Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Read with Me

I have grown to love Dani Pettrey's mysteries. I am a huge Dee Henderson fan, and I feel that Pettrey's my second choice now for a good Christmas mystery/romance. Cold Shot was a fabulous read - the characters were well developed and easy to love. The story line was full of twists. And the book was well written.  I am looking forward to future books in this series.

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

I was hesitant to read "Rise & Shine" because it looked like a juvenile book with its pink and purple cover. I am glad though, that I gave this book a chance. Before I finished the first chapter, I was drawn to the main character and curious how her story would develop. Although I'd never read this author before, I loved the easy going romantic tale.

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

Face to Face: Discovering how Mentoring can Change your Life - I loved the encouragement that this book offered. I felt compelled and equipped to continue investing in the lives of others. It was easy to read and practical. I plan to implement some of the ideas with girls that I am currently mentoring as well as in my MOPS group next year. I love books that take a simple concept and make it seem so doable.

"I believe that the single most important influence in your life during these years is not what degree you pursue, what job you take, or who you date...but who is pouring into your life and shaping you."

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

I tried...I really did. Reviewers of "The Reluctant Duchess" compared it to Downtown Abbey, bragging of it's complex story lines and twists and turns. I couldn't get into this book. There were too many characters from the very beginning and the Scottish phrases used only added to my confusion. I wanted to love this book - but it never really gripped me. It felt as if I were picking up in the middle of a complicated tale.

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

Simply Calligraphy was fun to browse. I've always wanted to learn calligraphy. I found the tutorials and instructional drawings simple to follow. It was well written and informative. I've got some letter practicing to do! This focuses on the traditional calligraphy style - not the modern "handwriting" form that is often seen today.

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

Baby Wren and the Great Gift was a fun book to read with my kids. The language, though beautifully written, was hard for my three year old to undestand. But I was able to talk through the concept with him when he was confused. It was a fabulous way to talk about how God created us all unique. I want my kids to know that God made us in His image and wants to use us the way He made us. The illustrations are adorable.

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

Friday, April 22, 2016

Project: Bright Up the Garage Laundry Area

I am so thankful for the power of one can of paint and a little hard work. Often, a big remodel isn't in the budget...but a can of paint is. Our laundry area is in the garage. Although I would love to have a cute little laundry room, I knew that wasn't an option right now. But in two day's time, with the help of my husband, I was able to transform this dingy area into something clean and bright. 

The "before" was pretty typical of garage/basement laundry areas. 

Since it was in the garage, it was easy to dismiss the space and let it get cluttered. The paneling behind the appliances was dingy looking and it was not the most fun place to hang out. 

My husband moved everything off the wall for me.  Just adding the white paint seemed to make the whole area brighter. 

I also painted the door into the house from the garage black. It always seemed dirty and scuffed up. 

Once all the brackets were spray painted black, the shelves looked more uniform. 

And a plug-in light (similar to this one) with a cute metal shade helps me to be able to see what I am folding. All the other lights in the garage are behind my head when I am standing at the washer. 

The wood grain gray foam tiles (purchase them here for $20) are just part of a set of floor tiles I purchased. It is a softer surface to stand on, but easy to wipe up. Since it is the garage, I didn't want to add a rug that would show dirt. Plus, the set came with 9 tiles. If one gets dirty, I can switch it out for a new one. 

The painted canvas was from this painting party that I had with my small group. As I am folding those clothes, I can be reminded to be thankful for the family I have and the way the Lord provides for us. 

It may not be marble tiled floors  - but it's clean, fresh and fit our budget. And it is exciting to do laundry in a less dingy space. 

 And it looks like I need to mix up a new batch of laundry soap soon...

Monday, April 18, 2016

Moms Matter

I challenged my fellow MOPS moms (and anyone else who wants to join us) to read through the New Testament this summer. You can find the printable reading chart in this post where the New Testament is broken up into 90 segments.

I attended some leadership training last weekend and I keep thinking about one statement that was made by Joann Kraft.

As moms, we have the opportunity to give life twice. 

What a scary, humbling thought - I have the chance to give my children life physically by birth and by helping them grow into the person they are going to become. But I also have the privilege and responsibility to impact their spiritual growth and hopefully their trusting Jesus as their Savior.  I know the impact my mother has had on my spiritual growth - and still does.  I want to have that impact on Hudson and Nora. But in order to help them love the Lord, they have got to see me loving the Lord and His Word first.

