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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wearing Skirts/Dresses in the Spring{Seasonal Skirts Blog Hop}

Photo Credit

Nearly two years ago, I wrote about our family's transition to wearing skirts and dresses most of the time. Wow.  I hadn't really realized it had been that long until I just wrote that! It's been quite the journey and though we do still choose to wear pants and capris on occasion, our growth in this area has really blossomed.

I decided to start this series because of the many questions that I've heard about how women who are like me actually dress throughout the year.  Since each season has its own traits that have an effect on clothing choices, I thought that having four separate posts would be the best option.  Ten other bloggers have joined with me to co-host this hop, all of whom wear skirts and/or dresses mostly or only.  The co-hosts are:

Erin at For Him and My Family
Laura at Raising Soldiers 4 Christ
Kyndra at Sticks, Stones, and Chicken Bones
Selena at Look! We're Learning!
Mrs Warde at Sceleratus Classical Academy
Cynthia at Cynce's Place
Melissa at Life Off the Paved Road
Dawnita at Fogleman Forerunner
Hilary at Our Homeschool Studio
Annette at In All You Do


We look forward to sharing with you how we do it and please feel free to link up your own posts as well! 


Without further ado, I'll start with myself.  I'm no fashion guru.  I have to tell you that upfront just in case you had high expectations.  Thrift stores are my best friends and my biggest priority as a mother of four small children is comfort.

I'm also a nursing mother, so for now, there won't be many one piece dresses shown as they do not offer me access to feed my little guy. 

Here are six outfits that I've worn in the last few weeks:

Outfit #1
Black and white striped 3/4 sleeve shirt
Knee length denim skirt
Thin black capri leggings


I love this shirt because it has a high neckline and it's loose enough to mask the fact that even nearly 8 months later, I'm still masking some postpartum tummy jiggle. The skirt makes it easy to move around with my children, but still covers.  It was a cooler day, but not cold, so the leggings were added for a little extra warmth.

Outfit #2
White undershirt
Babydoll style v-neck shirt
Black jersey knit knee length foldover skirt


I adore this skirt.  In fact, I love it so much that I have three of them in different colors.  It is extremely soft and comfortable and very versatile.  I can pair it with casual shirts for every day wear or dressier shirts for church. I also wore them all throughout my pregnancy.  I purchased mine from Old Navy. The neckline for my outer shirt is far lower than I would ever wear alone, so I paired it with an undershirt with a higher neckline.

Outfit #3
3/4 sleeved navy blue shirt
Beige short sleeved cardigan
 Ankle length straight denim skirt

It was a bit cooler on this day as well, so I wore a longer skirt and added a layer. We had our mid week evening church service that night as well.

Outfit #4
Light pink undershirt
Off white knit short sleeved sweater
Black knee length jersey knit skirt

My three year old daughter insisted on being in this photo with me. She's wearing a simple cotton jumper dress over a white t-shirt. Yes, this is the same black skirt as pictured above.  I told you that I loved it!

Outfit #5
Coral lace lined camisole
Light blue short sleeved top
Ankle length ruffled denim skirt

I have several of these lace trimmed camisoles in a variety of colors.  I wear one under most outfits for modesty and because they make nursing our son easy.  I found this jean skirt at Goodwill one day for $3.75.  Did I mention that I love thrift stores?

Outfit #6
White lace trimmed camisole
Blue 3/4 sleeved top
Long sleeved white sweater
Ankle length gray and white chevron maxi skirt
This was on Resurrection Sunday this past weekend. That is another one of the camisoles that I mentioned in the last outfit.  They are really great for layering!  I've had that blue top since I was in college! The skirt is a *cough* *cough* maternity skirt that I purchased at Motherhood Maternity last summer. *sigh* Yes, I am still wearing some maternity clothes.  Ssh.  Don't tell.

I didn't talk about my shoes because I was wearing the exact.same.pair of grey Bobs with every outfit except the one on Easter. I did break out a pair of white low heels for that day. What can I say?  Comfort over fashion for this gal.  Those Bobs are little bits of heaven for my feet.

