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, March 31, 2016

Drury Hotels - a new favorite!

I've never had a favorite hotel chain - I always shop around and choose the cheapest 3+ star hotel I can find with good ratings, a pool, and free breakfast.  But that has changed.  From now on, whenever I visit a new city, I'll check to see if they have a Drury Inn.

We just stayed at the Drury Inn and Suites in St. Louis, and I was wow-ed.  They serve free  hot breakfast and dinner each day, which is such a gift to traveling moms.  They also offer free soda, coffee and popcorn throughout the day.  And three adult drink coupons per person for each night.  They had a pool and a workout area.  And they have nice, clean hotel rooms with a refrigerator and microwave.  We were able to play hard all day, then return to the hotel for a relaxing evening without having to cook or navigate a restaurant.  It was wonderful!

HATS off to Drury for making traveling so much easier for moms and dads!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Another Christian Author to Enjoy!

I love finding new authors that I enjoy!  Especially historical fiction and romantic comedy!

Kim Vogel Sawyer is one that will be on my lookout list, after reading her novel, "Room for Hope".

From the publisher:  "Neva Shilling has a heavy load of responsibility while her husband travels to neighboring communities and sells items from his wagon. In his absence, she faithfully runs the Shilling Mercantile, working to keep their business strong as the Depression takes its toll, and caring for their twins. When a wagon pulls up after supper, Neva and her children rush out—and into the presence of the deputy driving a wagon carrying three young children. The deputy shocks her with the news that Warren and his wife have died, insisting it was their last request that the three children go live with “Aunt Neva.” Neva’s heart is shattered as she realizes that Warren’s month-long travels were excuses for visits with his secret family. She wants nothing more than to forget Warren, but can she abandon these innocent children to an orphanage? Yet if she takes them in, will she ever be able to see them as more than evidence of her husband’s betrayal and love them the way God does?

I enjoyed the creativity of Sawyer's plot and theme.  Her storyline is very unique and it's easy to sink into the character's shoes to live life with them as you read.  There are so many lessons woven throughout the story - faith, forgiveness, love, loyalty, compassion, loss, healing, service, betrayal, salvation...  Parts of the story are a bit predictable, but enjoyable nonetheless.  I read during all of my free moments, and I'm sad to come to the end of the book.

Her characters are well-developed, and full of inspiration for readers.

I recommend this book to female readers ages 14+.  And it would be great for moms and daughters to read together before discussing the questions at the end of the book.  I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Family Devotions

The newest book from the Bestselling Author of Jesus Calling is here - "Jesus Today - Devotions for Kids", by Sarah Young.  I loved her devotional for adults, and I like this new book just as much.

From the publisher:  "Jesus is the Friend who is always with you. Jesus Today®: Devotions for Kids will pour this powerful truth into your children’s hearts as they learn that He knows everything about them and loves them more than they can imagine. Each devotion is based on Scripture and is written as though Jesus is speaking, assuring that He is in control, that He is good, and that an amazing future awaits all who put their hope in Him."

It has 150 devotions targeted towards elementary age children.  Easy to understand text, but essential truths for children to understand about their relationship with Christ.  It only takes a few minutes to read the devotional and the scriptures that are printed in the book.  We like to take turns reading, to keep everyone engaged, and the text is simple for young readers to read aloud.

Young covers topics such as hope, comfort, fear, influence, strength, guidance, presence, and everlasting love.  The scripture-based messages will inspire youth and adult hearts, and stick with you throughout the day.

I recommend this book to families with elementary age children.  I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

The Art of Conversation

The blog "Not So Cute" just shared some really good tips about getting children involved in conversations.  I loved her thoughts about giving kids the gift of conversation instead of the gift of stuff.  And I like her practical tools for starting conversations with young children.