I've challenged the MOPS moms to read through the New Testament together this summer and I decided to start my 90 days of reading last night. 

When I saw that Matthew started off with a genealogical list, I wasn't super motivated - But as I read, I noticed that 5 names were different than all of the rest. 5 women. 5 mothers God used...and 5 moms He thought were significant enough to include in Christ's family tree list. 





and Mary, Jesus' mother. 

Horrible pasts. Questionable occupations. Bad reputations. Even Mary, though she'd done nothing wrong, was no doubt talked about and looked down upon being a pregnant, unmarried girl. 

These ladies were gossiped about - yet God used these moms. These weren't the most popular girls. They didn't have the easiest lives - yet they mattered.

As I underlined their names in pink ink, I decided to look for "mom things" as I go through the New Testament this time. I am praying that I have "eyes to see" what God has to teach me as I read. 

Because moms matter. God uses moms. And I want Him to use me. 

(And I'd love to know who else is reading with me)

Cheap, Cute Pillow Covers

UPDATED: I found a bunch more cheap pillow covers!!! See the bottom of the post.

I love switching up my decor - and a pillow cover is an easy way to do that. I especially love that it is easy to store an empty pillow cover when it's not in use. I saw these cute pillows on Amazon recently and purchased one to see how the quality was. (Purchase link)

$2.70 (and there was no shipping) was definitely in my price range. The pillow arrived today and it is cute. It's a darker tan background (think lighter burlap) and the words are screen printed onto the top. But I love the look! And the zipper closure is easy to use and stuff as well. And I am happy to say that the price is still under $3 today. For that price, I was pleased.  Keep an eye out though...Amazon changes prices frequently.

This Let it Be pillow was also listed as $2.88, no shipping cost.

There are two different shades of blue pillows at this link under $5.

And if you have Prime, these octopus pillows are cute at $5.49.

Just passing on a good deal! 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

MOPS Creative Ideas...so far...

I've spent the last two days brainstorming and learning with other MOPS leaders in our region. I found myself challenged over and over again to remember that my purpose while serving in MOPS is to point these moms to Jesus. On my hardest days, it's my faith in HIM that gets me through. I hope and pray we can continue to encourage and equip the moms in our group to depend on the Lord.

As we discussed different ideas and activities that our group has done, I decided to compile all MOPS related posts (up to this point) here, thinking that it might be helpful for other groups looking for ideas.

I have loved being able to help with the creative activities for our group. Sometimes that meant helping with service projects or Christmas teas. But most of the time, that involved our monthly craft time. I have kept our crafts around $1 per person - in order to keep our mom's cost down and to give them ideas for inexpensive gift.

So, in no particular order, here's some ideas.  The project title will link you back to the original post. Feel free to use the instruction pics (the steps are typed onto the pictures) while you are explaining the craft project to your group. We usually let the pictures continue to scroll while the moms glue, paint, etc. in case they need to refer back to one of the steps.

Prayer Journals with a challenge to read through the New Testament together this summer.

Mommy and Me Aprons - we did this project just before Thanksgiving.

Chalkboard Paint Clipboards

Book Page Leaf Wreath 

Mason Jar To-Go Cups. We made extras of these, filled them with candy and gave them to our Moppet Workers as a "Thank You" gift.

MomProm 2015- our end of the year party

NICU Care Packages - service project

Tin Can Planters

ABC Memory Verse Cards

Yogurt Bar

Christmas Tea

MOPS Memo -  Newsletter

Cereal Box Journals - Welcome Gift

Easter Story Box

Washer Necklaces

Mommy 101 (One meeting where we rotate three groups through different topics) - Decorating Cheaply

Paint Stick Stars - Christmas Decor

Chalkboard Coasters

Magnetic Pin Dish - I find it is easier to keep track of little items on the craft supply tables if they are contained...we used these yarn needles for the Cereal Box Journals

Elastic Hair Ties

Clothespin Wreath

Leather Tassel Key Chain

I always post our craft/activity ideas here the week after our meetings in case the moms are wanting to purchase supplies to make their own. You can also follow my pinterest board where these ideas get posted.

I am still amazed that God continues to use my love of crafts and projects to minister to ladies. I don't know why I am so surprised...He made me this way. I'm sure He had a reason!

I'd love to hear your ideas or how you've implemented some of these ideas in your own MOPS meetings.