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Wisconsin Vacation Recap

A couple weeks ago our family visited Wisconsin for a much-needed vacation with my parents, sister and nephew. We were quite the crew, but it was perfect. Only a 3 hour drive away was very do-able for the kids.

Day 1: Arrival

We stayed in Mishicot, WI at the Fox Hills Resort. The resort was ok. It was quirky and definitely needed updates, but it served us well. We were able to have many adjoining rooms, including a full kitchen and living/dining room. That helped with food. It is such a chore to take 3 little ones out to a restaurant. We did a few times, but it is much easier eating at home.  Everyday we ate breakfast at the resort, some lunches, and most dinners.

I think one of Maddie’s favorite things about this vacation was that she got to watch cartoons in the morning. Our kids are early risers, earlier than my nephew, and most people,  so we tried to keep them corralled in our room as long as possible. This meant Maddie got to watch PBS kids, while we chased Asher around. She discovered a new show she likes, call Wild Kratts, or as she calls it, The Brothers.

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Homemade Crib Rail Protection you Won’t Find on Pinterest

It may be a slight exaggeration to say that my son is part beaver, but seriously, has your crib ever looked like this?

I know we shouldn’t compare children, but my daughter never left marks like this. Teeth marks, yes, but not gnawing like she was going to bite through the bars completely.

I knew I had to do something when I came in to get him from his nap and there were brown paint chips all over his face from the crib. That can’t be healthy.

I remembered seeing somewhere about how people used pool noodles and you could make a fabric overlay for them and use that. Great idea! But I am not a sewer, and have no sewing machine or time to learn. And besides, this was an emergency. Something had to happen, like, now, before he got a splinter in his mouth.

So, this is what I came up with on the fly, without purchasing anything. Read more

Preparing for Easter

(Note: some of the links in this post are affiliate links. You can read my policy here.)

Easter is fast approaching, and if you’re anything like me, then you don’t feel prepared mentally. But there are things you and your children can do to prepare for Easter.

Family Devotionals

I have been doing devotionals with my kids everyday using the JellyTelly 5 Minute Family Devotionals for Easter. If you don’t know what JellyTelly is you can check out my post all about it here. Those have been wonderful. Every morning I read a short passage of scripture, read the prompt and they watch a short video. Then we briefly talk about what they learned and we pray. My kids are young, 3 and 1, so short is a must. But I feel like it has helped me too.

Listen to Podcasts

Sometimes you may not have time to sit and read for great lengths of time, but listening can be done while on the go, or while doing tasks. I love listening to podcasts as often as I can. Recently FamilyLife had a series on celebrating Easter with your family which was really spot-on and gave many good things to think about in regards to Easter traditions. I highly recommend that you check it out for ideas on how to start meaningful traditions for your Easter that focus more on Christ than eggs and bunnies. Read more

My Homemaking Mentor Academy: Enrollment is Only Open until April 3

(Note: The links in this post are my affiliate links. If you need more info, check out my disclosure policy here.)

First of all, I just want to apologize for telling you all about this amazing academy so late in the game. Enrollment is only open through tomorrow, April 3. It’s been a crazy week, and I did not feel up to blogging. But, there is still a little time, so check it out.

My Homemaking Mentor is an online training academy designed for Christian women who want to craft a gospel-centered home. I am so excited about this academy. The courses offered are extremely practical and helpful. And better yet, you get LIFETIME access to all the courses included now and any added in the future. Plus, you will be part of an awesome community of like-minded women.

What is included in the academy?

15 full courses on homemaking
50+ practical videos
12 Titus 2 mentors to guide you through the academy
Printables & worksheets
Instant and lifetime access to the academy, including any future additions
The ability to listen and watch anytime, anywhere, on any device

You can also check out the link below for a more in depth look inside the academy.

What is the cost?

$99, which may seem high, but as I mentioned, you get lifetime access to all that is offered now, in addition to any future courses added, and I know that more will be added. They also offer 100% money-back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied, but I know this academy is amazing, so I doubt that gets used much.

Why do I need this?

Lets face it. Not all of us had great mentors, teachers or parents modeling for us what homemaking is all about. It’s not like it’s taught in schools. So where do you learn about what homemaking is, and not only homemaking, but biblical homemaking? There are many resources spread out all over, but this is a resource all in one place that you can keep coming back to again and again.

I have not personally gone through the academy yet, but I love what’s in the courses and know the importance of each subject matter. I have spent many hours researching these things for myself before the academy ever came to be.

In our budget right now, $99 is just not gonna work, so I completely get that. If you are a little tight on funds right now, Jami Balmet does offer a FREE e-course, which I highly recommend as well. It’s called Finding Joy in Your Home, Essential Habits for Christian Homemakers. This is also a great introduction to the types of courses you would find in the academy.

Again, I apologize for posting this so late, but I wanted to make sure you at least had an opportunity to check it out for yourself. If you do end up joining, please let me know. I would love to hear your feedback.

Happy Homemaking!

Homemade Edible Play Dough Saves the Day and Makes Us Blue

Last Monday it snowed here. We haven’t seen snow in a while, and even though we could have still gone out, I opted for an inside day. Normally, I hate inside days because they are torture with two little ones under 3. But I guess I was feeling rather adventurous. I found this recipe for edible play dough on Pinterest a few weeks ago and decided it would be the perfect time to try it out.

