Saturday, June 29, 2013

Book Review: Prepared by Grace for Grace

In Prepared by Grace for Grace, authors Joel R. Beeke and Paul M. Smalley "make careful analysis of the Puritan understanding of preparatory grace, demonstrate its fundamental continuity with the Reformed tradition, and identify matters where even the Puritans disagreed among themselves."

The authors sought to tackle a subject matter, preparatory grace, which is almost extinct in Christian study and thought.  This is an exceptional read giving the reader much to think about.  Even though the primary sources of Puritan writers may have been difficult, the authors did a wonderful job in clarifying and ascertaining proper meanings in context.  

Not limiting their primary sources to just a few Puritan authors, the book contains a wide range of thoughts that are explored in their proper setting and context.  I thoroughly enjoyed the distinction of terms when dealing with their opposition to Catholic teachings and when they varied in opinions amongst themselves.  

The authors accomplished the remarkable task of presenting the Puritan preachers as loving individuals concerned with the eternal salvation of souls with its assurance in Christ rather than just outward display of good works.  

The doctrine of preparatory contentment to be damned was unfamiliar to this reader and yet provided much interest.  At first glance, the Puritans seemed at odd amongst themselves in this regard and the authors Beeke and Smalley did a superb job and gathering data to further delve into the matter shining light on the subject.

The Puritan movement as a whole believed that preparatory humiliation must include the recognition that God could in all justice damn us to hell, buy they firmly rejected the idea that one must become content to be damned. p. 176 

Overall, this is a thought provoking read allowing the reader enough interest for further personal study.  

I received complimentary copy of this book from Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an independent and unbiased review.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Spiritual Discipline: Check the Web

I will preface by stating very clearly:

The internet should NEVER replace your real life relationships!!!


With that said, the internet could definitely be a tool you could use to include (not substitute) in your spiritual disciplines.  

There are so many blogs, sites, and resources to help you.  Use them.  

I have to admit that doing devotionals is not my thing.  I start and stop and usually don't finish.  That is of course unless I am doing it with someone.  Accountability works.  

Some sites that are specific for accountability in studying God's Word are:

An online Bible study that is starting that I thought looked interesting is actually starting Monday.  Check it out and pray to see if it's something the Lord is leading you to do.  

I have learned so much from online resources.  From book recommendations to memorization techniques, the internet has provided me with loads of information and help.  

We just have to remember to use it and not abuse it:)

Spiritual Discipline: Don't Do it Alone

What if you are feeling stuck, condemned, or discouraged about your spiritual disciplines?  

Definitely pray!

"But that's the problem," you say, "I can't!"

Get together with someone.  Call someone.  Don't stay alone.

One of the enemy's tactics is to make us feel that there is something wrong with us.  There is something that we're just not getting.  So we feel inferior to those around us that we imagine are mounting on eagle's wings.  And praise the Lord if they are because they can help me.


Their example.  

If they can, so can I and so can you.  Because God makes no exception of person.  Their are no favorites with God.  If He is helping them, He can help me too!

The worse thing you could do at this point is remain silent.  Reach out to a mature sister in Christ whom you could confide your struggles.  Most likely she will pray with you and make suggestions that may help you.  With God's discernment, she might be able to point out pitfalls you aren't seeing.  Best of all, it's out there.  No longer a secret!  Someone else knows who will hopefully keep you accountable.  

So don't stay stuck, condemned, or discouraged about your spiritual disciplines.  Don't stay silent.  Don't do it alone.    

Spiritual Discipline: Mixing it Up

Like I mentioned in yesterday's post, I really don't like referring to my time with the Lord as a "routine."  One reason being, I don't want to get stuck doing the same thing over and over with no room for change.

Although there is a flow of things happening, I definitely want to be open to whatever the Lord wants to do.  For example, some days will include praise and worship and others reading a book I am working through that coincides with spiritual matter (grace, faith, etc.).

I was recently listening to a sister in Christ speak about her spiritual disciplines or lack thereof.  She sounded so defeated and deflated.  She was trying and trying and thought she wasn't getting it right.  

