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Preparing for the Worst

consent-clipart-pen_and_paper_legal_document_with_pen_signing_the_paper_0515-0909-2116-0233_SMUIn the last six weeks we have supported friends who lost their son and a friend whose husband died. Walking with my friend whose husband passed has brought about a renewed focus to make sure we have all our papers in order should anything tragic happen.

*DISCLAIMER – I am not a lawyer and am not offering specific legal advise. I am giving you suggestions of where to start.*

1. Make a Will – Visit a lawyer or buy software and make out a will. Include plans for what will happen with your children, your final expenses, your debt, and your money. You can specify who is presumed to have passed first if you both die within a certain time frame. You can give care instructions for your children. You can set up a trust to provide for your children in the future. You can also bequeath individual items to specific people and record your wishes for your funeral service.

2. Make a  Power of Attorney – Again, with a lawyer or software, make out a Power of Attorney that will allow your spouse to make decisions for you in the event you cannot. This will allow your spouse access to accounts and credit in your name only, as well as allow them to perform business on your behalf.

3. Make a Health Care Power of Attorney – Once again through a lawyer or software, make out a health care directive giving your spouse the right to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. Include your desires for life support and extreme measures, as well as your wishes to be an organ donor, if you so desire.

4. Make a file that includes birth certificates, marriage license, social security cards and other important identifying documents. Make sure you both know where this is and that it can be easily accessed. Include the kids identifying documents here as well.

5. Make sure both spouses know when and how to pay the bills. Even in today’s world, usually one person ends up managing the finances. Make sure you both know they system and how to use it.

6. Have all finance, insurance, and investment papers up-to-date and filled where you both can access them. Including banking records, safe deposit box keys, debt statements, mortgage information, auto loans, car or other vehicle titles,  and property deeds.

7. Have a secure list of your log ins and passwords. These can be kept in separate documents with a number code matching them up if you worried about security. You can also keep them in a hand-written notebook instead of on a computer file. Just make sure your spouse can access your online accounts or shared accounts.

8. Talk to each other. I know it is a subject no one wants to deal with, but the truth is that sometimes you do. Talk to your spouse about your wishes and their wishes. Will she stay in the current house/location or move closer to family if something happens? Will he have to put the kids into school (if you homeschool) or pay for additional child care? Do you want to be buried somewhere specific or do you just want your spouse to do whatever they think is best? Are there extended family issues that could complicate an already difficult time (e.g. Cousin Steve always pops up and asks for money when he knows someone has received something)? Talk about it all and then get it in writing.

Not Our Home

Phil 3-20.001This week I was reminded how very much this world is not our home. I was asked to pray for marriages that are struggling and breaking down. A friend was rushed to the hospital because of a chronic illness. We learned that the son of family friends shot himself and the prognosis is not good. And on a less significant, though more personal level, I struggled with the realization that our oldest daughter is old enough to know a kid who shot himself. (WARNING – This is not the time or place to start a debate about guns. Doing so will see comments deleted.)

It sounds so cliché, but he’s a good kid from a good family. My oldest did not know him well, but did know him. This is, thankfully, her first experience with something like this, but I am saddened because I know it won’t be her last.

So in the midst of all this pain, all this sadness, what are we to do? The temptation is to ask why but I believe I already know the answer. Broken. This world is broken. Broken by the weight of evil. Broken by our own sin. Just broken. And I am burdened with prayer for those who are experiencing more of the broken now than they were a week, a day, even an hour ago.

So how do we go on? How do we keep walking in this our brokenness? Hope. Not that by some magical happening things will “get better,” but in the hope given to us through Jesus, our Savior. Romans 8:24 tells us that our hope is not in the know things of this world but in what we don’t currently see. Our hope is not that the world will get it right, but that our God got it right and offers us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). With that hope we can move forward. We can go on. We can reach out to our broken world and tell them about the hope of Messiah, Jesus Christ.

If you would like more information about a relationship with Jesus, please click here.

So hug your kids a little more today. Have a little more grace for those around you. Take the time to call that friend you haven’t heard from in a while. Reach out to that coworker who seems to always be alone. Yes, the world is broken, but Jesus, who was broken for the world, offers us hope in the midst of the broken.

Philippians 2:14 Jar

Philippians 2-14 Jar.001In many homes, kids complaining and arguing is normal. But should it be? I think not! At our house we have used jars and a fine (5-25¢) to help curb poor mouth behavior. One of my favorites was our “Third Commandment Jar” based on the command to not take the Lord’s name in vain. We went further than most with this and restricted all use of the words Holy, Goodness, Heaven etc. to God or His Kingdom. We learned that I was the only most guilty of the violation with sayings like “holy moly” and “holy cow!”

Now, as the kids get older, grumbling and arguing seem to rear their ugly heads in our house. So we are starting a Philippians 2:14 jar. This verse tells us to do EVERYTHING without complaining or arguing. So every time a child – or a parent – grumbles, complains, or argues, they must pay the fine. We are starting at 10¢ per infraction. If that doesn’t curb behavior we will go to 25¢. As we see fines dwindling we will donate the money to a worthy charity, leaving us and others better off!

Click on the picture to print your own Philippians 2:14 jar label. Simply follow this recipe for homemade Modge Podge and apply the label to any recycled jar or can.

