Sunday, January 31, 2016

Money Saving Tips in the Kitchen/ #YTMM Collab

 Tips to help you save money in your kitchen

What are you favorite tips for saving money in the kitchen?

#YTMM Jan Collab Playlist:

#YTMM Facebook Page:

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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Weekend Links

This Week:

What I Made:  Reading charts for the kids... updated chore cards... 

What I'm Reading:  I picked up the book club book for February and I am hooked.  It's really good and keeping me interested.  Have you started it yet?

What I'm Doing:  Playing with the kids at the children's museum...  cleaning house... purging the kitchen... doing projects with the kids...

What I'm Watching: Anne of Green Gables... Fixer Upper... Next Food Network Star...

What I'm Enjoying:  Decluttering... lots of cardio... candles... homemade bread...

What are you up to?

Friday, January 29, 2016

2016 January 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 January was Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne.

These are the books I read this month:

Strong and Kind by Korie Robertson w/ Chrys Howard--See my review here.

If: Trading Your If Only Regrets for God's What If Possibilities by Mark Batterson-- See my review here.

The Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green--We started this one with the kids, but they could just not get into it.  We have a 3rd and 5th grader and it just seemed too over their heads.  We only read about 3 chapters and gave up on this one for now.

The Call of the Wild by Jack London--We just happened to find this one at a book sale and picked it up.  A little on the violent side, both the 3rd grader and the 5th grader loved it.

Wilderness Family Part 2 by Vic Crume--We purchased the kids The Wilderness Family Triology on DVD for Christmas so when we found this one at a book sale we picked it up to read before watching the second movie.  A bit on the bland end, it is definitely a movie tie in.  But the kids did enjoy it.

Our suggested reading for January was Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne--  Wow!  Not what I expected, but absolutely worthwhile.  Focusing heavily on the philosophy side, Simplicity Parenting presents the idea that conveluted parenting is what's creating problems for our kids.  Schedules too tight, too much stuff, too much access to adult information, simplicity parenting allows children the time and space to breath and concentrate on what's important, allowing their imaginations to run away with them.  There was a lot of focus on the philosophy and at times, that felt heavy.  Basically it boils down to less: less stuff, less adult situations, less activities... Definitely worth the read.

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 Simplicity Parenting by

And come back February 26th as we discuss Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

*Linked to these Parties

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Instant Happy Journal {Review}

I recently had the opportunity to review this guided journal by Karen Salmansohn.  Instant Happy?  Who isn't looking for that?  Especially with the doldrums of January and a fresh new year spread out before us.  

I love this little journals compact size.  I can easily fit inside my purse or day bag.  And the color?  The cover and pages are filled with mood lifting colors and designs.  There's 365 prompts which are a combination of quotes, questions, and list ideas.  Each page includes a spot for the date so prompts can be done sequentially or as the mood hits.  For me, I've really enjoyed bouncing around depending on the day and not feeling locked into a formula.

Apparently this journal can accompany a book of the same did, also by Salmansohn.  But the journal could easily stand by itself.  It's been a fun way for me to write in the small moments of time I get.  If you're looking for a gift, or even just a fun little pick me up, this is a great idea.  It really does deliver "Instant Happy."

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

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

15 Things To Buy Before Visiting Disneyland

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When preparing for a Disneyland trip, there are so many things to budget.  Travel, tickets, hotel, and food can add up quickly leaving little room for the incidentals.  But as with any trip, there are always little items to be picked up, either out of necessity or luxury.  While all these items might not fit your situation, these are the items we tend to purchase before a trip:

Lanyard and Pouch--These zipper pouches are perfect for holding tickets, FastPasses, and Disney Bucks.  And if you have older children who have discovered pin trading, the lanyards are handy for keeping track of all those treasures.  About two trips ago, we started buying each of a the kids a special pin to remind them of that particular trip as well.  And the lanyards are a good way to keep those special pins from being lost in a drawer.

Trading Pins--You can easily find lots on Amazon and Ebay of pins to trade once you get to Disney.  Disneyland cast members are located throughout the park and happy to trade pins.  Be sure to purchase on "official" Disney pins as members will only trade official pins.

