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!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Neighborhood Block Party

We hosted another neighborhood block party on Friday night. This time we hosted with 7 other families in our neighborhood as part of an outreach event through our church. I'll tell more about the outreach part in another email, but I wanted to share some of the party logistics, in case you want to host a similar event in your neighborhood.
  • Eight families got together over a Mexican Fiesta potluck to talk about the vision and plan for our party.
  • We printed invitations and knocked on every door in our neighborhood, inviting them to the party. Knocking on their doors offered so many opportunities for conversations about life, dreams, sickness, needs, church... It was really cool!
  • We borrowed chairs from a neighbor and set them up in circles around the yard. We also borrowed a camping canopy to shield some of the sun.
  • We had a welcome table, to give out nametags and invite people to sign up for the neighborhood email list. Host team members worked together to personally greet each guest and start conversations with them.
  • The church provided hamburgers, hotdogs and chips for the party. We invited neighbors to bring their favorite homemade dessert for a Neighborhood Dessert Bake-Off. Volunteers from our team set-up the food and made sure everything stayed stocked.
  • For the kids, we set up 2 bounce-arounds in the backyard, tubs of bubbles, a cornhole game, and tubs of sidewalk chalk. The kids played dodgeball inside the bounce-around, which was so funny! The teenagers from our host teams were great - they made it their mission to make sure all the kids were safe doing the activities.
  • We were too busy hosting to get a headcount, but we think we had about 130-150 folks from all sections in our neighborhood - from age 9months to 69! We were so pleased and so blessed!

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sidewalk Paint - Frugal Summer Fun!

Sorry it's been a week since I posted. I've been running myself ragged with work, service and play. I've given myself a few days to re-energize.

My kids are currently playing with sidewalk paint. Check out this easy recipe from "The Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions" by John Thomas and Danita Pagel.

Super sidewalk paint
1/4c cornstarch
1/4c cold water
6-8drops food coloring
mix together and paint

Easy and spontaneous fun from your kitchen cabinets!!

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Teaching Kids to be Green

This was my favorite post this morning - it's full of practical and fun ideas for raising kids to respect and care for the environment. Easy ideas to incorporate at home or in a childcare setting.

And of course I love this photo she included in her post!

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Disney Cruise - Memories/Tips

As I looked back over our Disney cruise photos, I thought of more things to share with cruisegoers:
* It was so neat to see so many nationalities represented among Disney staff and vacationers.
* The character breakfast was great - we didn't have to wait in line to see the characters. Instead, they came right to us!
* Dinners were great. Our server (Mo) suggested his favorite entrees for each of the 4 courses. If we were undecided, he brought us an extra dish for the middle of the table!
* On the first night our server offered to let the 8 children in our party sit at one table, so the 11 adults could enjoy dinner at another table. We were shocked, but he insisted - and it worked out great! He helped them order their dinners, provided crayons to color the menus, reminded them to eat their veges before getting dessert, and made origami figures for them each night.
* Kids club was amazing! They offer wonderful play spaces for various age groups, fantastic activities (from making volcanoes, to decorating pillowcases, to hunting for Tinkerbell, to dancing with characters), and compassionate & spunky caregivers. Equipping youth workers is part of my profession, yet I was still wow-ed by the level of care provided for kids on the cruise.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Disney Cruise - Planning and Packing

* Pack disposable buckets for beach play. We took the large plastic yogurt containers. They worked great for sand play, then we threw them away.
* Take pirate attire from the dollar store. Disney will provide a pirate bandana for you at dinner. * If you go with friends, share a digital camera.
* Make sure to walk along the adult beach when the tide is low - it's beautiful!
* Take time to go to the champagne brunch - the food was great and it was a fantastic date time. As soon as you board the ship, ask where you can sign up for Palo, spa services and excursions. Even if the online system says they are booked, you can probably make reservations then.
* Take light-colored t-shirts for the characters to sign. If you drop the t-shirts off at guest services, they will ask all the characters to sign it for you!
* Ask for Mo & Passayu to be your servers - they were great!
* Take a few long-sleeve shirts and a pair of jeans - it gets cool at night and sometimes on cloudy days.
* Don't feel pressured to plan excursions. There is so much to do on the boat alone! You can walk to local shops - very touristy - at all the stops. Next time, I'll look for the nicest beaches within a taxi ride distance, and spend a couple of hours at the beach. If you do plan an adult excursion, you have the option to leave your kids in childcare on the ship.
* Try a Mickey bar at dinner one night - they are quite delicious!
* Order uncrustables from room service to take to on excursions. They're free, just remember to tip the staff.
* They provide towels for you to take on excursions - they just ask that you return them.
* Take a water bottle with you for excursions. We saw one family check a box of bottled waters as part of their luggage!


