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Talking to Kids About Sex – Awkward Parenting Moments

I promise this isn’t going to be as awkward as it sounds. Or maybe it is, but that is kind of the point here. What am I blathering on about? Let me get straight to it.

For many parents, talking to their kids about sex is one of those uncomfortable subjects that fall into a “necessary evil” category sort of thing. For others, it is no big deal. I am somewhere in the middle of those two options. It is just not a natural conversation topic for me, but I know that I want to pass along a healthy, biblical view of sex to my kids. This mean I have to talk about it and with four kids, I guess I should get used to it sooner rather than later.

We have always been open with our children when it comes to talking about our bodies. We gave them the actual terms for their body parts, but also the general terms of private parts and bottom, and used those for the most part. They knew that those parts were private and we did have discussions about what they should do if someone tried to touch and/or talk to them about those parts.

With one exception, our youngest was given the term peepee for his penis because he is a very verbal boy and has been from a young age. This meant that his filter was utterly non-existent and he would randomly shout out words that he knew would make someone laugh because he is also a ham. With preteen kids, body parts were a sure success at this. Peepee made it a little less inappropriate (in my eyes) when this happened in public places.

And then someone gave him the right word and all bets were off. Now that novelty has worn off (thank heavens) and he only refers to it in matter-of-fact ways. Ironically, this cracks the preteens up even more. I can’t win.

Enough about us, I actually have a resource I want to talk to you about today.

Talk to Your Kids About Sex - It doesn't have to be awkward. There is a great resource available to help walk parents through a biblical way to tackle the subject with their kids.

Talking to Kids About Sex

I’ve written about, reviewed, and given away resources from Luke and Trisha Gilkerson of Intoxicated on Life here before. Heck, I even wrote for them for a while. I love their resources and blog. This series is no different. They have written quite a lot about sex education on their blog, and now they have a trilogy of books to put resources in your hands to help you navigate this anxiety-inducing topic from a biblical perspective. Let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief…whew.

I purchased their book called The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality earlier this year to use in our homeschool. When Trisha was looking to put together a team to launch the second book in the series called Changes: 7 Biblical Lessons to Make Sense of Puberty, I jumped at the chance to get this one for free. 😉

The third book in the series is called Relationships: 7 Lessons to Give Kids a Greater Understanding of Biblical Sexuality and it will be available early 2016.

Let’s go over a bit of what is actually in these two books.

The Talk - Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality

The Talk

The seven lesson titles:

  1. God Made Them Male and Female
  2. Go Forth and Multiply
  3. Wonderfully Made
  4. The Two Shall Become One Flesh
  5. You Shall Not Commit Adultery
  6. Do Not Violate Me
  7. Bought With a Price

Each lesson gives you an opening thought, a section of scripture to read with an explanation of why it is relevant, a series of talking points to go over with your child, questions for your child, and concludes with a prayer. There are illustrations for things as well.

The ages recommended for this book are 6-10 years old. This may seem young to start this conversation, but if you take a while to look at our culture, you will see why parents need to start this conversation earlier these days. Our culture is more than willing to talk to kids about sex at any time.

Parents, if you want to be the first one to talk to your children about these topics, you need to be paying close attention and realize that this might need to happen sooner than you’d like. A bit more on my thoughts on this later.

Changes 735x1102

Changes

The second book contains these lessons:

  1. Just Like Jesus: Growing in Wisdom and Stature
  2. Puberty: Just One of Many Changes
  3. Hormones: The Catalyst of Change
  4. Girls and Boys: Changes We Can Both Expect
  5. Girl Changes: Becoming a Woman
  6. Boy Changes: Becoming a Man
  7. Changes in Desire: The Goodness of Sexual Attraction

The book follows the same format for each lesson as The Talk. The recommended ages are 8-12.

A Few Final Thoughts

These are fantastic resources for starting an ongoing conversation about sex with your kids. Each book also contains a section on what happens next. It gives you ideas for ways to continue the conversation you started.

