Friday, July 31, 2015

2015 July Bookmarks

2015 Bookmarks Title photo IMG_4519_zps6c71285c.jpg

*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 July was Emma by Jane Austen.

 These are the books I read this month:

Be the Best Mom You Can Be by Marina Slayton-- See my review here.

When Grace Sings by Kim Vogel Sawyer-- See my review here.

Our suggested reading for July was Emma by Jane Austen--  Being a lit major in college, you would have thought I'd have read something by Jane Austen by now.  But I can honestly say this was certainly a first.  And at 500 pages, not one to be taken lightly.  Poor Miss Emma... so completely delusional.  Thinking she needs nothing in life, but playing matchmaker.  Strong, independent... and oh, so blind.  Her matchmaking gets her mixed up in more than one love triangle till she finally realizes she love is staring her right in the face.  At times slow, at times a tumble of mixed up action, Austen has written an incredibly flawed, but lovable character.  If you haven't read Austen's work, this is a great place to start.

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 Emma by Jane Austen.

And come back Aug 28th as we discuss The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks.

*Linked to these Parties

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Be The Best Mom You Can Be {Review}

So I read a lot of parenting books.  A lot.  I want to constantly be learning and growing as a mom.  And if there's one thing that's constant in parenthood, it's change.  Kids are growing into new stages and life is always evolving.  So I can use all the help I can get from parents who have gone before us.

When this one came up for review, I was naturally interested.  Sure I want to be the best mom I can be.  That's absolutely my goal.  Why would I do this parenting this half way?  Sign me up.

In this book Slayton talks about her own parenting journey and the struggles she saw displayed in her kid's friend's lives.  From those experiences, she draws her chapter topics:

1. Love is the Foundation
2. Building Belonging
3. Importance of Vision
4. Breaking Generational Curses
5. Moms are not Perfect
6. Start with Eternity in Mind
7. Answering Tough Questions
8. Encouragement
9. Communication, Collective Wisdom, and Community
10. Time is Our Friend
11. Hope is Available
12. Working Moms
13. Spirit-Led Ministry

There were definitely some good points to this book.  Chapter Six about Starting with Eternity in Mind is a great reminder for knowing that we're building thriving adults and not just striving for worldly success.  And chapter eight about encouraging your child was a great reminder to balance correction so our children don't loose heart.

However, overall, this book was quite simplistic.  Chapter One focuses on the fact that we should love our children.  I don't know many parents that struggle with this concept.  Liking them is sometimes a challenge, but love runs deep.  Chapter Five talks about the imperfections of motherhood.  Again, I don't know a mother that isn't daily confronted with her own inability to complete everything on her plate.  And I found that Slayton almost talked in circles, touching on the same points over and over again without providing any real, clear strategies.

This book just wasn't for me.  If you're looking for a fantastic book about motherhood, I would suggest the following:

What's the most important piece of parenting advice you've ever been given?

*Disclaimer: I was given this book for free from the publisher for review.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Disneyland Tips and Tricks

*This post was originally published on 11/4/13.  Enjoy!

Looking for a specific character?  Ask a cast member at the Guest Info Board.  They should know when and where to find the characters throughout the park that day.

Check out the baby centers in both Disneyland and California Adventure.  They're clean, quiet, and a great place to feed, change, or nurse baby.  They also have a first aid kit and you can refill your water bottles with filtered water.

Want to trade a pin?  Ask any cast member.  They'd be happy to trade with you.

Check into the Mark Twain Riverboat ride and if you're the first to ask, you can go into the wheel house and might even get to pull the horn.

Ask if you can ride in front of the Monorail and Train as well.  Be sure to check with the train conductor and get on at the Main Street Depot.

Looking for a cool place to rest your feet?  Stop by the Main Street Cinema for a breather during the afternoon heat and enjoy some classic Disney cartoons.

The Grizzly River lockers in California Adventure are free for the first two hours of the park opening.

If you pop a balloon while you're in the park, just bring it to the vendor and they will give you a new one.

There is a 15 min grace period for Fast Passes.

Fast Passes for World of Color are also located near Grizzly River Run.  Fast Passes entitle you to a spot on the front side of the show which is essential.  Pick up picnic food to enjoy while you wait for it to begin.

