Wife, Mummy, Nurse: 2016

18 December 2016

Lego Reindeer

I have slowly been chipping away at my December 2016 Bucket List. One of the items I wanted to do was:
Put together the LEGO Christmas 2016 Reindeer Mini set with Charis
I bought it at Target as a last minute purchase. I found it in their holiday section, but if you don't want to go out in the crowds at Christmas it's also sold on (aff. link) Amazon.

On December 2, Charis was squirrelly and would not sit still. I decided to throw away my home school plans for the afternoon and let her put together the Lego Reindeer.

She loved it! I was knitting nearby, and every so often asked, "Do you need help?" "No, I'm still working." As much as I love reading and following Lego directions, it was awesome to see Charis figure it out independently-on her own. FYI, I am NOT a Type A person. I like the idea of order, but what's order?!? I often find myself rearranging my plans for the day in order to better (hopefully) meet the needs of my children.

Do you homeschool? Have you thrown out your lessons for the day?

17 December 2016

Pray A to Z

Have you ever told someone, "I'll pray for you," but as soon as you've arrived home, you neglect to bring their prayers and requests before God? Or has a close friend told you some hard news, and you're unsure exactly how to pray for them? If you have experienced these things, then you will want to read Pray A to Z: A practical guide to pray for your community by Amelia Rhodes.

Pray A to Z: A Practical Guide to Praying for Your Community will help you topically organize your prayerrequests and lay the burdens of your community at the feet of our Heavenly Father. 
With compassion and encouragement, Amelia Rhodes offers Bible verses and prayer prompts, organized topically for every letter of the alphabet. There are five topics per letter---three prayersof petition asking God to work in a certain area of need, and two more prayers of praise to reflect gratitude for God's presence in the daily issues and relationships of life. Through petition and praise, your specific, focused communion with God will lighten your heart as you place the heaviness of those prayer requests where they belong---on His strong shoulders.

My thoughts:

Earlier this year, God convicted me that I was to be more diligent in praying for people, other than myself. Late last winter, I blurted out to my husband, "God never answers my prayers." Those five words helped show me that I do not believe what God says about praying to Him. At this point, I started writing down my prayer requests, and when they were answered (positively or negatively), I'd write the date down. Doing this simple thing helped show me that God does answer prayers in His timing.

This book is great at opening my eyes to see where others may have needs that others may have that I don't. It includes some heavier topics (abuse, divorce, eating disorders, mental health, sexuality, etc.) that the church tends to shy away from or to gossip about rather than praying. On the infertility page, I jotted down various friends struggling with infertility now; if God chooses to bless various friends with more children, I'll write down "PTL" and the date children are born. I did the same on other pages as well, since doing this helps me to be more mindful of those I'm praying for.

I did not use the prayer text in the book, because it was far too easy for me to pray without thought.

I was sent a copy of Pray A to Z for the purpose of review.
All opinions are my own, and I was 
not compensated in any way.

10 December 2016

Scripture Doodle

Often when I'm sitting in church, listening to our pastor preaching a sermon, I often find myself doodling notes. At the same time, I feel slightly self-conscious about my ability (or inability) to draw and doodle as well as I'd like. When I saw Scripture doodle: A six-week devotional experience and Scripture doodle: God's promises, I immediately wanted to get my hands on it.

About Scripture doodle: A six-week devotional experience:
With inspiring exercises and prompts, this unique interactive guide introduces readers to a creative connection between Bible study, artistic expression, and worship.
Often, in the busyness of life, Christians forget that God created them to enjoy creativity. With guided instruction and completed examples, this beautiful book invites readers to draw closer to God through their own art.
More than a coloring book, ScriptureDoodle is a combination of Bible study, creative expression, and artistic community with artwork shared online at #scripturedoodle.  

Exploring topics such as being generous, finding rest, and facing grief, Scripture Doodle gives the heart the creative space it needs. This book stimulates the reader's imagination and helps integrate God's Word into everyday life.
About Scripture doodle: God's promises:
Some of the most incredible stories in the Bible are of God's promises and faithfulness to His children.
ScriptureDoodle God's Promises refreshes believers who are feeling burned out or stuck in a rut in their relationship with God. Each of the creative worship prompts in this interactive guide includes biblical encouragement and ideas for worship through art. Artist April Knight includes creative lettering tips, color ideas, and completed examples to inspire readers to respond to promises in Scripture related to trust, faith, and the power of God's Word in all circumstances.
This unique blend of Bible study and creative expression provides the opportunity to connect with God as Creator in a new, life-changing way.
My thoughts:

The books are wonderful!! Throughout the two books, there are tips and tutorials in order to help you better illustrate and write out God's word. Plus, I am much more comfortable doodling a Bible verse in this book, instead of my Bible.

