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!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Coaching Basketball.

We are about to set foot on a new adventure - coaching our son's basketball team. Well, I say 'we', but really it's my DH that will be coaching. I'll probably be the organizer, the #1 encourager, and the one managing the other kids on the sideline. But since I'm the researcher, I decided to look around the internet for some resources for volunteer coaches. Most of the sites I found were pretty sales-oriented, but I found one that looked really good. If you're in charge of coaching a basketball team this winter, check out Break Through Basketball's resources.

Or if YOU have great advice for coaching 7-8 year old boys, we'd love to hear it!

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Yummy Recipes.

Here are few recipes that I'm looking forward to trying...

Tasty Tuesday: Cream of Broccoli Soup from Women Living Well Blog

Fluffy & Light Pumpkin Pancakes from The Mother Load

Chocolate Pudding Finger Painting from Having Fun at Home


Saturday, October 24, 2009

I love Halloween treats!

My friend Michelle just found a great online list of the best-of-the-best homemade Halloween treats, and she wanted to share it with you.

Check out this list of 50 ideas at Blisstree. Here are some of her ideas that my kids will love exploring:

Pizza Mummies
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Pecan Caramel Spiders
Ghostly Pumpkin Pudding
Pumpkin Pie Pizza Cookie
Halloween Rice Crispy Treats
Hot Buttered Cider
Cranberry Pumpkin Cookies
Sweet and Salty Pumpkin Seeds
Turtle Corn
Caramel Nut Popcorn
Pumpkin Fudge
Cheese Pumpkins

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sharing Baby Clothes With Needy Families.


Strick’s Gift is a new non-profit organization dedicated to helping newborns in need in Nashville, Tennessee. While many children are born to families who have the means to provide plenty in terms of clothes, blankets and bedding, many other families are unable to afford these necessary items. Strick’s Gift is a way to bridge this need.

Strick’s Gift is dedicated to the memory of and was founded in honor of our first son, Strick. We want to celebrate life and welcome with joy the babies that make it to this world safely. Our objective is to collect and pass along gently used and new infant clothing (premature to 12 months), blankets, burp cloths and bibs to underprivileged newborns in Nashville.

Currently, Strick’s Gift is working with Baptist Hospital, Vanderbilt Hospital Medical Center, Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and another great organization in town, Nurses for Newborns ( We collect donations of gently used and new infant clothing, blankets, burp cloths and bibs and then divide donations into individual bags. The bags bear the Strick's Gift logo, and the items are wrapped in blue tissue paper. We hope to have at least seven days worth of clothing for each newborn. We present these items to the families in the hospitals as a gift. Each gift is brought directly to the baby in need just hours after he or she is born by a nurse or social worker that is familiar with the needs of the child. With each bag a card of well wishes from "One Angel to Another" is attached.

Strick’s Gift is a unique opportunity to impact newborns almost immediately. Additionally, it is a unique opportunity to address a significant need that you may not have realized is so great.

If you would like to participate please go to and see how to donate – or just go ahead and email us at and we’ll write you back!

Thank you!
Lena and Geoff Levendoski
Founders, Strick’s Gift


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Parenting Boot Camp - Generation Cedar.

My friend Angie really enjoys reading the Generation Cedar blog, so she shared several of her favorite posts. As I start reading them, I thought I would also share them with you:

Early Child Training
Raising Children to Know God in the Moment
Do You Have the Hearts of Your Children?
Handling Sibling Disputes
Important Things for Mothers…
Take My Life
Courtship: Preparing Sons

Generation Cedar's goal is "to equip and strengthen Christian families, knowing that strong families make a strong nation... Our title, Generation Cedar, taken from Psalm 92:12, is meant to represent a new generation…one that is rooted in Christ for life, extending to the next generations."

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Smores - All the Yum, Much Less Mess!

We had a campfire with friends last week, and we learned a whole new way to make smores - without all the mess and juggling! Angie & Steve bought chocolate covered graham crackers (in the cookie aisle) to sandwich the toasted marshmallows. It worked SO much better than the traditional smores, and it was just as yummy. I think I even liked them more, because there was extra chocolate!

