Thursday, May 26, 2016

Adventures in Life: Instilling Patriotism

When you hear Memorial Day, what do you think of? 
The start of summer? 
A 3 day weekend?
BBQ time with family or friends? 

When I was growing up we would often spend Memorial Day weekend at my grandparents house. The weekend always included a trip to the cemetery to remember and honor the men and women who had served our country in the military. Often my grandparents would travel to multiple cemeteries helping with the various services held. The way my grandparents chose to spend their Memorial Day was one of many lessons in patriotism they taught me. 

My Grandpa Jim was a Marine and while he did not often speak of his time in the service, it shaped who he was and how he viewed our country. He truly appreciated the freedoms we enjoy as Americans, because for him they were not free. He fought to preserve the freedoms Americans enjoy for himself, his children, his grandchildren, and his great-grandchildren. 

About a month ago my Grandpa Jim went home to be with the Lord. And even though I can not travel to visit his grave (you know, 39 weeks pregnant!) this Memorial Day we will be remembering him and his service to this country. Acting on the patriotic spirit that he instilled in us. 

While the reasons for Memorial Day are still to complicated for Rebekah to understand, I want to start teaching her now about our country. While I do not agree with many of the decisions that are being made by our country today, I do want her to learn about our great nations past. To carry on my Grandpa's patriotic legacy. 

One way we are doing that this year is by reading her a book called "God Bless Our Country". It's our newest Tommy Nelson book and it's just perfect for Memorial Day, 4th of July, or just any day you are feeling patriotic! Adorable pictures of animals pairs with sweet rhyming text to teach children about America in a way that is easy enough for toddlers to understand. It also teaches about the importance of praying for your country, something that kids and grown-ups can be reminded of!

If you would like to win a free copy of God Bless Our Country for you own collection, just comment here or on my Instagram picture of the book (here) before Monday (Memorial Day!). 

I received a copy of this book for free from Tommy Nelson Publishers, and like always the opinions here are all my own. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Adventures in Reading: Sarah Sundin's Newest Book!!

If you have been reading this little blog for any amount of time you will know my favorite author is Sarah Sundin. I have devoured all of her books and just adore the way she weaves a story. I just finished her newest book Anchor In The Storm, and am already counting down the months until her next book is released next year.

But today I wanted to share a little about her latest book with you. Anchor In The Storm. It's hard for me to even pick a category to put this book in. It is a WWII historical fiction novel, with a deeply Christian theme and an incredible mystery that kept me guessing until the action packed ending of the book. I stayed up way past my bedtime several nights, unable to put the book down! 

The main characters, Arch and Lillian, are ones we have met before if you read the first book in the Waves of Freedom trilogy. Don't worry if you haven't (but you would love it!) this story stands on its own. Arch is a Navel officer based in Boston and Lillian is a pharmacist who just got her first real job in Boston. When both suspect a drug ring being run out of Boston, they team up to uncover who is behind it. As they investigate their friendship deepens and they both open up about their pasts and their weaknesses. Friendship turns to trust and trust turns to love. But with a war roaring on there is danger around every corner - from U-boats to gangsters both Arch and Lillian need to trust in God to be their anchor in the storm. 

Sundin once again transports the reader back to WWII, exploring stories not often told about life during the war. The way rationing affected the world of pharmacy is not one that I had previously considered. Sundin's extensive research into every angle of the story brings life and realness to her characters. The mystery story line will keep you guessing and turning pages until the very last one... And then you will wish there were more pages!! 


Anchor in the Storm Sarah Sundin

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Adventures of Rebekah: The Toddler Phase

Everything is just a phase. I've been telling myself this a lot lately. We have officially entered the toddler stage and if I'm being completely honest, I'm exhausted! Mentally, physically, emotionally, it takes every ounce of my energy too keep up with this little girl. (Not to mention that I'm 9 months pregnant!) And while we have our moments, helping a toddler explore the world and learn new things is just the biggest thrill! There are so many things I want to remember - I need to do a better job of recording them! 

For example, the other night she just melted my heart when we were getting ready for bed. I always rock her for a few minutes, singing and praying with her before I put her into bed. I usually sing "Jesus Loves Me" and that night when I got the the chorus, her sweet little voice joined mine "yes, Jesus loves me"... Well I could tell she was saying "yes Jesus" and sometimes I could here "love". It was just the sweetest thing to hear her sing with me as she was snuggled up in the chair I've been rocking her in her whole life. What a special moment with my girl that I don't every want to forget! 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Adventures in Life: Facebook

I was in college when Facebook first started. Back when it was only for college students. (Did you even know it started as only for college students?!) Back then you could catch up with friends from high school who you may have lost contact with or join a group with a crazy name. Leave a happy note on a friends wall or check out photos. It was a fun time waster especially if you had a paper to write! 

