2018 TOP 7 GIFTS FOR KIDS Christmas List! (No batteries) Plus Quiet Time Caddies!

We have a rule in our home for gifts for our kids: no batteries. It’s been tough sometimes but I feel like I have perfected our Christmas shopping with no batteries involved!

Here is what I bought THIS year for my kiddos to help keep them off screens and using their imaginations! Oh! And we have simplified toys….AGAIN. The boys are basically down to hot wheels with non-battery tracks and legos. The girls are down to dolls and legos. Both of them have their quiet time caddies that I will discuss in this post as well! Just click on the underlined words below to go to a link to find these great gift ideas!

1. Legos. Duh.

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Johnny created his own lego golf cart for his grandfather 🙂

Come on. I mean who doesn’t buy these? I know. But still! These are a continual go-to for my boys. Pricey? Yes. Worth it? Yes. My boys like to have building competitions and my 2 year old even plays with them. It takes some training to get them to not put them in their mouths but it can be done. I often am the judge of who has the most unique lego creation!

2. LAMPLIGHTER!! Have you discovered lamplighter yet? Oh man, a new fave around here. My kids have listened to hours of these and often while using their quiet time caddies! We love Teddy’s Button the most! Right now I am reading Jack the Courageous to the kids during lunch time and they love it! I also got each of the big kids an illustrated book that I am sure they will enjoy. 

3. Hot wheels. My kids love to make up tracks and play with them and trade the cars. Lots of fun for big and little kids. Be sure to buy the tracks that don’t have batteries!

4. Water paint! My littles love to paint! And water-coloring is super safe/clean and fun…and cheap 🙂

5. SCOOTERS! We enjoy these outside and INSIDE. This one is for my 2 year old 🙂

6. QUIET TIME CADDY GOODIES!! What are these all about?? I love these with all my heart…ok, that’s an exaggeration, but they have been great in our home! When it’s chaotic and I am tempted to tell the kids to watch something I say: “Grab your caddy and pick a couch!”

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Chloe on the left is 3 and the pic on the right is my daughter Rhea who is 11 working with a book from her sister’s caddy (Charis, who is 5)

First you have to get containers like these. Mine are slightly bigger than these though because I have some big coloring books we like to add!

What’s Inside:
Fidget Spinners
Fidget Cubes
Colored Pencils (We have a new no pen rule in the home…sick of it being written all over except on paper!)
Coloring Books 
With these cool Colored Pencil holders!!
These great journals!
Riddle Books are also fun!!

7. GAMES AND PUZZLES! It is so fun to have older kids who like to play games. Here are some of our faves:
Qwirkle
Othello
Rummikub
Chess

That’s it!! What has your 2018 shopping list looked like?? What are some of your go-to toys you like to get??

*this post contains affilate links.

You Can’t Save Your Children

My husband prays EVERY night for the salvation of our children. Is there really anything more important for us to pray as parents? I think not.

But we can’t save them.

We can’t reach into their hearts and cram the gospel in there and make it grow.

We can’t homeschool them as a guarantee that they will receive Christ and follow Him faithfully. (Look at Cain and Abel. The first homeschooled children…one followed faithfully and one brutally murdered his brother.)

We can’t force them into the Kingdom of God.

We can’t coerce them or beg them to be born again.

We can’t make promises that if they say the sinner’s prayer they will never have to fear hell.

We can’t create genuine conviction and repentance in the hearts of our children.

What can we do? 

We can pray with and for them.

We can be transparent with them and authentic in our faith sharing our own failings and weaknesses.

We can share the gospel with them over and over and over.

We can faithfully open the Word of God with them every day teaching them and instructing them.

We can and should do a lot of things. But we can’t save our children. 

Love, Katie

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

“Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.'” John 3:3

 

Girl, Read Your Bible

Rachel Hollis wants to say, “Girl, Wash Your Face.” You should be a girl who reads her Bible.

Dig into it! Study it! Show yourself approved as a daughter of the King!

Be ready to give a defense for the hope that is in you!

In a world where girls can blabber off their favorite worldly t.v. show and secular music artists be the girl that is able to encourage others with scripture you have memorized.

Be the girl that shares biblical counsel rather than worldly cliches.

Be the girl that can offer REAL hope because you know the Lord of lords and recognize that it is His ways, not the world’s, that will truly bring about lasting change in yours and others lives!

In a world where girls spend hours and hours learning how to put on their makeup and dress in a way that gets all the “wows” be the girl that seeks to have a gentle and quiet spirit because you know that that is what your God sees as true beauty.

In a world where girls are continually looking for ways to look younger be the girl that embraces signs of aging recognizing that gray hairs, according to your Maker, are a sign of wisdom.

