Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Valentine's Day Bark

Are you looking for a quick and easy last minute Valentine's Day treat?
I have it right here:


Need I say more?

Oh, yeah...

Valentine's Day Bark

Almond Bark
Mini pretzels
Valentine's M&M's

Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper.

Melt the almond bark in the microwave, stirring every 30 sec to prevent burning.

Stir in pretzels and spread on wax paper.

Allow to cool slightly.

Sprinkle with M&M's and sprinkles.

Cool completely and break into snack size pieces.


*Linked to these Parties
*Originally published 2/13/12

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

I Am {Review}

This new story Bible from Diane Stortz explores 40 names of God.  Each section includes:

  • The name of God
  • A scripture where the name is mentioned
  • The story as well as the Biblical reference
  • "What does it mean?" section
  • "Learn More" with a reference for further study
  • "What happened next" with a teaser for the next section
The kids and I have been incorporating this book in our circle time in the morning.  Typically we read in My First Message Bible with the kids, but this title looked interesting so we thought we'd check it out.  I really like the way the stories are divided, each focusing on a different aspect of God.  The "What Does It Mean" sections are well-written and applicable and the "What Happened Next?" section is a fun teaser for the next story.

The stories were ok.  The aren't as in depth as our Message Bible and I felt like they could have been more detailed.  While they included the general information, there was details missing that I felt should have been included.

All in all, I do like the format, but I think the real target audience for this Bible is younger than listed.  If your children are 7 and up, I would look for a Bible with more depth.

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this Bible for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Kids' Valentine's Gifts for Every Love Language

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Being a parent of three kids means that I'm always always on my toes.  Just when I think I've got them figured out, something changes and I'm studying them again, trying to figure out what makes them tick.  How do they learn best?  How do they communicate?  And how they do they give and receive love?

So this Valentine's Day, along with the chocolates and cards from Mom and Dad, I want to find ways that I can really show love in a way that my kids will receive it.  All individual, all strong willed, and all speaking a different love language, these three kiddos place value on different expressions of love.  And that got me thinking: How can I speak each child's love language for Valentine's Day?

Acts of Service:  Night off from Chores or a Favorite Meal

If you have a child's who values Acts of Service, why not give them a night off from their chores?  My kids are incredibly active and offering to take their chores for a night or Saturday is very much appreciated.  Mowing the lawn, spot cleaning a favorite jersey, or doing the dishes is an inexpensive way to serve your kids.

One of my kid's favorite acts of service is to have a favorite meal cooked.  They love having a voice in helping plan our menu, but I also like to surprise them and just spontaneously cook a meal I know they will especially enjoy.  It's a simple way of showing your kids that you're thinking about them.

Words of Affirmation: An Encouraging Card, Parent/Child Journal, or Valentine's Door Hearts

When we speak Words of Affirmation of our kids, I can see their whole attitude change.  Their faces lighten up, their shoulders relax, and their whole appearance does a 180.  Take a few moments to reflect and write a thoughtful card speaking into your child's life.  Purchase a journal that you can pass back and forth between parent and child sharing your thoughts and feelings.  Or make Valentine's Door Hearts for your kids.

Physical Touch: Snuggle Time or Back Rub

I have one child that loves to snuggle.  It's so opposite of the rest of this child's personality.  Sometimes I forget just how important it is to keeping this child balanced.  But a little snuggle time, just reflecting on the day and taking some time to just be with each other goes a long way.

Or if being still is too much, take some time to play catch, jump on the trampoline, or go for a bike ride.  Doing something physical together can have a similar affect and create a bonding experience.  Don't forget to high five or give your child a pat on the back after an awesome play or trick.  Put your arm around them as you walk and embrace them in a big hug.

Gifts: Favorite Candy, Book, or Hobby Item

Love Language gifts don't have to be huge, but any small item that's been thoughtfully purchased will bring a smile to your child's face.  About six months ago, I knew Noah had been wanting to try Origami so I took a 40% off coupon to Jo-Ann's and purchased him a pack of Origami paper.  All in all, it cost me about $3 and 20 min of my time.  You would have thought I bought him the world.  That was the most treasured package of Origami paper that's ever been bought.

So keep your eyes and ears open.  Is there something small that your child has been wishing for?  Valentine's Day isn't meant to be overly extravagant, but thoughtful.  Even a package of favorite candy or gum can show that you've been thinking about that specific person.

Quality Time: Go Out Together

This is one of the easiest for me, but probably because it's one of my top two love languages.  My daughter is like this.  She's taken a love for cooking and baking lately, and I've come to realize that a lot of it has to do with spending time with me and my husband.  Since cooking is a necessary part of raising a family and since mom spends so much time doing that, Lydia wants to be in the kitchen as well.  Slowing down and reminding myself to involve her in food prep has been a challenge, but she craves that quality time and it's been a blessing to both of us.

But don't stop there.  Keep an observant eye for other things your child enjoys.  Is it a bike ride, a movie together, or a meal when they can actually get a word in?  For my daughter, she loves having the chance to go out to a meal with my husband or I, away from the loud boys, where she feels safe enough to voice her opinion.

So what about you?
In what ways can you speak your child's love language on Valentine's Day?  

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Weekend Links

This Week:

What I Made:  Pumpkin Sweet Potato Banana Bread (not bad)... #YTMM Collab video about budgeting in the kitchen...

What I'm Reading:  I just finished the book club book for February and it was incredible.  I was reading way too much and not getting much else done.  I just couldn't put it down.

What I'm Doing:  Making hearts for my kids' doors...  reading... :-) 

What I'm Watching: Friends... Youtube...

What I'm Enjoying:  Couch to 5K... memorizing state capitals with Lydia... 

What are you up to?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Valentine's Door Hearts (Love Languages)

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This is a simple, inexpensive way I show love to my kids throughout the year, but especially during the month of February.  Each night I cut out a small heart from construction paper and write one thing I love about that child.  It can be anything from doing an activity with them, the way they treat their siblings, even a special moment we may have shared that day.  I try to look deeper than the obvious to really see areas they're growing in or may need encouragement in.  And it really forces me as well to look for the positive things that are happening in their lives.

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Then I post it on their door each night before I go to bed and it's a special surprise for the morning.  It's fun to mix them together in a cluster to the kids have to read through all of them the next day in order to find the new one.  And it reaffirms the encouragement that I've been giving them all along.

This is a great way to keep speaking into your kids' character, besides the conversations you're having day in and day out.  And it's an especially fun way to love on your kiddos around Valentine's Day.

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