It’s super simple, only 3 ingredients: coconut oil, cornstarch and marshmallows.

Maddie helped me count out the marshmallows and put them in each bowl.

I added the rest of the ingredients and food coloring and ended up making three colors: pink, purple, and blue.

It was a little more dense than I thought it would be, but we were able to make a few things with it.

As I finished helping Maddie make a snake I took a peek at Asher and discovered that he really liked it too, only in a much different way.

I was so happy it was edible because he thought it was snack time, not play time.

By the end of our time he had it everywhere! In hindsight I should have stripped him down before we began, but I don’t think of that in the middle of winter. Needless to say, after play dough time came bath time.

I didn’t really care for the consistency of the dough but it did the job of helping pass the time and it was simple to make and clean up from. Maybe I would try it again and mess with the ratio of ingredients.

What are your favorite ways of passing the time with little ones when you are stuck indoors?

How Long Can our Family Go Without Buying Any Shampoo or Toothpaste?

How long can I go without buying our family any shampoo or toothpaste is the question I am going to answer this year. Since the start of the new year I have not purchased any new shampoo or toothpaste for our family, and honestly, I think we can make it all year, or longer without buying any more.

What Inspired this Challenge?

Trying to save money, for starters. But secondly, when I looked in our linen closet and saw that we had several full bottles of shampoo, a few full tubes of toothpaste and like a million samples that were unused I started thinking, “I bet if we were to use up some of these samples that we could go a really long time without buying any product.”

How Did I Acquire So Much Product?

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Where Can I Find Something Good for My Kids to Watch? Try JellyTelly!

In this day and age screen time is just a fact of life, but it is so hard to find content suitable for little eyes. And even though there are some shows on broadcast tv or cable that are pretty good, the commercials can be really annoying or worse. I really want to have control over what my little ones are watching as long as I possibly can.

And that’s why I decided to go ahead and give JellyTelly a try.  JellyTelly was created by Phil Vischer (original creator of VeggieTales). They have a lot of FREE content on their blog, which is amazing, and you should subscribe to. That’s where we started.

I fell in love with their 5 minute Family Devotionals and signed up to receive them daily in my email.
My 2 year old daughter loved sitting with me as we would watch a short video and discuss the story. I love the crafts and coloring pages that they provide as well. We had a lot of fun cutting out the characters and re-playing the entire story again. And, as I mentioned, that is all FREE.
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I Hate Teething, but I Love Good Deals!

Friday was one of those mornings. Asher was teething, again, and was super whiny and screechy and needy and I had to get out of the house ASAP before I lost my mind. I was so thankful that the rain stopped so we could get out, and also thankful for stores that open early because by 8am we were packed up, in the car, and ready to roll.

I also just have to say that I love Meijer! I always spend more money than I need to when we shop there, so I limit our trips, but either way, I still love it.

We took our time there, exploring the clearance sections and of course we stopped by the fish tanks. Those are always a big hit with the kids. We meandered through the kids clothes section and then finally picked up the few items I actually came into the store to purchase before heading home.

If you have time to browse and can shop during the week and early morning, you can sometimes find some great deals. That was the case today and I was so thrilled. I was able to find some kids Valentine’s cards for 30 cents a box. I don’t know if we are going to save them for next year or just play with them now because they have characters on them my kids like, but either way, we can do something with them. I also found some heart shaped cookies for 80 cents that we very much enjoyed at lunch. And I found chocolate for me and John for about $1 for both hearts.

It makes my day to find such fun deals, and it didn’t put us over budget!

Did it really help with the teething? Unfortunately no, but I guess great deals can’t solve all the world’s problems. The chocolate on the other hand….

What’s a great deal you’ve found lately?

Top 5 Reasons Our Family Loves Slugs & Bugs Music

I love Slugs & Bugs! No, not the creepy crawly kind. I really can’t stand that kind. I’m talking about the kids music. I say kids music because that’s really who it’s intended for, but, not so secretly, I really love it too. Slugs & Bugs is the music brand started by Randall Goodgame and Andrew Peterson in an effort to create fun, quality music the whole family can enjoy. You can read more about their story here.

Here are the top 5 reasons why our family loves Slugs & Bugs music:

1. Slugs & Bugs LIVE

We recently saw them in concert at our church and it really helped enhance my kids love for Slugs & Bugs. It was exciting for Maddie to get to meet Mr. Randall Goodgame and thank him for the fun time. I was excited to get to meet him and thank him for his ministry and heart for kids and God’s word. The concert itself was full of action and interaction and videos. It held Maddie’s attention the entire time and even when it was getting close to bed time, she was still enthralled. She came home wanting to do all the actions for the songs, and we still do, at least the ones I can still remember.

2. It’s silly, fun and smart

The silly songs are intelligent, well-written and so much fun. I mean, everybody loves “The Camel Song”, right? And I can’t lie and say that the “Mexican Rhapsody” has not randomly popped into my head. Pico de gallo anyone? Oh, and my kids like them too. My almost three-year-old, Maddie will randomly burst out into “Tractor, Tractor”, or the “Bears” song. And after the concert she also randomly asks, “Have you looked under there?” (Check out the “Under Where?” song if you want to know why) Read more