Ponchos--A Dollar Tree purchase, ponchos will save you from a rainy afternoon or just getting a little too wet on a water ride.  For a dollar, these are a great idea for popping in your back pack... just in case.

Snacks--Stock up your hotel room with goldfish, popcorn, granola bars, pretzels, and fresh fruit to package and bring along. These make for an easy and inexpensive way to fill out little bellies and improve grouchy moods.  And inevitably, my kids get hungry while we're in the middle of a long line.  Snacks have certainly saved me a time or two.  Also grab a few Uncrushable sandwiches to make for quick and easy lunches or snacks.

Autograph book--No trip to Disney would be complete without a few character photos.  And if your kids are interested, they can also collect autographs.  While autograph books are easily purchased in the park, they can also be found on Amazon for a fraction of the price.  Or check out your local Target to pick up a pocket notebook and customize it for the trip.

Glow sticks--Another Dollar Tree find, these make for a fun addition once the sun goes down.  And an easy way to help you keep track of your kids.

Baby items--Disposable bibs, extra diapers and wipes, baby food... all can be found within the park, but at a premium price.  Make sure to stock your diaper bag before entering the park and pack extra.

Misting fans--If you're traveling in the late spring through early fall, temperatures in the park can rise quickly.  These misting fans are a nice way to cool off throughout the day and can be easily refilled.

T-shirts--Character T-shirts are a fun way to dress for the parks.  Keep your eyes open at Target.  And if you don't find something ahead of time, there are several shows lining the street outside of Disneyland, well stocked with Character shirts.

Souvenirs--Besides the pins, we often pick up a souvenir or two for the trip.  A couple of play cars, a  plush Mickey, key chain, or cute necklace can add a little bit of extra thrill to the day.

Sunscreen--The California sun can quickly heat up the park.  Make sure to pack your sunscreen to avoid ruining the rest of your vacation.  I always pack mine in a ziplock bag just in case it pops open.

Princess items--There are princesses everywhere in Disney, and if you have a little girl that likes to dress up like I do, she'll want to join in as well.  But these Princess dresses (although very well made) are quite costly.  Watch Target, Amazon, even the Disney store clearance to purchase dresses before your trip.

Refillable water bottles--The price of bottled water can add up quickly, but every kiosk and restaurant will gladly refill your water bottle for free.  You can even fill them with cold water in the Baby Center.

Gift cards--If your children have "earned" Disney Bucks prior to your trip, consider loading them on a gift card.  This will allow your kids some freedom without constantly asking you for money.  And when it's gone, it's gone.

Extra camera battery--There's nothing like making it half way through your Disneyland day and having your camera battery die.  So consider purchasing a camera battery to have charged and ready to go without paying Disneyland prices.

What about you?
What are your pre-purchase items before a Disneyland trip?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Alaskan Port of Call: Juneau

Some of the sights, sounds, and excursions for our port of call in Juneau, Ak

We took a 10 day cruise to Alaska through Princess Cruiselines from June 21-July 1, 2015.

DITL Alaska Cruise/ Juneau: June 25, 2015:

Above and Beyond Alaska:

Alaska Zipline Adventures:

Alaska Canopy Adventures:

Tracy's Crab Shack:

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Monday, January 25, 2016

10 Ways We've Been Saving Money Lately

Our family of 5 lives on a TIGHT budget so we're always looking for ways to save money.  Whether big or small, it all adds up.  And if we keep thinking creatively, we can come up with some great ideas for saving money.  These are just a few of the ways we're saving money:

*Packing lunches/dinners when we're at baseball games--In the spring and fall, our boys play baseball and the games ran from evenings or Saturdays.  And feeding a family of 5 at the concession stand at least twice a week can add up quickly.  So when we have baseball games, we have a couple of easily packed meals that we prep ahead and take with us.  That and water bottles leaves room in the budget for an occasional treat.

*Reviewed a couple of books and got something new to read--You guys know I review books here quite often.  It serves a double purpose.  I get a chance to share books with you from some of my favorite authors.  And it helps curb my book budget.

