Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Widget

I have added a new widget to the bottom of my blog. It is to find your own love language. It is very helpful in relationships (of all kinds). I have read the book the 5 Love Languages of Children and loved it, but I had a hard time figuring out my own love language. Now I can find mine out and you can too.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Awesome song

Really listen to the lyrics.  Beautiful music.  Beautiful Lyrics.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I am rejoicing because...

...I have 4 healthy, beautiful boys.  Despite the fact that we thought we were unable to have children.

And the winner is...

...Keri.  Keri, thanks for your comment about the book MOMumental.  Contact me with your info (there is an e-mail button on the right side of my blog) and I will get the book to you ASAP.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

End of Year Teacher Gifts

Yesterday was the last day of school for the boys!  YEA!!!!!!!!!!  Summer break!  I made end of the year gifts for the teachers.  My theme was "You really 'nailed' it as a teacher!"  So they got mani/pedi stuff for their nails.  I think it is appropriate since it is summer and sandal weather.  They may be going to the beach for their summer break and want their nails to look nice.

This is what I included in each packet:  a small bottle of nail polish (summer colors), a small hand lotion, toe separators, an orange stick (cuticle pusher), and a 3 way file/buffer.

One of my sons has a man for a teacher and I didn't think that he would want stuff for manis/pedis.  So, sticking to the theme, he got a hammer.

Here they are all bagged up.  I made a tag that said "You really nailed it as a teacher" and tied one around the top of each bag.

I hope they enjoy their mani/pedi supplies this summer.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Guest post by MOMumental's Jennifer Grant

The Funny, Broken, Love of Parenting

I click open a Facebook message. A friend has sent me a word search and tells me to let my eyes fall onto the image and take note of the first three words that I see. These are the words that best describe me, she promises.
I shrug, take a sip of coffee, and glance at it. “Funny,” “broken,” and “love” are my words.
When I close the message, I’m tempted for a moment to try again. What other words are hidden in that tangle of letters? Maybe on my second try, my eyes will land on a combination such as “smart,” “attractive,” and “successful.” (That would be nice.)
I don’t give it another try, though. The words I read the first time are just right considering how I’ve been spending my days for the past several months, thinking and writing about the family in which I am the wife and the mother and about my family of origin, where my story began.
Funny, broken, love - sounds like family.
MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family is about my own missteps and small victories as a mother. Over the years, after beginning my parenting journey – as so many of us do – staggering under the weight of the expectations I had for myself, I’ve loosened up. I’ve come to learn that none of us is perfect. We all fail, misunderstand our kids sometimes, and mess up in countless ways. In MOMumental, I share stories of some of my “epic fails” as a mom.

The dire messages that flash on the computer or television screen that warn what a mother absolutely must or must not do no longer hold me tightly in their grasp. I now look at myself – and at other mothers – with less judgment, knowing that we all work it out, there is no manual for motherhood, and that the most important thing in raising kids is to be authentically connected with them.
(And a person can do that whether she serves microwaved macaroni and cheese to her kids for lunch every day or gives them homemade bread and a sampling of organic greens from her vegetable garden. Whether or not she homeschools them, uses “the family bed,” or exposes them to Mozart by the time they are six days old.)

I hope in sharing my own personal – and often quite cringe-worthy – story in MOMumental, other parents will show themselves, and other parents, more grace as we raise our children.

To me, those three words – funny, broken, and love – are great ones to reflect on when I think about the gift of family. To be able to enjoy our kids, repair our relationships with them when needed, and most of to love our children like crazy covers a multitude of parental crimes and misdemeanors.

Wishing you all the best in your own messy family-making adventures!

To hear an audio interview with Jennifer, click here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway!

UPDATE:  Give away is now closed!

MOMumental:  Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family by Jennifer Grant was a book that I had zero expectations of because I knew nothing about the book or the author (that makes me a little nervous - who wants to put valuable time into reading a book just to find out that that time was wasted?).  I was not disappointed at all.  It is an excellent book!  I love the whole book, from the cover to the prayer on the last page (and everything in between).  I had an extremely hard time putting the book down most of the time (I carried it with me everywhere) and at other times, I would pause and meditate over what I had just read - I needed time to absorb it.

Jennifer gives you glimpses into her life and the lives of others.   REAL life - you know...the good, the bad and the ugly (which all families have and seem to try to hide from those on the outside).   While I was reading the book, I felt like it was a letter from a friend.  I could feel her emotions - being a mother I could share her emotions. She shares practical advise on raising a child and how to be a good mother.  Jennifer has cute, funny, and serious MOMumental moments!

I highly recommend this books to mothers that are currently raising children  (of all ages).

You can read a sample chapter here.

About the Author:  Jennifer Grant is mother to four children and author of Love You More: The Divine
Surprise of Adopting My Daughter (2011). For more than a decade she wrote for papers in
the Sun-Times newsgroup. Currently she freelances for the Chicago Tribune and is a
regular contributor to hermeneutics, Christianity Today magazine's blog for women. Grant
is a Wheaton College graduate who received her master's in English and Creative Writing
from Southern Methodist University. She lives outside of Chicago, IL.

