Sweet Tiny Blessings

Night Night Farm Children’s Book + Giveaway

My children are fascinated with farm animals.  They could watch them all day and copy the sounds they make.  Naturally, when choosing a book to review from Tommy Nelson this month, I felt like Night Night Farm was a perfect bedtime story for them.

Night Night Farm

About Night Night Farm

When the sun begins to go down on the farm, you and your children can follow along as these sweet farm animals say good night to their mommies and daddies, as well as, their heavenly father.  Your little ones will be reminded that God loves them, too.

About the Author

Amy Parker has written many books for children, teens and adults with more than a million copies sold.  She has collaborated with best-selling authors and with her own son.  Amy’s greatest reward is being a wife to her husband and a mother to her two sons.

About the Illustrator

Virginia Allen lives in a New Hampshire village where she enjoys collecting children’s books and hiking.  Some of her recent projects include Mother Goose Pajama Party, Your Magical Life and The Three Little Pigs.

My Thoughts

My children and I enjoy any book that captivates my kid’s attention with how much God loves them.  And this precious book does just that.  It’s so well written and beautifully illustrated. This board book will last a long time in our home.  It is one that will be past down to my children’s children.  You can purchase Night Night Farm for $8.99 at Faith Gateway Store.

Giveaway

Tommy Nelson is giving you a chance to win a copy of Night Night Farm for your sweet tiny blessing.  Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter.  This giveaway is open to US residents only.  Get connected with Tommy Nelson on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for all the latest products, sales and giveaways.

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One Big Turkey Children’s Book + Giveaway

Disclosure: I wrote this review of One Big Turkey on behalf of Tommy Nelson.  All opinions are my own.

One of my son’s favorite stories is One Spring Lamb written by Anne Vittur Kennedy.  She has a new book out that is similar, except it’s related to fall and Thanksgiving.  I can’t tell you how many times we’ve read this book over and over.  Little M is definitely thrilled to have another book like his favorite because enjoys counting so much. This one is called One Big Turkey and it’s been a big hit.

One Big Turkey

About One Big Turkey

You can count your blessings with your child as you read along together with One Big Turkey. The beautiful, board book makes counting an enjoyable learning experience. The rhyming text will take you and your child on a fun, Thanksgiving adventure.

About the Author

Anne Vittur Kennedy loves the quiet space of her studio and lives in Ohio with her husband, Jack; her dog, Brody; and her horses, Sitka and Frisco.  Similar books she has written, include One Shining Star (perfect for the Christmas season) and One Spring Lamb (related to Easter).

My Thoughts

Even though the book is geared towards children 0-4 years old, there are many sight words that my 5-year-old picked up on.  This book is perfect for the upcoming Thanksgiving season. I love that it’s a board book.  It makes it very hard for my kids to accidentally (or on purpose) rip the cover or pages. You can purchase the same book we received for $8.99 at Faith Gateway Store.

Giveaway

Tommy Nelson is giving away a copy of One Big Turkey to one blessed reader.  Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.  Don’t forget to stay connected with Tommy Nelson on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.  This giveaway is open to US residents only.  Good luck!
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Baby, Baby! Children’s Book + Giveaway

Disclosure:  I wrote this post on behalf of Propeller Consulting.  All opinions are my own.

My husband and I decided long ago that we only wanted two children.  As my littles start to grow out of the baby stages and move into independence, sometimes I get a bit sad.  As the cliche goes, they grow up so fast.  I miss the baby snuggles, tiny clothes and watching them master new skills.  But the things I don’t miss, is the cries (from both me and baby) and the sleepless nights.  We are very blessed, because we will have a sweet, baby niece soon.  I can’t wait to love on, snuggle her and read to her.  I’m looking forward to giving her a new book called Baby, Baby! written by Diane Stortz.

About Baby, Baby!

Baby, Baby! is a sweet, colorful board book that appeals to their interests, such as looking at books, other babies and their flowering abilities.  This short, rhyming poem applies all three in a sweet and happy way, while introducing baby to God’s love for them.  The simple words are paired with colorful images of babies engaging in familiar activities.  And it ends with a reminder that baby is always loved by God.

My Thoughts

The illustrator, Allie Busby, did a fantastic job with creating a diversity of babies throughout the book.  The mirror at the end of the book makes it personalized as well.  This is a fun and captivating book, that perfectly describes God’s love for your baby.  You can purchase Baby, Baby on Amazon for $7.99.

Win a Copy of Baby, Baby!

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing a prize for the giveaway.  Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you won a prize from our sponsor in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  This giveaway is open to US residents only.
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Seven Years with This Guy

It’s been seven years since we stood over 10,000 feet high, in front of God’s beautiful mountain canvas, to say “I do!” And it’s been a breeze ever since.  I’m totally kidding.  As any married couple can attest to, marriage is hard work.  I mean, as individuals, we are constantly growing and changing in all areas of our life.  And it’s the same for couples.