The only complaint I have, I wish they were spiral bound. At times, I kept having to press down the book in order to doodle and write out the verses.

I was sent a copy of Scripture doodle: A six-week devotional experience and 
Scripture doodle: God's promises for the purpose of review. 
All opinions are my own, and I was 
not compensated in any way.

05 December 2016

December Bucket List

One thing I enjoy taking part is in The Reset Girl's listers gotta list challenge. On December 1st, the prompt was "My Christmas Bucket List". I made it more my December Bucket List, because a few of the items have nothing to do with Christmas. Included on this list are:

Buy and decorate our Christmas tree
Put together the LEGO Christmas 2016 Reindeer Mini set with Charis December 2
Put the paper chain kit together
Place the Santa gel clings on the window
Go to the National Aquarium
Go see Star Wars Rogue One
Finish knitting Christmas gifts

What's on your December bucket list?

04 December 2016

Charlie the Tramp

This post contains affiliate links.

I love children's literature. When I was first married, I put several children's books on my Christmas list. Why? I wanted to start collecting before my children came. Little did I know that I would have a baby less than a year after getting married. When I was asked if I wanted to review Charlie the Tramp, I was thrilled. Of course, I'd love to review it.

Then I found out that Charlie the Tramp has been around for 50 years. It's an American classic is back in a special 50th anniversary hardcover edition. Written by the authors of Bread and Jam for Frances.

Charlie the Beaver wants to be a tramp when he grows up. “Tramps don’t have to learn how to chop down trees and how to roll logs and how to build dams. Tramps just tramp around and have a good time. Tramps carry sticks with little bundles tied to them. They sleep in a field when the weather is nice, and when it rains they sleep in a barn.” Charlie sets off with his bundle. But when he hears water trickling, he can’t get to sleep. Will he be able to resist the urge to make it stop? As Grandfather Beaver says, “You never know when a tramp will turn out to be a beaver.”

My thoughts:

I thought this as a sweet story about a beaver who is seeking to be independent. His parents are willing to let him tramp along. Every morning he comes back for breakfast and does the jobs his parents give him, in exchange for eating his meals. When he discovered that the trickling sound he heard, as the sound of water, he could not sleep and set out to build a dam. While I was reading this book, my daughter asked, "What's a tramp?" As any "good" homeschool mom, I responded, "You'll look it up in the dictionary after the book is finished." My daughter now knows what the word tramp meant 50 years ago. My son has brought this book to me to read three times already, and knowing him, it will be many more times.

Have you read Charlie the Tramp? If so, what do you think of it?
Great news! You can enter to win a copy for yourself. Enter below via Giveaway Tools.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

01 December 2016

Hello Kitty itty bittys

One of my favorite stores to shop at is Hallmark, especially for purchasing their cards. I enjoy sending and receiving personal mail.

Another item that they sell that my children and I enjoy are their itty bittys. When I came back from Pennsylvania on Sunday night, our neighbor delivered a package to me that had been left on our doorstep. In it was Hallmark's Hello Kitty and friends itty bitty.

Hallmark will make a $1 donation to Toys for Tots for each one purchased between now and Christmas Eve. 

Thanks for sending it Hallmark. After my daughter opens up her Christmas stocking, I will have one girl on Christmas morning.

12 November 2016

Yarn #ThankfulNovember2016 #NaBloPoMo2016

12. Thankful for yarn!! I went to Michaels today and bought this yarn on sale. Plus, I had a coupon for 20% off my entire purchase!!!! I plan to use this yarn to knit Christmas gifts.

What are you thankful for? 

11 November 2016

Silliness #ThankfulNovember2016

11. Thankful that I don't always have to be serious in my job as a SAHM. 

What are you thankful for this month?

10 November 2016

Settled #ThankfulNovember2016 #NaBloPoMo2016

10. Thankful to finally feel more settled in with homeschooling this year. It has been crazy; we were in PA for two weeks, then moved. I finally ordered our curriculum and will start it on Monday. I have been doing stuff with my daughter, but it's been what I've been piecing together with library books, worksheets found online, workbooks I bought with random things in them, etc. I hate workbooks, but my daughter loves them. 

