Friday, July 29, 2016

2016 July Bookmarks

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*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 Rising Strong by Brene Brown.

These are the books I read this month:

Homeschooling: Take a Deep Breath, You Can Do This! by Terrie Lynn Bitner--  I've been on a mission to read more "homeschoooling books" over the summer and this was the next one on the list. Although I've been homeschooling for four years already, there are many days I feel like a newbie.  And I believe that no matter how long you've been at it, there's still plenty to learn.  I found that this book was a great place for someone to start as well as a fantastic refresher for the rest of us.  I actually took a lot away from this book.  There's a lot of meaty content in this book and it's incredibly uplifting and encouraging.

Give Your Child the World by Jamie C. Martin--See my review here.

What We Read with the Kids:

Paddington Takes the Test by Michael Bond--  We love Paddington in our house.  He's so funny and always taking on new adventures.  And this one was no exception.  We love Paddington!

Our suggested reading for July was Rising Strong by Brene Brown--  this book shook my world.  It was very deep and required a lot of time to process Brown's point.  But it was a great reminder to be resilient.  It's important to keep getting up, especially when life is most desperate to keep you down.  I can't tell you how life changing it really is.  Read it!

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 Rising Strong by Brene Brown.

And come back August 26th as we discuss  Love and War by John & Stasi Eldredge.

*Linked to these Parties

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Give Your Child the World {Review}

Considering the fact that my husband and I met on the mission field, we try to bring world to our kids as often as we can.  Through books, documentaries, and friends, we search out ways to make the world tangible even if we can't afford airline tickets.  

So when Jamie Martin's new book, Give Your Child the World, came out, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy of it.  Part family guide, part book guide, this handbook divides the world by region and offers suggested reading further broke down by age group.  Each book has the name, author, and a short synopsis of the plot line.  It makes for an easy book list with items that are readily available, even in my small town library. 

At the back of the book, you can also find indexes based on author, country, and historical time period, making this an incredibly valuable resource for any homeschool mom.

But don't think that this book is limited to homeschoolers.  Give Your Child the World is for any parent who wants to give their child a broader experience of the world.  It's for the parent who is answering questions about the great melting pot we live in.  And it's for the parent who wants to raise children who simply see people.

I can't recommend this book highly enough.  My own copy is highlighted, marked up, and edited.  I've highlighted books we've read, noted those we particularly enjoyed, crossed out those we didn't.  It's a great resource and I can't wait to explore more and more of these titles.

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

2 Ingredient Cloud Dough {Pinterest Inspired}

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My kids love all kinds of play dough.  They could spend hours molding and playing with it.  Between our basic play dough recipe, this peppermint variation, and this pink lemonade variety, we are constantly making sensory doughs.  Especially now in the summer, we love having the time to experiment with play dough.

So when I came across this cloud dough recipe on pinterest, I knew we had to try it.  And what could be simpler than flour and baby oil?  

Basic Cloud Dough

8 c. flour
1 c. baby oil (we used lavender)
closable shoebox from Dollar Tree

Just mix it all together and store in an airtight container (we used a shoebox)!

Couldn't be any easier, could it?

The verdict?

The kids love it, especially my 8 and 4 year olds.  It's so soft and shapes well.  It really does live up to it's name; you feel like you're touching a cloud.  Plus the lavender scent is beautiful.  

So tell me...
Have you ever made cloud dough?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Do-It-Yourself: Key Lime Ice Cream

*This post was originally published on 7/25/12.  Enjoy!

At the beginning of the year, I set 12 DIY Project goals for 2012.  July's challenge was to try out this yummy looking Key Lime Ice Cream recipe that I've had bookmarked for over a year.  To say that it was fantastic would be an understatement.  Notice the lack of photo this month?  That's because my son and I ate it too fast.  I kept meaning to go back and take a photo, but we couldn't keep our spoons out of it.  