*Kept up with our library books and didn't incure any fees--We're a homeschool familyand all big readers.  So our library checkouts (and fees) can add up quickly.  Lately we've renewed our efforts to keep up with our library account and keep fees from occurring.

*Made a new batch of laundry soap--Several months ago, my mom bought us a big jug of laundry soup.  But it recently ran out and I got back to making my homemade laundry soap.  It saves us a ton of money and cleans our laundry very well.  Little bit of time and effort saves us quite a bit.

*Took our water bottles while running errands around town--All of us are big water drinkers.  And with running errands it's so easy to pick up a few bottles of water and watch the money add up quickly.  So we carry our reusable water bottles with us everywhere.  It's healthier than a soda from the drive through and cheaper than a run into the grocery store.

*Used a coupon to make birthday invitations--Most of my kid's birthday invitations are homemade.  They always come up with crazy themes and I have to adapt.  But I usually start with a basic card from Jo-ann's or Michael's.  So as the kids are picking their themes, I watch for a coupon in the mail before I pick up my supplies.

*Used credit card points for Christmas presents--Our credit card offers Amazon points so we'll often put everyday purchases on ours and pay it off each month.  As the year progresses, I start watching our points in June or July.  I keep a running wish list of items the kids want and budget the majority of it within our credit card points.

*Using cloth napkins--I never have liked using paper napkins for the disposable factor.  So recently we used some of our credit card points to invest in cloth napkins.  We're slowly building up a small stockpile and using them for our family, saving both money and being green.

*Turning down the heat--It's winter and the heater could run frequently if we're not careful.  So we've been turning the heat down to 65 degrees, with the heat only running minimally at night.  During the day, we layer clothing and slip into wool sock and slippers.

*Soaking and cooking dried beans in the crockpot--Cooking your own dried beans can save a ton of money.  And it's incredibly simple.  So when I'm cooking recipe that calls for beans, I cook my own in the crockpot.

We're constantly looking for ways to save money.  So we consider it a journey and really a lifestyle change. 

How are you learning to save money lately?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Winter Citrus Salad

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We love a good salad in this house.  From my husband and I, all the way down to the 4 year old, we actually enjoy salad night.  So when my sister in law asked us to bring a salad down for family dinner, I was really looking forward to the challenge of creating a vibrant salad that we would all love.

Our family looked a bit skeptical when I started dicing and chopping, but I think we can all agree that it was full of flavor and color.  And a salad that I'd be happy to recreate for any occasion.

Winter Citrus Salad

*Salad mix of your choice
  (we used hearts of romaine, but I love spring mix too)
*1 pomegranate, seeded
*1 can mandarin oranges
*1 avocado, chopped
*1/2 c. almonds, chopped
*1/2 c. dried cranberries
*croutons of your choice
*shredded Parmesan cheese

*dressing of your choice: asiago cheese, balsamic

1. Chop, wash, and dry the lettuce.

2. Seed the pomegranate and section oranges (if not using canned).

3. Chop and lightly toast the almonds.

4. Chop avocado and toss all ingredients together.

5. Try not to over stuff yourself.  :-)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Alaskan Port of Call: Ketchikan

Some of the sights, sounds, and excursions for our port of call in Ketchikan, Ak

We took a 10 day cruise to Alaska through Princess Cruiselines from June 21-July 1, 2015.

Alaska Cruise/ Ketchikan-- June 24, 2015:

The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show:

George Inlet Lodge:

Saxman Totem Park:

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Top 10 Winter Field Trips

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 The months of January and February always make me anxious about homeschooling.  The excitement of the holidays has passed and summer vacation feels so far away.  It's the cold winter days of being stuck indoors and stuck in a rut.  So to combat the doldrums of the winter months, we've brainstormed a list of Winter Field Trips to get us through to warmer days and spring break.

1. The Planetarium--We love attending our local planetarium.  There are a variety of shows to learn about everything from Egyptian civilizations to the seasons to constellations.  We have a show scheduled for February exploring the moons and planets.