Seven Years

I look back and think about who I was seven years ago.  I felt excited for our future but I could have never imagined what our story would look like.  We’ve had so many blessings, challenges, changes and moves.  Each of which has helped me to grow closer to my husband, but also has drawn me closer to Christ.

I just want to brag on my husband for a little bit.  He is an extremely hard worker.  He has been the sole financial provider for most of our marriage, sometimes working more than one job at a time.  This has allowed me to be able to stay at home with my kids.  Though I’ll admit, sometimes I feel guilty for not being able to provide financially or feel like I don’t have much of a purpose.  But let’s get back to my husband.

He makes me laugh so hard, I cry

He is a great dad

He is loyal, trustworthy and faithful

He meal plans and cooks dinner (yes ladies, almost every night.)

He cleans the bathrooms (along with many other household chores)

He forgives easily and says he’s sorry

He loves me in sickness and in health

And that’s about it.  No, just kidding!  I could go on and on.  But I won’t get too mushy on you. My prayer is that we grow stronger as a couple.  That nothing will divide us and that we keep Christ at the center of our marriage.  I thank God daily for him (especially when he comes back from business trips, ha!)

Seven Years

 

 

We are Surviving Kindergarten

A month ago, I had felt completely prepared and excited.  I had no idea my emotions would flip flop so quickly.  All of a sudden, I didn’t know what to expect or how to let go.  Yup, my daughter, my first born, let go of my hand and stepped right into kindergarten.  I wasn’t sure I could walk out that door or leave her behind in such a big and new environment.  The emotions I was feeling hit hard and quick.  Surviving kindergarten is a little more then I presumed.

Surviving Kindergarten

But we did it!  We survived the first day (and half week) of kindergarten.  Big C loves kindergarten more then weekends.  What?!  Who is this child?  I hope her passion for learning never ends.  My prayer is that she excels and never struggles in learning, but catching on to knew concepts comes easily.

The first half week of kindergarten wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies, though.  Well, maybe the butterflies part is true.  Because we both had them in our tummies.  We are still getting used to the new schedule, traffic and procedures.  As Big C waits for mommy to pick her up after school, her nerves get the best of her.  So we’ll try something different this week and see how it goes.

I can’t even describe how proud I am of my daughter.  Her teacher has told me that she’s a pleasure to have in class, a great listener and wonderful role model for the kids around her.  I cried tears of happiness when I read those words.  I hope she keeps it up, because at this rate, she is definitely surviving kindergarten.

Surviving Kindergarten

Surprisingly, her energy level is still sky high by the time she gets home.  I thought for sure she would curl up on the couch and rest or fall asleep once she walked in the door.  Nope, she is more like the energizer bunny.  Thankfully, she crashes at bedtime and is ready to conquer a new day in the morning.

Did your children (and you) survive the first of Kindergarten?

Win Free Waffles for a Year

This post is sponsored by Van’s.  All opinions are my own.

Can you believe school is right around the corner?  Big C starts her first day of kindergarten next week.  I’m a little anxious about our new routine.  We’ll have to wake up much earlier, eat breakfast a little quicker and take a longer ride to school.  But eating a quick breakfast, doesn’t mean it can’t be healthy.  Our family loves Van’s waffles and the many different ways we can eat them.

To celebrate all moms and make our lives so much easier, Van’s is hosting a Back-to-School giveaway for a year’s worth of free waffles (52 coupons) and three signed cookbooks from celebrity nutritionist and best-selling author Joy Bauer.

Mom’s Survey

Van’s offers quick, wholesome options like whole grain and protein waffles that are so delicious, you’ll feel great about serving them to your children.  And your kids will love them. When Van’s conducted a survey of 1000 moms, wholesome breakfasts was very important:

  • 58 percent said they rush through their morning hair and makeup routines
  • Nearly 40 percent admit to wearing pajamas to drive their kids to school
  • 17 percent apply makeup in the car
  • Almost 70 percent of moms said they feel better about themselves when they serve a hot breakfast, and they count protein, whole grains and kid-friendliness as the lead factors for making good choices for their families.

Van’s waffles comes in a variety of different options to fit the needs of all eaters, from kid-favorite minis (with 27 grams of whole grains per serving) to Van’s Gluten-Free waffles (free of gluten, dairy and egg) and Van’s 8 Whole Grain waffles (with 7 grams of fiber).

Win Free Waffles

Van’s Waffles are available at grocery stores, mass merchandisers and natural food retailers nationwide.  To find Van’s Waffles at a store near you, you can visit Van’s Store Locator.

