• HOMESCHOOL,  PARENTING

    Escape Room Style Easter Scavenger Hunt

    I had so much fun making an Escape Room for the kids a few weeks ago I knew I wanted to use what I had learned during that process and make an Escape Room Style Easter Scavenger Hunt.

    I didn’t take any photos during the hunt because I was having so much fun watching them figure everything out but I’ll explain exactly what we did. I’ll even share all the clues we made and you can use them as is if that works for you/your home or you can change them or use different clues but using what I share as a guide.

    One of the ways I know the Escape Room Scavenger Hunt was a success was because Ephraim said “It feels like Christmas!” I always want to put more emphasis on Easter but we are often busy with so many family gatherings and gathering with the church that there just isn’t much time (or energy) to do it, but thanks to COVID-19 this year was different!

     

    AN OVERVIEW

    We knew we wanted to keep the clues to Bible verses since so we thought of a few different ways to use different verses about Jesus’ death and resurrection as clues.

    Each clue (we gave them five) lead them to a small chocolate egg that had a number written on it. At the end we gave them an additional clue that told them the five numbers unlocked a lock where they would find a surprise. For this we had a combination locking closing a cupboard, the combination lock had five digits, hence the five clues.

    After the five clues but before the clue to unlock the surprise we let them look around the house for additional little chocolate eggs we had randomly hidden throughout the house.

    It was a little funny to watch because they did so great with the clues (some of which were kind of tricky) but the eggs that were hidden pretty much in the open they struggled to find.

     

    DIY Escape Room Style Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt for Kids

     

    THE CLUES

    I just had all the clues and gave them to them one at a time instead of hiding the actual clues. Three of the clues needed them to use their Bibles so I made sure they had those out.

    Because they were finding eggs with numbers on them and they would figure out the number order later and I was just giving out the next clues it didn’t matter which number went in which spot. This made setting this up so much easier than a traditional scavenger hunt where you have to make sure to hide the next clue in the right spot.

     

    CLUE #1

    The first clue we gave them was:

     

    Matthew 27:24-26: So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took _________________________________ before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.

     

    They needed to use their Bibles to look up the passage and fill in the blank. When they did so they realized it says he “took water and washed his hands”. The egg for this one was hidden in a bathroom sink.

     

    CLUE #2

    For this second clue we used a different kind of code, we still had a Bible verse (I just removed the reference so they didn’t get hung up by looking it up in their Bible and missing the code), but we did something different for the clue. What we gave them looked like this:

     

    As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, “He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”

    24-2, 35-3, 55-1, 67-4

     

    We just told them that everything they needed to solve the code was right there on the paper. Ephraim actually figured out that the numbers at the bottom represented word-number. So, the first one was the twenty-fourth word and the second letter (L), the next one was the thirty-fifth word and third letter (E), etc, until they had LEGO. We hid one of the eggs amongst their Lego.

     

    CLUE #3

    For the next clue we did another fill in the blank they needed to look up in their Bibles.

     

    John 6:35: Jesus said to them, “I am ____________________; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

     

    For this one the answer was “the Bread of Life” so we hid an egg by our bread.

     

    DIY Escape Room Style Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt for Kids

     

    CLUE #4

    We picked out a long verse for this clue so we could hide a word throughout the verse.

     

    1 Corinthians 15:3-8: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance. Or you at the first: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas. That is, Peter and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.”

     

    The bold letters spell out the word microscope which was where the next egg was hidden.

     

    CLUE #5

    And the last clue that held a number was another fill in the blank.

     

    John 11:25: “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the _________’.”

     

    The answer for this one was “Life” and we had the last clue in the box of the Game of Life.

     

    EASTER EGG HUNT

    Before giving the kids the final clue that would tell them the order of the numbers and let them in to their surprise we gave them a few minutes to look for chocolate eggs throughout the house. We didn’t want them to do this earlier and accidentally come across eggs with numbers.

    For some reason they were pretty terrible at this, I think the toddler did as good as the big kids.

     

    DIY Escape Room Style Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt for Kids

     

    DECODING CLUE

    The last clue the kids needed was the one to unscramble the numbers for the combination lock. The kids had gathered the numbers: 5, 2, 1, 2, 1. If you use your own combination lock obviously you’ll need to make your own clues to work with your numbers but here’s what we did:

     

    To unlock your surprise:

    1. Two of the same number go together.
    2. The sum (adding total) of one of the numbers is 7.
    3. The single digit goes last.
    4. The sum of the first number is 2.

     

    So, the code for the combination was: 11, 25, 2. I was very impressed with how well they did with this part.

    Inside the cupboard that we had locked with the combination lock was a chocolate bunny for each kid and bubble guns.

     

    The kids had so much fun with the hunt, I just loved watching it! I am already planning to do another escape room type scavenger hunt soon. (Ephraim’s birthday is coming up in a few weeks and I am thinking of trying to figure out a Lego themed Escape Room/Scavenger Hunt.)

    Have you made an Escape Room or something similar for your kids before? I would love to hear if you have! You can also check out the first Escape Room I made for them here.

  • HOMESCHOOL,  PARENTING

    An Easy DIY Escape Room for Kids

    At the beginning of last week I had a random-middle-of-the-night idea to make a DIY escape room for my kids.

    I’m not normally big into planning activities for my kids, Raeca often asks for a scavenger hunt for her birthday and that’s about the extent of it. But for whatever reason the idea came into my head and I got really excited about it.

    I searched on Pinterest for ideas and of course I got a few ideas but there was no ready-made escape room, it was a lot of getting little ideas here and there.

