Now blogging at THIS SIMPLE HOME.

Now blogging at THIS SIMPLE HOME.

At This Simple Home

  • Homemade Magic Shell - I remember having Magic Shell once as a child. The chocolate syrup drizzled over my ice cream magically turned crispy hard. Mmm... So I was rather excited t...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Giveaway: Thanks Dad! Chicken Soup for the Soul

If you like short stories with life-lessons that warm your heart and sometimes bring a tear to your eye, you'll love this collection in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Dad: 101 Stories of Gratitude, Love, and Good Times.  In true Chicken Soup for the Soul fashion, this book is one that you don't want to put down.  

I have several Chicken Soup books...and I think I have had several of them for 15-20 years!  I'm always amazed at how the authors can bring together a group of stories that tug at my heart and teach so much.  In Thanks Dad, the stories are about fathers who show love and grace when it matters most.  I think many fathers and their children could relate to a lot of the stories, and hopefully enjoy their own memories of their dad as they read!

This would be a great gift for dads for Father's Day!  One reader can win  a copy of Thanks Dad!  USA and Canadian addresses only, please.

To Enter: 
Leave a comment telling a quality that makes a great dad.  Be sure I have a way to contact you through an email address or profile.
Additional Entries: Please leave one comment for each entry.
Follow my blogs with Google Friends Connect.- 1 entry each
Tell me another Chicken Soup book you have read.-1 entry

Giveaway ends Sunday, June 6 at 6 pm.  
This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

What My Children Are Reading

This week we have a combination of library and our own books that we love.

E, age 1 1/2 likes Zip! Pop! Hop! , a book about funny sounds our words make in our mouths, and Eric Carle's My Very First Book of Words, where you can match the word to the picture in this great book.

M, age 3 1/2 is enjoying a lot of books, but these are some of her favorites.
My Big Busy Body Activity Book - lots of information about human body, but very appropriate for preschool aged children
Old Macdonald Had a Farm -the song is accompanied by lots of pictures with a wide variety of animals Richard Scarry's Mr Frumble"s Bedtime Stories- Another Busytown book that M can't get enough of
and Scarry's The Gingerbread Man -the traditional story with Richard Scary pictures.  M loves to be the Gingerbread Girl!
To see what other children are reading, head over to Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Any Time Rolls

I just love fresh, warm bread.  My bread machine makes a 1 1/2 or 2 pound loaf at a time.  We tend to eat a lot when the bread is fresh and hot, but not so much after it cools unless we have company for dinner.

I decided to turn my bread dough (from the machine) into rolls.  You can, too.  It's really easy.

First, I made my favorite bread recipe in the bread maker (no special recipe needed).  After the dough was mixed, I broke the dough into pieces and rolled it into little balls, as seen below.
I placed the dough balls on a cookie sheet.  For crustier rolls, space them about 2 inches apart.  For softer rolls, place them closer together so that when they bake they touch edges.  You can even bake them directly in a cake pan if you want softer rolls.

Let your dough balls rise as directed in your recipe.  Then bake them just until they are starting to turn brown.

When completely cooled, separate your rolls, if desired, and freeze your rolls in a zipper freezer bag.

When you want fresh, steaming rolls, pull them from the freezer and bake for 7-10 minutes at 350 degrees!  It really is that simple!  

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bike Course

M recently got a bike.  She did well with it, but would go in tiny circles or down our sidewalk.  To help her, my husband drew a big oval in our driveway.

She mastered the big race track quickly.  Next, Derek thought she should do more than just one-way circles, so he made the oval into a figure 8.  This helps her to practice both left and right-hand turns.

I never would have thought to do this, and I thought it was a great idea, so I'm sharing it.

1) E has found the "big" shovel, and just loves pushing it all around.
2) That is a portable sandbox in the second picture.  It is still enjoyed.
3) You might notice some writing on the pavement in the bottom picture.  It says, "Happy Birthday Daddy" from January!  Impressive sidewalk paint, huh?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cutting Practice: Cutting

We had our first frozen pizza in months, so I was excited to help M make her own pizza.  I was excited to give her another chance at cutting little pieces of paper since she loved making a mosaic.

