Due to the recent school closings and endless time at home, here is a list of 50+ ways to use your Amazon Alexa smart speaker to break the boredom and introduce some fun into your day. Here are some resources to find inventive ways to interact with your Amazon Alexa:
The suggestion to play games led us down a path of interactive fun for 30 minutes. My children mostly enjoyed the “Animal Game” and Alexa guessed at least 10 different animals with my 8-year-old son before moving onto the next activity.
The “Chompers” podcast is a great way to get your children to brush their teeth while the “Kids Court” seems like it would be a humorous way to deal with meltdowns and disagreements between siblings but exercise caution – it is just a game.
Do not forget that Amazon is also a great resource for finding more “skills” and new games for the Smart Speaker or Home Assistant. You will also be able to disable and enable games or skills on your personal home assistant before you interact with it and your children. Also, you should download the Alexa App onto your smartphone to remotely operate your smart speaker to make calls, announcements, set timers, and make routines. It has been a great resource in our home since the #1 thing we use Alexa for is praise music blasting a solid volume 10 almost all day long.
How to use Google Slides to create a Children’s Chore Chart
Would you like to learn how to use Google Slides and create a beautiful children’s chore chart and responsibility chart for your family? Wouldn’t it be great to better understand Google Drive to demystify the technology so you can better utilize it?
Not only can you better understand Google Drive, but you can create amazing printables that will better serve you and your family, today! If you love technology and view it as a tool, not a hindrance then let’s dive into today’s post all about using, editing, and printing a PRINTABLE Google Slide Children’s Chore Chart (or any printable you truly need).
*This post contains affiliate links.
What is Google Slides?
Google Slides is Google’s version of the PowerPoint Presentation. What is PowerPoint? It is a great software tool that professionals and students have been using for the last 20 years to present eye-popping, sometimes gimmicky, presentations that have become the #1 standard for presenting anything today. So get on board or get left behind. You can read all about my love for Google and how I use it on a daily basis on this post.
How do I get Google Slides?
Set up a Google Account by setting up a Gmail account that will provide you with an email and access to Google Drive.
Within Google Drive, you will have an option to create a “+New” digital file.
After clicking the “+New” tab, you will select “Google Slides”
Another option, you can also download “Google Slides” to your mobile device and create items directly within the program without accessing Google Drive. (Google Drive is your Windows Explorer ONLINE or a cloud service that stores all these files in a place that won’t disappear and you can access anytime anywhere.)
Why should I create a Children’s Chore Chart?
As a mom to four little kids that are eight and under, I understand the importance of trying to create routines and schedules. I love drafting children’s chore charts and lists on regular paper but nothing beats a well designed, pretty, and evenly lined up chore chart slipped inside a page protector, or better yet, LAMINATED so my children can quickly and easily check off their achievements – #WINWIN situation!
*Post was written during the great Coronavirus quarantine so we were desperately looking for systems to stay productive.
FULL TRANSPARENCY! I am not a born organized person. I lose my keys on a daily basis and have mini piles all around the house! As a creative, I rise to the challenge of creating something beautiful and surrounding myself with beautiful things like clean and straight forward charts HELPS A TON!
What works for you? Leave a comment below with tips and tricks for staying organized as a creative.
How to use Google Slides to create a Children’s Chore Chart
You could create one from scratch OR just use the template that I have created for you 🙂
Use the link below to gain access to the template we will be using throughout the rest of this guide.
You have two options.
One, you can download the PDFs of the Chore and Responsibility Charts without any editing needed to print directly. All you have to do is write in the chores and duties the child[ren] will accomplish and Voila! You are done.
Two, Click the link provided to you via email to access the template. FIRST THING YOU MUST DO is create a COPY! If you do not have a Gmail account then the only option will be to download.
The edits available are located in the name, chore lines, and verse text at the bottom of the chart.
Click the first line in the table to start writing the duties and chores needed.
^^^DON’T WORRY about making a mistake. There is an easy to use “redo” button located at the top of the Google Slides page that will backup your edits.
You have entered all the data needed and am ready to download and/or print.
You could download as PDF or image file (.jpeg). A PDF would be used to PRINT and utilize on a fridge, etc. An image file could be used on your phone as a screensaver or perhaps inside an app that you can easily manipulate that way you save some paper.
The print preview and print option will provide you with more options to make sure the Chart fits onto your paper size.
You should select “advanced options” then “fit to printable area” so that the whole Chart will print on your paper size.
