*Bookmarks is an online book club hosted at Creative2xmom. Here we discuss the books we've read in the past month as well as the suggested reading. Our suggested reading for November was Raising Motivated Kids by Cheri Fuller.
Fearless Daughters of the Bible by J. Lee Grady-- See my review here.
Raising Motivated Kids by Cheri Fuller was our suggested reading for the month. Fuller's book focuses on how parents can raise kids to stay motivated and headed toward academic success. Some of the chapter titles include:
All in all, the information presented in Fuller's books is nothing revolutionary. Any parent invested in the best for their child will have thought through much of this before. However, it is a great reminder of how to stay connect with our kids and motivating them through our relationship. This is a quick and easy read that I'll continue to pick through as the years unfold.
So what are your bookmarks this month?
Tell us in the comments about the books you're chewing on. Or link up a review from your own blog. Let's share the books we're finding, good and bad. And give us your thoughts on Raising Motivated Kids by Cheri Fuller.
And come back Friday December 21st as we discuss Don't Make Me Come Up There by Kristin Welch and other books you're reading.
Last year, I saw this fun idea in several places and tucked it in the back of my mind to try. Every day from December 1-25th, we'll unwrap one Christmas book to read together. Reading is a special part of our evening routine and this way we get to explore a whole new set of books. Especially fun Christmas books.
Since we don't have 25 Christmas books on our shelf, I used the local library as a resource. I've been ordering Christmas books and picking them up as we go. It's amazing how many books are out there about Christmas. I've been screening them as I wrap them, but I've been pleasantly delighted with many of them.
I picked up a roll of wrapping paper from the dollar store and labeled them each with a day. Especially the library ones so we can get them back on time. And they're sitting in my Thirty-One bag under the tree. I can't wait to see what kinds of books we'll discover this year.
I have found a new love that I want to share with you all before Christmas. Have you heard of Thirty-One Bags? When I first heard of this company, I wasn't sure what to think. Was it just another bag? But the more I've looked into it, I've been so impressed and delighted by their products. They're unique, functional, and a whole lot of fun!
My friend Sarah is my fabulous new consultant and she is a dream to work with. As we've been working on this review and giveaway, I've been so excited for how many options are available and how versatile these bags really are.
I love this Timeless Beauty Bag. This one is on my short list. How great would this be if you have a little girl? Lydia could fill this one up in no time.
Or here's another idea. The pouch is big enough for an Ipad and the buckle is perfect for attaching to the back of the driver's seat. Insert Ipad and little one can happily watch a movie, hands free. This bag goes on special starting Wednesday November 28th (sorry about the change)... just $5 with a $31 purchase.
And check out this Organizing Utility Tote. How about organizing scrapbook supplies or gift wrap for the holiday? Portable wrapping station anyone?
This is the bag I had a chance to review and I love it. It's so roomy; we've used it for all kinds of things. Here are just a couple of ideas:
School supplies: This day we loaded it down with 2 teacher's manuals, 2 textbooks, 4 workbooks, 2 readers, and 2 pencil boxes. And we haven't put anything in the outside pockets yet.
Library day: This day we had over 20 items to return to the library and we haven't begun to reach this bag's full capacity.
Wanna know how to win?
*Visit Thirty-One Bags and tell us what your favorite bag and print are and how you'd plan to use it.
Simply leave an additional comment(s) letting me know which one you choose, (Feel free to choose all if you don't mind my jabbering.)
Entries will close Sunday December 2nd 12 AM PST and winner will be posted and contacted on Monday.
Want a Second Shot at Some Goodies?
*Creative2xmom will also be hosting a Mystery Host Blog Party through Thirty-One Bags. Anyone orders from Sarah's Thirty-One Bags site now through the duration of this giveaway will be entered to win. Two Mystery Hosts will be draw next Monday: one to receive the hostess rewards and one to receive a hostess exclusive item. So even if you loose, you can still win!
Good luck to all the entrants.