What are you thankful for today?

09 November 2016

Peaceful Country #ThankfulNovember2016 #NaBloPoMo2016,

9. I'm thankful for the privilege of living in a peaceful country, where we can wake up in the morning following an election, and not be afraid of being in a war torn country. 

This is the map that Charis colored in of the electoral college election results. 

What are you thankful for today?

Words of Comfort for the 2016 Election #NaBloPoMo2016

Growing up, I LOVED the Republican party-a little bit too much. It was like an idol for me. My dad was heavily involved in campaigns in the late 80s and early 90s. He would often joke that I "made him look like a Democrat." Around 2000 (thanks to going to a Christian school), my view of the Republicans started shifting. I noticed how much Christians viewed George W. Bush as a god. They would often refer to Al Gore as "the antichrist" and spoke about the "destruction of America" and how the "end times was going to happen if Al Gore became President". (Note: I completely disagree with their end time theology.) Even at 16, these comments made me realize how much I fearing the President of the United States above God. In 2004, I voted for Bush (don't throw stones). But in 2008, 2012, and this year, I did not vote for either major party, instead I wrote someone in who more closely aligned with my principles.

This morning, I see a lot of my friends on social media upset about the election, worried about what will happen, or uncertain in the future. If you are a Christian, I hope these Scripture verses will provide comfort to you:

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. ~Romans 13 v. 1

God has given us Donald Trump, just as He gave Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, etc. He used those in the United States of America to vote for these men.

He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings (or Presidents); he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. ~Daniel 2 v. 21

God is sovereign; He is in control of all things. My prayer is that God would give Donald Trump and his advisers wisdom.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. ~Psalm 20 v. 7

We are ultimately put our trust in God. Yes, participate in voting for Presidents, Governors, Senators, Mayors, etc., but regardless of the outcome, put your trust in God. He works in events for His glory, though we may not understand His reasons. God uses sinful people to bring about his plans. The world should not look to man (or woman) to save us, instead we should be looking to Jesus Christ. We should be placing our trust on Him. He alone can save us.

What are your thoughts on this election?

08 November 2016

Target Planner #ThankfulNovember2016 #NaBloPoMo2016,

8. I am thankful for Target dollar aisle where I was able to get this lesson plan book to write down everything we do for homeschooling this year. 

What are you thankful for? If you homeschool, what do you use as a lesson planner?

07 November 2016

Sibling Love #ThankfulNovember2016 #NaBloPoMo2016,

7. Thankful for the love my children show each other. I put Justin down for a nap; he picked up "Go dog go" and asked, "Sister?" Then he signed please. I asked, " Do you want Charis to read to you?" Head nods. Charis, hearing the conversation, came in and started reading.

What are you thankful for today?

06 November 2016

French #ThankfulNovember2016 #NaBloPoMo2016

6. I'm thankful that Drew, my husband, is able to speak in French. I was reading Treasures of the snow, by Patricia St. John, and butchering the French pronunciation on the above page. He came over, took the book from me, and said "Let the Frenchy read it."

What are you thankful for?

05 November 2016

ALDI #ThankfulNovember2016 #NaBloPoMo2016

5. I am thankful for ALDI. We save SO MUCH money by shopping there. And since we've been living on one income (from my husband's part time job) the last six years, we've had to be tight with our money. Now that Drew has a full time job, I still shop there.

What are you thankful for this November?

04 November 2016

Thankful November #NaBloPoMo

3. Thankful for reading to my children. Today we had poetry and tea time. I read "Now we are six" by Milne. I had Celestial seasonings chocolate caramel tea. Charis had Red rose tea creme caramel. Justin had Bigelow tea sweet dreams.

4. Thankful for Charis (AKA Captain Hook). She is a wonderful first anniversary gift from God.

What are you thankful for?

03 November 2016

Justin #ThankfulNovember2016

2. I am thankful for my son. God heard my cries and prayers for another child after my daughter. 

For about 12-18 months before getting pregnant, I did not like going to church every week: I was criticized by our decision to use birth control. I was compared to other women and when asked to do things was reminded that I was not pregnant or did not have a newborn. I was told if I wanted to have a newborn, that my husband and I should just get pregnant so that I could hold my own baby. 

During this time I was also reminded that I am God's daughter. He is my protector and comforter. No one should take God's place; I was treating the idea of having more children as an idol. I know this is a long, round about way of saying I'm thankful for my son.