I thought, "By whose standards?"

She was putting so much pressure on herself that she was sucking the joy out of her relationship with the Lord.  She probably had a preconceived way of how things should "look" or "be" in our time with the Lord that she had lost the sheer joy of it.

Thankfully, we prayed and the Lord ministered her.  She came out of prayer renewed and refreshed.

Praise the Lord!

Don't get stuck, condemned, or discouraged.  Your spiritual disciplines are just that--yours and of course the Lord's.  Yours is not meant to look like mine and vice versa.  Let's not let a "set routine" ruin the joy that is only found in His presence.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Spiritual Discipline: First Things First

Beginning my day in the Lord's presence through prayer and reading His Word is essential for me.

In a "perfect" day, my morning routine will look something like this:

  • wake up before my girls
  • spend time in prayer
  • (older daughter usually wakes up here)
  • journaling from my day's Bible reading
  • Bible study
  • (younger daughter usually wakes up here)
  • wrap things up

Some days it doesn't work out like this but for the most part it looks something like the above.  For me, it is important to have a "set" routine (and I really don't like referring to my time with Jesus like this but there isn't another way I know how to explain it:).  This definitely works differently when my husband is off from work and on the weekends, but what's important is that we each know that our day must begin with prayer and in God's Word.  

Just having that set in stone for us has made such a difference in our spiritual lives.  

Instead of trying to squeeze in time to spend with God, you have to schedule your time with God and make everything else squeeze in.  

Friday, June 21, 2013

Homeschool: Planners

This is probably one of my favorite subjects because I like a good planner. 

One of the first decisions I had to make is to stop looking at planners. Since I am very specific in how I like the layout of things, I had to stop looking at other planners and create my own. It is nothing fancy. It just works for me. You on the other hand may prefer a pre-made one and that's great. Whether custom made or pre-made, the point is to use it. 

I have noticed that the more aesthetically appealing something is to me, the more I will use it. So if you are the same, this may not be where you want to cut corners since important information has to be recorded daily. I am not suggesting you go wild here and break the budget to get the extra jumbo deluxe premium platinum planner. Rather, you can add things like colored pens, stickers, and even washi tape to liven things up a bit. 

One more thing I learned is that it has to be bound. I can't have anything that I can add or change because I will spend more time on perfecting the planner than actually using it. So I have to print it out and bind it. If I notice some thing doesn't work, I make a note about it and will make the changes for the next year. 

Find a planner that works for you and stick to it.

Homeschool: Surviving the Choices

Homeschooling comes with so many choices.

That's what makes homeschooling GREAT!  

But at times it doesn't feel so great when you are bombarded with choices.  From where, to when, to how, to with what, there are lots of choices to make.

Today I just want to encourage you to make the choices you feel led by the Lord to make.  No two homeschooling families are going to look alike because each family has its own dynamics.  So let's not try to replicate one another but rather glean from one another. 

I enjoy hearing how other homeschooler's manage schedules and choose curriculums.  Seasoned homeschoolers are a wealth of information.  But no one besides God is the final authority on what works for your family.  

These are some things to avoid choice bombardment:

1.  Pray
There's no better way to clear the brain clutter than prayer.  Set some time before scheduling, planning, and buying to pray and also some time afterwards.  God's guidance and direction are invaluable.

2.  Ask
After prayer, my husband's wisdom is a major source for me.  Since he knows me VERY well, he will be able to tell whether my latest "idea" is a go or a no:)

3.  Listen
Listening to others is sooooooooo important.  Your children are a good source of information of what's working and what isn't.  And while you can't let their every whim dictate your decisions, their observations should be taken into serious consideration.  

Book Review: The World of Jesus

In The World of Jesus, Dr. William H. Marty strives to allow the reader to "Get to know the times in which Jesus lived, so you'll better understand his teaching and ministry.  And along the way, discover how God prepared the world for the One who would turn it upside down."

