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...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dressing Kids for Outings

Tomorrow is the last day for the wall decor giveaway!  Don't forget to enter!

From just about the moment my daughter could walk, she was a "runner."  Now that she is 3 1/2, I can trust her more to stay by my side when needed...though I don't always count on it.

That means going to parks, zoos, and even playgrounds where other little children will be can be tough.  I have learned to dress my kids so that they are easy to spot in a crowd.   Bright colors or a bold, bright pattern is very helpful to spot them.

Here M is wearing a shirt with very large polka dots.

And E is wearing a bright green shirt.

Below is a picture from another outing with big flowers for M and yellow for E.

What do you do to help yourself keep track of your children in a crowd?

(And yes, my 3 year old went up and down that GIANT slide like she was a natural-born mountain climber.  The first time I went behind her...and she did it as "easily" as me.  However, if you know me personally, you probably are not surprised.  Both pictures from above were taken when we visited family in NE PA.)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

God Loves Us Collection

The God Loves Us Collection (I Can Read!™ / Beginner's Bible®, The)If you have a beginner reader in your home and are looking for some excellent Bible stories to share with your child, I highly suggest you look into the God Loves Us Collection, published by Zonderkidz.
This God Loves Us Collection is a set of six books, with the stories taken from the popular Beginner's Bible. The books come in a sturdy carrying case with Velcro closure where children can easily remove and replace the books.
The books include popular Bible stories with four books from the Old Testament, as well as two books about Jesus. Each book can also be purchased separately. The "My First" level books included are Jesus Saves the World, Jesus and His Friends, Baby Moses and the Princess, Queen Esther Helps God's People, Daniel and the Lions, and Jonah and the Big Fish. Jesus Saves the World (I Can Read!™ / Beginner's Bible®, The)Jesus and His Friends (I Can Read! / Beginner's Bible, The)Baby Moses and the PrincessQueen Esther Helps God's People: Formerly titled Esther and the KingDaniel and the Lions (I Can Read! / Beginner's Bible, The)Jonah and the Big Fish
What I like: Everything!
These books are perfect for early readers! They tell each story well, although they leave out some of the details to keep the story simple so that an early reader can understand all that they are reading. I really like each of these books and the simple retelling of God's Word. From my experience teaching early readers in my first grade classroom, I think the books each balance simplicity and challenge to engage the reader to enjoy these books and learn. The font is also large, which helps children read easier. The illustrations are like what you see in The Beginner's Bible, if you are familiar with it.
I also like how these books were packaged. My kids love books with handles, and this box has a sturdy handle. The books are not a tight fit, so children can easily put the books in by themselves.
The God Loves Us Collection was provided to me for review purposes, but I do think it is worth the money. Each individual book is also good!
What I didn't like: Nothing! This is a great collection of books! However, the cover of the carrying case does not reflect any of the books' content. It shows when Jesus entered Jerusalem at Passover with people waving Palm branches. None of the books actually mention Jesus' triumphal entry.
I do want to point out that in the book Queen Esther Helps God's People, the word "hate" is used. It says, "Haman hated Jewish people." I know some families are sensitive to that word.
Thank you, Zonderkidz for providing me with my own collection for review purposes.

Coming Soon...

You might remember a while ago we partnered with CSN stores to offer a great giveaway for one of our readers!  If you are not familiar with CSN stores, they carry just about anything you might want from headboards to cookware to shoes at one of their 200+ websites. (You can see it here.)  I'm excited that CSN has now offered me the chance at a product for review.

It's really exciting to choose something for our home!  We'll have to decide if we want something for the children or something a bit more grown up for our home.  I look forward sharing our choice soon with the review.  In the meantime, if you need to do a bit of on-line shopping, you might consider CSN stores.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Seven Years...

Today is my wedding anniversary!  Derek and I were married seven years ago today.