     

    Easy DIY Escape Room for Kids

     

    I wanted to keep the escape room simple (for me) and didn’t buy any materials. The only real “necessity” for the room I made was some kind of lockable box/cupboard/etc. We have a lockable medicine box with a three digit lock that I used. Though if you want to make your own escape room you could use a combination lock or even make your own faux lock, kids just love the idea, they can use their imagination if needed.

    I just used our small office as the escape room, not much space is needed for this.

     

    Easy DIY Escape Room for Kids

     

    THE START

    Of course an escape room needs a purpose, and since I was listening to the first book in The Land of Stories at the time I decided to use a general idea from there (though I did have to switch it to fit what I had available).

    To set the mood I had an app running for sound effects. The app is free and one we use for the game Fuse, it is a 10 minutes countdown timer where you are on a ship and you need to defuse the bomb before it blows. I made sure to tell my anxious girl that we weren’t paying attention to the time, it was for effect only, after it went off at 10 minutes I just restarted it (which is how I know this room took them approximately 45 minutes to escape from).

    When the kids entered the room they immediately saw this written on a paper that gave them their instructions:

     

    ***ALERT!***

    You’ve just broken into Queen Snow White’s Royal Room of Display and the alarm is going off. The room will self destruct (aka BLOW UP!) if you do not deactivate the alarm within 30 minutes.

    You’ll need three numbers to turn off the alarm which you’ll find hidden in clues around the room, their decoders are hidden here as well.

    Once you have deactivated the alarm grab Snow White’s famous apple and get out of there!

     

    Easy DIY Escape Room for Kids

     

    In the room I had taped up some yarn to act as the “lasers”, they had a lot of fun trying to not touch them but had they been real they would have been in pieces within a few minutes. It was a fun added element for them though.

     

    Easy DIY Escape Room for Kids

     

    They also quickly saw the locked box with “Snow White’s apple” – because the goal was for them to find the clues for the lock box digits I didn’t feel the need to hide the actual box (plus there weren’t really any other places where I hadn’t already hid the clues and decoders).

     

    CLUES & DECODERS

    So, then it was time to start finding the clues and decoders (there were six in all; three clues and three decoders).

    I just hid these around the room, one in a drawer, one taped to the bottom of a table, one was put inside a balloon I blew up, one was under a keyboard, one wedged between two objects and the trickiest one was on my husband’s computer screen – the screen was on when they came in but they didn’t realize it was a clue and then the screen went to sleep as they searched so they needed some help finding that one.

    It didn’t matter what order the papers were found in because each clue had a different decoder and I purposefully didn’t put the numbers in order, after they got the three numbers they needed to figure out the order.

     

    Easy DIY Escape Room for Kids

     

    CLUE #1

    It didn’t matter what order they found the clues and decoders in, each clue had it’s own decoder and I thought they could figure out pretty easy which ones went together.

    The first one they found was a number line decoder. I got the printable 1-20 number line here (though you could easily make your own) and then made the clue using addition and subtraction questions (sneaking a little bit of math in there).

    The first clue read: Rhymes with you. The number for that was 2.

     

    Easy DIY Escape Room for Kids

     

    CLUE #2

    The next clue I wrote in pigpen code that I got here. This was a fun code they enjoyed.

    The clue I wrote for this one was: The number we were before R2D2. The answer is 4.

    (For the record, R2D2 is our currently little foster boy.)

     

    Easy DIY Escape Room for Kids

     

    CLUE #3

    This one was not only the hardest clue to find it was also the hardest for them to decode. I used the binary alphabet for the code (I found an image here), but in the future I would skip the binary alphabet and probably use Morse code (here’s a printable).

    This clue read: The number of one of your ages.

    So, for this one they had the option of either 6 or 9. But once they realized the other numbers were 2 and 4 it was easy for them to quickly jump to 6.

     

    Easy DIY Escape Room for Kids

     

    OPENING THE BOX

    So, once they had the numbers they decided right off the bat that 2, 4, 6 seemed like the best order and they were able to open the box! Under the apple I had put some extra secret code papers I thought they would enjoy. They were Star Wars themed, I found them on this site, though just a heads up: one of them has an error as Raeca figured out, so watch for that!

     

    All in all the escape room probably took me about two hours to plan (from scratch) and put together. Next time it will take me way less time since I have a bit of an idea how to do it. I thought it would take them less than 30 minutes to do the room but it ended up taking closer to 45 minutes so that was a bit of a bonus.

    The kids had so much fun looking for clues and doing the decoding we are totally going to do it again! The plan was for them to invite a few friends over and I would make a bigger one but now with COVID-19 changing life that will have to wait for a bit. I’ll definitely be making another one for them again soon, I may actually plan one and then save it for a day when we’re all feeling a little cooped up.

     

    Have you ever made an escape room before? If so, I would love to hear how you did it! If not, I hope this will help you plan yours out!

  • PARENTING

    The Best Gospel-Centered Parenting Podcasts and Episodes

    It may come as a surprise to some who know me, but I don’t just read books. 😉

    A few days ago I shared some of my favorite parenting books and I also wanted to share some of my favorite parenting podcasts and episodes.

    I listen to a decent amount of podcasts – my favorite times to listen are when I am doing my make up or if I’m baking or making supper and the kids are otherwise occupied. Plus, on the rare occasion I have a car ride without the kids I will listen then.

    I have a variety of different podcasts I listen to, most are about general gospel-centered living and not parenting specific but I have a few podcasts and episodes to share.

    In case you missed it earlier in the month you can join in on the month long Parenting themed Scripture Writing Challenge at any time.

