Friday, October 17, 2014

Read with Me

Don't worry. Just because I am reviewing a few Christmas books doesn't mean that I've already put out my tree. I did however decide where I might try to put it this year in our living room.

I was super excited to receive Ann Voskamp's Unwrapping the Greatest Gift to review from Tyndale. This large, hardback book is filled with beautiful illustrations and glossy pages. (I love a glossy page). Leading up to Christmas, there is a devotional for each day. Each day also has a Scripture passage and some discussion questions for further reflection. I think this would be an excellent book for our family devotions each December. Last year, I did an advent calendar with just Scripture readings. This year, I'd love to usethis book and make an ornament to correspond with each devotional. Maybe we could place the star on a tree on Christmas day.

I appreciate Voskamp's Biblical approach to the Christmas season. I hope to surround our children with stories of Christ's birth each year, helping them to remember the real reason for Christmas. This book is an excellent resource to add to my collection.

I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review.

I also reviewed The First Christmas Ever, illustrated by Dennis Jones. This small paperback book tells the basic story of Christ's birth, from the angel coming to Mary to the Wisemen presenting Jesus with gifts. Illustrated in a creative way, I think children will love looking at the pictures as the story is read. The story was very basic- no rhyming, no humor...just told simply.

I received this book from BookLook Blogers in exchange for an honest review.

Geoffrey Zakarian's My Perfect Pantry got me to look in my cupboards and think of different ways to use basic ingredients. In this hardcover, glossy paged cookbook, Zakarian gives several creative recipe ideas for 50 essential pantry ingredients. From almonds to Tabasco to Worcestershire sauce, I was able to plan some different meal ideas. I am still contemplating trying out his recipe for popcorn ice cream! The recipes seem easy to follow but also challenged me to think outside my comfort zone.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Baby Hospital Bed Bunting

Those last few weeks before I had Nora, I felt a little stir crazy each evening. Since Hudson had arrived almost two months early, I was a little anxious to get this baby home after my 32nd week. So, to combat my restlessness, I would craft.

One night, I pulled out some felt that I had on hand, cut out little shapes and made some bunting.


Since I'd pick my hot glue gun over my sewing machine any day, I simply hot glued these felt pieces to the string (baker's twine).

Source
I knew those baby hospital beds are usually pretty plain - and I thought this would be the perfect element to add a little color.


Draped across that clear bed side, I think it added a cute element to Nora's sleeping quarters.


I had originally made a little hair clip to go along with her bunting.


Since I had forgotten to use it in the hospital, I had a valid excuse to take her picture with the bunting here at home.


This was a quick and easy project. I am thinking it might be an adorable element to add to my baby gifts in the future. Plus, it is a great way to use up scrap fabric and felt. Even if it is just used for a photo or two in the hospital, every baby deserves a little bed decor. 

Chalkboard Clipboards at MOPS

Finally...I was able to finally attend a MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) meeting at my church. We had been planning meetings, praying over participants and preparing crafts all summer long. But the kickoff meeting was just days after I had Miss Nora Lynn. This past Monday, I was finally able to join in on the fun.


I was greeted by adorably decorated tables and yummy snacks. Since our theme for the year is "Be You Bravely," each table had previously chosen a "brave" woman for their table name.

 

Some were Biblical. Some were fictional. Some were historical. All were brave women in their own way.




Our theme for this meeting was Finding the Significance in the Everyday. As a mom...there is a lot of monotony. There are a lot of times in which I feel insignificant. And there are definitely days when I feel inadequate. It seems there is so much pressure to be a certain type of mom. It seems every time I log onto Facebook, there is another article listed that makes me feel the things I'm doing as a mom just aren't good enough. Sometimes it seems all the other moms have it together and I don't measure up. Sometimes I feel like I will never measure up.



As a craft for this meeting. I thought it would be fun to make Chalkboard Clipboards. We wanted to keep the cost down for the crafts yet make something useful and cute.


Using some painter's tape, sticker letters, chalkboard paint, foam paint brushes and clipboards - this project cost less than $1.50 each.




And, I am now obsessed with that scalloped painters tape! It comes in chevron too. I bought myself a roll of the scalloped - I am just trying to decide where to use it in our house.




 



After applying two thin coats of chalkboard paint, the ladies peeled off their stickers and tape.

Some then chose to further embellish their clipboards with fabric flowers and ribbon.



Other ladies added a piece of twin to tie on their chalk.

I don't know what the other moms might use their new memo boards for,but I plan to use mine to encourage myself to find significance in those everyday tasks. Sometimes a pretty to-do list or an organized place for my grocery list and coupons is just what I need. Other days, I might write a verse or a quote on my board.






I found myself encouraged by the other moms in attendance, inspired by their ideas and comments during discussion and excited to attend future meetings.

All moms need a break and a place to find a little encouragement. I look forward to our next time together.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Making Each Moment Matter

It's hard to believe that we've already had Nora with us for over a month.


She is such an easy baby and sleeping so well. For the first week that we had her home, I'd dress her cute before she drifted off for her afternoon nap. While she slept so soundly, I could easily snap several photos. 


We could just stare at her all day long. 


And when you are with the baby constantly, it is hard to see if they are actually growing. At her one month check up, she weighed 9 pounds, 14 ounces and had grown an inch. I love seeing each ounce gained! (I think if you have a preemie- like Hudson, you appreciate those weight gains even more.)


This morning as I packed up many outfits that she has already outgrown, I couldn't help but be a little sad. 

They grow so quickly. 


One look at Hudson reminds me that they are only little for a few short years. That kid is constantly putting on his shoes and asking to "Go!"




At a Bible study yesterday, I was reminded to find the significance in the everyday things.

 It seems that my life revolves around watching the clock right now. When did she last eat? How long did she eat for? How long has she been asleep for? Time is ticking away. I am so thankful for pictures that capture my little ones as time passes. 


I am trying to keep my camera handy - always ready to capture a moment. 






Because sometimes, even brushing your teeth can be memorable. We had some family visiting this past weekend - Hudson wanted to copy everything those girls did.





As I watch Nora focus on objects more and try to raise that little head, I am reminded that each day matters. She's learning life lessons now that will help form her into the woman that she will become. I love that I get to watch her develop and grow. I want to make each moment matter. 


I taught Hudson a new song this morning - At first, I just started singing it because I was tired of hearing Mickey's "Hot Dog...Hot Diggity Dog" song over and over. Hudson picked up the words and motions immediately. I got a little teary (it doesn't take much these days) as I watched him smile sweetly as we sang the song. (from this CD) I could even hear him singing the words as he drifted off for his nap.

Little me. Little Me. Jesus Loves little me. 
My hands, my feet, my smile so sweet. 
Jesus loves little me. 

As I focus on being intentional with my children, I saw that even a little song can help him remember that Jesus Loves him.  Simple words. Simple motions. But what an impact that truth can have.


As I look at these pictures again. I want to not focus on how quickly the time is passing. Instead, I want to remain challenged to make each moment matter! 

P.S. Thanks to my friend at HooNew for finding the fun vintage baby scale for me!