March 15, 2020: The Coronavirus epidemic inspired this post.
During these times of fear, panic, and unknown, it can be hard to find peace and true serenity. If you stumbled across this page seeking the internet for bible verses during times of panic then I would like to share with you a few verses from the Bible and our own personal experiences.
Psalm 94: 19
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.
This Bible verse is a great comfort for me during times of panic or anxiety.
Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease that normally is due to something or an event that has an uncertain outcome according to the Oxford dictionary. You can cast all your burdens and worries upon the Lord which is easier said than done. Why not give it a chance? Go to the Lord during this time of great anxiety and allow HIM to console you.
My six year old said it best when we asked her to describe consolation…
“It is like when the baby wakes up from his nap in complete darkness. He calls out for Mommy with tears because he is scared. Once Mommy enters the room his face gets all happy because he knows she is going to embrace him and give him comfort.”
He will bring you much joy and deafen out the noise and worry in your life.
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
Oftentimes, people would ask us how we dealt with my husband’s diagnosis of stage two lymphoma cancer, and without hesitation, we used this Bible verse during our time of panic because we quickly turned to this verse as a testimony and strength of our faith in Jesus Christ.
Our foundation as individuals and as a family unit hasn’t been in vain like building a house on sinking sand because our foundation is solid and unshakable. Our faith, future, and purpose is in God’s hands. We managed not to fall into a spiral of depression because my husband’s future was uncertain because the victory was already won by the blood of Jesus Christ.
Facing illness of any kind is like a storm raging against your home. How are you going to withstand the beating of the rain and wind? What is your foundation built upon?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
If there is a need that needs to be met bring it before the Lord. It is a command!
Don’t try to rely on your own strength to do it. We are to cast all our burdens onto Him who is able and willing to bear it for us. He died on the cross so we would not have to bear the penalty of our sins.
It sounds simple but truly I know the struggle of releasing my everyday worries – laundry, dishes, homemaking – to the Lord yet the BIG burdens like sickness and death are not something I hold onto because the control is out of my hands. It gives me peace and joy to know that ultimately God is in control. Does that release you or cause more anxiety? Control is hard to release when you have been holding onto everything so tightly that you are exhausted and white-knuckled.
I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.
FOREVER! We can NOT do anything to add or take away from HIS glory.
Again, the Lord is in control and ordains all things. Fear Him, not man.
So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.
A cornerstone is an important quality or feature on which a particular thing depends or is based.
What have you based your life on? Is something that cannot be stricken with panic? Is it a fortress of solitude? Peace? Joy?
It can not be shaken!
For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
He will hold you and carry you through this storm!
The research focused on families where both Mom and Dad worked full time yet their challenge of the work-family balancing act is not a new phenomenon. What is homemaking? Is the balance even achieveable? How does one achieve Biblical Homemaking? I know that I am not alone because these questions arise at every Bible study and coffee outing with fellow mothers and believers. What are we to do?
Personal Reflection: Life in my 30s
On February 1st of 2020, I will turn 35.
Over the years, I have learned to use my birthday as a celebration and time of reflection.
I am thankful for another opportunity to live out God’s glory through my personal story of redemption and renewal.
This year, I would like to reflect on Biblical Homemaking. How it is another way to grow closer to God and pour into the disciples, my children, living under the same roof as my husband and I.
01 | God called YOU to homemaking
My upbringing taught me to pursue education and find a career. I have a college degree and traveled the globe pursuing my own ambitions for the glory of the Lord. I was quite content to get married, raise children, and work full-time throughout it all. BUT, God had other plans.
My husband suggested that I become a stay-at-home-mother before we had our first child and I balked at the comment! What!?
However, the Lord softened my heart as our first child grew in my belly until the thought of staying home became a welcoming duty. However, I still wrestled and continue to struggle in this job. Which is why the story of Moses always resonates deep within my broken and insecure heart because God chose him – a murderer and man of doubt who lacked eloquent speech to become a mighty leader.
Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you ahve spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The Lord said to him, Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind” Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”
He was chosen not because he was perfect and had acquired ALL the skills necessary to accomplish the task of freeing God’s chosen people.
NOT AT ALL.
He possesed something far greater. He possessed faith.
02 | Moses’ was called to lead even though he objected
Moses was rescued from death by Pharoh’s daughter. He lived a privileged life and was trained up to be the next leader.
He chose to deny this life of sin and lies by aligning himself with God’s people; slaves.