Win Free Waffles for a Year

Van’s is giving you the opportunity to win a year’s worth of free waffles (52 coupons) and three signed cookbooks from celebrity nutritionalist and best-selling offer Joy Bauer – “Slim & Scrumptious,” “From Junk Food to Joy Food” and “Food Cures.” (Approx. $275 value)

This giveaway was facilitated by Van’s Foods.  I was not compensated for this post but did receive free product samples.  All opinions are my own.

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Insecurities

She looked in the mirror and tears filled her eyes.  Then she begged me to allow her to stay home. She didn’t want anyone to see her like this.  This was the first time, even an ounce of insecurities, had ever taken over her little, five year old body.  Though I thought she looked precious with the new gap in her smile, losing her big, front tooth was quite traumatic for her self-esteem.

For weeks now, she has been so excited that her third tooth was loose.  She couldn’t wait for the tooth fairy to visit.  So I wasn’t expecting her to be so distraught when it finally popped out.  As the tears welled up in her beautiful, brown eyes, my heart strings were being pulled.

I promised her no one would make fun of her.  I told her that her friends would be excited for her or think it was cool to have lost her tooth.  And losing teeth happens to everyone.  She finally came around and let me take that first precious memory of her.  Big C, you are bold and beautiful from the inside, out!

Insecurities

In less than two weeks, she will enter into kindergarten, in a whole new world for her (and me).  Though each night I pray for her to feel, be and give love, I know she may experience times of rejection and heartache far out of my control.  My heart strings will be pulled harder and I’ll be down on my knees so much more.

But Big C, I pray that you will always know that mommy is here for you.  Whenever you feel nervous, scared or insecurities pop up, I will listen and encourage.  When you have doubts or struggles, l will be here to hold and hug you.  I pray that you will never be distracted by what the world is trying to offer you, but always know that God’s offering is secure and everlasting.

 

 

Leading your Child to Christ + Giveaway

The most important teaching in my child’s life, is the lesson of God’s love and the gift of salvation.  Though I try to show this through my actions, I don’t always have the right words. Tommy Nelson has provided me and my children with a beautiful new book, called I Believe In Jesus – Leading Your Child to Christ, in exchange for sharing with you my thoughts and opinions.

Leading your Child to Christ

What is “Leading Your Child To Christ” all about?

The author, John MacArthur, creates a timeless story of salvation – from creation to eternity – in words that children can understand.  They learn how much God loves them, what it means to be saved, and how they can express their faith in Jesus.  You will find beautiful illustrations, accompanied by Bible verses on each page.

About the Author

John MacArthur is a father and grandfather who believes that Christians’ greatest responsibility is to share Christ with their families.  he and his wife, Patricia, have four married children and fifteen grandchildren.  John is also a best selling author, the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, the president of The Master’s College and Seminary, and the featured teacher of the Grace to You media ministry.

About the Illustrator

Dominique Mertens spent his childhood in the beautiful Belgian countryside, and today he is known for displaying the boldness of nature in his art.  He studied illustration at the Saint-Luc Institute in Brussels, and he has been receiving special honors for his work since 2000, including the Annual Bologna Fair awards and a grant from the French Community of Belgium to publish his book Corentin and the Dragonfly.

In the book, I Believe in Jesus – Leading your Child to Christ, your child will learn that they can trust God, He loves them, He forgives them and He wants them to live forever in His wonderful heaven.  It is a reminder to keep trusting God our whole lives.

You can purchase the same book my children received for $14.99 at Thomas Nelson. This book is the perfect gift for parents, grandparents, Sunday school teachers, and Bible teachers to share with the children they love.  Tommy Nelson is giving you a chance to win a copy of I Believe in Jesus – Leading your Child to Christ.  Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter.
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What’s Your Summer Snapshots?

I can’t believe how quickly this summer is flying by. My daughter will be entering kindergarten in less than a month. And despite the anxiety I had about her growing up, we are both so excited for this new adventure. She was accepted into a great arts and communications school that I know she will thrive in. But before we jump into the school year, we’ve been enjoying our laid back, summer break.  Check out out summer snapshots.

It is super hot in the summertime, here in Florida. So pool time has been a recurring event most days. Friends have opened up their homes and pools to allow us to swim. And we’ve been enjoying company on a weekly basis. All this excitement really tuckers our little guy out. Sometimes, he just can’t make it to the crib. So the couch for nap times has happened more than once.

Summer Snapshot
Catching Z’s on the couch

This summer has also been a time for me to get back into shape. After my c-section two years ago, I had excruciating nerve pain.  I gained a lot of weight because I couldn’t exercise. By joining the local YMCA, using My Fitness Pal app and the Walk It Off Now Challenge, I am so close to my goal weight.

