Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Mommy needs a plan

In the midst of being a stay at home mom, my days all start to look exactly the same. I wake up to someone yelling "Mom!" I feed and clean up after these little ones all day. I play in the floor and sing songs. Once they go to bed, I pick up the house and get it ready so that we can do the same thing the next day. 

Since my days are filled meeting their needs, I often push aside planning things for me. I wear clothes that don't matter (because someone is going to spill something on me at some point) rather than dressing up. I watch kid shows instead of Fixer Upper. I eat crusts cut off cheese sandwiches because it's easier than making myself a sandwich. 

And I am sorry to say that my devotional time with the Lord often suffers as well. Sure, I read to the kids from Bible story books, but I need a time that's for me. 

I have been thinking about this for a few weeks. Deep down I knew I should start this new year determined to spend more time in the Word. But I am an "All or Nothing" type of girl. I need a measurable goal. And I need to be able to physically see my progress. 

Sunday, I took my study Bible to church instead of my small one that fits into the diaper bag. As I was turning to the passage we were discussing in small group, I saw my reading plan from a few years ago. It was a good plan to read through the Bible...and I did it. 

So, I decided to read through the Bible in a year using the 52 Week Bible Reading Plan. 

Nora woke up first this morning. As she ate some Cheerios and played with toys I read Joshua 1-3. I felt empowered and encouraged as I read of the Lord telling Joshua that He was going to help him do great things. Over and over again the Lord told Joshua to 

"...Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged.
For the Lord you God is with you wherever you go." (1:9)

Although my day with my two children is not quite as adventurous or life-threatening as defeating and conquering other nations, I still love to know that my God is with me and is giving me strength. 

The people told Joshua "We will do whatever you command us and we will go wherever you send us. We will obey you...So be strong and courageous!" (1:16-18). 

I have people following me too. These little people need my help all day long. And they are looking to me for guidance, comfort and instruction. The Isrealites followed Joshua because they knew the Lord was directing Him. And if my kids see me in the Word, I have to believe they are going to obey and trust me more. 

When explaining to Hudson that he needs to obey me, I often say..."Jesus made me your mommy. I have to obey Jesus and you have to obey mommy."  And in order for this little statement to work...I have to make sure that I am obeying Jesus and spending time in His Word. 

I know I didn't start this plan on January 1st. And I feel like Satan wants me to use the excuse that I need to start at the beginning of the year or not at all. But I started today! 

Anyone else want to read with me? You can print a plan here. (I know there are lots of plan on apps, but I am a pen-and-paper girl.) I am using the 52 Week Plan. 

  • One Year Bible (Selected reading for 4 different books each day - Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs)
  • One Year Bible Chronological (Chronological reading of the Bible - would probably help with prospective)
  • 52 Week Plan (Sunday - Epistles, Monday - The Law, Tuesday - History, Wednesday - Psalms, Thursday - Poetry, Friday - Prophecy, Saturday - Gospels)
  • Discipleship Journal Reading Plan (Much like the One Year Bible, but in a creative, fold-able PDF format)
  • Read Through the Bible Program for Shirkers and Slackers (Divided by type of literature - but no dates. I think I need the dates)
  • New Testament in 90 Days (would be a great summer goal)

  • Let me know if you are up for the challenge!

    Saturday, January 16, 2016

    New Year's Wreath/ Valentine Wreath

    I love the Christmas clearance sections! It's almost just as thrilling as Christmas shipping. I love to look through the piles and try to think of ways I can use these cheap prizes for gifts next year. And sometimes, the decor isn't even "Christmas-only."  The wreath on my front door came from my Christmas clearance shopping this year.

    I realize this is very New-Year's-Eve-ish! But I am just now getting around to posting this quick idea.

    I picked up several strands of the sparkly tinsel garland in the Christmas clearance section. Three covered my wreath fully.

    After wrapping the tinsel around a Styrofoam wreath form, I attached a sparkly gold bow with wire that was also part of the Christmas clearance. I think it was meant to be a gift topper.

