Friday, January 31, 2014

2014 January Bookmarks

*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 January was The UnWired Mom by Sarah Mae.

These are the books I read this month:

Pilgrimage: My Journey to a Deeper Faith in the Land Where Jesus Walked by Lynn Austin-- See my review here.

The Shunning by Beverly Lewis-- I'm a huge Beverly Lewis fan, but I've never read her iconic series:  The Heritage of Lancaster County Books.  Katie Lapp suddenly discovers, days before her wedding, that she was born to an English family and adopted by the Lapps as an infant.  And no one knows the family secret.  Jolted by this sudden news, Katie feels she was always meant to be English and goes against the Bishop (her former fiancĂ©) and the Old Order to discover who she really is.  Will she risk the Shunning, a fate worse than death, or will she confess and turn back the life that has always restrained her?  Lewis creates empathetic characters and keeps you guessing till the last page.

The Confession by Beverly Lewis--This is the second book in the Heritage of Lancaster County series and as you can see, I'm hooked.  Katie finally finds her mother, but discovers that an impostor is playing her part and trying to swindle her mother from her money.  Also the love of her life is reappears alive and must find his own way through the Amish community, secretly still in love with her.  Amazing!  This book definitely had the feel of a "middle" book with lots of unanswered questions and set up for book three.  But I still can't wait to get my hands on The Reckoning.

Praying for Boys by Brooke McGlothin-- See my review here.

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater-- We loved this one.  My eight year old even turned to me and said, "Mom, you picked a good one."

Our suggested reading for January was The UnWired Mom by Sarah Mae-- How is your relationship with technology?  Do you control it and use it as a tool in  your life?  Or does it control you, keeping you in the grip of addiction?  This is a timely book for this generation of moms faced with the hold of Facebook, Twitter, and blog reading.  Where are our limits?  And how important are limits in this area of our life anyways?  Mae focuses on our addiction to technology and how it's affecting our relationships with our kids, and ultimately every relationship in our lives.  Convicting and inspiring, the Unwired Mom is a great reminder that real life lives outside the computer screen and our kids are waiting for us to set limits, both for ourselves and for them.

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 The Unwired Mom by Sarah Mae.

And join us for our next bookmarks post coming Feb 28th as we discuss Tell Your Time by Amy Lynn Anderson.

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Praying for Boys {Review}

Do you ever find that you're just at the end of your rope with "those boys?"  Are they constantly pushing buttons and finding your weakness?  Do you know there's more, but just don't know where to start?

Raising two boys myself, I know the Lord has more for them, but I don't know how to get there.  And in my own weakness, I know I certainly can't get there on my own.  But how do I begin praying for them?  I know prayer is the answer, but where in the world do I start?

Broken into 21 virtues to pray for your boys, McGlothlin's book works well as a daily prayer guide.  Each virtue is clearly defined and illustrated with real life stories and includes 10 scriptures to pray into that specific area.  The sections of the book are short and make for a quick morning devotional and I find myself laying the book out through the day to pray scripture over my boys as the day goes. 

Included in the back of the book is also a helpful guide for developing your own prayer group whether online or in real life.

Waging war in pray is the most valuable thing we can do for our children.  And this book provides useful tools for heading in the right direction.  McGlothin's book is one I find myself reaching for again and again, and certainly a powerful director in my parenting journey.

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

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Do-It-Yourself: Sore Throat and Cough Drops

While browsing through Pinterest a few months ago, I came across this idea for Honey Sore Throat and Cough Drops.  It sounded like a great idea.  After all, we already know how great honey is for you and we use it in our DIY Cough Syrup.  This sounded like a quick and easy idea to get something beneficial in my kids without all the filler.

It SOUNDED like an easy idea.  And really for the most part it was.  However, we've been fairly healthy this winter and weren't in need of these right away.  So I made them (using the Lego mold I had from Noah's 7th party) and put them on a plate to save in the cupboard for later.  Saving them?  Well, it was a good idea, but in reality... this is what I ended up with.

