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!

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Poopy Day!

Today was a day of poop at my house.
  • My 1yr old had 3 poopy diapers.
  • My 2.5 yr old had two poops (one in Aldi's, when I had of course left the diaper bag in the car) in his underwear (he's potty training) and 3 raisin size poops in the potty.
  • The weather is poopy (dreary rainy cold)
  • My 6 year old son SAT on my digital keyboard (think piano) and knocked it to the floor. I wanted to yell, "Oh poop!"
I'm up to my ears in poop!!

Tomorrow is a new day, right? :)

Reading for Life Part 4 - Books that Promote Constructive Use of Time

1. Roxaboxen, by Alice McLerran.

In the magical town of Roxaboxen, anything can happen with a little imagination. A desert of rocks is transformed into a childhood of treasured memories.
• What do you like to do in your free time?
• If there was no electricity, what games might you play together and how might you spend your time?

2. The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats.

Waking up to a world of snow, Peter had a day of exploration and fun. He discovered a great love for deep, deep snow.
• What are your favorite ways to play in the snow?
• What are your other favorite things to do with your friends on cold days?

3. Jumanji, by Chris Van Allsburg.

Peter and Judy learn the importance of reading the directions before starting a project in this humorous tale of imagination.
• What is one of the best games you’ve ever played? Have you ever made up your own game?
• What can you do when you’re getting bored to be creative instead?

4. Froggy Plays In The Band, by Jonathan London.

Froggy heard about a marching band contest, so all of his friends learned to perform in the band. On the big day, they had a little goof-up, but they still won a prize.
• Do you like to play or sing music?
• How much time does it take to learn to play an instrument? If you could play any instrument in the world, what would you play?

5. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, by Judi Barrett.

This delightful tale takes readers through daily life in the town of Chewandswallow. The words, pictures and plot will inspire imagination in readers of all ages.
• Can you make up a silly story to share with your friends?
• Can you draw pictures of your story?

6. My Mama Had a Dancing Heart, by Libba Moore Gray.

Mama found a reason to dance and play in every season of life, and gave her daughter a passion for dancing.
• Do you play any of the games that Mama and her daughter played?
• What are your favorite things to do in winter? Spring? Summer? Fall?

7. Something From Nothing, by Phoebe Gilman.

Joseph’s grandfather transforms a tattered piece of cloth into the most magical things, each time it gets to dirty and ragged to carry around.
• Do you know anyone who sews or cooks or draws – creating something from nothing?
• What could YOU create with a tiny blanket?

8. The Hatseller and the Monkeys, by Baba Wague Diakite.

This is an African tale about BaMusa, a joyful hatmaker, and his journey in responsibility, commitment and creative problem-solving.
• What are you good at making?
• Why is starting the day with breakfast important?
• Have you ever used your imagination to solve a problem?

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Sleep Like A Baby

Going to sleep last night, my DH & I had a discussion about the phrase "sleeping like a baby". Why is it that we say, "I had a great night's sleep - I slept like a baby"? That's supposed to mean, "I slept well, I slept soundly, and I slept all night!"

Every mother of a newborn will tell you that babies wake up throughout the night!! Waking up throughout the night is one of the hardest parts of being a new mom !!

So I've always been puzzled by the phrase. I'm sure the phrase refers to the way babies can fall asleep anywhere, and sleep through the strangest circumstances. But it's still a funny phrase!

Thankfully, I slept 'like a baby' after all that talk about sleeping and not sleeping!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Turkey Weekend!
I love this long weekend tradition of pausing to be grateful for the many gifts in our lives. I hope you have a wonderful weekend of thanksgiving!

Reading for Life Part 3 - Books that Promote Boundaries and Expectations

1. Martha Walks the Dog, by Susan Meddaugh. When Bob, a common dog, moves into the neighborhood, Martha discovers with a little help how powerful words can be to build someone up . . . or hurt their feelings.
• How can you be kind to other people even when they’re mean?
• How does it feel when people are mean to you? Or nice to you?

2. Brave Irene, by William Steig. Irene’s mother finished sewing a beautiful ballgown for the duchess, but she was too sick to deliver it. Irene took on the task, and trekked through wind and snow to reach the palace on her adventure of courage and responsibility.
• What is something that you had to work really hard to accomplish?
• Why is it important to finish the things we say we will do?

