"…And she smiles at the future." ~Proverbs 31:25

Posts tagged ‘teenagers’

FREE PRINTABLE: Capture your child’s life now with this New Year’s interview

Kids grow and change so fast, and those of us who are parents or grandparents often wish we could somehow capture a slice of life from each stage to hold onto forever. So today I am offering you an opportunity to do just that!

The changing of the calendar year is a great time to reflect on the rapid changes in our kids’ likes, dislikes, and personalities. I created this interview sheet to use with my own kids, and decided to share it with you here. There’s a download link below, but first, here’s how the interview looks:

Interview p1Interview p. 2

It’s two pages long so you’ll want to print on front and back. Keep in mind that in our family, we have four kiddos ranging in age from newly four to seventeen, so I included questions to fit preschoolers through teenagers. I purposely started out with the easy questions like favorite colors and foods, then progressed to the more thought-provoking ones.

If you are using this with toddlers, you have several options for adjusting it to their level:

1. Print the first page only, and use the empty space on the back to stamp a handprint or let the child “draw” pictures. (Read: scribble)

2. Selectively answer whatever questions from both pages you feel apply to your child.

3. Make changes to the questions that don’t fit your child’s age. For example, with my youngest I’ll cross out “youth group activity” and replace it with “things to do with my friends.”

Even if your child or grandchild isn’t talking yet, you will want to fill in favorite songs, toys, foods, etc. to have a record of this stage in your baby’s life. You might even want to fill one in for yourself while you’re at it!

Of course, you also have the option to use my idea as a starting point and create your own interview to fit your family’s needs. But for those of you who want to skip the hassle and use what I’m sharing, here’s the link:

New Year’s Day Interview Sheet 2013

Our family always has a special dinner on New Year’s Day and that’s when I plan to go over these sheets. Our older kids will fill them out on their own, and I’ll let our youngest dictate her answers to me.

Won’t it be fun to look back in a few years to see how their answers have changed?

By the way, this is my very first FREE PRINTABLE offer, so please leave a comment to let me know what you think.

Thanks for stopping by!



A surprise visit from Denim Guy

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love having teenagers!  Tonight we bought a couple of pair of new jeans for each of the boys, and when we came home I reminded them both to be sure and leave them downstairs so I could wash them.The next time I walked through the living room I found this guy relaxing on the couch:

What will they think of next?

Yeah. I love having teenagers.

Thanks for stopping by!

Angry birds, happy kids

It was Christmas Eve morning and I wanted to make a special brunch for the kiddos. My friend, Angela, had posted a picture on Facebook that morning of some cute pancakes she’d decorated with whipped cream. Alas, I didn’t have a bit of whipped cream in the house, and there was NO WAY I was going to the store on Christmas Eve.

But I headed to the pantry to explore my options, and found that I DID have a few chocolate chips…and some Oreos (Could they work?)…and some orange slice candy which we’ve NEVER had in our house before but which had found their way into my daughter’s stocking this year and would be just perfect to use on this project. So I went with what I had, and this is what I came up with:

Angry Birds Pancakes

Pin It

Before I went up to call the kids, I turned on the game on my phone and turned the music up really loud. Then I ran upstairs, screaming, “What’s that? What IS that noise?” The kids ran down to help me investigate, and their big eyes and the smiles on their faces (even the teenagers!) when they saw their brunch made it worth every bit of my effort.

P.S. My husband said they looked more like angry chickens, and I have to agree with him…but the kids knew what it was SUPPOSED to be and they were happy, so my goal was met.

Thanks for stopping by!

What, exactly, is PTP?

Until a few years ago, I had no idea what Polishing the Pulpit was. Even then, when I first heard of it, I thought it was “just a preacher’s seminar.”  Now I know better…and I am so thankful. Our family  spent the past week in Sevierville, TN,  in the incredibly beautiful Great Smoky Mountains, attending an event that was definitely not just for preachers.

The printed program dubs PTP “a life-changing event to refresh the spirits” of all Christians…“a spiritual boost”…and that’s exactly what it was. While there, the same word kept popping into my head over and over: WOW!

122 speakers from 13 states

476 different classes in multiple tracks

2351 people in attendance

Not only were there class tracks for preachers, youth ministers, elders, and deacons; there were also tracks for teens, women, children, homeschoolers, Bible class teachers, members, widows, and Spanish speakers. Other tracks included marriage and family, small churches, evidences, missions, and technology.

Workshops were taught by doctors, lawyers, preachers, elders, professors, authors, politicians, and even a former atheist.

There were multiple singing sessions, lots of fellowship activities for the teenagers, and on-site shopping for all kinds of great resources. Opportunities were provided for marriage & family counseling and for job hunting, and there was a Song Leading School (for all ages) and a Future Preachers Training Class (for boys/young men).


I am so thankful we had the opportunity to be a part of this incredible event. I’m thankful for what we learned. I’m thankful  for the fellow Christians we met for the first time and for the ones we got to spend time with once again. I’m thankful that our family was able to focus on growing in Christ all together, all week long.

WOW! If you are ever able to be a part of this event, I would HIGHLY recommend it. I know our family will never, ever forget it.

Come back tomorrow and I’ll be sharing some of the highlights of the week. Until then…

Thanks for stopping by!

Check out these other PTP-related posts:

What I learned at PTP–part 1

What I learned at PTP–part 2

What I learned at PTP–part 3

PTP Highlights

Traveling Smiles

Our Great Smoky Mountains Adventure

In the words of a teenager

Teenagers are so much fun. This year, one of my favorite parts of the (year-round) school day is checking my son’s composition assignments. He does a ten-minute creative writing warm-up each day to help get the brain juices flowing, and I am thoroughly enjoying the results.