In a world where girls are more confused and depressed than ever be the girl who recognizes where true joy comes from! Point these sad, tired, lonely girls toward the One that made them and knows their every need and desire and longs to fulfill them in a way this world never can!

In a world full of girls, be a woman. A woman after God’s own heart. A woman that seeks to be biblical, not trendy. Lovely, not sexy. Calm, not anxious. Be the woman who makes heads turn not because your clothing is so immodest revealing your body but because there is just something about you that screams: “I’m different! I am not so concerned about washing my face as I am about the things of God!”

Girl, go read your bible and while you’re at it look for people to serve. 

Love, Katie

 

Does A Wife Have Any Say?!

Many Christian women wonder: “Do I have any say? I know I’m supposed to submit, but does my opinion even matter?!”

Of course your opinion matters. My husband often says that after the Holy Spirit and Word of God the wife should have the loudest voice in her husband’s life.

Here are a few problems though:

1. Women are controlling. It’s true. And if you think you aren’t then read Genesis 3:16 where it says that part of the curse is for us women to “desire our husbands but they shall rule over us.” Since it’s part of the curse this surely isn’t talking about us desiring them emotionally or physically, nope, it’s a desire to control. Look up Genesis 4:7. God uses the EXACT SAME HEBREW WORD for desire when He is talking to Cain about sin’s desire for him. Does sin desire us in some lovely way? No. Sin wants to control us and take over our lives…like many wives want to do to their husbands. We have to control that sinful desire rather than seeking to control our husbands.

2. Women are often nags. We just don’t know when to stop. The bible says we are to follow our husband’s lead. We are to adapt to him, not the other way around. But we like to push and push and sometimes push some more, often in manipulative ways. Each husband has a different threshold for nagging 🙂 Some men are just too passive to speak up and let their wives know. I like to ask my husband if I am approaching the nagging line and he lets me know. I have also given him permission to tell me no more talking about certain subjects if I am just pushing it too much.

3. We think we want our husbands to lead but usually we just want them to lead the way we would lead. This is just another form of control. I am guessing if most women who whine about their husbands not leading got to experience what that is like for even a week they would find out quickly it’s a lot harder than they imagined since our husbands leading often means us not getting what we want. Which leads me to number four.

4. Submission means NOT getting what you want. When God calls us to submit, He’s requiring that we bend when we don’t want to. He’s calling us to put ourselves under our husbands when we don’t agree. If we agreed that would be agreement, not submission. 

5. Many women are overly concerned with how their husbands are failing and not concerned enough with how they are failing. Yes, your husband is not loving you perfectly like Christ loves the church, how are you doing with submitting to him as the church is to submit to Christ? Do you think you would be a lot better at it if he were a better husband? Well, you are called to submit to Christ every day and He is the perfect Husband and you fail in that…I fail in that, EVERY day. Don’t blame your husband. Blaming our husband’s for our lack of submission gets us no where but bitter.

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After reviewing these five problems and prayerfully considering them I would say women are in a better mindset to “voice their opinion.”  Usually voicing our opinion is a form of control, nagging, not wanting our husbands to lead and not being willing to submit. But, sometimes, we are genuinely passionate about something and rightfully so! Like moving. That’s a huge decision. When we were considering moving to WA from CA I voiced my opinion clearly but I told my husband in the end: “Ultimately this up to you, it’s on your shoulders and I will support your decision.” We need to have that attitude of support.

Other times maybe we are voicing our opinion on something we do or don’t want to do. Sometimes we are being flat out selfish. Sometimes we are genuinely concerned… only we can know our true motives. One time I voiced my opinion about something to my husband and I made it clear that I was concerned of having a panic attack if we did it. I wasn’t being manipulative or selfish, I just didn’t want to lose my mind. I have had 2 of those in my life and I am finding my threshold for things is lessening as I have more kids (I have 7 children ages 10 and under right now). My husband knows this about me and out of his love for me and wanting to take care of me as Ephesians 5 instructs him to do. he “submitted” and didn’t move forward out of concern for me.

Some of you are married to non-believers. This changes things drastically. In 1 Peter 3 God says the best way to “win your husband over” is without words. That’s right, words don’t work. He says your godly behavior is what will win him over. Nagging him, controlling him, complaining to him…are not godly behaviors. Submitting, encouraging and supporting him are godly behaviors. Does this mean to submit to abuse? No, by all means talk to your pastor about how to be safe and do what is necessary.

Too many of us wives are more concerned about our agendas and plans rather than God’s. We are very anxious about whether or not we will get our way. May we repent of that and see God’s desires for our lives and marriages!! His desire is to make us holy, not necessarily happy. We as wives are to picture the church’s relationship to Christ. A gentle, submissive spirit is how the church is to be toward Christ, not a rebellious, obsessive spirit that dominates and controls. May we be better at saying “Thy will be done” rather than constantly saying in different ways: “My will be done”.

