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Eight Ideas To Make a Kid Friendly and Fun Garden

Last week we tilled our garden to begin getting the soil ready for a great summer of gardening family fun.

Image courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m super excited this year to include our daughter Rilee more in our garden experience. But, she’s only two and half. So, unless I make a kid friendly garden…my desire to have her more involved won’t happen.  So I’ve made a list of ideas for our garden.

THE IDEA:

A Kid Friendly Garden For The Entire Family

 

TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS:

  1. Plant a rainbow. I’m going to plant 2 foot squares full of one colored flowers that, when in bloom, will look like a rainbow.
    • For red I’ll plant – Dianthus, petunia, or zinnia.
    • For orange and yellow – Marigold or calendula.
    • Green – I probably use mint.
    • Blue and Violet – Dianthus, petunia, or zinnia can also bloom in the blue, violet or purple colors.
    • Once the flowers are in bloom, we can walk in the garden and talk about colors.
  2. Make a counting row. Plant 1 tomato plant by itself. Then, plant two next to each other. Then, three. Then, four. When it’s planted it will look like the signal indicator bars on a typical cell phone.
  3. Plant a pizza. Lay down a holahoop. Section the inside like a pie. In each section plant a different pizza topping or herb. Garlic, onion, tomato, basil, oregano, etc. Mid to late summer you’ll be able to harvest your ingredients and cook a pizza together as a family.
  4. Plant a salsa area. Same idea with the pizza, plant all the ingredients you want in your salsa in one area.
  5. Potato Towers I’m going to lay down two or three tires side by side. Fill each one with soil and plant my potatoes in the soil. When the potatoes get high enough, I’ll add another tire. Once the potato plants are about one inch above the the next tire, I’ll fill that tire with soil and repeat. Then, when it’s time to harvest the potatoes, remove one tire at a time and the little ones can easily knock away the dirt to find the potatoes.
  6. Corn Plant four or five rows of corn. This is simply a fun area to walk through.
  7. Square Watermelon. Build small boxes about 8 inches square. When your watermelon start to come on, place one watermelon in each box still attached to the vine. Your watermelon will grow into square watermelon. I’m going to try pumpkins this way as well.
  8. Make a scarecrow.
  • ?What other Tips and Suggestions Do You Have?

WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW:

  • Sketch out a plan for your garden.
  • Print or bookmark this post so your reminder to try these things when it’s time to plant your garden

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WHAT DO YOU THINK?:

  • What idea do you have?
  • Which idea is your favorite?
  • Do you have any memories of gardening with your parents, kids, grandparents, or others?
  • Add your thoughts to the comments or on our Facebook Page

Help Your Kids Build Character That Measures Up

“Come on boys, get cleaned up. I’m taking you for ice cream.”Helping With Character Development in Kids

My brother and I looked at each other in total disbelief. We ran down to the house faster than we ever had before. “Really? Why?” we asked our dad.

“Your mom just told me that the two of you have behaved all day. I’m proud of you.”

I don’t remember what I ordered, or what we even talked about while eating our ice cream. I don’t remember what clothes we had on or what vehicle we went in. I do remember vividly my dad saying, “I’m proud of you.” And, I remember the reason for the reward.

Parenting is a balancing act. And, it’s a tough job.

Let’s say you walk into the living room after hearing a large crash. You discover your two kids standing there unhurt with a broken lamp on the floor beside them. “What happened?” you ask. Now, your kids have a choice; lie or tell the truth.

“An alien came through the window and smashed the lamp.” or
“We knocked it over and it broke.”

Let’s say your kids tell the truth about knocking it over. So you ask, “How did it get knocked over?”

“We were tossing the ball back and forth.” they reply.

“You know you’re not suppose to be doing that, go to your room.”

Now, let’s fast forward a week. You discover your kids have done something else they knew they shouldn’t have. You ask…”what happened?” At some point, your kids are going to lie to you. Why? They don’t want to get in trouble. That’s just human nature.

But, let’s go back a week to the broken lamp. What if your reply had been something like this.

“How many times have I told you you aren’t suppose to be playing ball in the house? You are going to be punished for this. But, I also want you to know I’m proud of you for telling the truth. Telling the truth is what’s most important here. It doesn’t get you off the hock, but it does help it so your punishment won’t be as bad.”

Now, kids being kids and all…the next time they may still lie. But, they have a much greater chance of telling the truth. Especially if you repeatedly point out the times they tell the truth. After all, what gets repeated gets remembered. And, what get’s reward gets repeated.

But parenting is tough, it’s hard to always remember to highlight the positive. Especially when you are tired or upset that your kids did something they knew they shouldn’t have. What if you had a visual reminder…for you and for them.

What’s hanging on your walls or fridge right now? Are they things you are proud of? Probably. What about your kids artwork, trophies or awards? I want to introduce you to a new tool to display your kid’s positive character decisions.

