About Marilyn

Marilyn is wife to Rick, Mom to 14 children, Nana to 16 grandchildren (and counting!) and homeschooler for 37 years. She and her husband own Character Concepts which they started for the purpose of helping others raise children with a strong, godly character and Biblical worldview.. They have developed character curriculum from preschool through high school, based on what they found worked when teaching their own 14 children over the years. Her passion is to help young moms raise kids of character and enjoy the journey!

 Ideas for Road Trip Fun in the Car

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Summertime is here, and it’s time for vacation or fun day trips!

I just took a few of my grand kids to the lake last week (about an hour away) and I heard the age-old question from one of them, “When will we be there? Are we there yet? How much longer?”

Time drags for little guys when they are all excited to be somewhere and yet we just keep driving.

Here are some fun suggestions for things that have worked for us over the years to keep little ones occupied and excited (and to help you keep your sanity!!)

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Ideas for Easy Family Devotions

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Ideas for Easy Family Devotions with Kids.

In raising our 14 kids I can’t say we’ve always been consistent in family devotion times with the kids. It actually got much harder as the kids got older and had so many out of the home commitments. But before we got to that stage, we had fairly consistent family Bible times.

In the next couple of posts I plan to share some of the things we did that proved successful but not overwhelming to accomplish, as well as some of the resources we developed that can be picked up and used without prep time on Dad or Mom’s part. Rick was a dad who had a physically intensive job so he would come home very tired and not at his creative best, so something that did not require a lot of preparation was important for that reason. Perhaps you find yourself in a similar situation.

Family Devotions don’t have to be in-depth, or extremely time-consuming. They don’t have to follow a particular formula, and you don’t have to have visuals and activities planned out to accompany your time together in order to “make it work”.  What is important, really, is that you try to set aside some time to simply lead your family in listening to God’s word and discussing it together. If you want to do more, great! But, if you cannot- don’t lose heart! Do what you can. Little is MUCH when God is in it!

Here are Easy Ideas and Resources for Family Devotions:

Continue reading Ideas for Easy Family Devotions

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How to Teach Your Children to Spend Time in the Word

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How can you instill the practice of studying God’s Word into your children? Well, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. But, let me share with you what we did with our own children….

From the time our children were babes in the bassinet, we played Bible audios for them at sleep times. It would be a comfort to them and help them to settle down to turn on their Bible CD’s. Pretty early on, Rick recorded audios for them and explained difficult words and meanings to them which was actually teaching them how to meditate on God’s Word. This also served to show the kids that God’s Word was practical and interesting to listen to.

We read Bible stories to our little people and had a Friday night Bible quiz each week asking questions from our reading during the week. We would reward them for answering questions, and it encouraged them to be attentive during reading times- to want to “pay attention on purpose.”

Continue reading How to Teach Your Children to Spend Time in the Word

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Tips for Teaching Preschoolers

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Preschool is one of my favorite ages to teach. The love of learning is so strong. Everything is so exciting and fun for this age. With my own preschoolers, my goal was to be sure not to squelch but enhance that God-given love of learning. These tips for teaching preschoolers is from personal experience.

I do believe a schedule benefits children by building in them a sense of security. For this reason, I scheduled times to work with my preschoolers so they knew what to expect and what was expected of them.

Tips for Teaching Preschoolers:

 

1. Keeping Preschoolers Occupied

I found early on that to a large degree, my success in home schooling many ages at one time was dependent on how I managed my preschoolers. Preschool children have the potential of being a major distraction to the learning environment and must be handled wisely.

Continue reading Tips for Teaching Preschoolers

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More Ideas for Easy Family Devotions

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Family devotion time doesn’t need to be complicated. I remember little Matt when he was about 3 or 4; he would get his pillow and stretch out on his back underneath the coffee table every night with his feet up in the air touching the bottom of the table top. We never let our kids disrupt family time by running around being loud, but expected them to listen quietly. Matt, listening quietly, would fall asleep every time! Sweet memories. It’s okay. They’ll pick up a whole lot more than you think even if it appears that they aren’t being real attentive.