When you get these books, pre-read them before diving in with your kids. This way you will not be caught off-guard about any of the subjects covered and it will give you a better idea of when you actually need to approach these subjects with your kids.

Luke and Trisha do a great job introducing parents to the material. A good chunk of the book covers some common questions and concerns a parent may have about starting this conversation so early with your children.

I’ll end this with a bit of advice, if you have both genders of children, you may want to consider going through these separately. Talking to preteen girls and boys at the same time may result in unnecessary awkwardness. Ask me how I know…

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Coupon Code! The Gilkerson’s have generously offered a coupon code for my lovely readers who decide to purchase these resources. You can save 10% on either Changes or the Sex Ed Series (which already gives you a $2 discount on the two books) with code – SV10. The code is only good through November 11, 2015. So hurry!

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Ultimate Guide to Gardening Fun With Kids

If you have been around the blog for a while, you may have noticed that come spring time I love to talk gardening. Today I am bringing you what I am calling the Ultimate Guide to Gardening Fun With Kids. Oh, and a great giveaway at the bottom.

You’ll notice a couple things about this ultimate guide. One, it’s not overly complicated. Two, it’s not overly lengthy.

Why? Because I believe the more you complicate a matter, the less likely it is to actually be accomplished. So let’s just get to it!

Ultimate Guide to Gardening With Kids at Vicki-Arnold.com

Ultimate Guide to Gardening Fun With Kids

Just to reiterate, I like to keep things simple. So I broke this down into general tips, specific tips, crafts and activities if you are not ready for actual gardening yet, and finally, some resources for teens and adults because learning isn’t just for kids.

General Tips to Get Started

  • Don’t overthink it and don’t let it intimidate you if you have never gardened before.
  • Start small. Pick a small patch of ground or try a few containers. It is much better on your psyche to do small well than to flop because you went too big. Trust me.
  • Gather supplies. Get your containers and dirt, or some tools and compost for your ground plot, your plants and/or seeds, and start working your soil.
  • Choose some easy plants to get started.
  • Don’t forget to check your plants daily. You want to check to see if they are getting enough sun, if they need water, if there are pests that need handled, and if there are any weeds that need dealt with.

Here is another post from a fellow Kid Blogger Network blogger that has her 5 Tips for Gardening With Kids. And another KBN blogger has a review of a super cute gardening tote and tool set.

Specific Ideas for Gardening with Kids

Garden Themed Crafts & Activities

If you have a while before you can do your chosen gardening activity, warm your kids up to the idea with some garden themed crafts and activities.

Gardening Resources for Teens & Adults

Ultimate Guide to Gardening With Kids at Vicki-Arnold.com

Kid Blogger Network Giveaway

Win one of THREE $500 cash prizes directly in your paypal account! This giveaway is open internationally. You must be 18+ years old to enter. Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. Winners will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen. Please see detailed terms and conditions below the giveaway for more info.

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Kid Blogger Network Spring Activities

The Kid Blogger Network is full of blogs dedicated to kids. We have a very wide range of what that means, too. There are blogs with activities for kids, blogs about parenting kids, blogs about teaching kids (homeschool and in a classroom setting), and more. Check out all their spring round up posts for this event below!

Gardening Posts I’ve Written Elsewhere

Spring time means garden time around here and that means gardening posts. Every year we jump into our garden planning hopeful that this year will be better than last. Eternal garden optimists.

As I was doing research for an upcoming post, I realized I had several garden-related posts on various blogs that I never got around to sharing with you, my awesome readers!

Gardening Posts - Herbs, Books, Beginners, & Kids at Simply Vicki

Today, I am remedying this. In no particular order, here are gardening posts I’ve written elsewhere on the internet.

Gardening Posts I’ve Written Elsewhere

G is for Gardening - ABCs of Home Schooling at My Joy-Filled Life - Ways to use gardening in your homeschool.

G is for Gardening – I wrote this post for My Joy-Filled Life’s ABCs of Home Schooling. I shared six ways to use gardening in your homeschool.

