Tag - Christian

10 Things I Heart in Winter

I know it’s not “officially” Winter yet, however the things I love all have to do with Winter or the Winter season, so I’m posting my 10 Things I Heart in Winter.

10 Things I Heart Winter MommyB

Here we go!

1. Warm coffee, yummo!!! Here are my favorite varieties:

    • On-the-go –  Starbucks, (My favorite is Hazelnut Macchiato with soy milk)
    • At home – Real Cup Coffee, they have awesome coffees and teas that work great with my Keurig and both hubby and I love. I personally love flavored coffee (see above) and for the Winter season they have a great Winterfest flavor.

Real Coffee MommyB

    • For stocking stuffers – Craft Coffee’s Coffee DNA Project™, if you know a coffee lover this great coffee subscription features coffees you probably won’t find anywhere else in a great sampler size (not too small not too big). Answer some questions, customize or get their recommendations.

2. The Spirit of Giving.

I reviewed and posted about this awesome book last year – The Sparkle Box Book Review and we fell in love. Without giving any of the storyline away the book encourages families to do for others. It not only gives a great incentive to have a giving spirit, but it reminds us what Christmas is all about. I love seeing our sparkling box this time of year and love that my girls desire to fill it up with good deeds for others. Hope you check it out!

3. Smiling Faces, Fun Experiences, and Cute Pets.

Where do all those things appear?? Instagram. Yep, I heart Instagram. Probably my most loved version of social media. It’s less controversial than Facebook can be at times and rather than all the words on Twitter I can see fun, sweet, beautiful pictures that embody the lives of family, friends, and coworkers (aka other bloggers and pr companies).

Recently I received an opportunity to check out #Cube™. Basically it’s a large 8” square LCD touch screen display, that taps into Instagram. #Cube™ delivers real-time and instant continuous delivery of a stream of photos and video clips, has built-in Wi-Fi, free wireless software updates, and is rechargeable. You can put #Cube™ anywhere in your house and move it around easily because it’s wireless (and really cool too.)

Classic_1680_hashtagcube_0008_color9

 

If you know someone who would love this as a gift, or want to buy it for yourself (that’s okay too), head to hashtagcube.com/#cube and for a $15#cube discount use coupon code: CUBE71 at checkout (affiliate link).

4. Christmas Cards

I love making our Christmas Cards each year, but even more so I love receiving them. We’re thankful for any cards we receive this time of year, but I’m especially partial to those with pictures of beautiful families, awesome couples, fun kids, awesome babies, and sweet pets. This month we’ve already received a bunch and I can’t wait to see new ones that come each day and hang them up.

5. Elderberry

Each time we get sick (which I feel like for a family of four isn’t too often, but often enough), I have a couple of dear friends who remind me the power of Elderberry. Well just last month I decided to get on the Elderberry train and I’m so glad I did! I didn’t realize all of the great benefits of Elderberry especially when you’re fighting an illness.

Norm’s Farms (locally in NC but ships worldwide), has an AMAZING selection of Elderberry products, that we used and loved (okay the girls didn’t like the taste but I thought it was similar to cranberry and loved it). My favorite product is their Elderberry Extract which is great for boosting your immune system, and has 2 times the amount of antioxidants than blueberries. They also have some great jellies and jams you’ll want to check out as well.

Norms Farms Elderberry MommyB

I also found some Elderberry products in health stores like lozenges that included zinc which I’ve heard is also another great, homeopathic way to treat a cough/cold. So don’t put it off like me, try Elderberry and then come back and thank me when you fall in love too!

6. Gettin’ Crafty.

Now that my girls are older, they want more hands-on activities and learning opportunities that a coloring book just won’t achieve. We often keep recycled materials in a bin in their “kids’ office” but we also buy science experiment kits, and craft sets.

We were able to try CreatorBox, a built-it-yourself subscription box that includes a new toy each month. The box comes complete with instructions and quality materials and feature some really cool things you wouldn’t normally think to create like a trebuchet/catapult, paper airplane launcher, and smart house.

For us, this was a great project for the girls to do with DaddyB because I often work on arts, crafts and projects with them, but due to DaddyB’s work schedule the quality time he does have is on the weekends. We saved our catapult for the girls to put together with him and they had a blast with it! I highly recommend this for great family bonding, and learning too!

