Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Puppy Party!

This year was a little tricky coming up with a theme for the kids joint birthday party. They are getting older now and I don't know how many more years we'll be able to do one party for the both of them. We looked through party catalogs and the kids were not excited about many of the options for gender neutral themes. Pirates/Princesses? No, A didn't want to be a princess. Mustache party? No, they thought that was kind of silly. ('Why would a kid have a mustache party Mom?') Yeah, I didn't know the answer to that either.

I tossed out the idea of having a dog themed party, I thought A might be too old for that at 9 years old but she was all for it. G didn't seem to mind so the Puppy party got it's start in my planning. I love planning their party, thinking of the details that will make them smile and bring back good memories when they think of it in years to come. I started pinning ideas on Pintrest and found so many fun things to do. Some of the ideas came for people who were throwing their dog a birthday party instead of kids having a dog themed party.

There were a lot of different dog party supply options but I wanted one that was multi-colored. After A and I found some in at a party store called, 'Paw-ty Time' I used them to make the invitation.





Decorations:  So with the primary colors it was really easy to mix and match party supplies that I already had with a few of the 'Paw-ty' extras. I generally try to do parties very economically so I got some of the puppy plates and adorable paw print napkins, but I couldn't pass up the matching fire hydrant decoration.





 

 I brought all of the kids stuffed dogs to bring as decorations too. They went up in the windows. This is only a few, they had a ton!

 Then after that I just used primary colored supplies and printed out paw prints to use as confetti on the tables.

 I got these Happy Birthday Banners years ago and I use them almost every year. Throw some streamers and a few balloons up in the color scheme and it's a big effect for pennies.


There were a few dog dangling things I'd found at the Dollar store in there too.



Food: The was a lot of fun and everyone thought it was funny. We had a bunch of pretzel rod 'Fetch Sticks' for them to enjoy...
 I also made the Chex dessert called 'Puppy Chow' (chex, peanut butter, chocolate, and sugar) and 'Doggie Food' (Cocoa Puffs and Scooby Doo Cereal). I put them in dog bowls that I got at the dollar store. People asked me if it was human food or actual dog food.

 I made tortilla chips from corn torillas and cut them out with a dog bone cookie cutter and put them in the oven to crisp them up. I'd seen the idea online and it was so easy and super cute and good for my gluten free friends!
 I popped some 'Pupcorn' (just regular popcorn!) and the day before the party I finally scored on finding a box of the Scooby Snack cinnamon graham cracker cookies at Dollar General! I'd looked for them everywhere.

I created a couple of printables for the food labels:


I also made some cupcakes and used some of the paw prints for toppers. It's hard to see from the picture, but on a few of them I used a paw print stencil (made just by cutting out the insides from the paw print confetti) and sprinkled colored sugar on the icing. Those turned out great and I would have done more of them but I was running out of time.



The cake: was pretty easy compared to previous years. I saw a dog paw shaped design that someone else had done online and thought that would be a piece of cake! I just made a 8" round cake and four little round cakes (with a small white Corningware dish) and frosted with chocolate icing. The example had colored frosting balls around the edges, but I did mine with gumballs and that was the kids favorite part. A had looked through the party catalogs she'd seen the 'candy bars' since they are popular at weddings and parties now. She said she wanted just a whole jar of gumballs at our party. So when she saw the cake she was so excited. I thought I was going to have to spend a bunch to get colored gumballs but then I found the 'movie box candy' of colored gumballs at Walmart and got three boxes for $3.



The Games: For games I put Kevin in charge of coming up with some things for the kids to do outside that would burn off some energy. He put together a doggie obstacle course. The kids had to jump through a ring, run through some cones, escape a dog catcher, and catch a frisbee (not in their teeth, ha).