Apparently, they aren't a savable cough drop.  Oh, well.  The flavor in them was yummy, and we kids enjoyed sucking on a piece, cough or not.  I added some fresh lemon to mine as well as a little cinnamon.  They turned out flavorful and full of good stuff for you.   Without all the extras.

Not sure if I'd call these a failure or a success.  They did taste good and I do think they'd soothe a cough (although we haven't had any practical application yet).  They are quick and easy, but needed to be made just as we needed them.  So I think I'll keep these in mind for later and hopefully our healthy streak will keep going.

Did you try these Cough Drops?

Do you have an home remedies for cold and cough season?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sensory Bottles for Toddlers #2

10 Goals this Week

Here's how I did on my goals this week:
  • Plan second child's bedroom
  • Go on a field trip
  • Finish 1-2 unfinished posts
  • Upload one Vlog
  • Try 1-2 new recipes
  • Add some plants to the backyard
  • Get tax stuff together
  • Get 8.5 hrs sleep/night (only 3)
  • Workout 3-4 days
  • Do yoga
These are my 10 Goals for the Week:

  • Take one kid on a date
  • Take CPR class


  • Plan for VEDA???
  • Post 4 posts for vacation
  • Upload a vlog

  • Complete one new craft and one new recipe
  • Clean up clippings in backyard, plant bulbs
  • Get 8.5 hrs sleep/night
  • Workout 4-5 days
  • Do yoga

What are Your Goals for the Week?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Weekend Links

This Week:

What I Made: I made some Minnie Mouse hair clips for our upcoming Disney trip.  They're going to look really cute in Lydia's hair.  Will share soon.

What I'm Reading:  I just finished The Shunning by Beverly Lewis.  I'm a huge Beverly Lewis fan, but have never read one of her most popular trilogies.  Very good. I'll post on Bookmarks next Friday.

What I'm Doing:  Oh, homeschool... working in the yard... planning for Disney... 

What I'm Watching: We found ourselves watching Hollywood Game Night earlier this week.  Every once in awhile I catch it.  Hilarious!

What I'm Enjoying:  The freedom to set our own schedule... being creative with the kids... this nice weather (although we're desperate for rain; pray for California)

What are you up to?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Nutrious Snacks for Healthy Kids

My silly kids covering their eyes with carrot coins.

Every week as we put together the grocery shopping list, I'm overwhelmed with how much these kids eat.  Especially my oldest.  He's a "human trash compactor."  Any other Mamas shouting out a "Hallelujah"?  These are just a few of the snacks that I reach for over and over again. 

Fruit Based Snacks
Any fresh fruit
Baked apple with cinnamon
Dried fruit
Frozen banana with chocolate
Homemade popsicles
Fruit and yogurt

Veggie Based Snacks
Any fresh veggies
Veggies with hummus or bean dip
Pita chips and salsa
Ants on a log
Tomato and cucumber salad
Jicama and salsa
Tomato topped with toasted Parmesean

Crunchy snacks
Edamame with sea salt
Toasted nuts
Nut bars

Protein snacks
Cottage cheese and crackers
Turkey rolled in lettuce
String cheese
Greek yogurt and jam
Hard boiled eggs

Goofy girl!

(These photos were from 3 years ago.  What a blast from the past!)

What's your go-to nutritious snack?

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Mitten Bookmark

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Just a little something I made for my daughter and I.  Cute little mitten bookmarks for our wintery season.  I cut mittens with the cricut, added some fun ribbon, and added sparkle with stickles.  A little sparkle and color to brighten up the season.

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*Linked to these Parties

10 Goals This Week

Here's how I did on my goals this week:


  • Plan Jan's field trip
  • Organize one kid room

  • Finish 1-2 unfinished blogs
  • Upload a vlog
  • Try 1-2 new recipes
  • Clean up backyard
  • Make honey pops
  • Get 8.5 hrs sleep/night
  • Workout 3-4 days
  • Do yoga
These are my 10 Goals for the Week:
  • Plan second child's bedroom
  • Go on a field trip
  • Finish 1-2 unfinished posts
  • Upload one Vlog
  • Try 1-2 new recipes
  • Add some plants to the backyard
  • Get tax stuff together
  • Get 8.5 hrs sleep/night
  • Workout 3-4 days
  • Do yoga
What are Your Goals for the Week?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Weekend Links

This Week:

What I Made:  Not much really.  I have plans for this weekend, but didn't get much done during the week.