First, I drew the lines for the slices of pizza.  Next, M painted the "sauce" on the pizza.  Then she cut the cheese.  Though she's only slightly familiar with pepperoni, I drew some circles on red paper for her to cut for the pepperoni.  I wasn't sure if she could cut circles, and if you look at her masterpiece, you will see that she doesn't quite have them down yet.  She loved this little pizza and had a blast making it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Homemade Strawberry Jam

This weekend the four of us went strawberry picking.  It was interesting to see how content the children were.  E hung close to his daddy, running to me once in a while.  M picked a handful of berries...not all of them were ripe though.  She enjoyed eating some, too, of course.
We picked over seven pounds of strawberries.  I had already planned to make jam.  Derek's grandma typically supplies us with strawberry freezer jam throughout the year, but I thought I'd try to make my own this summer.  This was not the first time Grandma has inspired me to try to make something new.  Unfortunately, we don't have room in our freezer to store anything long term, so I decided to can my jam.

I used the recipe that came with the Certo pectin (found near canning goods at my grocery store).   You can see it at the Certo site, too.  Amazingly, each batch has seven cups of sugar in it!  I made two batches which used most of our strawberries!  This morning I tried the jam on an English muffin, and boy, was it sweet!  I will likely enjoy it a bit more in a PB&J sandwich.

In my first batch I did not use the butter that was an optional ingredient.  It is supposed to limit the foam produced by the strawberries when they are cooked.  In my second batch, I added the butter, and it helped immensely!

If you like strawberry jam, I would definitely suggest making some.  If I can do it, so can you!

(The photo is from felt strawberries I made last year.  I couldn't get a decent picture of my English muffin today.)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Not a Sparrow Falls (Review)

First off, I would like to say that this was a great book!   Not a Sparrow Falls by Linda Nichols is a well-written, throughly enjoyable book.

From Bethany House Publishers:

Mary Bridget Washburn is tired of running, tired of being haunted by the empty shell her life has become. How in the world did the little girl she once was become a woman on the wrong side of the law?
Determined to make a new start, she escapes to the quaint city of Alexandria, Virginia, where she takes on her mother's identity and finds sanctuary in the shadow of a decades-old church. But a little girl's plea proves to be her undoing, and the reverend•well, someone's got to open his eyes before disaster comes calling.
Can Mary Bridget and her tainted past stay hidden long enough for her to bring hope to a family falling apart?

My Review:
Mary Bridget is living a life of drugs despite her upbringing.  She finds a way to escape this, but not without consequences, guilt, and shame.  Though she begins a new life, she can't let go of the past she is running from.  The new life is sincere and true, yet she is still tormented by the life she lived.  She takes on a new identity and becomes a nanny for a family that is loveless and difficult, yet she gives of herself and finds a home and family in return.  She keeps her secret...and it may be detrimental to all the efforts and changes she has made.

I highly recommend Not a Sparrow Falls.   I don't want to say much more about what happens, but this is a real page-turner.  One thing that surprised me was how much Linda Nichols made me like Mary Bridget, despite her lifestyle.  I think Nichols portrayed the horrible trap of drugs very well, especially how hard it is to break free of the lifestyle (not just the addiction).  Most of all, she reassured the reader that God truly cares about His children despite how far away they may be from them.

This book has recently been republished with new cover art.

Thank you, Bethany House for providing me with a copy of this book for review.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tracing Letters

My 3 1/2 year old just recently started tracing her name in a way that it can be read.  With the six letters in her name closer to being somewhat mastered at the tracing level, I was excited that we could finally tackle the other letters in the alphabet.

Big Skills for Little Hands: I Can Trace is a great choice for letter tracing for us.  We put each page into a page protector and then made our own book.  M loved putting the foam stickers on it for a title, and it helps her to know how to ask for it by name.  (See her pride?)  (I love that I am trying to purposely NOT be stingy with our foam stickers!  So unlike me!  Let me know how you use foam letters, too!)