 Then he had 'Doggie Obedience School' and taught them all how to sit, stay, and roll over.
Once the kids came back inside we had a craft where they could make their own puppy ears. I'd made these out of headbands and felt and I had pieces of felt circles that they could glue on to their ears for spots. Don't ask how long Hubby and I stayed up the night before cutting out felt. 20 kids, 40 ears....lots of spots.
But the kids loved them and wore them around the room pretending to be dogs.



Gifts: Then it was time for the presents....or to pack the presents that is! We love participating in Operation Christmas Child and instead of bringing birthday gifts for the kids we asked the guests to bring items we could use to pack boxes for children around the world. It's our 4th year doing it and we got some great feedback from some of the other parents saying how glad they were that we included them and gave them a chance to participate. Hubby explained to the kids what we were doing and we watched a short video to show them how to pack a box and where it was going to.
 The supplies were all out on the table and the kids grabbed items and filled up boxes.
 We were able to fill up 18 boxes!
 The birthday kids got sung to...
 and blew out the candles on their cake.
Goodie Bags: All the kids took home 'Doggie Bags' with little treats I'd found. Dog themed treats were tough to come by but each bag had a Snoopy pack of tissues, Snoopy bandaid, Scooby popping candy, Scooby fruit snacks, Scooby taffy, and a dog sticker. We also gave out a bookmark from Operation Christmas Child.

It was nice to be done with the party and we already started thinking about next year.....Lord of the Rings maybe? We'll see!

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Million Little Ways

I don't think of myself as a creative or artsy person. I call my sister or friend for advice in matching outfits. I don't pick up a paintbrush unless I'm just copying something. I know my gifts are not in arts and crafts. Even though I enjoy making things, it's not likely any of my projects will end up on Pintrest. So getting a book about how to 'uncover the art you were made to live' wasn't something I was expecting to resonate with.



But this book touched my heart and gave me a new perspective on what art truly is. It made me see that the creativity in the universe comes from the original Author of life and He is one that is crafting a story through us. Or one might say He is an Artist painting a masterpiece. Or crafting a poem, we are His poeima.

I really enjoyed this read and didn't want to hurry through it but savor each bit as I let it sink deep down into my soul. Like I said, I'm not crafty but she explained that since we are made in the image of God and He is a creative creator we will be like Him in that. I loved her image of us a colander and how he pours into us and that his glory is revealed through us in 'a million little ways.'

As we are willing to be used by Him we will reflect his creativity. My favorite part was that she didn't just keep to the typical ideas of what an artist looks like, musicians, writers, painters. She included all the different ways one can serve in this world from CEOs, janitors, or stay at home moms. I particularly resonated with what she spoke about moms and how to live present in the art God is doing through me.

It was a wonderful word picture for me that has inspired me to live more fully alive and aware of all that He is doing around the world.  

I received a copy of this book through the Revell Blogger Review Program, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Confident Heart Devotional


I consider myself a pretty confident person, sometimes overconfident and prideful. So what would I get out of a book that was about how to be more confident?

As I read I realized that my confidence is often times misplaced. I am confident of my studies because of my education. I'm confident in my interactions with others because of my experience. I place a lot of my confidence in my own talents and gifts instead of placing my confidence in God's ability to work through me.

It's a subtle difference but it was the main thing that I got out of this book. It is written to women who struggle with doubting themselves and is the companion devotional of the book with the same name. I found each devotion to be like a shot in the arm of confidence for the day. Each of the 60 devotionals was encouragement for me to not look at my surroundings and worry, but to look to my God and be at peace.

I enjoyed this book even though I had not read the original book, A Confident Heart. I think both of them can stand alone. In reading this devotional it made me want to know more of the author's story and how she arrived at this point. She mentions her journey and struggles personally but each day's devotional is only a few pages so she doesn't elaborate as much as she probably does in the other book.

I received a copy of this book through the Revell Blogger Review Program, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, October 7, 2013

He Wins, She Wins


The thesis of this book is that each conflict or disagreement in marriage should be solved by working together to come to a solution that can be agreed to by both parties....enthusiastically. I think it had many good points and it made me think more critically about how I solve disagreements and problems in our marriage.

