The other day, Ty and I went shopping for groceries. I always fill 2 carts and barely have enough cloth bags to pack it all into my 15 passenger van. I checked on the price of pumpkins to decorate the outside of the house. Woof! I’m really hoping the price comes down so I can finish my Fall decorating! And why in the world did the weather have to decide to heat back up? I could have done without needing to turn on the air conditioner again.
Boy, do I have problems.
First world problems.
Problems that honestly don’t matter.
It’s easy to get caught up in our every day lives in a country where abundance is overflowing (and often overwhelming). We have so much stuff we need to organize it all. We have so much food, we end up wasting some of it. We have so many clothes, we could wear something different every day of the week…for weeks! And as the holidays approach, we are thinking about buying EVEN MORE!
Gospel for Asia Wants to Help You Focus Your Heart on Missions
Gospel for Asia has a FREE book they would like to offer you that will help you go into this holiday season with your heart focused on things that matter…reaching out with the LOVE OF CHRIST.
No Longer a Slumdog, by Gospel for Asia founder, K.P. Yohannan, is a collection of stories and profiles of real people living real life circumstances we really can’t even fathom. It truly is an eye-opener. And frankly, we need our eyes opened on a regular basis.
Gospel for Asia wants to give you this book. There’s no catch, no gimmicks.
Just a free book.
Except not JUST a free book.
Read it aloud to your family (be aware that some of the stories will need a mother’s editing for small ears).
If you follow my Facebook page you’ve probably heard me mention Keepers of the Faith. My girls have been a part of a local group since we moved to the area a few years ago, and we have all really enjoyed the fellowship and projects.
I had a reader ask me to talk more about Keepers, so I thought I’d write a post and explain how our group works and how you can form a group or find a group to participate in. Please, keep in mind, my experience is unique because all Keepers groups are unique due to their autonomous nature. Also, keep in mind this post is specifically pertaining to the girls club and not the boys; however, much of the same information applies to the boys club.
How Our Keepers of the Faith Club is Organized
Our group does not have a “leader” per se. One person always emerges as the organized one, but all the moms in the group have input, as do the girls.
The moms get together a couple of times a year to discuss the next 6 months of projects. Typically, we have previously discussed with our girls some of the projects they are interested in doing as a group so we can bring those to the table. We choose the project, who will lead it, and where the meeting will be held.
The moms have a private Facebook group to send out messages, share photos, and remind people of meeting dates and anything they might need to bring.
We meet once a month in one of our homes or at a local church. We open with prayer, the club Bible verse (we have chosen to learn it in another version), and the mission of Keepers of the Faith.
Usually, we have a Character Lesson that fits well with the skill we are learning. When we worked on American Sign Language, we had a Character Lesson on Attentiveness. At Christmas time we worked on Charity. Keepers of the Faith have their own booklets for each Character Lesson, but we don’t always use theirs. There are a lot of resources online that can be used for free. Typically, the mom leading the project also leads the Character Lesson.
After that, we start the monthly project. Each project has a certain set of skills the girls are to learn. Sometimes all of the skills can be learned in a meeting, and sometimes the girls have to go home and finish up.
For instance, a few months ago, we did Plastic Canvas.
The mom in charge taught all the stitches, but to finish the project, each girl had to finish 2 different plastic canvas projects. We only had time for 1 that day, so it was up to us to finish at home.
I will talk more about this in the next section, but I also want to mention here that because Keepers of the Faith is parent-led and autonomous, each family has the choice of what equates completing a project. I could have chosen to make that one project the fulfillment of the requirement to complete the Plastic Canvas badge, but I knew my girls were capable of doing more, and my 9 year really enjoyed it! (In fact, she received MORE plastic canvas and project books as a birthday present!)
Meetings last about 2 hours. The girls ages range from 6 to 14.
How We Handle Multiple Ages -
We are a small group, so we haven’t seen much of a need to separate the girls out by age. Yes, we have different skill levels, but we really haven’t had much trouble coming up with activities that are suited to all age levels. The girls are welcome to work on other badges at home, so we try to keep the monthly meetings to projects that are good for everyone.