Big C loves pay day.  She has done well with her chore chart to earn her commission.  Her bank consists of three sections, give, save and spend.  I think she has close to $30 in savings.  It’s been fun for her to take her spend money with her shopping.  And she recently donated $17 dollars to Instride with her give money.  She is proud of the special t-shirt she received.

Summer Snapshots
She has a big heart

Spending my days at the beach was one of my favorite pass times growing up.  We live about a half hour away from the closest beach, but packing up all that gear and then rinsing everyone and everything off afterwards, is such a daunting task to me.  But Big C’s summer request was beach time.  So we did it!  I felt like it was a successful trip until we had to make the long walk back to the car.  Both kids were whining and crying the whole way.  I’m glad we did it though.  And I think it will get much easier as the kids get a little older.

Summer Snapshots
Beach Bound
Summer Snapshots
Sun kissed

Birthday parties are big in the month of July.  We’ve done plenty of partying.  We enjoy loving on our family and friends and spoiling them any way we can.  Big C would celebrate a birthday everyday if she could.  Play time and cake, who could blame her?

Summer Snapshots
Cupcake cheeks

Another summer in the books.  I would love to hear all about your summer snapshots.  Did you take any fun trips or vacations?  Or did you stay put, like us, and make your memories close to home?

Finding Financial Peace + Giveaway

Finding Financial Peace

I was scared and frustrated.  I think we both were.  We were living a pretty good life from the outside, but financially we had no idea what we were doing.  I shared with you in the past that we were living paycheck to paycheck with quite a bit of debt underneath us, close to $30,000. We were considered “normal” with our student loans, credit card debt, cars and boat, medical bills and without a savings.  We wanted a change, but just didn’t know how. Finding financial peace is what we were searching for.

By the grace of God we found an answer.  We found a way to break free from the chains and make a future for our family.  We were so thankful to find a Financial Peace University class right inside our home church. I want to share our financial journey with you in the hopes that you will find financial peace, too.

I am partnering with Dave Ramsey, to give one of my readers, a chance to win a Financial Peace University Membership Kit valued at $369. In exchange, we’ll be receiving Rachel Cruze’s new book, Love Your Life, Not Theirs. But before we get to what’s in the kit, let me share with you where our family is now.

Our Financial Peace Update

Dave Ramsey’s class consists of the 7 Baby Steps.  The first step is to save a $1000 emergency fund.  We had a little extra cash, but if we didn’t set a thousand aside, we would have blown through it quickly.  This step has saved us a couple of times.  We are currently on step 2, which is the debt snowball.  This consists of putting all debts in order from smallest to largest, pay the minimal payment on all of them, except for the smallest.  Put extra money into the smallest until it’s paid off. Then, use that payment money towards the next lowest debt and keep paying them off.

Will it Work for Me?

The one remark I always receive when explaining step 1 and 2 is, “but we don’t have the extra money to create an emergency fund or put towards debt.”  We thought the same thing. So here is what we did.  First, we created a budget.  Every month (usually more often), we sit down and figure out where we want our money to go first.  We know we need to pay bills, pay for gas and eat.  Sometimes we need school clothes or go to the dentist, so we add those types of necessities in each month, as well.  Then we add in the fun category. Everyone thinks you can’t have fun on a budget, but it’s not true.

After we created our budget for the first time, we realized we had more money left over then we thought and we were living way beyond our means.  The next thing we I did was prepare for a garage sale.  I went through everything in the house and received donations from family and friends.  With over a month of planning and local advertising, I made almost $500 at my garage sale!

With the $500, I negotiated with the collections company AND paid off our lowest debt.  This helped us get our debt snowball rolling.  Being a stay-at-home mom, it felt great to be able to contribute financially.  Since October, our family has paid off close to $10,000 including a collections bill, student loan, hospital bills and a car.  And for the first time in our lives, we are tithing with an open heart.

Our Financial Peace University class has been one of the biggest blessings for our family. Not only have we learned how to get out of debt (and stay out), we’ve learn other lessons, too.  These include how to pay for cash for our car (never lease), when to rent and when to buy, the 15 year mortgage plan, what insurance we need (and what we don’t need), Roth RIA’s, 401k’s, college for our kids without student loans and so much more.

Giveaway

Finding Financial Peace

Dave Ramsey wants to bless one of my readers with a Financial Peace University Membership Kit.  With this kit, you’ll receive everything you need for your local class to finding financial peace, including:

  • Online Access to all Nine Lessons
  • Member Workbook
  • Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money
  • Envelope System
  • Budget Forms Folder
  • Progress Poster
  • And resources to help you along your journey

Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.  Don’t forget to stay connected with Dave Ramsey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube for financial tips, resources and discounts.

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