7. Holiday Shopping

We don’t go big for Christmas presents but we do buy each of our girls 3 gifts (want, need, read) and this year we also bought most of our family 3 gifts as well (one thoughtful gift, one gift card, and one handmade gift). While at a recent BJ’s Holiday event, my assistant Lil’ C and I were introduced to quite a few great gift sets and learned a little more about BJ’s Wholesale as well.

Though we were members for several years, mostly buying diapers and paper products, I never realized how much larger BJ’s Wholesale is than their competitors, carrying more than double typically. They also have a great charitable foundation that gives back to the community and each store also participates in several outreach opportunities throughout the season including an angel tree. Did you know that???

Here are some of the great gifts for two-legged family and friends (and some four legged ones too):

BJs Holiday MommyB

 

8. Fun Movies

I love fun winter and Christmas movies, don’t you? The problem with fun movies though is that there are so many to choose from, so I’m gonna try to keep my list simple. Try is the operative word people. In no particular order:

  • Elf, for obvious reasons.
  • Iesodo’s new JOY themed video
  • The Grinch (good lessons in here)
  • Home Alone (and Home Alone 2 but if I have to pick, I’d go with the first one)
  • Any Veggie Tales Christmas, Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas, Saint Nicholas is a great one to teach your kiddos about who St. Nicholas really was, and the Ultimate Christmas Collection has a bunch of great holiday DVDs in one great set.

9. Goodies

Yep, it’s the season of candy and sweets, cookie exchanges, and delicious stocking stuffers. One of my favorite places to pick up sweet treats for my family is CVS/pharmacy. They have the usual treats like candy canes, gold coins (which I always put in the girls’ stockings), and other great candy bars, nuts, and trail mixes to name a few, plus the sales and prices are….awesome.

CVS Gold Emblem Select MommyB

10. You! 

The biggest thing I love this Winter is you!! I always try to remind you, my readers, that I’m so thankful and blessed to have you stopping by my site, reading, and sharing my posts. I hope that you have a great winter, a Merry Christmas and of course an awesome New Year. Thank you for being so amazing for yet another year end. I heart you!!!

 

 

 

This is not a sponsored post, however I have worked with some of the above brands in various ways and received some product to showcase on my blog. Any and all opinions expressed in the above post are my own honest thoughts. Yours may vary. 

Advent Ideas for the Whole Family

I know Advent has already started! I can’t believe it’s December already, not only because it was 70+ degrees here in North Carolina, but also because I don’t feel like it’s time for the end of this year. {Tell me I’m not the only one in this boat.}

In lieu of Advent, one of the most awesomest times of year that we get to celebrate the birth of Jesus and show even more love and kindness to those around us, our family likes to honor advent and count down the days until Christmas with a paper chain filled with fun activities and thoughtful acts as well.

Advent Ideas for the Whole Family MommyB

 

Here is our list {in no specific order} of things on our Advent chain.

  • Make a gingerbread house
  • Decorate the house {inside/outside}
  • Donate Food to a local food bank/cause
  • Make homemade presents
  • Wrap presents {with Christmas music and snacks of course}
  • Christmas Craft
  • Invite someone to church
  • Watch Christmas Movie {movie marathon or movie night}
  • Have a holiday playdate
  • Make a birthday cake for Jesus and sing Happy Birthday
  • Send Christmas Cards {kids help address, stuff, stamp}
  • Take gifts to civil servants, doctors, etc.
  • Head to our favorite botanical garden {we love Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens}
  • Visit a {live} nativity {we enjoyed Billy Graham Library’s festivities}
  • Read Christmas stories from the Bible and check out some great books our family likes to read.
  • Write a letter to Jesus {and leave it under your tree or read aloud and share as a family}
  • Go caroling with some friends in nearby neighborhoods or Senior Assisted living communities
  • Drive through your neighborhood or a neighborhood that’s known for it’s lights display
  • Make paper snowflakes and then display them
  • Help your child make or purchase gifts for their classmates {we made play dough one year}
  • Help your child make or purchase gifts for their teachers
  • Send a care package to missionaries, {we’re going to send ours to the Yon family}
  • Celebrate St. Nicholas Day, which just so happens to be my birthday. {Believe it or not the real St. Nicholas focused on giving more than receiving and so this day we plan on doing something kind for others}
  • Have a secret Santa with family or friends but instead of giving gifts write thoughtful notes or draw pictures.
  • Have a neighborhood night in {invite neighbors for yummy food and great fellowship}

Again, those are only a few ideas and the ones we’re using this year, it’s easy to find other ideas online as well.

