Being a mom is the hardest thing I've ever done, but it has brought me so much joy! I want to encourage other moms on their journey, I'll share motherhood tricks, spotlight tips I've learned from friends, and I hope you will share your ideas. I will focus on secrets that help families stay balanced, healthy, frugal, creative, and closely knit. I will also share favorite fiction and nonfiction books that I have enjoyed. Many blessings to you on your mothering journey!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Blue Like Jazz

Blue Like Jazz was highly suggested by many of my friends and colleagues involved in mercy ministry and volunteer outreach. I finally read it last month, and I loved it!

Donald Miller occasionally gets wordy and rambles, but his thoughts are original, creative, provocative and piercing. He talks about how Christian interactions with the world are often shallow, distant and offensive. He tells stories of places where he has seen, felt, and shared authentic community, love, and caring. It's very convicting, and it's a book I think everyone should read. It would be great for a book club.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Devotional Ventures

A college friend just published a book, called Devotional Ventures. It looks like a fantastic devotional for working moms, for our spouses, or as gifts for friends in the corporate world. I know several of the contributing writers, and think very highly of them, as well. Here is Corey Cleek's description:

Have you ever wondered what Jesus would be like as a VP of Marketing? A Financial Analyst? A Sales Manager? A Venture Capitalist? A CEO? How would He manage his time? How would He make decisions? How would He lead and manage teams? How would He manage money? How would He balance the devotion to His work and the devotion to His family and community?

As we seek to emulate Jesus in the marketplace and beyond, it is important for us to remember that we are not alone. Along with having Jesus in our lives and in the marketplace, there are business people of all ages, professions, genders, races, and in locations across the globe, seeking to live lives the way that Jesus would live His life as a business professional.
Devotional Ventures is a representation of the contributions of passions, surprises, challenges, praises, and reflections of the multitude of business people around the world who are seeking to live a life devoted to Jesus.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Books Galore!

I love to read, so I have collected just a few too many books during my lifetime. I've been working diligently through our collection this year. Here's what my family has done:

1. Sort into piles of keep or pass along to others.

2. Post books for sale on Amazon and for 4-6 months. (more on this later)

3. Post what doesn't sell on craigslist for at a more discounted price.

4. Give away what hasn't sold to the library (thanks Jennie!), so they can put the books in their catalogs or sell them in their fundraising booksales.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

9 Ways to Make Your Kids Smarter

My husband found this little slideshow article on MSN's website. None of it is rocket science, but it's a good reminder of general principles to keep our kid's minds and bodies healthy. I love their pictures!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Once Around The Block Kids

The Once Around The Block Kids spring/summer consignment sale started today. I dropped by quickly before ible study and they had TONS of stuff. Clothes (newborn-junior, as well as women's clothes and maternity clothes), toys, baby products, bedding, decorations, furniture, strollers, games... The sale continues this week:

Thursday, 10am-7:30pm
1/2 Price Friday Feb 23rd 10am-6pm
Location: West End Community Church, 235 White Bridge Road in west Nashville

Consignment sales are great for moms on a budget. For a list of other sales in Tennessee, visit If you're not in Tennessee, google your city/state with "consignment sale".

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Buying Books

All Discount Books is my favorite website for finding cheap books. Of course the library is my #1 choice for books, but if I need to buy them, this is where I always go.
You simply enter the ISDN#, the title or the author, and the site searches 100+ databases of books. It searches both used and new books, and it rates the quality of service from the various sellers. It will also calculate your total price with shipping and tax. There's no cost for the service, and it consistantly gives the lowest price available.


Friday, February 16, 2007

National Pancake Day
Tuesday, February 20
7 am to 10 pm

Get free pancakes at participating IHOP Restaurants this Tuesday. In exchange, you can make a donation to your local children's hospital through Children's Miracle Network.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Seize the Holiday
Written by Susan Ragsdale

Valentine’s Day is such a great opportunity to build family relationships. Here are some things you can do so that the whole family feels the love:

· Make your own valentines. Make hearts out of two red thumb prints angled together. Place on paper (or ceramic tiles if you want to keep an art piece), add sentiments and presto! The perfect valentine for “thumb-body” special. And don’t forget to make some for others you may take for granted – make valentines for school kitchen staff, the mailman or the elderly neighbor, and so on.

· Share the love outside your family. Volunteer together and serve in the community. Start pre-Valentine’s Day by decorating a box and having the whole family fill it with ideas for loving other people (you’ll probably have to remind them to put in ideas). A couple of days before Valentine’s Day, pull out all the ideas and determine a way that your family can share love with others in the community. (Need inspiration? Read Berenstain Bears’ Think of Those in Need by Stan and Jan Berenstain to see how one mom opened the world up to her children and how they could help others.)

· Have a dinner and movie night. Eat pizza while watching fun, kid-friendly love stories like Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, Shrek, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Lady and the Tramp, Cars, The Lion King, or The Princess Bride.

· OR make it a dinner and book night. Suggestions: Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, Nate the Great and the Mushy Valentine by Marjorie Sharmat, Queen of Hearts by Mary Engelbreit or Olive, My Love by J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh.

· Tell bedtime love stories. Flip through your wedding album or family and baby pictures while telling favorite family love stories. (Suggestions: tell your children about how you and your spouse met, tell the story of their birth, favorite family moments, how grandma and grandpa fell in love.)

· Have friends over for a pancake breakfast. Make heart-shaped pancakes using a metal cookie cutter. Serve with raspberry or strawberry preserves and a dollop of whipped cream.