"My 7-yr old says, on a 1-100 scale, the chocolate flavored cookie smores were 99, and the regular smores were 95 or 85." That's a good testimony!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Fun Measuring Game.

I just sent my boys on a scavenger hunt with measuring tape. My 4-yr old tired quickly, but my 7-year old had a lot of fun hunting for the items. I gave them a sheet of paper with the following measurements:

10 inches: ____________
20 inches: ____________
5 inches: ____________
15 inches: ____________
25 inches: ____________
8 inches: ____________
3 inches: ____________

They filled in the blanks with everything from the desk, to the rocking chair, to a play airplane, to my son's leg!

You could adapt this to the classroom by using a ruler and measuring in centimeters instead of inches.

Easy & educational fun!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Great Ideas Shared by Moms

How Diapers and Dishes Will Change the World from Generation Cedar - wow, a must-read for moms!

Simple Home Decorating on A Budget from Passionate Homemaking - she talks about how our home is an embassy for God, and how to make others feel welcome.

FREE Pumpkin Carving Stencils from Faithful Provisions - for pumpkin carving with your neighbors

The Best-Kept Secret to a Clean Home from simple mom - great trick to follow!

Fall Tradition ideas from Balancing Beauty and Bedlam - very cute ideas

My Prayer Walk from Women Living Well Blog - I love this idea!

Giving Your Children a Global Perspective from simple mom - I especially like this, as so many of our friends are adopting children from other countries.

Expressing Your Family Identity in a Whole New Way from Our Busy Family Life - very cute!

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Parenting Boot Camp - Raising Godly Tomatoes

Some of our dear friends came to visit from Arizona this week. Angie & Steve have 5 little ones, ages 15 months - 7 years. They opened up their hearts to share some of things they've been learning about childrearing and parenting. We felt like empty sponges absorbing the wisdom they've been gathering from Godly families around the country.

Raising Godly Tomatoes, by Elizabeth Krueger, is the first book I'll share from their library. Angie brought it with her to reread, but instead she shared it with me for the week. Reading it, coupled with watching their family training/discipline, has greatly inspired and equipped us on our parenting journey.

The book is full of practical ideas, stories for how child training really works, and lots of encouraging scriptures.

You can actually read a lot of the book on her website , but I think you'll want to order a copy for yourself, so you can highlight all the pearls of wisdom that you want to remember. I ordered 2 copies today - one for us, and one to share with my siblings. Here are links to her chapter titles, so you can learn directly from Elizabeth:

Square One
Teaching Obedience
Raising a Godly Child
The Basics and Before
Starting Early
Starting Late
Discerning the Spirit
Tomato Staking
The "S" Word
Emotional Issues
Dealing With Feelings
Crying and Whining
Temper Tantrums
With Character in Mind
Pride Problems
Sibling Squabbles
Insightful Issues
The Parent's Part
Fixing Ourselves First
Older Children

My DH and I actually started some of our tomato staking today. We are working hard with our 3 children on obedience and respect - training them to do what's right; keeping them close so we can watch for small infractions instead of waiting until a behavioral issue explodes during the day; and being as consistent with them as we know how to be. We're working together to train them to be Godly, to love God, to respect authority, to do what's right, and to love others. It feels great to have a game plan.

Do you have a game plan? Have you assessed what's working in your childrearing lately? Have you prayed, asking God to give you wisdom for how to help you parent your children? This book might be part of God's answer for you. I pray that it will challenge and equip you as much as it has challenged us.

Thanks Steve and Angie for sharing your friendship and your wisdom!

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Free Recipes from Popular Restaurants

Looking for good recipes? There is a free copycat cookbook available online with recipes from Chili's, Cheesecake Factory, KFC, TGI Fridays, Cracker Barrel, Applebees... You can get your free copy here.

(Thanks to Faithful Provisions for sharing this link with me!)