Bonza Draw: Inspiring Kids to Get Creative!

My boys love to color and paint and draw, but sometimes they get stuck in a rut. For days in a row, I’ll see pictures of the same animal over and over again. Or they’ll ask me, “What should I draw now?” To be honest, I don’t usually have the most creative ideas or they’ll shoot down the ones I do have!

But a new app is getting rid of that creative rut and getting us all excited about drawing new things every day!

Bonza DrawBonza Draw is the brainchild of the Unit Study queen, Amanda Bennett, and her youngest son. The concept is so simple, but when made into app form, it will have your kids {and maybe even you!} expanding their creativity in fun new ways!

With Bonza Draw, each day a new drawing prompt, such as hermit crab or flashlight, will be waiting for your child in the app. When he or she is done drawing, they can snap a picture of their masterpiece and save it in their own Bonza Draw Gallery! You can also share their work of art on Twitter and Facebook as well!

Bonza Draw KidMy kids love anything app-related. Seriously. I think if there was an app that had to do with making their bed, they would even think that was fun! Can somebody get to work on that please?! Combining an app and something they already love to do – drawing – is obviously a HUGE hit in our house!

Bonza Draw promptThe prompts are super creative – much more than my mom brain can think of at a moment’s notice! And I love the ability to save their work right in the app!

Bonza Draw is brand new to iTunes TODAY and is just 99 cents! And Amanda has a $50 iTunes gift card giveaway going on right now to celebrate the Bonza Draw launch!

I’m linking up with Works for Me Wednesday over at We Are That Family today!



I received this app to review. I was not compensated in any way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own!

 

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How We Do Morning Bible Time for the Kids

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and the sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

When I posted about our High Five morning routine, I had some people ask about morning Bible time for the kids, so I thought I woud share what works for us!

Morning Bible Time for the Kids

At five and seven years old, morning Bible time for the kids is not real long or complex or even very structured, but we have found something that works for us! I’m already seeing it evolve as they get older, but I like that it is their own time with God.

The most important part for us are the Bible shelves. Each boy has a shelf with age-appropriate Bibles, Bible storybooks, devotionals, and a notebook. They are free to choose whichever Bible, Bible storybook, or devotional they want to read out of that morning.

I have found this freedom of choice to be a MAJOR reason they enjoy Bible time. When Big J wants to just read, he pulls out the Brave Knight Bible {he’s digging the KJV, I guess!} and when he needs a little more visual, he grabs his Action Bible. Little J rotates between several Bible storybooks, usually a different one every day!

I don’t give them a set time limit, but I do expect them to be able to tell me about what they read when they are done. This has helped them focus a little more and not quick flip through a Bible story just to check it off their list.

Just in the last week, I have started teaching Big J about journaling. I had him pick a devotional – he picked Grace for the Moment for Kids – and sit down with me as I journal as well. He writes the verse at the top of the page in his notebook, reads through the devotion, and then writes or draws anything he needs or wants to remember from that day. When he is done, we talk a little through the questions. We’ve only done it a few times, but I like how it is going so far!

works for me wednesday at we are that family

This probably isn’t the magic solution many of you were looking for, especially if you have little ones who can’t read yet, but this is how we do Bible time for the kids right now. When they were younger, morning Bible time looked more like picture books and VeggieTales.

In the stage we are now, I’ve found it freeing to not be telling them what they HAVE to read or HAVE to write each morning. We do also have a family Bible time at another point in the day or before bed, which is more interactive and structured, but in the morning, it is THEIR Bible time and they are making it their own! And that works for us!

I’m linking up with Works-for-Me Wednesday!

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My Favorite Easy, Nutty Smoothie!

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

I have to share some yumminess with you today.

I’ve been running and trying to get healthier all around for over a year now. Throughout that journey, I’ve been trying to replace some indulgent treats with healthier versions, as well as adding more protein and reducing the use of processed sugar. I don’t always get it right, but I just keep trying and sometimes I find gem like this one.

This smoothie combines some of my very favorite things – chocolate, nuts, and banana – and it is very easily adaptable as well! I always keep frozen bananas on hand so I’m ready to make this…

Easy Nutty Smoothie

Easy, Nutty Smoothie

Ingredients

1 cup milk – skim milk, almond milk, coconut milk – I’ve tried them all and they’ve all tasted great!