 

I’d love to hear if you celebrate Advent and how you celebrate it. Also let me know if you decide to use any of these ideas too!!

Matthew 1:21 “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

 

Happy December!

Tips for Parenting a Fearful Child

There are many reasons that children are fearful. Some reasons are based on their age, some reasons are a reaction to an event, some reasons are learned, and some are just a part of that child’s personality.

God gives us the exact child(ren) that we are supposed to parent. He knows us and He knows that child and He doesn’t make mistakes.

I remember when my children were full of worry and had fears about bugs, animals, the day ahead of them, I asked their pediatrician if their fears were normal. Each time I asked he assured that it was okay and normal for them to feel the way they did.

Some part of me however felt like I needed to fix them, to take away their fears, and I found myself praying that I could find a solution to calm their anxiety.

God had a solution for me, it wasn’t what I expected though.

God reminded me that He made my children JUST THE WAY THEY ARE for a purpose. I don’t need to “fix” my kids, I don’t need to do anything other than pray for them, thank God for their strengths and realize what I might consider weakness God will bring blessings to His name through every part of them if they allow Him to.

My biggest piece of advice to parents of fearful children would be to remember God is in control and your child His child is exactly as they are meant to be.

There are ways to not change, but helping your kiddos through tough situations. Tools that can be helpful for them and you to use to calm down or remind them also to trust in God include:

Prayer – Help them create a prayer or elements of a prayer that they can say when they are worried or scared.

Communicate – Often times your fearful child may not want to talk when they are afraid, but remind them that you are available to listen and help if they feel comfortable in that moment.

Read – Grab your Bible and find verses on fear and print them out on an index card and post them where your child (and you) will see them.

Online websites, and books have a wealth of knowledge to help you parent and help your child. I especially like God is Always Good, this book is perfect for children ages 4-8 and helps to comfort children through showing different situations where they may be scared as well. I love that each situation also has a corresponding Bible verse that you can remind your child of.

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This is a really sweet book, and I really enjoyed reading it to my girls, but also the communication and questions that came up as we were reading were invaluable. Kids can even read to each other!

 

Tips for Parenting Fearful Children

{Read a few pages HERE and Buy your copy HERE}

 

Also enter here to win your copy:

 

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As a Tommy Mommy I received a copy of this book. I am not compensated and all opinions expressed in this post are, as usual, my own.

What is a University Model® School?

Disclaimer – I do not work for Naums nor have we started schooling at Naums, all information is from the Naums website or information shared from people who have been schooling and my general but limited knowledge of the University Model® school setting.

Lately I’ve had quite a few people ask me what school Miss A will be attending in the Fall and to explain more about how her school works.

Let’s rewind to school last year when Miss A was attending 5-day, traditional private school. DaddyB and I felt that, for a lot of reasons, the school Miss A was attending and a traditional 5-day school weren’t a great fit for Miss A so with the fact that we were open to moving (since we sold our home and re-rented it back ((a story for another day)), that we could really explore all schooling options.

The public school for our neighborhood at that time was not an option for several undesirable reasons, but we looked into other private schools in different areas and counties, did our research on charters and after reviewing all of our options we decided, through much prayer and thought, that the University Model® school seemed to be the best fit for Miss A and our family.

 

What is a University Model® School Answers and information on MommyBKnowsBest

 

What is a University-Model® school?

The University-Model® school (UMS) model is an option for education that is not the traditional 5-day setting. According to NAUMS (National Association of University Model Schools) “the UMS model of education takes the best attributes of home schooling and combines them with the best attributes of traditional, Christian education.” For our family we felt like it would be the best of both worlds, we would have more time to spend with Miss A (and Lil C once she starts Kindergarten), and give more hands-on learning, while focusing on a university style program.

The program at the school we chose (which keep in mind each University-Model® school has the same foundational roots, but can be very different), is strongly grounded in faith and both character and academically driven.

Our school is a private school, not a co-op for homeschoolers or a public/charter school. I believe this is similar to most University-Model® schools, but am not 100% sure if this includes all of the schools.

“The ultimate goal is that of producing wholesome, competent men and women of character who make a positive difference for Christ in the next generation.” Naums.net

 

How is University-Model® school different from traditional public, charter, magnet, or private schooling?