     

    The Best Parenting and Motherhood Podcasts and Episodes - Gospel Centered Podcasts for Christian Moms

     

    THE BEST GOSPEL-CENTERED MOTHERHOOD PODCASTS

    AT HOME

    This podcast is one of my favorites though they haven’t had any new episodes in the last year and are no longer making it, but the episodes in their archives are all worth listening to.

     

    Here are two of my favorite episodes:

    Calling of Motherhood

    In this episode of At Home, Greta Eskridge leads the discussion on “The Calling of Motherhood”. We know we have listeners that are full or part time working moms, as well as full or part time stay at home moms. This episode is primarily focused on the latter, and the struggles and challenges that sometimes come along with being a stay at home mom.

    We start by discussing our own journey to becoming stay at home moms. Then we talk for a bit about whether or not we ever long for something beyond, or in addition to, this life of full time motherhood. We also cover such issues as contentment, guilt, feeling less than, and embracing our calling as we walk through the different seasons of motherhood. We each offer our own words of encouragement to moms who might be struggling in those areas.

     

    Connecting with our Children

    In this episode of At Home, Brianne Busky is leading the discussion on “Connecting With Our Children”. We’re specifically talking about those times when there is a struggle to connect with a child. It might be because they’re going through a difficult stage or there are just big personality differences, but for whatever reason, the connection is tough to find.

    First we encourage all of you not to feel guiltily over this. It happens to all of us at one time or another in our parenting journey. Next we discuss why these times of difficulty connecting can occur. And lastly, we offer all sorts of ways we’ve found to connect with our own kids during these seasons.

    Mamas, we know mothering is hard work and there are so many difficulties that you never expected to face. This might be one of them.

    We pray our words will be an encouragement to you either now or in the years to come.

     

     

    HEIDI ST. JOHN PODCAST

    For some reason it took me until this year to come across this podcast and it quickly became one of my favorites. I appreciate how Heidi always points back to the truth of the Bible, she doesn’t shy from controversial topics, always speaking the truth.

    While it is not solely a parenting podcast (I mean, hardly any are), she shares some great parenting advice.

     

    Reaching the Heart of Your Child

    Are you struggling with attitudes at your home? Do you wonder how to pass on your values to your kids? Join me as I talk about parenting in today’s culture with one of my favorite guests, Dr. Kathy Koch. You will be encouraged!

     

    Legacy: What Will Yours Be?

    How will your kids remember you? As it turns out, the seeds you are sowing right now are important. They’re the building blocks for your legacy. This month at MomStrong International, we’ll be talking about God’s heart for you in the legacy that you leave. It’s more important than you may realize, and more powerful than you may ever comprehend.

     

     

    RISEN MOTHERHOOD

     

    How Do I Disciple My Children?

    Discipleship can be an intimidating task, but it isn’t out of reach for the everyday mom. It’s living out the gospel in front of our kids, teaching and inviting them to follow Jesus with us. In this episode, Emily and Laura dive into how we disciple our kids, asking, “What is it? How do we do it? And why does it seem so difficult?” We get to faithfully teach our kids to love God and share their faith by showing them how we do it. We won’t disciple them perfectly, but we can trust the Holy Spirit to equip us for the task and change our children’s hearts.

     

    Grace in Discipline

    There’s no formula for raising godly children. Instead, we follow the Christ’s example by offering our kids God’s expectations and grace as we disciple them. In this episode, Emily and Laura interview Elyse Fitzpatrick about faithfulness in the early years of motherhood. Elyse is a wife, mom, and prolific author of many books that apply gospel truths to daily life. While we’re called to faithfully nurture, train, and discipline our children according to God’s word, only Jesus can transform their hearts and teach them to love his design. Let’s give our kids the greatest example of faith by being sinners who run to Jesus with them.

     

    Do you have some favorite gospel-centered podcasts and episodes? I would love to hear them!

  • BOOKS,  FAITH,  PARENTING

    The Best Parenting Books Every Christian Parent Should Read

    The unofficial theme here this month is “parenting”, which I kicked off with a parenting themed Scripture writing challenge a few weeks ago.

    Of course I couldn’t have a themed month without a book list!

    I wanted to share some of the best biblical-based parenting books I have read over the years.

    But first I wanted to share a disclaimer and say that these books in no way take priority over reading the Bible and discovering for ourselves what God has called us to as parents.

    That being said, I find good biblical-based parenting books can be very encouraging, if you are looking for some, here are eleven of my favorites.

     

    The Best Parenting Books - Biblical, Grace-Based, Christ-Centered Books About Parenting

     

    THE BEST PARENTING BOOKS FOR CHRISTIAN PARENTS

    This one was recommended to me for so long before I actually read it and I can see why it has been so popular!

    Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family

    What is your calling as a parent?

    In the midst of folding laundry, coordinating carpool schedules, and breaking up fights, many parents get lost. Feeling pressure to do everything “right” and raise up “good” children, it’s easy to lose sight of our ultimate purpose as parents in the quest for practical tips and guaranteed formulas.

    In this life-giving book, Paul Tripp offers parents much more than a to-do list. Instead, he presents us with a big-picture view of God’s plan for us as parents. Outlining fourteen foundational principles centered on the gospel, he shows that we need more than the latest parenting strategy or list of techniques. Rather, we need the rescuing grace of God—grace that has the power to shape how we view everything we do as parents.

    Freed from the burden of trying to manufacture life-change in our children’s hearts, we can embrace a grand perspective of parenting overflowing with vision, purpose, and joy.

     

    To be honest, the first time I read this book I didn’t get it. The second time I loved it. If you are in the thick of parenting a bunch of littles this book can feel so far fetched but if you have kids in the 5+ stage I would recommend reading this one.

    Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus

    All of us want to raise good kids. And we want to be good parents. But what exactly do we mean by “good?” And is “being good” really the point?