Ok, wait! He was given the opportunity of a lifetime! He had it all! Yet, he chose to deny himself and live a life of persecution, pain, and longsuffering.
Yes he did.
A life spent rejecting what the world views as important and worthy; a life that is counter-cultural to today’s society always seems to cause confusion and judgement. Moses rejected the cultural norms of slavery to the point that he sinned in anger by committing murder! Then to escape judgement, he left the country to wander the desert as a shepard. (Read his story here)
Next Ruler of Egypt that becomes a Shepard in the desert.
BUT WAIT! Moses became the triumphant leader of God’s chosen people at 80 years old by leading them out of slavery into the promise land. Hallelujah!
03 | Your Faith walk and Biblical Homemaking work together
Great! But what does Moses have to do with Biblical Homemaking???
Everything! A Christ-filled life is a a life lived through faith not qualifications. We can get caught up with trying to impress others or entice them with all the fancy things we have accomplished but it is all for nothing in regards to kingdom work. My striving for excellence in womanhood, motherhood, work, and my marriage is like filthey rags – it counts for nothing! My treasures are the ones stored in the heavenly kingdom.
“All of my righteous acts are like filthey rags;
eventually I will shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind, my sins, will sweep me away.”
Moses knew this and lived this out as he wandered the desert for 80 years!
Moses lived a life fearing God not man.
Moses lived a life trusting God not himself (most of the time).
Moses lived a life serving others not his own selfish ambitions.
The Old Testament is full of marvelous stories of ordinary men living out extraordinary lives trusting God not themselves. Serving God not man. It is encouragment to this weary mother’s heart that she does NOT have to be perfect or perfectly trained up in homemaking to be loved and accepted by her Savior. AMEN!
04 | What is Homemaking?
Typically, it means:
Typically, a married woman
Works full-time; homemaking duties is a full-time career
Creates a welcominghome life for husband and children
Keeping the house
Helping her husband
Traditionally, does NOT work outside the home for monetary compensation
Traditionally, mothers would train up daughters to help as soon as they were old enough
Technically, I qualify for this job description but it feels empty and daunting. My mother worked full-time as did my grandmother so I wasn’t trained up to be a homemaker which is why I can feel Moses when I say “Pardon your servant Lord, please send someone else.”
(Hey Mom, I love you and we have discussed this at length so you know where my heart stands on this issue and how blessed I feel to be following Christ as a mother. Thank you.)
However, I find great encouragment that my “lack of qualifcations” does NOT revoke my job as wife, mom, and homemaker. The Lord will also help me to speak and teach me what to say and do. He is the almighty GOD! Hallelujah, I do NOT have to rely on my own strength to do this job.
05 | What is Biblical Homemaking?
Moses lived by faith not his qualifications. Motherhood is an endurance race that cannot be won with righteous acts or pretty living rooms where one is constantly striving to put up a facade that “everything is perfect and great”. Ok, let me backtrack here. I am not saying that a well put together home is wrong because it isn’t! However, if your desire is to portray perfection and please others then that is not a faith-based Biblical Homemaking life.
The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 considers a field and then buys it. An industrious woman that pursued business opportunities while caring for her husband, children and home not her own selfish ambitions. A life of humility.
Descriptions of Virtuous women of the Bible:
1. Man should not be alone and God provided a helper FIT just for him – US! Genesis 2:18
2. Women are reflections of the word of God that can be seen through the art of homemaking by loving their husbands and children, being self-controlled, pure, working at home, being kind, and submissive to their own husbands. Titus 2:4-8
3. A working woman and worshiper of God, Lydia, was a seller purple goods furthermore she opened her heart and home to Paul. Acts 16:14-15
4. And the Proverbs 31 woman, the woman that a even a King should pursue, had a heart for family, work and kingdom-mindedness who worked diligently with willing hands to provide for her home which included her husband, children, and maidservants. She was dutiful and industrious without fear of the future. She was considered blessed. Proverbs 31
As a mother who made a choice to stay home, to forgo going into the workforce full-time during the developmental years of raising my children, and was raised by parents who worked full-time, I do feel a little bit unprepared for the job BUT it isn’t a narrative that I have to continue to live out.
I know that I am not alone. I have spoken with many other women who have also chosen this route yet feel as though they are barely treading water.
But there is hope to be found.
