Back to School Blessing

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Another summer has flown by, and school has started again.  As you settle into your routine, it is a great opportunity to reestablish faith in God as the center of your daily lives.  Despite the busy-ness, we can be grounded if we are purposeful.

In this printable we have a Back to School Blessing that you can speak over your kids, some Back to School Scriptures that may speak life into the challenges and opportunities that come from a new school year, and a Daily School Prayer that your family can use every day as they get ready for school or drive to school.  Prayer is powerful, and it is even more powerful when you model a God-centered life for your kids.


Printable: | PDF_Picture  Back to School Blessing |


Here are a couple more posts about back to school.

School Time Is Here

First Day of School Prayer

Learn more about OPL’s take on parenting by clicking on the Family – Parenting menu.  And don’t forget to follow us by email by putting your email address in the Subscribe box on the right.  One step and you’re finished!

Validating Your Kids’ Interests


What stamp are you using on your kids?

As the ultimate figure in your children’s lives, you have the power to stamp “Valid” or “Invalid” on their interests.  My friend recently reminded me of this fact.  He remembered how it felt for his dad to dismiss his childhood interests as dumb and a waste of time.  To a boy, this makes a big difference.  It struck me as an example of a simple way that we can show our kids that we think they are valuable and we accept them how they are.  We of course will be helping them to grow and improve, but we want to make it clear that our love and acceptance is offered without strings attached. Continue reading

Traveling Food

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Feeding the Hungry Bears

It is hard to keep kids full, especially on the road. And keeping them full on the road can be very expensive.

We just got back from a five day vacation to the Branson area. This time I thought I would try some new and creative ways to try to keep the food expenses down. The kids and I got busy and made several things to take with us.

Unfortunately the hotel we stayed in did not have a free continental breakfast so the first thing we took was our breakfast. We made egg muffins, blueberry muffins and oatmeal raisin cereal bars. We also took cereal and milk as another easy option.

Three evenings we were at a water park and didn’t want to take the time to leave to eat, so I took food that could easily be cooked in the microwave in our hotel room. One meal I warmed up already cooked taco meat and we had walking tacos. (Fritos in a single-serving bag, meat, lettuce, cheese and salsa). Just make sure you take a glass bowl or a container that you can use to warm up the meat in. Another day we had Easy Mac and hot dogs.

Two of the days we went to Silver Dollar City Amusement park and I took in food to create meals on the go. One day we ate meat, cheese and crackers, yogurts, cuties, veggies with single serving ranch dressing. This got us through lunch and dinner and allowed us to splurge a little and get some fun treats for the evening show. (Side note–don’t forget to take your water bottles or else you will have to buy a drink. We ended up buying one souvenir cup and kept refilling it with water. When I went to get a discounted refill the guy ended up given it to us for free. Gotta love a free large blue raspberry slush!!) The second day I took in a container of peanut butter and tortillas and made up “sandwiches” that didn’t get smashed throughout the day along with fruit and veggies.

For the night we camped, I took hotdogs, baked beans and chips. We also did marshmallows and Keebler Fudge striped cookie smores 🙂 For breakfast we did eggs and bacon.

The sides/snacks we took to fill in throughout the week:

  • Fruit: apples, grapes and cuties
  • Veggies: cut up multi colored peppers and cauliflower
  • Chips: can of Pringles and then snack sized variety bags of chips from Sams
  • Snacks: trail mix (peanuts, raisins and m&m), cheezits, fruit leathers, cheese sticks, yogurts, applesauce in the squeezable containers, beef jerky and slim jims.

It was so helpful to have a tupperware container and one cooler full of food to feed my growing monkeys whenever they needed food. We didn’t have to hear whining about how hungry they were. We got to eat nice relaxing meals in our hotel room without having to wait to be seated or all the work of keeping excited kids in the booth. (Going to restaurants is not really all that relaxing for us at this stage in life…it was nice to have another option for most of our meals!)  It also allowed us to give our kids healthier options full of fruits and veggies that would not have been as easily done at a restaurant.

What have you done to cut expenses and made traveling easier and healthier??

Other Posts You May Enjoy

Vacation – Keeping the Sabbath – A Lost Art 

Budgets: Eating Out/Entertainment

Budgets: Grocery Shopping

Traveling: Toys and Movies

Traveling: Snack Bags!

Traveling: Packing Clothes

Traveling: Unpacking



Armor of God – Shoes of the Gospel

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It is important to have armor covering vulnerable areas.  This week we are covering the shoes – which are very important!

In the movie Miss Congeniality, Gracie Lou explains to the audience how to get away from an attacker. Do you remember her basic tip of self-defense:  “Just remember to SING?” This scene came to mind as I was studying and learning about the next piece of armor because the I in SING is “instep,” which is part of the foot. It is one of four sensitive areas you can use to immediately take an attacker out. This is why it is so important to protect this part of the body completely and securely.

The pieces of armor all fit together well, and I believe that Paul put these pieces in a specific order. As you put on one, it sets you up to successfully put on and use the next. Peace comes from knowing what truth is (Belt), and one aspect of peace is received immediately when you are made righteous (Breastplate). Let me explain.

Peace With God

There are two types of peace. Peace with God and peace of God. Peace with God is given once a person accepts Jesus as Lord of their life.

Romans 5:1 (NLT) Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.

 When we put on the breastplate of righteousness we are at peace with God. Satan will try to make us doubt our righteousness and get us to live in fear instead of peace. Don’t let him! Be confident of your standing with God. Because of Jesus you are made right, you are a child of God and you can never lose your place in His family. Don’t allow Satan to steal your peace with God. Continue reading

Armor of God: Breastplate of Righteousness

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Am I good enough? Have I made one too many mistakes? Has God given up on me?  Did I miss my calling? Don’t raise your hand, but have you ever thought one of these thoughts? I am sure that each one of us at some point in our lives has entertained these life sucking questions.