This book would be good if you and your spouse are looking for a complete overhaul in the way you approach conflict in your marriage. He recommends a systematic strategy using a notebook and says that if you can't come to an enthusiastic agreement then you shouldn't do anything and you should just table the discussion until both sides can enthusiastically agree. I appreciate the encouragement to not just reluctantly agree to something in the name of 'serving' your spouse. He details the pitfalls of that attitude in the first few chapters.

But ultimately I think that the book does not have enough practical advice about how to actually reach enthusiastic agreement when there are two sinful people involved. I found myself disagreeing with many things he suggested. For example, he discusses in one place how if your spouse doesn't like being around your parents because your parents are not kind to him/her then you should just tell your parents that you won't be coming to visit them until they start being nicer to your spouse. I guess I would agree if there is some kind of emotional abuse of your spouse going on, but I think that most conflicts are two sided and that your spouse would be responsible for some part of the issue.

So unless you and your spouse are both committed to trying out the system then there are probably other marriage books that would be more beneficial. Ironically, both spouses need to be enthusiastic about trying this out for it to work. I was also turned off by the numerous times that he mentioned how he and his wife used these principles to have such a wonderful marriage. I get that he has 50 years of experience, but it came across as prideful instead of encouraging.

Overall it was worth a read but wouldn't be my new go to marriage book.

I received a copy of this book through the Revell Blogger Review Program, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Curious George Birthday Party

We were so excited for our little monkey to turn two. One of his recent favorite shows has become Curious George.

Invitations: I found these cute invitations at Mrs. This and That and I added my own details and put them in my software to make an 8.5x11 sheet for easy printing.
Decorations: I started looking around for Curious George party stuff and couldn't find anything. There was stuff online but it was expensive. Then I hit the jackpot at a local party store. They were having a clearance sale and had a bunch of boxes full with a sign that said, 'Fill a bag, $10'. After sifting through a few boxes I found some Curious George thank you notes, goodie bags, a table decoration, and streamer. I filled the rest of my bag up with other party supplies that I either ended up saving for a future party or selling (profit, sweet!). When we combined those things with simple red and yellow party-ware the theme was complete and the space looked festive and great. I borrowed a bunch of Curious George books from the library and I set them up all over the place. They doubled as decorations and activities. L loved it and seeing his face as he walked around was my reward.





 


Food: We served bananas, animal crackers and grilled burgers. L kept trying to sneak the Runts and the banana candies. We found some cute red and yellow lollipops that matched well. We would have had popcorn in our buckets but didn't want the kids under 3 to choke on it.


Cake: One of my favorite parts of the kids' birthday parties is to make a homemade cake. At first I thought that making a monkey cake would be...a piece of cake. But I forgot to bring my pans and baking supplies with me and we were out of town. I just decided it'd be easier to just buy one, but all the places were booked up for the next day so I had to figure something else out. I ended up buying a Boston Creme round cake, an individual little cupcake, some chocolate and butter cream icing, and a can of black decorator icing. The day of the party I transformed the little round cake and mixed the two icings together to make a light brown for George's face. I cut the cupcake in half to make the ears. I added a few details with the black icing from a can (that smile took about 8 do overs to get finally) and voila....
 
 When I asked L who it was he said, 'Kurios Deorge!' and I knew my work was worth it.

L had fun opening his gifts. Meme shopped everywhere and finally found some great Curious George stuff from Kohl's including a book, a little backpack...
 and a stuffed Curious George himself. She found the shirt at Old Navy.

Happy 2nd Birthday!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Worst Flight Ever

'Mommy, I think this is the worst flight ever.' A said to us as we sat on the plane going no where. I said, 'Actually, honey, I have to agree with you, it's certainly the worst flight experience I've ever had.'