The Character Growth Chart.SONY DSC

Let’s return to the above broken lamp example for just a moment.

“How many times have I told you you aren’t suppose to be playing ball in the house? You are going to be punished for this. But, I also want you to know I’m proud of you for telling the truth. Telling the truth is what’s most important here. It doesn’t get you off the hock, but does help it so your punishment won’t be as bad. In fact, come here a second.” You and your kids go to the Character Growth Chart. You have them stand with their back against it, mark their height and write something like this…. “Rilee told the truth when she broke a lamp.”

WOW, what a powerful moment this could be for your kids. You can’t…and probably shouldn’t….give ice cream every time thy tell the truth. You probable won’t use the Character Growth Chart every time they display a character trait you want to reinforce. But the times you do use it, will be a big moment for your kids. Plus, when people come over to your place and see the accomplishments displayed, you and they can brag on your kids a bit. Another reinforcement of a positive choice.Character Growth Chart, Helping Parents Teach Character To Their Children

Why is this important for your family?  You are trying to instill character over anything else in your kids. After all, your kids character will determine the decisions they make when you aren’t with them. (tweet that)

If you want this powerful tool to use with your kids or grandkids, you can order one of the handmade Character Growth Charts for only $65 (includes shipping and tax). $65 for a tool to impact the lives of your kids forever.  Click Here for our secure order form, or ask questions in the comments.

LET’S TALK:

  • What do you think about the idea of a Character Growth Chart?
  • What do you do to help build your kid’s character?

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Tips To Make Date Night Happen For Married Couples

Most married couples say that having a regular date night is imperative to health of their relationship. Most married couples admit they don’t do a great job at having a regular date night. They have all the intentions and desires to have date night, but life happens fast…put two lives together as one; and life accelerates.

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Date night is a habit. You’ll either have the habit to date, or not to date. I’m going to assume that you agree date night is important, and not spend time convincing you of this. Instead, this post….in fact one of the primary purposes of this blog….is to inspire meaningful marriages.

So let’s look at some ideas to make date night easier.

THE IDEA:

Date Night, Make It Happen..Or It Won’t.  

TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS:

  • Calendar calendar calendar. You and your spouse must get your date night on the calendar. Especially if you have kids and need to arrange childcare.
  • Be spontaneous by planning the spontaneity out of it. The exact way this looks will vary from couple to couple. Your ideal date night could be a restaurant and movie. A night around the house. An activity like miniature golf or bowling. So, here is a framework that can be altered for your date night:
    • On individual pieces of paper write down restaurants you enjoy or want to try for the first time and put these in a container.
    • In another container add individual slips of paper with activities. You can add other containers as you want.
    • On or before date night draw one thing from each container. Agree to do whatever the slips of paper say and randomly draw from each to discover your date night plans. One person suggested listing your favorite TV and movie characters on individual slips of paper. Whichever you draw you have to act like that character when you interact with others out on the town. Or go high tech with the next tip….
  • There’s an app for that. There are several apps that do the similar thing as the above tip. Do a quick search in the app store and you’ll discover all kinds of apps designed to help spark ideas and romance.
  • Develop unique holidays. Pick a random day on the calendar or a specific anniversary of something special and/or quirky. Write up an official declaration, sign it, frame it and hang it on the wall. Then celebrate it every year. Here are seven ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
    1. Love Day.
    2. Hike In The Woods Together Day.
    3. Hold Hands For Six Hours Without Letting Go Day.
    4. Volunteer Together Day.
    5. Look At The Stars Night.
    6. Day of Silence.
    7. Never Get Out Of Bed Day.
  • ?What other Tips and Suggestions Do You Have?

WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW:

  • Write up a contract with your spouse agreeing to date frequency terms.
  • Calendar your next date.
  • Look for an app.
  • Ask an accountability friend outside of your marriage to hold you accountable to do this.
  • Share in the comments an idea you have for date night or an invented holiday.

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WHAT DO YOU THINK?:

  • What’s an idea for date night you have? How do you and your spouse ensure date night happens?
  • Add your thoughts to the comments or on my Facebook Page

The Best Time To Teach Your Kids The Most Important Life Lessons

Have you heard the myth “Kids don’t come with instruction manuals.”?

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There are two dangers in believing this myth:

  1. The responsibility to be a “parent” can seem overwhelming.
  2. Many parents give raising their kids successfully over to chance.

Don’t believe this myth.

I actually have two instruction manuals for my kids.

Parenting without a plan is the fastest way to raise your kids without equipping them to have the best life they can.

If you’re a parent, you need to know about this one instruction manual we’ve all been given. In it, it says, “Teach this stuff to your kids. Talk about it with them before going to bed and as soon as you get up, while going about your day and while resting.

The author is telling us that every moment is a teaching moment with our kids.