*Disclaimer: My Thirty-One Bags Consultant is supplying the item for this giveaway as well as a gift for my own family. All opinions are my own.
It's that time of year again... Advent! And keeping in with tradition, I'm planning an Advent Calendar filled with things to do in making memories as a family. Each year we try to focus on memory making rather than stuff and this year I find that I have more ideas than days on the calendar. So you'll see that some days have more than one activity listed. That's because I just couldn't decide which one I'd rather do. I'm still playing with the order a little bit as we finalize our traveling plans, but this is what our Advent calendar looks like so far.
Dec 1st--Christmas Parade
Dec 2nd--Make an ice wreath
Dec 3rd--Set up Christmas Little People Set/ read the nativity story
Dec 4th--Make nativity figures/ make thumbprint candy canes
Dec 5th--Have a dance party to Christmas music
Dec 6th--Send postcards to cousins
Dec 7th--Holiday Movie: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Dec 8th--Have a sleepover under the Christmas tree/purchase a new Christmas book
Dec 9th--Make Homemade Marshmallows/ shop for angel tree
Dec 10th--Visit a nursing home
Dec 11th--Make Pancakes and Hot Cocoa for dinner
Dec 12th--Decorate graham cracker houses
Dec 13th--Drive and look at Christmas lights
Dec 14th--Holiday Movie: Frosty the Snow Man
Dec 15th--Lydia's birthday party
Dec 16th--Make peppermint play-doh
Dec 17th--Make cards for teachers
Dec 18th--Make Peppermint Ice Cream
Dec 19th--Game night
Dec 20th--Take treats to neighbors and friends/caroling?
Dec 21st--Lydia' birthday dinner/ Holiday Movie: Santa Claus is Comin' to Town
Dec 22nd--Decorate sugar cookies
Dec 23rd--Make snowflakes
Dec 24th--Call relative and sing carols
Dec 25th--Monkey Bread for Breakfast
Make candy cane mice
Visit a local zoo decorated for the holidays
Visit a local garden decorated for the holidays
Visit a living nativity
Cut down your own tree
Go on a train ride
Make a Christmas card for a soldier
Girls go out for mani/pedis
Make homemade Christmas ornaments
Attend a Christmas play or musical production
Have a candlelight dinner
In addition to our Advent Calendar, I'm planning on doing a Book Advent while I'll post later this week. Again, I just couldn't make up my mind.
I love, love, love Pumpkin Ice Cream. I cannot stress to you enough how much I love Pumpkin Ice Cream. When the fall hits and ice cream shops start carrying it again, my heart sings. It's hard to find year round to it's been a seasonal treat in my life for many, many years. Until know.
Thank You, Pinterest! I have found the yummiest Pumpkin Ice Cream. And I can make it in my own home. Dangerous, I know. And to celebrate, I want to share this yummy recipe with all of you so you can enjoy this seasonal treat with me. So if you're looking for a new Thanksgiving dessert or you're like me and just can't imagine saying farewell to Pumpkin Ice Cream till next fall, keep reading!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream (from I Wash You Dry)
1 c. Pumpkin
1 c. Sour Cream
8 oz Cream Cheese
2/3 c. Sugar
3 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 c. Cream
Blend all ingredients together until smooth.
Put in ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.
Serve immediately as soft serve or put in freezer to set.
Serve with crushed graham cracker or dusted with cinnamon/sugar mix.
I love setting this ice cream in the freezer and dusting it with cinnamon/sugar mixture. The cinnamon/sugar just gives it a slight crunch and it's so yummy! Hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I do. If not, just send your leftovers my way. :-)
Fearless Daughters of the Bible is a 15 chapter study that looks at 22 women of the Bible and how they changed their world. I picked up the book thinking it would be interesting to get a fresh perspective of these women, some of whom occupy only a small space in such a vast book. And I was pleasantly surprised by the range of women that were chronicled.
