The Bates Family

Making Learning Fun

by Kelly on October 25, 2011


I used to love making hand made cards; it was a hobby for me. The girls would sometimes gather around and make their own renditions of the cards I had made.

As a 9 year old, Erin in particular, loved to “help me.”  I used calligraphy in my cards, and I began to notice how beautiful Erin’s handwriting was becoming as a result of copying! For the next several birthdays I invested in card making and calligraphy books to encourage her. I soon became much too busy for card making, so Erin put all of my supplies to use and far exceeded my abilities!

Passing the torch: Erin is much older and still makes cards, but now I watch the younger children surround her as she patiently shares stickers and supplies, while encouraging them to develop their own copies. DSC08982

Now, Carlin has successfully learned how to mimic Erin’s calligraphy and card making skills. She often makes cards for Erin when Erin’s schedule is too full! In fact, Carlin made a tub full of cards to sell at The Appalachian Museum’s Homecoming & Craft Fair.

A little time , a little patience, and a little love will improve the skills of your young children or young siblings when their curious eyes are begging to participate in your activities. It may take you longer, cost you more, or make a bigger mess… but the end result is well worth the investment!! So take time to share yourself with those whom you can impact for good!






{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

Annie October 25, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Those cards are beautiful! You never know how much time and talent they take until you try and make one yourself! I have a friend who makes beautiful cards and I appreciate every one of them! What great advice for teaching our children! Thanks for sharing and I have been praying for your pregnancy! Thanking the Lord with you, Annie


Patti October 25, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Your girls are very talented! Is there a website where the cards can be purchased or are they only available from time to time at local events?


Gil October 26, 2011 at 1:03 am

Dear Patti,
This was Carlin’s first time to sell any cards, although she often makes them for friends and family just for fun. You’re welcome to write her, though… knowing Carlin, she’d probably put you some together for free. Love, Kelly


Denise October 25, 2011 at 11:07 pm

very beautiful cards. I wish that more people would make gifts like the old days, it was more from the heart


Nan October 25, 2011 at 11:17 pm

What beautiful crafts! It is exciting to see children working with their hands. I think it’s an important part of their education.

It is interesting how technology has changed the world. I feel like this blog is a form of ministry, a form we didn’t have years ago. Do you find that you’re able to make connections through this form? Have you thought about letting your children minister via the Internet as well?


Gil October 26, 2011 at 1:01 am

Dear Nan,
Between school work, music lessons, hobbies, church, friends, and other ministry opportunities… time on the internet would steal their higher priorities, so at the moment none have showed an interest. Love, Kelly


Denise October 25, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Very beautiful cards.. I can see how Carlin sold out of them all!!


lisa October 26, 2011 at 12:35 am

The cards are beautiful. And I think Carlin is simply stunning. Keep on raising your family in the Lord. We need more of that in the world.


Charis October 26, 2011 at 1:11 am

I really like Carlin’s card-making skills! :) I used to do that, but I was NEVER as good as Carlin! Are ya’ll going to be speaking anytime soon in Virginia?


Gil October 26, 2011 at 2:06 am

Dear Charis,
We don’t do any far away speaking during school months… sorry! Love, Kelly


Ariana October 26, 2011 at 1:28 am

Oh Carlin’s cards are just beautiful. I was in Walmart the other day purchasing a baby shower card and was shocked at the prices I had to pay for a blah card ($3+). They seem overly priced for a printed piece of card stock. Hopefully these market conditions are great for your girls because the other day I surely would have loved the opportunity to purchase such a lovely homemade card instead!!


Shannon October 26, 2011 at 1:28 am

My children love to make cards and other handmade gifts for each other as well as for other family members. I love how it not only encourages a love for domestic skills that are being lost in todays fast pace, but also a love for taking time to make something special for their siblings (mom, dad, granparent, aunt…). With Christmas and birthdays it is all about what they can make! Be it a apron, crocheted dish rags or paper dolls, they all come from the heart and are more special than anything bought at the store.


Stephanie October 26, 2011 at 1:41 am

Thanks, Kelly, for your wise words. They kind of cut straight to the heart for me tonight. I’m guilty of doing things for my older daughter more than I care to admit, simply because it’s often quicker and easier. Tomorrow I’m going to make a point to take the time to help my daughter tie her own shoelaces, instead of just doing it for her (as I do every day). It’s ridiculous and embarassing, but she is 6 and still doesn’t know how to tie her own shoelaces – not because she’s incapable, but because I’ve just been too impatient to teach her! I know the confidence she will gain from learning to do it herself will be worth it, yet I’ve frankly been just too busy and/or lazy to teach her. Anyway, thank you for being willing to open up your heart and your life for your readers. I am frankly amazed that you post so regularly, given all you have going on, and that, on top of that, you answer almost every question/comment that people post. Thanks again for all your sharing!