Gardens Kids Can Grow - a guest post at ALLterNATIVE Learning

Gardens Kids Can Grow – This post was for ALLterNATIVE Learning’s Earth Day series. I shared ideas for gardening with kids from preschoolers to teenagers.

How to Get Started Gardening With Kids - Intoxicated on Life

How to Get Started Gardening With Kids – I was a contributor over at Intoxicated On Life last year and I quite enjoyed it. I wrote each month on gardening and garden related topics. The next several posts came from that time.

Gardening for Better Health for Beginners on Intoxicated on Life

Gardening for Better Health for Beginners – One of my first gardening posts over at Intoxicated On Life. I covered a handful of reasons gardening is good for your health and some easy tips to get started.

Herb Gardening for Beginners on Intoxicated On Life

Herb Gardening for Beginners – One of my favorite graphics, even though I recently realized it’s technically a flower and not an herb. I won’t tell if you don’t. Also, the article has helps for those wanting to grow herbs.

23 DIY Projects for Gardeners on Intoxicated on Life

23 DIY Projects for Gardeners – A list of projects in these categories: supplies, beds and containers, season extenders, equipment and tools, and decor.

Books About Gardening to Read at Intoxicated On Life

Books About Gardening to Read This Winter – Actually, you can read these any time of the year. This post was just written in winter.

And there you have it, a list of gardening posts I’ve written elsewhere in the blogosphere. I hope you find one that blesses your gardening endeavors this spring!

Gardening Posts

If you are new around here, be sure to check out my other gardening posts. If you are new to gardening, start with my Beginner’s Guide to Gardening posts.

Facebook Resources for Homeschoolers

Facebook Resources for Homeschoolers| Vicki-Arnold.com

Facebook has three distinct sections that homeschoolers can use to their advantage: profiles, pages, and groups. A brief description:

  • Profiles – This is what you create when you sign up for Facebook, profiles are for people. You have to send a friend request to connect your profile with someone else’s or vice versa. You control the privacy settings that determine what others see.
  • Pages – These are public pages that are for businesses, public figures, blogs, etc. All you have to do to connect with pages is to click like. All info posted on a page is public, but it won’t all find its way into your news feed (more on that later).
  • Groups – Groups are where groups of users can gather to discuss common interests. Groups can be set up three ways. Open groups can be found in searches and anyone can see the posts. Closed group content can only be seen by members, but the group still shows up in searched and you can request to join. Secret groups are not found in searches and can not be linked to, members have to be added directly via email.

How Homeschoolers Can Use Facebook Profiles

This one is pretty basic, you can’t really do anything on Facebook unless you have a profile. It is a great way for people to stay connected as they go about their lives. Just be sure to go through the privacy settings to know exactly what you are sharing with the world.

Use your Facebook profile to:

  • connect with family and friends, near and far
  • join groups for encouragement, resources, and information
  • like and follow pages of businesses, blogs, and ministries you like and/or support

How Homeschoolers Can Use Facebook Pages

These can be great if you understand how they work. Just about every brand, blog, and business is on Facebook. If you have a favorite curriculum, blog, or anything else, just do a search for them.

Before you go all like happy and giddy to have all your favorites in one place, you should know how Facebook works. Only a portion of the posts that each page posts will show in your news feed. True story. Facebook uses a super secretive (and super frustrating to some, ahem, bloggers) algorithm to figure out what you want to see. The theory is that you don’t actually want to see EVERYTHING that a page posts, just the best.

In theory, this is great for you. In reality, you may miss a LOT that you actually want to see. The only way to make sure you don’t miss anything is to actually go to the page and scroll through their wall. This may be a pain, but it is truly the only way you will see it all.

The nice thing is you can actually go to your profile, scroll down, and you will find a section with all your “likes.” You can then click to see them all on one page. An easy way to find the ones you have liked so far.

