Friday, December 2, 2016

The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell (book review)

I read "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman about 10 years ago, freshly married and wanting to love my spouse well. It helped me to know my primary love language (words of affirmation) and his (physical touch). That truly has helped our marriage this past decade.

image via amazon.com
When I had children"The Five Love Languages for Children" by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, I was hoping to end the book with knowing their love languages. I know I won't have that knowledge for my 16 month old for quite some time but for my 7 and 9 year olds, yes.

The most unfortunate part of this book is that there is no finite way to find out their love languages. The book recommends observation and experimentation (trying one language for several weeks, then another for other week) to determine love languages. I'm not saying these are not valid ways to find the primary love languages of your children (in fact, through observation and talking with my husband have determined our 7 year old's primary languages are physical touch and words of affirmation and our 9 year old's primary languages are physical touch and acts of service), but I was hoping for a quiz as in the adult version.

Otherwise, "The Five Love Languages for Children" was a good reminder of what the different love languages are, how to properly use them (examples), and how they affect our children. The best reminder was that you cannot love a child only in their primary love language but you need to use all of them. So really if you just love them with physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, and giving gifts then you should be set regardless of whether you realize their primary languages or not (in my opinion).

Disclaimer I received this book in order to write an honest review. All opinions are my own, even if they differ from others' opinions. Links are to AmazonSmile and if you purchase through those links, you will be supporting Emmaus Biblical Seminary in Haiti.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

really belated July update

It's been so long since I've written about our family!

July - birthdays galore! July is really best shown in pictures.


Moose turned 9. NINE! I don't know why birthdays just knock the wind out of me each year but each year added just seems impossible. And yet here I stand, with a nine year old. A wonderful hasn't-had-seizures-since-June nine year old. No birthday felt more blessed than this.


July means drama camp, too. My two goofballs have their head poking out the right side of this picture. They have so much fun! They performed Jailhouse Rock this year. So cute.


Friend birthday party for the boys. Mario Kart Run (like Mario Kart Wii but it was an obstacle course).


I like easy cakes. This was a birthday present, too, as the cars were for Moose.


Blurry but so much fun this year!


Princess really likes ice cream cones...just the cones at this point.


My parents were here for their party and it was fun to end up being Mario and Luigi with my dad.


Squirt (aka Batman) is seven. *sigh* Love lost tooth pictures.



I made the area between our bedrooms into the Batcave for him since he let Moose pick the party theme. This stayed up (the walls had plastic table cloths on them too) for over a month, I think. Bats were hanging from the ceiling. I repaired it a lot.


Princess is one! What a fast year!


Her theme was starfish. So her cake was supposed to look like mermaid scales.


little fish pond cupcakes


And a starfish cake. It turned out so much better than I thought it would.


The boys got motorcycle rides with our friend, Mike. They were thrilled!




And a 5-generation picture of the S Club family at Princess's party. Love them so much!

That's July. I'll catch up more later.

Monday, November 28, 2016

LuLaRoe WINNER!

Using random.org, I picked a winner for the LuLaRoe giveaway and was surprised! It came up with #1 (not a surprise as it's random) but that it was my friend, Amanda! I thought it was another friend with the same last name. I'd even told her her comment hadn't gone through (forgive me...I'm not so techy apparently).

So yay! Congratulations, Amanda! I will let Kristen know you're the winner and have her contact you.

Disclaimer: I've already contacted Amanda to let her know and she's contacted me back, so yay! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

LuLaRoe review: Perfect Tee

I had a LuLaRoe pop-up a few weeks ago and had such fun adding memes to my Facebook invite! These were my favorites:



Look up "LuLaRoe memes" on Google and you won't be sorry. I think they are hilarious. I wish I'd seen this one:


Enough goofing around! You want to know about their new top - the Perfect T! During the whole party/pop-up, I didn't try on one Perfect. I didn't think they would fit (there wasn't a sizing chart there).