Along with each woman from the Bible, Grady includes modern day examples to flesh out just how daring and counter-cultural theses women were. Through multiple examples, the author encourages women to embrace their natural God-given talents and abilities to minster in the church and change the culture around them.
Although I mostly enjoyed the book, I had two reservations about Fearless Daughters. 1) Grady occasionally relies more heavily on his modern day examples rather than the Biblical example that he says he promotes. I think the modern day examples are fitting. It's just not what a expect from a book about Fearless Daughters of the Bible. 2) Grady has a tendency to write heavy handedly about the church's conscious or unconscious oppression of women in ministry. Sometimes he veers toward feminism. While I agree that there are areas that need to be changed, Grady seems to swing to the other end of the pendulum.
Over all, Fearless Daughters of the Bible is a great source for learning more about 22 powerful women of God who changed the course of history. It's a good study of some often overlooked historical characters. While I can't agree with everything Grady has to say, I do appreciate his passion for bringing these women greater recognition and showing us what we can learn from them.
*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Fearless Daughter for review. All opinions are my own.
There's something uniquely special about Thanksgiving. The pace of the day is a little slower. The focus turns more to family. And a sense of gratitude warms the air.
However, if we're not careful, Thanksgiving can quickly turn pricey as we attempt to prove an abundant spread. These are just a few ways we can focus on our favorites and still feast:
1. Name your Priorities
I grew up celebrating holidays with a wide variety of savory dips, hearty entrees, and sweet endings. With plenty of family, there was often 3-4 types of salads and appetizers, a full holiday meal, and several desserts. However, as we've moved away, we've come to live under a starting budget. For us, that has meant naming our priorities. Our list includes turkey, potatoes, hominey casserole, rolls, and cranberry applesauce. Oh yeah. And pumpkin pie cake! For your family, it may mean Grandma's Spinach Dip or an olive and pickle platter. Gather the family and get their input. Then narrow down from there.
2. Make a List (and check it twice)
Make a list of what you need. And be sure to check your cupboards... twice... before you hit the stores. You may have a bag of cranberries tucked in the back of the freezer or an extra cake mix already in the back of the pantry. Trust me, it happens. Making a list will keep you both from overbuying and from forgetting that one essential item.
3. Consolidate your Shopping
There are great deals to be had this time of year, but for me, running from store to store spending time and gas just doesn't add up. Pick the store with the best deals overall and go for it. And sometimes it works out in more ways than one. Some stores are offering discounted or free turkeys for purchasing a certain amount of groceries. This year I'm consolidating my regular grocery shopping with my holiday shopping to meet my discounted turkey mark.
4. Spread the Cost (and the work)
If you're inviting others into your home, accept help. Many would love to help. Thanksgiving is all about sharing blessings and being together. People love to contribute and not only will it keep your cost down, but it will also add variety to your menu.
5. Know your Limits
Thanksgiving doesn't have to include four desserts. And no one expects you to do everything. So give yourself, and your budget, a break. Don't be afraid to ask for help and simplify if need be. Know what works for you and enjoy the day.
This past October, my little guy turned 7 years old. Seven! Seven years old! I can't believe it. I blinked and he grew up. This year, he's become obsessed with star wars, which absolutely fascinates me since he's never seen the movie. But in his mind, Star Wars is this amazing world of villians, good vs evil, and light sabers. So I caved and started planning a Lego Star War's party which actually turned out to be a lot of fun.
Princess Leia made an appearance at the party as well. She even had her own light saber to defend herself against her brother. I saw a lot of different light saber ideas on Pinterest, but in the end went with pool noodles since I knew the boys would be beating each other with them anyways. We cut the noodles in half, then wrapped the cut end in SHINY (not matte) silver duct tape. Then I added a strip of black electrical tape on the top and the bottom of the silver. Both tapes were very forgiving and easily movable if necessary.
I love planning food for these parties. What does that say about my appetite? Popcorn, veggies and dip, and pretzel rods dipped in chocolate for light sabers.
