Friday, September 1, 2017

Book Review: The Border

This story of four teens running for their lives is full of raw emotion and intense moments. Regardless of your opinions on immigration, this story gives a vivid picture of the dire situations many people face and should cause us to be more thoughtful about this complex issue.

This is a great read for adults and mature teens due to some language, mild sexuality and violence.

*Special thanks to Sourcebooks through for sharing this book with me in exchange for my honest opinion.

Book Review: This is Where it Ends

Disclaimer: I can not recommend this book to teens for two reasons. First, for the use of the F-word. If it's not allowed in TV or movies for teens, it should't be in books for them either. (See my notes below.) Secondly, two of the main characters are females who claim to be in love, and although there is a strong push to make it a cultural norm, many parents and teens, like my family, still find homosexual relationships inappropriate. (See my notes below.) I will however review this book for it's literary quality.

Tyler feels he has lost everything - well, more like everything has been taken from him. He's angry, lonely, desperate, and feels the only way to make it right is to take his frustration out on the world that has betrayed him - Opportunity High School. His method - a deadly shooting spree - that's how he will not be forgotten.

Caught in the firestorm of Tyler's wrath, this story is told from the perspective of the four people he seeks to destroy - Claire, Autumn, Slyv, and Thomas.

Like: This book is extremely well written from a teenage point of view - not adult thinking, but emotional based and invincible mentality.

Like: It's not political, it's not a social commentary, or philosophically motivated - just telling a story.

Dislike: Culture's misunderstanding of love. Autumn & Sylv's relationship is a perfect best friend relationship, it doesn't need to be physically intimate. Like most teen relationships, it lacks the maturity it needs to really understand the commitment required to make it last.

Dislike: F-word just seems randomly thrown in there and is completely unnecessary when there is very little language in the rest of the book.

*Special thanks to Sourcebooks through for sharing this book with me in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Summer Fun: Beating Summertime Boredem

Keeping kids busy during the summer months can be quite a task and unless you have an unlimited budget for camps and activities, you might have to get creative to avoid the "B" word (BORED!).

Here's how we kept busy last summer:

Make It Monday 
       -craft projects: get on Pinterest and finds some cool ideas, then hit the craft store and make      something cool
       -dig through the recycle bin and build something: a city for cars, a robot, and house for stuffed animals

Take a Dip Tuesday
       -hit the local pool, turn on the sprinkler, or have a water balloon fight

Work Day Wednesday
        -what projects need to get done around the house: yard work, sorting toys, cleaning out closets; give kids simple tasks to help big projects get done

Thinking Thursday 
        -exercise your brain with board games, read aloud books, science experiements

Fun Day Friday
         -take day trips to local museums, parks, cultural markets, go to the movies, or work on a project from earlier in the week

A couple of fun apps we used this summer:
Geocaching (go treasure hunting wherever you are)
DIY (try new things, make cool projects, and earn badges for completing challenges)

Here's my Pinterest board for more inspiration:
Summer Fun!

Hope you have a fun and exciting summer!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Let's Have a Lego Party

My Kids LOVE Legos! One of their favorite events is a free Lego build at the Library a couple of times a year. They have giant piles of Legos and kids just build and create to their heart's content.

I have a son and daughter who both have February birthdays, so we had a Lego Party to celebrate them turning 9 and 10.

It was so easy to plan and everyone has so much fun! We dumped a huge pile of Legos onto the rug, turned on "The Lego Movie", had a few themed snacks, and everyone had a great time. The kids played, the parents talked, and the clean up was easy.

Fun ideas we tried:

- Use dollar store yellow paper cups - draw "Minifig" faces on them.

- Frost brownies and/or rice cereal treats with red, orange, yellow, green, and blue - top with M&M's (M side down) to look like building bricks.

- Buy silicon molds in the shape of Minifigs and Bricks to make chocolate treats and ice cubes.

Hope you find these ideas helpful.
Here's my Pinterest board for more great ideas:

What easy birthday party ideas have worked for you??

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Cheddar Bacon Potato Soup

4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2 c. cooked, crumbled bacon
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 c. sour cream
2 c. milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low for 4 hrs. Stir occasionally. Serve with rolls or  in a bread bowl.

This is another family favorite! Hope you enjoy!

Looking for more easy crockpot meals? Check out my Pinterest board: Slow & Easy Crockpot Recipes

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

She Reached for Help

"I do it all by myself!" the little girl huffs as she tries for the umpteenth time to button her coat.
Do you ever feel like that? So frustrated that you don't have the strength, energy or know-how to do something, but too full of pride to ask for help? I know I do. A lot!

My problem is I need to get over myself and ask for help. But I don't want to bother other busy ladies (or be rejected by them). So I pretend to be superwoman and do it all myself, looking beautiful and all put together while I'm at it. When in reality, on the inside I pout and complain that no one will help me and I'm so overwhelmed.

We all reach points of desperation in our lives. We've spent all our money, given all our energy, tried every trick in the book - there's no way out, no hope left - except Jesus.

In Matthew 9 and Luke 8, there's a story of a woman who was at that point - she had been bleeding for 12 years with no healing, until she reached for help:

 And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment,  for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.    Matthew 9:20-22 (ESV)

And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed.
And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”      Luke 8:43-48 (ESV)

The bleeding woman had reached a point of desperation, she had no other hope for healing, so she reached out just to touch the edge of Jesus' robe, trusting that was enough for her healing. Her simple, consuming faith in the power of Jesus made her well.

I need a desperate and consuming faith in the power of Jesus - to change my life, set me free from the sin of pride, for humility to ask for help from others. God has put people in my life to help with physical needs, emotional encouragement, and spiritual maturity.  I need to accept, welcome, ask for help and stop presuming I have it all figured out and can do it all by myself.

Friday, April 7, 2017

You've Been Egged by the Raulstons

You've been EGGED!

This was such a fun family activity we did to surprise some friends with a little Easter Treat.
(I found the idea here:

First, we filled plastic Easter eggs with candy, 11 eggs per family you plan to "egg" (not chocolate if you live where it's warm, like Texas!), plus one empty egg.

Second, we hid the dozen eggs in the front yard of our friends at a time we didn't think they would be home.

Then, we posted this sign on their front door to let them know  about their surprise (find the free printable here:

We ended up "egging" 3 different families. All of the moms told me later about how much fun their kids had hunting the eggs.

I think Easter is the most important holiday we celebrate, but sadly we don't give it as much attention as it deserves. I'm always looking for fun new ways to make a big deal out of Easter that focus on the celebration of Christ's resurrection.

"Egging" our friends will be a new annual tradition for us. What ideas do you have that I can add to my Pinterest board:
Easter's on it's Way??