    Mother-daughter team Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson contend that every way we try to make our kids “good” is simply an extension of Old Testament Law–a set of standards that is not only unable to save our children, but also powerless to change them.

    No, rules are not the answer. What they need is GRACE.

    We must tell our kids of the grace-giving God who freely adopts rebels and transforms them into loving sons and daughters. If this is not the message your children hear, if you are just telling them to “be good,” then the gospel needs to transform your parenting too.

    Give Them Grace is a revolutionary perspective on parenting that shows us how to receive the gospel afresh and give grace in abundance, helping our children know the dazzling love of Jesus and respond with heartfelt obedience.

     

    Okay, so this one isn’t actually a parenting book exactly. But it is all about how to teach your children skills and habits with a worldview, which is extremely important!

    The Life and Faith Field Guide for Parents: Help Your Kids Learn Practical Life Skills, Develop Essential Faith Habits, and Embrace a Biblical Worldview

    As a Christian parent, you want your children to develop good character and godly wisdom. But how do you go beyond hoping and praying to teaching them ethical knowledge, practical skills, and virtuous habits?

    This innovative guide provides practical, effective ideas you can use to help your children build their faith and character in 50 ways, including…

    • engaging with the Bible and culture
    • interacting with God and others
    • making good decisions
    • becoming better learners
    • managing conflict

    Once you grasp these concepts and discover how to teach them, you will be able to successfully shape the character and worldview of your child or teenager.

     

    The Ministry of Motherhood

    Because Motherhood Isn’t Just a Job. It’s a Calling.

    A mother’s day is packed with a multitude of tasks that require energy and time: preparing meals, washing clothes, straightening and cleaning the house, and caring for children. These jobs all are necessary and crucially important. But in the dailyness of providing for a child’ s physical, emotional, and social needs, vital opportunities for spiritual nurture and training can be overlooked.

    This doesn’t have to be the case. You can focus your energy on what matters most. Learn how you can:

    • Make Life’s Mundane and Nitty-Gritty Moments Work for You and Not Against You
    • Discover Ways to Make Character-Building a Natural Part of Live
    • Teach Your Child in the Same Way Jesus Taught the Disciples
    • Pass on Crucial Gifts that Will Serve Your Family for a Lifetime

    Using biblical wisdom and practical teachings, Sally Clarkson shows how you can make a lasting difference in your child’s life by following the pattern Christ set with his own disciples–a model that will inspire and equip you to intentionally embrace the rewarding, desperately needed, and immeasurably valuable Ministry of Motherhood.

     

    The Lifegiving Parent: Giving Your Child a Life Worth Living for Christ

    In today’s world, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and even paralyzed by the constant flow of parenting advice. We’re flooded with so much practical information that we wonder if we’re choosing the right way. And we may be missing the one thing God really wants us to give to our children: His life. God doesn’t include a divine methodology for parenting in the Bible, but He does provide principles that can enable any faithful parent to bring His life into the life of their home.

    In The Lifegiving Parent, respected authors and parents Clay and Sally Clarkson explore eight key principles – heartbeats of lifegiving parenting – to shed light on what it means to create a home where your children will experience the living God in your family. Now parents of four grown children – each with their own unique personality and gifts – Sally and Clay have learned (sometimes the hard way!) that the key to shaping a heart begins at home as you foster a deep and thoughtful God-infused relationship with each child. Filled with biblical insight and classic Clarkson stories, The Lifegiving Parent will equip you with the tools and wisdom you need to give your children much more than just a good Christian life. You’ll give them the life of Christ.

     

    Missional Motherhood: The Everyday Ministry of Motherhood in the Grand Plan of God

    There’s no such thing as “just” a mom.

    Despite the routine tasks and mundane to-do lists, motherhood is anything but insignificant. God has designed motherhood as part of his greater plan to draw people to himself–instilling all women, whether called to traditional mothering or not, with an eternal purpose in nurturing others.

    In this book, Gloria Furman searches the Scriptures for the mission of God in motherhood. She opens our eyes to God’s life-giving promises–promises intended to empower each and every woman as she makes disciples in her home, in her neighborhood, and around the world.

     

    Shepherding a Child’s Heart

    Shepherding a Child’s Heart is about how to speak to the heart of your child. The things your child does and says flow from the heart. Luke 6:45 puts it this way: “…out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Written for parents with children of any age, this insightful book provides perspectives and procedures for shepherding your child’s heart into the paths of life.

     

    Parenting the Wholehearted Child

    Are you exhausted from the pressure to be a perfect parent raising perfect children in this imperfect world? Do you ever wonder, ‘How did these precious children get stuck with a parent like me?’ If so, let these grace-drenched pages saturate your heart with God’s unfailing love while also equipping you to be a vessel of God’s unconditional love to your children. With authenticity, conviction, and a lively sense of humor, Jeannie guides parents on a transformative journey into raising wholehearted—not perfect—children, who live from the freedom found in being wholeheartedly loved (and liked!) by God. Parenting the Wholehearted Child equips parents with Biblical wisdom and practical ideas to teach children they are fully accepted by God, not because of anything they do or don’t do but because of everything Jesus has already done for them. Woven throughout the book is the good news that it is God’s extravagant grace, not a parent’s perfect performance, that transforms the hearts of children.

     

    This small booklet may be old but that doesn’t mean it’s outdated!

    The Duties of Parents: 17 Practical Ways to Successful Parenting

    For any parent who is concerned with properly raising children, this classic text from Anglican Bishop J. C. Ryle is a must-read. This nineteenth-century booklet offers helpful advice for parents that is just as relevant today as when it was first published.

