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, January 30, 2012

25 Rules for Moms with Sons

I just read a great post from Team Studer titled "25 Rules for Sons".  It's lovely, and I think you will enjoy reading it and sharing it!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Discover the Superhero in You! Our Service-Learning Activity Booklet

I worked with Susan Ragsdale, Cindy Lawrence to develop this service-learning activity book for the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service. Their youth volunteer leaders use the booklets in service-learning workshops that they lead for elementary age children.  We’d love for you to use it with your youth, or you can contract with us to develop materials especially for you!  Email to get your free copy of the activity book!

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Book Review: Unhallowed Ground: The Fourth Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon

Mel Starr has just released another book in his Hugh De Singleton series.  It is titled Unhallowed Ground: The Fourth Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon.

Thomas atte Bridge, a town criminal disliked by everyone in the town, is found hanging from a tree at the beginning of the story. The townspeople all assume he has taken his own life, but Master Hugh believes otherwise.  As the bailiff, surgeon, and detective in the small 13th century town of Bampton, England, Master Hugh sets on a complicated journey to discover the truth.

I appreciated the character struggles.  I think all readers will identify with the juxtaposition of forgiveness vs. retribution, as well as justice vs. mercy.  These are important issues for us all to wrestle with!

I was intrigued by the element of historical fiction.  The language and scenery will sweep readers into the 13th century English village life.  I especially enjoyed watching the development of relationships and cultures during a different era of time.

However the overall book lacked luster to me.  It moved at a very slow pace and I found myself wanting to skim across the pages.

I haven’t read the other three books in the series, and they have a very good reputation, so I might suggest starting there if you want to explore the life of a surgeon detective from long ago.

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book from Kregel Publications, and was asked to give my unbiased feedback on the book.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: Pink Tiara Cookies For Three

I am excited to be a part of The Pink Tiara Blog Tour today! Maria Dismondy has written a charming new book, Pink Tiara Cookies For Three. It’s a lovely picture book that helps young girls explore friendship – beyond having one exclusive best friend.

Having a daughter, teaching in schools, and working in youth organizations, I know first-hand about the challenges girls often have with building, maintaining and expanding friendships. We all know that girls can be just plain mean (though also wonderful!), so it’s nice to have a picture book to share with girls about overcoming relational challenges.

Maria’s book offers a lovely and light-hearted avenue to help caregivers explore respectful and kind friendships that can swim against the tide of the bullying and exclusion that are too often present. The drawings are whimsical, relatable, and inspiring. The text is spot-on - even my five-year daughter could easily understand the emotional struggles and the character choices exhibited in the storyline. She quickly identified the main character as choosing meanness instead of kindness throughout most of the story, and cheered when she decided at the end of the story to be a true friend.

This book would be great for counselors, teachers, and parents of young girls.

Click here to see a cute one-minute youtube video overview of the book that captures snippets of the text along with the beautiful pictures.

Click here to order an autographed copy of the book at Maria’s website.

Learn more about Maria’s expertise and passions at

Wanna WIN your own copy of the book, along with a tiara cookie cutter from Maria? Post a comment with your favorite book for young girls, and I will select a random winner on Friday, January 20, 2012.

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Monday, January 09, 2012

Quick and Easy Dinners: Super Simple Chili

My sister introduced me to this easy recipe.  It's super easy and it's my brother-in-law's favorite chili.  It's great to double if you need to feed a crowd, or to freeze for later, or to share a meal with a family in need.

2 pounds ground beef

1 (8 ounce) jar salsa
4 tablespoons chili seasoning mix
1 (15 ounce) can light red kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can corn

1.     In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute ground beef until browned. Drain grease, if desired.
2.     Add the other ingredients. Mix well, reduce heat to low and simmer for at least an hour.  
(you can also do this in the crockpot, if that fits your schedule better)


Monday, January 02, 2012

Book Review - Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship and Life Together by Mark & Grace Driscoll

Mark and Grace Driscoll have just released a book together called Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together.  It is a refreshing, light-hearted, practical resource for building and maintaining strong marriages.  The couple humbly and openly shares pieces of their marital journey so readers can learn from their mistakes and find hope for growing strong marriages. 

They focus a lot on the importance of spouses grounding their relationship on a spirit of friendship.  They talk about humility and serving your spouse instead of demanding that your spouse meet your needs and desires.  They each write a chapter for their gender about being a dynamic husband or wife.  They talk a lot about intimacy and sexuality, and how to strengthen that aspect of your marriage.  The sex section even includes a chapter titled “What Can We?“ where they explore common questions related to sexuality and respond with answers to these three questions:  is it legal for Christians?  Is it helpful?  Is it enslaving?  They close with very practical and enlightening questions to help re-engineer your marriage.  The questions are very powerful and primed to help couples start a cycle of change. 

It is a great book for couples that are engaged, newly married, or even married for decades.  It’s great for pre-marital and marriage counselors, as well as pastors.  It would make a great small group study.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.  

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