2. Ice Skating--Why not take advantage of the season? Combine that extra energy, the cold weather, and PE time to try something new.

3. Local Art Exhibits--Check out your local art gallery for new artists and styles for your kiddos.  Some local galleries will even have special events with the artist and hand-on opportunities.

4. The Grocery Store--This is a fun location for the winter when so many of us are stumped for seasonal produce.  Many grocery stores will offer tours of behind the seasons locations including the freezer, deli, and storage areas.  Most also offer free samples of produce and lunch.

5. Craft Store Activity--Michael's, Jo-ann's, and many local craft stores offer in store classes and activities based on the seasons and holidays.  Check out local craft stores, ceramic stores, and bookstores as well for activity times and sales.

6. Indoor Pool--Find an indoor pool.  Even if you're not a gym member, most will offer a special daily rate.  This is another great way to break up the day and get that extra energy out.

7. Local Factory Tour--You would be surprised how many of these hidden gems there are.  We've toured jelly bean, cheese, and handicraft factories.  Samples and coupons are often included as well.

8. Local Government Building-- Contact your local police department, fire department, or city officials office.  Ask your children to prepare a list of questions before hand as these are wonderful opportunities for learning about local government.  And if you're lucky enough to live near a state capital, make sure to take a tour.

9. Library--Explore the library even if you've been there a million times before.  A behind the scenes look at how books are sorted, categorized, and archived will give you a unique look into your local library.  It might also help you discover a new part of the library that you've never noticed before.

10. Virtual Online Tours--There are countless virtual tours and field trips online.  Studying Early American history?  Look for a tour of Plymouth.  Studying plants?  Look for a field trip online about bee keeping or crop rotation.  The sky is the limit with field trips right on your computer.  Bonus: No gas money or travel expenses.

So what about you?  How are you combating the winter doldrums?  
And what are your favorite winter field trips?

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Weekend Links

This Week:

What I Made:  I worked in Noah's homeschool scrapbook and tried a couple of new snack recipes from pinterest.  Always looking for new snack ideas!  One was fantastic, and one was an absolute fail.

What I'm Reading:  I'm reading Simplicity Parenting.  My husband and I are learning so much about our kids and ways for him to improve at work as well.

What I'm Doing:  This weekend, we're staying indoors while it rains.  But Noah also has baseball tryouts and we're hitting up the local skate place.

What I'm Watching:  The trees blowing in the wind... the original Yours, Mine, and Ours... Last Man Standing... Josiah playing with trains... scrapbooking... having time to journal...

What I'm Enjoying:  A three day weekend... weather science unit... new workouts... 

What are you up to?

Friday, January 15, 2016

10 Baby Steps for Loosing Weight

Loosing weight can be a daunting battle.  It's so easy to feel overwhelmed before you even get started.  Everyone says, "Don't diet; make a lifestyle change."  But what does that mean?  How do you begin to change your life?  Where do you start?  These are 10 Baby Steps in Loosing Weight and making that lifestyle change easier:

1. Drink more water--Often times, our bodies will mistake thirst for hunger. Have a glass of water.  Water gets your metabolism going, quenches your thirst, and fills you up.  Drink your water.  Start with 64 oz/day and work up to a gallon.  And it's great for your hair and skin.

2. Eat a variety of fruits and veggies--So you don't like cauliflower?  Neither do I.  What can you add to your diet instead?  Experiment with new fruits and vegetables, in lots of new ways.  You don't have to just eat them raw, although you may find you prefer them that way.  Trying new varieties will help you get the nutrients your body needs and keep your tastebuds from getting bored.

3. Eat every couple of hours--I make the worst choices when I'm starving.  So try eating every couple of hours as you feel hungry.  Set your watch for every 2-3 hours to remind you at first.  This will also help regulate your metabolism to keep it burning all day.

4. Wait between servings--Have you heard the old advice "Chew slowly and let your stomach catch up?"  Often times, we eat too quickly and rush to have a second helping without checking in with our stomaches to see if we're still hungry.  You may still want a second helping or even a smaller second helping, but check in with your body before automatically refilling your plate.