1 frozen banana

2 tsp cocoa powder

2 TBSP almonds OR PB2The almonds will give a little more texture to the smoothie. The PB2 – powdered peanut butter with very low fat and no sugar added – gives more flavor than the almonds! I alternate what nut flavor I use and like them equally! You could also use Chocolate PB2 for extra chocolate flavor!

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Here is the nutrition information for the way I made it this morning {skim milk & PB2}, in case you’re interested!

Screen Shot 2013-07-03 at 8.40.09 AM

Very few ingredients, very little time, appealing flavor for the whole family – can you see why this is my favorite smoothie?!

What is your favorite smoothie right now?

 

I’m linking up with Works for Me Wednesday at We Are That Family! Find lots of great life solutions over there today!

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My Half Marathon Playlist!

I’ve shared with you some of the songs I enjoy running to, but I feel like you need to see the WHOLE playlist from my last half marathon to get an idea of what keeps me going step after step!

Half Marathon Playlist

A few things you might notice about this half marathon playlist:

  1. A lot of the songs are Christian songs, but not all.
  2. I like Glee music. In fact, it’s some of the only “popular” music I know. And I usually like the Glee version better, especially for running.
  3. I have some kids’ songs on my list. And they’re some of my favorites.
  4. It’s a really long playlist. And this is the cut down version. I like all of the songs on here and like the option of having any of them come up when I hit shuffle.

Here it is in all its eclectic glory…

My Half Marathon Playlist

  • After All {Holy} – David Crowder Band
  • Alive – Avalon
  • All Day – Hillsong United
  • All is Grace – Shaun Groves
  • All of Creation – MercyMe
  • All This Time – Britt Nicole
  • Awake My Soul – Chris Tomlin, featuring Lecrae
  • Beautiful Day – U2
  • Beautiful, Beautiful – Francesca Battistelli
  • Break Free – Hillsong United
  • Breakaway – Kelly Clarkson
  • Do Everything – Steven Curtis Chapman
  • Don’t Stop Believin’ – Glee
  • Everywhere – Mark Schultz
  • Fighter – Christina Aguilera
  • Firework – Glee
  • Get Back Up – TobyMac
  • God’s Great Dance Floor – Chris Tomlin
  • Great I Am – New Life Worship
  • Hall of Fame – Glee
  • Hang On – Plumb
  • He Reigns – Newsboys
  • Hello, My Name Is – Matthew West
  • Hosanna – Hillsong United
  • How He Loves – David Crowder Band
  • I Gotta Feeling – The Black Eyed Peas
  • I Will Wait – Mumford & Sons
  • Just to Know You – Mark Schultz
  • Larger Than Life – Backstreet Boys
  • The League of Incredible Vegetables – Newsboys
  • Light Up the Sky – The Afters
  • Lord, I Need You – Matt Maher
  • Loser Like Me – Glee
  • Me Without You – TobyMac
  • Middle of Your Heart – For King & Country
  • My Life Would Suck Without You – Glee
  • Promises – New Life Worship
  • The Proof of Your Love – For King & Country
  • Psalms 100:1-2 {Make a Joyful Noise} – The Rizers
  • Raise Your Glass – Glee
  • Revelation Song – Gateway Worship
  • Set Free – Matt Redman & Chris Tomlin
  • Set the World on Fire – Britt Nicole
  • Shine – David Crowder Band
  • Sing – Glee
  • Start Me Up/Livin’ On a Prayer – Glee
  • Stronger – Mandisa
  • Stronger – Kelly Clarkson
  • Unbreakable – Fireflight
  • Wake Up – All Sons & Daughters
  • We’re All in This Together – High School Musical
  • You’ve Got a Home – Christa Wells
  • 2 Peter 3:18 {Glory, Glory, Glory} – The Rizers

 Would any of these songs make it on your running playlist?

I’m linking up with Works For Me Wednesday today! Check out all the great tips being shared over there today!

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My Unglued Antidote

This week, I finished reading Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst.

Whoa.

I underlined or highlighted something on 90% of the pages of this book.

Ladies, Unglued is a MUST READ book for every single one of you. There are very few books on the planet that this could be said of, but I honestly would recommend this book to any woman with whom I came in contact.

