It is always fun for me when I find a new bedtime "activity" that I enjoy and my kids enjoy (and actually learn something from). Usually, I am so tired and ready for them to go to bed that I rush through the whole process, close the door and release a big sigh of relief. "It is finished" is what I am thinking! Usually our bedtime routine goes down like this: dinner, bath time/teeth brushing (that way they cant beg for any more food before bed- sorry, teeth are brushed!), with whatever time they haven't wasted during bath time they can play until 8:00pm when it is bedtime. Izzy (2 yrs) gets 2 songs, a prayer and hits the sack, Ellie (4 yrs) is a little more complex. She wants a book, to read the Bible, prayer time, potty time...you name it! We have been looking scripture up (from my prayer journals) for a while now and discussing the virtues and what they mean to her- like obedience or love, etc.. She loves to look the passage up in her darling pink Bible and then prays for everything under the moon (recently she has started asking her daddy to pray that Jesus gives her hot chocolate with breakfast..and of course He delivers if her daddy has anything to say about it). It is such a sweet time with her, she is starting to get the virtues and understand that the Bible is a good place to go to find "wisdom". The past few nights, I have started journaling in the books WITH her. I have always journaled for my kids or about my kids, but not with them. Izzy is still young to get this activity, but Ellie loves it. We talk about the daily prayer, read the scripture and then write down all of her prayer requests and what she is grateful for that day. I have only been doing it for a few days, but I already have the greatest treasure- she says the best stuff and I am so glad I am jotting it down as it comes. I never want to forget that innocent heart and how simple her needs/wants/desires are. I cant wait until Izzy is old enough to join us and I can document the whole thing. You could do this in any journal- I of course like my format (!) but anything would work- I think you will be blessed by this time and the memories you can look back on and pass down to your kids. My website is www.prayerwithpurpose.com and the book is PrayerWithPurpose: Passionate Prayers for Children.

While I am at it, the reason why Ellie loves looking up the scripture so much is that we have 2 albums that have made learning the books of the bible (and other scripture) so much fun: Deliberate Kids is the name of it, they have 2 records out and they are awesome. Phil Joel (formerly of the Newsboys) did these with his wife and kids and they are the best. My girls both know their books of the bible all thanks to these- make sure to check them out www.deliberatekids.com.


The Craving!

So far, my biggest pregnancy craving is cucumbers, yes cucumbers. Don't worry, I am blowing up like a balloon based on my alternative craving of ice cream and chocolate- but I am just nuts about cucumbers! So, I have decided to share all of the benefits of cucumbers with you, just in case you would like to share in my obsession and meet me at the greek restaurant (is there anything better than tzatziki?). I really like sliced cucumber in my ice water, makes me think I am at a spa. I like it with hummus, on sandwiches, as a BLTC (bacon, lettuce, tomato and cucumber), in salad...you name it! When Ellie was a baby, I would give her slices of cucumber to "gum" at restaurants and she loved it! So, here you go!

This info is from: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=42 

The flesh of cucumbers is primarily composed of water but also contains ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and caffeic acid, both of which help soothe skin irritations and reduce swelling. Cucumbers' hard skin is rich in fiber and contains a variety of beneficial minerals including silica, potassium and magnesium.
A Radiant Complexion
The silica in cucumber is an essential component of healthy connective tissue, which includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bone. Cucumber juice is often recommended as a source of silica to improve the complexion and health of the skin, plus cucumber's high water content makes it naturally hydrating a must for glowing skin. Cucumbers are also used topically for various types of skin problems, including swelling under the eyes and sunburn. Two compounds in cucumbers, ascorbic acid and caffeic acid, prevent water retention, which may explain why cucumbers applied topically are often helpful for swollen eyes, burns and dermatitis.
An Easy Way to Increase Your Consumption of Both Fiber and Water
Trying to get adequate dietary fiber on a daily basis is a challenge for many Americans. Adding a crunchy cool cucumber to your salads is an especially good way to increase your fiber intake because cucumber comes naturally prepackaged with the extra fluid you need when consuming more fiber. Plus, you get the added bonus of vitamin C, silica, potassium and magnesium.
High Blood Pressure? Cucumber Can Help You Cool Down
When people who participated in the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Study added foods high in potassium, magnesium and fiber, their blood pressure dropped to healthier levels. Those people in the study who ate a diet rich in these compounds in addition to the other foods on this diet (low fat dairy foods, seafood, lean meat and poultry) lowered their blood pressure by 5.5 points (systolic) over 3.0 points (diastolic).