There are at least two reasons this is true:

  1. We don’t have forever and a day to teach our kids what they need to know
  2. We are teaching most when we ain’t meaning to be teaching at all.  In other words, more is caught than is taught.

The first instruction manual I’m talking about is the Bible.  For this post, I’m specifically talking about Deuteronomy 6:7.

Make Your Parenting Count; 5,6,7; is one of the parenting workshops I facilitate. The 5 comes from Deuteronomy being the 5th book of the Bible, the 6th chapter at the 7th verse tells us; “Teach this stuff to your kids….all the time” (I‘m paraphrasing of course) The main point, more is caught than is taught.

THE IDEA:

Be a 5, 6, 7 Parent

TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS:

  • Read Deuteronomy chapter 5 and Deuteronomy 6:4 for a list of the most important lessons we are to teach our children.  Then, read Chapter 6 verse 7 to see when we are to teach our kids these most important lessons. 
  • Explore and grasp the total concept of more is caught than is taught. For example; how you treat people teaches your kids more about how they are to treat people than how you tell them to treat people. (You might have to read that again, I had to type twice to get it right.)
  • If your married, you and your spouse must be on the same page. If you’ve never talked about this, plan a night away just the two of you, to talk about this. You need a plan of action for your parenting. (I’m blushing, but sure…you can click to tweet that)
  • Follow the 10 commandments…even the ones about not lying and not wanting what isn’t yours.
  • Get connected to a strong healthy church.
  • Begin writing letters to your kids in the future. (These by the way have become my second instruction manual for my kids.)
  • Be involved and be focused in the lives of your kids. Not more then you are in your relationship with God or your spouse. Like it or not, in the healthiest families, kids come third. (Actually they come first by making them third…I call this the Parenting Equation, it’s some crazy math)
  • ?What other Tips and Suggestions Do You Have?

WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW:

  • Identify what you need to do in your relationship with God and make that priority.
  • Right now, write your kids a letter for this date next year. Make them a promise of something you want to model better. Maybe it’s telling the truth, being nicer to strangers, not gossiping, etc. Work to make the change you just promised your kid.
  • Read Deuteronomy 5 and 6 (this will take you five minutes)

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 WHAT DO YOU THINK?:

Add your thoughts to the comments or on my Facebook Page

  • What do you think about the idea of making your kids first by putting them third?
  • What tip or suggestion works for you to practice more is caught than is taught?

Why and How To Lead With Grace

 

Leading can be messy.

Leading can be exhausting.

Leading can be the most rewarding thing you ever do.

There are so many opinions on what “THE KEY” to being a great leader is.

Frankly, there isn’t one. Leadership is the high school janitor’s giant ring of keys. Leadership is complex and multifaceted.

Image courtesy of graur codrin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of graur codrin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

With that image in mind. We now have this questions. “What is the key ring?”

What’s the thing that keeps all of the keys of successful leadership held together?

I believe the key ring of leadership is Grace.

Let’s define Grace. If you are speeding down the highway and get pulled over, here is what could happen.

  1. You get a ticket. This is because you are under the law and your ticket is justice, and what you deserve.
  2. You get a warning. This is forgiveness. The cop could have given you the ticket, but decides to be forgiving.
  3. The cop walks up to your window and gives you a jelly donut. You are getting something you don’t deserve for being in the wrong, this is Grace. (Just a side note to my fellow believers of Christ…consider this analogy for a moment in your relationship with God. Powerful to consider God gives us jelly donuts everyday.)

When’s the last time you extended Grace to someone you lead?
How are you going above and beyond the expectations of those you lead?

Don’t you want Grace extended to you? My marriage wouldn’t be what it is if my wife and I didn’t exchange Grace regularly. My relationship with my children…same thing. My team at work, ditto.

Now, before someone comments that, “but sometimes you don’t have a choice. As a leader a time will come when you have to fire someone.” True. But do it with Grace. Make sure you really know the whole story first. I’ve never fired anyone who was surprised. Everyone is gifted and capable at doing the right work, But if you judge a tree for it’s ability to have empathy and walk with an upset costumer towards a resolution, you’ll end up with the a big pile of wood chips and no oxygen.

THE IDEA:

Hand Out Jelly Donuts Every Day

TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS:

  • Look for new ways to develop the skills of your team.
  • React to screw ups by working with them to fix it.
  • Overreact to right decisions and under-react to mistakes.
  • Get out of your office every day and be present with your team.
  • When you think you have given enough, you have almost started giving enough.
  • Remember, what gets rewarded gets repeated.
  • Create a great environment by getting the wrong people off the team.
  • ?What other Tips and Suggestions Do You Have?

WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW:

  • Consider a situation you are facing. What will the jelly donut look like?

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Question: What other tips do you have to lead with Grace? Where do you disagree with me in this analogy of Leadership? What do you believe the key ring is?  I’d appreciate your thoughts, please comment. 

 

 

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