    I am sure that there are still some strands of red and silver out there in some clearance section. This would make an adorable valentine wreath!

    The tinsel stayed in place without my having to glue it to the wreath. That means, I can use this wreath form for another project!

    And the entire wreath cost me just a few dollars!

    Friday, January 1, 2016

    Read with Me

    I love to add to our stack of Christmas books each year. Goodnight, Manger by Laura Sassi is now an adorably illustrated part of our collection. Rhyming words and colorful pages have helped this hardback book to become a favorite in our home. Page by page, the stable is filled with different animals and characters of the Christmas story. Near the end of the book, Mary starts looking for solutions to help Baby Jesus go to sleep.

     I received this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

    The Lost Heiress was written by an unfamiliar-to-me author - Roseanna M. White. Her descriptive language and vibrant characters had me instantly involved in this tale.  Every girls loves the to imagine they are royal.  Brook found out she is a missing heiress and that there is a mystery surrounding her mother's death. Filled with treasures, mysteries, threats, tragedies and triumphs, it was a fun read. I will be looking for more novels by this author.

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

    A Storyteller's Anthology is filled with 26 inspiring character portraits for our time. Parables, stories and short tales make this book a fun resource to own. Each tale is just a few pages long. I loved getting to read about some familiar people as well as be introduced to some new heroes.  It's a great book to have on hand when preparing messages or speaking series.

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

     I was excited to review Trim Healthy Mama Plan by Barrett and Allison simply because I kept seeing Pinterest boards and blog posts elluding to this healthy lifestyle. The meal plans are explained in a way that is both encouraging and doable. It appears to be a simple way to adapt to a healthy way of living.

    Included are example meal plans, explanations of different ingredients/foods and tons of tips. Whether you a pregnant, working, going through a drive through or home all day. this book can help you adapt your eating plan. The ideas look simple.

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

    Brave Enough by Unice is a great confidence-building read. Using scripture and biblical principles, the reader is encouraged to find the courage to be "brave enough" for yourself, God and your calling. What a good reminder that we are to live confidently and worry free.

    Also included were several easy to understand illustrations/charts and a few helpful quizzes. The chapters were also a great length to read at a stop and go pace.

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

    As moms it is easy to get bogged down in our day-to-day life. Reading of Sara Mae's "search for Joy, Beauty and Adventure right where she is" in Longing for Paris was an encouragement to me. It's so easy to always be dreaming of a different/better life - but this book helped me to be satisified with the life I am now living. It helped me to contemplate the good things in this crazy mommy life. Even though Paris isn't a dream of mine, the principles were easy to apply to dreams that I possess. The book did seem redundant at times, but the idea was good.

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

    Streams of Mercy by Lauraine Snelling was a fun fiction tale that I read in two sittings. I was worried I would feel lost picking up the third book in a series without having read the previous two, but that was not the case. It was a classic tale of love found in an unexpected place.

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

    I appreciate Darlene Zschech's music and was excited to read her book Worship Changes Everything: Experiencing God's Presence in Every Moment of Life. Filled with Scripture, this book is an excellent addition to my devotional reading. I find myself focusing more on the study aspect of my time with the Lord, instead of taking the time to be still and worship. It's easy to forget to dwell on who God is and notice His presence all day long. This book left me with a fresh prospective and a renewed outlook on my day.

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

    I have loved reading the Berenstain Bears since I was a child. And I am thrilled that Mike Berenstain is writing new books for me to enjoy with my children. The Berenstain Bears' Easter Sunday is a cute addition to our Easter books. It describes the Bears' getting ready for church and different traditions that they use to celebrate Jesus' resurrection. I even love that the Sunday School teacher hid different pieces of a Bible story for the kids to find (Noah and the Ark) instead of an egg hunt. It's a cute book pointing people towards Jesus!

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

    Wednesday, December 16, 2015

    Our Christmas Books

    A few weeks ago, I posted a favorite Christmas activity of mine on my instagram (sothecooksd).