We use dry erase markers on the pages.  I have found that as long as the pages are wiped off before putting the book away, it wipes off easily.  If the marker stays on the page for longer, it's hard to clean.

Another thing I like about this book is that it has a picture for the child to trace for each letter and a predictable sentence to read.  Numbers are also included in the book.  Though I love this for my child at her developmental readiness, there is no opportunity for writing the letters/numbers, just tracing them, so it may not be for older children with good writing skills.

I know this is not a unique idea, and I even shared it before for dot-to-dot pages, but I wanted to share it again now that we were using a book.  She just loves it!  M will trace about half the alphabet pages in a sitting, which pleases me.  I let her set her own pace and tell me when she wants to write and when she is done.  At this age, I think that is important.  I don't care how often we work in the book.  I allow her to set the pace.

When appropriate I try to encourage relevant real-world writing, too.  This past weekend when company came, she traced, "Welcome Grandma and Grandpa."  Father's Day is coming up and she will trace a message for four grandfathers, too, I suspect.

Sick Kids

I know I haven't been posting this week.  Both of my children have been sick with fever/colds.  E's cold developed into an ear infection, so we've had two nights with very limited sleep.  The children have been a bit needier during the day, and I haven't had the energy to do much for posting.  (I did finish a great book over the weekend...Not a Sparrow Falls.  I'll write about it soon, I hope.

I have learned the joy of juice boxes.  I'm typically too frugal to drink juice boxes at home (and only out for special occasions), but this week I have been encouraging the children to drink lots, and especially water and juice.  M did go to school today for the first time all week after the doctor's office said she could.  She still has an awful cough when she laughs, cries, or gets physically active, but overall, she is doing much better.

I'm hoping tonight means some sleep for E and me.  

(Oh, neither of my children have distinct symptoms for ear infection.  Neither ever tugged at the ear!  It makes the guessing game of Is My Child Really Sick Enough to Go to the Doctor fun.) 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

French Dip Recipe

This French dip is so easy and so, so good!  It's definitely better than many I have had in restaurants, so if you are a fan, I definitely suggest trying this recipe.  (It's also good just as a roast.  Just don't shred it.)

French Dip 
2-3 pound beef roast, fat removed
About 4 cups of beef broth (2 cans or 1 box)

Please see the rest of this easy French Dip recipe at my new blog.

(And if you love onions, you might want to check out my French Onion Soup recipe.  It's super easy and very good.)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Preschool Rainbow Craft

To read my guest post for this rainbow craft to go with the book My Promise Rainbow: And the Story of Noah's Ark  (or any Noah book), visit Winning Readings!  Today was my first post with Winning Readings.    If you are a book fan (any age), Winning Readings is a great source for giveaways and other reading-related things.  Also consider checking out this rainbow love craft for kids of all ages!

Saturday, May 15, 2010


I'm happy to congratulate Jon & Amanda, the winner of the Doorposts giveaway!  Congratulations to you!

Forget Me Not (Book Review)

Forget Me Not by Vicki Hinze is a book that had me wondering what was going to happen next and I really enjoyed it.  The main characters are real and the suspense was deep.  "Susan" (her name changes throughout the story) the main character, has been on the run for years, changing identities as needed.  Then she loses her memory after a carjacking and the only clue as to who she might be is the name "Susan," written on the business card of a crisis center...along with a necklace.  Both were in her pocket.

Though Susan is the victim, she does not play the victim, though her life is in danger throughout the book.  She stands up to Ben, who doubts her amnesia, and has turned his back on his faith.  Forget Me Not makes you want more.  This was a good book, and I definitely recommend it if you like suspense with a bit of romance.

From the publisher:
Crossroads Crisis Center owner Benjamin Brandt was a content man—in his faith, his work, and his family.  Then in a flash, everything he loved was snatched away.  His wife and son were murdered, and grief-stricken Ben lost faith.  Determination to find their killers keeps him going, but after three years of dead ends and torment, his hope is dying too.  Why had he survived?  He’d failed to protect his family.  

