What We Are NOT Doing This Summer

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Several years ago, I visited my friend Jen at the start of the summer. Like me, she was a mom to lots of little kids, and the summer meant the fun and daunting promise of lots of free time. Like me, Jen hoped to use some of that time to organize her house. She had posted sticky notes to remind herself to tackle the house projects. If I remember correctly, they went something like this: on the … [Read more...]

Spring Break: Screen Break

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My dreams for Spring Break are simple: sunshine, finally kicking the flu that's haunted our house, and finding a screen time balance during all these days off. The problem is that my kids have different views on nine days off. They're planning for this to be Screen Break--a break with all the BrawlStars, Clash Royale, binging on bad Netflix shows, and endless YouTube hack videos. And I get … [Read more...]

Galveston Oak Trees (& Olive Branches)

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If you're on the island for Spring Break or to visit the beach this summer, check out the Hurricane Ike Tree Tour. Our family loves driving (or, in nice weather, walking) around and spotting the beautiful creations these artists have made from dead oak trees. I write about this tour in my book, Family Trees & Olive Branches... From the book-- "THE OAK TREES OF GALVESTON AND HURRICANE … [Read more...]

Christmas with Older Kids is Different

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As the kids went back to school today, and our lives returned to normal, I kept thinking about the whirlwind that was December. Our kids are older now and the holiday magic changes as they grow up. I'm discovering that I enjoy Christmas with older kids more. It's sweeter in ways I didn't expect. Here are the lessons and rules about celebrating Christmas with the older kids in your life. 1. … [Read more...]

Mom & Dad Christmas Gift Guide

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    I've got your Christmas gift ideas for moms and dads right here. What do you need--gifts under $10 from the kids? Got it. Something that will make mom swoon? Right here! Practical gifts as smart as your baby daddy? Keep reading... First, for the moms (or wives) on your list. Please try your best this year, dads & husbands & kids. Because I just talked to my … [Read more...]

Christmas Gift Guide #2 (What to Buy the Boys)

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  It's cold outside and if you live in Houston it's crazy wet too. No problem. This weekend is the perfect time to knock out the hardest kids on your Christmas list. In our family, that's the boys. We have a little (8 years old) and a tween (11) and I've searched for gifts that will keep them off electronics (the battle raging in our house all the time). Here are my best ideas for the … [Read more...]

Christmas Gift Guide #1 (For Teen Girls)

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I know, I know. You have so many people to buy gifts for, so many websites offering to SHIP THIS TO YOUR DOOR RIGHT NOW, so little time to actually figure out gifts that will inspire, entertain, and delight your family. Here are gifts that middle school and high school girls will love.... (Come back tomorrow for the Teen Boy list.)   Scruchis Put on your favorite Depeche … [Read more...]

Dear Elisabeth… on your first day of Fifth Grade

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Dear Elisabeth… Fifth Grade will be like none of your other school years. You, my dear Elisabeth, have changed. Your self-confidence has grown and you are shining.  This inner sparkle comes from your security that Jesus loves you. It also comes from your love to imagine and create. God’s love for you will never change; the creativity will be trickier. There will be times that your gigantic … [Read more...]

Dear Catie (on your first day of High School)

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Oh, my sweet Catie. Today feels the most significant of all your first days of school. All those other first days—in Pre-K, and elementary, and middle school—seem like they were all leading up to today. The first day of high school feels like the first day of the rest of your life. Grades “count” now. The new friends you make this week will see you through some thrilling adventures and … [Read more...]

Dear Sam (on your first day of Fifth Grade)

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Dear Sam…. Yesterday, when I was worrying about some detail about your school year, a friend said to me, “I think this will be Sam’s best year yet.” Just like that, I knew what she said could be true for you, Sam. So, what do you say we just claim this as a promise for this year? Let's just believe that Fifth Grade was made for you. This year will be filled with funny friends, interesting … [Read more...]