What I'm Reading:  I haven't read the original Legacy of Lancaster County by Beverly Lewis so I figured I'd pick it up.  Very good! 

What I'm Doing: I took Lydia on a date last week.  We're cleaning out the garage today.  Just spending a weekend at home catching up.

What I'm Watching: Watched another adoption documentary this week.  I think I might have a sickness.

What I'm Enjoying:  The fact that my daughter is really catching on with her math.  It seems to have suddenly clicked and I love watching her grow.  

What are you up to?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Yes, Your Children Will Eat Fish: Part Nine

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It's been a long time since I posted a kid friendly fish recipe, but this one that we've been enjoying.  These Sundried Tomato and Shrimp Quesadillas are so yummy.  Super easy.  It's a little funny to make a recipe for this one as they're really more of a suggestion and starting point for making a quick dinner.  So here we go!

Sundried Tomato and Shrimp Quesadillas

Monterey Jack cheese
Parmesean cheese
Baby shrimp
Garlic, minced
Onion, chopped
Sundried tomatoes
Fresh Spinach

1. Sautee your onions, garlic, and shrimp in a little bit of oil.
2. Sprinkle a little monterey jack on your tortillas.  Then add tomatoes, spinach, and shrimp sautee. 
3. Top with second tortilla and sprinkle the top with parmesean.
4. Throw it in the oven to melt the cheese.  You can also do these on the stove top, but in the oven I can do several to feed us all at one time.
5. We served these with a nice green salad and some chips.  Yummy!

Quick easy dinner and it keeps seafood in our diet.  Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Pilgrimage: My Journey to a Deeper Faith in the Land Where Jesus Walked {Review}

This is personally my first exposure to Lynn Austin's writing.  When I saw the subtitle of this book, I thought, "Yes, that's what I want."  A personal account of someone who's "walked where Jesus walked."  What does that kind of personal exposure do for one's faith?  How would that feel?  What would that be like?  And I knew I had to dive in.

Austin begins her book with landing in Israel, somewhat wounded and disillusioned.  Life is not going the way she wants to.  This is not the future that she imagined for herself.  But as she explores "where Jesus walked," she finds that her personal vision of the future is not what matters most.  She is challenged to choose between her vision and the Lord's vision.

Truthfully, this book was so full of information; it was nearly too much for my brain to absorb.  The author is very knowledgable and delves deep into the history of Israel as well as the Biblical background and cultural implications.  In fact, as I first read the book, I wasn't sure I'd like it.  It was a lot to absorb.  But as I really dedicated time to this book, I realized it wasn't the information (which is actually well represented) that was holding me back, but rather my own reading style.  While I was trying to read quickly and review it, I found that I just needed to take it slower, ... savor, ... soak.

This is a great book for taking a deeper look into Scripture and the life that Jesus lives.  The information is far from dry; it just needs to be taken slowly.  I would recommend this title to anyone who finds himself either in a dry spell or just looking for more.

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.
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You might be a mom if...

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You announce that you need to go potty and ask if anyone else needs to go

You know how to clean marker, grease, smoothie, or poop off everything

You find yourself counting heads in a crowd

You find yourself counting to 10 on a hourly basis

You clean everything with baby wipes

Your purse can carry cars, crayons, library books, diapers, AND your kids' pictures

You can't see a speck of white on your refrigerator

You wouldn't dare go on a road trip without an audio book

You dread stepping on a lego in the middle of the night

Your alarm clock plays the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

You can turn the names Nina, Pinta, Santa Maria into a song

You know all the super powers of the Super Why kids (and dog)

You wear character band-aids

You're not sure when you last took a shower

You carry an old cloth diaper in the car for bloody noses

You're not sure where something is so you head straight for the mini-van

You keep an emergency kit in the car, stocked with band-aids, ointment, and a lollipop

You've ever called your husband "Daddy"