This book provides an interesting read from start to finish.  Beginning with the Persian Period, the book goes into great detail  describing the lives of the Jewish under captivity.  Each chapter contains 'Questions for Discussion' and highlighted in-depth information is included throughout the book.  The book works its way through the early church and the Herodians providing Biblical references throughout.  

Whereas I appreciate the author's extensive historical account of the times, this book was not what I expected.  The title gave the impression that insights into the world of Jesus would be explored for further understanding of Jesus' life and teachings, yet I did not find that here.  More accurately, this book is a historical account of the Jewish nation from captivity to the inception of the early church.  The author took great pains to include a myriad of references, though I did not appreciate the author's liberty at paraphrasing the Bible verses.

The author's way of interweaving historical events with Biblical account demonstrated God's sovereignty in world events.  He provided enough drama, fact, and references to make this an enjoyable read.  

I received this book for free from Bethany House for this review.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Homeschool: 5 Tips to Help Things Run Smoothly

1. Plan
This can be as structured or as loosely detailed as you want it, but please make sure you take some time to plan. 

I actually like to see how many lessons a subject will have and divide it by the amount of school days we plan on having. Since we homeschool year around, this gives me basically a rough estimate of how many lessons I should do in a month with plenty of cushion. Whether its daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly, just make sure you have some plan set up. Don't leave your school schedule up in the air and as a guessing game for your children. 

2. Be flexible
Speaking about schedules--have one. And when creating a schedule be flexible. I personally have a rough draft of what has to get done in the day but not necessarily when because plans change as things come up during the day. So don't beat yourself up if everything is not running according to schedule. Give grace and receive grace. 

3. Be flexible x2
Along with scheduling flexibility, remember to be flexible in your curriculum choices. You know that super duper curriculum you bought and thought it was going to revolutionize your homeschooling? It didn't! Face it, it is not working. For your sake and that of your children, switch gears now. Don't force it to work just so as to not lose your money.  Maybe the curriculum works but just not for now. Put it away and maybe at another season it will work.  Or maybe it was not a right fit for your family altogether,  so selling it would be better to recoup some of the money.  The bottom line, if something isn't working, change it up.   

4. Take breaks
Along with your double flexibility, add breaks. Everyone should get routine breaks to rest and refresh. It is a great way to evaluate what's working and what isn't. Avoid the burnout and take a break. 

5. Listen
During those breaks, it is a great time to talk but more importantly listen to your children. What's working for them? How are they handling the tougher material? What are their favorite subjects and why? What are they  interested in learning?  What are they hoping to accomplish this year?  How can you help them in any way? Regular evaluations are essential.

I hope these quick tips provided some encouragement for you today and please be sure to chime in and share what helps things to run smoothly in your homeschooling.

Book Review: By Grace Alone

In By Grace Alone, Derek Prince seeks to "help you discover what really matters so you can embrace the grace of a loving, compassionate God.  It's time to stop striving, to walk away from the lies of legalism and to experience the freeing power of His all-encompassing grace."

This book is a fantastic read outlining through scriptural references the difference between the law and grace. The author not only defines these as concepts but rather seeks and succeeds at presenting the value of each in the life of every believer. Prince poignantly emphasizes the danger of living under the law and the more commonly done by Christians--combining the two.

I appreciate the authors ability to take on such a broad topic and narrow it down in order to make it understandable and relatable to the reader without over simplification. The author's constant use of Biblical verses was most helpful and did not seem repetitive.  It actually motivates the reader to read this book accompanied by the Bible.  

Throughout the eleven chapters the reader is taken into an introspective journey beginning with identifying the law and ending with abiding in God s grace. Grace is presented as encompassing the life of the believer rather than an often limited portrayal of an external "undeserved gift."

Although I could not agree with the author's theology of lumping Christian professing religious groups as actual Christians, I still consider this book a good read for those seeking a greater Biblical understanding of grace.

I received this book for free from Bethany House for this review.  This a Chosen book.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Organization: Take it One Day at a Time

It didn't take you one day to make the mess, so don't expect to conquer it in one day.