I made a few changes based on our own tastes.  I like mine a little more sour so that was the first change, but all in all, it was one of my favorite recipes I've tried in a long time.  After all, summer is the season for homemade ice cream.  Plus the original recipe includes a link for making ice cream without a machine.  Couldn't be simpler.  Here's the yumminess we came up with:

Key Lime Ice Cream

1 1/2 c. whole milk
1 c. bottled Key Lime juice (I may have even used 1 1/2 c.)
1 c. heavy cream
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Optional: Coursely crushed graham crackers, key lime wedges

Combine milk, Key Lime juice, cream and condensed milk.  

Freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

Crush 1/3 c. of graham crackers and mix into ice cream near the end of freezing.  Transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze for 1 hr or until set.  Serve with crushed graham cracker topping and key lime wedges.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Weekend Links

This Week:

What I Made:   The kids and I made some scented charms to hang in their rooms.  So we're loving the beautiful scents wafting through the house.

What I'm Reading:  I'm reading a really good book about homeschooling.  It's mostly a beginner's guide, but it's taking me back to basics and reminding me of the why's of things I've been doing. 

What I'm Doing:  Soaking up time at the pool... 

What I'm Watching:  Youtube... hahaha... don't judge!  :-)

What I'm Enjoying:   Summer berries... homemade ice cream... evenings at the lake... warm beach towels... baseball games... watermelon... 

What are you up to?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Quad Berry Sorbet {Figure Friendly}

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A couple of nights ago, we were all craving something sweet.  Some sort of summery treat without going overboard on the sugar.  Something... clean.  So I looked through a few pinterest ideas, searched around in the freezer, and came up with something yummy.  Something we've all agreed that we will absolutely be making again.  

Quad Berry Sorbet

2 c. almond milk
1 c. frozen strawberries
3 c. frozen berry blend (we used blackberries, blueberries, raspberries)
Sweetener (preferably honey)

*Blend all ingredients together.  Start with 1 Tbsp of honey and taste.  Add till you reach your desired sweetness.

*Pour into ice cream maker.  We used our 2 qt maker and it was actually more than would fit.

*Mix and freeze, and mix and freeze.  Ours was ready in about 30 min.  

It was incredible.  We all loved it and can't wait to play with the fruit combination some more. Enjoy!

Monday, July 18, 2016

15 Important Manners for Children (Really, for all of us)

*This post was originally published on 6/9/15.  Enjoy!

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1. Say hello when someone greets you--This is a tough one sometimes if you have a shy child.  But it's important to acknowledge others when they say hello.  We're also working on making eye contact.  Baby steps.  :-)

2. Politely answer questions clearly-- We live in a fast paced world where our answers can be mumbled, rushed, or sound irritated.  So we're working on POLITELY answering questions.

3. Say please, thank you and you're welcome--This one's easy.  It just takes time, but hearing "Please and Thank You" going a long way in valuing other people.

4. Learn to loose gracefully--It's hard to loose, especially when you have a competitive personality.  So loosing gracefully is a real skill.  Our goal is to not just loose without tears, but to loose still being able to offer a heartfelt congratulations.

5. Keep unfavorable comments to yourself--Remember Grandma's saying, "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all?"  That's a great life lesson to benefit all of us not only in relationships, but in the work place as well.

6. Avoid gossip--Is it true?  Is it helpful?  Is someone in danger?  Do you have this person's permission to share their business?  If the answer is no, please consider it to be gossip and keep it to yourself.

7. Look at the person talking to you--This one goes back to #1.  Acknowledging others shows that you value them and value what they have to say.  Making eye contact goes a long way in building relationships.

8. Say good-bye to guests/ Say thank you to hosts--This one is especially important when they are invited into someone's home.  Making sure to say "Thank you" shows appreciation for someone else's time and preparation.

9. Wait for others to be seated before eating--It's so hard to wait for dinner, but being patient, again, shows appreciation for someone else's preparation and enjoying a meal together.

10. Use utensils appropriately--Learning to use utensils properly, especially a knife, can be a skill that  takes time and practice.  So we practice with lots of patience.  But we do practice so that our kids have appropriate dinner table manners.

11. Ask to be excused from the table--Asking to be excused gives parents a chance to acknowledge that the child has eaten well and cleaned his spot appropriately.