We will all come unglued in some way at one time or another. Learning how to deal with those emotions and prevent most unglued moments is the key.

Lysa offers many wonderful tips for avoiding and handling unglued moments, and many of those involve turning to God’s Word. Truth, as only the Scriptures can provide, is the BEST way to combat the lies of the enemy.

However, when I’m starting to fume and headed towards coming unglued, I’m not very likely to pick up my Bible.

 What I AM likely to do is grab my iPhone or iPad and turn on some music, and my preferred music in those moments is kids’ music.

Yep, listening to children’s music helps me get my emotions in check and focus on truth.

Ok, not just any children’s music – it has to be Seeds Family Worship because Seeds IS God’s Word.

It happened just this week. The boys were not listening well. The baby was spitting up all over the place. My to-do list was three miles long. Nothing was going the way I wanted it to in my mind. I was in the kitchen ready to blow – which usually means yelling – and I actually realized what was about to happen.

I grabbed my phone, opened up my music, and clicked on my playlist called “All Seeds.” I have all seven of the Seeds albums on this playlist. I hit “Shuffle” and let God speak to me with whatever pops up.

It never fails – I hear just what I need within minutes of turning on that music.

Last week, it was “Heavenly Lights,” which is James 1:17 set to music…

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…

I cried, but I did NOT come unglued. I cried because I knew exactly the gifts to which the song was referring – too many gifts to count in that moment, but more than enough to snap me out of my emotional funk. I did not yell. I breathed deep. I moved on and my day was not ruined, and neither was my children’s.

THAT is the power of God’s Word, friends. And His Word never returns void – even when you feel like you’re about to lose it.


Seeds Family Worship works for me as my “unglued antidote.” What works for you?

*****

*I was not asked to write this post by either Lysa or Seeds Family Worship – just wanted to share two things I absolutely love and that are helping me in my everyday life!

**This post contains affiliate links.

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Teamwork Timeout

The bickering and teasing, mixed with occasional laughter, was reaching fever pitch. The baby was supposed to be napping. At the end of a long day, I was not handling the fighting and noise level well.

But, by the grace of God, I had a lightbulb moment.

The likelihood of them fighting would decrease exponentially if I gave them a task they needed to complete together.

I gave them puzzle to do. It was a rather difficult one – too hard for Little J and challenging for Big J.

“How fast can you finish this puzzle TOGETHER?” {I made it sound like they NEEDED each other.}

And it was fairly quiet for the next twenty minutes as they worked on it.

TWENTY minutes. Do you know how glorious twenty minutes of quiet is to a stay-at-home mom?!

I’m going to call it a “teamwork timeout.” I won’t tell them that – it’ll be our little secret. It’s a timeout for me as much as it is for them!

I’m making a list of a bunch of games or tasks they have to complete together that I can pull out when the decibel {and irritation} level are rising.

A few things on my list already…

  • Build a Lego city.
  • Count all of the pencils in the house.
  • Make one giant birthday card for a friend or family member.
  • Write out a list of all the superheroes you know.
  • Make up a puppet show to perform for the rest of the family.

Sure, these might be things just to keep the boys busy, but if they are busy AND working together on a common goal, they are learning about teamwork and cooperation without me having to say a thing.

And I don’t lost my sanity in the process!

*Side note – After twenty minutes, I started to feel a little less crazed. I went down to check on them to find that they were stuck on the puzzle, but still working and not fighting. I sat down and helped them finish. It was a good moment. For all of us.

What would you add to the “teamwork timeout” list for a four-year-old and six-year-old boy? What would be on the list for your children?

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WFMW: Wonderful Water

Do you know why water is so important to your body?

We’ve all heard over and over again that we need to drink more water to be healthier and lose weight and so on.

According to the Mayo Clinic, water is even more important to each of us for other reasons…

Water is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.

Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.

{From the article “Water: How much should you drink every day?”}

With these three boys, I can’t afford to have any less energy than I already do, so I will keep chugging those glasses of water!

I actually enjoy plain water. It has to be REALLY cold, but I have no trouble drinking ice water all day long.

Everyone likes a little variety though, right?!

To mix things up a bit, I found a few flavored water “recipes” on Pinterest and gave them a try!