1. Equip yourself with Godly wisdom through reading God’s word. It will strengthen your heart, mind, and soul for this job. Do it daily and dig deep when weary. Find a journal here.
2. Seek out mentors. Nothing beats having a Titus 2 woman in your life that will encourage and exhort you to be a better version of yourself.
3. Find cleaning routines or habits that work for you. We are attempting minimalism through some deep decluttering because if it is “I” who manages the home then it needs to suit my personality type. A cluttered home creates a cluttered mind and heart which for me is hard to manage because I am very creative and driven visually. Less inventory in the home means it will be easier to manage and provide margin to do what matters.
1. Your church is the place to look for community like joining a MOPS group. I was once told that “Nobody can read your mind. You have to share with others for them to know you are lonely.” I have struggled with an introverted and people pleasing personality for years (big shocker for some of you reading) so sharing my heart in the beginning was a struggle. I would advise you to please share your feelings with others and try to have a teachable spirit to overcome any hurts or hangups in your life.
2. Join a Bible study or attend your church’s weekly gatherings or find another church to attend during the week if yours does not offer one. We have several families that join our Wednesday night service since we offer babysiting and child organizations then parents can dig into God’s word.
3. Build your OWN community of friends. Be the doer in the area that creates fellowship over loneliness. Community over competition. Joy over anxiety.
4. If a physical community is not possible, join a Facebook group for moms or an online community that will support you.
1. Change your mindset from seeking “balance” to seeking “discipline”. I cannot offer much more advice since, I too, am struggling to find the discipline to “make our home” a haven and refuge.
2. Determine in your heart to be better. To do it now. To be better.
3. Declutter your home! If the inventory in your home is so overwhelming that you cannot begin to undertake the burden then get rid of it!
4. Do the action then the feelings will follow. Start washing the dishes even if you don’t feel like it. Make it a game with yourself and/or your kids. Set a timer to get it done then race to beat it! Play praise music and dance your way through the chores. JUST DO IT!
Run the race of Biblical Homemaking
A verse to live by during this season of endurance racing.
I was so stimulated by this subject matter of Biblical Homemaking that a family keepsake film danced across my heart for days. It is something that I wanted to share with you and my children when they are older.
My personality may be unique to me but my tendencies and dependencies are not. I know there are other Christian moms out there who struggle with organization, discipline, order, and structure yet they excel in multiple other areas. As a creative, I tend to thrive in chaos. Living off of the adrenaline and caffiene needed to sustain this go-go-go lifestyle. However, my heavenly Father is a God of order and structure, so I have chosen to live by Hebrews 12.
Hebrews 12:1 says:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hindersand the sinthat so easily entangles,
and let us run with perseverancethe racemarked out for us.
Today, you may be a full-time working mom or a full-time stay at home mom or something in between like me, I would like to offer up a prayer of encouragement for you on this journey in motherhood. You are not alone.
The race has been marked out of you. You were chosen to be the mother of your adorable babies and the wife to your husband. If the narrative in your head has been leading you astray then take captive your thoughts or any argument against the knowledge of God, and make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
My hope is to transfer hope into YOUR heart. Let me know how I can help.
Staying home with you four has been the biggest challenge and most rewarding job of my life. Yes, there were times of difficulty but amidst it all I chose JOY in the journey. I chose you over my career out of obedience to the Lord and would do it again 1000 times over.
Hi! I’m Holly, and at Knitting Our Story, I embrace the fact that you can love your new smart device while also living a full and intentional life; you do not have to choose one over the other. If you desire to use technology as a workplace resource, a fancy new toy, or want to utilize it for creative resources, I’m here to support you with why you should and how it can be done.
OH NO! My computer keeps saying it will no longer support Windows 7 by Microsoft after January 14, 2020. What does that mean for my personal computer?
The time has come for the End of Life (EOL) support for the Windows 7 operating system by Microsoft and for a lot of people this almost constant pop up window for the last year is more than concerning. If you own a personal computer, laptop or desktop PC, with the Windows 7 operating system but use it for nominal use like checking your email or social media, you may be scratching your head about what to do next.
*This post contains affiliate links which are marked with an *. This means I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through one of my links. If you do, thank you for the support ♥
I started this article before the end of support date of Windows 7 and am now writing it to myself and the many others who may have a device older than five years that supports this beloved operating system.
Gone are the days when you could continue using outdated and unsupporeted programs like Winows Vista and those before it. Every time you tap the keys and connect to the internet you are putting your personal data at risk.