I didn't get a picture of the punch, but we made Yoda Soda: 7-Up mixed with limeade and scoops of lime sherbert floating in it. The kids thought the green color was weird, but once they tasted it, they were hooked.
And my mom came up with this one: Death Star Donuts. Chocolate donut holes purchased from the store and sprinkled with edible silver stars. Yummy!
My mom made the cake. She frosted a sheet cake and sprayed it with silver coloring from Wiltons. Then for the lego pieces, she added smaller cakes, made the nobs with marshmallows, and frosted the whole piece. We stacked them on the back of the cake and added Lego Star Wars figures as well.
To start off the party, we had an obstacle course with several items from around our house: a crawling tunnel, cones to kick a soccer ball around, a black tablecloth to run through, and bobbing for an apple at the end before tagging the next team mate. All through out the course, we had "Jedis" trying to stop the kids by whacking them with light sabers. I'm not sure who it was more fun for: the kids or the adults.
I looked up several pictures of Yoda a few days before and drew on to play Pin the Light Saber. My kids love every variation of this game and usually end up going several times.
My mother-in-law printed out several pictures of Stormtroppers and we took out Noah's nerf gun. The idea was to hit as many as they could. You could make the Stormtroppers stand or do what we did: tape them to a black tablecloth hanging from the clothesline. Either way, my little girl was going to make sure she got a good shot.
Finally it was time for cake!
And a group photo before opening presents!
It seems like all our parties lately have ended with a pinata. And this party was no exception. Although the homemade pinata turned out to be a little bit sturdier than planned and we broke the plastic bat. Plan B involved a metal bat and some very concerned parents. Don't worry. No one was hurt in the destruction of the Death Star pinata. Oh, yeah, except for the pinata.
In the end we had a ceremony where we presented each of the kids with their certificate of Jedi training, making them official Jedi's. Now, they're off to defend the galaxy. They're well prepared, energetic, and full of sugar. At least until next year!
Everything... What You Give and What You Get to Become like Jesus...
We want everything. But are we willing to give EVERYTHING?
Demuth's book left me wondering how to write this review. While there were some wonderful nuggets, I felt like I was just missing something. Somehow it felt like it missed the mark. But let's start with the high points:
Everything is very well structured. Broken into three sections, Mary Demuth takes us from the head (what we think about God), to the heart (how we feel about God), to the hands (how we're going to live out truth).
I love that the hands were included. After all, faith without works is dead. It's by living out truth that we own it.
At the same time, how we think about God is equally as important. If we don't believe that God truly loves us, why would be ever trust that he's going to lead us into truth?
Mary's passion for the Lord is clearly evident in her writing. Additionally her passion for readers to know God is equally as strong.
The book is challenging. There were moments that definitely made me stop and question my own faith.
There were a few things that stumped me however:
Although Demuth says this isn't a book about doing, some of her chapters made me questions otherwise. There were moments where I had to wonder if she wasn't preaching a works theology.
Demuth gives us glimpses into a very broken past which could certainly have been developed further which would have in turn furthered her message.
Some of the chapters felt repeditive.
Over all, I was pleasantly surprised by the final chapter. Demuth explores 10 Lessons Learned in Her Journey. This chapter was so meaty that they could easily be developed into a full book themselves. Some of the topics she touches on include:
The Discipline of Small Obedience over the Long Haul
The Discipline of Singing
The Discipline of Silence
The Discipline of Forgiveness
All in all, Everything is a good place to start. Some of the details could certainly have been fleshed out, but Demuth's work still stands as a challenge to all Christians in asking, "Are you ready to give Everything?"
*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book for review. All opinions are my own.
With the year marching quickly by, my mommy thoughts are turning toward Christmas and celebrating with my family. And of course, Christmas shopping. Every year I'm on the lookout for high quality learning items I can gift my kids. That's why we love Melissa and Doug. Well-made, education, and fun, Melissa and Doug toys are easily passed down from child to child in our house.