How to Survive VBS

“If you want to make the leap from awesome husband to ‘out of this world husband,’ you will go get me a Sonic Diet Coke every morning this week!!” I hinted to my husband.


Loud music. (played on repeat in your head forever.) Louder kids. (outnumbered 5 to 1.) Running around. (Non-stop for 4 straight hours)

And I signed up for it. With a smile.

It’s VBS.  Say Ya Ya Ya Ya Yes for the Va Va B B S!!!!! (Now that is stuck in my mind!!)

I have taught VBS for the last several years. Every year I say it is my last year. And every year I sign up for more responsibility the following year 😉 VBS is like childbirth. You forget about all the aches and pains and just remember the pure JOY. Like watching my sweet 1st graders sing, “I Am Remarkably Made!” Their precious smiles shine with their belief of every word they sing to the tips of their sweet totsies.

Here are 10 ways I Survive VBS:

  1. Procrastinate Not –   Some people work best under pressure. I just curl in a corner and cry if I get overwhelmed. VBS can make you feel like you are swamped with so much material! Bible Lessons, crafts, memory verses, games, and the list goes on! I start 6 weeks before VBS and tackle a day each week. On the sixth week, I review the whole week. For each day, I will make lists of materials I need to buy and materials I need to bring from home for that day. I will also go ahead and complete any copies or cutting out that needs to be done. Spreading it out makes is less intimidating. I get a big grocery sack and put all the materials needed for each day and label with the day of the week.  Has the procrastination ship already sailed?  Skip to #9 😉
  2. Teamwork– Get together with your fellow teachers. 2, 3, 4 heads are better than 1! Talking through the lessons with your peers will help you decide what will work best for your group. You can also go in together and get some wonderful things from Oriental Trading to help your week. Decorations and small prizes are reasonable and worth every penny. Don’t reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to!
  3. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate – If you are fortunate to have extra helpers for your VBS, then use them! In my classroom, we split up the Bible lesson, craft and game. Whoever owns that task they OWN it! It is their responsibility to make sure all the supplies are in order and lead that activity. You don’t have to do it all on your own. I love to involve our Youth in VBS. Some are proactive and others may need a bit more direction. Even if it is getting them to just sit between Chatty Cathy and Handsy MaGee, it is all appreciated!! And the kids LOVE to have the cool teenagers in the classroom. Honestly, it is as much a ministry to the youth as it is to our little ones! They are all the future of our Church.
  4. Visuals Engrave the Lessons in Their Little Minds – Any time you can include a
    Ocean Trenches

    Ocean Trench “Submerged” VBS

    visual aid in telling your story, it will help leave a lasting impression in the kids’ hearts and minds. Costumes, acting out scenes, and science experiments all engage the children. Engaged kids are listening and learning.  I also love any visual that the children can take home as a conversation starter. Now VBS is reaching others that didn’t even attend! This week we gave our kids a sticker with a porpoise on it. When asked, the kids can explain that God has a specific purpose for each and every one of them 😉

  5. Decorating: Less is More –In this Pinterest world, it is easy to get caught up in “who has the coolest room” mentality. The focus of the week really needs to be God’s Word and sharing His love with the children. I am not crafty. My prize decoration was a jellyfish made out of a Dollar Tree shower cap and curling ribbon. (I will admit I got a ton of compliments on it that made this girl feel pretty Miss Crafty!) Don’t worry about the decorations. After the initial excitement of walking into the cool VBS room, the kids are over it. They are ready to learn and be entertained! You do that…not the room J
  6. Don’t Overschedule – VBS week can be energizing and exhausting all at the same time. When we get home after a morning at VBS, I just need a bit to sit and decompress. I am so glad that we made a decision to not plan much of anything during the week of VBS. We go to VBS, enjoy family time, rest up and maybe have some pool time since it is 100 degrees this week!!!
  7. Invite Friends – Every year I ask my kids to give me a list of kids to invite to VBS. Southern Lady-7Most years I get a lot of no’s, but we never gave up asking. This year I hit the jackpot. I got six awesome kids to come with us! I had the extreme privilege to hold one of our sweet friend’s hand as she prayed and asked Jesus to live in her heart.   Bless. It doesn’t get better than that.
  8. Trust the Holy Spirit – Often the parents have been planting seeds of God’s Word and Truth throughout the children’s lives. As teachers, we throw some VBS Miracle Grow on those seeds. Sometimes we have the privilege to introduce God’s love to kids to the first time. We do our part. We plan. We prepare. We practice our lessons. But it is the Holy Spirit that will prepare their little hearts for Jesus. We don’t have to carry that burden. We just do our part in God’s plan for the children’s salvation.  It’s not our job to “save” anyone.  Only Jesus can do that.
  9. Pray, Pray and Pray Some More – The whole week needs to be wrapped in prayer. From the workers to the children to the children’s parents. We need to be praying for the Holy Spirit to be present, for our words to be His, and for His love to be overflowing through us.
  10. Don’t Skip the Snack Table – Did I mention that the snacks are miraculously negative calories during VBS week?  A Twix bar and a Diet Coke two hours after breakfast every day are totally necessary.  Ministering to God’s children can boost your mood and your appetite.  😉