We had a pleasant but stressful outbound flight to Chicago from Orlando to visit some family. It was stressful because even though we arrived with an hour and 1/2 before take off it took us so long to get through security and we were almost the last to board the plane. Since we were flying Southwest I had to seat the two oldest kids next to strangers and pray that they would be nice people and hope that the children were well behaved. L wanted Daddy only and I was so afraid we were going to be 'that family' with the screaming baby but thankfully he slept on Hubby's lap most of the way there. The big kids did sit  with nice folks and they later complimented me on how well the kids did. But even the stress involved in this flight, it was a dream compared to the return flight home.


Since it took so long to get through airport security in Orlando we decided that we'd make sure to get to the airport in Chicago extra early, ha! Our flight was scheduled to depart Midway at 4:45pm. Once we got through security we saw that the flight would be delayed. We were disappointed but figured we'd try to make the most of it and have a good attitude. I strolled Lewis around to watch the planes take off and land and the big kids made friends, played together and watched TV at the gate. 

 (Aww, we are all still smiling!)

Apparently the plane had issues getting out of Providence and so the flight was rescheduled to take off at 7:00... then 7:45. The incoming plane finally landed at 7:45 and our flight was rescheduled again for 8:30. When we finally boarded the plane the kids were exhausted and L was past his bedtime. I was thinking that they might all sleep on the plane for the two hours back to Orlando. We got settled in, taxied to the runway and waited. I gave L the bottle and he started to get sleepy. Then we waited some more...and more... Finally the pilot came on the PA system and said that there was a malfunction with a hydraulic part so we had to go back to the gate to fix it, but it would only take about 20-30 minutes. I looked at Hubby and said, 'that means at least an hour.' 


So there was no way L was sleeping now so the kids watched DVDs on the laptop and sure enough, an hour later they came back on and said they'd fixed the part but now they had to test it. Thirty minutes later they came back and said that the part was not fixable and we would have to get off the plane.

Now it was after 10pm and L was super fussy and the kids were tired, though they were doing a good job handling all of this mess. After getting off the plane and walking around L fell asleep in my arms and I continued to hold him as I stood at the counter asking what we should do next. We couldn't go back to our family because they'd returned the rental van. There were no other flights out at this time of night and we needed to get the kids to bed. We asked if we they could compensate us for a hotel room in Chicago and put us on a plane the next morning. They said they could not, and that they would not be giving anyone any kinds of reimbursement. I could not believe it. The people at the counter told us that cots would be available on Concourse A and I just laughed in astonishment!

After an hour or so of wondering what we should do, my back was killing me from holding L while he slept and cried off and on. The steward was kind enough to find our stroller on the plane and bring it to us so he would have somewhere safe to sleep. The big kids and some other kids they met were all running back and forth on the people movers (something I'd never have let them do normally but under the circumstances we said, 'whatever. go for it kids').

They had to find a similar plane to ours and were able to but since the flight had been delayed so long our pilot had to leave and we were left stuck at Midway. Several times I said to Hubby, 'Honey, this plane is not leaving tonight, we just need to get a hotel here and get the kids to bed.' However, our bags were still on the plane and if we left we would have to pay for the hotel on our own and even purchase new plane tickets the next day. We felt like airport hostages and we were talking with fellow passengers and bonding like we were all in some fraternity hazing or something. 
After midnight a new pilot came, greeted by cheers from all of us in the terminal. But then the baggage still needed to be transferred to the new plane. Southwest attendants came out and finally did give $100 airline vouchers good for a future flight. Our kids were still awake but loopy, watching Cartoon Network. I was encouraged because other passengers were telling us what a good job we'd done for how well they handled it. Others told us, 'I feel like I'm having a bad experience, but then I look at you guys and you are having to do it with three small kids.'   

We finally boarded the new flight around 1 in the morning and the kids finally were able to lay down and fall asleep for a little while. Hubby and I took turns holding L, walking him in the aisle, trying to keep him sleeping and resting for a bit ourselves.

We finally landed at 4:15am, 8 hours after the original schedule.