Modest Dresses for Girls
Now for a glimpse at my daughters!  My three year old doesn't make an appearance as often as my eight year old.  She's three. 'Nuff said.

Outfit #1
White t-shirt
Multicolored cotton calf length summer dress


We don't allow spaghetti straps in our home, so when we find a cute dress that has them, I tend to pair it with an undershirt of some kind.  This dress is one of my daughter's favorites because it has a high twirlability.

Outfit #2
Below the knee length cotton skirt
White undershirt
Blue tie back top

My daugher loves color and patterns.  Another important feature in her clothing choices is the twirlability (see above post).  The more a skirt fans out when she spins, the better.

Outfit #3
Green cotton polo dress
Striped fleece hat
Twinkle Toes tennis shoes
Pink sock monkey

 She's three and dressed herself.  I think that's self explanatory. Coincidentally, my eldest daughter loved to accessorize when this dress belonged to her. I noticed this day that a growth spurt had happened in the last few weeks.  The dress hits above the knee, which we try to avoid, so this was the last time she's worn this particular ensemble.  We had to give such a fashion forward garment one last hurrah.

Outfit(s) #4
Floral knee length linen dresses
Blue short sleeved shrug
White lace long sleeved sweater
My two pretties on Easter. Love those princesses! I wonder how many more years I can get away with making them match? I found these at Sears.


Outfit #5
Off white short sleeve shirt with gold trim around neckline
Calf length multi colored skirt


This is my daughter's favorite skirt in her closet.  She wears it at least once a week.

Outfit #6
Gray undershirt
Brown and white striped top
Knee length denim skirt

This is what she wore to our park playdate.  It's comfy and she can run and play without restriction.

My girls both always wear either leggings or cotton shorts underneath their skirts or dresses for modesty purposes.  They are still young and my husband and I feel this is best while they are still learning to sit, stand, and play without exposing themselves. I typically pick these up on clearance during end of season sales.


Well, there's a glimpse into our closets during the spring!  We have relatively simple tastes and stick to practicality more than glitz and glamour.

What do you wear in the spring with your dresses and skirts?

Be sure to stop by the other co-hosts sites to see their spring skirt/dress style!

 photo 10168476_10203438920031722_589797705_n_zpsa7ec0b76.jpg


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Online Games for Christian Kids {Adventure Bible Kids Website Review}


My children are limited in how much time they are allowed to spend on the computer.  I don't want them to become to absorbed in a screen. When I do allow them to play games, I want them to be enriching, not mind numbing. We have a few select websites that we regularly visit for this purpose, but for the last several weeks we've been reviewing one that was new to us.




Have you heard of the popular Adventure Bible?  It's one of the top selling bibles for children.  Did you know that they also have a website that includes games and activities?

AdventureBible.com contains a wealth of things for children to do while expanding their Bible knowledge and it's FREE!


A bible search allows children to search for specific verses and also provides study notes along the way.  The games section contains five separate options for children to play(more on those below) and the bible activities area has printable word searches, crosswords, maps, devotionals and more to help bring the Bible to life. 

The games were my children's favorite part of the website and are colorful and easy to navigate. 
My oldest daughter especially loved playing(please ignore the bunched up slipcover.  Four children make it difficult to keep straight! Just keeping it real!)

What's better than seeing your child with their Bible open?

  1. Leapin' Lemur is similar to hangman and allows children to guess Bible verses.
  2. Truth Quest is a trivia game designed to test and grow your children's Bible knowledge.
  3. Books of the Bible aids in memorization of the Old and New Testament books by helping children arrange them in order throughout twelve levels. 
  4. X Marks the Spot increases your child's knowledge of the location of biblical events by having you place flags in the correct locations on maps. 
  5. Leopardy is styled after Jeopardy and is another trivia game.


You can also register as an educator for FREE to access over 700 Bible teaching aids, crosswords, lesson outlines, worksheets, answer keys, timelines and more!  This would make it very easy to plan homeschool lessons with just a few clicks of your mouse. Here is an example of one of the maps available.

The one and only downside for our family was that we only use the KJV in our home.  Since the Adventure Bible uses NIV, that doesn't necessarily suit our family's preferences. This is just a personal note, as I know several of my readers are also KJV only.