12. Ladies first--This is an easy manner to practice and typically one of the first that my children master.

13. Pick up after yourself--Being able to pick up and take care of one's belongings shows appreciation and can lead to healthy self-care.  It's also shows appreciation and care for common areas of the home.

14. Be appreciative--If I haven't said it enough time already, APPRECIATION, APPRECIATION, APPRECIATION!  Teach it, Practice it, Live it!

15. Apologize--Learning to look others in the eye, feel empathy, and take responsibility for one's actions is based a lot on maturity.  But if we wait for maturity, we've missed the opportunity to teach empathy.  Start teaching now for the pay-off later.

These are just 15 Important Manners we are teaching our kids every day.  

What other manners would you add to the list?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Weekend Links

This Week:

What I Made:  Hahaha... well first I made chocolate chip cookies and then I made a second batch the right way.  Oops!  The joys of cooking with kids.

What I'm Reading: My reading list lately has been heavy.  Weighing out lots of different options for our homeschool in the fall.

What I'm Doing:   We've implemented a loose schedule around here for all this free time.  Baking more, going to the lake, practicing gymnastics, and exploring our city.

What I'm Watching:  We watched another American Girl movie for family movie night.  This time around we watched Kit Kitteredge and even my 10 year old son got into it.

What I'm Enjoying:   gymnastic games... homemade cookies... zucchini muffins...

What are you up to?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Virtual Homeschool Co-Op #5: How do you take care of yourself when homeschooling?

How do you take care of the Mom in your homeschool?

This video is my part of the Virtual Homeschool Co-Op Channel Collaboration.You can find out more there:

The goal of the Virtual Homeschool Coop is to build the homeschool community of knowledge with collaborations to give voice to all experiences in homeschooling.

Here is the playlist:

Contact us for business inquiries, reviews and collaborations:

FTC DISCLOSURE: This video is not sponsored.

Music Attribution:

Country Cue 1 by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (

I created this video with the YouTube Video Editor (

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Summer Dessert Idea: Layered Strawberry Dessert

Summer is the perfect excuse for BBQ's and family parties.  Days are long and schedules are relaxed.  Families are traveling and the living is easy.  And there's always room for a little something sweet to finish off the night.

But if you're like me, you're craving something a little lighter than the typical chocolate cake or homemade pie.  This lightened dessert can be whipped together quickly and won't heat up your kitchen.  Plus, it has the sweet, sweet taste of summer.  A perfect addition to any evening.

Layered Strawberry Dessert

1 Sara Lee (or any brand) pound cake
2 small packages vanilla or lemon pudding
Fresh or pureed frozen strawberries
Cool Whip

So simple it's silly.

--Cube the pound cake and begin layering in 4 canning jars.

--Layer with prepared pudding, sliced strawberries, and cool whip.

--Continue layering, ending with a dollop of cool whip.

--Try to save some for everyone else!  :-)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Epic 4th of July (2016) ;-)

A fabulous 4th of July with cousins, family, and fireworks!

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FTC DISCLOSURE: This video is not sponsored.

I created this video with the YouTube Video Editor

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Chicken Bacon Chopped Salad

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Salads are a main staple in our house in the summer.  All the beautiful produce is in season, and there's so many options when it comes to creating a fresh salad.   We love how light a main dish salad is for dinner after a long day in the heat.

This particular salad combination was born out of our original salad recipe and some leftover bacon in the fridge.  The avocado provides a rich, yet tasty, treat while the beautiful tomatoes give a pop of color and flavor.  Enjoy!

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Chicken Bacon Chopped Salad

4-5 chicken breasts (I pick 1med breast/person)
Salt and pepper
Salad mix
8-10 strips bacon
2 avocado
2 tomatoes
Green onions (optional)
Dressing of choice

1. Diced chicken and cook on the stove top, seasoning as desired.  I typically use salt and pepper, but is also good seasoned with Italian mix or basil.

2. While chicken is cooking, cook bacon strips and chop when fully cooked and cooled.

3. Chop avocado, tomatoes, green onion, and feta.  Layer all (with chicken and bacon) on a bed of salad mix and dress with your choice of salad dressing.  Serve immediately!


Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July

May this day find your celebrating and humbled 
by the men and women who have made this freedom possible.

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