Well, I am lucky enough and excited to have a copy of the book to share with you (I only wish I had enough to give one to every mother I know).  You can enter a drawing for your chance to win a copy of the book by telling me about one of your own MOMumental moments.  You have until midnight CST Friday, May 18th to enter.

Stay tuned, tomorrow I will have a guest post from Jennifer herself.

Free & Bargain Kindle Books


Now I know that I've told you how much I love books and that I am resistant to e-readers, well I've found some links that might change my mind.  As much as I love books, I love to read more (when I was younger - I read anything I could get my hands on...the backs of shampoo bottles, telephone books - don't laugh, there's valuable information in there that's more than just phone numbers - and countless other things).

Well, a friend alerted me to these websites (you can also find them on Facebook) and I find it very exciting.  I will never be without something to read.

Pixel of Ink
Pixel of Ink - Young Edition
Power Reads
Inspired Reads
Dining Downloads

Just a little FYI - my son has a Kindle Fire and I do not own an e-reader, but you can download a free e-reader here for your computer from Amazon.  Which I have done.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Fruit Basket for my SIL

First things first - Overlook my messy counter and kitchen!

I have 6 sisters-in-law and they are all excellent, but my husband and his oldest sister have always been especially close.  She is very good to our family (how good is a whole other post or two).

She is a CPA and as we all know April 15 is Tax Day - so April is a very busy and stressful month for her.

She is always doing something nice for our family and I wanted to return the favor.  Since it is such a hard month I decided on a fruit basket.  I was afraid that with all the business she might be tempted to skip lunch or just forget to take it.  I know that she is health conscience so I wanted a healthy option.

I also know that women in general also need like need chocolate (so I had to put some in the basket too).

I bought all the stuff myself and Champ put it together for me.  He did an excellent job.  When my DH got home that evening - he asked where I bought it.  (When his sis called to say thanks - she asked where we got it too.)

I found some cute bright spring ribbon (lime green with hot pink and darker green polka dots) that I tied onto the basket (both the ribbon and basket were from Hobby Lobby - on sale for 1/2 off) and put hot pink and lime green tissue paper in the bottom of the basket.  I washed all fruit so that it would be ready for consumption.

We put a pineapple, red delicious apples, granny smith apples, bananas, oranges, strawberries, Hershey kisses and some trail mix from Good Harvest Bread Co. (which I absolutely love) .  All the fruit was from Aldi's at really reasonable prices (tasted great too - I bought some for us to eat when I purchased her fruit).

The next day Rance and I delivered it to her work.

Thanks a lot for all that you do for us Sis.  You are a WONDERFUL person and we love you!

Ultimate Trust

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.”
Proverbs 3:5-6

Friday, May 11, 2012

Teacher Appreciation

This is the last day of Teacher Appreciation Week.  My kids wanted to take their teachers something (since I have 3 in school - 2 are in middle school and have multiple teachers - I can only do so much).  Yes, we did 10 pair of scissors.

I saw this idea on Crap I've Made and Char has an excellent tutorial.

I purchased my scissors from Hobby Lobby and they were made a little different from the scissors that Char used.  Not a big deal, just a little more work.  Char said that she got her scissors at Dollar Tree - I went there later to look for some and I found a pretty good selection - they are easier to decorate and less expensive too.  I now have several that I am going to keep on hand for a later use (see last paragraph).

I am pleased with how they turned out.  My 2 oldest boys helped with it.  It's too big of a job for little kids.  They seemed to be proud of the scissors.

The tag says "You are a cut above the rest."  What teacher doesn't need scissors?  And since they are so different - hopefully they will be returned if borrowed (although they are so cute - they might not be).

I really like the black handled scissors with apples (my son used it for his only man teacher).

This would be a great gift for scrapbookers, crafters or anyone that uses scissors (and don't most people at some time or another?).  They have so many scrapbook papers out there that you can fit anyone's personality (just choose a small print).  I love scrapbook paper - I use it for so many things that aren't even related to scrapbooking.  (It makes good origami paper among other things.)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Reading for Boys

I love to read!  I love books!  Yes, I am old school.  I am not into the Kindle, Nook or any e-readers (yet).  My son, Champ, has a Kindle Fire and I mess around with it a bit, but I love the look and feel of books, I even love the smell of books, I love the sound of the pages being turned.  I like how if I hold a thinner, smaller book - it is lighter, if I hold a thicker, bigger book - it is heavier.  I just simply love books.

When I was younger (way back in the day), we had 4 major television networks (ABC, NBC, CBS and PBS).  Cartoons were only on Saturday until noon, with an occasional after school special during the week. At night we only could watch prime time television until about 8:00 and then the adult television shows came on and we had to go to bed.  And if the President was on - he was on every single channel.  We also didn't have gaming systems (hand-held/personal or otherwise), there was no such thing as the internet.