For a tour of the website, check out the video below. 



Adventure Bible has also recently released a new and FREE app for iPad so kids can enjoy the games on the move! 

If you are looking for something fun and educational to add to your child's list of appropriate online games, AdventureBible.com is worth exploring!


Monday, April 21, 2014

Kitchen Subway Art {Free Printable!}

If you didn't know, we just moved a few weeks ago.  We're still unpacking, though this new house is beginning to feel like our home.

One thing that I purpose to do after the boxes are empty is to actually take time to create some of the decor items that I've wanted to make for ages.  I rarely take the time to just sit down and craft for me and not the children and I really want to work on this area of my life. 



The kitchen was the first room that was completely set up here, so that is where I've focused my initial efforts.  I decided to make a piece of subway art to place on a shelf near our sink. I used the names of  various herbs and spices because I feel it is appropriate for our style of cooking.



After creating this image using the colors of my kitchen curtains for inspiration, I printed it and then mod podged it to an 8X10 canvas that I purchased at Walmart.

Once dry, I applied a second coat of Mod Podge over the printable and on the sides where I'd folded over the extra edges of the paper. I allowed it to dry again and it was done!

Here it is on display:



If you'd like to make one of these of your own, you can download the kitchen spices subway art printable below for FREE.


I plan on making another one to go on the other side of the window.  Stay tuned to get that one for free as well!


Graphic by PrettyGrafik Design.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Three Trees--One Amazing Story {Review and Giveaway}


With an intro that begins with a narration about how God created all the trees and seeds, each with their own destiny, this animated tale tells the story of three special trees. Follow the unique journeys of three seeds as they are planted in three different locations.  Watch them grow into an olive tree, an oak tree, and a pine tree, each wondering if they will ever be something more---something special. 

The beautiful olive tree imagines being fashioned into a fancy king's treasure chest but when a carpenter comes to cut her down, she is disappointed with her transformation.



The oak tree stands tall and firm and desires to be a flag ship for the King's navy.  A couple of boat builders spot the strong oak and take him off to use, but after arriving at the boatyard, he is not destined to sail on the mighty ocean.

The towering pine tree looks over the valley and dreams of growing and growing until he became the highest tree in the forest to remind everyone of God's glory. After a rather intense storm, the tree gets struck by lightning and topples to the ground.  His dream is shattered and he is eventually discarded into a pile of wood scrap.

What would become of these three trees?

Watch this lively, animated 40 minute rendition of the classic book, The Legend of the Three Trees to discover how God uses these trees with fallen hope and gives them purposes that are even greater than they could ever dream.

Teach children the hope and love of Jesus and that we all have a purpose to bring glory to Him in our lives. Show them through this folktale that it is always best to trust in the Lord.

Would you like to win a copy of this movie for your children to enjoy?  Then just fill out the form below!  U.S. residents only.





Friday, April 18, 2014

R is for Raspberry Vanilla Edible Scented Playdough

It's time for the letter R in the ABCs of Scented Playdough series!


I'm glad to be back to this series now that we are settling in to our new home!  This week, I thought it'd be fun to make another edible recipe. So, we made raspberry vanilla edible scented playdough!



As usual, the recipe is super simple.  I used this recipe with a few adaptations. I used raspberry jello, olive oil instead of vegetable, added one tablespoon of vanilla extract, and about 1/2 cup more flour.

Throw all the  dry ingredients into a bowl and mix.


Add the wet ingredients and put them in a pot on medium heat.  Stir until it all clumps together.


Allow it to cook and then knead in more flour if it is still sticky.



Hand it over to your children for some yummy sensory fun!  Just don't let them eat too much at once.  It IS sugar, after all.

Next week: the letter S! 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Teach Children ASL Set to Inspirational and Familiar Hymns! {A Review}


Once upon a time, I moved to North Carolina because I wanted to attend college to study Deaf Education. I wanted to teach elementary aged deaf students. I began learning American Sign Language in high school.  We were required to take two foreign languages and ASL was one of the options available.  The teacher was a deaf woman who allowed an interpreter in the classroom for the first month and then we were expected to learn by total immersion.  It was fantastic.  I fell in love with it all.

