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!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Inspiring Readers

This little 3rd grader didn't like reading very much until he discovered the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series.  I admit, it's definitely not my reading style, but it's exactly what he needed to kickstart his love for reading.  He started reading Wimpy Kid books about a year ago.  Since then, he has started devouring books. He read through the Magic Treehouse series, the Geronimo Stilton series, and now he is enjoying Theo Stilton books.  Figure out what your kiddos enjoy, and work with your librarian to find some books that fit their reading level and their personal style.

I'd love to hear what your kids love to read too!

Book Review: Rich in Years: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Long Life

Rich in Years by Johann Christoph Arnold

The subtitle of Arnold’s new book is “Finding Peace and Purpose in a Long Life”, and that perfectly describes this uplifting and hopeful book.  Arnold is frank as he deals with the challenges faced in our aging years, yet offers thoughtful and practical advice for setting your mind and heart toward the things that can help you enjoy your later years.

The back cover says, “This could be the richest season of your life…”.  That catches the whole premise and hope of the book.  What will you do with your life?  We you make your later years count? What impact do you want to make?  How can you make that impact as you deal with loss of independence, physical and mental capabilities? How can you surround yourself with a community that will help you be your best?

It’s a light-hearted and easy read filled with scriptures, pictures, quotes and lots of stories. 

I’m only 40, but I’m so glad I’ve been given the gift of learning from Arnold’s 70 years of wisdom.  I would recommend this book to anyone who is nearing retirement or anyone who is in the position to encourage others that are entering their later years.  It will help you to be a compassionate caregiver and/or friend to aging adults – to get a glimpse of life from their viewpoint and the hope of what a long and full life could be.

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


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Learning to Draw

It's hard to learn to draw on your own, but with step-by-step tutorials, drawing simple designs is very doable.  Here are some of the simple drawing books that we've collected over the years, and you can find many more tutorials online.  When one of the kids wants to learn to draw something, like a cat, we simply google "how to draw a cat", then look at the images 'til we find one we want to draw.  When my daughter started her craze over Hello Kitty, we headed straight to google to learn how to draw Hello Kitty.
The result?  A bank of simple images that your child can draw.  They can use the talent to impress their friends, doodle in a notebook, or make thank you cards.  But there's more.  Following these tutorials is a simple and strategic lesson in following directions - the better your follow the directions the better your drawing will be!  And there is an immediate gratification for following those directions!  Shhh - don't tell my kids!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hello Kitty, Littlest Pet Shop and Polly Pockets

It's easy to get stuck in a rut, thinking that toys needed to stay separated by genre - keeping polly pockets in one box, Hello Kitty in another box, and Littlest Pet Shop in a third box.  But think of the fun your kids could create if they mixed the sets together sometimes.  Today we mixed all 3 sets together for an hour of imaginary of play.  The Hello Kitty cruise ship took Littlest Pet Shop creatures on adventures to different islands made up of a Fairy Treehouse, and the Polly Pockets jeep transported people around the islands. My oldest son even made a Hello Kitty lego spaceship for her to travel into space.  What playsets can you mix together for imaginary playtime today?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine breakfast pancakes

We love making Valentine's pancakes on this special day.if you've never made them, they are so easy to make.use a soup spoon to make a v shape on the griddle.the batter will expand slightly to make a great great shape.experiment a little, and you'll make really cute silver dollar pancakes

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Animal Shelter Volunteers

Our kids are still too young to really volunteer at the animal shelter, but they love animals and they want to help.  They helped to organize a service project, where children decorated cat toys to give to cats at the animal shelter.  When we went to donate the toys, the kids got to play with the kittens and dogs for almost an hour.  It was like Christmas for the kids - they had soooo much fun!  They were so excited to spend time with the animals that don't yet have a home.  They are already asking when they can go back!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

10 Ways to Love

I think I found this quote on pinterest.  I cut off some of the sign, so I could zoom in for the picture, but you get the idea.  Love is not easy.  These are 10 simple practices that we aim to keep in our home.  Doesn't always happen, but we're praying toward it and working toward it!  What are some ways that you are teaching your family to love one another well?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Book Review: Candle Bedtime Bible

This is a collection of forty classic 3, 5, or 10 minute Bible stories that are well written with vibrant and fresh illustrations.  The stories are told in simple language that kids will be able to understand.  Instead of the Ten Commandments, the story here is titled "Rules to Live By".  Instead of the Good Samaritan the story is titled "A Stranger who Helped".  The Prodigal Son is "The Boy Who Came Home".  And the Last Supper is retitled "A Special Meal".

It's a bright and engaging Children's Bible that will be a great resource for families or Sunday school classes to help children grow in their Bible knowledge.

There is a lot of text on most pages, so I would recommend this book for K-2 readers to read with their parents. 

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

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Ice fun day 3


On this fun day, my daughter froze a tray of green ice and took her hello kitty figurines ice skating!  I never would have thought to play like that - I love her creativity!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Frozen Shapes

Here is another picture from our frozen fun last week.  The kids wanted to make ice cube shapes, and they realized that they could make them by setting them outside to freeze for an hour.  They got out all 3 of our ice/jello molds to make shaped ice cubes.   They also poured out their yogurt cups (top right) to reveal the colored ice blocks that they made the day before. 

What do your kids love to do when it's super cold outside?

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Frozen Colors

The kids had so much fun doing experiments with frozen colors last week.  They filled yogurt cups with water, added drops of various food colors, and set them outside to freeze.  They even added layers of more colors, to make rainbow ice.  It was so cool to watch how the colors would freeze in different shapes and merge together in different patterns.  Tennessee doesn't get this cold very often, so I loved watching the kids make the most of creative learning during the freezing temperatures.

Oh, and of course we were playing the movie soundtrack from Frozen throughout the day!