Philipians 2:1-5
1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
 5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

That was the Scripture we chose for our wedding ceremony...and our marriage. Verses three and four are really tough for me...if you think of it, pray for me with that in mind today!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Berenstain Bears Hurry to Help (Review)

The Berestains are back with more Berestain Bear books!  It recently came to my attention that new books are being published by Zonderkidz, and with a Christian message, too.  (For those of you who don't know, the original creators were Stan and Jan Berenstain.  According to the back of the book, Stan passed away in 2005, but their son Mike has continued to work with Jan on the creative team.)
The Berenstain Bears Hurry to Help

The Berenstain Bears Hurry to Help brings Scouts Brother, Sister, and Cousin Fred together to earn their Good Deed Merit Badges.  Scoutmaster Papa (Brother and Sister's father) comes along to help and oversee them earn their badges.

They come across lots of their friendly neighbors who at first glance appear to be in trouble, but in reality need no help at all.   Miz McGrizz is not having problems crossing the street; she is just waiting for a bus.  The cubs and Papa make her miss the bus.   Farmer Ben didn't fall off his tractor while the tractor is getting away; Farmer Ben is resting while Mrs. Ben drives the tractor.  There are two more incidents like these that make the cubs a bit frustrated and discouraged since every time they try to do a good deed they get in trouble.

Eventually Papa slips and falls.  He needs a lot of help to get home, and the bear cubs are all happy to help.  The cubs didn't realize that they were doing a good deed by helping Papa; they just knew it was the right thing to do.

What I liked:
The book's copyright page opens with a Bible verse.  "Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others. ~Philippians 2:4.  Several Biblical references were in the story, such as the Good Samaritan, "those special letters that Timothy wrote" with a quote (though no verse reference), the Bible is referred to as the Good Book, and others, too.

The theme of this book is helping others.  The bears are actually seeking to help others and not just letting the help happen naturally which is something to be admired. Brother, Sister, and Cousin Fred are all willing to work hard and help others.

What I didn't like:
Though a parent could have a lot of discussion with a child about the blunders of Papa, I was a bit irritated that Papa was portrayed as a clueless bear who jumped to incorrect conclusions.  I think it would be easy for children to not respect his actions and character.

Though this is not a "dislike" and it may sound silly, I missed the typical "themed" rhyming introduction that can be found in the older BB books right before (or after?) the copyright page.

The Berenstain Bears Hurry to Help could certainly be used to teach children to think about others and going out of their way to help friends, neighbors, and even strangers, but I would be sure to discuss Papa's mistakes and not just laugh at them.

Thank you for Zonderkidz for providing me with copy for review!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Farm Fun

I think every kid needs to be able to go to their grandparents' farm for a week.  We are having a lot fun, though Daddy is sorely missed.

(Don't forget to enter the giveaway!)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I am thrilled to host this giveaway and hope you will be equally excited about Uppercase Living expressions, too.  I just learned about this home decor a couple months ago when I went to a friend's home.  Her walls were beautifully decorated with different expressions.  I thought she had painted these words herself, but they were Uppercase Living expressions.

I love that Uppercase Living provides a beautiful and easy way to decorate my home-without nails!  They add a lot of personality to any space in your home or even a business.  You can shop their products, or make your own custom expression or life-size photo print!
My front door is black and boring.  I am ordering a "welcome" expression very soon!  My friend had one, and I loved it!  
Expressions are a decor made of very thin, flexible vinyl with a light adhesive on the backing so that it will adhere to your walls!  At my friend's home they truly looked like paint.
Bedroom designs are available for all ages!
Isn't this beautiful?

This is a nice touch!
Wouldn't this be a fun school room or play room wall?

One of my favorite things about the site is that once you choose the expression you like, you get to see what it looks like against your wall colors!  This is incredibly helpful!

Until July 12th, Uppercase Living is offering a special incentive to buy!  It's a FREE for ALL!  For every expression you buy, choose one FREE expression (of equal or lesser value)!