I had dreams of teaching and maybe even interpreting at some point, but life had other plans. It's been several years since I've regularly used ASL so I've grown a little rusty, but I do teach my children from a young age basic signs before they can speak to help encourage communication.  Recently, my oldest daughter (age 8) has expressed interest in learning more, so I dusted off my notes from high school and college and started teaching her a few signs.

We have utilized other sign language videos, but I'm always on the lookout for more resources to help me dust off my skills and pass on my knowledge to my daughter. I was excited to receive the chance to review For His Own Glory! Barnyard Collection from Crowe's Nest Media, a new 40 minute DVD designed to teach young children basic farm animal signs.

Bright, cheerful imagery accompanied by live action shots of real farm animals capture the attention.  Fellow children help teach the motions of each sign. In the background, you will hear familiar Christian hymns and inspirational music such as Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.  The best aspect is that throughout the video, glory is given to the Lord for His creation.

Children will learn signs for:
  • horse
  • cow
  • pig
  • rabbit
  • donkey
  • rooster
  • cat
  • goat
  • dog
  • duck
  • chicken
  • sheep


I love that this is not only exposing children to another language, but also teaching them to praise God for everything! Teaching thankfulness at a young age is a great goal to have as a parent.  We are all dependent on the Lord and without Him, we'd be living purposeless lives.



This playful and vibrant video serves as a fantastic introduction to some basic ASL signs while also encouraging children to honor God. Crowe's Nest Media is a family ministry that creates, edits, narrates, and animates all of their our videos and they have done a fantastic job with this one.

The DVD retails for $16.95, but is currently on sale for $14.95.  There is also a  digital download version that includes three files for computer, tablet, and smart phone.  The download is $12.95 (on sale now for $9.95!).

Crowe's Nest Media is offering to giveaway one copy of this DVD to one of you! They are also generously offering a discount code for 25% off your entire purchase exclusively for my readers!  Just use the code "moon25" at checkout!

To enter to win, fill out the form below. U.S. residents only.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Using Pinterest to Enhance Preschool Lessons

With the popularity of social media, it is no surprise that a visual smorgasbord like Pinterest has taken off.  As a homeschooler, it the virtual pin board has become a priceless resource for ideas, lesson plans, book lists, crafts and so much more to help make their school time much more fun and interesting.

Today, I'm going to share with you some of my favorite finds on Pinterest to use with the younger  crowd.  I nearly always scan various boards or search for particular topics when planning out my lessons for my own three year old, so I've discovered some really great things over time.



Without further ado, here are my favorite Pinterest finds for preschool:

Reading Readiness/Alphabet Awareness

How to Teach the Alphabet with Legos from Teachers of Good Things
ABC Bingo from My Joy Filled Life
Shoebox Alphabet People from An Idea on Tuesday
Lego Animal Alphabet Cards from B-Inspired Mama
Letter Mazes from 1+1+1=1
Rock Letter Tracing from Childcareland Blog
The Letter Box from Play Talk Learn
Perler Bead Alphabet Magnets from Life Lesson Plans
Alphabet Balloon Pop from Makeovers and Motherhood
Magical Alphabet Letters from Sow Sprout Play


Number Recognition/Counting

Make Your Own Counting Sticks from The Mommy Talks
Fishing for Numbers from Buggy and Buddy
Numbers Washing Line from Lessons Learnt Journal
Number Nature Scavenger Hunt from Makeovers and Motherhood
Skip Counting with M&Ms from Learn Play Imagine
Water Balloon Number Blast from Little Bins for Little Hands
Paint Chip Number Punch Puzzle from School Time Snippets
Magnetic Ladybug Counting Game from B-Inspired Mama
Corn Maze Math Activity from JDaniel4's Mom
Knock 'Em Down Bean Bag Toss from True Aim