The Lord will bless us as we submit to our husbands and seek to make God’s agenda our agenda. His agenda is for us to adapt to our husbands and have a gentle and quiet spirit that trusts in Him.

Love, Katie

Click here to see an extensive list of bible verses on us submitting to our husbands. 

If this article was interesting to you click here to get my husband’s marriage book! 

My 7th Birth Story

This is my least favorite. It really was death of a vision.

I have done four hospital births and two home births. I wanted this one to be at a birthing center and thought it would be the best of both worlds. I could get away and have someone take care of me and not have people bugging me constantly.

I started having contractions that were noticeably different Sunday morning. I sat through my husband’s preaching and had to close my eyes a few times 🙂 My five year old was sitting next to me and said: “Mama! Open your eyes!” (Didn’t want me sleeping through daddy’s sermon).

I came home and thought: “Hmmm, might be today!” But… the contractions were so sporadic.

Sunday night around 7 p.m. my family went to evening service and I stayed home with somewhat painful, erratic contractions. We decided to have my kids go stay at my inlaws and my sister’s house in case I went into labor at 2 a.m.

Welp, 2 a.m. rolled around and we decided to go to the birthing center. I had anxiety about it because my contractions were still… strange… all of my labors up to this one have been very similar but his one was…different and just not progressing like the others have…

I was a four when I got to the birthing center…I laid in the bed and it felt like the labor really slowed down… It was stressful because I felt like I was wasting the midwives’ time. At about 4 a.m. I asked my midwife what I should do. She gave me some tincture (cedarwood maybe?) and told me to take a shower and rub my chest to stimulate contractions. I did that and after only two doses of the tincture and a shower I felt like things were changing. I got back in bed to get ready and sure enough I felt a BIG one coming… BAM! My water broke with that contraction and my midwife came in. We both seemed excited and I knew things were progressing…but then…we saw the meconium. She looked at me and asked: “Did you have an ultrasound recently?” Me: “No…” having no idea why she asked that… She said she wanted to check me again… I laid down and she said: “Katie, I’m so sorry but your baby is breech and we can’t legally deliver her. You’re going to have to go to a hospital and I am guessing they will want to do a c-section.”

I was bummed….but said: “Ok, let’s go then…” We pulled up to the ER and went in. I was trying my hardest not to cry and keep my sense of humor going. When the midwives said: “I’m so sorry.” I just replied: “I’m ok, God is sovereign over all of this.” That was really the only thing comforting me at the time. Knowing that God knew Ruby would enter the world via c-section.

I got checked into my room and the Dr. came in and said: “Hello, I am the one doing your surgery today.” No questions like: “Would you like a c-section?” Nope. I was going into surgery and that was it. Unfortunately, I was ready to go at 7 a.m….right when everyone switches shifts so I had to labor for another hour while everyone got checked in and ready.

By the time they were wheeling me into the operating room I was full on shaking… I usually do that right before I start pushing. Bummer.

They did the spinal tap. Creepy. And I laid down to get cut open.

I was still shaking hardcore and it was not a good feeling to think people would be cutting into me while I was shaking…. I started dry heaving over and over but couldn’t throw up. It was terrible. For anyone who thinks a c-section is the “easy way out”, think again…

After some serious tugging I got to see my sweet Ruby Nell. They held her up to the plastic screen and I started to cry… believe it or not that was the first time I cried when seeing my baby. Usually I was almost giggly and would say things like: “My baby! My baby! Look at my baby!” 🙂 But I think all that bundled up emotion came spilling out when I finally got to see her.

They had to take her aside and do breathing treatment on her as well as pull out lots of stuff from her lungs. I didn’t get to hold her or have her next to me till after I was all stitched up. When they finally plunked her on my chest I was so ecstatic.

They wheeled me back into the room where I started throwing up…not sure what that was about.

We got wheeled from that room to a recovery room and it was a lovely room.

The recovery from a c-section has definitely been worse for me physically but for whatever reason my emotional recovery has been my best yet (I have been taking lots of supplements though including ones to improve my gallbladder health…so…who knows?)! I did have two weepy days over having a c-section…wondering if I could have really pushed the hospital and forced them to let me have a breech birth…but I have counseled myself to move on since there is nothing I can do about it now. My midwife did tell me I am a great candidate for a vbac if the Lord should choose to fill my womb again. That’s encouraging.

So. That’s it. My 7th birth. I can’t believe I have done this 7 times. It really feels like my 3rd time. I still feel like a “new mom” 🙂

noahandruby
Everyone is excited about Ruby Nell…But I think Noah is the most excited 🙂
rubynell
Here she is. So perfect.