     

    Grace Based Parenting

    Parents in our post-modern world tend to be committed to but anxious about their child-rearing responsibilities. They’ve tried the countless parenting books on the market, but many of these are strident, fear-based books that loving parents instinctively reject, while still searching for direction.

    Now Dr. Tim Kimmel, founder of Family Matters ministries, offers a refreshing new look at parenting. Rejecting rigid rules and checklists that don’t work, Dr. Kimmel recommends a parenting style that mirrors God’s love, reflects His forgiveness, and displaces fear as a motivator for behavior. As we embrace the grace God offers, we begin to give it-creating a solid foundation for growing morally strong and spiritually motivated children.

     

    Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

    Do you believe your struggle with anger stems from the wrong behavior you see displayed in your children? The knee-jerk reactions and blow-ups you’re facing are often a result of a bigger set of “triggers.” Some of these are external, like a child’s disobedience, backtalk, or selective hearing, while others are internal, like an overflowing schedule, sleep-deprivation, or perhaps your own painful experiences from childhood.

    Triggers: Exchanging Parent’s Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses examines common parenting issues that cause us to explode inappropriately at our children. Moving beyond simple parenting tips on how to change your child’s behavior, authors Amber Lia and Wendy Speake offer biblical insight and practical tools to equip and encourage you on the journey away from anger-filled reactions toward gentle, biblical responses.

     

    The Best Parenting Books - Biblical, Grace-Based, Christ-Centered Books About Parenting

     

    Do you have a favorite gospel-centered parenting book that I missed? Let me know!

  • FAITH,  PARENTING

    Monthly Scripture Writing Challenge: Parenting

    I mentioned in my last post that I have really been enjoying Scripture writing over the last number of months (and on and off over the last number of years).

    I have been printing off a monthly Scripture writing challenge for the last few months which has been good but that particular site basis their verses off of the Bible study they are currently going through and because I don’t pay for the Bible study the monthly Scripture writing can feel a little all over the place.

    So, I decided to do what I always decide to do in this kind of situation: make my own.

    If I were really on the ball I would have had this all ready to go at the beginning of the month but I only had the idea a couple of days ago so here we are, almost a week into the month. I could let my Type A side beat myself up over that fact or I could just get over it since it’s the Bible and people can copy it whenever they want.

    I decided to ignore the Type A side.

     

    Monthly Scripture Writing Challenge - Parenting: Bible verses and passages on parenting

     

    Because we are in the “start” of our homeschool year (“start” because we homeschool light all year round and a little more intensely in the colder months) I thought I would go with a parenting theme for this month.

    If I were to be honest, and I am, parenting has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life.

    It has been challenging, humbling and has made me grow more than any other thing in my life.

    I thought I had my life pretty much together, and then I had kids.

    It turns out I am incredibly selfish and didn’t even realize it until my time was no longer my own.

    But man, parenting is so incredibly rewarding. It is worth every sleepless night.

    (Which is a good thing because we are getting ready to start all over again.)

     

    Monthly Scripture Writing Challenge - Parenting: Bible verses and passages on parenting

     

    So, for the next month I am going to be copying out verses and passages all related to parenting (and because I’m starting a few days late I will double up on some days).

    I have created a printable if you would like to join me. You can jump in this month or any time you want because it’s the Bible and you can copy it any time you want.

    To get the free Scripture writing challenge just sign up here and you’ll get an email with info on how to access all the freebies on this site:




    check to verify you want to receive the newsletter & freebies

     

     

    Because my brain likes to work over time I already have plans to have a Thanksgiving one for October (because: Canadian!), an adoption one for November (because: adoption month) and an Advent one for December (because: Christmas!). Since I actually have those ideas already they should be up a few days before that month happens. I will be emailing when the new ones are up so make sure you are signed up for my newsletter to be in the know.

    If you are going to do the Scripture writing challenge, either this month or any other, I would love it if you would leave me a comment and let me know so I can be praying for you and your family during the month.

  • FAITH,  HOMESCHOOL,  PARENTING

    30 Memory Verses and Passages for Children

    I remember one of my highlights from childhood going to AWANA each week – I would wear my little vest with the badges and the jewels. I learned so many verses because of AWANA, I would even go so far as to say that half the verses I know now are thanks to AWANA.

    Unfortunately we don’t have any programs like AWANA around where we live but I still really want to make memorizing verses a priority in these early childhood years for my children.

     

    30 Memory Verses and Passages for Children

     

    I have made more of an effort in our homeschool this year with memory verses but it wasn’t until last week that something dawned on me. Because I have one pre-reader and one reader this year I’ve just been saying the line out loud for them to copy and memorize that way, which has been going great for my son but I realized last week that my daughter is more of a visual learner. Being able to read what she is supposed to memorize makes it a lot easier for her. It was such a light bulb moment that I should have clued in on early.

    So, I made a list of 30 Bible verses and passages that I want to go over with my kids in the next year or two (or three, I really don’t have a set time) and I just printed them out and have been having my daughter highlight the verses we are/have learned. This way the verses we are learning jump out more on the page and she has the ability to read the verses instead of depending on me reading them.

    I have included the list of verses below and in addition, I have a PDF with the verses that you can print out as well.

    \\MEMORY VERSES FOR CHILDREN DOWNLOAD//

     

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    30 Memory Verses and Passages for Children

     

    30 MEMORY VERSES AND PASSAGES FOR CHILDREN

     

    Psalm 23

    1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
    He leads me beside still waters.
    3 He restores my soul.
    He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.
    4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.
    5 You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
    you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
    6 Surely goodness and mercy
    shall follow me all the days of my life,
    and I shall dwell
    in the house of the Lord forever.