Now, a mysterious woman appears at Crossroads seeking answers and help—a victim who eerily resembles Ben’s deceased wife, Susan.  A woman robbed of her identity, her life, of everything except her faith—and Susan’s necklace.

The connections between the two women mount, exceeding coincidence, and to keep the truth hidden, someone is willing to kill.  Finding out who and why turns Ben and the mystery woman’s situation from dangerous to deadly.  Their only hope for survival is to work together, trust each other, and face whatever they discover head on, no matter how painful. But will that be enough to save their lives and heal their tattered hearts?

Thank you WaterBrook Multnomah for this review copy.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Giveaway for Parents

Don't forget to enter the Doorposts giveaway!  It ends tomorrow evening!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Too Much Clutter on the Bed

Our 3 year old is a collector.  She loves to have bags, boxes, and baskets filled with little stuff.  She also loves to read.  Of course we encourage this...usually.

All of these things that she collects she also likes to have in bed.  That just won't work.  I don't want a mountain of toys and books on her bed with no room for her.  I have started a new bedtime rule.  She is allowed four items on her bed, other than her special blanket.  She has a special teddy bear that was given to her when her brother was born.  So Teddy is always a given (but a toy, so he must be counted).  Sometimes LeapFrog's My Pal Violet is included in the four items.  (E also loves his Scout, and we definitely recommend these for a one year old!)

She also has a book called Friends "written" by Sissy that she got in a special blog swap. You can meet Sissy at Academy at Thousand Oaks.  Friends often included.  She also has three other favorite books right now.  (Next week they will change.)  Interestingly, two are by Richard Scary, but only one of them is the standard "Busytown" book-Humperdink's Busy Day.  The other Scary book is his version of The Gingerbread Man.  The other favorite is Little Monsters Neighborhood.

Then there are the miscellaneous toys and books that find their way to the bed.  But those listed above are the ones that she has the hardest time deciding which four to include.  Teddy is always included.

How do you limit toys on the bed or don't you?  Am I crazy to do this?  I do love that M reads by herself at nap time and bed time (after we have read to her already).  I just don't want a mountain of toys...I figure if she is this bad at age 3, how awful could it get by age 5?!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Personalized Notebook

As a little thank you gift for my teacher and E's teacher at the end of our Bible study, I made these little personalized notebooks.  I had made one for myself many months ago...and learned a few lessons along the way.

These are pretty simple to make using scrapbook paper and  Mod Podge on a mini marble notebook.

  • Use sandpaper to rough up the cover of the notebook.  (I didn't on the first  one I made and it did peel a little.)

  • Trace and cut the front and back cover on the scrapbook paper.  Cut a piece from the coordinating paper for the binding.  Fold the binding paper around the notebook so that when it's time to glue it, it will be used to the fold.  Also cut the initial from the coordinating paper.  I used a Cricut, but free-hand would be fun, too.

  • Protect the pages of the notebook from the Mod Podge using plastic wrap all around the three exposed edges.  If you skip this step you are likely to have some pages stuck together.

  • Apply Mod Podge with a sponge brush to the front of the notebook.  Carefully place the paper.  Secure the paper in place with another coat of Mod Podge on top.  When dry, repeat on the back.  
  • When the back is also dry, apply Mod Podge to the binding area and onto the paper.  Carefully place the new binding on the notebook and apply another layer of Mod Podge.  Stand the book on it's edge, as pictured, to dry.

  • When the binding has had the chance to dry, apply another coat of Mod Podge to the binding area and edges.  Also place the letter where you want it by first applying Mod Podge, the letter, and then another coat of Mod Podge.  If you need to move the letter, I would suggest using a toothpick to do so.

Perfect for the purse, but you could do this with a regular sized notebook.  I think it'd be great fun to do this as a back to school project with my daughter when she is (much) older.

My inspiration came from Katie's Nesting Spot.  Check out her post to see how she did this.  

If you haven't figured it out yet, I love all things personalized.  Pillow.  Box.  Barrette holder.  Wall hanging.  Family tree.  