Gil October 26, 2011 at 2:04 am

Dear Stephanie,
It will be a worthwhile investment of love! If you cut 2 rows of parralel holes on a paper plate, then thread with a piece of yarn, she can practice all day without tripping! Love, Kelly


Lauren Sharpe October 26, 2011 at 2:04 am

Wow, very talented! I think the cards they made are beautiful. :) Whoever gets those are going to enjoy them!

Lauren S.


Emily S. October 26, 2011 at 2:44 am

Thanks for the paper plate idea for learning to tie laces. Colton is having such a hard time & is so frustrated that he is 6 1/2yo & can’t tie them yet! Love Carlin’s cards, by the way!


Jessica October 26, 2011 at 3:59 am

Love the cards!! I’ve always wanted to learn calligraphy!!


Kay W October 26, 2011 at 4:17 am

Carlin’s Cards…hmmmm…that’s a catchy name for a new line of cards! She could sell them from your site. Carlin does a very nice job on those pretty cards. What a pretty girl!

What have you heard from Alyssa Erin and Tori, Kelly? Surely you will do a spread with Alyssa’s pictures. I can’t wait to see them.

Have you had the chance to see your family on 19 Kids and Counting, which aired for the first time last week and then it was the second 1/2 hour this week?

This site is getting more and more popular. Did you ever imagine you would have an online ministry?

Love to all and God bless, as usual.


Gil October 26, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Dear Kay,
We haven’t been able to talk to them since they left the states… sadly! We know they’re having a great time and can’t wait to hear from them! Love, Kelly


Hope October 26, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Just wanted to say… Happy Birthday Mrs. Bates! Wish I could make a card for you, but maybe one of your children will:)
Carlin is so pretty! Is she 13?


Glory October 26, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Happy birthday, Mrs. Bates! I hope you have a wonderful day celebrating with your family and friends! Thanks for the wonderful blog you have here! I greatly appreciate it!

Oh, is Carlin’s hair naturally curly? It looks so pretty in the pictures, and I noticed that her hair is curly. Thanks! Love, Glory


Gil October 26, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Dear Glory,
No, Carlin’s hair is not curly, but she occassionally sleeps in sponge rollers. Love, Kelly


Cynthia Lewis October 26, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Beautiful cards and a beautiful girl. Thank you for the Godly example you and your family are!


Nicole October 26, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Both Erin and Carlin’s cards are gorgeous! My three older daughters (16, 15, and 12) love to craft; I have no doubt that my three younger ones will be joining them before long! How old is Carlin now? Twelve; thirteen? She looks a lot like Erin.


sonja petersen October 26, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Hello Bates!
A really nice hobby! I like the cards. Your daugthers use their time for really good, creative things. Thats a blessing.
What are your sons hobbies as well?
I don’t think they’re making cards, too.
Greetings from Germany to all of you! Sonja


Gil October 26, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Dear Sonja,
The boys like to dig and build and do outdoor activities. Love, Kelly


Alexis October 26, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Dear Mrs. Bates,

First of all Happy Birthday! May the Lord continue to shine His blessings on you and your family and may you be richly rewarded for your ministry and Godly example.

Where did the girls go? Are they on an international ministry trip?



Emma October 26, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Beautiful cards! Happy Birthday Kelly! Have a wonderful day!


Missy October 26, 2011 at 5:30 pm

What beautiful cards! I agree that taking the time to invest in a child’s desire to learn is very profitable for them. I also love the benefits of copy work. It greatly improves handwriting (as well as grammar and punctuation). Copy work through a creative outlet like card making has double benefits because you get beautiful results that will be a blessing to someone else. I’ve noticed in our family that whatever one person tries, the others usually take an interest in to some degree. At least they find out if it is something they like, and if not they usually learn something from the experience.


Lady Violet October 26, 2011 at 8:09 pm

What an original way to be creative. I would like to be able to give my children an opportunity to do things like that but not even the basics are available here, and it would surely be expensive to buy on internet. Do you have any suggestions? We are christian family from Spain and often watch your blog to see what you are all up to.