Since we had a friend drop us off at the airport and keep our van for us while we were gone we had to call her at 4:30 in the morning, ugh. From there we got some coffee for Hubby so he could stay away to drive us home. We finally got home home at 7:15am Tuesday morning when our plan was to be home by 10pm Monday night. We all got in bed and slept until noon and when we woke we didn't know if we should eat breakfast or lunch. 

So we used Tuesday to recoup because Wednesday was packing day because Thursday was moving out day and Friday was moving in day! Just a bit of a hectic week.

But the main thing was that we made it home safely and not on a plane that was going to malfunction in the air. I did call Southwest and they did send us $400 more in vouchers to use on another flight with them in the next year. So now we are looking forward to flying somewhere for our anniversary or doing something fun to erase the memory of pulling an all-nighter at airports with three kids! Whew!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Cedar Key Novels

I heard of a book series about Cedar Key recently so I decided to go for it. I thought it would be interesting to read about a local place in the context of an interesting novel. It certainly did make me want to drop by Cedar Key for a visit, seems like a laid back place that time forgot.

The series follows the lives of the 4 Clayborne sisters, Kim, Jayme-Leigh, Heather, and Ami. The first book, Chasing Sunsets, is all about Kim's divorce and her vacation in Cedar Key during her sons' 5 week visit with their father. Her time in Cedar Key leads to the rekindling of a summer romance from her teen years. Some family secrets are also unearthed in her visit and I thought it overall was a good read, though a little predictable at times.

The second book, Waiting for Sunrise, seemed like it was a tangent storyline about the woman who lived next door to the Claybornes' summer home in Cedar Key. It only pulled in the characters from the first book a few times and it didn't affect the storyline at all, just more of an update on what those people were doing.

I just finished the third book, Slow Moon Rising, and I have to say it was my least favorite of the trilogy. All though a lot of ends were tied up that had been left open in the first book, but it was really predictable and lacking for me. The relationships within the book like the conversations between sisters were real and believable. But for the beginning stages of the romances the author just didn't have a great way for the characters to get together. In all of the books it seemed the people just 'fell in love' on the spot and were sharing their deepest darkest secrets with a person they had just met. For me that was just not very believable and made me roll my eyes several times as I was reading. Then one line that I remembered laughing about was that one character looked around at a family gathering and said something like, "It's so hard to believe that we all married incredibly handsome men! I don't know how we all did that." I found it hard to believe as well.

I could go on about the series and what I disliked and liked, but it was a good series for what it's meant to be, light summer reading. Once I started the first and second books I finished them quickly to find out what happened. But the third book took a lot longer to get into, but after about 7 chapters I was into it and didn't put it down. I didn't have any nightmares or lingering thoughts about it after I was done (like World War Z) and I didn't ponder the meaning of life because of it's depth, but for a fluff read it was good.

I received a copy of this book through the Revell Blogger Review Program, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Praying God's Word for Your Life

I just finished up the book Praying God's Word for Your Life by Kathi Lipp. She is a riot. I went to one of her breakout sessions on loving your husband and she was hysterical. Her humor comes through in the book and I really enjoyed it.


The book is set up with a few introductory chapters and then each chapter is a different topic to pray for. Some include: 'Your relationship with others', 'Your marriage', 'Your finances'. And then there are some on 'When you are Worried', 'When you are despairing'. So it was a little hard to read at first since I didn't happen to be in despair as I read that chapter, but it seems like it is a good resource to have on hand to come back to.

I have been using it as a devotional book because each chapter has a little introduction about why you should be in prayer for that theme and then it goes through scriptures and has sample prayers to pray as you learn to pray through what you just read from the Bible. At the end of each chapter are practical steps to take in that area.

I would have liked more practical help in how to take a verse and pray through it, but there were so many different examples given and each person is different and the Spirit will lead individually. Overall I enjoyed it and appreciated the reminder that the Word has power and when we pray God's word back to him he is pleased. 