You cancel going out of town for the weekend and sit on an uncomfortable set of bleachers to watch your child play one baseball inning

You find yourself creating a Star Wars Jedi costume out of Ace bandages and rubber boots

Two minutes in the bathroom ... with the door closed... is your idea of a vacation

There's a hidden jar of nutella in the back of the pantry

While nursing the baby to sleep, you're the one that takes a nap

*Linked to these Parties

Monday, January 13, 2014

Lego City Birthday Party on a Budget

*Linked to these Parties

10 Goals This Week

Here's how I did on my goals this week:
  • Get back into homeschooling routine
  • Make sensory bottles
  • Read 2 books
  • Finish 1-2 unfinished blogs
  • Upload a vlog
  • Try 1-2 new recipes
  • Hang photos
  • Make one Disneyland project
  • Get 8.5 hrs go sleep a night (4 nights)
  • Workout 3-4 days
These are my 10 Goals for This Week


  • Plan Jan's field trip
  • Organize one kid room

  • Finish 1-2 unfinished blogs
  • Upload a vlog
  • Try 1-2 new recipes
  • Clean up backyard
  • Make honey pops
  • Get 8.5 hrs sleep/night
  • Workout 3-4 days
  • Do yoga

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Weekend Links

This Week:

What I Made: I started on a Disneyland countdown project for the kids.  But I'm hoping to finish it this weekend.

What I'm Reading:  I just finished up a book review this week and I'm reading a book about praying for our boys.  Check out the post on Praying Scripture for our kids as well.

What I'm Doing: We're finally getting our tree taken down.  With no time during the week and traveling this is the first chance we've had to finish up Christmas.  So sad!

What I'm Watching: I haven't watched a whole lot of TV this week just caught the new episode of the Middle.  Love that show!

What I'm Enjoying:  Checking up on my to-do list and getting a chance to go on a date with my daughter this weekend.

What are you up to?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Praying Scriptures for your Children

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It seems like the subject of prayer and scripture has been coming up over and over in my life lately.  As many parenting books as I read, as much training as I attend, as much as I try to glean from others... nothing is going to make a difference if my kids don't get ahold of God. 

All my parenting techniques can do is produce polite children.

And I can't settle for that.

I want children that love the Lord and love others.  I want children that are thriving and growing spiritually.  I want children that are completely, totally in love with their creator and living their destiny.

And that's not something I can do on my own.  The only thing I can do is lift them up in prayer... day by day and moment by moment.

So somewhere along the lines I saw this idea about praying scripture over our children and the thought rang true in my heart.  I put it on the back burner with keeping up in our crazy household.  Until I realized this is my foundation.  What am I waiting for?

I wanted to use scriptures that would speak to where my kids are at in this season of their lives.  So I prayed and I searched and these are the verses I chose for my little ones:

Noah (8 yrs)--
  Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young.  Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.  I Timothy 4:12

Noah is a leader.  He's young and immature, but I would pray that he be an example of faith and leadership.  Even though he is young, he is bright and insightful.  There are big things in his future.

Lydia (6 yrs)--
  You love him enough though you have never seen him.  Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with glorious, inexpressible joy.  I Peter 1:8

Lydia is joyful.  Joy just pours out of this child.  And she has an absolutely blind faith and trust in the Lord.  I just want to feed into that.  I pray that it would grow and grow and grow...

Baby (2 yrs)--
  You are a Son of God through faith in Jesus Christ.  Galatians 3:26

Little Man is our foster child.  I want him to know in his heart that whether he's with us or with his birth parents, he has a father that loves him and cherishes him.  If he can find his identity now, maybe his story will continue to be joyful in the future.

I traced each of their little hands.  Each time I look at them, I remember so much... their youth, their joy,  their promise for the future.  I'm blessed to keep these little hands in my Bible and pray for them each day.  And I'm excited to see how the Lord is going to work in their hearts in the coming year.

Do you ever pray scripture for your children?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

26 Intentional Acts of Kindness #14: Diaper Blessing

Well, since we didn't finish our 26 Intentional Acts of Kindness in 2013, I decided to continue the challenge on into 2014.  It's been fun to challenge myself and the kids in blessing other through these challenges and I hope your family has been blessed and will continue to be blessed in the new year.