What are you thankful for? If you want to follow along with my thanks in real time, just follow me on Instagram.

02 November 2016

Test Knit Cardigan #YarnAlong #NaBloPoMo

I've been busy test knitting a cardigan. I have to have it finished in 2 weeks time, so I'll be busy with my knitting needles the next few weeks working on it.

Then it will be on to Christmas knitting. This year, I would be shocked if everyone in my family gets a handknit gift. I completed gifts for my SIL's children-a dress (for her daughter) and a minion hat (for my nephew). I hope to start knitting skirts for my other nieces and knit a baby yoda hat for my nephew.

What's on your needles? Do you have Christmas knitting plans? 
Join me at Ginny's Yarn Along.

01 November 2016

My In-Laws #ThankfulNovember2016

1. Thankful for my in-laws. They are wonderful and are willing to drop what they are doing to help us out with moving (just occurred two weeks ago), car problems (February 2011 and last year, they let us borrow their van for 4 weeks), or having a new baby (May 2014). Plus today is their 42nd anniversary!! Here Charis is talking to Grandma and wishing her a "Happy Anniversary".

What are you thankful for this November?

Halloween 2016 #NaBloPoMo

I have many happy memories of Halloween growing up. My mum would usually sew our costumes. One year, I was a ballerina. Another year, a doctor; that year, my family's doctor let me borrow an old stethoscope, reflex hammer, and a pen light of his. The last Halloween that we lived in Iowa, my mum stayed up late making a hula skirt for me; yes, that year, I loved reading Meet Molly.

Yesterday was our first time trick or treating in our new neighborhood. Leading up to Halloween, Charis wanted to be a hula dancer, then an airplane pilot, then something else. Eventually, she settled on being a fairy princess. At that point, I said, "That's good. You can wear your pink dress and butterfly wings." Justin was just in it for the candy. I put an old TMNT shirt that has a detachable shell on him, with green and white leg warmers on his arms, and green pants. 

Did your children go trick or treating last night?
What did they dress up as?

31 October 2016

40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood #Book #Review

One of my favorite activities is to color in coloring books with my daughter, but I get tired of coloring in her Minions, Star Wars, and Sofia coloring books. Thankfully with the popularity of adult coloring books, I am often found coloring in mama's coloring book, while she colors in her coloring book. One recent coloring book I have been using is Sarah Humphrey's 40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood: Devotions and Coloring Book to Nourish Mom.
Nourishment for a mother's soul through 40 days of devotion and . . . doodling!
Wouldn't it be marvelous if mothering came with a concrete set of instructions---an easy recipe we could follow? Instead, motherhood challenges women to find their faith, their true selves, and their family through daily doses of trial and error. It is a brilliant and healing time of life that is full of joy, pain, and beauty with a small side of crisis (and humor). What mothers do not know, they learn. And through this lifelong process of learning, they nurture and care for the most precious gifts on earth: children. In a modern society where moms often have a full and busy plate, these 10 minute daily devotions focus on six key topics of motherhood:
-Self-acceptance-Self-care-Reconciling with grief, hope and expectations-Generosity-Presence-Forgiveness 
In addition to the devotions, these beautiful pages are adorned with handmade illustrations to help you refresh from long days or even occasional sleepless nights. So, grab your colors and a little quiet time for yourself while doodling at the kitchen table. You will be grateful you did!

My thoughts:
I was not too impressed with this book for two reasons.

1. It did not have a lot of meat in it. Yes, motherhood is tiring, but even when I've been in the stage of having a newborn, I appreciated having an intelligent conversation that did not only dwell on the fact of how tired I was. I also found myself disagreeing with some of the things in this "devotional" (read self help book). For example, "It is important to find the meaning of their names (husband/children) because this will show us how to encourage them, build them up, and feed them the best soul food" (p. 10). Really? We should be teaching our family of their identity in relation to Christ, not themselves. They are made in God's image. They are sinners, in need of God's grace. The idea that they will have obstacles in their lives because it goes against their name is hogwash.

Even if my daughter's name meant something completely different than Grace, she would still have the same sin patterns in her life. The name we give them is a name that an fallible human has given them.

Remind them that they are under the care of an all-seeing and all-knowing God. The only way I can I can feed them the best soul food is to know the meaning of their names. I'm sorry. How about reading the Word of God to them? Praying with and for them? Singing the Psalms? Listening to sermons? Having family worship? There are many more practical ways to show them their identity. Remind them of their place. They are a child of God.  There were more points that just left me shaking my head thinking, "Do not recommend this duhvotional.".