I received a copy of this book through the Revell Blogger Review Program, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Artist's Daughter

I've not read many memoirs but recently I got the The Artist's Daughter as a part of a blog tour promotion and I thought I'd give it a try. It's also the theme book for the next MOPS year theme so I knew I'd be reading it anyway.


Alexandra Kukenydall is on staff with MOPS International and I've heard her speak on the MOPS curriculum. At the MOPS convention last year I went to a breakout that she did on raising girls. That was all I knew about her before reading the book.

Her story instantly captured my attention as she described the first time she met her father in Barcelona at the age of 8. I thought of my own daughter, now at that same age and how much she loves her daddy and couldn't imagine her not knowing her own father. Through the book she struggles with the absence of her father and how it shaped the woman and mother she became.

One part that stood out to me was when she was a new mom and listening to a speaker at her MOPS group talk about childhood development. The speaker said that girls who don't have a father figure in their life likely go down two paths, promiscuous and seeking love or driven and trying to earn love by perfection. She identified with the latter of the two.

The book was filled with stories that exemplified how God was making her life into a beautiful story of his redemptive love. Even though her earthly father was mostly absent from her life, she grew to know her heavenly father. She deals with baggage along the way and finds that God has healed her wounds and yet used them to mold her.

There were parts where I was brought to tears as she recounted tragedies that happened around her and how she wrestled with God's sovereignty and plan. There were honest accounts about struggles in their marriage even though they both loved God and each other, and she shared her experience with post postpartum depression. She originally had finished the book right before her 4th daughter was born, but then had to go back and add another section as events in the 10 days after her birth brought closure to the story.

I'm already reading a fiction novel and I enjoy how an author weaves a story together. In this book I was able to see how God is writing true stories with our lives. She ascribes the beauty in her life to the Heavenly Artist and desires to be a willing canvas for his work. I enjoyed this book and it's encouraging me to live my life for Him and see my messes as an opportunity for him to make a masterpiece.

(I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review. It is available May 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Zombie Apocalypse

You know, my husband has gotten chuckles from others for his eclectic music tastes. He enjoys listening to classical as much as hip hop and any style in between with the exception of country. I'd say he's well rounded in his music (even though he didn't know who Adele was until a month ago).

My book tastes are not quite as varied as his music tastes, but I do enjoy reading a wide spectrum of literature. I read mostly in the Christian Living section with some departures into the classics and historical fiction.

I guess you could call my most recent read 'historical fiction'..... L picked up my book from the library and took it to Hubby and said, 'Daddy's book'. He took a look at it and thought that I must have accidentally checked it out. But when he found out I'd checked out World War Z on purpose he was totally confused. I explained it was for my book club.

I've been a part of this women's book club for a few years and have enjoyed reading books, discussing them together, and widening my spectrum. So, while I probably wouldn't have just picked up a book about the future zombie apocalypse, it did make for some good discussion.

The book was set up as a series of post-war interviews with many different survivors, and only rarely were there any repeats of the same person giving an interview in a later chapter. It was an interesting concept but it did ultimately make the book more difficult to follow.

My general impression of the book was that it was an interesting concept and a non-threatening way to look at what the end of the world might look like, albeit, death by zombies. Since we all know that zombies are not real we were able to read the book from a distance and not be horrified at the possibility of millions of people actually dying. There was also some morbid humor and ironic twists as the book cataloged how different nations prepared for and handled the war (hint: don't plan any visits to North Korea, but you'll do great in Cuba). You also got to see how a crisis makes people realize what is really worthwhile. For example, in the recovery time skilled tradespeople were more in demand than business executives.

The end of the world is a future reality from a Christian standpoint. We believe that Jesus will come back one day and that life on earth only has a limited time span. I think we all have the truth within us knowing that life on earth is not all there is. It's understandable that non-christian books pop up on how the world will end and I find it interesting to explore what people think that will look like.