The first flavored water recipe I tried was this Cucumber Lemon water

 

I wasn’t sure about this one because there was no sugar and I usually like sweet drinks, but the flavor grew on me throughout the day. It does require several fresh ingredients that you will need to keep on hand, but those ingredients also make it look very pretty! This would make a great drink to serve to guests on a hot day!

Since I have a sweet tooth, I went in search of another flavored water with a little more sweetness and I found this…

 

This Apple-Cinnamon Water “recipe” from the blog “Lose Weight by Eating” was satisfying for my sweet tooth without being overpowering. And apples and cinnamon both have lots of great benefits for you, including boosting your metabolism!

Pinterest is full of other flavored water recipes! I’ll probably be trying a few more throughout the summer!

Do you have a flavored water recipe you love? How do you make sure you get enough water in each day?

*****

Check out lots of great tips over at Works for Me Wednesday with We Are That Family!

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What I Wore {35 Weeks}

There are some advantages to being pregnant in the winter, including cooler temps and being able to layer clothing! Having  Little J at the end of June, neither of these were true, so I’m taking advantage of them this time around.

And one of my favorite, favorite clothing finds for this pregnancy and beyond is this…

Source: oldnavy.gap.com via Erin on Pinterest

 

Old Navy’s jersey-stretch tanks have been the PERFECT, wardrobe-saving piece for me throughout this pregnancy and I’m officially addicted to them.

{No, Old Navy did not compensate me in any way for raving about these. They don’t even know I exist.}

They are NOT maternity tanks, but a medium was long enough and stretchy enough to get me ALL the way through this pregnancy.

For modesty reasons, I like my tank tops long in general, so you can bet these will continue to be worn post-baby. Some colors I didn’t own yet were on clearance this weekend, so I bought two in size small for layering purposes!

The best part?

They are very, very soft and comfy. I wear a different one almost every single day.

{Please don’t ask how many I own. But I’m not ashamed to say that, should they go on sale again, I would probably buy more.}

Anyway…here I am this week, at 35 weeks, wearing one of these tanks in white, with a new eggplant-colored cardigan I bought on clearance at Target…

The pants, out of necessity, are maternity pants.

I have decided these tanks need to be in my wardrobe for the rest of my life.

What wardrobe staple could you not live without?

*****

I’m linking up with What I Wore Wednesday AND Works For Me Wednesday today!

pleated poppy

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What I Wore Worked for Me {A Combo Post!}

TWO pictures?! That’s all I’ve got?! What happened to this week?!

Well, two is what we go with then…

Summer has hit suddenly here in Nebraska – I think we just hopped right over spring! I think I did a little happy dance the first day it was really warm enough to wear a skirt!

I {heart} skirts big time.

But my dilemma this weekend was wanting some new accessories to spruce up the basics I already have – without spending money!

So here’s what I did…

First, I took a long bead necklace I already had and…

…wait for it…

Knotted it! Crazy, right?! Nothing fancy, but it felt like a new necklace to me and cost nothing! Win!

Next, I wanted to wear flip flops, but they were just feeling blah to me that day. Yep – blah.

That’s where my crochet skills and hot glue gun came in handy…

Bye-bye boring flip flops, hello yellow cuteness!

I think I may need to do this to all of my flip flops because they were just too fun!

*****

How do you spruce up your wardrobe without spending a dime? I would LOVE your ideas!

*****

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy and We Are THAT Family today!

the pleated poppy blog

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WFMW: Learning to Love It

I posted a while back about my lack of homemaking skills – not dogging on myself, just being honest.

God has been working on my heart since then and I’ve been putting my heart into my home more.

Including my formerly least desired task.

Ironing.

For some reason, I just DREADED ironing.

But when you’re the wife of a medical student and future doctor, ironing is a must. Unless we want a HUGE dry-cleaning bill.

So part of my new schedule includes just a half hour of ironing every Monday and Tuesday.

I get the kids settled down for rest time, turn on some worship music and start ironing.

And it is amazing how much I can get done in thirty minutes.

And how relaxing it is.

Did I just say ironing was RELAXING?

Yes I did.

I guess I’m learning to love it.

And seeing my hubby in a shirt and tie every day doesn’t hurt either.

Which household chore have you learned to love? Which one are you still working on loving?

I’m also linking up to Homemaking Day over at Raising Homemakers! Great posts to encourage any homemaker!

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