Now for a week long nap if I could just get that music outta my head…

Sunday I Was Overwhelmed. Friday I am FREE.

Sunday night I was completely overwhelmed about the prospect of writing a book proposal.  I wrote about it on Monday.  How was I going to be a good mama to my three kids and get done what I needed to? A walk outside and a prayer with God calmed my nerves and got me focused.


I planned my days out to make sure the kids got 100% of my focus while we did something fun, but also scheduled time for me.  I took the kids to the zoo.  We went to the pool a few times.  Today we went to see “minions” (Four thumbs up by the way)  We had a great week.  Everyone had fun and everyone is worn out.

I also easily had the time to tackle my stuff.  Here I am five days later and I am DONE.  29 pages.  Single Spaced.  Times New Roman. 12 pt font.  Complete.  All three days earlier than my completion goal.  And I feel good.  I feel FREE.

So now the Southern Lady Mama and the Lady Dog (my writing buddy) have ordered the kids pizza and are enjoying a much deserved margarita!

SLM & Lady Dog

p.s.  Don’t mind the piles of laundry, dirty dishes, or dust bunnies that have taken residence in my house this week.  They just didn’t make the priority list this week.  And guess what??  Life.  Went.  On.

How To Get Your Kid’s School Stuff ORGANIZED!

It’s the end of school year.  They came home with backpacks chock full of…stuff.

Piles. Piles. Everywhere!!

Piles of art that Ella worked on for hours making just perfect. Piles of stories that Ethan wrote with his crazy imagination that are too cute to toss. Piles of Kindergarten memories from Matthew that I cannot let go of because he cannot grow up.

And it is about to drive me out of my ever-lovin’ mind.

I am about Type A as they come. I love for everything to have its own spot. If it doesn’t, I break out in a cold sweat. If I could have a shopping spree at any store, it would be The Container Store. If I could add anything to my house, it would be a tricked out laundry/mud room. Hooks, shelves and cubbies for everyone and everything.  My favorite Pinterest board is my Organization one. These are the few pins that I actually attempt to execute.

A few months ago, I finally had enough time to tackle a Pin that I knew would get the piles off my floor and desk. And today – hallelujah – it took me about 2 minutes to clean up the piles and put the piles right in their own spot.

One of my favorite blog’s is . That is where I found the project that would save my sanity – The School Paperwork Storage System: Praise the Lord! Something to help me with the piles of school treasures that I want to save!!

I did a little different veFile Foldersrsion, but it was very similar. I decided to use a file box so I could stack them up. You can get them from any office supply store for about $10. I got brightly colored hanging files because colors make me happy. 🙂 I have a folder for each grade – preschool through 12th grade. She had some pretty colored labels you can print. However, I am too cheap to buy a color printer. I went a different route with my favorite thing in my office – my beloved label-maker. I get down right giddy anytime I get to use it!

In each grade, I put several things:

  • Art
  • Keepsakes (not just from school – church or made at home too)
  • Copy of their school picture (and sports picture for the boys)
  • Brownie/Cub Scout
  • Star Progress Reports
  • Teacher Conference Notes
  • Year End Report Card

If I had lots of extra storage, I may put them in a closet. But I don’t, so I made them extra snazzy and put an 8×10 picture of them on the front. They are so cute, why would I put them in a closet anyway? It is actually handy having the boxes accessible. Then as things come home, I can immediately either toss in the trash or file in their adorably organized box.
File Boxes

Piles Poof! Be gone.

Very Happy Mama.