2. The pages were thin and my gel pens, markers, and sharpies often bled through the pages. Most adult coloring books have thicker pages, but the quality on this book was not great.
They only thing I liked about this book were the doodles; I was able to color in pages quickly in one sitting. 

In the end, I cannot and will not recommend this book.

I was sent a copy of 40 days to a joyful motherhood for the purpose of review
All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated in any way.

27 October 2016

Parenting #Book #Review

As soon as a woman announces that she is expecting a child, she is inundated with book suggestions. There are a plethora of parenting books ranging from What to Expect When Expecting books to Screamfree Parenting, but most of these books miss the Gospel. Parenting: 14 Gospel principles that can radically change your life by Paul David Tripp is like a breath of fresh air.

In the midst of moving after a husband starts a new job (which has been my life the last 8 weeks), folding laundry, and breaking up fights, many parents get lost. Feeling pressure to do everything “right” and raise up “good” children, it’s easy to lose sight of our ultimate purpose as parents in the quest for practical tips and guaranteed formulas.

In this life-giving book, Paul Tripp offers parents much more than a to-do list. Instead, he presents us with a big-picture view of God’s plan for us as parents. In an age where most parenting books are how to oriented (do ABC in order to get XYZ), Tripp emphasizes Gospel principles found in the Bible. Outlining fourteen foundational principles centered on the gospel, he shows that we need more than the latest parenting strategy or list of techniques. Rather, we need the rescuing grace of God—grace that has the power to shape how we view everything we do as parents. Freed from the burden of trying to manufacture life-change in our children’s hearts, we can embrace a grand perspective of parenting overflowing with vision, purpose, and joy.

My thoughts:  
I love this book. It is a breath of fresh air. So what are these 14 principles? Calling. Grace. Law. Inability. Identity. Process. Lost. Authority. Foolishness. Character. False Gods. Control. Rest. Mercy.

I will briefly write a few thoughts on my favorite chapter-Chapter 11: False Gods. (Because of Barb and Iain Duguid's Bible study and teaching, a little over 9 years ago I realized how I am guilty of worshiping things above God. So anytime I read in a book about how we are idol worshipers, I say, "Yes, I am. There are far too many times I prefer peace and comfort over God.") 

The principle behind this chapter is that I am "parenting a worshiper, so it's important to remember that what rules your child's heart will control his behavior." Tripp tells us that every parent needs to ask 3 questions: 1. Why do my children do the things they do? 2. How does change take place in children's hearts and lives? 3. How can I be a tool of change in the hearts and lives of my children? Every single thing that my child has said and done is rooted in worship. This longing in my children's hearts to worship is meant to drive them to God. God has given me the job of teaching and warning my children of their sin and God's salvation, of being an example, of disciplining and correcting, but I have no ability to deliver my two children from the natural idolatry in their hearts. My only hope for my children is in the grace of Jesus Christ. This does not mean that I am to wash my hands and give up; I am still obligated to teach and admonish them, as well as be honest with our own struggles. We are to model repentance and forgiveness. I am to examine myself-my heart and desires for idols. Have you gone to your child and asked his or her forgiveness for preferring ease, so you yelled at them? Do your children see you make excuses for actions? 

Great news!!! You have an opportunity to win this book for yourself. Just enter via Giveaway tools below.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

26 October 2016

Life Creative #Book #Review

Since I was a little girl, I loved creating with yarn, fabric, and words, but as I furthered my education, especially in high school and college, the creativity took a back burner to reading books and studying. I never forgot the love of creating. When I stopped working full time night shift when I was 9 months pregnant, I was looking for something to do. My knitting needles were once again picked up, and I was determined to: learn how to knit in a round and knit something more than a scarf. My daughter's first clothing item was completed about 2 days after my due date. My friends and acquaintances know how much I love to knit, and I am frequently asked or told, "How do you do it? I wish I had time for that." When I announced my pregnancy with my son, I was often told, "You won't be able to knit as much."

Is there room for creativity and children in a mother's life? Learn how to balance home, art, and family in Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart's new book, Life Creative. In this Pinterest age of handcrafted children’s parties, Instagram photos of beautifully decorated homes, and blogs filled with poetry and prose, it is clear that we are in the midst of a brand new artistic renaissance. Life Creative paints the stories of moms, just like you, who are fitting their inspired lives into the everyday, ordinary places of motherhood.