You are probably saying, “I know Holly but all of this is going over my head! I don’t know what to do next nor do I have any money to protect or upgrade my computer!”
Let’s discuss the options available to YOU! (Remember I am here to serve you and if your computer is at risk connect with me at holly [at] knittingourstory.com)
1 | WHY IS MICROSOFT ENDING SUPPORT FOR WINDOWS 7?
Let’s face it. Microsoft is a tech giant and software is a hot business. Over time, they have learned that to keep up with their competitors they have to keep raising the bar with their software packages. It is ultimately their choice to continue or NOT continue to support a product they developed.
The wave of smartphone technology and the minimalismus categorical design of software is overtaking technology.
Ever use Netflix? Or have a Roku TV? The cards or blocks with vivid imagery is an easy and visually appealing way to convey information quickly. You can easily select your choice without having to read any information. And that approach has been utilized across almost ALL consumer technology. INSTANT GRATIFICATION with no time wasted on having to sort through useless information.
What are the differences between Windows 7 vs 10?
01 | Account Integration
Microsoft has now introduced Account Integration which requires the user to link an account to their device for any type of functionality.
HUH? If you own an Apple iPhone then you are already familiar with inputting your Apple ID to open your phone or download any new apps. It is a way to create a seamless user experience over multiple devices and allows access to some feartures offered by Microsoft.
02 | Start Menu
The Start menu has a new icon, and unlike Windows 8, Windows 10 brought back some of the things that Windows 7 users love.
The menu has items listed in Alphabetical order and different icons so do not assume a program is gone because you do not see it’s normal image associated with it because the new design is the biggest learning curve. You still have access to the normal functions like Shut Down, settings, and control panel.
TIP: If you need it larger, you can bring your mouse to the edge of the window and ENLARGE it.
03 | Tiles (Apps)
You will notice an area to the right of your long list of programs on the Start Menu that Mircosoft calls the “tiles”. Each tile can either be a shortcut to program you use regularly, a webpage shortchut, or an application. For example, You have an option to use the “Facebook” app or just log onto the internet using your explorer (such as Edge, Google Chrome, or FireFox). If this all seems a bit much and you dislike the functionality, right click the tile and disable it.
04 | Cortana
Your personal assistant via Mircosoft which functions just like the Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri.
Ask it to jot down notes, make an alarm, find a document, etc. A new feature that I haven’t full utlized but something you should be aware of since it pops up pretty often unless you disable it which you can!
05 | Accessibility (Control Panel, Settings, and Edge)
Mircosoft really changed up their design and flow to offer a more streamlined experince for their user but if you like continuity and maybe a little resistant to change then serarching for these areas may not come easily.
The control panel can be accessed by holding down the Windows Key + X to access the nitty gritty areas of your computer, while the all encompassing Gear Icon, which has become the universal Settings icon on everything, is where you access your settings for design, WiFi, devices, etc. The design is pleasing and straight forward but still a learning curve from Windows 7.
ALSO, you have a new Windows Internet Explorer! Edge is the new and imporved windows explorer so don’t get frustrated when you cannot find your old icons.
2 | WHAT TO DO IF MY COMPUTER IS STILL RUNNING WINDOWS 7?
You need to know that each day pass January 14, 2020, the more at risk you are making yourself and your precious data on the computer or laptop.
01 | Outdated Software
The functionality of your computer will slowly depreciate. The more programs added and files downloaded the more it will slow down your computer. Like any device, it requires regular maintenance and cleaning. Yet, the lack of security and updates on your computer will make it more at risk of crashing or being hacked.
The outdated software means that your computer data could be lost if it ins’t back up!
Back it up!
Get an external harddrive and save all your documents, photos, videos, and music. This is just regular legacy maintenance but MOST DEFINITELY important if your hardware (computer/laptop/smartphone) is over five years old. Gone are the days when you could keep something for a lifetime with regular care.
Since you do not have Mircosoft providing security through Windows Defender, you need to have an alternative security system to keep your device afloat.
I recommend using Malwarebytes, it is a wonderful program that is available for FREE with limited security while a full license will provide full security at a reasonable price. Considering you are choosing to continue with Windows 7 against their approval I would recommend this or any other type of third party security software to protect your personal data shared online.
UPDATE: 2/29/2020 I used the above link and it worked! I did find however that one must have already downloaded it previously and chose to revert. When Windows 10 first debut, I did use it but chose to revert because there were too many bugs.
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