I got a medium top but very well could have gotten a small or even extra small like the sizing chart suggests. However I love the print of my Perfect T - navy and mustard stripes. I'm not huge into stripes but I don't feel like these make me look wide. Or any wider than a flowy top does. The Perfect T is not a snug fit like the Randy or even Classic. It's even flowier (is that a word?) than the Irma.

It being larger on me, I wouldn't wear it with anything other than skinny jeans. It's not quite long enough (in my opinion) for leggings - for that, you want an Irma. But you can take a look at my pictures and see what you think.


 I'm a stage in life - post 3rd child and have only lost 10 pounds since birthing said child - where I don't really want snug tops anymore. If I had my pre-Princess stomach, sure (it wasn't a six-pack by any means or flat but I could suck it in well enough to look good in a fitted top), but not right now. So this really makes the Perfect T perfect for me!

I don't know what the top is made of but the material reminds me of their leggings - buttery. It's so comfortable! Since my top is probably a little big for me, I do need to wear a camisole underneath to prevent embarrassment! But this top is light fabric so I don't mind.


I'm not sure how I'll feel about the material this summer, especially wearing something underneath. The colors will hide any pitting but are also darker colors so more complementary for fall and winter. However, I don't really dress for seasons as far as colors and prints (although I don't normally do white after Labor Day - call me old fashioned).


The Perfect T really is perfect. It has slits up both sides, so you can be fashionable and tie them to make the top snugger (but still not snug). Just changes it up (you can see that in the size chart picture above). If you've had children or just like to be comfortable (so - all of you), check out the Perfect T on my friend Kristen Heideman's LuLaRoe Facebook page. If you're interested in purchasing LuLaRoe wear, you can request an invite to Kristen's private LLR group here.


GIVEAWAY! I get to give away one (1) Perfect T to one of you lovelies! What a perfect shirt to wear to Christmas or holiday gatherings - you can eat all you want and still be comfortable! 

TO ENTER: You MUST leave a valid email address in your comment so I have a way of contacting you. If I can't contact you, you can't win. 1 entry per comment.
1. Tell me your favorite LuLaRoe wear or what you'd like to try (mine is the Carly dress).
2. Like Kristen's public LuLaRoe group.

Giveaway will close on Sunday, November 27, 2016 at 11:59pm (CST). Must be 18 and over and have a U.S. or APO address. Void where prohibited. Winner will be contacted and sent a link to Kristen's private LuLaRoe group in order to pick out the Perfect T for them! Winner has 48 hours to reply until another winner is chosen.

Disclaimer: I received a Perfect T in order to write an honest review. All opinions are my own and my differ from others' opinions. Facebook is not affiliated with LuLaRoe or this giveaway or blog. 

66 Ways God Loves You by Jennifer Rothschild (book review)

"Jesus loves me. This I know, for the Bible tells me so..." Many of us are familiar with these lyrics. Yet, does the Bible tell us this is true? It does! Jennifer Rothschild's "66 Ways God Loves Me" is a wonderful book that goes through each book of the Bible (hence the 66 ways) and tells us how each book shows God's love for us.

Each chapter has a title page that says something like "In Genesis God Fashions Me with His Hands" or "In Micah God Invites Me to Walk Humbly with Him." This title page is followed by 2-3 pages explaining His love. It's not hard to understand but it is deep, just as His love is.
image via Amazon.com
I read an article recently about how Jesus is not our cheerleader and this is not a book like that. This book is not telling you how you are loved so go dream big and make your dreams come true! It's building a foundation for you like the Bible says in Ephesians 3:16-19, "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

I believe in order for someone to have a relationship with Christ, they must grasp the love of God - how much He loves us! "66 Ways God Loves You" by Jennifer Rothschild is such a beautiful way to see that love. 

Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest review. Others' opinions may vary from my own but these are my own opinions. Links in this post go toward supporting Emmaus Biblical Seminary in Haiti through Amazon Smile.

