and PRAYER not necessarily in that order.

Best Homeschool Parenting Tips with Melanie Wilson

What are the best homeschool parenting tips? Well, you are about to find out. Join Felice Gerwitz and Melanie Wilson, podcaster on The Homeschool Sanity Show, here, and learn what works and ways you can overcome disrespect.Best Homeschool Parenting Tips with Melanie Wilson ~ Episode 451

What are the best homeschool parenting tips? Well, you are about to find out. Join Felice Gerwitz and Melanie Wilson, podcaster on The Homeschool Sanity Show, here, and learn what works and ways you can overcome disrespect.

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. with an entire line of online classes, books, and audios to help you with your homeschool journey.

Today we will discuss parenting tips to help you gain control of your family and your life!

Melanie is a Christian Psychologist and she spoke about the difference between disrespect and disobedience, and how important it is to identify and remediate. Simply, disrespect is a child’s willful defiance of authority and poor treatment with a lack of respect. Whereas, disobedience is when a child doesn’t do what he is told. When children are allowed to disrespect a parent it is a recipe for disaster. There are reasons why a parent does not discipline, and this could be due to temper, anger management issues, or abuse as a child. However, there are ways to discipline without using physical punishment, and one is taking away privileges. [Melanie and Felice discuss various types of discipline that work well in this case.]

  1. Parents often use too many words. There is no need to explain why you are disciplining your child.
  2. Building a child’s character is important. A child is not what they do. [Felice shares her definition of character assassination and why it should never be used.]
  3. Validating a child’s strengths is important. If a child feels validated, they will feel respected.

Listen to the audio for many more insights about parenting.

Visit Melanie’s website here: Psychowith6 and her online store Fun To Learn Books

Here are some of Melanie’s shows that you don’t want to miss.

  1. How to Prevent Sibling Rivalry
  2. Parenting Practices for Christian Homeschoolers
  3. 3 Child Discipline Lies That Make Homeschooling Harder
  4. 3 More Child Discipline Lies That Make Homeschooling Harder
  5. Have a New Kid by Friday by Kevin Leman
Show Notes Continued:

We as parents can do the following:

  1. Respect is required. It is not an option.
  2. If needed be firm, raise your voice. Mean business.
  3. Remove from the room.

We can say things such as, that was disrespectful. Sometimes less words works well.

Have a business attitude. You mean business and you deserve respect. You are the parents.

While none of us are perfect, some parents do not parent because they think they are imperfect. False notion and can hinder parenting.

How to discipline:

  1. Require obedience
  2. Use discipline that makes sense. If your child wastes your time, you can have your child do one of your chores, make the punishment fit the problem that was caused as much as possible. (Taking away free time.)
  3. Easiest response to disobedience is to deny the next “ask” – whether it is screen time, phone privileges, time with friends, etc.
  4. You don’t have to go into a long explanation of why – sometimes that distracts the child from the situation and they still think there was an injustice on your part, and they forget why they are in this situation to begin with.
  5. Sometimes a child may pitch a fit – ride it out. Remove the child for misbehavior, but be sure that you do not give in. Consistency is important.

 

 

Serving Homeschoolers For 8 Years

Serving Homeschoolers…

Great news, we are celebrating eight years of serving homeschoolers! And we have presents for you!

Homeschool podcasters are plentiful, in fact, each week it seems like a new podcast is cropping up! Yet, we’ve been here slow and steady for years, ever since 2013. And, our podcasters are still producing amazing shows, just for you!

Invitation Only ~

Our podcasters have been specially selected and privately invited, by me, Felice Gerwitz the website owner and founder of Media Angels, Inc. Often podcasters or potential podcasters contact me, but there are many steps that lead up to admission onto this platform. What am I looking for? Podcasters with a heart for families.

Our podcasters are industry leaders. we have the millions of downloads to prove it and YOU, our audience has been such a blessing to us, over the years. So… in celebration, I want to share a little about our special podcasters and some of the prizes they are offering.

Podcasters Serving Homeschoolers

Many of our podcasters are homeschool families or have completed their homeschool journey. They serve the homeschool community as authors, speakers and often attend conferences near you. They are knowledgeable and share their information freely. The Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network is 100% free. We serve the homeschool community by giving away our knowledge, book and curriculum advice, parenting, and basically the tools that help you and your family. For example, each month a new Character Planner is custom created and available for download for our email list. Just by signing up to receive a weekly email, you get a new planner each month. And, if you missed the last year, they are available for sale on my Media Angels website. .

***Star Ratings Help!***

How can you bless us back? By giving our podcasts a star rating on your favorite podcast app. You can access apps by phone or tablet. This helps us to be found by other families seeking quality family-friendly podcasts. And it is a way you can say, thank you for all your work!