Join Wendy, Kelli, and other moms in celebrating the beauty of being a creative mom by entering to win the Called to Be Creative Giveaway (details below) and by attending their author chat party on October 27!


One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking HERE

But hurry, the giveaway ends on 10/27. The winner will be announced at the Life Creative Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Wendy, Kelli, and other creative moms, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via social media and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 27th!

My thoughts on Life Creative:

Wendy Speake and Kelli Stuart write, "Every mom was created creative." It looks different with each mom. Some moms are gifted with paints and pastels, but others are able to created accessories and clothes with yarn or fabric. Other mothers are able to place vegetables into their toddler's meals so their child actually eats the meal. Others are able to decorate their homes without any difficulty.

Life Creative emphasizes the home. "Home is where everything starts." I need to make sure that my children's needs are met. I appreciate the authors' honesty when they write that sometimes our blessed little captors (AKA children) sometimes make mothers feel as if they are confined to home. This is often how I felt last year when we went from having 2 vehicles to 1, with a husband working on his dissertation. Thankfully this year I don't feel the confinement as much as last year. By being confined at home, God shows me that I am to be teaching my children (by God's grace) to become His disciples. I wish this book was written last year. It's great for the mother who is feeling stifled, especially the mother who has young children at home.

What if your creativity has taken a hiatus? Wendy and Kelli recommend journaling. Briefly jot down your ideas, so when you're able to be more creative you have something to look at for ideas. 'Journaling your inspiration is a gift. It says, "I trust that the future holds good thing."'

Currently, I'm knitting (or creating) my nephew a minion hat for Christmas. I need to finish weaving in the ends and sewing the eye onto the hat. 

What ways are you creative? What's on your needles? What are you currently reading? Linking up at Ginny's Yarn Along.

24 October 2016

Total Family Makeover #Book #Review

One of my earliest memories is the importance my mother placed on reading the Bible. When we were younger, she was a stay at home mom, but also subbed in various public schools in Iowa. When I woke up in the morning, I often found her sitting in the living room, on the couch, reading her Bible. Reading God's word was so important that it was the first thing she did when she woke up in the morning.

In Total family makeover, Melissa Spoelstra writes about 8 things that parents can be doing now to make disciples at home: spending time in prayer, reading God's Word, growing through mentoring, finding community in the church, serving others, taking time to rest, giving back to God, and sharing your faith. In each chapter, you will find two major sections: modeling and training. Melissa includes Scripture verses throughout this book to help emphasize the importance of the above practices.

My thoughts:

To be honest, I was a little uncertain when I signed up to receive this book. When I see a book that has a title that includes "8 practical steps to making disciples at home", I automatically become more hesitant to read it. I wondered, "Will she talk about God's grace and plan in her book? Or will she place all the responsibility on the parents?"

I loved how Melissa opened up the book by writing that our children are not our report cards. She wrote, when we use our children's behavior as our parenting measure rod, we: pass judgment on others when their children are not behaving like they should, going back and forth between pride and shame based on our children's behavior, and envying friends when we read (or hear) about their children's achievement.

In every single section, I was convicted of at least one or two things. For example, in chapter 1-spending time in prayer, Melissa wrote that we are to pray in faith and that nothing is too small for God. Last week when my daughter slammed her finger in the car door, I stupidly told her, "Your nail will probably fall off." She immediately started crying and said, "I don't want my nail to fall off. What if it doesn't grow back? Can we pray that my nail will stay?" I started laughing (to myself) and thought, "Silly girl. This is not that important." But to her, it was important. There was nothing wrong in her request, and I should have been more sympathetic to her plight. 

The good news is, I enjoyed reading this book. My above fears were unsubstantiated. There were many times Melissa wrote and reminded us to be patient, that God's timing is not our timing, and that we are to trust in God.

Check and see what others thought of this book here. What's your favorite Christian parenting book?
I was sent this book for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated in any way.

06 October 2016

FO: Newborn Hats

Earlier I wrote that one of my goals is to use up some of my stash yarn to knit baby hats. I have slowly been doing this. I decided to go through one skein at a time, finish it up, then start on another skein. I also decided that I will try to use 100% acrylic yarn. I'm hoping to donate these hats to a local hospital's NICU.

Out of the three additional hats I've completed, I have only used one pattern. The hat on the right is the baby pinwheel hat, found on Ravelry. I made a few modifications, but at this time, I cannot find the paper with the modifications listed. (Thanks to chaos and moving!) I used Wool-Ease Oxford grey, leftover from the Baby Sophisticate sweater I knit for my nephew.

