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Showing posts from May, 2012

Usborne Customer Specials for June

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This month there are some amazing customer specials from Usborne Books & More. Every month there is a new selection of 9-10 books that go on discount up to 60%. It's a sweet way to stock up on favorites for a fraction of the price, and this month has some great ones interspersed. The top image, our 365 Things to Make and Do is a big hit with families because there is literally something for everyone in this book. This book is normally $24.99 because it's a big ole' huge hardback, but this month it's on sale for $10. The Usborne "make and do" series are fabulous because they have picture step-by-steps for those children who need instruction but want to do the activity independently, and writing for those able to read concise directions. They also are always projects that use materials that everyone has in their home. Perhaps with the exception of googly-eyes.  If you go to this link, you can even have 2 freebies!

photocredit This next book is my…

Pictures from Around Town

Here are a few of our recent goings on from the last few weeks in pictures: park time, strawberry picking at Martin's Hillside Orchard, among others. 








Book Review: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

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This is one of the first books I can remember where the subtitle spoke to me more than the cover  and title. This topic is near and dear to me because, as an introvert, I've had to readjust and think about so many things in my life this relates to, not to mention conversations within my marriage to my wonderful extroverted husband, and trying to understand and parent my children for their success. 
I first heard of the term introvert, I think, when I was in high school. I had a pleasant enough experience with private elementary and then private high school in our town, and I did well. One of the things I didn't like through high school, was the group work. I dreaded this, for a few reasons. For one, I want whatever project I work on, to be well done. I do not like to leave my 'name on it' without my own expectations fulfilled; a job satisfied. I also found the group setting to be a significant waste of my time. I could be getting right down to work with my …

Visual Monday: Memorial Day

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This day is a day to remember all the men and women who made, and continue to make, our national freedom a reality. Thank you for your service.

{This Moment}

This picture really cracks me up. This may have been the only time on our recent camping trip that he actually sat down, but crossing the legs? Yes, that's classic "older than his age" Lu. Love that dude!

Join others savoring a moment from your week. Enjoy the weekend!

Reach for the Stars! Summer Reading Program

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This year I'm doing something really fun in the summer--I'm sponsoring a Reach for the Stars! Summer Reading Program with the help of Usborne Books & More! It's a reading program that rewards kids for reading with free Usborne books, and books for children in need within our community through the avenue of the Lincoln Crisis Pregnancy Center. 

The goal is to motivate children to read, keep them reading, and then reward them with books they will love, along with helping others at the same time.
Throughout the 6 week time period (June 1-July 20th), they can participate by reading (or being read to) 400+ minutes of any books of their choosing (more prizes for those who go above & beyond!), collecting pledges from friends, neighbors, and relatives to support their reading activity, turning in pledges & choosing their own books, and books for the Lincoln Crisis Pregnancy Center, who will use the donation of b…

Recipe Share: My Plutonium Milkshake

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Last year I discovered plutonium...in the form of a chocolate milkshake. I don't have a picture of this favorite treat, mostly because all of my cups are covered in mineral-y film from my dishwasher, and wouldn't capture the pure joy that is created in 4 simple ingredients. You can keep this vanilla or chocolate, but I prefer the chocolate rendition. I use an individual size cup that attaches to my magic bullet. If you have one of these, they make perfect little individual sizes, including a snack size option.
It should be noted that this is only healthy in the fact that it has almond milk. The massive amount of ice cream and peanut butter should pretty much put this in the 'every once in awhile' category. I have about 2 a month, and I savor every.single.sip.!

Plutonium Milkshake

*3/4 cup of vanilla or chocolate ice cream
*1/3 cup almond milk
*2 TBSP peanut butter
*1 tsp chocolate powder (optional, if using vanilla ic…

Movie Review: City of God

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Once or twice a year, a friend of ours offers a film class at our church, Grace Chapel. This recent 12 week look at culture and cinema class was over the topic War. In this time we watched a lot of different movies about different types of war (drug, racism, etc.) along with movies about WWI , WWII and the Holocaust. The movie review I will be doing today was from this class, and it's called City of God. This movie was a recent film from Brazil and it has won many awards. It's a very, very hard movie to watch, and if you try to stay away from violence, I do not recommend this movie as it's rife.

The movie starts out at the end, and it becomes a flashback within the first ten minutes. The story is about a boy, Rocket,  whose older brother is involved in a gang where they live, the slum called City of God, in Rio de Janerio. Through Rocket's life he must choose whether he will follow in the footsteps of many of the boys--the ga…

Visual Monday: Camping

{This Moment}

Join others remembering a fun moment from your week. Ours? A friend's mid-week pool party!