 

3 Opportune Times To Share The Gospel With Your Kids

#1 When they tell you all the good stuff they did that day.

The other day one of my littles came to me and said: “Today I did extra chores. I cleaned the downstairs without you asking and I gave my toy to my sister.” This child is one of those kiddos that really wants to please mommy and daddy. Which may sound like a good thing, and it is a good thing, but it can also lead to wanting to please peers later. I have heard some of the most rebellious children were the most compliant growing up.

Anyway, when this child shared this with me I asked: “Did you ask Jesus to help you do any of those things?” She looked at me with a peculiar face and said: “No.”

I explained that in life we will be called to do many good things and that without Jesus’ help we will become really weary. We need His help to do the many good works He has called us to. He died for us not only to be there for the next life but for this life as well. He wants to be the vine and us the branches right now!

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10

The key part to that verse is: IN CHRIST JESUS. We must be abiding in Him in order to do the good works He has called us to.

Explaining this to our little people is so important. Good works are good, but apart from Christ they mean nothing. Our good works are like filthy rags apart from the work of the Spirit in our lives. Our children need to understand that they are doing their good works as unto the Lord while also recognizing that those good works are not what makes them righteous. It is their position in Christ that makes them righteous.

#2 When they mess up.

This is probably our most opportune time to be sharing the gospel with our children. It’s also the most opportune time to remind ourselves of the gospel.
When our children mess up we need to be an encouragement to them (unless they are in a prideful/rebellious state of mind in which we need to remind them more of the wrath of God rather than the grace of God so they do not sin more, read Romans 6:1). But usually our children are broken over their mistakes. We need to remind them during these times that that is why Christ came. Remind them that if we were perfect and could earn our way to heaven then He certainly died in vain.

#3 When they talk badly about others.

When anyone talks badly about others it is always from a place of pride. Pride comes before a fall and blocks us from seeing the cross accurately. The cross says: “You are all sinners in need of a Savior. You all fall short.” Reminding our children when they talk bad about others that they are no better than them helps them to see the cross more clearly and understand their sinfulness in a truer light. Hopefully we are setting a good example for our children in this and speaking well of others or not speaking of them at all. At the foot of the cross we are all wretched sinners in need of a Savior.

*Feel free to share in the comments the most opportune times in your home that you share the gospel with your children!

Hope to see you Mother’s Day Weekend at the upcoming marriage conference my husband and I are putting on! Great way to spend mother’s day-a night away investing in your marriage.

 

 

Forget About Your Child’s Self-Esteem

There has never been a time in history where self-esteem has been more of a focus. You can’t walk through an elementary school hallway or enter a psychologist’s office without hearing about the importance of our children having self-esteem.

I say it’s not working. In fact, I think it is making things worse! Focusing on ourselves was never our Designer’s plan! Focusing on ourselves only leads us into a downward spiral! 

Suicide rates have been climbing amongst teens despite all the world’s efforts to raise self-esteem. In an article by NPR they said: “There is one age group that really stands out — girls between the ages of 10 and 14. Though they make up a very small portion of the total suicides, the rate in that group jumped the most — it experienced the largest percent increase, tripling over 15 years from 0.5 to 1.7 per 100,000 people.”

These poor girls. They aren’t being pointed toward a God who loves them and sent His Son to die for them, they are being pointed toward a mirror and told they are beautiful and that they need to love themselves. That doesn’t work because we were made for a much greater love. We were made to direct our love and worship toward the Creator of the universe, not toward ourselves. In other words, self-esteem is really turning into a form of idol worship giving the praise and focus to the wrong person. 

Our children don’t need more self-esteem, that is an endless, vain pursuit. We were never meant to esteem ourselves but to esteem Christ.

You won’t find in the bible a verse that exhorts us to love ourselves. You will find God exhorting us to love others as we love ourselves because we already have loving ourselves down. We think about ourselves plenty.
Children are being pointed in the wrong direction and more confused and depressed than ever before. Worrying about their self-esteem is only plummeting them into deeper depression and insecurity because their identity is to be in Christ.
They are being taught to fix their gaze on themselves rather than their Maker who is the only One that can satisfy their pursuit of being fulfilled anyway.

May we repent of encouraging our children to be confident in themselves and help them place their confidence in the One that will never let them down!

Am I saying you can never say an encouraging word to your child? No. But I feel like the emphasis is in the wrong place when it comes to raising our children. The focal point of our hearts and minds is to be on Christ. If you want to encourage your children while making sure that their confidence is in Christ alone then go for it!

Love, Katie

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Gal. 2:20
 

“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:2

But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor. 12:9-10