5. Turn off the TV--Give your body some downtime in the evenings.  I love catching up on Netflix just as much as everyone else, but my body needs to wind down and recognize the coming of night.  Try to turn off the TV just a little earlier and read a book before bed.  You'll find yourself less likely to mindlessly munch and falling asleep easier.

6. Go to bed at a reasonable hour--Your body needs rest to reset for the next day.  Sleep repairs your body and actually allows your brain to process everything you've learned and experienced throughout the day.  It also helps regulate your metabolism.

7. Avoid added sugars--Avoid added sugars in your diet.  Start by being mindful of how much sugar is in your coffee or how much soda you consume in a week.  Then carefully read labels of food that you commonly purchase.  How high is sugar on the list?  Watch for it's aliases: sucrose, fructose, and high fructose corn syrup.  How much can you eliminate from your diet?

8. Eat the fruit, avoid the juice--Are apples and apple juice created equally?  Of course, not.  Eating the whole fruit provides your body with more nutrients and fiber than just drinking the juice.  And it fills you up quicker.  Plus read that label on the apple juice bottle.  Remember that added sugar that we're trying to avoid?  You may be surprised what you learn.

9. De-stress--I am a stress eater.  How about you?  When I'm stressed, I reach for nachos.  Find new ways to de-stress.  A few moments of meditation, a long bath, a good book, or even exercise are all great alternatives to reaching for that chocolate bar.

10. Seek out accountability--Find a friend to keep you accountable.  Make a plan to walk, hike, or bike today.  Make an appointment to meet at the gym.  Having someone counting on you to show up will make you more likely to exercise your self.

What are your favorite steps for loosing weight?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

32 Indoor Toddler Activities

Winter is in full swing.  And with that comes, cold weather.  Even in a mild climate like where we live, this particular winter has been bitterly cold. So with this colder weather, we are spending more time indoors and I'm looking for more ways to entertain and wear out my kiddo.  If you're in the same boat, there are just a few ideas for indoor activities:

*Take out the cookie cutters and playdoh--Don't put those Christmas cookie cutters away just yet.  Mix up a batch of homemade playdoh and see what kind of creations you can make.

*Have a dance party--The temperatures are cool so warm up with a dance party.  Turn on some Pandora and wiggle away the giggles, grumpies, or energy.

*Play Hullabaloo--We love Hullabaloo.  It's a great game for getting out some energy, developing listening skills, playing together.

*Do some marble painting--Marble painting is a great way to mix it up.  Make sure you're supervising with the marbles, but this can be a really fun one for any afternoon.

*Play with sensory bins--There are so many sensory bin ideas out there.  We've loved scented rice and the animals in the ice bins.  There are plenty to keep your toddler busy.

*Make a tent under the table--Throw some blankets over the dinning room table to create a tent, reading nock, cave, or submarine.  Use your imagination and see where it takes you.

*Do some water painting--Water painting really is a skill and can take time to develop.  Take some time to teach your toddler how to add the water and mix colors on the paper to create some lovely masterpieces.

*Thread pasta or pony beads--Threading pasta or beads is great for hand-eye coordination.  Pasta can easily be dyed and pony beads can be found at most dollar stores.

*Have tea time with your stuffed animals--Tea, juice, or even water can be made fun when combined with the idea of a tea party.  Serve some finger foods and add stuffed animals and you've got yourself a party.

*Make leaf prints--Whether leafs, pine needles or flower, go on a nature hunt for your supplies and return home to do some prints.  You can combine nature ideas that make a ton of different designs and prints.

*Create shadow puppets--When the sun peaks out from behind the clouds, be ready to make some shadow puppets.  Either on the walls or if it warms up a bit, make some in the driveway and trace with sidewalk chalk.

*Make lunch together--Kids love being in the kitchen.  It's a great way to learn listening skills, measurements, hand-eye coordination, and so much more.  Budget in a little extra time and get your kids in the kitchen with you.

*Go "swimming" in the bathtub--Find some fishy toys from the toy box, put on a bathing suit, and let your kids kick away in the bathtub.