Take your organization one day at a time.  

Because your goal is not just a clean house but a functionally organized one, keep in mind you are creating a system.  

Any organizational system you develop will require maintenance. So make sure you are penciling those into your schedule. 

Once you make it a habit of purging your purse, tossing the expired coupons, and clearing the clutter, it won't be so overwhelming. 

Work these into your daily routine. There are some things, like cleaning out your purse that may not require  daily but rather weekly cleanings and other things like mail that I suggest going through daily and immediately. 

The point is to create these as a habit rather than a chore for you to do all at once. Before you know it, your house will be organized little by little and you will reap the benefits of knowing where stuff is, what you should buy or not buy when shopping, and overall more space.

The organization of your home is not a one day wonder but a process.  Hopefully, you've been able to learn that:

5.  Taking it one day at time

are all part of creating an organizational system in your home.  Be sure to share any tips on how you create and maintain fully functional spaces in your home.

Organization: It Starts With Me

Instead of trying to organize your entire house and get everyone in the family on board---start  small and start with you!  

You don't want to get overwhelmed when trying to organize your home because you will just quit before you start.

So start small.  Start with you.  

Start with something you commonly use like your purse. I can not list how many times I have forgotten things because of the shuffling of things from one purse/bookbag to another.

1. List must carry items
Begin with a list of must carry items that way you know what to put into the purse and what must stay out. This list should be in place before you start dumping your purse's contents back inside.

2. Throw out the trash
You are really going to start to see the functionality of your purse once it is wrapper and receipt free. Throw out the trash and expired receipts. Depending on the style of your purse, this might be a good time to also spot clean your purse.

3. Filler up
If your purse does not have many compartments, try using small cosmetics bags to keep other items besides cosmetics organized. One such bag could carry a reusable bag, small notepad, and pencil to keep you organized for shopping trips. Tired of wasting money buying fast food when out running errands? Pack some mommy snacks for yourself in a small bag. Instead of having to rearrange things when you switch purses out, you will only have to move your little bags.

Let the organization start with you. Tackle an area or item you use a lot (hair and makeup, shoes, scarves). Once you see the results, it will motivate you to tackle other areas of your home.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Organization: Repurpose

Yesterday's post briefly touched into shopping our own homes and repurposing items. I wanted to discuss repurposing in separate post so that hopefully you can find some inspiration. 

Yesterday I mentioned waiting to purchase the splurge item. Why? Because you may be able to skip it.

I wanted a storage solution for my homeschool teacher manuals. Once I saw this, I was convinced it would work perfectly for me until I saw the price tag. How could plastic cost that much?
Although, I had the money to purchase it, I decided to wait. And in my waiting my answer came (there's a revelation). I had not one but two bags I already owned that I could easily use more efficiently than my original plan. My bags fit alll my supplies and was mobile. I could take it out and move it around from room to room and then put it away when homeschooling was done. Score!!!

Another little repurpose I found was this little Body Shop container. Since I didn't want that bag of cotton rounds in my bedroom, I had to find a concealed place to keep them. Sure there is probably some little gizmo at a store that will keep them and maybe even pop them out to me but I wanted to use something on hand (something free). So when I saw the cute container, I knew it would be perfect. 

Just to show you that these little repurposes can happen and you can make them happen I will illustrate one more example. When I go to the gym I take my daughter's iTouch to listen to podcasts. I use my own headphones and after spending quite some time on the treadmill disentangling them, I decided I had to come up with a solution. I had actually seen cord keepers and cute ones too. Can you guess where? Target dollar section! But I refrained. Instead I have been using a hair tie. Why? Because I had one on hand and it is multi-functional which I really like. Once I take my head phones off I tie up my hair with the hair tie. Because I have been known to misplace those things, the hair tie is not only keeping my headphones from getting tangled but I can rest assured I have a hair tie with me when I go to the gym.

you can see the headphones used similarly used here in my travel goody bag

I hope you are inspired to repurpose items in your home to stay organized. Be creative and think outside of the box. And if you come up with any good ideas, come back and share them.