Use your profile to like pages of:

How Homeschoolers Can Use Facebook Groups

Facebook groups are a lot of fun. You get to interact with people who share a common interest, find great resources through extra eyes on the world wide web, and be encouraged that you are not alone in your life circumstances.

You can set your settings to receive notifications whenever anyone posts in the group, when friends post in the group, or no notifications at all. Which one you choose will depend largely on the group. For example, a large, active group would overwhelm our notifications if you set it to receive them when anyone posted. However, a smaller group that is more specific in its focus may be one you want to receive them all so you do not miss anything, particularly if it is a long time between postings.

My favorite homeschool related Facebook groups:

All you have to do to find great resources on Facebook is to search them out. Ask friends for their recommendations or start with the ones listed here, and then explore. As you go, Facebook will give you recommendations based on your interests.

Just remember that Facebook is a tool for you to use, don’t let it rule and ruin your day!

What Should I Plant in My First Garden? – A Beginner’s Guide to Gardening

I get a decent amount of questions about gardening. Unfortunately, I do not have time to answer everyone’s emails individually. I got to thinking about this. One of the reasons I blog is because I want to be helpful. So over the next few weeks, I’m going to run a series called A Beginner’s Guide to Gardening where I will answer some of the common questions about gardening I receive in my email box.

Speaking of which, if you happen to have any suggestions or questions you would like me to cover, shoot me an email through the contact page. It doesn’t have to be about gardening either.

What Should I Plant in My First Garden? (A Beginner's Guide to Gardening) from Vicki-Arnold.com

What Should I Plant in My First Garden?

My advice for this is to start with what you eat. Trying new things will come when you have some experience under your belt. You do not want to spend your whole summer growing new things only to discover you don’t like any of them. Totally a bummer. Totally avoidable.

For Italian food fans:

  • tomatoes for sauce
  • basil, thyme, and oregano to season your sauce
  • onions and garlic to kick things up

For Mexican food fans:

  • tomatoes and onions for salsa
  • jalapenos for heating up your salsa
  • tomatillos to make salsa verde

For Chinese food fans:

  • bok choi and napa cabbage grow well in cooler temperatures
  • snow peas grow on pretty vines

Basically, look at the food you eat regularly and then find out if you can grow what’s in it.

Limited Space with Lots of Options?

There are two ways you could look at this. You could grow what you eat the most of or you can grow what will make the most impact to your grocery budget.

Eat a lot of salads? Try these:

  • lettuces have shallow roots and grow well in containers
  • sprouts can be sprouted on your countertop
  • carrots and radishes grow quickly and easily if you have a space you can cultivate 6-8 inches deep

Want to save as much money on your groceries as you can? These are relatively easy to grow, but tend to cost more at the grocery store:

  • bell peppers cost almost $2 each at the store, but you can buy a plant for less than $3 (and they grow more than two peppers)
  • strawberries and blueberries
  • leeks (and they have beautiful flowers)

What About Long Term?

If you are looking to stick with this gardening bit, and that would be a great idea for your health. Then there are some things you can do this year that will bear fruit (literally) in future years.

  • plant some fruit or nut trees, many of these come in dwarf varieties now
  • plant asparagus, it takes 2-3 years to be able to harvest
  • grape vines
  • consider herb gardening, most herbs are perennials so you don’t plant them each year

Further Reading

Linking up to Good Tips Tuesday, Share Your Stuff Tuesday, Titus 2sdays, The Mommy Club, Mom’s Library, and Welcome Party Wednesday.

Clip art created by Collective Creation

Waiting in Wonder & Curious George – Dream Nursery Giveaway Hop!

Waiting in Wonder pregnancy journal and Baby Curious George board book giveaway from Vicki-Arnold.com

A Giveaway!

Today I am happy to be bringing you a giveaway that is part of the Dream Nursery Giveaway Hop hosted by Intoxicated on Life. You can read more about the Grand Prize below. First, I’m going to tell you what I’m giving away!