Do you have any suggestions for me for something different that could be personalized?  Do you have any project ideas for me?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Easy Pizza Sauce ( and Easy Pizza for Kids)

I like to eat pizza, but I try to be careful that we only do take out once or twice a month.  Sometimes I make my own crust, and sometimes I make French bread pizza.  Recently I had French bread on my grocery list for pizza making purposes when I realized I had leftover sandwich rolls in the cupboard.

I cut each roll in half, put on some of my homemade pizza sauce (from the freezer), and had our 3 year old help with sprinkling the cheese.  It was great to not waste the rolls, and still have pizza for dinner!

My pizza sauce is really simple to make.  I'm just not a fan of store bought pizza sauce, and this is really easy to make.   I got it from Amy's WFD Blog!  (WFD=What's For Dinner) though I'm not sure where the original post is.

Amy's Yummy Pizza Sauce
2 cans tomato paste (6 oz each)
2 cups water
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon Italian dried seasonings
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste
Bring the mixture up to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Allow mixture to cool before pouring on top of the pizza.

I usually freeze my extra and pull it out when I am almost ready to use it.  I do the same with my pasta sauce.  (I have been making pizza sauce much longer than my pasta sauce.  I didn't know I could make homemade sauces without them being chunky, but they are not chunky!  Both are totally worth it!)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Food Safety

Are you always wondering, like me, if some of your food is still safe to eat?  We end up throwing out some leftovers every once in a while.  I'm not proud of it, but it happens.

Still Tasty is a website that helps you know how long food can be stored, opened and unopened.  I think it's a great resource, though it tells me that we don't eat our foods nearly fast enough.

It also gives tips like whether you should rinse grapes before storing them (no), if eggs are okay after expiration date (usually yes), and if potatoes should be stored in the fridge (no).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Parenting Help...Review and Giveaway from Doorposts

Happy Mother's Day to you!  Here is a giveaway for you moms and dads!
As a parent I want to raise my children in the ways of the Lord.  I know the Bible talks of discipline...and I even know a few verses.  Our parenting problem is knowing specific verses to address specific behavior problems.  Here's a resource that is helping me with this very problem!

Doorposts is a publisher that provides unique materials for parents to assist in Bible-based parenting and character training.  One of my favorite things at Doorposts is the sample PDF pages for each of the products available.  It really lets you know what to expect before purchasing a parenting product!

I had the opportunity to review one of their products, and I chose Honor Your Father and Mother:The Fifth Commandment for Little Ones.  This book asks children questions regarding honoring their parents and helps the children understand the appropriate response that would honor their parents by including a quoted verse in response.  My daughter just loves the reproducible drawings, especially where the children are being "naughty."  Many of the verses are beyond her (age 3 1/2), though Doorposts suggests the book is age appropriate for ages 2-12.  My intention is to focus on just one appropriate question/verse at a time, introducing the question and verse when my daughter is not in need of any behavior corrections.   The author, Pam Foster, uses a variety of Bible versions for the verses included in the book.  Another great thing is that Honor Your Father and Mother has an index of all the questions divided into categories.

This is a straightforward book.  It's simple and sweet with the question to the child/answer from Scripture format.  It doesn't give any additional parenting advice.  It allows the parents to find appropriate Scripture regarding parenting all in one place.   You can view the first few pages yourself, including the introductory letters to parents and children here, to really see what the book is like!

Doorposts offers many great products, and I am very pleased with Honor Your Father and Mother, but the one I really want and has been highly recommended by a friend from my church (and mom to three boys) is the For Instruction in Righteousness.  This parenting book includes Bible verses, object lessons, biblical stories that address different sin issues, and much more.