     

    John 3:16

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

     

    Isaiah 9:6

    For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

     

    Romans 3:23

    For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

     

    Romans 6:23

    For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

     

    30 Memory Verses and Passages for Children

     

    Psalm 51:10

    Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.

     

    John 14:6

    Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

     

    Romans 8:28

    And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

     

    Isaiah 40:30-31

    30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

     

    Philippians 2:14-15

    14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.

     

    Matthew 11:28-30

    28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

     

    Psalm 27:1

    The Lord is my light and my salvation;
    whom shall I fear?
    The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
    of whom shall I be afraid?

     

    Jeremiah 29:11

    For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

     

    Proverbs 3:5-6

    5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
    6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.

     

    Colossians 3:23

    Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.

     

    1 Corinthians 15:58

    Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

     

    Galatians 5:22-23

    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

     

    1 Thessalonians 5:18

    Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

     

    Psalm 19:14

    Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

     

    Philippians 4:6-7

    6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

     

    Psalm 119:105

    Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

     

    1 John 1:9

    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

     

    Micah 6:8

    He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
    but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

     

    Matthew 25:40

    And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

     

    Matthew 28:19-20

    19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

    Matthew 5:16

    In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

     

    Ephesians 4:32

    Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

     

    Ephesians 6:12

    For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

     

    Luke 6:31

    Do to others as you would have them do to you.

     

    1 Corinthians 13

    1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

    4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

    8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

    13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

  • BOOKS,  INTENTION,  MOTHER CULTURE,  PARENTING

    Simplicity Parenting Book Club – Introduction & Chapter One

    Welcome to the first week of our Simplicity Parenting book club! This week will be be chatting about the introduction and chapter 1, here’s the schedule for the rest of the book:

    September 12 – chapters 2 & 3
    September 19 – chapters 4 & 5
    September 26 – chapter 6 & epilogue

    This book was a re-read for me. I believe I read it for the first time about four years ago. What I really enjoy about the book is how practical and straight forward it is. The idea of simplicity parenting is not a hard one to grasp but it can be a difficult one to actually follow through on.

    While this book is (to my knowledge) not written by Christians and I think it is the kind of book that Christians and non-Christians alike can learn from. I actually think a lot of the ideas in the book are very biblical; Jesus himself had hardly any possessions and one of my favorite parables is when he tells the rich, young ruler to sell all his possessions and give them to the poor. Obviously your heart and motives have a lot to do with it but I think this book can be a great reality check for a lot of parents.

     

    Simplicity Parenting Online Book Club

     

    HOW THIS BOOK CLUB WORKS

    I am going to share some of my thoughts on these chapters and ask a few questions throughout the post, I would love it if you would leave your thoughts and responses in the comment section below. It would work even better if you can make sure to come back and see if others have replied to your thoughts as well, let’s keep the discussion going! There is also the option to subscribe to comments so you can be sure to get emails when others comment on this post and your comment.

    We are all learning and growing as parents so let’s remember to be respectful of others on this journey. Disagreeing with someone is fine but let’s keep things polite, don’t post a comment you wouldn’t say out loud in front of other people.

     

    INTRODUCTION

    The introduction was pretty short but there were a few things that stuck out to me this chapter . . .

    First of all the statistic that said “children have lost more than twelve hours of free time a week in the past two decades.” This stat came from David Elkind’s book, The Power of Play, I tried to find the exact stats that shared exactly how much free time children had two decades ago and how much they have now but I couldn’t find any definite numbers.

     

    Simplicity Parenting Online Book Club

     

    Since I couldn’t find any specific numbers I started thinking about how much free time my children have. Right away I see that we are at a huge advantage in this area because we homeschool. While many school children around us spend 30-60 minutes a day on the bus and then six hours at school my children complete all their school work in less than two hours, already giving them the advantage of at least four extra hours each day, and if I’m honest, most days those extra hours are spent in free play.

    I thought this line from the introduction sums up the entire book very well:

    Simplification is often about “doing” less, and trusting more. Trusting that -if they have the time and security- children will explore their worlds in the way, and at a pace, that works best for them. – page XIII

    We have become a culture that over-parents our children and a huge part of simplicity parenting is taking a step back, saying no to many things (even good things) so that our children have space to be children.

     

    QUESTIONS FOR THE INTRODUCTION

    1. How many hours do you children spend in free time each week? How could you increase this number?
    2. Any other thoughts on the introduction?

     

    Simplicity Parenting Online Book Club

     

    CHAPTER ONE – WHY SIMPLIFY

    There has been this amazing phenomena of more in the last 10-15 years. I think it came on us so slowly that many of us didn’t even see it coming (and many don’t even know it is here). If you think back to your childhood chances are you had a lot more than your parents did when they were young, but compare what you had to what your children have now, I’m guessing for most of us we would have to admit our children have more.

    The thing is, it’s fun to give. More is fun, until it’s not . . .

    There is a big part of me that wishes I could play the more game. I wish I could want a huge, perfect house and a brand new vehicle, a camper with regular trips to the lake. I wish I wanted all the clothes and to look perfect all the time. But honestly, I don’t.

    We started to play the more game shortly after we were married. We started out as broke newlyweds with my husband fresh out of college in a low paying job and me in university full time. We lived in a house trailer that leaked in the spring and the furnace broke in the winter. And when the house shifted in the winter the front door would become so jammed it was next to impossible to open the door. The floor in the bathroom was obviously rotting under the linoleum because the toilet was crooked and it always felt like you were going to fall through.

    We started at what I would call pretty near the bottom. We lived month to month as we struggled to afford our tiny mortgage but over the next few years Jared got a better job and I finished university and started working. All of a sudden the money was coming in! We sold that trashy trailer and moved into something bigger and better. And it wasn’t long before we wanted something better than that.