The two other hats were knit with Red Heart Super saver grape fizz yarn, leftover from a skirt I knit for my daughter.

What's on your needles? Join me at Ginny's Yarn Along.

03 October 2016

"12 Little Days of Christmas" #Giveaway #LoveHallmark

Fall Fun Blogger Sign Up
Thank you for stopping by the Fall Fun giveaway hop hosted by The Anti-June Cleaver and Our Piece of Earth. Fall is officially here and it's time to celebrate!

We have teamed up with an amazing group of bloggers to bring you a variety of prizes to make your fall fun! After you have entered a giveaway visit the linky at the bottom of each post to visit the other blogs for more great prizes.

We have 83 days until Christmas!! Yes, I am one of those people who are blasting Christmas songs before Halloween. Since I am so excited for Christmas, I will be giving away a Gold Miniature Display Tree and a 12 Little Days of Christmas set: Days 1-3.

The Anti-June Cleaver, Our Piece of Earth, and the rest of the bloggers participating in the Fall Fun giveaway hop are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

30 September 2016

Gold Miniature Display Tree #Review

This year, I am excited for Christmas. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. Last year, we did not decorate anything. Space was cramped and tight and decorations took a back seat. Next week, we are moving to a bigger place, and I'm already looking forward to decorating for the season. 

Hallmark recently sent a gold miniature display tree and a 12 little days of Christmas: set of days 1-3 mini porcelain ornaments. The tree is perfect for placing miniature ornaments on it. You can place the tree on top of a desk, bookshelf, table, or mantel. It has a gorgeous gold finish with room for 12 ornament slots and is perfect for holding the "12 Little Days of Christmas” mini porcelain ornaments". The first three days include a partridge in a pear tree, a turtle dove, and a calling bird. They are made of porcelain with intricate hints of gold and bisque. The second set (Days 4-6) will be available on October 1, 2016.

My thoughts: My favorite product is the tree. I was a little uncertain when I first read that it had a gold finish, but the gold finish is muted, which I like because it's not gaudy. I plan to use the tree year round. For example, for Thanksgiving, I plan to cut out little leaves and write things I am thankful for on the back. For Valentine's Day, I plan to place small, individual size candy bars on it. 

The detail on the mini ornaments is wonderful. The white and gold gives it a simple, elegant look and will not clash with your other Christmas decor. When my daughter had the ornaments, I kept worrying that they would break (which they did not). The ornaments are very dainty, so I plan to keep the tree out of my children's reach when the 12 days of Christmas ornaments are placed on it.

Are you looking forward to Christmas? What is your favorite Christmas decor?

I received the gold miniature tree and the first set (days 1-3) mini porcelain ornaments for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated in any way. 

29 September 2016

Baby, Baby #Review

This is a sponsored post.

One of my son's favorite words is "baby". He loves singing, "Bye, bye baby. Bye, bye." He has also started to actually sit still long enough for me to read him a book or two. One recent book we have recently read is Baby, baby, written by Diane Stortz and illustrated by Ailie Busby.
Babies enjoy books, looking at other babies, and their own flowering abilities. This short rhyming poem combines all three in a sweet and happy way, while introducing babies to God's love for them. The simple words are paired with colorful images of babies engaging in familiar activities, allowing the book to be used as an introductory concept book as well. And it ends with a reminder that Baby is always loved by God.
My brief thoughts: Overall this book is cute. It rhymes. Some of the rhymes did not work as well as it could have. For example, the last few pages had "Baby smiles and Baby nods. Baby's always loved by God." If the author was able to make nods to nod, it would have worked better. But I had to remind myself that Baby, baby is not Shakespeare. It's for babies, and my son enjoyed this book. At the end of each page, I would demonstrate the activity that the baby was doing.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

19 September 2016

If You Were Me and Lived in... the Middle Ages

This is a sponsored post and contains affiliate links. As a homeschool mom, I love finding new books for educating my daughter-not necessarily for a full curriculum. Sometimes I just enjoy finding books that will peak her interest in learning more about a topic. When I saw that Carole P. Roman has now written books about different civilizations, adding to her "If you were me and lived in..." books, I wanted to check these books out.
Join Carole P. Roman and travel through time to visit the most interesting civilizations throughout history in her exciting new series. Learn what kind of food you might have eaten during the Middle Ages, the clothes you might wear, what your name could be, and children did for fun. If You Were Me and Lived in...does for history what her other award-winning series did for culture. So get on-board this time-travel machine and discover the world through the eyes of a young person just like you.
I really wanted to like If you were me and lived in... the Middle Ages (written by Carole P. Roman). As a young girl, I remember loving history and enjoyed learning about it. I like that Carole tries to get the readers attention by writing from the viewpoint of a young child whose father was a knight. At various points throughout the book, it compares different people in the feudal system.

