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, October 29, 2012

Helping Children Develop Friendships

I've been thinking a lot about children's friendships these days.  One of my kids would rather have his nose in a book or hang out with animals than be with friends his age. 
On one hand, I just need to know that's the way God made him.  He might be an introvert.  He is totally happy in his own world.
But my mommy heart worries for him.  It's tough to be 'on your own' in middle school.  I long for him to have good friends to support him through the tough transitional years ahead. 
If you're in the same boat, you might be encouraged by a few articles I just read: 

6 Ways to Help Your Child Develop Better Friendships

I'd love to hear your tips for helping children make friends!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Book Review - The Anger Workbook by Carter & Minirth

Anger Workbook, The An Interactive Guide to Anger Management

By Les Carter and Frank Minirth
Published by Thomas Nelson

I have followed Minirth's work for 2 decades, so I was excited to see the revision of this resource book.  If you know someone that really wants to understand and tackle their anger issues (whether they are passively or aggressively angry!), this is a great resource for them to use.  It's practical, it's educational, it's thought-provoking, and it's action-oriented.  It defines issues, gives great examples that are easy to relate to, and outlines steps to help you process through issues related to your anger. It's full of scriptures regarding anger and controlling anger.  It talks about the dangers of holding onto anger, but it's filled with gospel hope for overcoming anger.  There is even a chapter on managing a child's anger - a great read for parents of teens and preteens.  I highly recommend this resource to counselors, pastors, small group leaders, and individuals who truly want to change behavior and thinking patterns.  It has the capacity to change your life in a huge way!

I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

Monday, October 22, 2012

App Review - Zondervan's new Beginner’s Bible App

Zondervan's new Beginner’s Bible App is very cute and my kids have enjoyed it. 
From an educational stance, the Bible stories are well-told in a clear and concise manner.  The app has ‘shadow words’ (where the word is highlighted as it is read aloud), so it’s great for pre-readers and early readers.  The pictures are like the print version of the Beginner’s Bible, except they also have interactive elements on most pages.
In the stories, my 6 year old likes searching for the hidden surprises and clicking the pictures to make them move.  When clicking, an image might wiggle, dart, or make a sound effect.  When we flipped to the game side of the app, she saw the ‘play pages’ and exclaimed with huge enthusiasm, “Can I color these?”.
My 7-year old says, "I like the storytelling and the activities within each story".
Both get excited to 'play with the Bible' when they get ipad time.
The free light app has 6 stories and several activities.  It’s a great sampler, so you can decide whether to purchase more story sets for $1.99 each.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Book Review - Understanding Theology in 15 Minutes a Day

I just finished reading Understanding Theology in 15 Minutes a Day, by Darryl Aaron, a professor of theology and Bible.  It is a very thorough and simple study of theology for everyday people that are not necessarily inclined to be brainiacs.

There are 40 topics that range from omniscience to the Holy Spirit to spiritual gifts to salvation to end times and everything in between.  Each topic has a 4-5 page chapter, so it’s an easy 15 minute read.  He defines terms clearly and simply.  He outlines debates over controversial issues and scriptural points, but doesn’t express personal viewpoints.  He covers tough topics in simple readable form. 

This book gives a great general understanding of Christian faith.  I would recommend it for people that want to explore Christianity for the first time, for believers that want to dive deeper into their faith, or for people that are considering going into ministry.  It’s appropriate for late teens to adults, males or females.  It would be good for individuals, for a Bible class, or even for small group discussions.

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Family-Friendly Halloween Tunes

Looking for some fun family-friendly Halloween tunes?
I've started building a collection on Spotify, so I thought I'd share the link with you - Family Halloween tunes
Happy Fall!

Book Review - Tangled Ashes by Michele Phoenix

I love reading. I love old buildings.  I love studying interpersonal relationships. I love reading old letters.  I love mysteries.  I love historical fiction.  I am drawn to France.  So of course I enjoyed reading Michele Phoenix’s book, Tangled Ashes.

This is two stories combined into one.  Most of the book is a modern-day tale about the renovation of an old French castle.  But there are letters scattered throughout the book from World War II stories related to the castle.  The ending scenes tie the stories together.

It has elements of mystery and intrigue. It has messages to challenge readers – specifically in regards to forgiveness, healing, health, vulnerability, faith, and friendship.  And the elements are woven together in a good story.

I would recommend this book to women and teen girls that enjoy Christian historical fiction.

This book was given to me by Handlebar Marketing, in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review - The Reason by William Sirls

The Reason is William Sirls debut novel that gives readers glimpses into a small community's daily life.  It's complete with family, friendships, relationships (good and bad), celebrations, adversities, faith, fear, and healing.  It's supernatural qualities are somewhat reminiscent of "The Shack".

The messages are powerful reminders of God's desire to know us and spend time with us.  They also remind us of God's power to forgive, to heal, and to do miracles.

Sirls does a good job developing his characters, so you can relate to them in their joys, fears, and sorrows.

The story of redemption resonated even louder when I realized that the author is an ex-convict, forgiven, redeemed, and writing for the Lord.

This story would likely be enjoyed by teen and adult readers who are looking for a light inspirational read.

The book was given to me by Thomas Nelson publishers, in exchange for my honest review of the book.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Fish Tacos with Chipotle-Lime Slaw

Growing up in Knoxville, TN, I had never even heard of fish tacos until I met my husband from Arizona.  He loved the fish tacos from Rubios, so he got a similar recipe from a friend.  We've doctored the recipe a little bit over the years, and here is how we made the fish tacos for dinner tonight:

20 small fish sticks

10 Corn tortillas

3 cups broccoli slaw (or whatever cabbage mix you prefer)

1 bunch  chopped fresh cilantro

2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1-2 teaspons chipotle pepper sauce

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Slap Your Mama Seasoning (optional, for those that like more zap)

Bake fish sticks according to package directions.

In a large bowl combine the slaw ingredients and toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the wraps.

Warm the tortillas over direct high heat for about 1 minute, turning once. To assemble the wraps, put 2 small fish sticks in the middle of a warmed tortilla, then top with some of the slaw. Sprinkle with Slap Your Mama seasoning, if desired.  Fold in half like a taco. Serve warm or at room temperature.  Serve with black beans and rice.

Makes 10 small wraps

Monday, October 01, 2012

Planting Seeds of Biblical Truth - FREE devotional resource for families

planting-seeds-biblical-truth"Spend time with your family each week doing these short devotionals that will strengthen your faith and help you teach foundational truths to your children. You'll get 52 devotionals to use throughout the year that focus on the fruit of the Spirit."  (from Thriving Family)

The devotionals are simple to read, they use simple family activities to introduce concepts, and they have family conversation questions to help you explore scripture's applications.

I just downloaded my free copy, and I'm looking forward to exploring this more!