Winning and Freebies Below:

What about the prizes? Well, for this birthday celebration I wanted to do something different. So, while you can enter the Rafflecopter below for the bigger prize, one winner will be selected randomly for each of the prizes below. Some of our podcasters are offering ONE prize and to win, please comment below why you would like to win the prize and what the prize is, for example, I’d like to win the Media Angels Membership Forever Bundle. Prizes are listed below.

Let’s Talk about our podcasters and their prizes and freebies.

Vintage Homeschool Moms hosted by Felice Gerwitz is the flagship and oldest podcast on the network with more than 450 episodes. I host different series throughout the year. Some are curriculum-focused, parent-focused, and even a new, “Just for Kids” series, where I talk directly to the kids. Sign up to receive a freebie Character Planner, this month the planner is on the topic of compassion, here.  One winner gets the Ultimate 12-Month planner details here. [Post in the comments why you want to win this prize.]

Soft Skills 101: Life Skills for a Digital Age, sponsored by the True North Homeschool Academy with special hosts, Lisa Nehring, and regular appearances by (husband), Dr. David Nehring. This show focuses on soft skills that are so important in today’s marketplace and beyond school, yet are rarely discussed. Lisa is giving away one Performance Series Test ($34 value) [Post in the comments why you want to win this prize.] Chat with Lisa on Instagram here.

College Prep Genius with host Jean Burk. The college prep insights you need for free college. Yes, Jean shares her tips for test taking and wonderful advice for all things college. Visit Jean’s website for online classes and seminars. CollegePrepGenius.com One winner gets a $25 gift card, share why you would like this gift! Visit Jean on her Facebook Page.

The Homeschool Highschool Podcast with Vicki Tillman, Sabrina Justison, and special guests! Tune in for all things high school! Curriculum-focused and helpful no matter what your high school issue. They are giving away a freebie, Tips for Grading and Writing on their website. One special winner will get Unit Studies Based on Popular Movies, check it out here. Please share below why you would like to win!

Homeschooling with Technology with host Meryl van der Merwe, teaches moms, dads and the kids all about technology. Short cuts, great apps and so much more. She has online classes and web-based unit studies she teaches at FundaFunda Academy.com. Visit with Meryl on her Instagram Page here.

Crunchy Christian Podcast hosted by Julie Polanco who is a trained herbalist and shares wellness and nutrition with her listeners. Connect with Julie on her YouTube page here.

The Homeschool Sanity Show with host Melanie Wilson, a Christian psychologist, and long-time homeschool mom. Melanie’s topics range from homeschooling, organization, parenting and so much more. She keeps the crazy out of homeschooling with timely tips. Connect with Melanie on her Instagram Page here. She is giving away one audiobook version one of the three Grammar Galaxy Texts. Check it out here. [Post in the comments why you want to win this prize.]

Making Biblical Family Life Practical with hosts Hal and Melanie Young. Big family life and boys is the focus of this fun podcast with our southern hosts! Everything from parenting to dealing with sensitive family issues. Visit the website at Raising Real Men.  Get the freebie – President Tales here.  Want to win a prize? Tell us why you want to win One free Craftsman Crate. The Woodburning Crate has a 39.97 value, this is a subscription box that builds skills and teaches artisanal craft skills using real tools! And chat with Melanie and Hal on Instagram here.

Homeopathy for Mommies with host Sue Myers is your one-stop podcast for everything health and wellness. Sue shares her wisdom on readily available remedies and advice for healthy living. You can visit Sue on her website at HomeopathyForMommiesfor her classes and events.

Creation Science Podcast hosted by Felice Gerwitz along with special guests shares information about scientific creationism. This podcast will be picking up again in the fall! Listen to the archives. Check out Felice’s creation books here for birthday sale prices.

Finish Well Podcast hosted by Meredith Curtis and friends! This show deals with heart issues of homeschooling and the focus is on families and teens. Meredith is giving away some free downloads and you can get them by visiting her website, PowerlineProdFind Meredith on her Pinterest Page here.

Family Renewal Podcast: with hosts Israel and Brooke Wayne. Big family life, raising children and empowering a generation of homeschoolers to serve the Lord. Many wonderful podcasts for you and your family. Freebie – download the audio the history of the homeschool movement here. Connect with Israel on Facebook here  and Instagram @FamilyRenewal

Homeschool CPA hosted by Carol Topp, CPA. Carol started her show with Dollars and Sense and there are many shows that focus on education and money matters for families and teens. She also works with non-profits and the Homeschool CPA focuses on questions many co-ops and homeschool organizations have concerning issues that no one else covers. Carol’s website is here. Check out her books!

Giveaway Below! Rafflecopter … and don’t forget to leave your comments about why you want to win prizes!
a Rafflecopter giveaway