Gil February 12, 2012 at 12:20 am

Dear Lady Violet,
Not being from Spain, it’s hard for me to know what is available. There are many craft books that help you learn how to do simple projects using every day items. If you don’t have craft books and craft supplies available, the internet would be the only way I would know for you to get the items. Most stores here sell kits that contain everything you need to do a craft project. JoAnne’s and Hobby Lobby are 2 big craft stores in our area that also sell via the internet. Love, Kelly


Juanita October 26, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Card-making; I love it! If you did sell them online(or through IBLP like Erin’s CD) I’d buy a whole bunch! Between Michaela’s sewing and Carlin’s card-making, you’ve got lots of entrepreneurial potential in your family. Is anyone in your family a good business manager? You could start a few small family businesses!
Anyway, happy birthday; hope it’s really special for you.


michelle October 26, 2011 at 10:51 pm

hey Mrs. Bates

I noticed you said some of your children were not in the states right now, where are they?


Amanda October 26, 2011 at 11:19 pm

How very lovely. The cards look awesome. Over here in Australia the scapbooking craze is huge. I in fact am hoping to start making cards and albums for my children’s keepsakes. Do you keep keepsakes for the children? I find it hard to chuck away their precious paintings and school work. I wanted to say I really enjoy reading your site and watching you when you appear on the Duggar’s family. Sending you and your family much love, Amanda .


Gil October 27, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Dear Amanda,
Yes, I keep everything! I’m too sentimental to get rid of any of their treasures! I bought several rubbermaid containers for “keepsakes” and I store them in the basement. One flatter, smaller tub stays under my bed to stash away current letters and artwork. When it gets full, I transfer the contents to the basement storage tubs (which is where I dug Erin’s old cards from… and the children sat and looked at my old treasures and had a blast remembering them!) ! Love, Kelly


Marilyn October 26, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Hi Kelly,
Carlin is really a creative young lady. She sure has an artistic eye. Does she make a lot of Christmas cards, as well?

Happy Birthday, Kelly! Hope you had a fabulous day. Thank you, on behalf of all the posters and blog readers, for you prompt and heart-felt responses. I enjoy reading your blog.

Take care,


Gil October 27, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Dear Marilyn,
Yes, Carlin loves making all types of cards for all occassions. Love, Kelly


Brenda H. October 27, 2011 at 1:16 am

Hi Kelly, I read that it is your birthday! I hope you have had a Blessed Birthday! And I hope you are feeling well. Carlin’s cards are so beautiful-what wonderful artistic talent. it is wonderful to see someone use their God given gift in such a positive way.
I read in some of the posts that a few of your daughters are out of the country. If I am not being too nosy, are they on a missionary trip? I will keep them in my prayers for a safe & sucessful journey. Your postings inspire & provide such an positive message. Thank you & God Bless you & your family!


Gil October 27, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Dear Brenda,
Yes, they are on a short, week long trip to Romania with a small group from ATI. Love, Kelly


kate October 27, 2011 at 6:10 am

Happy Birthday Mrs Bates I hope that you had a wonderful day celebrating with your family.

All of Gods Blessings to you today



Jo October 27, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Carlin and Erin’s handmade cards are absolutely beautiful! Is Erin’s hair naturally curly or does she use a curling iron? She always has wonderful volume and curls!


Christy October 27, 2011 at 7:28 pm

So sweet!


Christy October 27, 2011 at 7:33 pm

You looked so beautiful,by the way, on the most recent 19 kids and Counting! If you have iTunes you can get a season pass to get all the up to date shows without any commercials or advertisements. It’s just the show.. we LOVE this! It comes on our computer early the next morning after it airs. And it’s only like $24 for the whole season! I know you don’t have cable, like us, so I just wanted to throw that idea out to you. :)


Nikki R October 27, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Wow!!!What beautiful cards they are.I think I may need to stock up on some supplies for my girls.I can see why they sold out.Nikki


Pat October 27, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Hi Kelly – I enjoy reading about your family and love it when you appear on the Duggar’s show. I hope your family can also have a show, it is so encouraging to see both families and how much the Lord has blessed. You are an inspiration to so many! Hope you are having a wonderful day!


Marnie October 28, 2011 at 12:50 am

Dear Kelly,
Happy Birthday! Thank you for your inspirational posts–I have been encouraged so much by your words on all topics, especially parenting.
Your family is lovely, and I applaud Carlin for her beautiful work! Her passion and dedication shows in her artistry and I wish her much success.
May I submit a prayer request? My husband has been struggling with herniated discs in his lower back. He has been so brave and dealt with so much, but it looks as though he may need surgery (we go tomorrow to the surgeon for another checkup). His back pain has affected our entire family as it is hard for him to lift and play with our two young children. Lots of times in a marriage tell you a great deal about your spouse, but I have to say that I am witnessing a strength and faith in my husband that I so admire. He has been by my side through two rocky pregnancies and deliveries and now is my turn to be his caregiver. Please remember him in your prayers!