Winter Olympics 2014 Activity Pack

Sochi-2014-Winter-Olympics-lWith the start of the Sochi Winter Olympics this week, I have been looking for activities for my kids to do around this theme. Enchanted Homeschooling Mom has a great pack that can be used for Pre-K through 6th grades.  Perfect for those families with multi-age kids. This is not just for home schooling, but would make good weekend actives for all kids surrounding the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Winter Olympics 2014 Pack from Enchanted Homeschooling Mom

Snow Cream

snow-cream-recipe-photo-260x260-acoleman-031Much of the US is covered in snow, and here in the southeast we are actually expecting some of it today too. Our kids are so excited. The town has shut down for 2 days even though it is 1:45pm and we haven’t had a flake of snow at our house. In hopes that the forecasters are correct, here is a fun snow activity – making Snow Cream.

To “catch” good snow, set a large clean bowl outside where animals cannot get into it. Then use your snow and this recipe from Disney to make your own snow cream!

What We Are Reading Now – 1st Quarter 2014

Reading bookI haven’t updated our reading lists in a while, so here are some of the things we are reading now!

Parents:

Kids:

The links provided for these books are from www.cbd.com. These books are also available at many libraries and through e-readers such as the Kindle. We prefer the Kindle. You can download free software to use Kindle books on your computer, tablet, or smartphone for free. You don’t even need to buy the tablet!

BORED Poster

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 5.39.59 PMEvery once in a while the time I spend on Pinterest actually yields a good idea. I want to thank I Life Heavy Things for the pinspiration!

This mom made a poster for her kids that deals with the “I’m bored” whine. Because I am all about pointing to a menu or poster until they learn to check there first, I LOVED this idea. I will never draw a poster and I cannot resist the chance to do some graphic design work, I created this printable Bored Poster that you can download and print yourself.

If you like this, check out the THINK poster!

Food Passport: Dealing with Your Picky Eater

10105_MyFood_CoverdisplayEvery family has one. Some of us get two or three. But there is a picky eater in every group. That kid that won’t try something just because it is new. I recently saw a post from a Facebook friend discussing her child’s unwillingness to eat something she prepared as a snack. This reminded me of what our family did when the kids were younger. Our oldest daughter resisted trying new foods on the simple premiss that the food was new. No other reason. There was no way to logic her out of this so we decided to embrace the adventure of new. We created a “Food Passport” for her. Every time she tried a new food, she got a stamp in her passport. Initially, she was allowed to purchase items out of the prize box for 2-3 stamps, and over time we increased the price of things to 5-10 stamps. Eventually she stopped asking to buy things with her stamps and stopped requiring stamps altogether. However, almost 10 years later as a tween, when she tries something new, she still says it is for her food passport. She embraced the adventure of trying new foods and that became a platform for her to embrace all kinds of adventure as we have traveled and lived in different states and foreign countries.

Making a Food Passport can be as simple or complex as you like. We cut pages to be ¼ sheet size, but you can use any size you want or purchase a blank notebook or journal. Decorate the cover (get your kid to help). You can keep it simple, and just have blank pages, or theme pages by type of food (vegetable, fruit, pasta, etc.) or country (American, Mexican, Italian, etc). Being creative and getting the kids involved in the production of the Food Passport will help increase they excitement of using it. If you don’t want to take the time to make something, click on the picture for a kid’s food journal that you can purchase. (Disclaimer – I have never used the journal in the picture. I am always going to opt for saving the money and making it myself!)

The Gettysburg Address: 150 Year Anniversary

Gettysburg AddressToday, November 19, 2013, marks the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s address at the Gettysburg battlefield and cemetery dedication. Partially because I am from central Illinois, I enjoy all things Lincoln. Here are some sites to help you learn about the Gettysburg Address with your students.

Abraham Lincoln Online – a collection of Lincoln history and information

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum – I highly recommend you visit if you are ever near Springfield, IL.

 

Under His Hat – A collection of information from primary sources about President Lincoln, in collaboration with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

Gettysburg.com – A collection of information about the Gettysburg area

History.com – Information from the History Channel

Patching Jeans II

Yep, a second post about patching jeans. The way my kiddos seem to tear through knees requires a lot of creative sewing to keep coming up with new ways to make the jeans wearable. Plus they have learned that this is a great way to personalize their clothes, so now they have requests about patterns, shapes, and stitches!

DSCN4006Step 1: Make the basic patch. I cut pieces of off old jeans that are still good and use these as the base for patching the kids clothes. These mostly come from the lower legs of my husband’s old jeans as that is usually the best material left. Cut this good denim into a circle that will cover the entire knee area. Think of the way a suede patch is on the elbow of a jacket. This is what you are going for.

DSCN4005Step 2: Reinforce patch and add a pattern. Using scrap fabric (i.e. “good” parts of a shirt that has been ruined) cut a circle the same size as your denim base. I tend to use blues, reds, and yellows for the boy, and purples, pinks, and teals for the girls as these colors match most things in their wardrobes. Using fabric glue, attach the decorative fabric to the denim base. Allow to dry 24 hours before continuing.

DSCN4004Step 3: Attach the patch to the jeans. I use fabric glue for this. Make sure you get it good around the edges and give the glue 24 hours to dry.

Step 4: Embellish! Depending on if you have boys or girls, the shapes might change but I usually stick with hashes, stars, and twinkles. You can use embroidery thread for this or if you are like me and never have that around, just quadruple up the thread through the needle. Use a pencil to draw on any shapes you DSCN4002don’t feel comfortable doing free-hand with thread. Secure everything well with knots on the back. I also add a dab of fabric glue over the knots to help hold them. The embellishments look cute and also act to hold the patch in place.