Color Fun

Color & Pattern Matching Game from The Connection We Share
Pipe Cleaner Color Sorter from To the Moon and Back
Q-tip Painting Color Words from 1+1+1=1
Color Mixing Discovery Bottles from Familylicious
Seek and Sort Color Game from Where Imagination Grows
Color Surprise Eruptions from Learn Play Imagine
Water Bead Color Mixing from Happily Ever After Mom
Pom Pom Rainbow Collage from Danya Banya
Rainbow Sensory Bin and Color Sort from Sow Sprout Play
Gross Motor Color Game from Simple Fun for Kids

Shapes and Patterns

Pattern Block Mats from PreKinders
Felt Shape Flowers from B-Inspired Mama
DIY Shapes and Colors Matching Game from Plain Vanilla Mom
Contact Paper Shape Art from Mess for Less
Rainbow Shape Rocks from Fun A Day
Shape Symmetry Play from Mama Pea Pod
Train Shape Matching Puzzle from Craftulate
Shape Playdough Mats from 3 Dinosaurs
DIY Shape Stickers from Mess for Less
Cardboard Shapes from Gummy Lump

Fine Motor Skills

Beading Tower from The MaMade Diaries
Feed the Elephant from The Inspired Treehouse
Button Sorting Cups from About Family Crafts
Paper Ripping Activity from Craftulate
Felt Button Chain from Tips from a Typical Mom
Threading a Rainbow from De tout et de rien: Activit├ęs pour le Pr├ęscolaire
Golf Tee Hammering Activity from Sugar Aunts
Monster Munch from Lalymom
Button Threading from School Time Snippets
Pin Pricking from Lessons Learnt Journal


Gross Motor Skills 

Flaming Hoops Circus Activity from The Inspired Treehouse
Flag Tape Obstacle Course from Frogs, Snails, and Puppy Dog Tails
Surf's Up Balance and Coordination Activity from The Inspired Treehouse
Balloon Play from Lessons Learnt Journal
Indoor Hopscotch from Happy Hooligans
Jumping Lines from Little Bins for Little Hands
DIY Bean Bag Toss from Dirt and Boogers
Indoor Car Wash from Homegrown Friends
Pool Noodle Baseball from Toddler Approved
Pool Noodle Abacus from Happy Hooligans

Sensory Play

Sensory Rainbow Writing from Blog Me Mom
Homemade Floam from Growing a Jeweled Rose
Glitter Clay Fingerpainting from Mini Monets and Mommies
Edible Water Beads from Life Lesson Plans
Foam Dough Doughnut Sensory Bin from Life Lesson Plans
Sugar Cookie Rice from Sugar Aunts
Monster Truck Wash from B-Inspired Mama
Alphabet Apple Picking Sensory Table from Sow Sprout Play
Vanilla Cinnamon Oobleck from Sow Sprout Play
Dinosaur and Volcano Sensory Bin from Life Lesson Plans

Pinterest Boards to Follow

KBN Activities for Preschoolers
Preschool
Preschooling
Preschool
KBN Gross Motor Activities for Kids
KBN Learning Activities for Kids
KBN Fine Motor Activities for Kids
KBN Sensory Activities for Kids


Do you use Pinterest in your homeschool planning?

That's Pinteresting

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Wholesome Magazine for Young Christian Girls {A Review}



Take a walk down the magazine aisle in any store these days and you'll find yourself grimacing and attempting to shield your children's eyes from the onslaught of loose morals. Overtly sexual poses and titles are boldly proclaimed and worship of the next "hottest" boy bander is highly encouraged. It's rather discouraging for Christian parents who desire to keep their children innocent and child like. 

I often wonder why there is such a heavy push to shove our children into adulthood earlier and earlier.  Why can't little girls just be little girls?  

I've been rather selective of which magazines that my eight year old daughter is allowed to pick up and read.  I don't want to put ideas in her head that she isn't mature enough to deal with yet.  I don't want to start insecurities about her appearance because of some airbrushed model.  I don't want her to be worried about crushes and boyfriends.  She's eight.



I want her to be playing with dolls and making pretend apple pies for the family.  I want her to run outside and play in the dirt.  I want her to play dress up and twirl and clip clop around in Mommy's high heels. I want her to be immersed in all things child like for as long as she desires it because I know the reality that will one day come. I want her to aspire to do noble, God honoring things rather than pine after boys and material possessions. I want the things that she puts in her mind to be good for her.

