I have exciting news today - TCKmom just passed it's first birthday!! It was a year ago that I posted my first article and the website "went live". What a year it's been! When I started working on this blog at the end of 2014, I had no idea what 2015 would hold. It was not the best year for blogging, and sadly things were silent for several months. But I'm excited that TCKmom is still going, and hopeful that God will continue to use this forum for ladies to ask questions, give advice, and encourage each other!

 

Here are some of your favorite posts from the year:

 Recipes:

Making Pizza without Cheese

Fried Indomie Noodles

Lunch Menu Ideas

Breakfast Menu Ideas

Making Yogurt

Cooking from Scratch

 

TCKmom Life:

Packing & Helping Children through Transitions

An Interview with a TCK

God's Faithfulness to a TCK

Renaming Goodbye

 

Practical Advice:

Your Child's Biggest Enemy

Doing Laundry Overseasamazon gift card

Routines for Little People

So let's celebrate by doing another giveaway! The prize will be the same (everyone loves an Amazon gift card, right?), but this time it might take a little more work from you to enter the drawing. Here's your assignment:

Write "A Day in the Life of This TCKmom"

 

It can be a paragraph, a whole blog post, an hour-by-hour schedule, or a creative poem. Use your imagination! It doesn't matter if you're not currently living overseas, or if your children are grown. You can write in the present (what a day looks like right now) or chose a time/place from the past. You are also welcome to focus on one part of the day, rather than covering every aspect of an entire day.

 

**This is NOT a writing contest! You will not be judged by what you write or how it is written!** Those who submit something will be entered in a random drawing for the gift card giveaway.

 

I hope to use a collection of what is submitted for blog post(s). Please include your name & location if you want it to be included with your submission.

 

Submit your entry HERE (or you can hit "reply" if you're receiving this by email) by Thursday, February 11. The winner will be announced on Feb. 12th.

 

Love is an important character trait to teach no matter what the time of year. But what better time to do it than February when America is full of hearts and candy and roses? :-) Let's teach our children what love is REALLY all about.

There are so many verses on love that it is going to be hard to decide which ones to use. Here are my favorites that I picked out as most appropriate for children's memory verses. Note that I'm focusing this study on showing love to each other, not on God's love for us - although that would be a great study too!

Memory/Study Verses:

 1 Corinthians 13

1 John 4:7-12 and 20&21

Romans 13:8-10

John 15:12&13

1 Peter 4:8

Colossians 3:14

Mark 12:30 & 31

Matthew 5:43 & 44

John 13:35

Galatians 5:14

 

Bible stories that teach LOVE:

The Good Samaritan

Ruth & Naomi

David & Jonathon

Joseph & Reuben (Reuben's love for his father, Genesis 44:31-33)

Jacob & Rachel

Jesus' death on the cross

 

Songs: there are so many hymns that talk about God's love and there are also several Scripture songs that have put some of the verses above to music. Here is a little ditty that I think is great for young children -

 

If You Want to Show Your Love
(to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It")

If you want to show your love, share a smile.
If you want to show your love, share a smile.
If you want to show your love, if you want to show your love,
If you want to show your love, share a smile.

If you want to show your love, lend a hand.
If you want to show your love, lend a hand.
If you want to show your love, if you want to show your love,
If you want to show your love, lend a hand.

If you want to show your love, use kind words.
If you want to show your love, use kind words.
If you want to show your love, if you want to show your love,
If you want to show your love, use kind words.

 

Ways to Show Love

If you've read Gary Chapman's book The Five Love Languages (if you haven't read it, I really recommend it! It could completely change your marriage and parenting!), you can introduce some of those concepts at a child's level. Obviously the idea of "discovering" each other's love language is a little advanced, but you can talk about the five ways that we show love to each other. Maybe have a different day (or a couple days) assigned to practicing each way of showing love.

  1. Helping & serving each other
  2. Speaking kind words and encouraging each other
  3. Giving gifts to each other (doesn't have to be expensive or fancy - let them make simple gifts)
  4. Showing affection through physical touch (this one will have to be done carefully and appropriately but is important!)
  5. Spending quality time together

You can turn this into a game with the idea from this website:

"Play “Loving Actions.”  - Take turns coming up with creative ways to show love (such as greeting someone, opening the door for someone, kissing boo boos, or offering a drink) which you can do as a game of silent charades.  Basically this means you should act out your “Loving Action” without words so that the other people can guess what you are doing.  You may like to use photographs to inspire ideas for showing love to different people such as grandparents, friends, teachers, and strangers. Sometimes we show love to different people in different ways and it is important to know the appropriate way for each person."

 

 

And finally, here are a couple of simple craft/activity ideas that go along with love . . .

1 Corinthians 13 clothesline - A "bulletin board" wall decor idea: Hang a piece of rope or twine on the wall. Make paper hearts and use clothespins to pin them on the twine. Above the rope write "LOVE IS:" or "CHARITY" if you prefer, and then on each heart, write one characteristic from 1 Cor 13, e.g. "long-suffering", "kind".  I got the idea from this coloring page.

 

Discover the Bible Verse: An activity for children who can read. 

1. Cut out hearts from construction paper, one for each word of your memory verse (plus the reference!)

2. Write one word of the verse and the verse reference on the hearts.

3. Encourage them to help each other put the hearts in the right order to make the memory verse.

4. If they can't figure out the verse, let them look it up in their Bibles.

You can make a very simple heart paper chain by starting with strips like a regular paper chain. Instead of taping or gluing into a circle, staple the ends face-together to make a heart shape. Check out this photo if those instructions don't make sense. :-) There's also a more complicated and beautiful paper chain idea here.

 

Most importantly, make sure YOU leave your children without a doubt of your love this month! :-)

 

**None of these are affiliate links. I do not endorse the content of any of these websites.**

We haven't had a reader question for a while . . . and I really need your help on this one, ladies!

 

"I'm feeling just a little at sea in dealing with the beginnings of homesickness and "noticing what we're missing" with our 9 year old. We're also facing a lot of decisions that affect the children in how we relate with the ministry we're working in connection with here. We want them to be "narrowed up" to reflect the convictions we value... what a challenge when no one else around you shares those values. I'd love to have some input on these questions... =)"

 

Please share your thoughts and experiences!  What have you done? How do you raise your children in a place where no one has the same values that you do?

 

That's right, folks, this here is good stuff! I'm not from the south, but I love cornbread. It's a comfort food for me, along with a good pot of chili. :-) This is one of the first recipes I learned to bake as a girl in my mom's kitchen. It's super-moist, even though it's made with whole wheat flour. It tastes great with white flour, too, if whole wheat is not not available (or if you just don't like the stuff)! Just add a 1/4 more flour if you're using white flour, otherwise your bread will be mushy in the middle.

 

So without further ado, here's our favorite family recipe:

 

The World's Best Cornbread

1 c. cornmeal

1 c. whole wheat flour or 1 1/4 c. white flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 c. oil

1/4 c. honey, sugar, or molasses

2 eggs

1 c. milk

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients. Stir just until combined. Pour into a greased 9" square pan, and bake for 20-22 minutes. Edges should be nicely browned.

 

And one more tip - for a savory cornbread that's great with vegetable soup, add 1/4 oregano, 1/2 tsp thyme, and 1/2 tsp garlic powder to the dry ingredients. A surprising twist!

 

What do you like to do with cornbread? Any tips or secret ingredients?