Doorposts is offering one reader one of their products!
To Win:
Take a good look at the following products and leave a comment telling me which of these four items you think you would like the most.  (Don't forget to look at the example PDF's or HTML samples!)  Be sure I have a way to contact you (through a blog profile or an email address).  These are all great products, so check them out!
Honor Your Father and Mother 
The Put On Chart
A Checklist For Parents
If Then Chart
Extra Entries: Leave a separate comment for each additional entry.
Visit Doorposts and tell me another product you would like to have. (1 entry)
Tell me a verse that helps you in your parenting. (1 entry)
Follow my blogs with Google Friend.  (1 entry each)

Giveaway ends Saturday, May 15th, at 7 pm (EST).  Winner will be chosen by

Friday, May 7, 2010

Green Baby Wipes (Guest Post)

Meet Shirley!  She has a book blog called Surely Words: A Christian Book Review.  She also does a bit writing on her own, and she recently shared with me her article about making your own washable baby wipes!  No more wipes or paper towels!  And now I get to share Shirley's article with you.  Here it is.  Enjoy!

Baby Wipes Are Going Green

In an economy infused with innovations that save money, reduce waste, and monitor environmental impact, the Earth movement has its green thumbs in everything. From natural food, toothpaste, and vitamins to recycled clothes, little has remained untouched by our planet conscious culture. Excitedly, the movement has expanded once again as green parents rebel against baby waste. How? Disposable diapers are history and money saving cloth diapers are back in action. Along with cloth diapers, another popular sidekick has emerged. Home made wipes are the newest green baby innovation. Inexpensive, customizable and Earth conscious, home made wipes are becoming a staple of green parents.

Recipes for the wipes are boundless and usually include baby wash and half a roll of paper towels, but the one below even eliminates paper towel waste. Also in the one below is a secret ingredient that can find a use in every part of baby's life. Begin by purchasing a cylinder shaped container. Containers with lock style lids work best. Air-tight sealed containers work amazing as well. (Such containers can be found at department stores, kitchen stores, and online.) Also, use the traditional roll of paper towel cut to half the length, or purchase baby-size wash cloths. 
In container of choice mix 2 to 3 Tbsp of baby wash with 1 Tbsp of baby lotion. (Choose a lotion with aloe vera or substitute with baby oil.) Stir in two cups of hot, but not boiling water and mix well. Finally add the secret “magic” ingredient, Vitamin E oil to heal and protect baby's skin. A teaspoon or two is plenty and more can be added in the event of diaper rash. (Vitamin E also comes in a chap stick tube that can be applied to all areas of baby's skin including chapped lips, chin, neck, rough knees and diaper rash- best of all, it is an 100% natural healer!)

With the mixture prepared add the wash cloths, close lid tightly and gently roll to completely saturate the cloths. Enough “wipes” should be added to absorb most of the solution. When all the home made wipes are soiled (which won't be long with baby's waste habits) they can be washed in hot water and reused, thus saving money and reducing paper waste. 

There are additional positives to using home made wipes over store bought including the endless possibilities. Recipes like the one above can be added to or altered to fit each baby's needs. Solutions can be customized for sensitive skin or for yeast prone skin, or even just to add a fresh scent. Here is another good tip for when diaper rash rears its ugly head. Run wipe under warm water, rinse out, then apply to skin. This will soothe, calm, clean and begin the healing process without stinging or startling baby's skin. 

The truth comes out. Green parents are doing more than saving a planet. They are finding better ways to make healthier, happier babies (and bottoms!)
Thanks for sharing, Shirley!  Readers, let us know if you try this out!  

Thursday, May 6, 2010

No Sew Tutu

I made this tutu for M.  Isn't it giant?  A friend gave me some of her leftover white and pink tulle to do this.    The tutorial suggested a ribbon for the waistband but I used elastic.  I would suggest the ribbon, too, especially if your child has any sensory issues!  I intend to make another tutu using the ribbon for the waistband instead of elastic.  You can check this tutu video tutorial  for instructions.  (I did sew the elastic waistband, but the rest was completed without any sewing.)

It was a great tutorial for me.  The tutu took me 1-1 1/2 hours to make-while watching television.  Imagine if I had concentrated!  The picture above doesn't really show the colors well, but I used a 2:1 ratio of white to pink tulle.  The tulle crinkled on its own to create a nice "poof"!

M does love the idea of the tutu...she just isn't ready to wear it on a regular basis yet!  She doesn't like the feel of the tulle on her legs because it is itchy.  She put her little feet in a ballerina pose without any prompting or suggestions from me!