Also, I wanted to know how you teach generosity to your children? We have been trying to instill in our four year old a sense of giving to others in need and have the opportunity to help a local family who is struggling to put food on the table. We would like to help stock their pantry and have encouraged our daughter to “earn” quarters for her piggy bank through simple tasks (we reward setting the table, a generous act towards her brother, taking initiative to clean up without being asked). We then will help her “redeem” her earnings though a trip to the market to pick things for this family. Any other suggestions that have worked for you and your giving children?

Thank you for your time. You and your family are in our prayers as well.


Gil October 29, 2011 at 2:43 am

Dear Marnie,
We will pray for him! Sounds like you’re already doing a wonderful job teaching your daughter to think of others. When children are included in knowing the details of your own ministry opportunities (like cooking meals for the sick, visiting nursing homes, giving money to those in need, etc.), they will learn by your example. When you add Bible studies and church lessons that focus on that principle as well, then they are receiving verbal reinforcement. The more they are encouraged to participate in themselves, the more of an impact it will have. Here’s some more ideas: visit hospitals, work in soup kitchens, give to missions, do kind deeds for the elderly, give of your own belongings to a worthy cause, etc. Your list is already a fine example for the rest of us parents! Thank you! Love, Kelly


Gretchen October 28, 2011 at 1:06 am

Kelly and family,
Hi! I am a young married Christian woman and I am in a public university and student teaching in a public school as well.

I have been keeping up with your blog for a while and I love being able to read about your family and watch the Duggars and to see good examples of Godly families and what it means to live for God’s glory. I was raised in a very broken home and look forward to when we have children and it is so encouraging to learn about you and your children. It makes me really think about how we are going to raise our children and what kind of environment we want to provide them with. Thank you for being a wonderful example of a sweet and loving mother and Godly woman!

I do have an unrelated question. What Bible translation do you use, and why? I know that it is said that some versions such as New American Standard, English Standard Version, and New International Version are more accurate.

I was wondering which you use, from my understanding (forgive me if I am wrong) many ATI/IBLP families use KJV. I was wondering how you deal with the children in that aspect because even for us adults it is very difficult to read. I was wondering if you have a type of kids Bible you use for the younger ones to help them understand things better too?

Thank you.


Beth Miles October 28, 2011 at 1:35 am

Hey Kelly, Hope you had a great B’day.Did ya’ll ever get over to ride tha great smoky mountain railway in Bryson city? I remember you enjoyed the train ride from last year. Have a blessed day! Love Ya’ll, Beth…


Gil October 28, 2011 at 6:17 am

Dear Beth,
Thank you! We actually headed north for the weekend to pick up our girls in Chicago. The beautiful drive afforded some wonderful opportunities to talk and catch up on things, though! Love, Kelly


kate October 28, 2011 at 2:58 am

Hi Mrs Bates

I would love to send you and your family some small gifts from Australia for Christmas for being such a blessing in my life this year.

Is the address on your website the correct address to send them to? Also do any of you have any allergies just so I dont send the wrong things.



Annette October 28, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Dear Kelly,

It’s such a joy to see the next generation learn a skill from yourself isn’t it? Too often people “don’t have time” to do so. The results are lovely! My Dh sees young people every day in his travels and is amazed at how little they know about taking care of themselves and their things. Quite often they will talk about things going on in their lives and he will put in a few words and they are thankful for his opinion because they have never had their own parents talk to them frankly.

It is refreshing to see your family doing things together, and helping each other out spiritually and physically.


HeatherJane October 28, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Bates
Carlin’s cards are so pretty and creative, are they available for sale anywhere? Another question, are any of your children Left handed? (silly question I know lol)~Heather


Gil October 29, 2011 at 1:03 am

Dear Heather Jane,
She has never sold them anywhere except the museum… It was a new adventure for her. Yes, Nathan and Ellie are both left handed. Love, Kelly


Sarah October 28, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Kelly I was woundering if yall are ever up my way could you tell me I would really love to meet Alyssa?