Goodnight, Manger by Laura Sassi (children's book review)

While my boys naturally go toward books about superheroes and space cats, I do try to have books that point them to Jesus in our home. Having the opportunity to read "Goodnight, Manger" by Laura Sassi (illustrated by Jane Chapman) was really a blessing. We have far less really young kid books about Jesus and God as we have grown up in our faith as our boys have grown up.

Now having our little Princess, I'd like more books her age to point her to Jesus. "Goodnight, Manger" does just that. It's rhyming stanzas show Mary and Joseph putting the baby Jesus to bed only to be interrupted by barn animals and wise men and angels singing "Hosanna." Everyone tries to help the newborn King to sleep.

image via amazon.com
It's a really sweet little story that will show your young ones Jesus. If you're looking for theologically deep (which who is at 16 months old?), this is not for you. It depicts the wise men and shepherds visiting at the same time and Mary looks nowhere near a teenager. But, for young children, those are not important. The love of this little family and the story of His visitors is important.

This Thanksgiving is a perfect time to check out "Goodnight, Manger" by Laura Sassi at a retail store or on Amazon.com

If you do decide to purchase this book (or anything else on Amazon.com), please consider using this link to support the Emmaus Biblical Seminary in Haiti. My awesome friends Matt and Stacey teach there and it's a great opportunity to help advance the gospel.

Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest review. Others may or may not agree with my opinions but they are my own. Emmaus Biblical Seminary has no links to this post other than I found it an opportune time to support their work. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Low-Pressure Guide to Parenting Your Preschooler by Tim Sanford, M.A. (book review)

When my sons (ages 9 and 7) were toddlers, I was just overwhelmed. Kids are a lot of work! There was so much, as a young mother, I did not know. Keeping them alive and well was a lot but then there were these outside pressures. As a Christian, I must teach them about God and right and wrong, and they must be saved! As a human, they must treat each other with respect and share! Even when it's their favorite toy! As a person who hates being embarrassed, they must act appropriately and not throw tantrums in Wal-mart (and I need to teach them when they can pee outside and when they can't). These pressures were not bad things; most of them were good things to teach, but the pressure they added was immense and added to my feelings of drowning for about 4 years.
image via Amazon
When Princess was born (age 15 months now), I didn't want to stress about things. I did though. I stressed about breastfeeding, about her sleeping habits, about sibling rivalry (of which we were blessed with none). AHHHHH! Now looking back at the last 15 months with clearer, less post pardum fog, I can see that stress happens. However, I don't need to add more of it to my life.

"The Low-Pressure Guide to Parenting Your Preschooler" by Tim Sandford, M.A., has really been a game-changer in my life (and not just with my preschooler). This book has helped me shrink my job description to one thing as a mother: nurture. My husband's job description: validate.

That's it.

Does that mean I don't do other things? Do I just cuddle and coddle all day? No! I nurture by sharing God's Word and love with them. I nurture by feeding them and making sure they know appropriate social rules (or try). I nurture them by discipline even!

So how has this been a game changer? It's a heart issue for me. Why was I trying to put so much pressure on them turning out right and making sure they were doing this or that? Because of the world. But nurturing them? That's God. God made me the mom, the nurturer. It's not a shift in what I'm doing, but how I do it and how I feel about it.

I learned in my older son's preschool years about letting a child choose. Not giving them total free-for-all choosing power but limiting their choices. Sanford promotes this by showing parents that it's ok to let your child use their God-given voice. They have free will and are going to use it, so we need to mold it. "Billy, do you want to eat your fruit first or your chicken?" "Susie, do you want to wear your red skirt or your blue pants?" Small choices for small people will help. Now, I'm thinking of a friend's child who is extremely strong-willed and this may not temper that entirely but I think it will help! They want to be heard as children in a world where "be seen and not heard" is on the outs but still in play sometimes (like during football games).