Looking for free filtered water?  My favorite place is the Baby Center.  But it's also been rumored that you can find filtered water in the following locations:
  *The French Market in New Orleans Square
  *Rancho del Zocalo in Frontierland
  *Tomorrowland Terrace to the left of the order window in Tomorrowland

*Linked to these Parties

Thursday, July 23, 2015

When Grace Sings {Review}

The second book in the Zimmerman Restoration series, When Grace Sings picks up the story of Alexa, the adopted daughter of an Amish exile.  We find Alexa managing the B&B in her grandmother's house as a stranger reporter comes searching for his break out story.  But they both hold their own secrets.  She's hiding from hers and he's running from his.  But in a small Amish community, secrets have a way of catching up.

Picking up from the first book, When Mercy Rains, I was curious to see what direction Sawyer would take with this book.  Middle books are so hard to write in trilogies.  However, this book offered new engaging characters and really took the trilogy in an unexpected direction.  And quite a delightful one.  

This book is written in such a way that we "hear" from each character's perspective.  It can get confusing at first and the first several chapters took me awhile to get into the flow of reading.  However, as the book moves on, it allowed me glimpses into each of their thoughts.  It makes for an interesting read.

All in all, I'm delighted with how this series is progressing.  This book was a well-written "middle" and I look forward to the conclusion of these characters' story.

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

10 Best Educational TV Shows for Preschoolers

*This post was originally published on 1/26/15.  Enjoy!

Technology is a difficult road to travel.  We've all heard the warnings about limiting our children's screen time.  And while I think that's important, it also think technology can be a great tool in educating or children.  With a few limits and safeguards, these are our top 10 Educational TV Shows for Preschoolers. 

Sid The Science Kid
This is an incredible show for teaching your preschooler about basic scientific method and science concepts.  Plus Sid is so fun and really inquisitive, just like your 3 year old.

Little Einsteins
A preschool show about classical music and classic art... what's not to love?
And it involves a rocket!

Word World
The animals of Word World solve everyday preschool problems by building words and utilizing friendship.  Great for problem solving and letter sounds.

Super Why
Hands down our favorite preschool TV show.  Kids learn letters, letter shows and basic reading, all while exploring classic fairytales.

Cat in the Hat
Oh, we love the Cat in the Hat... exploring the world, science, relationships, and emotions are all great topics to discover with this whimsical friend.

Dinosaur Train
Dinosaurs and trains? This is a preschooler's dream
Acurate facts packaged in a fun story.

Go, Diego, Go
So much going on here... a second language, nature, animals, ...
All in this fast-paced adventure.
Sesame Street
Classic, classic, classic... everyone loves Sesame Street!

It's a Big, Big World
Again a science style show for your preschooler... I love it!

Mister Roger's Neighborhood

Mister Roger's taught us about community helpers, how to deal with our emotions, how to enter into a world of make believe... prefect for preschool.

Alaska Cruise/ At Sea-- June 22, 2015

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Weekend Links

This Week:

What I Made: An adorable fleece blanket for my new nephew... started a piƱata... lots of yumminess in the kitchen...

What I'm Reading:  I'm reading an adoption book which is really showing the human side of  adoption... all the emotions that come and go in a tumultuous journey.

What I'm Doing: We're hitting the lake and having friends over.

What I'm Watching:  We've been watching House Hunters International and America Ninja Warrior of course.

What I'm Enjoying:  Snow cones... pilates... the rowing machine... swimming...   

What are you up to?

Monday, July 6, 2015

We're Going on a Cruise {And a Homemade Countdown}

 My mom made this fun countdown for the kids with her circuit so they can countdown the days till our trip. Plus I can use it all my scrapbook when we get home. Yeah!

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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July, Everyone!

Hope you have a wonderful holiday
celebrating our freedom and
enjoying our nation's birthday!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

2015 June Bookmarks

2015 Bookmarks Title photo IMG_4519_zps6c71285c.jpg

*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 June was Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter.

 These are the books I read this month:

The Burn: Why your Scale is Stuck and What to Eat About It by Haylie Pomroy-- See my review here.

How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird by Amy Lively--See my review here.

Stuart Little by E. B. White-- This was such a cute book.  If you've ever seen the movie, you'll recognize certain characters, but the book takes it even further.  It's a great one to read with kids.

Our suggested reading for June was Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes Courter-- Wow!  I didn't know this was a young adult fiction prior to picking it up, and there are moments where the authors youth shines through.  But all in all, this is a deeply moving, insightful book about the journey through foster care.  It's dark at times, exposing the reality that so many of the kids live through.  And while it's a tough read, it's important.  If you've ever wondered what foster care is like from a child's perspective, this book clearly lays out the emotional ups and downs and misunderstands of a flawed system.  But beware, it might cause you to re-think your stand on being a foster parent.

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 Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter.

And come back July 31st as we discuss Emma by Jane Austen.

*Linked to these Parties
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