So, while I can't say that I 'liked' the book all that much, there was too much violence (though not gratuitous) and colorful language for me. However it was an interesting read and gave me more of a pop-cultural knowledge about how to survive an outbreak of zombies. You never know when that will come in hand.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

5 Ongoing Conversations

I recently finished two books that Kevin got me for Christmas. 5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter and 5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Son, both by Vicky Courtney. The books had a similar format and some of the discussions overlapped, but not so much that you felt like you were reading the same book twice. If anything I thought that the repetition was good for me so that the important facts were engrained into my head. In both books I thought she gave great perspective on parenting: the goal is not to produce a perfect child, but to be a faithful, albeit sinful, parent. They were both very good, and simple quick reads. I'd recommend any parent (even dads) with kids of any age to read these books as a starting point for thinking about how to cover tough topics with their kids.

I started out with the one for daughters since our little girl is the oldest. I've been wondering when to have 'the talk' with her as she's getting older and starting to ask questions. Honestly I thought it would come up when we had L, but she never did pursue the conversation so I am just waiting until she is asking the questions. I remember hearing about a 'tween' event coming to town for 8-12 year olds and I refused to think of my little girl as a 'tween'. But I want to be prepared for her questions when they come and this book was helpful in thinking about how to discuss the 'talk' when it came time.

But it stressed that the sex talk is not the only important talk we have with our daughters and it's not a one time event to check off your parenting to do list. There were four other discussions that she said moms need to be in continual conversations with our daughters, instilling her with truth because the world will feed her a bunch of lies.

Her '5 conversations' were:

* Your are more than the sum of your body parts.
* Don't be in such a hurry to grow up.
* Sex is great and worth the wait.
* It's OK to dream about marriage and motherhood.
* Girls' gone wild are a dime a dozen - dare to be virtuous.

The books are geared toward a Christian audience, but non-Christians would find them helpful also. I appreciated her honesty and transparency and non-judgmental attitude toward parenting. She openly shared her own past mistakes and did not equate herself to a parenting expert, but as one who'd been there and was trying to do the right thing with her own kids.

The book for boys was great for moms to read, but I've told my husband he needs to read it too, because I want him to take the lead in discussing most of these subjects with our sons:

* Don't define manhood by the culture's wimpy standards. It's OK to be a man!
* What you don't learn to conquer may become your master
* Not everyone's doing it! (And other naked truths about sex you won't hear in the locker room.)
* Boyhood is only for a season. P.S. It's time to grow up!
* Godly men are in short supply. Dare to become one!

I found her treatment of such topics like internet pornography to be discouraging but empowering. She paints a real picture of what our boys will face growing up in today's technology age, but also reminds the reader that parents are still the most influential models in a child's life. So while the task may be daunting she helps us have the tools to meet the challenge head on.

Parenting is a big task and books like these help me to have wisdom about how to do the best I can as a mom. One quote that stuck with me from the boys book was, "It's harder to be a godly mom than it is to be a good mom." She was pointing out that we can't just address behavior with our sons, but we have to get to the root of issues. Just like we can create an exterior 'good mom' without being a godly mom. We can't just get our kids to shape up on the outside and ignore the inside and the 'why' behind the behavior. It was a side comment in her book but it stayed with me. I can make my kids behave and be 'good' kids, but my ultimate goal is that they would become a godly men and women and that takes a lot more time, effort and study on my part.

What are some of your favorite parenting books?



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Recent Reads

I love reading new books and hearing about what other people are reading. I have a list of the books I've read over the years on my computer and I've typically averaged about 20 books a year. That is, until last year. I don't know if I just forgot to enter in the books I read or I just was so busy adjusting to having a 3rd child in the house but I only have down 4 books I read the whole year!

So to make up for the lack of books last year I've been checking out the books on my list and getting back into my regular reading routine. I also wanted to use my blog to review the books I've been reading. So if I find a book I think is of interest I'll try to write about it here on my blog. Feel free to let me know what books you've enjoyed also. I'm always looking for a good book.