When I read Carole P. Roman's book for the first time, I immediately noticed three errors. The error that is most glaring is on the cover, which should read "If you were me and lived in... the Middle Ages". Instead, the cover has "If you were me and lived in... Middle Ages". The information was presented in a dry, boring way and easily attainable information. My daughter usually loves when I read to her, but after reading for 20 pages, she said, "I want to read something else." Meanwhile, I thought, "Me too." So we put the book down and picked it up later.

What's your favorite time period?
I received a copy of this book for the purpose of review.
All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated in any way.

15 September 2016

The Biggest Story Audiobook and DVD #Review

This is a sponsored post and contains aff. links.

Both my husband and I were raised in Christian families and went to various Christian schools growing up. In Christian circles, it is far too easy to: get so focused on the do's and don'ts of the Bible (become legalistic) and forget the big story. Too often I think that I can do it on my own: I just have to spend more time in prayer, read the Bible more, fellowship with other Christians, and then I can look and see what I did. This thinking is horrible and detrimental. "Our story is the story of God doing what we can't, in order to make up for us doing what we shouldn't." (Kevin DeYoung)

I recently discovered The biggest story by Kevin DeYoung. My whole family enjoyed it. At least 3 times a week, Charis asks, "Can I watch The biggest story? Can we listen to it in the car?"
The Animated Short Film: Featuring beautifully animated illustrations adapted from the book, The biggest story: The Animated Short Film will captivate children and parents alike as they see how all the classic stories in the Bible connect to Scripture’s overarching message about God’s glorious plan to redeem his rebellious people.

The Audio Book: This audio book of The biggest story—written and narrated also by the best-selling author Kevin DeYoung—leads kids and parents alike on an exciting journey through the Bible, connecting the dots from the garden of Eden to Christ's death on the cross to the new heaven and new earth.
Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, MI, husband to Trisha, and father to seven children.

My thoughts:

This is a very quick introduction to our need for Jesus; we are utterly dependent upon Him. Kevin DeYoung goes through the Old Testament covenants: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David. In every single instance, The biggest story emphasizes that these men in the Old Testament (despite being chosen by God) were not perfect; they failed.

The animated film has many bold colors, but it is not too fast. In my opinion, it was the words of what was being spoken that were emphasized. My daughter has already started quoting many parts of The biggest story.

Don't tell my nieces and nephews this, but I now have another item to put on my list of things to get them for Christmas!

Great news! You too can own the animated short film and audiobook by buying them at those looks. Or enter to win a copy of each for yourself in the giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

13 September 2016

FO: Missoni Inspired Scarf

In August, I knit myself a scarf. Yes, I may have been a bit crazy; it was warm in Maryland. Plus, there were two KALs that I knit it for: Ravellenic games 2016 (with Team Knit Equals Joy) and Gilmore Girls KAL (with Geeky Girls Knit and The Knitting Broomstick).

I used the Missoni inspired scarf as a guide, but changed it up a bit.

Notes: Cast On 41 stitches. I knit a garter stitch border of two stitches on each side. Between the border: K1 SSK K6 YO K1 YO K7 *MD K7 YO K1 YO K6 K2TOG K1. (*MD is mitered decrease. Slip 2 stitches together, K1, pass the 2 slipped stitches over.)

I knit 20 rows of the following colors:

Alpaca love (discontinued) (Pink)
Brown sheep Lamb's Pride (Lemondrop)
Paton's classic wool (Gray)
Full o' sheep (Clementine)
Paton's classic wool (Blue)
Full o' sheep (Red)
Alpaca love (Green)
Paton's classic wool (Light grey heather)
Full o' sheep (Dark pink)
Paton's classic wool (Natural)
Cascade 220 (Brown)
Full o' sheep (Green)
Full o' sheep (Purple)

The above colors were only knit from my stash, either randomly or picked by Charis.

What's on your needles (or hook if you crochet)? What project have you recently completed?