3. Small Green Snake, by Libba Moore Gray. A little adventurous snake learns a hard lesson about disobedience when his curiosity lands him in a child’s jelly jar. It’s fun to go exploring, isn’t it?
• Why is it important to obey your parents’ and teachers’ rules about exploring?

4. Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, by Kevin Henkes. Lilly couldn’t wait to show her new toys to her class at school, and it got her into a little trouble. This creative tale teaches the importance of obedience, apologies and forgiveness.
• Have you ever gotten in trouble for doing something out of turn? Have you ever said something that wasn’t very nice?
• What are some good ways we can apologize and remember to use our manners?

5. The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter, illustrated by Michael Hague. Peter’s mom left the bunnies with one word of caution, which Peter ignored in light of his hungry belly. He quickly learned that disobedience can bring big trouble.
• Have you ever gotten in trouble for disobeying?
• Can you think of some rules that are very important for you to follow?

6. Make Way for Ducklings, by Robert McCloskey. This classic story tells about the adventures of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard’s family of ducks on the Charles River in Boston.
• How did the ducks stay safe? Who helps keep you safe?

7. The Chocolate-Covered-Cookie Tantrum, by Deborah Blumenthal. Sophie learned the hard way that tantrums are not the secret to getting what we want in life.
• Have you ever thrown a tantrum? Do moms/dads/teachers like it when you throw tantrums?
• What’s the right way to say that you want something?

8. Pete’s a Pizza, by William Steig. Pete’s in a bad mood because he can’t play outside on a rainy day. His parents come to the rescue with a creative game of making pizza. Pete’s father pretends that PETE is the pizza, and they have a wonderful afternoon of drama.
• Have you ever turned a dreary day into a fun day by just changing your expectations?
• What silly games do your family and friends play?

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Reading for Life Part 2 - Books that Promote Empowerment

1. Officer Buckle and Gloria, by Peggy Rathmann. Officer Buckle has a passion for keeping children safe. He discovers that with the help of Gloria, children are listening and that by working together, two can do more than one.
• What safety messages can you think of to share with friends?
• Have you ever worked on a project with a friend – what was it and what did you both do?

2. Let’s Get a Pup, Said Kate; by Bob Graham. Kate missed her old cat, until she thought of an idea. She asked her parents for a new puppy, and they went to find one at the animal shelter. They fell in love with not one pup, but two!
• It’s important to take good care of our pets – how can you help take care of your pets?

3. Anansi the Spider: a tale from the Ashanti, by Gerald McDermott. A family of spiders discovers that we are each created with unique skills and talents, for a special purpose in life.
• What things can you do really well? What things can your friends and family members do really well?
• How do you help out in your family?

4. Queen of the Class by Mary Engelbreit. The class is putting on a play and Ann Estelle knows exactly the part she wants. Things don’t quite work out as planned but with the insights of a wise teacher, she discovers gifts, talents and interests she never knew she had. She finds she has lots to offer.
• Who has someone entrusted you with responsibility? What was it? What did you do?
• When do you feel like a “Queen” or “King?”

5. The Best Pet of All by David LaRochelle. When a family gets a dragon for a pet instead of a dog, their lives are changed! Realizing the mistake, they try to get rid of the dragon, but he won’t leave until the boy comes up with a plan. The boy used his imagination and came up with a good plan.
• Have you ever been the hero and saved the day? What did you do?

6. City Green, by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan. Marcy and Miss Rosa transform an abandoned lot into a beautiful city garden, and bring a whole new sense of life to everyone in the neighborhood.
• Have you ever planted a seed and watched it grow?
• How can you make your neighborhood a better place?

7. The Bravest of Us All, by Marsha Diane Arnold. The family of seven thought their sister Velma Jean was afraid of nothing, until a tornado came through town. When Velma Jean refused to go into the storm cellar, Ruby Jane emerged as the brave sister, giving Velma Jean the courage to face her fear.
• How have you been brave?
• How can you help others be brave?

8. The Stray Dog, by Marc Simont. During a Saturday picnic, a family falls in love with a dog they named Willy. The children rise to the occasion to care for the dog when he is in trouble.
• Have you ever taken care of someone in trouble? How did it feel to be so responsible?

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Reading for Life - Books about Support
Inspired by Scribbit's post on Activities that Encourage Reading, I'm posting a list of picture books that promote healthy development in children. It's part of a free booklet I wrote a few years ago called Reading for Life. There will be 8 posts - one for each category of Search Institute's Developmental Assets.


1. Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch; by Eileen Spinelli.
Mr. Hatch lives an ordinary life, very much to himself, until a mystery package is delivered to his door with an anonymous love note. Wondering who might be his secret admirer, he starts to be nice to everyone around him. When the postman says he delivered the package to the wrong address, Mr. Hatch is devastated, until his friends throw a big party in his honor.
• What is something little that you can do to brighten someone’s day at school, at home, or in your neighborhood?

2. Mean Soup, by Betsy Everitt.
Horace has a horrible day, and comes home terribly grumpy. His mom provides a great attitude of support, by helping him channel his frustration into Mean Soup.
• Who helps you feel better when you are grumpy or sad?
• What can you do to help yourself feel better?

3. Sophie’s Masterpiece, by Eileen Spinelli.
Sophie is a spider, full of creative ideas for weaving beautiful webs. No one else appreciates her talents, until she stumbles on a new friend.
• Do you ever feel lonely like Sophie?
• Where are the places you go when you need a friend?

4. What Daddies Do Best, by Laura Numeroff.
This beautiful storybook reminds us that mommies and daddies are both very special people in our lives, and they can do lots of different things with us.
• What are your favorite things to do with your mommy? What about your daddy?
• Are there any new things you’d like to do with them?

5. In the Rain with Baby Duck, by Amy Hest.
The Duck family is on an adventure in the rain, en route to see Grandpa for a pancake dinner. Duck is very unhappy about walking in the rain, until Grandpa finds a clever solution.
• Why was Baby Duck so unhappy? What did Grandpa do to make it better?
• Can you think of something in your life that you don’t like very much? What could you do to make it better?

6. My Love For You, by Susan L. Roth.
Practice counting with children as you affirm them of your love for them. The beautiful illustrations fill the reader and listener with a spirit of hope and life.
• Who is someone you love very much? Why do you love them so much?

7. Miss Tizzy, by Libba Moore Gray.
Miss Tizzy entertained children every day of the week, as she made her house a home to all the neighborhood children. When she got sick, she learned the true value of her love for children.
• Why did Miss Tizzy make children so happy?
• Who could you surprise with a colored picture or a plate of cookies?

8. No Matter What by Debi Gliori.
Small is afraid Large doesn’t love him at all. Large knows just how to reassure Small that he is most loved and always will be.
• Who makes you feel especially loved? What do they do that you appreciate?
• How can you show love to someone who doesn’t feel so loved?

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Encourage One Another

I received this email from a dear friend today. I was brought to tears by her creative way of gathering together friends from across the country to support a struggling friend. It's really difficult to discern the best way to support a grieving friend - especially when they live several states away. I'm grateful for a new way to tell my friend that I love her, even if it's not through a real-life hug!


"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up..." (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Hello, friends. As many of you know, Mark and Jennie are expecting a little boy sometime around February 11. Some of you may not know that this precious little boy has received the diagnosis of Down Syndrome (by way of an amniocentesis). As you can imagine, this news has been very difficult for our friends to bear.

Will you join me in encouraging them up until and beyond the birth of this precious little one? I was thinking that one or two people could commit to "showering" them every week in whatever way they feel led. Some ideas are: sending e-mails or snail-mails, care-packages, phone-calls, praying for them, praying with them, showering them with scripture, taking them a meal (take note, Jennie loves peppermint ice cream), helping to clean their house, taking care of Nathan (possibly allowing Mark and Jennie to get away overnight before the baby comes), setting up a pedicure for Jen, buying something from one of their registries, or whatever other creative ideas that you can come up with!

Please let me know if you are interested and I will get back to you soon with your assigned week. Let us together "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." (Romans 12:12)

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Holiday Shopping Secret

The #1 secret to my holiday shopping (beyond "shop throughout the year") is Baggle. Baggle is a free online wish list that your family can use for birthdays and Christmas. It's like a gift registry, but you can upload items from any store in the world.

To add an item to your bag, you simply click on the Baggle icon & it uploads automatically. You can add further information, such as the price, size, color, or any specific notes. It's easy to use, and it saves so much time and stress!
  • No more guessing what a person would like for Christmas - your siblings, kids and grandparents can show you the exact item that they would like to have.
  • The company doesn't sell your personal information to anyone, so there's no spam mail involved
  • I always struggle to create a personal wish list, so I can update my wishes throughout the year, whenever an item/service sparks my interest.
  • When kids whine, "I want, I want, I want" you can tell them that they can add the item to their wish list.

