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!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Book Review: Insourcing by Randy Pope

I just finished reviewing Randy Pope's new book, Insourcing, which introduces the philosophy of Life On Life Missional Discipleship.  My husband and I lead the small group ministry at our church, and we are slowly transitioning to a missional community framework while simultaneously looking to integrate more discipleship into our community.  So this book was very timely. 

After reading several books on missional communities, this wasn't new information, but he packaged it well.  He keys in on five concepts, and gives examples to help readers understand each one:
* Truth: the study and application of scripture
* Equipping: creating a replicable model for discipleship
* Accountability: creating structures for accountability and life change
* Mission: living like Jesus where members live, work and play
* Supplication: Praying for each other and with each other

The appendix also has an outline of the Journey discipleship curriculum that Pope developed.  It's helpful for churches who want to start outlining a personalized plan, and it also gives a teaser for the curriculum which can be purchased.

It's a good read for church leaders (pastors or lay leaders or small group leaders) who want to explore ways to strengthen community and discipleship.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Games Galore!

Our family loves to play games. I love the habit, because games teach so many academic concepts, they strengthen character, and they build relationships.

Here are some of our favorites for young childrn:

What are your favorite games for young children?

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Book Review: Something Fishy by Barry Louis Polisar


This is a book of wacky poems in the style of Shel Silverstein.  It is filled with clever and energetic illustrations.  The author has chosen a variety of ocean animals to share with children.  He shares a fact or two about each animal in poetic fashion.

You could read the book cover to cover to a child (the vocabulary is advanced for most young readers), or read one creature’s poem to introduce an animal study by using additional resources.  There is a glossary of words at the end.

I would recommend this book to adults reading to children ages 7-9, or for children reading independently at 10 or older.

My 11-year old son says, “I like the mix of Dr. Seuss and Ranger Rick.  It has great rhymes that also teach a lot about sea creatures.  It’s a funny book with funny pictures.  Good word play.”

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Book Review: My Very First Noah's Ark Playtime

I love this creative activity book, which includes puzzles, games, stickers and stories related to the Bible story of Noah. The illustrations are bright and engaging.  Partnered with scripture reading and discussion, the activities will help children (and adults) understand more of what life on the ark must have been like.  And it's a great Launchpad for discussions on grace and redemption! 

My -year old daughter was very excited to see the book, and immediately set to work decorating and exploring.

I would recommend this for children ages 3-7.  It would be a great gift!  It would also be great for quiet rest time, road trips, reading time, or playtime.

A complimentary copy of this book was given to me in exchange for my honest review.

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Book Review: Red Dawn Rising by Sue Duffy

Red Dawn Rising is a suspenseful fiction novel with a good solid plot and many twists on the plot.  I appreciated reading the stories of redemption related to three of the main characters who have made bad choices, but later find forgiveness and renewed relationships.   It's a clean read with a light-hearted love story and lots of detective action.  It's easy to imagine this book being made into an action-packed suspense movie like Mission Impossible or The Bourne Identity.  Music lovers will appreciate this book because one of the main characters is a pianist.

I would recommend this book for male or female readers age 16 or older.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Dinner Tonight: Swiss Chicken

I love to make this yummy (and easy!) recipe that I found years ago at Publix.

2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
large zip-top bag
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast cutlets
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon dried oregano
4 (.75-ounce) slices Swiss cheese

1. Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Place flour and seasoned salt in zip-top bag; shake to mix. Add chicken, wash hands; seal tightly and shake to coat.
2. Place butter in pan and swirl to coat. Using tongs, add chicken and residual flour; cook 2–3 minutes on each side to brown.
3. Add wine, broth and oregano. Bring to boil and cook 6–8 minutes, turning chicken occasionally, until liquid is reduced by half.
4. Top each cutlet with 1 cheese slice; cover and cook 1–2 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve with sauce.


Monday, June 03, 2013

Grandma's Chocolate Ice Cream

This is the recipe we always make for ice cream socials, family gatherings, and neighborhood parties. It's a tradition in my husband's family and it's sooooo yummy!

6 eggs
2 c sugar
2 qts half and half
1 pint whipping cream
16 oz Hershey’s syrup

Beat eggs ‘til frothy. Add sugar and beat ‘til fluffy. Mix in half and half, one quart at a time. Mix in whipping cream. Mix in chocolate syrup. Pour into a 4-quart ice cream freezer canister and freeze according to directions.

IF there is any leftover, freeze it in a tupperware container, and enjoy it another night.


Saturday, June 01, 2013

Making a Mark

"We are a pencil in the hand of God.  It's not about us.  Our lives speak, our actions speak, far louder than our words."

telling of his story at New Life Ministries Rwanda in the book, 'What's Your Mark?'