Some of them I have loved because they’ve given me a peek into his heart and allowed me to know him better. (You probably won’t see many of those reprinted here!)

Some are just plain funny.  (Even those teach me something about the author, like reminding me once again how important food is to a teenage boy.)  Here’s a short example:

“If I had been a pilgrim, I would have…”

~probably been hungry a lot.

~hunted for food.

~worn a big hat.

~been confused a lot.

~had to work hard.

~used old English.

~not been a baseball fan (until I invented it).

~had all my clothes custom made.

~worn ugly shoes.

~been homeschooled.

~not had to study American history.

Guess I can’t argue against the truthfulness of any of them! So nice to have yet another reason to smile each day…..

Thanks for stopping by!

They pray, I smile

I cannot lie. I LOVE this stage where the toddler prayers go on and on and on and on and…well, you get the picture. I love hearing what’s important in a toddler’s world.

And I love that young children want to pray, not just at certain appointed times, but whenever the urge hits. That urge hit our little one several times tonight, and each time she would suddenly burst out with “I’m saying a prayer!” Whether we were in the middle of a game, doing the supper dishes, or whatever else we were involved in, each time we all stopped and took her chubby little outstretched hand and listened to her prattle on and on and on.

Of course she thanked God–repeatedly–for each and every member of the family, and “for cookies and food” and even “for eating Cheerios in church.” And even though she’s not yet two and a half, she asked God more than once to “help us to always be helpful to our mommies, and to our daddies, and to our Chandlers and our Addys and our Connors.”

What a treat to hear her earnestly chattering away to God, with her eyes squeezed tightly shut, mentally going through every great thing He’s done for her. At those moments, none of us wanted to be anywhere else but right there listening along as she prayed.

After getting her all tucked in for the night, I began to reflect on the joy I get from hearing each of my children pray. They each have their own unique “styles,” and hearing them pray helps me see more clearly who they are.

A few weeks ago, my oldest was instructed, as part of a creative writing assignment, to write a prayer of thanksgiving to God. The next morning as I was going through his work, I found these words he’d penned:

Dear God,

We don’t deserve this.

We don’t deserve all our possessions, or having such an easy life.

We don’t even deserve to live.

But You gave us all of that and much more, because of Your unlimited and unfathomable love for us.

If all we did was thank You our whole lives, we could never thank You enough.

We can try, but we’ll never get close.

Thank You for Your love and mercy.

Thank You for our lives, our stuff, everything we have.

Thank You for watching over us, even when we aren’t.

Thank You for always giving us someone to turn to.

In Jesus’ name,


I’ll admit, my throat tightened up a little as I closed the notebook.  I hope I am always touched by the sweet prayers I get to hear from my toddler, teenagers, and in between. I feel pretty certain that they’re making God smile, too.

Thanks for stopping by!

If You Give a Kid a Zoo Trip

If you (being the really brave soul that you are) decide to take six kids to the zoo for the afternoon, chances are they’ll want a picnic to go with it…

…and if you picnic in a great park with a beautiful lake and the weather is unusually nice for your area, they’ll probably want to go feed the ducks….

…and because you’re a really-well-prepared-for-anything kind of mom (yeah, right) you will have brought lots of bread and crackers for just that purpose, and will be surprised that you have to work hard to keep it out of the teenage boys’ mouths (even though you just ate supper during the aforementioned picnic) and in the end it won’t matter because the pigeons will have taken over everything anyway…

…and if you’ve brought along your 9-year-old tomboy who loves nothing more than hunting down birds and catching them with her bare hands, then she’ll probably attempt to take one of those pigeons home with her, and if there are exposed tree roots she’ll probably trip over one during the chase and slam her face into a tree hard enough to make it turn black and blue over the next few days…

…and chances are that if that happens, and if you’re a distracting kind of mom, you’ll steer everyone toward an open field where they can exert all that pent-up energy BEFORE you crowd in for the ride home, and your normally-calm-and-cool teenagers and their normally-calm-and-cool teenage friends will suddenly be doing somersaults…

…and wrestling…

…and chasing each other…

…and stealing each others’ shoes…

…and taunting each other (Why are boys are SO competitive?)…

…and moving so fast that you, the mom with the camera, can hardly snap a picture that’s not completely fuzzy (but you will love them anyway because they perfectly represent the BLUR of activity that was this day)….

…and you will rejoice that even the injured one is still smiling…

…and that someone finally sat still long enough for your to get a really great shot…

…and at the realization that these kids really do love life, especially the little things…

…and while you are still rejoicing, your oldest son might reach into his backpack for some ChapStick but accidentally pull out a stick of eye-black instead, and everyone will think it’s such a hilarious close call and decide that they all (“You, too, Mom!”) should get blacked up for the trip home…

…and chances are, that while walking back to the parking lot you will watch these silly, energetic kids and remember how your own mom used to always say, “Teenagers just want a place to be together. They really don’t care where.”

….and chances are that while you’re thinking of wise sayings right after a trip to the zoo you’ll also remember how, when you were a little girl, every time you’d ask where your mom was, your dad would retort, “She went to the zoo to see a monkey like you!”

…and you’ll decide that that’s not quite as profound but that it’s still a really nice memory to have…

…and  if all that happens, as you drive home you’ll be thanking God for such an exhausting, fun day with people you love…

…and chances are…you’re going to want some sleep to go with it.

(Thanks for stopping by!)

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