This school system is unique in that it is not a 5-day program. This model gives students a portion of professional full day classroom instruction and a portion of home study days with curriculum provided by the classroom teacher.

For our specific school Miss A will have 3 classroom instruction days and 2 days of home study. For our family it was amazing to think that we will have more days with Miss A than she will be in school (counting weekends Miss A will have 4 days at home and 3 days in school). Curriculum is based on several factors and highly supported with communication between teacher and parent.

Some things we loved specifically about this school and the University Model® are that they are founded on faith, character and academically driven, in our program subjects can be integrated, the school Miss A will be attending has an amazing support system for both mother and father.

Here are a few quotes from parents who have been using the University Model® with their children about what UMS is:

My short short explanation that usually is followed by a conversation is “picture university/college. You don’t go into class every day, but you have work to do every day. My kids go into class three days a week with their professional teacher and then we do work assigned by that teacher at home two days a week: projects, reports, review work, etc…” A Mom Who Tried Homeschooling for a Year and Realized it Wasn’t a Good Fit for Her Family

A combination of professional classroom time with two – 3 days at home using school developed lesson plans. Family and Christianity are also a common tie for all UMS’s.” Susan S.

 

What is a University Model® School Answer on MommyBKnowsBest

 

The biggest reason we chose a University-Model® school

While academics are important to our family we felt that we could have more time with our children and play an even larger role, while cultivating their relationship with God and enriching their character. To us, having healthy and happy children who have the tools to happy and healthy adulthood, were invaluable.

If you are interested in learning more about NAUMS and University-Model® schools please feel free to reach out to me via my contact form or head to NAUMS website Naums.net for more information.

 

Please keep in mind we have not started University-Model® school as of this post publish date and that each school within the model are very different and others may have different opinions or experiences. The above message is to both educate on the University-Model® school and give you one mom’s opinion.  I will update any information in this post as it comes available to me.

 

10 Things I Heart in Spring

10-Things-I-Heart-Spring

I decided that I would not write about Spring on my blog until it finally felt like Spring here in Charlotte, NC, however today, it’s going to be up in the 80s so I’m not sure if I’m allowed to write this considering the summer-like weather we are having. Then again, how can I not share with you things I’m hearting this Spring?!?!

Disneyland in the Spring MommyB
1. Traveling – Although we’re in the midst of packing for our move in June, we have been traveling a lot this Spring. We had the opportunity to visit Disneyland in California, where the weather was amazing and we had a BLAST! And we just returned from an amazing trip to Georgia where we visited the Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola (I’ll have trip reports on both soon!) Where have you traveled this Spring or where are you traveling to?

Build-a-Bear Spring2. New friends – We have been making lots of new friends this Spring! We recently started going to story hour at the church we’ve been attending and making new friends there AND in stuffed friend news, we got a new Spring Build-A-Bear friend who is an ADORABLE Soft & Sweet Lamb ($18) She has fluffy white fur that’s perfect for cuddling. Our little lamb is all dressed up for Spring and tea parties AND at Build-A-Bear you can also add scents so your furry friends smell oh-so-sweet, how cool is that?!?

3. Outside Fun – We are blessed to have a nice, flat, and decent size backyard so lately we’ve been spending a lot of time outside. If it’s nice out I’ll let Miss A do her homework outside and of course lots of chalk, bubbles, running, scooters/bikes, and water table play. How about you??

4. Spring Cleaning – I know this sounds soooo strange, but I really do love organizing and cleaning, even though these days I don’t have quite as much time as I’d like to do either. Luckily, the move gives me a great excuse to do a little bit of both. I’ve been trying out a few new cleaning products including some Method products and Nature’s Kloth.

We try to be a little more eco-friendly here and there and both of these products help. We’ve been using Nature’s Kloth instead of a sponge and replacing the way we clean with paper towels to create less waste. I love that it’s eco-friendly (biodegradable, washable over 300 times, made from cotton and plant fiber, and more) and is great for many uses inside and outside the house. I definitely feel better about cleaning when there isn’t a huge pile of used papertowels in my trash.

5. Healthy Kiddos – I am super thankful for healthy kiddos. Lately we’ve been pretty healthy especially considering that we’ve been flying and traveling a lot. We have a lot of friends who have not been so fortunate this Spring. For those uncomfortable fevers and painful colds and aches we give our girls Children’s Advil. For Lil’ C who does not do well with any sort of pain, this does the trick for us. I love that they have so many flavors (and dye-free versions) too since she doesn’t care for most medicine flavors. Plus, they have some fun activities and tips for parents on how to stay healthy.

