Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Filling Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes is a Christmas tradition for our family.  In a simple gesture, the kids and I gather our gifts to go in the boxes typically starting on Fall Break.  We try to send out by early November, so the kids who receive them do so by Christmas time.  In these boxes, we include the following:

Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Items to Include

    • Simple toys, like a jump rope or bouncy ball

  • Wooden games or puzzles from the dollar store
  • Basic hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, comb or brush
  • Clothes, such as a T-shirt, underwear, socks, and possibly flip flops or another kind of shoe
  • School supplies, like notepads, pencils with sharpener, pen, or markers
  • Whatever our child enjoys at their age, such as matchbox cars or little dolls, gets included
  • A handwritten note
  • Books are always welcome

Prayer Suggestions

Most importantly, the kids and I pray for the child who will receive this gift.  We pray for the hearts of the children who receive the gifts, for the volunteers who serve by promoting, collecting, and distributing the boxes, and for this ministry to be effective in reaching people.

Shipping to Another Part of the World

We can pay $9 to have it shipped, and we can track where it goes online through Samaritan’s Purse.  These shoeboxes are an amazing start to the Christmas season because they turn our focus outward.  It’s an incredible learning opportunity for the kids.  Undoubtedly, the kids want to know more about the country and culture that this child is in.  It teaches our children empathy and an age-appropriate awareness of the world we live in, outside our community.  My prayer, like many other parents, is that it fosters in their hearts a love for other people who come from different backgrounds than us.  I pray that their love grows as they grow, and that they want to share the love of Jesus Christ with others.

Operation Christmas Child Legacy

Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes bless others, but I think we are the ones who are truly blessed.  We coordinate these with our church’s mission opportunities, but you can give a shoebox regardless of church affiliation.  Since 1993, Samaritan’s Purse has distributed over 147 million boxes!  Learn more at the official website here.  

For more ideas of ways to teach your children about giving, see Christmas Giving with Kids.

Hilton Americas Flash Sale Now Through November 10

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Book Now for Winter Travel

If you are booking travel for the winter months, now is a great time to make a Hilton reservation.  The Hilton Americas flash sale runs from November 1-10.  Hilton Weekender Sale, Up to 15% off 14 hotel brands at Hilton.com. Book Now!

Hilton Americas

Included in this sale are Hilton brands like Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Doubletree, Homewood Suites, and more.  By booking online, you will receive 15% off hotel stays!

Family Travel

As a family, we love to get away in the middle of winter and go to warmer destinations!  Great Hilton locations include Hawaii, San Diego, and Orlando!  Stay anytime between November 16, 2017 and April 1, 2018 to escape the winter cold!  If you are planning winter travel, don’t miss the Hilton Weekender Sale, Up to 15% off 14 hotel brands at Hilton.com. Book Now!

Top 10 Kids Halloween Costumes 2017

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Top Kids Halloween CostumesThis Halloween, dress your kids to their hearts’ content with adorable, affordable kids Halloween costumes!  If you need some ideas, look no further!  Here is the National Retail Federation’s Top 10 list for kids this year.  This list seems to focus on the big trends and movies for this year, like Beauty and the Beast and Wonder Woman, but also reveals that classic Halloween costumes like ghosts and witches just don’t go out of style.  You still have time to order online and have your kid’s costume delivered by Halloween!  Find affordable options at Kohl’s, Amazon, and Walmart, to name a few.

 

Top 10 Kids Halloween Costumes

According to the National Retail Federation, these costumes are expected to be the top 10 kids costumes this Halloween!  This is only the second year that a superhero costume topped a princess costume!   

Action/Superhero 

How adorable is this Captain America costume!


Tie:  Batman Character / Princess

For the second year, Action Hero costumes beat out Princess costumes, but don’t you think this Moana costume would be precious on a girl?

Batman Kids Halloween Costume

Animal (Cat, Dog, Lion, Monkey, etc.) 

The options are limitless with animal costumes.  With so much available online now, you can actually ask your child what they want to be and have a good chance at finding it online!  This sweet raccoon costume is perfect!

Raccoon Kids Halloween Costume

Spider-Man 

Spider Man Kids Halloween Costume

 

Star Wars Character 

Kids love their Star Wars, like this Storm Trooper costume!

Star Wars Storm Trooper Kids Halloween Costume

 

Witch

A witch costume is a classic pick.