Some of the moms have chosen to award their younger girls with the silver badges and then work through the book when they are older and receive a second badge in gold. This means the younger girls can work at their level and still be rewarded for their effort without needing to complete the entire project at the same level as the older girls.
We have chosen to buy the actual pin badges and put them on the sash. There are sites that have patches that coincide with the different KOF projects, but I wanted the ease of pins, so that’s what we went with.
You don’t have to award with badges, but I’ve found the girls are highly motivated by the badges and the Awards Ceremony we have a couple of times a year.
Our Awards Ceremony is not a huge to-do either. We just can’t seem to coordinate a night that allows for a major celebration, so we will often do it at the same time as our monthly meeting and have snacks afterward. We only do an Awards Ceremony when all the moms feel it is time. Each mother is responsible for tracking and purchasing badges to hand out at the Awards Ceremony.
Our club itself has no dues. If an individual project requires an investment in supplies by the hosting mother, then she lets everyone know the cost for that project (usually via the Facebook group), and we come prepared to pay that amount per child participating. I don’t think it has ever been over $3.
You will need a handbook for each girl. There are also Companion Notebooks, but we have chosen not to purchase these.
The badges also cost, but you only purchase those on occasion, and you can choose to cut costs by going through a 3rd party that sells the project patches at a cheaper rate. You will probably want to purchase or make a sash to put the badges on.
You can buy a Keepers t-shirt, but it isn’t necessary at all. We do not require our girls to dress alike at meetings.
There are Leadership Materials you can purchase if you would like to start up your own club. These are good to have if you’ve never been a part of a Keepers Club and need some help figuring out how to get it off the ground.
You might also want to check out the Club Locator to see if there is a KOF club near you, but keep in mind, not all clubs register, so there might be one near you that isn’t on the map. Ask around!
Can’t find one? Start your own!
How to Start Your Own Keepers of the Faith Club
At Home, On Your Own -
Buy the handbook for each of your girls, and work through them on your own. This would be a great addition to your homeschool!
Find Others to Join You -
Look to your local homeschool group or your church to find other moms and girls interested in joining you in a more club-like atmosphere. Purchase the Complete Starter Kit, set a meeting with the moms, and start planning!
Remember, this is YOUR club! You can make it as structured or unstructured as you like. Our group has done very well with a more low-key approach, but your group may need something different. You may get large enough to split off into age groups, or you may want to meet more than once a month, or you may want to have a more structured meeting that is planned out more than 6 months in advance. Any or all of these are totally appropriate!
Have more questions? Feel free to ask me (I’ll try to answer to the best of my ability), check the FAQ at Keepers of the Faith, or contact Keepers directly for more help and information.
With the cooler weather coming, I’ve begun to think about Fall! For our family, Autumn causes us to focus toward the Holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas as well. With Baby #9 due near Christmas, I am thinking ahead to gifts and buying them a bit early so I am prepared.
Even if you aren’t having a baby this Christmas, it might be a good idea to think toward gift buying now, and take advantage of the discount code the Moores are offering on their films through the month of September!
A couple of our favorites are More than Making Maple Syrup and ABC – Say It With Me!
Use code: DVD20
to get 20% off all DVD purchases
through the month of September!
Carrying a new little life is such a blessing! Every pregnancy, I try to find ways to celebrate the new life within. Despite morning sickness, aches and pains, and fears, it is important to me to try to find even the tiniest of ways to celebrate these amazing months I have been blessed with. Today, I want to share with you some of these the celebrations!
I’ve put together a Celebrating Pregnancy printable to print off and keep handy throughout your pregnancy. I’ve also included links and other ideas below that show these celebrations in action!