Over the past 10 years Facebook has changed a lot. Now you have a "feed" that showes you what your "friends" are sharing/doing/liking. Almost any article posted on the Internet has a "share this on Facebook" button. And so many people use it to spread negativity instead of encouragement. 

It's the negativity that some days makes me want to quit Facebook. When I read an argument between family members with differing opinions about a sensitive topic. Or complete strangers being cruel to each other for expressing a point of view. It's happened to me and if you have Facebook it has probably happened to you. Why do people feel free to "talk" to others in such a negative way? I know, we are all free to say what we want but should we? 

Anyway, I stay on Facebook to see the happy things - new babies, accomplishments like successfully defending a thesis, family news, cute kid pictures....for now. 

What about you? Do you love Facebook? Do you hate Facebook? Do you have Facebook? 

Oh, here is an example of the reason I still use Facebook- cute kid picture!
(Rebekah - 20 months old riding her horse built by her Great-grandpa and sporting her new pink cowgirl boots.) 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Adventures in Reading: One Spring Lamb

Rebekah's new favorite thing is counting. She wants to count everything. She counts the rocks we find on our walks. She counts her bows. She counted her Easter eggs over and over. She counts her stuffed animals.

She is getting pretty good - never mind that she says 'nine' when she means one! Most of the time she can get from one to ten in a pretty understandable way. It makes my teacher-momma heart so happy to hear her practicing, "nine, two, tee, boor, bive, six, seben, eight, nine, ben. Yeeaaaaay!" is the soundtrack to my life these days! 

Books that have things to count in them are her favorite at the moment, especially our newest book from Tommy Nelson called One Spring Lamb. 

One Spring Lamb by Anne Vittur Kennedy has adorable spring things to count on each page. Rebekah gets to practice counting one to ten on things like flowers, kites, bunnies, and butterflies. Many of the pictures she can identify and the ones she didn't know, she is learning. This book is perfect for 1-3 year olds as it is written in rhyme so it flows well and makes the numbers easier to remember. I personally love that it is an educational book both in the traditional sense but also in the Biblical sense. Like all of our Tommy Nelson books, there is an underlying Biblical message about Easter that is often not found in Easter books that have bunnies and eggs. We will be reading this book over and over for weeks to come! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Adventures of Rebekah: Evolution of a St.Patrick's Day Project

A few times a week I like to do some kind of art project with Rebekah. Most days we use crayons or something that is quick and easy to clean up. 

The other day, I was feeling ambitious and decided to bust out the is how things went. 

I set up all our supplies, and taped the paper to the table...

She did good at first with dipping the brush into the paint and then putting it onto the paper...

Then she decided to paint her fingers. 

Then she decided to try to taste the paint brush! (Can you see the green around her lips?) 

Then she got mad at me because I wouldn't let her squeeze more paint out of the bottle. 

And I just wanted one semi-happy picture to send to her daddy at I bribed her with a cookie for an almost smile. 

Oh, the life of a toddler! 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Adventures of Rebekah: Bedtime Routine

Some days I feel like just when we get into a routine that works for us, something changes and I am back at square one. Trying to figure out what is the best way for us to make it through the day. At the moment the thing that is changing for us is our bedtime routine. 

Rebekah is a great sleeper (most days!) and is pretty easy to get to sleep. She knows that when she is zipped into her zippy that it is time to sleep. We close the door, turn on her air filter, turn off the lights and have a little 'nun-nun' (I nurse her) before I put her into her crib. And that is that - usually she wiggles around for 5 or so minutes and then is asleep. The thing that is changing is we are taking away her 'num-nums'. (Cue dramatic music - she is NOT so thrilled with this new development.) 

I'm not going to go into to great detail about our decision to wean her, but after 18 successful months of breastfeeding, we both feel like it is the right time to stop. 

But this has thrown a wrench into our bedtime routine.

She is a snuggle bug both before and after she sleeps, but if I snuggle her before her nap, (in her own words) she wants num-nums. So, I have been trying different things to help her make this transition. One thing that I have found helpful is to read her a story before I put her into her crib. She still gets snuggles from momma, but there is something else to keep her mind occupied and off of nursing. 

One book we have been enjoying before bed is "Good Night, Little Love" by Laura Neutzling.
9780718034672, Good Night, Little Love

This is our newest book published by Tommy Nelson and Rebekah just loves it. The story is sweet and the pictures are beautiful. Not that we should pick a book based on it's cover, but this cover is embellished with sparkly hearts that we love to feel with our fingers. We are practicing 'reading' together and she loves to say "good night little love" with me on each page. As the mommy rabbit tucks her little bunny into bed, we get ready to tuck Rebekah into bed. 

Reading seems to help, and so does singing. We have been singing "Jesus Loves Me" before her naps. While, she cant really say the words yet, it is so sweet to hear her hum along with me. Oh, bedtime. We will figure you out yet! 

If you would like to win your own free copy of Good Night, Little Love, click HERE to go to my Instagram account to enter now! 

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review.