Garden Lites Collage

We also love that our girls like healthy foods like Garden Lites. Miss A surprisingly enjoyed these gluten-Free, veggie muffins. They’re high in fiber, and low in fat. Miss A’s favorite flavor was: Zucchini Banana Chocolate Chip. They have loads more flavors and come in a box of 4 with an SRP of $3.99.

Lee Fashion Spring Capris

6. Spring Clothes!! – I love a good infinity scarf, especially the beautiful chevron one that one of my friends gave me for my birthday, but I really enjoy wearing comfy Spring clothes. I love wearing adorable maxi and sun dresses because they are so flowy and comfortable.

I am also loving the new Lee Spring collection that features bermuda shorts and capris that are comfortable while being dressy at the same time. If I need to dress up an outfit some of their capris and shorts come with adorable, fashionable belts as well. Here are a few of my other favorites from their collection:

Lee Spring Collection

 

7. Parties – I always love a good get-together and with the girls’ birthdays, holidays and end of school coming for us, Spring is always filled with fun parties and celebrations. We’ll have a small birthday get together for Miss A {since we went to Disneyland the girls aren’t getting their usual HUGE parties}, a class party for the end of the year {here’s an end of the year gift idea}, and loads of friends birthday parties.

Iesodo Video8. Good Message Movies – We were sent a couple of videos from Iesodo (pronounced Ya-Sa-Doe) that retells Bible stories with animated animals, mainly birds. My girls LOVED the videos and have been singing the catchy songs every day since we’ve watched them. We love sharing these videos with our friends because we know the language and content are appropriate for all viewers. Even if you have no religious affiliation, but want your children to learn good values, these videos promote wholesome character traits and morals and is good for children of any age.

9. Pasta Salad – Of course you can eat pasta salad anytime of year, but this is the season pasta salads shine! I really love cold, crisp salads with lots of veggies. What’s your favorite pasta salad recipe?

B girls with Genevive Goings Choo Choo Soul at Disneyland

10. Meeting Amazing People – Not that this is necessarily a Spring thing, but since we went to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, we were able to meet some pretty amazing people. One of our favorites though was Genevieve Goings from Choo Choo Soul with Genevieve.

Miss A says her favorite person/character she met the entire stay was Genevieve and we met a lot of people/characters so that says a lot. Of course we fell in love with Genevieve on Disney/Disney Junior with her Choo Choo Soul songs and realized she did more music for Disney as well as a round up of songs from Disney classic movies.

We’re excited to hear that her first Independent Children’s Album for pre-schoolers is called “Do You Know?” and releases June 3, with the first single “My Telephone Number Is” available NOW on iTunes.The album focuses on learning key fundamentals with Genevieve’s unique brand of “Kids Music with Soul.” I got an exclusive preview of the songs on her new album and wow!

My girls love to dance and sing and they get that from their mommy, this is one album you will not be able to contain the dancing. Our favorite songs are: “My Telephone Number Is” {great for helping your child learn your phone number, a MUST}, “Inside Voice” {which is rockin’ and rowdy in the best possible way and teaches kids when and where to use their inside/outside voice} and surprisingly, “Gotta Do My Business” {a potty song with swagger}.

I love when kids music is both appropriate and enjoyable and Genevieve definitely accomplishes that with the album. I can’t wait to buy a copy for our family and give one away on the site along with a few other goodies! In honor of Spring, I’m giving away a $25 Build-A-Bear gift card, 2 copies of Iesodo DVDs (Faith and Love) and once it’s available on June 3rd, a copy of Genevive Goings’ new album.

Enter here to win!!

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This is not a compensated post, however I did receive samples of some of the above products/brands and chose to tell you about them. All opinions expressed in the post are my own honest thoughts.

Jesus Paid it All Easter Kids Craft {Guest Post}

Easter is “springing” up everywhere around us- stores are filled with chocolate bunnies, plastic eggs, and all things pastel.

While the marshmallow peeps are quite appealing to us all, its important that we take a moment to refocus and teach our children what Easter is actually all about- God sending His Son Jesus to the earth to live the life we could never live and die the death we should have died.

Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, conquered death, and rose from the grave. Easter is a time to celebrate the life of Christ and the new life we can have in Him!

I was looking for a creative way to share with my daughter the message of Easter in a fun, kid-friendly way. I came up with this simple craft idea. This craft is great to do at home, or would work wonderfully for a Sunday school activity too! And you can make it for less than $5 worth of supplies from the local dollar store!

Jesus Paid it All Easter Kids Craft

What You Need

  • 1 pack construction paper
  • 1 bag cotton balls
  • 1 bag plastic coins (on the party favor aisle at Dollar Tree)
  • Glue
  • Markers or Crayons

How to Make It

The Lamb:

  1. Trace your child’s hand on a white piece of construction paper (or if they are old enough, they can trace it themselves- my daughter is only 18 months, so I had to trace hers for her)
  2. Cut out the hand, flip it upside down, and glue it on a colored piece of construction paper (your child can choose any color paper)
  3. Draw a lamb’s face on the thumb using markers or crayons
  4. Glue cotton balls onto the palm of the hand

The Cross:

  1. Glue coin pieces in the shape of a cross onto the same piece of colored paper. Children can be creative, using all silver, or all gold, or creating a pattern

Finish It:

  1. Using a marker or crayon, write out 1 Peter 1:18-19 on the top of the page
  2. At the bottom of the paper, write (or have your child write) their name and year
  3. Make sure everything is dry before hanging on your fridge or bulletin board

 

What are some of your favorite kid-friendly Easter crafts that celebrate Jesus?

 

 

imageMelissa is a Communication Studies graduate of Clemson University. She recently traded in her human resources job for the best and most challenging career of all, being a stay-at-home mom. She loves coffee, cooking, crafting, and watching football. Melissa is also a former National Champion baton twirler and currently teaches baton lessons and judges baton twirling competitions across the nation. She recently launched the Honeybee Homemaker blog about her faith, family, and fun kitchen endeavors.

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How to Teach Children about Global Ministry and Goodwill

Often times I hear the argument from people as to why we should bother helping people in our own countries when there are so many people struggling with poverty, healthcare, and other issues in our own nation.

Last I checked, no where in the Bible does it say that we are to only help those who are our neighbors. If we want to single out only those that are in other countries, what’s to say that we shouldn’t start segregating by gender, ethnicity, religion, age, and so on?

I enjoy helping people whether they live under my roof, are in my community, live in my state, have a home in America, or live on the same planet. For me the word “neighbor” isn’t specific to the zip code I live in.

One of the reasons I’m so passionate is because I love helping others. I hope that is evident by posts on volunteer projects with my family, working with a local domestic violence non-profit, and other events/things I don’t need to list out. I don’t help others only because I truly have a heart for others but because God commands us to help one another.

James 2: 14-17 says, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

Sure, we can memorize all the Bible verses in the world, and talk to others about our faith, but if we’re not putting God’s love and grace into action how are we truly reaching others?

How are we teaching our children about global ministry and goodwill??

Teaching our children about other countries and their needs whether they are preschool age or in college, we can all learn new things about what life is like around the world. In the Five-Day Experience your family can enjoy learning about Kenya. By taking 15 minutes a day, sitting down as a family, and participating in this devotional you’re offering your family chances to openly discuss, pray about, and grow a heart for neighbors in other countries.

I love this experience because it gives families personal stories of real people living in Kenya, fun facts about the country and then ties it in with a compelling bible verse. There’s also a student version available for bible studies and student groups.

How can we apply what we are learning?

One organization, Awana Clubs International, encourages families {and non-families alike} to help their neighbors by putting their faith into action. Right now in Kenya, Awana is reaching 122,000 kids, creating life-long disciples that will help transform their slums, neighborhoods, villages and cities. As you’ve seen in the news, Kenya is a place that needs hope, the hope of the Gospel, and that’s where you come in.

Through their current project, Not the End, you can purchase limited edition t-shirts for $15, where more than 40% of each purchase goes to helping fund training and further the reach of ministry in Kenya. To “sweeten the deal”, Crossway publishing company is donating a Bible for each shirt sold.

Not the End Awana Social Media Graphic

For many of these children, this Bible will be first one they may have owned. What’s even more incredible, if a person, family or organization sells or buys 30 shirts, their name will be entered into a drawing from which five people and a guest each will be selected to travel with Awana to Kenya in 2014 to minister in the slums of Kibera, do service work in an orphanage and distribute Bibles.