What we (my brother and I or my friends and I) did was play outside and read books.  There is nothing that I like better than curling up with a good book on a rainy day.  Snow days from school were awesome!  We played outside until lunch time (we were about frozen by then anyway) and then we came in and ate a good lunch and had hot chocolate - later we made snow cream - and then I would read and read and read and...well you get the picture.

I always had a book in my hand, I took one with me wherever I went (remember - no personal gaming systems back then or DVD players in the car) and if I got a minute or two I would read.

I wanted to pass down my love of reading to my children.  I think it is an excellent past time.  I feel that if children can read and comprehend what they are reading they will be able to do anything!  I read to my children when they were little hoping they would like to read.  My oldest, Lee, loves to read!  He reminds me of me, he takes a book with him at all times - very seldom do you see him without a book in his hand or at least nearby.

My second son, Champ, not so much.  I try to encourage reading and I know that Champ likes to earn money (he saves it very well too) so I told my boys that I would pay them a penny a page to read an age appropriate book.  Lee took it and ran with it (get paid to do something that I already like to do?), Champ had rather do physical labor than read.  I gave them each a spiral notebook (in the fall when school supplies are on sale they are 10 - 15 cents each), inside the front cover of the notebook I glued an envelope (flap side out).  They are to record the date they completed the book, title and author of the book and the # of pages.  When they have read a book or two they leave their reading log on the counter and I mark pd. beside the # of pages and I put the money in the envelope.  (I think when they are older they might find it interesting to see what they were reading when they were younger.)

Anthony (now finishing up his first grade year) was excited about this too.  Last year, when he began to read I set him up  a reading log too.  His first few books were 10 pages or less, so I waited until we had at least a dollar before I paid him.  Now Rance is excited about starting Kindergarten this fall so that he can learn to read!

A local publication had an article entitled 'Helping Boys Love Books.'  It had some great suggestions in the article and it also had some suggestions for books and websites that were about books and/or authors for children and middle-school aged boys. 

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
Dead End In Norvelt by Jack Gantos
Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton
Traction Man is Here! by Mini Grey
The Library of Doom Series by Michael Dahl
Guys Read Edited by John Scieszka (and here too)
Happy Pig Day! by Mo Willems (and here too)

Hope this helps your boy(s) to love to read.  I know we are going to look up these books this summer (only 10 days of school left - YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

Friday, May 4, 2012

My PURSE-onality

While doing the Complaint-Free challenge, I have been having everyone take the personality test.  I am Sanguine, my DH is Phlegmatic with lots of Melancholy (I thought he was the opposite - Melancholy with lots of Phlegmatic - he's almost equal so I guess it doesn't really matter), my oldest son is Phlegmatic (almost entirely Phlegmatic - with little anything else) my second son is Choleric with a lot of Sanguine.  (I haven't analyzed the youngest two.)

It is very interesting to do.  If you would like to take a personality test and find out what you are or try to figure out what someone else is you can go to Cheri's page and link up from there.  The link is about half way down her post (right under the PURSE diagram and above the red words "More Like God Created You and Me To Be").  You can take it online or you can print it off and take it that way.

I am also learning more about myself.  I know that I complain more in the car (she didn't use her blinker, he's going too fast, that person is going to slow, they took my parking spot, you get the idea).  It's something that I am trying to work on.  I have even been switching my bracelet when I think a complaint (I don't always verbalize them).  Because..."Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Luke 6:45).   I feel like verbalization is only a symptom to the real problem - my attitude.  I need to change my attitude and then everything else will fall into place.

The nice thing about this challenge - it is making me more aware of my words, my actions and even my thoughts.  I can start working on my attitude.

I have also found it difficult to not complain around some people more than others.  I don't know if they bring out the worst in me OR if I bring out the WORST IN THEM?!?!  Either way - it is something that I need to desperately work on.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

His Mighty Warrior - A Book Review

His Mighty Warrior:  A Treasure Map from Your King by Sheri Rose Shepherd is AWESOME!  This book is written toward elementary school age boys.  We have been reading this book as a daily devotional in the mornings before school - to start the day off right.  It would also be an excellent book to read before bedtime too.

The book is well written and superbly illustrated with a pirate theme, just perfect for little boys.  Sheri takes character traits (from simple to complicated) and explains them in a way that young boys can understand them and want to improve themselves.  She has scripture and a prayer/prayer example to back up her devotionals. 

It is written in letter style, like God has written a personal letter to your son.  I am a grown woman and I feel like I get something out of the devotional too.  I am amazed at how well Sheri explains things without it being complicated or cumbersome.

If you are a parent of young boys, I highly recommend this book.  It is the kind of book that even my older boys can get insight from and when you are finished - start over from the beginning and continue your daily devotionals.  I think this would also make an excellent gift for a new or expectant mother of a boy.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review, but the review and opinions are my own.

Please click on this link and rank my review on this and other books. I would really appreciate it.
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