*Make cookies--Back in the kitchen, why not let your kiddos help you make some cookies?  It's always a treat when Mommy lets you bake AND eat cookies.

*Use Daubbers on a white board--Invest in a new set of color daubbers and let your little one get creating.  Small white boards can often be found at the $ spot in Target or Dollar Tree.

*Go on an alphabet hunt--Whether in your home or neighborhood, print out the ABC's for your child and go on a hunt.  Whenever they spot a letter, let them cross it off their list.  It's a great way to improve letter recognition and sounds.

*Create an obstacle course--Obstacle courses can be as simple or elaborate as you want.  Use footstools, dining room chairs, pillows, and couch cushions to create a fun obstacle course to wear them out.

*Make a balance beam--Use a roll of masking tape to create an inexpensive balance beam.  Great for coordination and balance.  Once they master balance, try walking backwards, chasses, or ski jumps.

*Play with balloons--Blow up some balloons and see how long you can keep it up in the air.  Hit it back and forth, toss it to each other or create paddles with paper plates.

*Thread straws--Cut some plastic straws and thread with string.  Another great hand eye coordination activity.

*Draw and create yourself--Find a small handheld mirror and challenge your child to draw what they see.  Do you have long or short hair?  Blue or green eyes?  How is the face shaped?  What's on top: the eyes or mouth?

*Practice with scissors--Pull out a piece of scratch paper and start with straight lines.  Then draw curvy lines, circles, or letters.  Sit patiently with them and allow them to practice their scissor skills.

*Do a puzzle-- Puzzles are great for expanding vocabulary, hand eye coordination and time spent together.  Toddler puzzles can easily be found used or at the dollar store.

*Discover new ways to paint: Q-tips, cotton balls, toy cars, etc--There are so many new ways to paint.  Look around your home and you'll be surprised what you'll find.

*String fruit loops--Another low cost threading activity, stringing fruit loops can not only be great for coordination, but provide a fun treat afterwards.

*Play with oobleck--Oobleck is a fun homemade substance that is once liquid and then a solid.  It's fun to run through your fingers and squish around. 

*Drive cars through shaving cream--Find an inexpensive bottle of shaving cream and a few hot wheels cars.  Spray some shaving cream on the table and let the kids drive their cars through.  Easily cleaned up.

*Glue beans on letters-- Draw out a block letter and glue beans, pebbles, and pasta to fill in.  A great activity for learning letters, pairing upper and lower case and learning letter sounds.

*Have a "car wash" in the kitchen sink--Run a sink of warm water, provide some rags, and those hot wheel cars and create a car wash.

*Finger paint--Who can say no to finger painting?  Even as a mom, I love this one.  Use some blank paper for imaginations to run wild or if your child is nervous getting started, tear a page out of a Dollar Store coloring book.

*Make bean noise makers--Staple together a couple of paper plates and fill in with dried beans to create fun, inexpensive noise makers.  Decorate the outside with crayons, markers, and stickers.

*Create a one-man band--Look around your home for musical instruments, including the noise makers you just made.  Can your child come up with a fun beat or creative lyrics?  March around the house singing your new songs.

What about you?
What are your creative ideas for indoor toddler play?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

If: Trading Your If Only Regrets for God's What If Possibilities {Review}

Best selling Mark Batterson challenges his reader to change the small two letter word "If:" what would your life look like if your "If Onlys" became "What ifs?"  Are we too busy looking back on our regrets to notice the future's possibilities?  

Based on Romans 8, If is written in the form of 30 chapters or devotionals to be read over the course of a month.  Although an easy and enjoyable read, each chapter is deep, personal, and savory.  On the one hand, I wanted to ready quickly through the book.  But taking a step back, I realized that a slower read is what this book needs.  It has so much meat, it needs to be savored.

If you're looking for a book the challenge your way of thinking, challenge your comfort zone, and challenge your new year, this book is it.  It just might give you the push you need.

*Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Scripture Hands for 2016

35 Favorite Family Movies

Our family loves having a "Family Movie Night" every week.  It was a tradition that we started when the kids were younger. We pop a homemade pizza in the oven, make some popcorn, and turn on a movie we all can enjoy.  These are some of our favorites:

Shaggy DA
The Ugly Daschund
Swiss Family Robinson
Herbie (and all the series)
Toy Story
The Princess Diaries
Stuart Little
The Parent Trap (original)
Cheaper by the Dozen (remake)
Yours, Mine, and ours (original & remake)
Mary Poppins
Bug's Life
National Treasure
The Rookie
Soul Surfer
The Sandlot
Honey I Shrunk the Kids
The Incredibles
Homeward Bound
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Operation Dumbo Drop
Cool Runnings

What are some of your favorite family movies?

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Weekend Links

This Week:

What I Made:  I scrapbooked and made muffins.  It was one of those weeks where we were just trying to get back into the swing of things.

What I'm Reading: I'm reviewing a parenting book by Korie Robertson and I'm picking up the January Bookmarks book from the library.

What I'm Doing: We had a busy Christmas vacation with family so this weekend, I wanted to find some snow.  But now it's pouring down rain.  So... looking for a family adventure.  :-)

What I'm Watching:  I haven't been ready to let go of the holidays.  So the past few weeks, I've been absorbed in Christmas movies: White Christmas, 12 Dates of Christmas, Elf.  

What I'm Enjoying:  Journaling with the kids... posting Scripture around the house... cleaning out some clutter... the rain... re-discovering what's great about our area...

What are you up to?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Jingle VoxBox Unboxing

Strong and Kind {Review}

Following in the Robertson's tradition of duck hunting and book writing, Korie Robertson ventures out in the market of parenting books.  And a saturated market it is.  Could this reality TV star really have something of value to add?  

In fact, it was Robertson's celebrity status that nearly turned me away from this book.  I couldn't have been more wrong.

While no parent is an expert, Korie Robertson writes (along with mother Chrys Howard and husband Willie Robertson) from over 20 years of parenting and raising 5 (soon to be 6) kids.  What really sets this book apart is Robertson's belief that parents need to decide what character traits they want to focus on.  Instead of a cookie cutter, one size fits all strategy, parents are encouraged to own their decisions and create a family culture.  That's not to say that 2 or 3 character traits should be valued at the expense of all others, but rather focused on during different phases of family life.

The second thing that really stood out to me was Robertson's focus on parental modeling as a catalyst for creating culture.  As parents, we can't just preach honesty, but live it.  We can't just demand integrity, but display it.  The focus of this book is just as much on the parents as it is on the children.  

Other Character Traits explored include:
  • self-control
  • honesty
  • compassion
  • patience
  • joy 
  • loyalty
  • humility
Although I went into reading this book with reservations, Strong and Kind will be on my nightstand for the foreseeable future.  Convicting and encouraging, I'm sure to reach for it again and again.  It ranks highly in a saturated market and I'm very glad I gave it a chance.

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

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2016 Read Aloud List

Adventures of Robin Hood

Wizard of Oz

White Fang

Pippi Longstocking

Homer Price

Nurse Matilda

How To Train Your Dragon

My Side of the Mountain


Stone Fox

Island of the Blue Dolphins


Paddington Takes the Air

Monday, January 4, 2016

Dreaming Big in 2016

2016 Bookmarks List

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Welcome to 2016 Bookmarks Link Up and Book Club.  For the fifth 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--Simplicity Parenting

Feb--Big Little Lies

March--Girl Soldier

April--The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski

May--The American Frugal Housewife by Lydia Maria Child

June--The Purpose and Power of Love and Marriage by Myles Munroe

July--Rising Strong

Aug--Love & War

Sept--The Mentoring Mom

Oct--Hope for the Weary Mom

Nov--Every Day

Dec--The Art of Racing in the Rain

Other books I'd like to read:
The Well Trained Mind

The Open Hearted Way to Open Adoption

Playful Parenting

Me Before You

So get reading!  And don't forget to come back Jan 29th for our first link up of 2016!

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