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!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Wanna Host a Dinner Party? Puzzled about Having Kids in the Mix?

We love opening our home to friends and family, but sometimes it's tricky to entertain with kids in the mix!  Check out this post for some practical ideas for hosting with kiddos around:

Tips for Hosting a Dinner Party (with Kids in the Mix) from Simple Mom

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Across the Wide River - Book Review

Stephanie Reed's novel, Across the Wide River, is based on the true story of the Rankin family living along the Ohio River in the 1820s during the heightening tensions between slave owners and abolitionists.  It’s the story of a young boy’s journey to free slaves by helping them on the Underground Railway.  It gives readers a really good feel for the emotional, economical, spiritual and political debate around slavery.  It is a powerful story of faith and courage, as the Rankin family sacrifices to do what is right and challenge others to do what’s right.  It is a story of adventure and risk, as youth and adults navigate hostile communities and the Underground Railroad.  It’s a tale of self-discovery and growing confidence, as young Lowry overcomes the insecurities brought on by his peers to seek his own place in the world.  It’s a story of family and community.  It’s a story of finding ways to fight injustice – finding a way to help others – whether you are 9 or 89 years old.
 It’s an educational and inspirational read, and I hope it will inspire readers to explore injustices in their own communities and find a way to make a difference.  Stephanie Reed is a great story-teller, and I look forward to reading more of her books.  I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, as well as students who want to explore American history.  It would also be a great story for families of 3-9th grade children to read together, then discuss topics of faith, courage and service.
Explore more about Stephanie’s books:
·         Across the Wide River
Learn more about serving others:
·         If you know children that want to find opportunities to help solve social problems, check out
·         If you know youth groups that want to serve together to make a difference in their communities, check out my book, Ready to Go Service Projects.
·         If you know adults that want to serve, contact your local volunteer center or visit

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

How Media Impacts Marriage, Family and Life

Courtney at has been hosting a series on media, faith, and family.  She started today's post with this quote from Tim Challies, the author of The Next Story: Life and Faith After the Digital Explosion:
“Our lives have become saturated with sounds and images flashing in front of our eyes, blaring into our ears…At work we spend forty hours staring at computer screens. at home we watch television or visit our favorite websites. Between work and home we check our route on the GPS and dash off a few text messages. Even at church we watch our pastors on screens before returning home to watch sermons on the Internet. Life is mediated by the screen.” p.89
Check out her posts below:

Media and Our Walk with God
Media and Our Marriages

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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Never the Bride - Book Review

Rene Gutteridge and Cheryl McKay joined creative efforts to write Never the Bride.  Jessie Shore is a hopelessly romantic 35 year old single woman bent on finding a husband to meet her grand expectations.  When God comes in flesh to meet her, he begins to slowly change her life focus and her dreams.  Pieces of the novel are somewhat reminiscent of William P. Young's novel, The Shack.
It has good message for women readers – married or not:  “Quit trying to control your life, and trust God to handle the details.  He loves you enough to take care of you and he has a bigger plan in mind.”
I enjoyed Jessie’s business idea of helping men to craft a dreamy wedding proposal for their soon-to-be-fiancé.  She had some very clever, creative and romantic ideas.
It’s very easy to relate to the characters’ joys and sorrows and fears, ranging from rebellion, to longing, to unhealthy relationships, to opening a business together…  You’re sure to have experienced similar situations with yourself or with a friend!
Honestly I didn’t *love* reading the book, though it was a good book.  Perhaps that’s because I read it over the course of several road trips.  I usually get so absorbed in a book that I hate to put it down, but I didn’t have trouble setting this one aside to turn the lights off at night.
Wanna check it out?  Read the first chapter here.
Cheryl McKay was the screenwriter for the award-winning film The Ultimate Gift. She also wrote an episode of Gigi: God’s Little Princess, and Taylor’s Wall, a drama about high-school violence.  
Rene Gutteridge is a critically acclaimed comedy writer and novelist. She is the author of fifteen novels including the Boo series, My Life as a Doormat, the Occupational Hazards series, and the novelization of the motion picture The Ultimate Gift.  
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review, and they asked me to share my honest opinions.