Month 1: Learn a New Skill
Most women don’t even know they are pregnant at this point, so purposefully celebrating your pregnancy will be a tad bit difficult. However, if you are planning to become pregnant (and even if you are not!), this is a great time to celebrate by learning a new skill that has “baby inclinations”. Think quilting, diaper making, crocheting or knitting, cake decorating or scrapbooking. Craftsy.com has some great online classes you can take, or ask another crafty friend to walk you through the process!
Month 2: Host a Freezer Meal Party
You’ve had the excitement of seeing that pregnancy test turn positive, now what? Most women deal with some sort of “slow down” in their life in the first trimester, either due to morning sickness or exhaustion or other factors. Month 2 (before you start this slow down) is a great time to have a Freezer Meal Party! These meals are not for when the baby is born, but rather for the days when you are just too tired or too sick to cook in the first trimester.
You are probably still not feeling your best, so now is the perfect time to do some at-home pampering. I enjoy long Epsom salt baths with candles and music, followed by some yummy smelling lotion. A really luxurious bath product is Philosophy Cinnamon Buns Bath Gel (don’t croak when you see the price – it is worth every penny – as long as you keep it out of the reach of little hands!). Be sure to go with smells that do not bother you. Sniff them in the store before you buy! Light the candles, slip into a nice, warm bath, and turn on your favorite music.
As for music, listen to something that relaxes you. A new feature from Amazon that I am really enjoying is Amazon Prime Music. There is a huge list of FREE albums/songs that you can listen to from your phone, tablet, or computer. I really like piano music and Enya, so I have a lot of Enya’s albums in the my list as well as The Piano Guys and George Winston. All you have to do is download the app and start searching for your favorites!
Month 4: Enjoy Nature
Now that you are starting to feel better, it’s time to soak up some nature and take time to reflect and look forward. Think about the past several months, plan for the next several. Talk to baby. Pray. Really take the time to see the world around you. Enjoy the sunshine, the rain, the trees, the flowers, the intricate details of creation. You and your baby are a part of that amazing gift of creation. Don’t squander the time.
Month 5: Plan Date Nights and Outings with Your Spouse
You’re feeling that 2nd Trimester awesomeness, so take advantage of it! Sit down with your spouse and plan out some fun outings and date nights. Go to places you haven’t been before. Take a day trip, or even an overnight excursion! Talk about baby plans, and relish your time!
Month 6: Buy (or Make) Something New For You
Now is the time to indulge that ever-expanding belly with something new! If you are super-crafty, you can make something, but I prefer to purchase something instead. I typically end up purchasing maternity clothes, but whatever you choose, make it something you can use NOW. I would encourage you to buy at least one piece that is brand new and super nice because you will have it for years (and babies) to come.
My favorite purchase this time around was a Rainbow Denim Maternity Skirt from Deborah & Co. (Today through Labor Day, you can use code: LABORDAY5 to get $5 off any $50 order and orders of $100 or more receive a FREE SCARF included in their package! Scarves are one of my favorite maternity accessories! Click HERE to start shopping!)
Month 7: Do Something Nice for Yourself
What is that one thing you would really like to do, but just don’t seem to do for yourself? Is it a new haircut? Maybe a massage? Perhaps it is a piece of jewelry to celebrate your pregnancy? This month do something fun that is just for you!
Even if you don’t know baby’s gender, you can purchase something this month that is just for baby. This is my 9th baby, but I still feel it is super important to get something that is just for THIS baby. One thing I’ve done this time around is order several products from Mother’s Lounge. I have a coupon code that will get you these products FREE FOR SHIPPING!
is the code and the products you can get include:
nursing pillow from NursingPillow.com
baby leggings from BabyLeggings.com
baby sling from SevenSlings.com
car seat cover from CarseatCanopy.com
nursing cover from UdderCovers.com
(You can use the code on each site!)
Month 9: Host a Baby Tea or Another Freezer Meal Party
A Baby Tea isn’t like hosting your own baby shower, but more like hosting a tea party with your girlfriends. It’s not about gifts, but about swapping birth stories and encouragement and savoring those final days of pregnancy.