The Giveaway:
Marie, my Uppercase Living consultant, has graciously offered one of my readers $25 in products and free shipping!  But remember, if you win AND order from Marie by July 12th, and it is like getting $50 in free products because of the buy one expression, get one free incentive.  (The winner is under no obligation to purchase by July 12th.)
To Enter: (Mandatory)
Visit Uppercase Living and leave a comment below telling me your favorite expression!  Be sure I have a way to contact you or leave an email address in this mandatory entry.  (No blog necessary to enter!)
Additional entries: Leave a separate comment for each entry.  
Tell me what expression you would have customized by Uppercase Living. (1 entry)
Follow my blogs.  (1 entry each)
Tell me something helpful you learned about Uppercase Living.  (FAQs may be helpful.) (1 entry)
Make a purchase from Marie at Uppercase Living.  (5 entries)
Give yourself an extra entry if you are a regular commenter on this blog, excluding giveaways.

Giveaway ends July 1, 2010.  Winner will be chosen by and will have 48 hours to respond to notification or another winner will be chosen.

I received no compensation or product for writing this post.  I am excited to make my own purchase though!  (I posted before making my own purchase so that the winner would have time to make their own purchase using the buy one, get one deal if they want!)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Eyes, Nose, Fingers, and Toes

Eyes, Nose, Fingers, and Toes by Judy Hindley (illustrated by Brita Granstrom) is a rhyming book that is just plain fun!  I borrowed it from the library knowing both my 3 and 1 year old would enjoy it!  The rhymes are cute, but the illustrations are even more adorable!
"A nose is to blow.
A nose is to sniff.
A nose has holes
for sniffing with."
Eyes, Nose, Fingers, and Toes: A First Book All About You
A natural follow-up activity for a 1 year old is just to find or identify body parts and play with Mr. Potato Head!  It's definitely one of E's favorite toys, especially for independent play.  Mr. Potato Head is excellent for promoting speech, too!  Not only can a child mimic body parts' names, but you can have them choose which color eyes, what type/color of shoes, and more, as well as, practice words like "push," "on, " and "off."  Remember, your child is learning these words long before he or she can actually say them!   

Can I share one last thought with you?  It's perfectly okay for a child to put the parts in the wrong holes!  I also think that part of the learning process is to occasionally guide a child to place the parts in the correct hole, without moving it from the "wrong" area.  The goal is to have fun!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


The winner of the Bailey's Blossoms giveaway is comment #1, the Harris Family!  Congratulations and enjoy!

If you didn't win, don't forget you can get 10% off all orders by using the code GIVEAWAY10!  Shipping is free on orders over $30! 

Visit us later this week for another great giveaway!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Don't forget to enter the Bailey's Blossoms Giveaway.  Today is the last day!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Summer Vacation

This picture represents my life and parenting well. One child, M, is happy to pose for the camera. Somehow, E, is putting on a sour face. This mom just can't seem to have everyone happy at the same time. Naps, dinner, car rides...we can't all be happy at the same time...and that's okay!

Yesterday was M's last day of preschool for several weeks. Unlike most children, her summer vacation is short! She will attend summer session at her speech and language classroom. In mid-July she will return to school for about a month. Then she will have another summer vacation before starting at her new "normal" school in the fall!

I'm taking the kids away for a week to visit our families.  (Derek will work..and paint...and  play softball and ?)  I will be posting a bit while I'm on vacation!  I know this because I have a really cool giveaway for you, so come back next week to Live, Learn, Love!  Want a preview?  Check this out!

 This will be E's first real hands-on experience at the farm (instead of just looking).  We'll be staying with Derek's grandparents and are thrilled that we can spend daily time with them while visiting the other three sets of grandparents when we are able.   I'm sure we will love every bit of it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Father's Day Hand Prints

If you are a grandpa or the dad to my kids, you should skip this post or spoil your surprise.
This photograph does not show the potential for this "card."  My inspiration came from Izzie, Mac, and Me.  Cindy had made a framed set of prints at Christmas.  It was so adorable, so be sure to check out her set. 

I wanted something more card-like to give to each of the grandfathers and my husband than Cindy's framed prints.  I traced each of the children's hands on to cardstock.  Then I cut those out and traced and cut hand prints from contrasting scrapbook paper.  Each heart holds the child's name.  The oval at the top could be titled with anything, but I decided to put the date and Father's Day there.

It's simple...maybe too simple for some, but you can always make this idea your own!

I'm linking up to Crystal's Craft Spot Challenge.  Click button for more Father's Day ideas!

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  • 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...

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