 

Tie:  Pirate/Marvel Superhero (excl. Spiderman)

Aarrgh…this would be a cute costume for a girl or boy.

Disney Princess

Beauty and the Beast costume

Ghost

This toddler ghost costume is too sweet.

 

Wonder Woman

Last but not least on this year’s list is a wonder woman Halloween costume.

For more ideas and to shop by size, brand, etc, click on these links to take you to these sites!  If you’re not wanting to shell out $20-$40 for a costume, check out consignment stores!  These stores specialized in gently used items and are great sources for costumes and other barely worn items.

Kids Halloween Costumes at Kohls

Kids Halloween Costumes at Kohls

Walmart Kids Halloween Costumes

Walmart Kids Halloween Costume

Florida Beach Hilton Flash Sale for September Getaways

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Before We Say Goodbye to Summer…

Wish you could make a few more summer memories before saying goodbye to this season?  That’s how we felt a few weeks ago, so we took a last minute trip to the beach!  We stayed 3 nights and had the best time!!  You can also and save money with this Florida Beach Hilton Flash Sale, but you need to reserve your stay by this Friday!

 

Florida Beach Memories

Hilton Hotels is offering 20% off if you book this week only for stays in September!  This Hilton Flash Sale is a great opportunity to take a trip, explore a new place, and make memories! Save up to 20% on your Labor Day travel & through Sept 30. Sale ends Friday, Book Now!  If you’ve been on the fence about planning travel, this is your chance to save.

 

Hilton Hotels

 

September in Florida is Amazing

September is the arguably the best time of the year to travel to Florida beaches. The weather is still warm; the traffic is way down; and the snow birds haven’t come south yet!  We just returned from a trip to the Gulf Coast in late July, and it was fairly hot, crowded, and not on sale!!   Still, we had an amazing time making memories and we used our Hilton Honors points (sign up to become a Hilton Honors member and you could stay for free soon too!)  September is much more ideal than the brutally hot days in July and August, if your schedule allows it.  Panama City Beach is a great place to make memories!  Honestly, any gulf coast Florida Beach is our favorite summer vacation spot, and we have taken many trips down to the gulf.

Florida Beaches Hilton Flash Sale

Hampton Inn and Suites Panama City Beach

Our most recent trip was to the brand new Hampton Inn and Suites Panama City.  The perk to this hotel, besides being directly on the beach and brand new, was its proximity to Pier Park and the international airport nearby.  The traffic on the “strip” in Panama City Beach is awful, so staying at this hotel within walking distance to the Pier as well as Pier Park restaurants and shopping, was key. Panama City Beach isn’t our typical beach destination in Florida, but we wanted things to do besides the beach and this was the best!  We went to Shipwreck Island Water Park, putt-putt, go-carts, ate tons of good seafood, hunted crabs, as well as enjoyed the beach and pool!  Amazing end of summer family memories!!  Truly, Panama City Beach has some of the most beautiful beaches, but it can get crowded.  You can’t beat the restaurant and entertainment options though!  Overall, we were impressed with the Hampton Inn and Suites’ location and cleanliness!  If you are traveling by air to Florida beaches, this would be a perfect spot.  No car required.

Hilton Flash Sale Ends Friday

Before long, the days will get shorter and the temps cooler.  The Florida gulf coast cools off into October typically; the weather is still beautiful, just maybe not beach hot.  Don’t miss this Florida Beach Hilton Flash sale:  Save up to 20% on your Labor Day travel & through Sept 30. Sale ends Friday, Book Now!  This sale is good for Hilton hotels around the world, not just Florida, so take advantage of this deal this week!!

Of course, if you want to go further south, tons of warm options still exist, like Orlando and Disney World. Read on here to find out how to save at Disney World.   

I am a native Floridian and beach connoisseur, so send me your family beach travel questions to momspriority@gmail.com.   🙂

 

 

Healthy Kids Snacks

healthy kids snacksAs we start a new school year, it’s like we press the reset button on our habits.  Eating healthy, and particularly eating healthy snacks, is something we try to do and teach our kids!  Unfortunately and fortunately, kids’ habits are impressed upon them by their friends and peers.  I’ve seen it both good and bad for ours!  Our kids are picky eaters, so seeing their friends try new foods helps our cause some days!  On other days, our kids only seem to want junk food.  It’s a battle we constantly have to fight, as we raise up our children to become healthy and make good choices!  When the kids walk in the door at home after a long school day, we want to have healthy options for them!

