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936Pennies Family RedeemThe205 Video

Parents, It Is Time To Redeem The 205

July 15, 2016

We have 936 weeks with our children from when they are born until they turn 18. How we spend each of those weeks will shape their future.

We read the blogs, articles, statists, and research. The numbers are alarming, to say the very least.

Research shows that between nine months old and two years, children spend 912 hours in front of a screen. That’s nearly 5 and a half waking weeks.

From 3 to 7 years old, they spend nearly 37 waking weeks with a digital device.

From 8 to 12 years old, they spend 10,950 hours, that’s 65 waking weeks, staring at a screen.

And then from 13 years old until 18, they spend an additional 98 waking weeks transfixed on a screen.

It all adds up to 205 waking weeks with our children that we are giving away. Rather, that we are throwing away.

The numbers are alarming. Yet reading them, I come time and time again to this one thought:  The last thing any of us parents need is guilt.

Rather, we need hope. And inspiration. And practical ideas for reclaiming this time. We need to know that we are not powerless.

Screens are stealing childhoods. They are robbing us of our legacies. And they are threatening our families. And we are the ones lowering our guard and giving them the upper hand in this battle. But not any more.

As Gary Chapman puts it in his book, Growing Up Social:

“It takes effort to switch from the convenience of screen time to an interactive or tactile activity for a child. But the benefits of your son’s or daughter’s development are well worth it. You will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your child adjusts to new screen-free routines.”

Inconvenience is a small price to pay when it comes to redeeming childhoods and protecting families. I’d say a few temper tantrums or meltdowns is well worth the victory in this battle.

Join my family in coming weeks as we share practical ideas through our own stories and video blogs, as well as giveaways, to help spread hope and inspiration for reclaiming the 205 weeks before they are gone.

It’s not too late. Are you ready? It’s time to #RedeemThe205

936Pennies Craft Homeschooling Motherhood Video

Story Stones – A Fun And Creative Way To Teach Your Kids The Art Of Storytelling!

May 19, 2016

“Zeke, if you could have any animal in the world as your pet, what would you have?”

My four-year-old boy thought for a moment, contemplating his vast options.

“A lion.” I could tell in his voice, he was sure. But then he added, “A nice lion. One that hugs people. But lions are big, Mom, so he would have to live in a really big container.”


This boy and his imagination. More and more as his world grows, so does his ability to fabricate whole worlds within his mind. Without the framework of reality stifling his ideas, his inventiveness catches me off guard, brings a smile to my lips, and laughter to my eyes every single day.

Yet there is one area of his imagination where he’s been struggling.

Often while we’re riding in the car he asks me, “Mom, can you tell me a story?” Sometimes he asks specifics; make it about a lion, or a monkey. I make up some tale, trying my best to conjure up some kind of plot. Upon ,”Then end,” there is always a request for another story. Thinking up these things is exhausting.

Lately, when he asks for a second story, I have been encouraging him to make up a story for me instead. This is when his voice softens to a whisper as he replies, “I don’t know how.” I can hear the confidence slipping away from my boy.


We all know that reading is important for a child; that it holds endless benefits for their development and knowledge. Yet I think that one area that is often neglected is this learned art of storytelling.

I can still recall stories that my parents told me when I was very young. Twenty years later, I can still see the zoo of stuffed animals towered high on each side of my little body. My dad sitting on the edge of my bed, telling me a tale of a family of bears off on a birthday picnic adventure. It’s a story I think upon when we take our boys out for their birthday picnics.

Stories hold power. They can last a lifetime. I want my boys to experience this incredible piece of life.


That is why I love this idea I came across last week for making Story Stones. My boys and I made a whole day of creating these fun story prompts; picking out stones at the river, choosing stickers at the craft shop, and working as a team to create our Story Stones.

As soon as they were dry, my boys needed no prompting or instruction. They set right to work creating whimsical, hilarious tales, and I sat back completely amazed at their new storytelling abilities. It ends up, all they needed were some ideas and characters right in their hands– a plot that they could visualize-– to set them on a path that will surely lead to incredible stories throughout their lifetime.

If you haven’t already, check out the video we made at the beginning of this post, telling a story of its own on how we created our Story Stones. Below are some detailed instructions and tips for making your own Story Stones. And don’t forget to check back when you’re done, and post on my Facebook Page how your Story Stones turned out, and the stories your kids are creating with them!


How To Create Your Own Story Stones

What you will need:

  • Smooth, flat, stones
  • Stickers likable to story telling (We used camping stickers, animals from the woods, farm animals, family stickers, trucks, and fish)
  • Mod Podge glue
  • Thick paintbrush


  1. Place one sticker on each stone. Make sure the sticker is completely adhered to the stone, with no edges sticking up.
  2. Coat the whole side of the stone (with the sticker on it) in Mod Podge glue.
  3. Wait for the glue to (mostly) dry, then re-coat. Apply 5-6 coats total
  4. Start telling stories!


We used scrapbooking stickers form Hobby Lobby. If you wait until they have a sticker sale (usually half off), and use the coupon on their website for 40% off the Mod Podge glue, you could do this very cheaply.

I read on this post that kids also enjoy using Story Stones for sorting, role play, Doll House characters, etc. My 3 year old was using the Truck Story Stones he made and “rolling” them around roll playing, just like he does with his Matchbox Cars!

Don’t forget to tell us how they turned out on my Facebook page!