When my husband knew what I was making he asked me why.  I explained how much fun M had at our friend's house wearing a tutu.  It may sound like a weird question, but, I have to say that we have never encouraged/emphasized the love of pink, princesses, or ballerinas.  Girly is not bad.  We just don't really emphasize it.  (Hopefully we are finding a good balance for our son, too.)

As I said, I intend to make another tutu for M.  Since I am almost out of the pink tulle, I think I will add color using ribbons hanging down from the waist.  Do you think it would work?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


We have a winner...and I suspect a very happy winner!  Ticia from Adventures in Mommydom was the winner with comment #3, chosen by  Ticia won the book Growing Up Organized; it's sure to be helpful with three kids at home (including twins).

 If you didn't win, don't forget to check out Lea's blog, Organize Right Now for some additional tips for you!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Heart Mosaic

Spoiler Alert: Grandmas of M and E, Mother's Day is coming soon, so you may not want to continue reading.

After a recent rainbow project, I thought it'd be fun to make a little mosaic.  M, our 3 1/2 year old, has mastered cutting recently.  After cutting strips of paper for her, she finished preparations on the mosaic tiles, as seen below.  (Apparently part of the earlier problem was that I had her cutting with her left hand, since she is left handed.  However, she cuts very well with her right hand.)
I had cut the black heart.  M covered the heart with a glue (from a glue stick) and placed little tiles all over it.

With older children, they will likely want to have some odd shapes and not just squares so they can fill in the spaces well, while leaving adequate negative space around each tile.

M LOVED this project.  We've made many of these little heart mosaics for her grandmothers to celebrate Mother's Day.

What else can we do with little squares?  (Half of her love was the cutting!)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Amazing...Speech Update (and Speech History)

This is a bit emotional...filled with gratitude and amazement at what God has done.  I shared this on our family blog, but want to share it with my friends here, too.

In February of 2009 (at age 27 months) M was diagnosed (not just suspected) with verbal dyspraxia (also know as apraxia).  You can read my original post here, if you like.  Her therapist suspected apraxia, and after reading about it (which was incredibly hard) and clearly seeing the signs for myself, I scheduled a formal evaluation through AI DuPont Children's Hospital.  So it was over a year ago that she was diagnosed with it.

Read the fully updated story of how my daughter overcame verbal apraxia.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hunter's Moon (Review)

The description of Hunter's Moon, by Don Hoesel, made me want to read it!  From Bethany House Publishers:

Every family has secrets.
Few will go as far as the Baxters to keep them.
Bestselling novelist CJ Baxter has made a career out of writing hard-hitting stories ripped from his own life. Still there's one story from his past he's never told. One secret that's remained buried for decades.
Now, seventeen years after swearing he'd never return, CJ is headed back to Adelia, NY. His life in Tennessee has fallen to pieces, his grandfather is dying, and CJ can no longer run from the past.
With Graham Baxter, CJ's brother, running for Senate, a black sheep digging up old family secrets is the last thing the family and campaign can afford. CJ soon discovers that blood may be thicker than water, but it's no match for power and money.

There are wounds even time cannot heal.

My review:
This was a good book, but it was not a page-turner until three-fourths of the way through.  Once it got to that point, I didn't want to put it down.

CJ, the main character, is a likable guy with a family of secrets...and one so big that it impacts every part of his life.  When he returns to his hometown, he comes face to face with his own personal problems along with his family's.  His character is well developed, as well as several others.

Something to note is the amount of time CJ, a new Christian, spends in the local bar, drinking.  Some readers may not like that, knowing this is a Christian author and publisher.  Chapter 19 begins addressing it, to a point.  "He was beginning to think that a bar was the only place where he could think clearly.  Since becoming a Christian, he'd wondered if he was supposed to find the sort of focus he found in a good bar in a church instead...."  But it's never really resolved more than that.   

The story ends with a lot of forgiveness.  An amazing amount, really.  Spoken-aloud-forgiveness in a moment where you know it is true forgiveness.  

Thank you, Bethany House, for providing this book for review purposes.

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