I have a sweet pregnancy journal called Waiting in Wonder and a cute Baby Curious George board book with a cd. The pregnancy journal is a devotional, the subtitle is Growing in Faith While You’re Expecting, and it is written by Catherine Claire Larson. The Baby Curious George book with cd has music from Mozart and Bach, 25 minutes of listening time total.

Enter to win them in in the Giveaway Tools widget below and then the scroll on down to get the rest of the giveaways!

Dream Nursery Giveaway!

This giveaway is part of the Dream Nursery Giveaway hosted by Breastfeeding Place, Intoxicated on Life, and Atta Mama! Be sure to visit each of the blogs on the linky below to have the chance to win many more fabulous prizes for your new baby.

Enter the Dream Nursery Giveaway! Win over $1000 worth of amazing prizes for your new bundle of joy.

Grand Prize Giveaway

Our hosts have put together a grand prize worth more than $1,000 to help one lucky new mama as she gets started with her baby.

Dream Nursery Giveaway Grand Prize!

Naturepedic

Naturepedic has become the standard for safe and healthy organic baby and children’s mattresses. Naturepedic products eliminate hazardous chemicals found in conventional mattresses while offering a more natural and non-toxic alternative for parents. In addition, Naturepedic does not sacrifice critical features and benefits such as waterproofing and a hypoallergenic design.

Lightweight Series crib mattress of the winners choosing! $329

Go Mama Go: Wonder Bumpers

Go mama Go offers crib bedding alternative that is scientifically proven and is also excluded from all bans on the sale of crib bumpers! Quality, design and safety are the backbone of their company. These features shine through their transitional, superior nursery products that will provide you and your children safety, comfort and beauty for years to come.

38 Set or 38 pack Wonder Bumper Sets of the winners choosing! $249

Nurture Imagination

Nurture brand products bring diverse and imaginative style to your baby’s nursery by fostering one-of-a-kind relationships with artists, designers, and product thinkers everywhere. Nurture provides high quality nursery decor and accents to brighten any early morning. Providing safe products that encourage the joyful growth and development of little ones is Nurture Imagination’s number one goal. Innovative thinking keeps mom and dad happy, too!

“Nest” Crib Set $179

The Green Mama

Manda Aufochs Gillespie is the green mama. She has been working on things green for 20 years: including helping one of North America’s largest green daycares, a multi-million dollar green building project in an urban ecovillage, and hundreds of individual families. She has appeared as the “green guru” in numerous media sources including on ABC and HBO and her Green Mama book is being published by Dundurn this June. You can ask her your questions at www.thegreenmama.com. 

Detoxify Your Nursery Consult $75

Swaddle Designs

Swaddle Designs was created by Lynette Damir, a registered nurse with an education in design. As a nurse she was often approached by new mothers looking for assistance in swaddling their newborns. In an effort to help parents provide that perfect earth-side transition to their babies, Swaddle Designs was born. Not only are these products eco-friendly, but also an affordable choice for products made in the USA.

SwaddleDuo $38

Ultimate Receiving Blanket $25.00

Fit2B

Fit2B offers wholesome workouts to the whole family. Stream affordable TummySafeâ„¢ fitness anywhere, anytime! With members worldwide, we provide unlimited access to almost 100 routines, and our family-friendly focus keeps things modest, safe and fun for all ages. We are passionate about standing in the gap for those who have been led to believe that they will always look pregnant or will always leak when exercising. We are here to let people know how to heal their split tummy muscles while offering ways to workout if you have a gap in your gut.

6 Month Membership $59.95

Little Me Apparel

Little Me clothing has an age-appropriate approach to the world of baby fashion. Made to promote the age of exploration and discovery, everything is designed to keep babies comfortable and snuggly. Little Me uses soft fabrics like cotton, terrycloth, and velor to enhance a child’s natural inclination to move and explore his or her world.

3 Ballerina or Safari Little Me Footies $48

A Big Christmas Shopping Spree Giveaway!

A BIG Christmas Shopping Spree Giveaway!