8 Healthy Snacks Kids Love

  1. Smoothies – Our kids love the texture of smoothies!  Add anything to strawberries and bananas!  This is by far our favorite recipe

[ultimate-recipe id=”45013″ template=”default”]

For more recipes and kid-friendly snack ideas…

We’ve listed some great healthy kids snacks HERE .  These are just a few; we would love to hear your ideas too!


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Summer Ideas for Kids

Summer Ideas for kids

How to Keep Boredom Away

It’s the middle of the summer now, and it seems no matter how busy we are, inevitably I will occasionally hear, “I’m bored!” In case you have heard these words before too, here’s one idea that worked for me.

Summer Ideas for Young Kids

When the kids were Preschool age, the best sanity-keeping idea I had was to have the kids decorate large popsicle sticks and then I numbered them and listed an activity on them that matched up with some project/activity/craft around the house that was pre-packaged and ready to do.  This gave me something to direct them to if they ever said, “I’m bored” or “what can I do”?  Having the whole project kit ready to go made it easier as well, eliminating the frustration of trying to find the items for a certain project!

Summer Ideas for Older Kids

As the kids have grown, no one wanted to paint popsicle sticks anymore, so I kept a list.  If they got bored, I’d say, Check the list for ideas!  Now, our kids are even older and when they find a minute without anything to do, they savor it!  Truthfully, at this age, we stay so busy that boredom doesn’t happen often!  But, it is nice to have options and ideas, because there are so many things we want to do in summer!  Sometimes kids just need a little direction.

For more ideas, check out Mom’s Priority’s pinterest page.

Make a Difference with Your Kids This Summer

Summer Activities for Great Kids Beyond Camps and Vacations

Make a Difference this Summer

Mom’s Priority List of Summer Activities for Great Kids Beyond Camps and Vacations

Summer is a time for kids to have fun and be kids, playing with friends and going on vacation, to camps and the pool of course!  Beyond that, it’s a time to make a difference and learn and grow!  For a few fun inspirational ideas, I’ve created a list!   This list is designed for elementary-age, but can be scaled to go younger or older.

Challenge Contests

  1. Enter a reading contest for prizes – Your local library surely has contests for different ages. Also, check out Barnes and Noble’s Summer Reading Program- read just 8 books and write a recommendation for each and win a free book! For more details, see Barnes and Noble .
  2. Enter a building contest for a chance to have your masterpiece in the Lego club magazine! Or, use Lego’s Digital Design Software on their website to build a virtual lego invention and have it displayed on their website! Click below for Lego’s siteLEGO® Juniors: Introduce your child to the world of building.
  3. Write a story about Lego Ninjago and the winner will have their story published in an upcoming chapter book!

Be Creative

  1.  Paint with acrylics on pottery, watercolors on stained glass (from craft store), by number, with acrylics on canvas, on posters for lemonade stands, with dot markers, with finger paint, on ceramic kits from the craft store, with stencils, with sponges, on wood figures like crosses
  2. Create necklaces with macaroni noodles and string and beads, puppets with paper bags or finger puppets with felt, magnets with pictures, felt storyboards with felt and imagination
  3. Glue a tissue paper collage, sequin art, foam stickers

Get Healthy

  1.  Try new food and recipes, take a picture, and create a recipe book with your new favorites
  2. Plant a garden in your backyard or community and enjoy picking fresh fruit and vegetables all summer!
  3. Exercise as a family- ride bikes at parks or in the neighborhood, go swimming, play baseball or soccer in the backyard, play tennis or golf, help parents around the yard and in the house.
  4. Drink lots of water and get lots of rest, because summer days wear you out!

Make a Difference

  1. Set up a lemonade stand to raise money for your favorite cause
  2. Get a haircut and donate your ponytail to Locks of Love or your local cancer center
  3. Visit elderly family or senior center, bringing them beautiful artwork to brighten their walls and smiles!
  4. Clean out your closet and drawers, taking outgrown and gently worn shoes and clothes to your local church, rescue, Salvation Army, Goodwill, and stuffed animals to your local fire station
  5. Send a card to an out of town friend or family member to make their day brighter
  6. Send our soldiers letters and goodies
  7. Share a canned good with someone in need by taking it to your local soup kitchen
  8. Smile often, laugh a lot, and have lots of fun!