Usborne Spotlight: Fix It Duck by Jez Alborough

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We recently purchased a few of the Jez Alborough "duck" series from the Kane Miller side of Usborne Books & More for a few friends and relatives. I like to have plenty of birthday gifts on hand because it seems we are always getting invited to parties, or a family member has one right around the corner, and it's so nice to just reach into our 'party bin' and pull out a gift that we think the receiver might like!

I chose the one above, Fix It Duck, for a little guy we know and it's a perfect stage for where he's at. It's a board book full of funny characters, a Duck who can't seem to fix anything right, and rhyming lines page after page. I think this will be a book that the child will get a kick out of as Duck is almost the animated character version of Tim the Tool Man Taylor!

The difference between the board books and the story books of the Duck series are definitely length. We also had acquired Super Duck for a friend of Lukka…

The Nap Time Myth Part 3

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This is the last installment in the three part series called The Nap Time Myth. Start here, part 1, and then go here, for part 2.I wrote these 3 posts because I kept hearing the frustration in other parents who did not feel they had any time to themselves due to a lack of nap time or quiet time with their children. I'm a firm believer in gleaning a pearl from others' advice and discarding what I won't use, so if there is a nugget of encouragement or reasoning that you like here, take it and leave the rest. 
Some parents assume that once a child gives up their nap, which generally happens anytime between the ages of 2-4, that it was the end of their built in free-time, and I'm here to tell you "Not So!" as long as you're willing to do a little legwork. A good friend of mine said once, "Parenting is 80% getting off the couch, 20% ____  (something else... "dumb luck"? I can't remem…

Book Review: Unplanned by Abby Johnson

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I can't remember where I first heard of the story of Abby Johnson, but I remember writing down the book title for my list. I love to read memoirs, and some of my favorite films are based on true stories. This memoir is about Mrs. Johnson's 'switching sides' from pro-choice and working as a director at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas, to her current pro-life stance.

Mrs. Johnson writes an accessible and concise book about this time in her life, spanning around 10 years. It's about 250 pages and I think I read it in just over 2 days...so a very quick read! I was interested to read this because I thought it would be a very clear and unbiased view of both sides of the abortion debate, since this woman sincerely lived both in the context of working for women in crisis, and what that looks like on 'both sides of the fence'.

Abby Johnson is now pro-life and spends her days talking around the country and speaking for Coalition for Life, which helpe…

{This Moment}

Join others in savoring a moment from the week.

Celebrating Children's Book Week

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This week is Children's Book Week, which started off in 1919! It was a national initiative promoting children's literacy and has now become a celebration of choosing the Children's Book Award of the Year, along with Author of the Year and Illustrator of the Year. You can read more, including the history of this initiative, here.
Today I'm just going to share a few of my favorite authors, illustrators, and publishers so that you can find some great books to read for children in your life.
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Source: Uploaded by user via Morgan on Pinterest First off, a combined illustrator and author, Jan Brett. This woman has written and illustrated so.many.books. we seem to find a new one every time we go to the library. Her illustrations are beautiful and intricate, and the best word I can describe is this: meticulous. Her books could literally be d…

The Nap Time Myth Pt. 2

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This post is part 2 of a 3 part series called "The Nap Time Myth". See part 1 here.
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Our children successfully stayed on this schedule (after lunch until mid-afternoon, roughly 12-3) for a number of years. Lukka gave up his nap completely around 2 1/2 years old, and we never told him he didn't have to nap. Just because he is awake, does not mean he can't play in his room quietly, read books, or develop his imagination with the rotating toys I select every couple of weeks. Although the few weeks of potty training aside (while he was not napping, but still in his room), the hardest part of the transition was about a week of consistent discipline for coming out of his room. There are about an infinite amount of ways to train a child to comply with your rules, and it depends on a) the personality of the child b) the type of discipline you choose and c) what matters to your child as far as rewards, incentives, or 'favo…

Movie Review: The Hunger Games

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As a recent treat on a child-free weekend, my husband and I got together with some good friends for a double date. We'd been waiting a long time to get all our schedules and babysitting worked out between the four of us, and we had a wonderful time. We went out to eat, went to a movie, and then went out for coffee afterwards. This particular couple is also very into movies, and when they suggested The Hunger Games, I'll admit I was a little taken aback. I thought it might be fun to see, but I hadn't read the books, and I was pretty sure Stefan would shoot it down. After we'd had some encouragement from them, telling us they thought we would actually like it, we went and though, "Oh well, if it's terrible, it was free!" since we still had movie money from Christmas left over. ... People.... I.Loved.It.
I would definitely PAY the near $20 fee for two to see this movie again, and I can't wait to get my hands on the books. I was so glad I reall…

Visual Monday: Humid