Sanford talks about stress traps (read the other reviews on Amazon and they give a pretty clear outline of this). One is the what-if pattern which is basically thinking along the worst case scenario lines. Or even thinking about the future with fear. I find myself having these conversations in my head, fictional but with people. What-if conversations, if you will. Or I find myself worrying about my kids' futures - will they marry, will they live with us forever, will they keep a job? These are not things I can control! So why worry about them today?

How do you stop these fictional talks or worries? One tip from this book is to write this on a 3x5 card:
"1. Name five colors I see right now.
 2. Name five sounds I hear right now (give yourself permission to create sounds as well, like scratching on the chair armrest, etc.).
 3. Name five things I physically feel right now (not emotions, but things like "my watch on my wrist" or "wind in my hair," etc.).
 4. Name something I need to be doing - or thinking about - right now."
This strategy pulls our mind back to the present where we can focus on the here and now, things we can control, and what we should be thinking about or doing. This has helped me a lot in the passed few weeks when I've caught myself in the what-if traps. "When you find yourself involved in what-if thinking, answer the four questions again and again. Habits are built on repetition, and bad habits are broken the same way."

I think my favorite part of this book is the Appendix. Truly. Most of the time I don't bother reading appendixes but this one really summarizes the whole book. There is a lot of learning done while you read this book and I cannot remember it all! Neither can you but this short-handed summary really helps. I can look here and remember that I need to hold and fold, not grab (not take responsibility for what's not mine). I can remember the stress traps of shoulds and what-ifs. I can remember my favorite quote from this book, "que sera, sera" or "what will be, will be."

I recommend this book for parents - and some grandparents. Whether your child is a preschooler or you're an empty nester, I think that everyone living today can benefit from this book. It's such a low-key way to parent. It has allowed me to let go of things I can't control (like how my kids turn out!) which I believe to be a plague for parents today!

Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest review. All opinions are my own and may differ from others' opinions.

Monday, October 10, 2016

5 Minutes with Jesus: A Fresh Infusion of Joy by Sheila Walsh with Sherri Gragg (book review)

I love the idea of starting your day in Scripture and/or prayer. The Bible says His mercies are new every morning and so it just makes sense to start your day that way. However, as much as it makes sense, I fail to do that most mornings. It just doesn't work with the way I'm built and my schedule. Generally, I like to get up in the morning to work out so that is kid-free time. And then the chaos of mornings before school starts. Then it is generally mid-afternoon before I get a chance to sit down. 

However, I like that this book "Five Minutes with Jesus: A Fresh Infusion of Joy" by Sheila Walsh are ones that I can really read with my kids. It's not meant to be a children's devotional but I have found that it works for us. We have been reading this at breakfast - it's quick and still spiritually deep so it's perfect for us right now at the stage we're in.


image via amazon.com

It is usually a page and a half devotional and then a page (5 minutes) of Scripture. And the Scripture pertains to what the devotional was about. The devotions vary: talking about being chosen or what we want to be when we grow up or Nick Vujicic and his unstoppable joy despite his disability. I think the only thing that could make this book better was if it were an audiobook and you could listen to Sheila Walsh's beautiful accent.

Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest review. Others' opinions may differ from my own but these are mine.

Raising a Young Modern-Day Princess by Doreen Hannah and Karen Whiting (book review)

We have called our daughter "Princess" almost since the day she was born. I even love the idea of her sharing names with a real princess (although that is not how she got her name). 

I have been quite disappointed in many princess books that I have read with my Princess. They make princesses seem air-headed and prissy. I believe that a princess should be graceful and kind and generous and loving and caring and tender. I love the idea behind "Raising a Young Modern-Day Princess" by Doreen Hannah and Karen Whiting which combines Scripture to teach the Fruits of the Spirit with the idea that all girls are Princesses (as they are daughters of the One True King, God).

image via Amazon.com
One idea from the book is a marble jar to keep track of when you see your child showing a Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control). My family has started to do this very thing with a sticker chart rather than a marble jar. When we see a family member (parents and kids) showing a Fruit, then they get a sticker. When the kids get 50 stickers, they get a Daddy date. Not sure what us parents get when we get 50 stickers. I love that idea to affirm and our children that they are growing in the Spirit. 