Friday, June 12, 2009

Booster Seats

This article serves a great reminder about booster seats for kids ages 4-8. The video & the article say pretty much the same thing - so you can follow your medium of preference.


Saturday, June 06, 2009

God is Big

My DH and I have been reading “Our Daily Bread” together each night (well, almost each night!) since Thanksgiving. We’ve really enjoyed reading Scripture together throughout the week, and pondering more Spiritual things together. If you are looking for a quick devotional to do with your spouse, this is a good place to start. You can order a free copy at or pick one up at church.

From June 1’s reading in “Our Daily Bread”:
“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” Psalm 90:2

“From the old hymn, “Crown Him With Many Crowns”: “Crown Him the Lord of years, the Potentate / [poht-n-teyt] of time.” A potentate is a sovereign, a monarch, an anointed majesty – one who does not seek appointment or run for elections.”

“Our days and years are in the hands of our eternal God.”

What would it mean if I understood the hugeness and sovereignty of God? How would that affect my daily life?

sov·er·eign (American Heritage Dictionary)
1. One that exercises supreme, permanent authority, especially in a nation or other governmental unit, as:
a. A king, queen, or other noble person who serves as chief of state; a ruler or monarch.
b. A national governing council or committee.
2. A nation that governs territory outside its borders.
3. A gold coin formerly used in Great Britain.
1. Self-governing; independent: a sovereign state.
2. Having supreme rank or power: a sovereign prince.
3. Paramount; supreme: Her sovereign virtue is compassion.

sovereign (Collins Essential Thesaurus )
adjective 1. supreme, ruling, absolute, chief, royal, principal, dominant, imperial, unlimited, paramount, regal, predominant, monarchal, kingly or queenly
adjective 2. excellent, efficient, efficacious, effectual
noun 3. monarch, ruler, king or queen, chief, shah, potentate, supreme ruler, emperor or empress, prince or princess, tsar or tsarina

So what - how should God's sovereignty impact my state of mind?
I should be more peaceful. I should be less afraid. I should not fret. I shouldn't feel pressed to plan things to an extraordinary degree. I shouldn't worry about the little things - or the big things. If I took time to list all the things that I shouldn't worry/fret about, this would be a very long post, but you get the gist of it.

Lord Jesus, please remind me to trust in your GREATNESS and in your love for me, so I can spend all my energy loving you and loving others, instead of letting life's worries and concerns zap my strength and energy!


Thursday, June 04, 2009

Dance and Win

The Tiki torch company is holding a dance contest this summer. Submit a video of you/family/friends dancing for 45 seconds, and you could win a lot of great prizes ($1,000 Visa Gift Card, a Charbroil grill, etc). Go here for more prize info and to enter:

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Free Family Summer Camp

Bass Pro Shop is hosting Free Family Summer Camps on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays through July 5th. They sound really cool, so I'm sure we'll be visiting! Gramma is flipping through the ad, reading some of the really cool stuff:

Free activities:
Make campfire smores
Hit the archery bullseye
Cast a fishing line
Laser shooting gallery
Photo with the "Field and Stream" magazine cover

Free crafts:
Decorate a fishing bobber
Make your own leather keychain
Design your own birdhouse
Paint your own plaster animal tracks

Free workshops:
Animal Identification - Discovering Animal Tracks
Plants & Insects - Discover Another World
Hiking Basics

Make sure to check with your store's calendar before trekking over with your kids! Enjoy discovering together as a family!


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