Well, I have exciting news for you. Today’s piece of armor will dispel any doubt and give you the boldness and confidence you need to do all that God has called you to do.

The breastplate of righteousness is an important piece of armor that we need to fully understand and take hold of. The breastplate was the most beautiful piece of armor the Roman soldiers wore. It began at their neck and proceeded down their bodies to their knees. It was made up of small, scale-like pieces of metal. As the soldiers wore the breastplate and moved, the little pieces of metal rubbed together. An amazing thing happened the more they rubbed together: the pieces of metal became shinier and more brilliant. The more the armor was worn, the prettier and brighter it got!  Continue reading

The Armor of God: The Belt of Truth

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This is by far my favorite piece of the armor and I think the most important piece. Let me explain. Satan’s main way that he attacks us is through lies.

John 8:44 “…He (the devil) was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

That is how he takes us out. He plants some seed of doubt or disbelief about God or ourselves, and continues with the same lie until it is part of our own beliefs. Today we learn about a piece of armor that will save us from Satan’s main tactic and will help us use the other pieces to their full potential.

The Roman soldier’s belt was one of the most important pieces of armor. It literally held most of the other pieces in place. The breastplate tucked into the belt, keeping it in place. There was a loop on the belt that held the sword, and a place for the shield to rest which helped the soldiers to carry such a heavy piece of armor. If the belt was not put on or was not put on correctly then those other three pieces would not function properly. If these four pieces of armor were not in their proper place, it would cause the soldier to be unable to walk, run or fight in the heat of battle. Everything was dependent on the placement of the belt.

So what is the belt of truth?  The place where we can find ultimate truth is the written Word of God.

Psalm 33:4 NLT “For the Word of The Lord holds true, and we can trust everything that he does.”

Proverbs 30:5 NLT “Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

Truth has to be our foundation. If we do not fight our battles standing on truth, then we will fail every time.

Here are scriptures to back up the fact that the belt, the written Word of God, is what allows us to use all the other pieces properly. Continue reading

First Things First – Is Your Child in the Lord’s Army?

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War?  What War?

Next week we will begin going through the different parts of the armor of God, but first there are a couple things to get straight.  The fact that Paul writes of the ARMOR of God indicates that we must be in a battle. (If we weren’t, then he probably would have said to put on the “shirt and tie of God” instead.)  But this battle is not one that we can fight on our own.  We have to join an army, God’s army, to help us win the battle.  There are three key facts that a child has to know before they can properly and fully use the armor of God to its full potential.

  1. They need to join the army and ask Jesus into their hearts.
  2. They need to know that God is the leader of the army and we are to follow Him with our whole heart.
  3. The Bible is our training manual that helps us learn about God and make wise decisions. Continue reading

Goals and Armor

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Last night we did our annual goals brainstorming with the kids. We reflected on the last year and reminded ourselves of the good things that happened. Then we took time to pray and think about the goals and plans that we have for the coming year. The kids were excited all day looking forward to this family time and celebration.

Kids’ Goals printable:  | PDF_Picture  Click here to download.  |

New Year’s Interview printable.  | PDF_Picture   Click here to download.  |

Year In Review 4 Squares printable:  | PDF_Picture  Click here to download.  |

After we finished this year’s sets of goals, we pulled out the goals from the previous two years. It was awesome to see how many of the goals the kids had accomplished!  But it was interesting to see which goals had changed, and which goals were staying the same… Continue reading

December Storytime – A Savior Is Born!

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Today we are giving away the fourth Storytime.

Storytime is an opportunity for you to have fun teaching about a certain topic by reading Bible stories, fables and books. Most of the stories follow a similar theme, with a few books thrown in just for fun.  Most of the books can be checked out from your public library or can be put on a Christmas gift list to get and enjoy for years. If you are not able to find these specific books, feel free to substitute with ones you like. You can find the Bible story and the verses in your Bible and you can also go online to to look up the passage.  The Fables can be found online (one place is or in many different books at the library.

Why would you do a Storytime?  Stories are a great way for us to remember concepts and principles.  By discussing these timeless stories with your children you can help them learn, and your family will grow closer as you experience the stories together.  This is also a great way to do an outreach to kids in your neighborhood, church, or circle of friends.  Kids enjoy listening to the stories, and in the process you are planting seeds of truth in their lives.  We hope that you are able to use this Storytime to bless your own kids and the kids in your neighborhood.

Download the whole Storytime here:     Continue reading

The Fine Art of Child Delegation

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A few weeks back I wrote a nerdy post about the 4 roles of the preceptor parent.  (I was targeting the “pharmacist-parents-with-more-than-3-children” crowd, which is our niche market.)  I had also put it out there that a dad is a teacher.

Today’s follow-up is about the fine art of delegating to your children.  Why is it a fine art?

  • Fine art takes talent.
  • Fine art takes a lot of practice. And hard work.  And time.
  • Fine art is a beautiful masterpiece!
  • Creating fine art is a messy process.

I am a little concerned that our society is trending towards children who are have every opportunity but little or no experience with responsibility.  Some families have crammed in so many activities that they don’t have time to slow down and teach their kids life skills.  Skills like laundry.  Dishes.  Hammering a nail.  Mowing the grass. Planting a garden.  Cooking.  Cleaning the floor.  You know, all that stuff that YOU have to do for THEM.  Turns out that it is actually your job to teach THEM how to do those jobs for themselves!


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