· Get creative – make valentine t-shirts with paints or draw hearts and fill in with words and pictures that represent things that each is proud of themselves, each other and the whole family.

· Get sneaky – put mini love notes in each other’s pockets, lunchboxes or on their pillows during the week. On each note, share a specific trait you admire about that person such as, “Your hugs every night make my day,” “I love your ready smile,” or “Thank you for your helpful spirit.” Fill lunchboxes or create meals with extra flair – sandwiches cut into heart shapes, fruit with a heart drawn on top, heart shaped napkins or placemats with personal messages written on each one.

Whatever you do, seize the moment to show attention, love and care for those around you. Don’t miss the opportunity to say you care.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Cheesecake supreme

Meredith at Like Merchant Ships is making cheesecake, so it made me think about my favorite cheesecake recipe. My mom found it on a few years ago. It's delicious!!!

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
5 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
5 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 3/4 cups white sugar
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Mix the graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup of the white sugar, and the melted butter together. Press mixture into the bottom of one 9 or 10 inch springform pan. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, eggs and egg yolks; mix until smooth. Add the remaining 1 3/4 cups white sugar, the flour and the heavy cream. Blend until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for 10 minutes, then turn oven temperature down to 200 degrees F (100 degrees C) and continue baking for 1 hour, or until filling is set. Let cheesecake cool, then refrigerate.

There's nothing healthy about the recipe, but it sure is yummy to make for a special occasion!


Cutest Puppies!

My parents breed Bernese Mountain Dogs on their farm in east Tennessee. They are big, beautiful, and super-sweet dogs!!!

I helped my mom set up her puppy blog this weekend, so I thought I'd share the pictures with you. Meadow (the mom) is below, and two of the 8 puppies are on the left. They are 4 weeks old today - Happy Birthday puppies!


Monday, February 12, 2007

Serving From Home

Volunteer service is a critical part of my work, personal and spiritual life, There are seasons in life, however, when it’s just too difficult to leave the house. Maybe you are juggling babies, or sick, or caring for an elderly parent. Thankfully, there are lots of ways you can serve others – without spending much time away from the house. Here are some ideas:

Write or edit a newsletter article for a nonprofit or educational publication.
Design or maintain a website for a nonprofit agency.
Assemble craft kits for preschool classes or hospital patients.
Make phone calls to welcome church visitors.
Plan crafts, stories or skits for Summer JAM.
Call families to invite them to special activities.
Host a story time for neighborhood children.
Address envelopes for a nonprofit agency’s quarterly mailing.
Prepare a meal for someone in need.
Bake cookies to thank someone for their diligent service.
Babysit for a family under stress.
Get the mail for a traveling neighbor.
Clean out your closets, and donate items to charity.
Plant flowers, and give cuttings to someone that needs a smile.
Let children draw thank you cards for your mail carrier.
Invite a refugee family to join you for dinner or dessert.
Invite an international student to join you for a family game night.
Knit a cap for a cancer patient or a scarf for a homeless person.
Cut fleece blankets for a premature baby.
Organize a special event for a nonprofit agency.
Compile a list of rainy day family fun activities to share with neighbors and friends.
Invite a neighbor to walk around the block with you.
Invite a new neighbor to coffee or tea.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Family Dinner and a Movie

Friday, February 16 at 6:30pm

A premier of the Veggie Tales movie
"Gideon the Tuba Warrior"
on the big screen
at West End Community Church.

Dinner: hot dogs, chips and drinks.

$10 per family. Reserve your space by emailing or calling Judy at 463-8497. My family has gone to 4 of these previews & they're always so much fun! Families bring sleeping bags & chairs to 'camp out' and watch the movie on the big screen together.

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Once Around The Block Kids Consignment Sale

It’s time to consign. Pull out the clothes that you & your children have outgrown, and get them on hangers. It's time to quietly collect the toys your children no longer play with & tape on the sales stickers. It's time to make a little extra money for your spring shopping. It’s time to resell your extra stuff February 21-23 at the Once Around the Block Kids sale in West Nashville

Consigners get a 75/25 split and a $5 fee, as well as admittance to 2 pre-sale events for consigners only. The organizer makes it easy to consign – you can reuse tags from other consignment sales. The index card tags are easy to make and hang. The hardest part for me was finding enough hangers! Register to consign by February 17. For more information, visit

**Also mark your calendars to shop - this is a great place to collect spring/summer clothes at great prices!**

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If you need business cards, I recommend this website. An order of 250 cards is free – you only pay shipping. I think it costs something like $5.99, and sometimes there are free shipping promotions! Using your own picture or logo adds another cost, but they have 40 or so free designs thatr are really nice.


Friday, February 02, 2007

Snow Snow Snow!

My mom used to make snow cream when I was little - it was such a special treat! We decided to make snowcream today. The older boys (4 and 5) collected the dsnow & we mixed it together. It was yummy & fun! See 2 recipies from all recipes below...

1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup white sugar
1 gallon snow
In a large bowl, combine evaporated milk, eggs, vanilla and sugar until smooth. Gradually stir in snow until mixture reaches desired consistency. Eat at once.

1 gallon snow
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups milk
When it starts to snow, place a large, clean bowl outside to collect the flakes. When full, stir in sugar and vanilla to taste, then stir in just enough milk for the desired consistency. Serve at once.

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A Full House

Nope - not poker! I'm babysitting for my sister's 2 kids for the next few days, so I probably won't be blogging. With 5 children age 5 and under, we're praying for peaceful spirits, sharing, cooperative attitudes, and energy for me & Dan. Oh, yeah, and we'll be having lots of fun together! Happy Groundhog Day!