It’s time for another BIG giveaway here! I love partnering with other bloggers to bring you awesome giveaways like this one! Three winners will receive a $250 Amazon gift card!! Winners will have their gift cards in time for Black Friday shopping deals to make the most bang for your buck! So let’s get to it!

A Big Christmas Shopping Spree Giveaway

I hope you haven’t done all your shopping for Christmas already… if you have you may want to buy a big ticketed item for the whole family!

I’m so excited to bring to you, A Big Christmas Shopping Spree Giveway, where 3 readers will each win their own $250 Amazon Gift Card to go on a shopping spree that they will never forget.

Let me introduce you to the wonderful sponsors of this amazing giveaway that you will not want to miss out on:

Teachers of Good Things | Beyond the Cover | Homeschool Giveaways and Freebies | The Chaos and The Clutter | Intoxicated on Life | Simply Sherryl | Golden Reflections Blog | The Vicki Arnold Blog | Wildflower Ramblings | Kids Yoga Stories | Moola Saving Mom | Growing Up Triplets | Life Coaching & More | Daze of Adventures | Family, Faith and Fridays | Stretching a Buck | Susie Homeschooler | Frugal Homeschool Family | The Teaching Mama | For This Season | Raising the Barrs | Grace Tells Another Story | Mom’s Mustard Seed | Raising Lifelong Learners | Surviving the Stores | How to Homeschool for Free | Whole New Mom | Natural Beach Living | The Encouraging Mom | i Dream of Clean | Abundant Life | Psycho with 6 | Angie Rgy

Here is how the Big Christmas Shopping Spree Giveaway works:

  • A big giveaway deserves big entry options – Between November 12th through November 18th, you can come back and registered for as many options as you desire until you have entered all of them that you desire to enter.
  • Enter some entries more than once – You can add a new comment on a different blog every day, so visit more of the sponsors and leave a comment to have another entry! You can even tweet once a day for additional entries.
  • You must be 18 years old and living in the United States – The 3 winners will receive an Amazon Gift Card in the mail.
  • Winners will be verified – Each winner drawn will be verified that they entered the giveaway correctly.
  • Winners must provide mailing address within 48 hours of notification – To claim your prize, you only have 48 hours to provide your mailing address or a new winner will be drawn. No exceptions. Be sure to check your email on November 19th or 20th to be sure you don’t miss out on a shopping spree you will likely never forget!
  • Winners shop on Amazon – If you are one of the winners, you can shop online for all of those loved ones on your shopping list. All in time for Black Friday specials!

Now let’s get to the entry and one step closer to 3 people winning a $250 Amazon Gift Card for a Big Christmas Shopping Spree Giveaway:

 

 

Olly – a Homeschool Giveaway

Olly - a homeschool organization tool giveaway

Olly for Homeschool Organization

Today’s post is a quick one. Trisha from Intoxicated on Life (you may have noticed she’s one of my bloggy bff’s…) recently asked for help promoting a giveaway for Olly, a homeschool organization tool.

Seeing as I love homeschooling, organization, and giveaways; it seemed an obvious choice. I love bringing you all giveaways. So, here it is:

Organize Your Homeschool Win Olly for your Apple Computer & iPad (2 winners - $59.98 value).jpg

Olly Giveaway!

It’s time to get all that homeschool paperwork under control! Let Olly help organize your school days and keep track of your records. With Olly you can create courses, detailed lesson plans, print out to-do sheets for your kids, record grades, maintain manuscripts, keep reading lists, and more. You can use some of the features or all of them. Be sure to check out this post that gives you the low-down on Olly.

We are so excited to give not one, but TWO of you a chance to win Olly for your Apple computer as well as for your iPad. This is a package worth $59.98! wOOhOO! Are you ready to get rid of your paper planner and record-keeping? Then enter this giveaway below. And if you don’t win, don’t worry. Really, for homeschool planning and record-keeping software that you can use year after year after year this is a bargain. Olly for your Apple computer is just $39.99 and for your iPad is just $19.99.

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