Organization: Storage Solutions

When living is small spaces, you have to be creative on how you plan on storing all those things. Step one was discussed yesterday-clear the clutter.  If the spaces in your home are functional then deciding what comes and goes is easier. 

So today, we are dealing with what stays. 

How/where do I put all of it?

1. Shop your house
I shop at Costco, so their big bulk items come in big bulk packaging. Reuse that! Take for instance my tide pods. I bought small bags at CVS. Instead of having two bags, I paired them down into this once pickle jar I had gotten from Costco. 
I had also bought, not one but three, spools of twine from you guessed it-Target. Since it came in rolls, I decided to cut the top off one of the rolls and just wind the twine around it. All three (two and 1/4 since some of it had been used) fit on this one small cardboard piece giving me more space in my gift wrap area. So look around and see what you can reuse or create first. Remember the goal is not going to your local Target dollar section to find storage solutions.

2. Simple sometimes is better
Maybe you are trying to conquer paper clutter and think you need to buy those cute file folders to create a new file system. While cute is a good motivator, don't shop, just keep it simple. I find the simpler a system is the more I will use it. So in this case simpler wins cuter.

I wanted to get our homeschool paperwork organized, so I thought I should go to Staples and buy binders and dividers and etc. to get myself organized. I decided that my current simple system was working for me. A $0.01 folder and some already owned labels and sheet protectors were just fine. My paperwork was orderly and easily accessible. If the system works, work it and don't try to recreate the latest Pinterest board:)

3.  Splurges don't hurt either
With the above being mentioned, I don't want you to think that you are banned from having nice quality pieces in your home. On the contrary, sometimes it is better to splurge on items rather than constantly having to replace cheap ones. 

Take my caddy for example. It is a little bit on the pricey side for me, but it is a workhorse. It corrals those little do-dads that we use daily but would create clutter inside the girls' desks. So spending a bit more actually helped me in this case. 

I would definitely recommend holding off for a bit on splurges though just to make sure you need it. Often times the newest thing that you think will help you is sitting right in your own home and not in a store, but we will talk more on that tomorrow.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Organization: Clear the Clutter

This is probably the hardest but at the same time easiest thing to do in order to begin your organization journey-deciding what stays and what goes.

I have repeatedly stated that when deciding whether something should go or stay in our home I will ask myself:

If we were moving today, would I pack this and take it with us?

If the answer is no, then it gets tossed or passed on to someone who could really use it now. If the answer is yes, then I have to make a space for it because a place for everything and everything in its place right?

This is actually some materials I wasn't using anymore, so I decided to pass them on to my niece.

Once this is the mentality, decluttering should be easier. 

Side note: If I require a little boost, I like to look at magazines for inspiration. Not that I am going to flip my house upside down, but make it look better yes!

To start:

1. Start in one area and stick to it
Start small. Maybe a drawer in the kitchen that you know has some junk or a bookshelf containing books you know your children don't read anymore. These are emotionless tosses. Nothing too hard. Don't move on until you finish that task. Once you finish, you can move on to another area or you might even want to call it quits after that one task.  And that's fine.  Baby steps:) 

2. Don't go at it alone
You can be overwhelmed and become discouraged, so enlist some help. You can make it a game with your children or have someone else come and help you. Believe it or not decluttering is so much easier when my husband is around because he is no nonsense when it comes to purging. Since he brings with him a fresh perspective on things, I like having him around. I have also been known to go through a purge-fest when I visit my sister and we always have fun going through her things. 

3. Set up a system
Now that the kitchen drawer is emptied or the bookshelf cleared, what are you going to designate to put back? Or better put, what will its new function be? That once cluttered kitchen drawer could become a charging station, gift wrap station, or coupon center. Don't just throw stuff in because in a short while you will have the same messy drawer to declutter again. So set up up a system and work the system. Non-related items can not be thrown into the mix.