So, continuing with suggestions for easy Family Bible Times, let me share with you several more ways we spent time together as a family learning about God. (Miss Part 1? Read it here)

Continue reading More Ideas for Easy Family Devotions

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Part 3: Obedient Hearts: Obedience- It’s Not Always Easy (a true story illustration)

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Sergeant York – Obedient Heart in Action 

“… A great story to illustrate to your children how obedience may be hard for the moment, but will lead to greater good in the end.” ~Rick

If you’ve ever seen the wonderful 1941 movie, Sergeant York you’re already acquainted with the story of the Tennessee mountaineer, a hard-drinking, brawling, straight-shooting country boy who became the most famous American hero of World War I.

Continue reading Part 3: Obedient Hearts: Obedience- It’s Not Always Easy (a true story illustration)

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Setting Your Kids Free

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Do you feel bound by your curriculum? Do you feel guilty if you don’t do every problem? Are your kids overwhelmed, bored, or frustrated on a regular basis? I want to encourage you to free your children and free yourself, too!

A simple tip to remember is to give your child enough practice to challenge them, but not so much that you overwhelm them. I wish there were a simple rule for how much to give them. I used to think the textbook writers knew this and what was provided in the curriculum is exactly what every child needed. Boy, did I ever find out the hard way!

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How to Make a Poodle Skirt

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Shhh. It’s a surprise! I wanted to show you what the granddaughters and I are making for their little sisters for Christmas, but you’ve got to promise you’ll keep it a secret!

Back when Kelley and Kasey were little, I bought a big piece of pink felt and some iron-on applique poodles to make them poodle skirts, (you know, the kind that were popular in the ’50s) just for dress up fun. My kids LOVED to dress up.

Well, I never got around to it!

So, this year I’m teaching the older grandkid girls to sew and make these skirts for their little sisters (who love to dress up too!)

Maybe you would also like to know how!  It’s really pretty easy:

Continue reading How to Make a Poodle Skirt

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Josh’s Story – Losing a Child to Leukemia

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I realize the title of this post is not a pleasant one. It’s not something we like to think about. But, for many, it’s a reality. 20 years ago it was our reality.

This month marks the 20th anniversary of the home-going of our 17-year old son, Josh. I thought I would share this post with you in hopes to encourage someone who may be going through a similar situation.

God is ALWAYS good. God sees the big picture. We are so limited in our understanding of life. This I know, with all my heart, that God only allows things to happen that conform us to his image and that work for the ultimate good. Although this was extremely crushing to go through, I KNOW that God views all that happens to us in light of eternity. 

This post is much longer than usual, but I found it difficult to divide the story up into pieces. I pray God continues to use Josh’s story for His good purposes….

It was about 11:15 on a warm, sunny September morning when my telephone rang. It was Gene from the doctor’s office. He asked me if Rick was home, and I said no, he was at work. He told me he had some bad news and perhaps I should sit down. I told him I was sitting, and he proceeded to tell me that Josh’s test results had come back, and although he wasn’t positive, it appeared that Josh had leukemia. At that very moment, my life changed drastically, although I couldn’t comprehend how much just then. I was stunned. I don’t remember too much else that he said, except that I should get in touch with Rick and have him call Gene. He would schedule us with an oncologist that afternoon to confirm the diagnosis.

Continue reading Josh’s Story – Losing a Child to Leukemia

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Pumpkin Bread

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Don’t you love the different seasons… and all the good food that accompanies them?

My grandson, Adam, was over the other day and he wanted to bake something. He flipped through my recipe book, Homemade with Love, and this Pumpkin Bread is what he decided on making.

He got out all the ingredients, followed the recipe to the tee and made us all a delicious fall treat. Grandad really loved it!

This pumpkin bread is wonderful for autumn breakfasts and can be made into muffins, too!

Continue reading Pumpkin Bread

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