Ready for Challenge #14?

This one's for those Mamas with little ones.  Have you ever been stuck somewhere and the baby has a blow out and there's just not a diaper in sight?  I know I've been there for sure.  Typically it's the most inconvient place to leave: the grocery store, the library, sometimes the gym.  Wouldn't it be nice if a diaper just seemed to drop from heaven?  Well, maybe we can make that happen for someone else.  Challenge #14 is to leave a couple of diapers and some wipes in a public changing area.  Think about where you might be doing errands throughout the day and just leave a few items to bless a few mom.

Can't wait to hear how it goes...

Monday, January 6, 2014

2014 DIY List

For the past three years, I've posted this little DIY List with 12 ideas to tackle throughout the year.  One for each month, it's a reminder to me of the projects and items I've been wanting to do.  And while I haven't reached every goal, and certainly some haven't worked out, it's been a great motivator to try new things and see what works.

So in case you want to follow along, I'll be posting my successes and failures each month.  And I'd love to know how these might work out for you too.  While after re-writing this list numerous times, here's what I've come up with in 2014:

January--Honey Suckers for Coughs

February--Hair bow organizer

March--Homemade Hand Soap/Body Wash

April--Scooter storage

May--Homemade Ketchup/ Maybe mustard too???

June--Skinny Raspberry Lemonade Cake

July--Mason Jar Key Hook/Wall Vase

August--Elastic Hair ties

September--Beach Art

October--Necklace/earring organizer

November--Hot Choco Mix

December--DIY Christmas tree decoration

Do you have any DIY projects for the year?

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Weekend Links

This Week:

What I Made: I worked on a couple of homeschool tools for the big kids and some sensory stuff for the toddler.  Also made some peanut butter banana bread.  Yum!

What I'm Reading: I just started the Book Club book for January.  Excited for this one.

What I'm Doing:  We've been celebrating lots with family.  Three Christmas'... Wow!

What I'm Watching: I've been watching lots of adoption and foster care documentaries.  In the midst of this foster care craziness, it reminds me that there are some good people in this screwed up system. 

What I'm Enjoying:  Lots of salads... the last week with our Christmas tree up... working out regularly again... getting some rest...

What are you up to?

Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 Bookmarks Book List

Welcome to 2014 Bookmarks Link Up and Book Club.  For the third year, Creative2xmom will host a monthly link up for readers and bloggers.  This online book club will feature our thoughts and ponderings on great reads and fantastic finds.  There will be a list of suggested reading for each month, but don't worry.  Link ups can include any books your reading, as long as it's a real book (print or ebook).
So let's get started reading!  Find a good book to discuss and come back here on the last Friday of the month.  You can link up a post discussing your book or leave your thoughts in the comments.  Check out the other blogs participating and ask good questions.  Who knows?  You might find a fantastic new book.

I came up with 12 books that look safe to recommend.  I tried to include a variety to catch everyone's different tastes, but like I said, feel free to veer from the recommended reading.

Jan--The UnWired Mom by Sarah Mae

Feb--Tell Your Time by Amy Lynn Anderson

March--Praying the Scriptures for Your Children by Jodie Berndt

April--I Have Loved You: Getting to Know the Father's Heart by Cynthia Heald

May--The Values Driven Child: Parenting with Purpose by Larry Shealy

June--Culture of Honor by Danny Silk

July--Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas

Aug-- Simple Living by Lorilee Lippincott

Sept--The Me I Want to Be by John Ortberg

Oct--Real Food Real Frugal by Susan Godfrey

Nov--The Missional Mom by Helen Lee

Dec--Small Town, Big Miracle by W.C. Martin

A Couple of Other Books I'm Hoping to Get to:
Secrets of a Successful Homeschool Mom
Simplify your life with kids:100 Ways to make family life easier and more fun
A Cry for Justice
Healthy Snacks to Go

If you're interested, I'd love to have you join us!
Can't wait to hear your thoughts!

*Linked to these Parties

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