4. Maintenance 
My husband has taught me this one. Things require maintenance plain and simple. That new charging station or coupon center will require maintenance such as:
  • Not putting non-related items into your new space
  • Routine checkups. You want to make sure you are regularly looking at these areas so that they are not becoming cluttered. That new coupon center will have expiring coupons so make sure you stay on top of it by scheduling purging dates. 
  • Saying no. More likely than not you don't need it, so don't buy it. Sure the Target dollar section has gone 70% off but you won't be able to fit all those savings into your new gift wrap station so just pass this one by. There will be another sale. 

Hopefully, this helps you and I to get to work on decluttering and setting up functional spaces in our homes. If you have any suggestions, please let me know as well.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Travel Tips: Before You Go

This is probably the least exciting part as you are preparing for you vacation but believe me it will help you out immensely.

Check off the to do list
Make sure bills are paid even if they are not due just yet.  The last thing you want to think about on vacation or once you get home is that bill that hasn't gotten paid. So do yourself a favor and pay it before you leave. Return any library books and pick up any dry cleaning.  

Finish what you start
Since we homeschool it was important for me to know that they had taken their tests and were done with certain things before we left so when we got back we wouldn't have to relearn things. If we started a chapter, we finished it so that when we got back it would be a fresh start instead of catching up.  If you started reading a book finish it before you go or take it with you.  

Clean your house
This may be tiresome to do along with the planning and packing for your trip, but you will thank me later for this one. Once you come home from vacation, nothing says welcome home like a clean house (including no laundry besides what you bring back and if I am somewhere where I can do laundry before coming home I will:). Shred those papers, put away the laundry, and in general tidy up before boarding that plane.

Random things to do

  • have someone to pick up your mail for you
  • unplug all electronics
  • take out the trash
  • close your windows and blinds
  • empty out fridge of any food that might spoil

I hope you have enjoyed this week of travel tips and that they will be useful for you if you plan on traveling this summer.  If you have any you would like to share, please feel free to share them.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Travel Tips: Packing Light

Once again I turned to Pinterest for this one. I was on a mission to pack light for this trip considering we were making three stops in the Dominican Republic.

I wanted to take pieces knowing that they could be used more than once. I packed one pair of flip flops, one pair of sandals, one pair of crocs, and one pair of sneakers I traveled with. The sneakers and sandals I only wore once:). So I know for next time I won't pack those. Jean skirts and solid bottoms were ideal to mix and match with bright colorful tops. I had also found two jersey dresses from Target one in black and one in gray.  These were versatile pieces to layer.  Most of the color palette I choose to take were selected from the scarf pictured below.  

Each of girls fit our clothes on a carry on and Randy had a full suitcase. We checked all of our bags which made boarding and exiting the plane a breeze. We didn't really have any other luggage on hand besides the purses we carried and Randy's book bag which gave us plenty of leg room on the plane and made it easy to navigate throughout the airport. 

When packing, less can actually mean more-more leg room, more comfort maneuvering through airport security, more peace of mind!

Some must have items:
1. Sun hat (found here)
2. Scarf (a big lightweight scarf is so versatile. From blanket to wrap-it is a must)
3. Sunglasses
4. Purse (whether to carry a book, sunscreen, or other essentials.  Our hotel actually gave us one more comfortable than the one I had taken:)

Book Review: A Heartbeat Away

S. Dionne Moore's A Heartbeat Away begs to answer the question "Can a quilt and a hidden message bring enemies together?"

The Civil War did not only divide a nation but hearts.  Beth Bumgartner's broken leg has led her to a broken heart and more importantly a severed relationship with God.  Knowing the danger of walking in darkness, her mother seeks to get to her a message of hope through the quilt she sends her.  Will Beth see the message and have a change of heart or has her heart been hardened beyond repair?  Confederate soldier Joe's sudden arrival at her doorstep leaves them both with more questions than answers. Will both of them be able to see the hope there is in God or will the war raging in their hearts consume them?