Kris Hackel October 28, 2011 at 10:53 pm

What an exciting time, when we see our children go beyond our abilities. Again you continue to encourage all those that have the priveledge of knowing you.
You are absolutely beautiful! All of us Hackel girls enjoyed this update on you and are glad to see your wonderful handy work. The western card is our favorite. We just got a Hobby Lobby by us (an hour away) and we have enjoyed seeing all that they offer. Love Ms. Kris


Stephanie October 29, 2011 at 12:06 am

Thanks for the great tip Kelly!


christy October 31, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Hi Kelly!
I was just wondering if u ever ended up feeling sick with this pregnancy? I know in the beginning you didn’t and it concerned you a bit. If you didn’t was this the first time? Just curious :)
love and blessings


Gil October 31, 2011 at 11:49 pm

Dear Christy,
I had a little bit of quizziness in my 1st 3 months, but it did not last long. Love, Kelly


sara( italy) November 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Dear Kelly,
happy birthday!I want to share a funny anectode that fits perfectly with Stephanie´s problem.
Yesterday I found a rotten mandarin in my little cousin´s lunch box and when I showed her my treasure she looked at it for a while and finally remembered having put it in her shoolbag last friday. Of course at the age of seven you get distracted easily, especially the day before the weekend, but every child has to learn how to take responsability.I´m sure my cousin learned something by making this fault she wouldn´t have made, if I had unpacked her schoolbag for her.


Jill November 1, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Dear Kelly,
I recently just had an early natural miscarriage. I have been having ups and downs. I’ve been keeping close to the Lord and I know He has a good plan in all of this. Do you have any advice for what to do after a miscarriage to heal (emotionally & physically). Thank you for your time & God bless you and your beautiful family abundantly!


Christy November 2, 2011 at 2:39 am

Thanks Kelly! Was this the first time you didn’t feel so sick?


Kay W November 2, 2011 at 5:27 am

Welcome home Erin, Alyssa and Tori!!!


Franicia November 2, 2011 at 4:01 pm


Thank you for being a blessing in so many ways! This post was very timely and refreshing. The Lord is doing a great work through your family and blessing more than you know.

In Christ’s love,


Hope November 2, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Our family got the ATI newsletter thing in the mail the other day and it showed a picture of Erin, Alyssa, and Tori with Bill Gothard and a some other people.


Glory November 2, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Kelly, how are Zach & Sarah doing? Has he visited her lately?
Do you believe in having a Christmas tree around Christmas? I have noticed that some do not allow it because of the background of Christmas trees and what people, long ago, used them for, so I was wondering if your family did not celebrate Christmas with Christmas trees.

By the way, have you heard from the Duggars about the accident with Jason? I know it happened a while ago, but I wasn’t sure how he is doing now. Thanks so much! Love, Glory


Pam November 6, 2011 at 12:22 am

So sorry my birthday wishes to you, Kelly are late: Just back from traveling from the west to the nor’easter born Connecticut with no power/internet/phone/cable! Just catching up right now! Your trip to Chicago looke beautiful and your childrens’ gift to you must have warmed your heart! Happy Birthday!!!


Molly November 19, 2011 at 8:02 am

Carlin is such a beautiful girl. Whose family did her coloring come from?! All the other Bateses are so fair!

Y’all should think about starting up an etsy shop for Carlin and Erin – I’m betting many of your fans would love to purchase these cards.


Allyson November 22, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Hello; Carlin’s cards are lovely! My name is Allyson. My sister Liza and I recently started a blog about the Duggar family ( We do have permission to use photos from their site). We were thinking of doing a post about the Duggars and Bates family together. Is it all right if we put the link to your blog?

Thank you, you have a lovely family,

Allyson and Liza


Gil November 22, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Dear Allyson,
That will be fine! Love, Kelly


Libby November 25, 2011 at 1:33 am

Carlin is such a creative little girl! I love her cards!


Beanie November 27, 2011 at 3:41 am

Wow. I think Carlin is really nice. You guys are so cool! Could I ever write Carlin? I know ya’ll must be busy most of the time…


Gil November 27, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Dear Beanie,
You’re welcome to write any of the children and they enjoy reading mail, but unfortunately they can’t write back because of their school and other responsibilities. They get a large amount of pen-pal letters, so responding to each would cause them to overlook their other priorities. Love, Kelly


Beanie November 27, 2011 at 6:46 pm

I can imagine that ya’ll do get a lot of letters! :) Thank you, and Carlin might get a letter from me sometime. :D


Jessica December 13, 2011 at 2:04 am

I was wondering if Carlin makes her cards and sales them? The cards are beautiful great job.God Bless You!


Gil December 13, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Dear Jessica,
Carlin has never sold cards anywhere except at the Museum this year, but I think it inspired her and gave her a goal! Love, Kelly


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