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 29, 2013

Being Light and Love on Halloween!

How will you share Christ's love with others on Halloween night? You could host a chili dinner before trick-or-treating, drive a trick-or-treat trailer around your neighborhood, warmly greet trick-or-treaters at your door, or create a hot chocolate station. Use this day to build relationships with others, and look for opportunities to share Light and Love.

Here's the beginning of a post from Family Matters:

What is the best day of the year to get to know the majority of the people living in your neighbourhood?
It’s not Christmas Morning.
Or Easter Sunday.
Or the first day of school.
The best day of the year to build community is on Halloween.
People leave their fenced yards, their closed-in garages, and all the other necessary amenities of life that by their very nature detract from people getting to know one another, and walk about the neighbourhood.

Read the rest here...

Happy Halloween!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Routines are Good

Children usually thrive on routine, and it can make life much easier for parents. There are 3 routine that we stick to faithfully in our house.

First is the morning routine. Every weekday morning we set the alarm for the same time. Kids go down to breakfast , clean up, brush teeth/hair, pack their backpacks, and they are ready to get out the door. My husband and I give them time checks throughout the half hour. so everyone can stay on track.

After school time is another routine. Children come into the house, empty their backpacks and lunch boxes, set out their papers to sign, and wash their hands. As they eat their afternoon snack, we can snuggle, work on homework, practice spelling words, or read books. This allows me a little check in time with each child, & I can hear about each person's schoolday.

Night time is the final routine that we follow every day. About 7:30 we send the kids upstairs to take showers, brush teeth, and head towards bed. If we're on time, that gives us plenty of time to snuggle, pray, and touch base with each kid.

What routines do you follow in your family?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Book Review: Return to Me by Lynn Austin

Lynn Austin's newest novel is very well-written.  She expertly transports her readers into Babylonian times and paints a vivid picture of life in the times of Jewish people's return to Jerusalem to rebuild their temple.  She includes biblical events, such as Daniel interpreting the 'handwriting on the wall' and speeches from Haggai and Zechariah.  She tackles important topics, such as following God with all your heart, how to know God's will, listening to God, obedience vs. love, and the importance of purity - all within the confines of a fictional story.  It's brilliantly done!

If you like historical fiction, you will enjoy this book.  I would recommend it to any reader age 15+. I would also encourage you to check out Lynn Austin's other books.

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

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Book review: 10 Great Dates: Connecting Faith, Love & Marriage

This book was not what I expected it to be, but it is a good tool for couples who want to grow in their marriage.  I thought the book was going to describe 10 creative relationship-building dates.  It does give content for date discussions, but it does not give ideas for the outing itself.

The authors address 10 different topics for the dates:
Date 1: Connecting Faith and Love
Date 2: Appreciating Your Differences
Date 3: Experiencing God Together
Date 4: Getting Into the Word
Date 5: Loving Your Closest Neighbor
Date 6: Talking Together With God
Date 7: Building Your Marriage on a Strong Foundation
Date 8: Facing The Storms of Life Together
Date 9: Guarding Your Hearts Under God's Canopy
Date 10: Making Your Marriage a Lighthouse

For each topic, the authors give a 10-page reading for couples to read together before the date, a 2-page fill-in-the-blank worksheet for each spouse to complete independently, and a 2-3 page post-date discussion guide for couples to talk through that includes a scripture to read together.

There are many good stories and personal examples to paint clear pictures of the content areas.  There are really good questions for couples to ponder together and separately.  The topics offer great opportunities for couples to learn about themselves, their relationship, and their lifestyles.

If a couple is willing to authentically explore emotional and spiritual relational patterns and take time to talk together, they will profit from reading this book and taking their dates.  It will set couples on a track to grow more in the future.

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

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Teaching Independence

Our oldest son is 11 and we're working hard to help him be more independent. When school started this fall, he wanted to start setting his own alarm clock to get up this morning. He actually wanted to get up a little bit early so he could give himself a little wiggle room in the morning schedule. He has been so responsible with this.

When he finished his breakfast and getting ready for school, he would ask me if he could have a few minutes to read or check on a game on his kindle. For a couple of days I would run through a checklist verbally with him:  Are you ready for school? Have you pack your backpack? Have you brushed your teeth? Are all of your papers signed?

Then it dawned on me that we should have a morning checklist for him. I had him write out all the things he needed to accomplish the morning before school. Each morning after he checks everything off the list , then he is free to do whatever he would like before its time to hop in the car.

He is proud to be prepared. He likes the independence. And it's definitely streamlining our morning schedule. He is growing in independence, he is happy, and mom is happy.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Helping Chilren Realize Their Selfishness

I've been watching my friend Erin as she teaches her four little girls to resolve conflicts.

When one child does something mean to another child, such as taking away a toy, or acting rudely during playtime, Erin approaches the child in a calm voice with a simple statement. "Dear child, why has this toy become more important than your sister today?" Or "Little one, why is winning more important than your relationship with your brother today?"

I love the simplicity of helping your child realize their selfish nature and remember the value of people over things. Now if I can just remember to use this strategy with my own children in the heat of complex! Isn't it great to learn from each other? I'm so grateful for my mommy friends!

Friday, October 04, 2013

Book Review & Giveaway: Women Living Well by Courtney Joseph

I truly loved reading Courtney Joseph's book, Women Living Well: Find Your Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids, and Your Home. Every page of it was inspiring and equipping. She tells stories about her everyday life, her parents' lives, and her grandparents' lives. And she uses those stories to paint a picture of what a godly woman's life should be like.

Amazon describes the book this way:
Women desire to live well. However, living well in this modern world is a challenge. The pace of life, along with the new front porch of social media, has changed the landscape of our lives. Women have been told for far too long that being on the go and accumulating more things will make their lives full. As a result, we grasp for the wrong things in life and come up empty.  God created us to walk with him; to know him and to be loved by him. He is our living well and when we drink from the water he continually provides, it will change us. Our marriages, our parenting, and our homemaking will be transformed.  Mommy-blogger Courtney Joseph is a cheerful realist. She tackles the challenge of holding onto vintage values in a modern world, starting with the keys to protecting our walk with God. No subject is off-limits as she moves on to marriage, parenting, and household management. There is nothing more important than fostering your faith, building your marriage, training your children, and creating a haven for your family. Women Living Well is a clear and personal guide to making the most of these precious responsibilities.

I wouldn't recommend that you read the book straight through. Instead I would read a chapter at a time to absorb it reflect on it and apply it in your life. It would be great to read it with a friend, allowing time to talk through the different things you are learning as you read. If you read this with all your heart, God will surely use it to change your heart and your life.

I would recommend this book for any Christian woman age 15 or older. It has great points for single women, married women, and women with children.

I would also encourage you to check out Courtney's blog.  It is a constant source of encouragement and resources for your Christian journey.

And in Courtney's words I will close by saying "Live with the king!"

Wanna WIN a copy of this book?  Leave a comment telling me why you want to read Courtney's book, and I'll select a random winner next week.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Organizing Accessories for Little Girls

I finally figured out a good way to store my daughter's accessories. I bought an over-the-door hanging shoe rack on clearance in the back to school supplies section. We hung it on her closet door, and put different accessories in each little 'bucket' - one for headbands, one for necklaces, one for bracelets, one for pretend make-up, one for scarves, one for belts.. Now her dresser is not overflowing with all kinds of stuff, and she can find what she wants to wear!