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Counter-Cultural Parenting

After giving up a career as a TV reporter for motherhood, Jenny went on to found and host Channelmom.

After giving up a career as a TV reporter for motherhood, Jenny went on to found and host Channelmom.

Yesterday I got to chat with Jenny Schmidt of Channelmom about making special occasions more Christ-centered for our kids.  If you’re not familiar with Channelmom, it’s a radio show broadcasted out of Denver that tackles a wide variety of “Mommy issues” from a Christian perspective.  If you’re free TODAY around 6:30pm (Eastern Time), click on the link below to listen to the interview live!

http://channelmom.com/listen-live/ 

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10 Indoor Activities for Pre-Schoolers

1. Free Printable Postcards for Kids
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I LOVE my friend Gina’s new blog homepage, Listening in the Litany.  She makes this postcard idea so simple by offering a free  template.  Keep a stash on hand and pull one out on a cold, indoor day.  The recipients will love it!

Supplies: colored pencils, postcards

2. DIY Magnetic Play Set
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The blogger used a book of pre-cut paper dolls, but I’m going to attempt drawing the dolls myself on card stock so I can make them look like my daughters and their friends.  Yee!

Supplies: Adhesive Magnetic Sheets, a book of pre-cut paper dolls OR card stock and markers, scissors, cookie sheet

3. Rainbow Rice Sensory Play 
rainbowrice_thumb[1]While this seems a little tedious on the front-end, once you’ve made the play box, the kids can enjoy it over and over again.  Plus you could swap out the toys you put in it to give your play box different “themes”–fairies, ponies, dump trucks…etc.

Supplies: white rice, Ziploc bags, food coloring, rubbing alcohol, plastic container, toys

4. Balloon Rocket Launch
36b8734885de92f363bb32b381f12a8fThis just looks cool.  It’s easy and entirely mess-free.  The only downside is if your kids are really young, like mine, you’ll be the only one blowing up the balloon over and over for the launch.  Hmmm…maybe this is one activity Daddy would like to do with them?

Supplies: balloon, straw, paper, rubber band

5. Fizzy Vinegar Fun
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This is the sort of thing I’d never think of myself, but could easily do with the kids on a boring afternoon.  It has the feel of a cooking/baking project, but with a little bit of art and science thrown in.

Supplies: baking soda, vinegar, food dye, dropper, casserole dish

6. Threading Beads Alphabet Activity
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I love this idea from the Imagination Tree.  My 4 year old has been working on writing her name and struggling with two tricky letters.  What a great way for her to form the letters with her hands before she learns to form them with a pencil.  Not to mention anything to do with beads is fun for a preschool girl!

Supplies: variety of beads, pipe cleaners

7. Bottle Top Count & Match Game
playing+with+bottle+top+gameWant to help your preschooler learn to recognize numbers?  This game is cute, colorful and easy enough for a toddler to play along too.

Supplies: variety of bottle tops, box lid, markers, 2 sets of stickers with numbers on them 

8. DIY Face Paint 
homemade face paint 30You can let your kids paint their own faces, or try your hand at turning them into fanciful creatures.  Plus, making the paints at home ensures they’re non-toxic.

Supplies: cornstarch, lotion, food coloring or washable watercolors

9. Create a Reading Log
bookdiary41Here’s a revolutionary idea for cold, indoor days–reading!  This is a really cute idea for organizing and recording your favorite seasonal stories.  And once again, Gina’s done the hard work for us by offering a free printable!  To check out some of her favorite winter picture books, click here.

Supplies: library books, free reading log printable

10. Upcycled Artwork Lanterns 
Childrens-art-lanterns-680x453Finally, with all the indoor artwork that’s bound to come out of this cold front, this is a fun and easy idea for turning it into something extra special.  I think I’ll string them up in my kids’ rooms once we’ve made several.  Oh boy!

Supplies: several sheets of kids’ artwork, scissors, glue

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2014 Book List

books

I’m really excited about my line-up this year.  Some of these books come highly recommended by friends, others deal with topics I want to grow in, or subjects that simply interest me.  As usual I will keep the fiction section small because it tends to mushroom throughout the year.  Feel free to make recommendations.  As I cross books off the list, I’ll write a brief review here.  Happy reading this year!

Non-Fiction

1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp  This book has been recommended to me numerous times by people who think I will not only love the content, but the author’s unique writing style.  Having visited her blog, I think I will agree.

Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss  If there’s one thing I want stamped upon my heart this year, it’s gratitude.  Deep, whole-hearted, God-exalting gratitude.

Fierce Women by Kimberly Wagner  This suggestion came via Challies’ top books of 2013.  In his words, “She writes about the beauty of fierceness, the beauty of strong women who use their strength to honor the Lord by honoring their husbands.”  Sounds good to me!

Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson  A carry-over from my 2013 list… The husband has agreed to read this one with me, so hopefully that will be accountability to cross it off the list this year!  From what I hear, it’s well worth it.

Glimpses of Grace by Gloria Furman  “Sometimes life feels a lot like a burden—day-in and day-out its the same chores and tasks, challenges and discouragements, anxieties and responsibilities.  So where is God in all of this? Does he care about the way we unload the dishwasher or balance the budget? Do the little things like changing diapers or cooking meals make a difference? And how can we use our spheres of influence for God’s glory and our joy?”  My husband recommended this one…I wonder why he thought of it for me?  :)

Heaven by Randy Alcorn  I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it, but I’m part of a wonderful little book club.  One of the members, a beautiful friend of mine, lost her father in a biking accident this year.  The tragedy has prompted us to pick up this book and explore our many unanswered questions about heaven.

Radical by David Platt  I have long feared this book…which is exactly why I think I need to read it.  True confession–I’ve already dug in, and let me just say, yowzers.  It is powerful, inspiring, and painfully spot-on.  For every chapter I read, I need about a week to pray and process.  And I think that’s a good thing.

Resisting Gossip by Matthew Mitchell  This is one of the books I’m most eager to read.  I think the subject matter, as well as its importance, is self-explanatory.

Tempted and Tried by Russell Moore  I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Moore speak a few times, and cannot wait to read his book about temptation, the triumph of Christ, and how it applies to us today.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen Covey  While my family is probably a little bit young to put all the principles of this book into effect, I figure it can’t hurt to hear what Covey has to say.

What is the Meaning of Sex? by Denny Burk  This is my final non-fiction choice, also highly recommended by Challies.  Here’s what’s being said about it:  “This book clearly explains the truth about sex and winsomely responds to society’s evolving views on human sexuality and gender.  From marriage to birth control, homosexuality to singleness, What is the Meaning of Sex? sets forth a distinctly Christian perspective, equipping you to engage our confused culture with a God-glorifying vision of human sexuality.”

Fiction

11/22/63 by Stephen King Ever since reading King’s book On Writing, I’ve wanted to read one of his novels…but been too afraid to do it!  My sister recommended this one since it’s not horror.  It’s the story of Jake Epping, a 35-year-old English teacher who discovers a portal into 1958.  Thus begins his life as George Amberson.  His mission?  Kill Lee Harvey Oswald and prevent JFK’s assassination.

Into the Free by Julie Cantrell A New York Times Bestselling Christian fiction novel about a girl from Depression-era Mississippi who joins a band of Gypsies to escape her family.

Swimming in the Moon by Pamela Schoenewaldt I loved Schoenewaldt’s first novel, When We Were Strangers, so I thought I’d give her second a try.  It’s the story of a mother and daughter in 1905 Italy who immigrate to Cleveland.

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom A friend recommended this New York Times Bestseller about a white servant girl from Ireland who is sent to live with the slaves of the kitchen house.  Despite the color of her skin, she becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family.  Later when she is accepted into the big house, she must choose between two very different worlds, with risky consequences.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey “Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart–he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone–but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees…”

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7 Reasons There’s No Reason to Worry

From Matthew 6:25-34

1. Because if God has given me big, substantial gifts (such as my life & body), I can trust Him to provide for smaller, less substantial needs.  (v25)

2. Because God is so sovereign He cares about even the insignificant details of nature.  (v26, 28-29)

3. Because I am of great value to God.  (v26b, 30)

4. Because anxiety does zippo to fix my problems or extend my life.  (v27)

5. Because God knows what I need.  (v32)

6. Because God’s kingdom and righteousness are more important than anything I could ever need or want.  (v33)

7. Because tomorrow will bring new troubles I didn’t even see coming, so I might as well live one day at a time.  (v34)

Am I the only big, fat worry wart who finds this incredibly uplifting?  Thank You God, for Your Word!  Empower me to believe and live it. 

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