There is a whole list of acts of kindness to help grow the fruit of kindness: pick up litter, when you meet someone learn his or her name, read to a younger child, clean out the car, hold the door open. I love that they are not just huge things but small acts of kindness. There's an idea for kindness bookmarks, too, which has made me think to make some for my boys. 

The chapters have ideas for mothers for activities to do with their children and then there are daughter and dad activities, too. I believe that it is always important to keep a dad on the inside when you are teaching character and virtues. He speaks volume to a young girl on how to act and expect to be treated.

The chapter that resonated with me my most was the self-control chapter. One of my children and myself struggle with this and so I noticed the heading, "how to be a mom who teaches by showing." The mom said she was "grumpy, short tempered," and wanting her husband home as soon as possible (sounds familiar). She found herself snapping at her daughter, and then crying in tears guilt. A friend helped her by telling her she needed to ask for help - from God and from friends -without shame or pride. I have learned about my need to ask for help and not worry about whether I'm burdening someone (they can always say no) or a bother. If I need help, I need to ask, just as I would help if a friend needed me.

I believe this book will help me as I do raise my daughter, but the one thing I dislike about this book is that I'm not sure of the age group it is intended for. It seems more geared toward children older than my daughter (15 months). I am guessing this would be more fruitful no earlier than three years old. But there is a companion for older girls, tweens and teens, called "Raising a Modern-Day Princess." I am planning to use some of the activities for all of my children - males and females. Just don't tell my boys. ;)

Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest review. Others' opinions may differ from mine.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Holiday Greetings From Basic Invite (guest sponsored post)

There are two types of people in this world… those who dread the holidays and those who live for them. Whether you’re an Ebenezer Scrooge or a Cindy Lou Who - Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or whatever winter holiday you may be observing (or avoiding) will inevitably be upon us. We need this balance of love and hate to perform all of those classic holiday miracles though, right?! So, let’s get started by brining our families together, dressing in our finest matching attire and snapping a cheesy, but equally awesome family photo for your 2016 Holiday Cards.



Now that we have established that it’s never too early to get into the holiday spirit, it’s definitely never too early to order holiday cards to send to your loved ones for when the time is right. I have a very special place in mind that will help make all of your holiday greeting card dreams come true - effortlessly and without a single trip to the craft store. Let me introduce to you, Basic Invite.


Basic Invite is a stationery company working to provide the best of the best in online stationery creation, offering everything from wedding invitations and birth announcements to holiday cards and thank you cards. They even have downloadable printables for all of your holiday party needs!


With over 180 color options you are able to customize each part of your card to create the perfect greeting that will either sum up your family’s year or simply wish your loved ones well this season. All aspects of every card are customizable including the font, card shape, paper type, and photo option! If you still aren’t able to find the perfect fit for your family’s holiday greeting cards (which likely won’t be the case) - try their upload your own design option and simply create everything from scratch!


If you are one of those people who needs to see what your finished product will look like and feel like all you have to do is order a custom sample! You will then be able to feel the paper quality and see exactly how the printed product will turn out before you send them off. You are able to make any changes you would like and this goes for all of Basic Invite’s products! Their instant preview technology is especially handy for holiday greeting cards and wedding invitations so you are sure to get the look you desire and the information accurate.

Head over to Basic Invite to kick this holiday season off right! There might even be an early holiday gift for you in the form of a discount code… I guess you will gave to check out Basic Invite to find out! ;)

Disclaimer: this post was written by Katie Scott of Basic Invite. I was compensated with cards for this post. Others' opinions may differ from those shared in this post. All images are via Basic Invite.

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