Buy your Not the End shirt HERE and change the world. Also make sure you follow We are Not the End on Facebook, Twitter and when you buy your shirt make sure to hashtag #wearenottheend

Not The End MommyB

 

 

I received a Not the End T-shirt and marketing materials and was asked to write about this project. I gladly agreed. My family and I love supporting great causes and if you see it posted on my blog it’s something that I stand behind or think you should know about. Thank you for reading and sharing!

My Favorite Christian Christmas Books and Bibles for Families

Looking to add a few new books to your family library? Whether you want to add a couple of new Christmas books that will become life-long favorites, or if you want to be able to look at your Bible in a different way I have 4 books that you will definitely want to check out.

Christian Christmas Books

The First Christmas NightI love the variety of books that depict the birth of Jesus, there are so many great books that tell the Christmas story in their own way. First Christmas Night by Keith Christopher and illustrated by Christine Kornacki tells the story of the sweet baby in a manger, but not only through words. The beautiful images in this book come to life, so much so that Miss A asked if they were photographs. The book is simple enough for young children to understand and yet timeless, lending itself to be read year after year.

Another book that has cemented a place in our Christmas family traditions is The Sparkle Box: A Gift with the Power to Change Christmas by Jill Hardie.

If my job wasn’t to describe this book to you, I may be speechless. The story in this book is one that we have been talking about the past few months. Helping others and placing their needs before our own.

This book had moments that touched my heart so deeply that I was moved to *almost tears. I loved that Lil’ C {age 3} was following along with the story and that it enhances our desire to teach our children to have a servant heart. I won’t spoil the story, but the Sparkle Box we got from our book is now sitting on our fireplace mantle and will reappear each year without a doubt. Perhaps it can spark a new tradition in your family, too.

The Sparkle Box

Christian Children’s Storybook Bible

Do your kiddos like reading the Bible but you wish they would really get into the stories a little more? The Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook brings favorite Bible stories to Life.

The really cool thing about this new storybook is that it features scannable QR codes highlighting videos featuring key Bible stories, narrations from Jenna Lucado, {daughter of popular faith author Max Lucado}, as well as 145 colorful illustrations depicting favorite Bible stories and even more pages full of stories your children will really get into.

The Big Storybook Bible Collage

This is a great book to read with your child and discuss.

Check out this video to see the augmented reality that The Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook brings your family.

 

Christian Family Bible

CEB Study BibleThe Common English Bible released its new Study Bible on October 1. Because the CEB made the top ten translation list and has held it’s place, the’ve now introduced their Study Bible. The CEB Study Bible is a great Bible for families with children of all ages. This Bible includes historically-based notes, 210 sidebar articles, parallel verses, maps by National Geographic and five articles written by Christian scholars.

Not only does this Bible help family members understand the words of the Bible, but it also allows thought provoking discussion giving our faith feet and helping our children really understand the Word of God as they learn and grow and build their own relationship with God.

 

Do you have some great Christian Christmas books or new Bibles that you and your family love? Share them here by leaving a comment and make sure you’re following me on Facebook and Twitter too.

 

Be sure to pin the following image to save and share:

Christmas Books and Bibles for Christian Families

 

I received review copies of these books, I was not compensated to write this post and all opinions expressed are my own, honest thoughts. Yours may vary.

Pack a Box for Operation Christmas Child with a Veggie Tales Party

Operation Christmas Child LogoHave you heard?? This week is National Collection Week for shoebox gifts for Operation Christmas Child!!! Now through November 25th, stop by a Drop-Off Location with your shoeboxes.

Each gift provides much more than fleeting moments of joy. With each gift, Operation Christmas Child shares the good news that Jesus loves every child.

Haven’t packed a shoebox yet?? Why not host a packing play date for your children and their friends and family?

We had the amazing opportunity of hosting an Operation Christmas Child packing party in our home. We invited some great friends who brought their shoeboxes and gifts with them. We snacked on some Veggie Tales themed treats {some vegetables were harmed in the making of this play date} while we watched the newest Veggie Tales movie, Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas, featuring the voice of Duck Commander’s own Si Robertson.

Operation Christmas Child party

The children loved watching the movie, and got to hear all about the true meaning of Christmas. After the movie we were able to teach the true meaning of Christmas by packing our boxes, remembering all of the children who would be opening the gifts we were sending.