This book did a wonderful job at demonstrating human kindness in the midst of the realities of a war.  Rather than taking on a survival mode mentality, Beth and her grandmother, Gerta's willingness to help the enemy characterized the selflessness maybe too often overlooked in the Civil War's history.  As the war progressed so did the vivid imagery detailed in the battlefield.  The inconceivable atrocities of war and its conditions were sympathetically dealt with rather than turning it into a gory account.  Seeing the heartbreak of the ladies nursing as well as the soldier's despair brought the realities of war into perspective.  

The best part of the book was seeing Beth and Joe grow despite of their hurt.  Both had been hurt trying to save a life and both had remained prisoners of their hurt.  Seeing their relationship blossom from the inner beauty of character rather than on external physical traits was so refreshing to read.  Finding their wholeness in Jesus and not their physical capabilities was simply beautiful.

This book is a refreshing read for anyone interested in historical fiction.

I received a complimentary copy of above mentioned title from Litfuse  in exchange for an independent and unbiased review.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Travel Tips: Medicine

Some of the "emergency kit" items I packed were as follows:

1. Band aids
2. Vapor rub

And that's it. And while I am not big on medication, I definitely think that next time around I will take a special little pink bottle (pepto bismol) and maybe some of their chewables in my goody bag because when you travel with children you just never know. I would also pack some mints in case any nausea takes place (which did after a turbulent ride). I also didn't bring our vitamins which I will next time. And while I did take mosquito repellent I would have liked to have on hand an anti-itch cream. Thank God that while I forgot these items, God didn't. Our family in Christ that we stayed with had these items on hand.


Travel Tips: Your Goody Bag

Now that your child has their fun pack, you might just require one of your own.

I suggest packing a little goody bag of your own to include:

1. Gum
2. Ear plugs 
3. Head phones (because now they are charging for them)
4. Lip balm
5. Small brush (for landing touch ups)
6. Socks (because my feet get cold)
7. Hair tie (to tame the locks)
8. Plastic bag (in case you don't make it to the bathroom)
9. Tissues
10. Mints/tums (you never know:)

I actually did not have a bag like this ready for our trip and now know better. I had some of the things listed above in my carry on purse and some I didn't. It would have just made things a lot easier to have it in one compact place rather than throughout my bag. Also, the flatter the better since you don't want to add any bulkiness to your bag.  

P.S. I also brought a scarf with me on the plane because this girl gets cold and they are charging for the blankets too!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Travel Tips: Fun Pack

If you are traveling with little ones, this is a MUST!!!!

While planning for our trip to Dominican Republic, I also had to make some plans for Sara's (7 years-old) plan ride.  I quickly went to the source of cute ideas--Pinterest.

I found this and decided to modify it a bit since I knew I was not going to sew anything and wanted something quick and easy.

I opted to go the Target $1 section route and found these goodies:

I got the envelope/file folder pink thing and decided to fill it with the goodies I found (except the crayon box which I just added to her bag).

1.  Coloring roll
2.  Memory game
3.  Pack of Puzzles (these came two for $2)
4.  Notebook
5.  Pencils

In order for everything to fit, I took out the memory game and puzzles from their boxes and put them into plastic baggies.  Once everything was packed, I put into her own purse so she could take it out when she wanted.  

This was such a blessing on the round trip to the Dominican Republic.  I strongly suggest to pack something for your children while traveling.  Something like this could even work when you are out with  your children at appointments.  

I hope you found this helpful and if you have any suggestions on what you could add to the fun pack, please let me know.  

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Clean Slate

It has been a loooonnngggg time since I have sat down to blog.  In preparing for our trip to the Dominican Republic (which you can see pics of here and here and more to come:) and settling down once we got back, blogging fell on the back burner.

So I wanted to wait for a a brand new month to begin a month long blogfest (weekends excluded:)

I am going to tackle 4 main topics:

  • Travel Tips
  • Organization
  • Homeschool
  • Spiritual Disciplines

Each week I will discuss a topic and post something topic related. Hopefully, you'll glean some information and I will get back into the grove of things.