    Once you start playing the more game it doesn’t stop unless you make it.

    And I’m ready to stop it.

     

    Simplicity Parenting Online Book Club

     

    Reasons I want to simplify:

    • to give more
    • to travel more
    • to be intentional with my time and money
    • to be intentional with motherhood during this season
    • to have more of less

    When you simplify a child’s “world”, you prepare the way for positive change and growth. This preparatory work is especially important now because our world is characterized by too much stuff. We are building our daily lives, and our families, on the four pillars of too much: too much stuff, too many choices, too much information and too much speed. – page 5

    I am excited to change life so it is no longer built on the “four pillars of too much”. I’ve been working on these for the past few years and have come a long way but still feel like I have farther to go.

    The pillar of “too much speed” is not usually a problem for me. I’m an introvert and know it so I intentionally build a lot of white space into my week. Sure, there are the odd weeks where it seems like everything is happening at the same time (holidays are usually the worst) but it helps knowing those aren’t long seasons.

     

    Simplicity Parenting Online Book Club

     

    LET’S TALK TOYS

    Before having children I did not realize that toys would be such an issue. By “such an issue” I mean, keeping them to a minimum! It seems nearly every place we go gives out toys these days: the dentist, the grocery story, the restaurant, and those are just on regular days, never mind what happens when a child has a birthday or it’s Christmas!

    I actually have a post on here from last year where I did an experiment where I took my kids’ toys away. It was a great experiment and really worked to show us all that the kids play with the same few toys and definitely don’t need the heaps that society teaches us they need. (I also have a free Eliminating Kids Clutter course that is similar to the toy elimination process in the book).

    My kids are at a fun stage where they actually realize they only want a select few toys instead of everything they see. Now if I could just get them to see that while they love Lego and play with it for hours each day, they don’t need all the Lego.

    The problem in our house though is not getting rid of toys but keeping them out of the house. I think we’ll talk a bit more about this in future chapters to come.

    I completely agree with these statements:

    By reducing mental and physical clutter, simplification increases a family’s ability to flow together, to focus and deepen their attention, to realign their lives with their dreams. – page 23

    Yet simplification is not just about taking things away. It is about making room, creating space in your life, your intentions, and your heart. With less physical and mental clutter, your attention expands and your awareness deepens. – page 34

     

    Simplicity Parenting Online Book Club

     

    QUESTIONS FOR CHAPTER ONE

    1. What are your reasons for wanting to simplify?
    2. Which of the “four pillars of too much” do you find you struggle with the most? And which, if any, is the easiest?
    3. What were your perceived family values before having children? Are you actually living by them now?
    4. Have you decluttered your kids’ toys? How did the process go?
    5. Do you have any other thoughts on chapter one?

     

    Thanks for joining me for the first week of the Simplicity Parenting book club! Go ahead and leave your comments below, I am excited for the discussion to start and for the discussions we will have over the next few weeks.

  • PARENTING

    Tips for Helping Kids with Anxiety Succeed

    When I was first naming this post I almost called it “tips for dealing with kids with anxiety” and while there is truth in that, I don’t want to “deal with” my kids or their anxieties, I want to help them succeed.

    I asked on my Instagram stories last week if anyone else has children with anxiety because sometimes it can feel like a lonely place, but man, I was blown away by the responses I got. It turns out there are a lot of children living with anxiety and a lot of amazing parents trying to help them through it.

     

    RECOGNIZE ANXIETY

    It really hasn’t been that long that I realized what Raeca was feeling was anxiety and not outright defiance (well, usually). She is a very smart and perceptive girl, two great qualities but ones that also make her more prone to anxiety. She is aware of how things could go wrong in life because she thinks things through while some other kids (cough her brother cough) go through childhood a little more oblivious to life and are therefore more carefree.

    Recognizing that what she was going through was anxiety was a huge step, it has helped me to be more compassionate and try to find different ways to help her.

     

    Have a child with anxiety? Try some of these tips to help calm them down and work through their anxieties.

     

    ANXIETY TRIGGERS

    I know anxiety can pop up at any time and is different for every child but for Raeca new experiences, being the center of attention and bedtime are big anxiety triggers for her. Out of all of those times I find the sleep issues the hardest one, because she gets anxious about not falling asleep and therefore can’t fall asleep. It’s a hard cycle (and one that comes around every day).

    I think there are times where it is possible to avoid anxiety triggers for awhile and see if it is something kids will grow out of but often they are just something you need to work through as a family, because I don’t know about you but I know we all need to sleep in this house!

    We’ve gone through periods where it has taken Raeca over two hours to fall asleep because she is so anxious. Lately she has usually been falling asleep in less than half an hour because we’ve found a few different ways to work through her anxieties at bedtime.

     

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    Have a child with anxiety? Try some of these tips to help calm them down and work through their anxieties.

     

    HOW TO HELP YOUR ANXIOUS CHILD SUCCEED

     

    We all want to do our best as parents and when a child is having a large amount of anxiety I find it can be easy to get down on myself and feel like I’ve failed my child in some way.

     

    REMAIN CALM YOURSELF AND BE REASSURING

    One of the worst things you can do is getting visibly worked up, either anxious yourself or frustrated that you child is yet again anxious, believe me, I’ve learned this the hard way many a time.

    I’ve found that when her anxieties start to creep in things turn out best if I make sure to speak in a calm and soothing manner. Because a lot of her anxieties come at bed time I make sure to let her know that I will come back and check her in about 15 minutes and tell her that it’s okay if she is not sleeping by then, I just want to relax. These days when I go and check her after 15 minutes she is generally still awake but groggy. She will often mumble something about never being able to fall asleep and I just rub her back and reassure her that she is doing a great job and I’ll come back and check her in a bit. Then the next time I come back she has fallen asleep.