That's why I was so pleased to be asked to review For Girls Like You magazine. This ministry for young girls is a quarterly publication that includes articles, activities, and educational information that is wholesome and age appropriate (for girls ages 6-11). The best part?  It is all based on the Word of God!



Instead of teaching your daughter materialism and secular messages of "gimme, gimme," this magazine instills Biblical principles and morals. Rather than holding up celebrities as role models, it showcases young girls who are accomplishing big things and well known Christian women such as Candace Cameron Bure and Francesca Battistelli.

Every issue also includes fun "Sprinkles" sections that encourage your daughter to add her own flair to a part of the magazine! Word searches, story writing prompts, and drawing opportunities are some examples of what these sections contain.

Which headline would you rather read(taken from actual magazines)?

"How to Flirt: The Secret Thing that Makes Boys Fall For You" 

or

"How to Handle Peer Pressure God's Way"


As Christian parents, let's allow our children to stay young while they can.  For Girls Like You can help with that! 

Subscriptions are very affordable at only $18.99 for one year or $31.99 for two. Other products available include a journal for doodles and writings,  magabooks that include articles, photos and activities from past year's issues, and t-shirts.

Wynter Pitts, founder of this incredible and much needed ministry, has offered to giveaway one subscription and one journal to one lucky reader!

To enter to win, just fill out the form below!


Monday, April 14, 2014

10 {More} Fun Field Trips in Western North Carolina


Back in October, I shared a post about ten fun places to take your children for field trips here in Western North Carolina.   Since there are so many great venues in this area, I decided to write another post and share ten more fun field trip destinations here in this neck of the woods. 



This is a fun interactive children's museum in Huntersville is chock full of engaging activities for young children.  With a town market, a farm, an auto repair shop, a submarine, and so much more scaled down for children, this is a fantastic place that allows your children to stretch their imaginations by pretending to do the thing they watch grown ups do.  To read more about our adventure there, click here.



Nestled in Morganton, this orchard and cider mill is hands down the best of its kind in this area for a field trip!  You will be given a tour of the fields, shown how cider is made, how to properly pick apples, where the apples are stored after picking and more.  Every child is allowed to take home a small bag of apples as well!  We absolutely loved the time we had and left with tons of yummy goodies from the small shop.  To read more about our trip and to see some more resources for an apple unit study, click here.



This is another gem of a museum designed for children.  It's smaller than some of the others that we have visited, but that doesn't mean it isn't just as or more fun! We spent hours exploring the various rooms and activities and my children have been begging to go back. There is a climbing lobby complete with a beanstalk that leads to the second floor, a library where there is a storytime that may include a real live pony, an alphabet room, and several other exciting areas for children to investigate. The museum offers a great discount for homeschool families as well!



A historic cotton plantation and living history farm, Latta Plantation provides a peek into America's past.  Tours of the buildings are offered with guides and you are allowed to wander the grounds on your own. There are themed events offered frequently with several made specifically for homeschoolers.


This is the only NC state historic site associated with the time period of the French and Indian War. Visit during one of the living history weekends to experience reenactments and learn all about how soldiers lived during the American Revolution. 



Located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, this unusual attraction is definitely a stop you should make!  Gravity defying exhibits, a room where it's impossible to stand up straight, and small educational museums will provide a day's enjoyment for all ages. 



This giant cliff, 4000 feet above sea level, is the location of an old Native American legend that is a tale of love between a Chickasaw maiden and a Cherokee brave. This is a beautifully scenic place with walking trails and a gift shop.



This site is the first known location that gold was discovered in North America. Tour the mines for free and then pan for your own gold!



Travel in style on board a train as you travel through Western North Carolina!  There are various excursions to choose from including a tour of fall foliage, holiday themed events, and more.  There are over fifty three miles of track on this railroad as well as two tunnels and twenty five bridges.




Visit the Carolina's oldest cheese plant and watch how this dairy staple is made! Shop in the cheese store and stock up on some yummy cheeses, fudges, and butter!


Have you been to any of these destinations?



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