Devotional Books for Kids This Easter

Devotional Books for Kids

Devotional Books for Kids

Easter is coming soon, and devotional books for kids are precious gifts to give your children!  When you give children books like this, they the opportunity to read it on their own time or at a scheduled time, such as in the morning before school or at bedtime.  We use these devotional books for kids as a family during our weekly family devotion time.  The Bible stories are clear and concise, written in a way for children to grasp the true meaning behind the story.  Sometimes the Bible stories are sequential, like how they appear in the Bible; other times, they are arranged by topic.

“In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice…” – Psalm 5:3

Helping our children develop the daily habit of quiet time is important to us.  We have used a couple of different devotional books for kids that we have truly loved.

5 Best Devotional Books for Kids

Jesus Calling for Kids by Sarah Young

devotional books for kids

 

Mighty Warrior Devotional Bible by Sheila Walsh

devotional books for kids

Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones

devotional books for kids

Grace for the Moment for Kids by Max Lucado

devotional books for kids

I am Loved by Sheila Walsh

devotional books for kids

We have all of these and our kids love them and refer back to them.  I have many precious memories talking about the stories in these books, and am looking for new ones to add to their collection this Easter.


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Three Gift Rule at Christmas

Christmas Gift Giving

When our children were babies, we implemented the three gift rule that someone told us about.  Just as Jesus received three gifts from the three wise men, you’ll remember from the Bible story, our children receive three gifts from us!  This simple rule has simplified Christmas for us!  Someone told me about it years ago, and how it gave Christmas deeper meaning to their little children and a chance to share the story of the birth of Jesus.  There are still plenty of gifts around the tree, because you buy for others.  Likewise, they receive plenty because of extended family Christmas gatherings.  But the message that we share around the tree is the story of Jesus and the three gifts of the wise men:  gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

3 Gifts of the Wise Men

Three Gift Rule

Three Gift Rule

So, what are these three gifts, and how do we implement that into our family Christmas tradition?

Gold:  Something that they really want

Frankincense:  Something that they need (like clothes)

Myrrh:  Something to read or to help them grow (a book, devotional, or CD usually)

The message on Christmas morning is not one of extravagant material gifts, but of the most extravagant gift we could ever receive:  eternal life because our Savior came and took the punishment we deserve.  Our family is far from being holy or un-materialistic.  These small steps, though, keep Christmas focused and keep our children from only caring about what they will receive under the tree Christmas morning!  Our family time is meaningful and enjoyable.  Christmas morning, along with Christmas Eve, is one of my most favorite days. We celebrate family and our Savior.  I cannot remember who first told me about the Three Gift Rule, but I am so thankful they did!

Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes is THIS week, ending on Monday, November 21.  This is an incredibly simple way to share the love of Jesus with a child in another part of the world, while teaching your child about Jesus’ love.  It’s not too late to participate!  To find a drop off location near you, check here.

Filling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child is a Christmas tradition for our family.  In a simple gesture, the kids and I gather our gifts to go in the boxes typically starting on Fall Break.  We try to send out by early November, so the kids who receive them do so by Christmas time.  In these boxes, we include the following:

  • Simple toys, like a jump rope or bouncy ball
  • Wooden games or puzzles from the dollar store
  • Basic hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, comb or brush
  • Clothes, such as a T-shirt, underwear, socks, and possibly flip flops or another kind of shoe
  • School supplies, like notepads, pencils with sharpener, pen, or markers
  • Whatever our child enjoys at their age, such as matchbox cars or little dolls, gets included
  • A handwritten note
  • Hard candy

 

Most importantly, the kids and I pray for the child who will receive this gift.  We can pay $7 to have it shipped, and we can track where it goes online through Samaritan’s Purse.  It’s an incredible learning opportunity for the kids.  Undoubtedly, the kids want to know more about the country and culture that this child is in.  It teaches our children empathy and an age-appropriate awareness of the world we live in, outside our community.  My prayer, like many other parents, is that it fosters in their hearts a love for other people who come from different backgrounds than us.  I pray that their love grows as they grow, and that they want to share the love of Jesus Christ with others.   These shoeboxes are an amazing start to the Christmas season because they turn our focus outward.

Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes bless others, but I think we are the ones who are truly blessed.  We coordinate these with our church’s mission opportunities, but you can give a shoebox regardless of church affiliation.  Learn more at the official website here.