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!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg

Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg is a cute and clever book. It's an easy read that I did not want to put down each night. Believable and relatable characters with real life struggles.  It's book two of the Walker series, but I didn't feel behind, and I haven't read the first book.

The themes include life-work balance (who can't relate to that?!), love, Faith, forgiveness, loyalty new starts, family, and life purpose. So many great themes! If readers take the story to Heart, they will have an opportunity for self-reflection that might lead to shifting priorities and paths. It would be a great read for a book club, because there are so many great discussion points woven throughout the book.

I wasn't surprised to hear that the book was named by Publishers Weekly to their spring 2016 "Religion and Spirituality" Top 10 list

I would recommend this book to any female reader age 16 plus, though readers 18 + may find the story easier to relate to.

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Camping Tips

Mique published a great set of camping tips at thirtyhandmadedays...

Camping.  It seems like everyone is talking about their upcoming trips and plans for the summer.  Growing up I didn’t camp much so it isn’t my favorite thing.  Josh on the other hand, went camping A LOT.  His mom loves the smell of campfire.  Me? Not so much.  He has turned our kids into fans of camping and we have a trip scheduled for next month.  Wish me luck!

Last time we went, I scoured the internet for recipes, printables and more.  I thought you might enjoy some of the favorites that I found. Read more here.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Pearls from the Mother

by Lyn Overholt, my beautiful aunt

Routine is a mother’s best friend.
Never say “I won’t love you if….”Remember that discipline means guidance, not punishment.When praising a child, begin by saying “You must be proud of yourself.  You have worked hard at whatever it is……” THEN say, “I’m proud of you, too. “ The reason: we want to teach children to reinforce their own work, not work only for other’s approval.  I will explain what I mean.When looking at children’s art work, ask them to tell you about their picture instead of saying “What is that?”Say what you mean and mean what you say.Model the behavior you want your children to exhibit.Listen more than you speak. You don’t always have to “fix it.”Good question to ask: what do you think should be done?Tell your children that they can call you from wherever at any time of day or night and you will come and get them no questions asked… (…..until later.)You can ask me anything about anything and we will deal with it together.Sex:  a beautiful god-given thing between two equally committed adults.(Not to be treated casually.)Males NEVER hit females.Define your family values in words – and deeds.Do the right thing… and then explain why you did it.Be as polite to your children and husband as you are to strangers.Use anatomically correct names for body parts.State everything positively. Don’t EVER use racial or gender based slurs.Stay tuned to all aspects of your child: physical, emotional, spiritual, mental and intellectualRemember that you are your child’s first and most important teacher.Mothering is not something that is automatic.  We tend to parent as we were parented.  If you liked your upbringing that is great.  If not, you are able to change your approach.  Learn all you can about what is developmentally appropriate for your child at his/hr age.  Study! Help your child become a good decision maker from a very early age:  just be sure the choices are both okay with you.  Examples given. Let your child choose as practice: menu, clothes, activities.Catch your child being good. ..  and give honest praise.Remember that negative attention is better than none, so give lots of attention to the positive behavior of your child.  Sometimes ignoring bad behavior is a good thing.  Laughing at inappropriate behavior is a no-no.  Laughter is quite a reinforcer.  (even if it is funny!)Don’t compare your child – to anyone or anything.Keep your sense of humor.Admit it when you are wrong and apologize.The rules are the same for everyone… but age appropriate.Tell the truth.Teach your child skills as you go along:  sort the laundry, put up toys, etc.Let your children take the consequences for breaking the rules.Tone of voice is everything.Teach your children that you trust them.Role play: “what would happen if…..” Jigsaw puzzles, carpooling, teaching children to drive are wonderful opportunities to listen and learn.Tell family stories…especially about how much you wanted them and  how much they have added to the family.  Focus on positive things, not negative ones.Spend lots of time, not money on your children. Some of the most fun family times are free.Boys and girls are different from the get-go. Remember you are the role model for femininity and your husband is the role model for masculinity. This is an awesome responsibility.Individual differences are inevitable ….and fascinating.Remember, by the time we learn our jobs, they are over.  Grandparenting is grand.When you make a rule, enforce it.  If it’s not working, change it.Remember that you are in charge.Remember, everyone else ISN’T doing it.  Check with other parents for facts.Remember that dealing with a two year old is excellent practice for dealing with teenagers:  the issues are the same:  autonomy, independence, trust and “I can do it myself.”Never use derogatory labels for any child: you are stupid, ugly, fat, lazy, bad, etc., etc., etc.  Children believe what you say.Start family traditions early.  Example:  bible verses at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Try to keep holiday times as low key as possible.  Sometimes the emphasis on perfection seems to be the highest at these times.  We need to talk about our expectations so that no one is disappointed that X didn’t happen when no one knew what they expected.Don’t make a big deal over things that are really not important, like hair.  Some of these are just testing and are not fatal.Help your child set standards for himself……friends, behavior, drinking, smoking, sex.  What would Jesus do is a wonderful standard.We want to encourage independent thinking.  (so they won’t be so dependent on others (peers) when making decisions for themselves.)Using expressions like “good decision, good thinking,  sounds like a good plan,” are encouraging words to  someone learning to think independently.Parents should always reinforce each other.  If they disagree, they need to discuss it away from the children and present a united front.When a child needs correcting, separate the child from the group.  Do not embarrass him/her in front of their friends. Teach your children to handle money responsibly.  Money is not free or automatic.  Work and money are directly related.When your child comes home from school, give him/her your undivided attention for five minutes. This will save lots of time later.When your child talks to you, look at him/her.Deal with disciplinary tasks when and where they occur.  Don’t threaten your children with “Wait  until your daddy gets home.  Not only will they be scared of daddy, but they won’t want him to come home.Encourage your child to be able to pretend and to be creative.  This will be helpful in teaching them to think for themselves later.Be consistent!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

cups of coffee and cups of life

Look at the beautiful sign my sister made for her kitchen!  I love the way it reminds her each morning, as she's getting her CUP of coffee about her overflowing CUP of blessings!
We all need that morning reminder, don't we?

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Book Review: Back in the Saddle by Ruth Logan Herne

I've been living on a ranch out west for the last week.  Well, not really, but while reading Back in the Saddle by Ruth Logan Herne, it's felt like I've been riding horses with a ranching family.

It's the story of a modern day prodigal son who returns home to find himself, his family, and his new role in life.  It's the story of a strong woman moving from a place of hiding to freedom, while embracing faith, courage and forgiveness.  It's the story of a dying father forgiving himself for past mistakes, and using the time he has left to love others and rebuild relationships.  It's the story of a family with a history of harmful choices becoming a  family that heals a community.

Every reader is sure to identify with one of the many well-develiped characters in this book.  It's a light-hearted and enjoyable book packed with life lessons and beautiful scenery.  I would recommend this book to any female reader age 14+.  

I've never read a noval by Herne, but I look forward to reading more.

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