ChristmasAboutGiving

Unfortunately a few of our guests had to leave {one got sick}, before they could pack their boxes, but here are the ones we were able to complete.

Operation Christmas Child Boxes

Of course no Christmas celebration is complete without singing {an early} Happy Birthday to Jesus and enjoying Christmas Tree cakes.

Are you packing a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child this year? Will you make it a big play date and invite your friends or have a quieter packing session with your immediate family?

 

There’s still plenty of time to pack your boxes and it’s only 5 easy steps!

1. Find a shoebox. {Make sure it’s not filled with vegetables or stinky shoes!} Feel free to decorate your box or leave it as is.

2. Make a choice. If you want you can design your box and it’s contents for a boy or a girl and also choose from a range of ages. {We always pack the boxes for 2 girls the same ages as our girls.}

3. Fill ‘er up! Fill your box with gifts and goodies {no veggies please}. Check out Samaritan’s Purse’s gift suggestions HERE. {This is our favorite part, I let the girls fill their own boxes up and remind them as they pack how thankful the child who is getting the box will be when they open it. I also remind them that God calls us to help others, and we’re doing what He’s asking us to do.}

4. Get ready to ship. Unfortunately the post office will not deliver these awesome gifts without money, I asked {just kidding!}. But it’s only $7 to make sure each shoebox gets to the little boy or girl it’s meant to be with. You can include $7 when you turn your box in to a Drop-Off Location, or…the method I like better is to pay the shipping fee online, print off your special label with barcode and track your boxes all the way to their final destination!!

5. Drop off. Using the great online resources that Operation Christmas Child has provided, find your local Drop-Off Location. Unfortunately, there are some areas that do not have Drop-Off locations {I know, I know}, however if you are interested in participating you can also build a shoebox online.

 

Thanks to Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child for sending us the movie and goodies for our guests and giving us the opportunity to give to those in need. 

Teaching Children How to Help Others

Disclosure: This blog post was written for The Momiverse, pursuant to their engagement by brightpeak financial. All views expressed are entirely my own, and were not influenced or directed by either the Momiverse or brightpeak financial.

As I’ve mentioned before our family has a big heart for giving our prayers, time, and money to help the needs that others are experiencing. Whether they are right in our very own city or across the world, God has called us to share what He has given us and not limit it to one zipcode.

Teaching Children How to Help Others.jpg

Sponsored Child.jpg

I truly believe that showing our children how blessed they are in many ways with allow them to be more compassionate and empathetic adults. Those are qualities you can’t buy or teach from a book. Finding age-appropriate activities to help out causes we believe in is fairly easy, and so rewarding.

Most recently, we decided it would be a great idea to sponsor a child overseas. For us, we’re a semi-frugal family, we enjoy eating out, use coupons occasionally, and sell and shop consignment, however with our current bills we need to be mindful of our spending.

I know we were called to give to this little boy and his family and therefore we’ve sat down to discuss our spending habits and areas where we can cut back in order to be able to provide the donation amount we have committed to.

Here are a few ways we are saving:

– Spending less money on eating out by better meal planning

– Packaging snacks and drinks for travel instead of buying at rest stops

– Making homemade gifts for friends and family

– Using more coupons and rewards cards

– Researching kids eat free participating restaurants

I know these aren’t new ideas on how to save money, but I share our family’s efforts. If you have any suggestions that may work for us as well please feel free to leave a comment below.

In the meantime, I’d also like to tell you a little more about brightpeak financial. I love their slogan, “Live Intentionally, Learn Simply and Work Purposefully. We exist to help Christian families experience life’s journey with strength and generosity.”

They are in the business of helping people at every level of financial know-how. Topics covered on brightpeak financial’s website range from a guide to help you choose your child’s future guardian should something happen to you, {seriously something we all should be thinking about}, an article on fighting fair about money, {the number 1 thing that couples argue about}, and an entire category on money management and debt.

After navigating through brightpeak financial’s website, I found several really useful tips that I’ll be sharing with DaddyB to implement in our own family. Those tips will come in handy as we teach our girls how to help others by creating our own financial responsibility.

I am excited to share this information with you, and I truly hope you find it helpful as you look for articles and resources to help with your family’s finances.

 

brightpeak financial | The MomiverseTo learn more about the resources available from brightpeak financial, visit brightpeakfinancial.com or find them on Twitter or Facebook.