    Previously I’ve tried to reason with Raeca and explain why her anxiety is unfounded (“have you ever not fallen asleep and were awake all night?” “it will be okay, the dog just wants to smell you, he’s so old he can barely walk, he doesn’t want to hurt you.”) but when a child is already anxious reasoning doesn’t usually work. Often they know their anxiety is extreme but they honestly can’t do anything about that.

    I try to remember that as hard as it is for me to work with a child with anxiety, it’s much harder to be that child.

     

    Have a child with anxiety? Try some of these tips to help calm them down and work through their anxieties.

     

    GIVE A HUG

    This goes hand-in-hand with being reassuring but I think it is important enough to have it’s own category.

    I think that knowing the love languages of your children is as great benefit and all parents should make an effort to do so, but even if your child’s love language isn’t physical touch they still need and appreciate hugs and other forms of parental physical affection (high five, pat on the back, holding their hand, etc).

    If a child is having a particularly anxious moment a simple hug can go a long way. Though, depending on the age of your child if you are in a public setting you may want to ask if you can hug them before doing so in order to avoid even more anxiety by hugging your pre-teen in front of their friends.

     

    Have a child with anxiety? Try some of these tips to help calm them down and work through their anxieties.

     

    JOURNALING

    Journaling is therapeutic and a great way to help relieve anxiety. You can give a child a blank journal and let them write whatever they want, brain dump style to get out all the thoughts in their mind.

    Or if a child wants you could use it as a book you pass between each other, each taking turns to write notes. They could write the anxieties they are feeling and you could write notes of encouragement back to them.

    If they are stuck and don’t know what to write about you could give them some prompts, such as:

    • I usually worry when . . .
    • I’m scared about ________ because _______________
    • A list of things that help calm me down when I get anxious or worried

    Even kids who can’t write yet (or don’t feel like writing) can share their anxieties on paper by drawing instead of writing.

     

    PRAY

    Why is it the most useful tool is often the hardest one to remember? I have friends that are great at defaulting to prayer and while I am striving for that to be the case in my life it definitely isn’t yet. So, it is something I am working on for myself and at the same time trying to teach my children the same.

    While we pray for help with anxiety almost every evening it is something we are trying to pray about at anxiety levels rise as well. At this point it usually involves me praying because she is too anxious to be able to do so but I am hoping this practice will help her when she is older and she will default to prayer when feeling anxious.

     

    Have a child with anxiety? Try some of these tips to help calm them down and work through their anxieties.

     

    MEMORIZE VERSES

    The Bible is the perfect place to turn! I have a tendency to pick out memory verses for my kids that pertain to areas they are struggling with and anxiety and worry is no different.

    It often surprises me when I am looking for verses on this topic how many there actually are. Obviously worry is something that God knew we would be dealing with.

    The benefit of memorizing verses can be helpful when praying as well, you can pray the verses by inserting your child’s name into them when they are particularly anxious. For example, “please help Raeca to cast all her anxiety on You because You care for her.” (from 1 Peter 5:7)

    I have made some memory verse cards for us that you can feel free to use as well, they are in 4×6 format so you can get them printed as photos and put them in picture frames or leave them lying around as reminders. Eventually I would like to make some bigger ones and put them up as posters in Raeca’s room.

    You can grab the verses in my free subscriber library, if you are already a subscriber you should have the link (it’s in every newsletter I send). If you aren’t a subscriber yet you sign up here:

     




     

    Have a child with anxiety? Try some of these tips to help calm them down and work through their anxieties.

     

    GET A PET

    I’ve been doing a lot of reading about pets and anxiety in the last while and we made the decision to take the plunge and give it a try by getting a kitten. Funnily enough, other people’s dogs and cats actually raise Raeca’s anxiety levels but I am hoping by her getting used to one at home that will help reduce those particular anxieties while we are out.

    Pets are also supposed to reduce stress levels and raise happiness levels. Raeca was not our only reason for getting a kitten but it was part of it.

     

    CHANGE THEIR DIET

    I know this is one some people will think is a little hokey, to be honest, a few years ago I would have been one of those people. While changing their diet won’t work for every kid I know it has worked for a lot and it’s an easy change so why not give it a try?

    The biggest food trigger for Raeca is gluten (you can check out my post about signs and symptoms of gluten intolerance in children) but I also know that certain dyes and sugar are big triggers for a lot of other kids as well. It does take awhile for a lot of these foods to completely leave a child’s system so you need to keep them off for awhile to see if it will actually make a difference.

    We do still allow Raeca to have some amounts of gluten when we are out because it is hard for a seven year old to miss out on certain foods when she sees all her friends eating them but we eat gluten free at home (also because Jared has celiac disease) and we definitely notice a difference in her mood when she has had gluten, she doesn’t even act like the same child.

     

    Have a child with anxiety? Try some of these tips to help calm them down and work through their anxieties.

     

    ASK YOUR CHILD

    If you child is old enough, have discussions about what helps calm them down, they may think of things that you hadn’t noticed. When I’ve asked Raeca in the past she always says that me speaking in a calm voice really helps and so does taking a few minutes to color with her (if that’s possible in the situation).

    Taking a few minutes to ask them what helps them feel calm may add a few more resources to your arsenal.

     

    Whew! That was a long post! If you have a child with anxiety and have some additional tips or want to share anything about it, please leave a comment below! It can be so helpful knowing you aren’t on this journey alone!

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