Try it - I'd love to hear how it helps you save time this holiday season!

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Hard Week at Home!

It's a miracle that my dear hubby didn't get sick this week, because everyone else was sick with cough/cold/throat/ache yuck. I struggled with the kids being sick Monday-Wednesday, then went to lead two workshops at the Search conference in Rochester, NY. DH took time off work to watch the kids for me. He might not ever do that again.

He spent the day holding crying children, then spent 2 hours at the doctor's office, and 1/2 hour at the pharmacy. The kids were diagnosed with 1) virus, 2) ear infection, and 3) double ear infection with a bad cough. He called to check in with me Thursday night, and his first words were, "You owe me big time. I'm going to Hawaii while you watch the kids!".

Oh, sick kids are no fun!!!!!! Thankfully everyone is starting to feel a little bit better.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Gobble Up Granola Snacks

We made Gobble Up Granola Snacks together this morning. It took less than 5 minutes to make them, and it will be a yummy snack for the next few days.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

True Hospitality

Janel at Pearls linked to a great article about entertaining vs. hospitality today. It's very encouraging for moms of young children!


Monday, November 05, 2007

Cheap Birth Control Pills

I've gotten some good advice from friends & colleagues this month. In addition to the comments in last week's posting (THANK YOU LADIES!), here are some new pearls of wisdom. I haven't tried these in my local pharmacy, but I will try this month.
  • Walmart does not offer birth control as one of their $4 prescriptions, but they do offer 3 different birth control pills for $9. Target is matching Walmart's deals on $4 and $9 prescriptions, so you have two options!
  • Kmart offers a 90 day supply of birth control pills for $15
  • You can order 3 different types of birth control from here for $13/month
  • Planned Parenthood does offer help for women without insurance, but if you have insurance, the pills are $30-35/month.

I'm thrilled to know that I probably won't need to pay $30/month for these meds! THANK YOU for sharing so many ideas!

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Family Baking Ideas

The free Food & Family magazine from Kraft came last week. As always, I turned down several pages of recipes to try. Here are some of this month's favorites:

Chocolate Cranberry Oat Bars (I think I'll try to reduce the oil & sugar a little bit)
Marbled Chocolate Treats
Mint Thins

These will all make fun additions to our holiday gift bags!

If you don't already subscribe to their free magazine, it would probably be a fun read for you. :)

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Friday, November 02, 2007

One Stop Shopping

Money Saving Mom just started a good discussion about Wal-mart's price-matching promise. It's a great deal, because Wal-mart will match the prices listed in all of their competitor's sales advertisements. So whatever deal you're finding on produce, cosmetics, groceries, pharmaceuticals, toys, etc., you can also get at Wal-mart.
  • Before baby #3, I took competitors ads to Walmart frequently. I just did it this week for the first time in a year. It takes a little bit of work:
  • It takes extra time to shop, b/c you have to be careful about the brands.
  • It takes a lot of extra time at checkout, because you have to show the sales print for each item.
  • But you save $.
I think my happy compromise will be looking at the loss leaders in the competitor's ads. Unless it's a really good sale, Walmart will probably have essentially the same price. Looking at only loss leaders will save time & stress - and make me a happier mommy with kids in tote!

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Busy with the holidays,
but want homemade baked goods?

Mikkee Hall is an excellent Nashville baker. She can bake yummy home-made goods for your next holiday event. Many of her baked goods are available in lower fat and/or lower sugar.

Scones (cinnamon, chocolate chip, cranberry)* - $12 for batch of 16
Baklava - $15 for batch
Pumpkin Mousse (serves 8) - $10
Chocolate Torte - $10
Jumbo cinnamon rolls - $15 for 12
Mint Brownies - $12 for batch
Muffins (pumpkin, chocolate, blueberry, cinnamon) - $10
Apple and Pumpkin Pies - $12
Chocolate Chip Pound Cake - $10
Cookies (ginger snaps, chocolate sugar cookies, chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal choc chip) - $10 for batch (12-24)
Homemade Reeses - $15 for batch (about 50 pieces)

Prices range with the type and amount of baked good you want.
For more information, email Mikkee at

* My husband loves Mikkee's scones, and he's considering ordering them as company gifts this year.

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