    I like to wrap up all of our Christmas books. When its time to read, I let Hudson pick a few to unwrap. This helps us pick books quicker. It also seems keep him from wanting to open other presents. And it's fun to see what book we will be reading.

    I've done this for a few years now. Last year, when I packed away the Christmas decor, I went ahead and wrapped all our Christmas books so they would be ready to go this year.

    Several have asked for a list of our Christmas book collection. Each year I try to add to the stack. But for now, here's what we've been reading. The book title or the cover picture is linked to Amazon for easy purchasing. I love that some of the books are also available in board book format. Some of the books are just winter stories. And a lot of these books can be found for $0.01 if you don't mind a used book.

    (These are in no particular order...)

    The Legend of the Christmas Tree  by Rick Osborne
    I love the Christian history lesson involved in this tale of why we decorate a tree each year to celebrate Christ's birth. We have the board book version.

    We have the board book version.

    What is Christmas? by Michelle Medlock Adams
    Filled with fun rhymes, this book lists all the fun aspects of the Christmas season but ends by saying it's all about Jesus' birthday! We have the board book version.

    The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
    I love this touching story about a lamp that couldn't go out in the fields with the other sheep. Since he was sleeping in the stable, he was able to witness the birth of Jesus. "God has a special place for those who feel left out."  We have the board book version.

    Adorable board book with a simple retelling of the birth of Jesus. 

    The Tale of Three Trees retold by Angela Hunt
    We have also have the board book version of this one.

    A Star so Bright- A Christmas Tale by M. Christina Butler
    The last page of this book has a star that lights up. 

    Who is Coming to our House by Slate and Wolff
    A cute board book about the animals in the stable preparing for Christ's arrival.

    A Charlie Brown Christmas (Board Book)

    Ten Gingerbread Men by Galloway
    Includes little plastic 3-D gingerbread men on each page.

    Merry Christmas Mom and Dad by Mercer Mayer
    This was my book from when I was a kid. Always a fun read.

    The First Christmas Ever Illustrations by Dennis Jones

    The First Night by B.G. Hennessy

    Annabelle's Wish


    Stable in Bethlehem - A Christmas Counting Book by Hulme

    The Animals' Christmas Eve - A Little Golden Book
    They have re-done the artwork several times for this cute story. We have one of the older versions.

    The Christmas Story by Werner

    The Christmas Story with Ruth J. Morehead's Holly Babes

    Jingle Bells - A Little Golden Book

    Mickey Mouse Goes Christmas Shopping - A Mickey Mouse Club Book
    Our version of this is super old and falling apart, but we still love it.

    Mercer Mayer's The Little Drummer Mouse
    I love these little fictional stories that remind us that God uses the insignificant to do the significant.

    Great Joy by DiCamillo
    Beautifully illustrated Christmas tale.

    A Frosty Day - A Little Golden Book

    Corduroy's Christmas Surprise

    The Pine Tree Parable  by Higgs

    The Christmas Tree That Grew - A Little Golden Book

    One Snowy Day - By Salzano
    A winter counting padded board book.

    The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

    The Night Before Christmas - A Little Golden Book
    I love the vintage illustrations in this version.

    Wake Up, Santa Claus! by Marcus Pfister

    The Biggest, Most Beautiful Christmas Tree - A Little Golden Book

    The Twelve Days of Christmas
    My son LOVES to sing through this book.

    Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - A Little Golden Book
    More vintage illustrations!

    The Story of Baby Jesus (Alice in BibleLand Storybook)
    I love this series from when I was a little girl. Alice travels back into Bible stories. The rhyming lyrics keep everyone entertained and interested. We have several stories about Alice.

    Snowmen All Year by Buehner

    Let it Snow! by Charles Reasoner (Board Book)

    Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Very Merry Misfits (Board Book)

    Tiny Baby Jesus by Mackall
    This adorable book talks about Jesus as a baby and then Jesus during his early ministry. I love this one.

    I'd love to hear what Christmas books you love to read to your families. Your suggestions will help me to add to our collection!