“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matt 25:40)

I want to tell you about a couple of my friends who are doing awesome things! 

Mica Gemhttp://micagem.com/go/  My friend Sarah, along with her husband and several other people, (mainly associated with the world of "action sports") started this company where they sell two delightfully smelling fragrances (Humana Man and Humana Woman) and for each bottle they sell they donate one mosquito net to a child in Kenya. I love the idea of helping others, who are a lot less fortunate than we are here in America, through a purchase we would probably make either way. The men's fragrance is great and would be a good idea for Father's Day!! Check out their website for more info and purchase here http://micagem.com/go/buy-now

A.ker.fahttp://www.akerfa.org/ My wonderful godbrother and his buddy started this organization in Zambia where they make bikes (and train people in Zambia to make bikes) for the people there who desperately need transportation to work and live. They also created an ambulance for them, which is attached to a "zambike" http://www.akerfa.org/projects/50-zambulances and have so many other projects going. I am not good at all of the details, but I know they are changing lives over there, here is a whole page on how their bikes change lives: http://www.akerfa.org/about-us/how-bikes-change-lives and videos to help explain what they are doing http://www.akerfa.org/media/videos/. You can make a tax-deductable donation to them, buy a bamboo bike (another delightful Father's day gift) or 10% of all purchases on prayerwithpurpose.com go to them. 


Good Thing I Have Creative Friends!

One thing you probably already know about me or need to know, is that I am not crafty. Sure, I own a hot glue gun and have remnants from my forced scrapbooking hobby in college- but that is where I draw the line. Since I discovered the Mac photo books, the pressure to circle cut and write in swirly fonts was forever over! You will not see me or read about me sewing something or making something from scratch for my kids- the farthest I ever went was finger weaving and friendship bracelet making in middle school. period. That being said, I am in awe of my girlfriends who are not only good at crafty things, but seem to enjoy it! I was over at my friend Amy's house the other day and she has the most darling kid table she purchased inexpensively and made it DELIGHTFUL by sewing cute pillows and skirts on the chairs, etc.. I just think, well Dave is out of luck with me, he will just have to shell it out for me to pay someone else to make things look cute! :) 
That is a long way around saying, my friend Maggie started a darling Etsy site called LilyCole http://www.etsy.com/shop/LilyCole  it is so much fun to see a friend truly follow a passion and love what they do and Maggie is so talented and made for this stuff! I love the child's artwork on the pillow http://www.etsy.com/listing/70985585/your-childs-artwork-embroidered-made  such a cute keepsake! So go check it out- I am not very good at surfing around Etsy, so if you have any good shops on there you like- comment and tell us about them- love creative moms! 

Here are some other cute Etsy sites I like:
1) Again, love LilyCole http://www.etsy.com/shop/LilyCole


100 Activities!

I found this great list of 100 Free Things to do with your kids this summer, I am excited to try a lot of these ideas this summer. 

Just in case you dont have this recipe, this is a great way to make homemade PlayDoh- my girls love to make this and it lasts a long time. It is fun to add glitter to this too! 
1 c. flour
1 c. boiling water
2 tbsp. cream of tartar
1/2 c. salt
1 tbsp. oil
Food coloring


At the Car Wash!

Before I had kids, I remember thinking- why does anyone let their kids eat in the car? There were few things that disgusted me like sitting in the back seat of someone's car who had kids. The miscellaneous sticky stuff, the goldfish or other crackers smashed into the cracks of the seat, bags of trash, etc.. I just could not imagine how a car would get to that condition. UNTIL I had kids! I pride myself on being a clean car person, but sometimes it is just more than I can manage- especially after a road trip! I have learned that food is absolutely necessary in the car at times and if a road trip can go faster by feeding the kids in the car, that is exactly what I will do- totally worth the mess! So, we just returned from a weekend road trip and the car was absolutely trashed. I am trying to be thrifty so I am avoiding the full service car washes- surely I can drive my car through the wash and burn a few cals while vacuuming myself (and I do a better job than those men!) but the issue is my 2-year-old Izzy hates the car wash. She is deathly afraid of every cycle that occurs while her sister is squealing in delight at each color of bubble! She not only hates the wash, she is scared to tears of the vacuum as well! Since I love the car wash (and need it) I refuse to skip the car wash just because she doesn't like it! In fact, it makes me want to go more often so that she will get used to it! Today, we went to the car wash, and SUCCESS! She did great through the wash (I gave her a baby to hold and she comforted the baby through the wash) then when it was time to vacuum- I gave both girls the baby wipes and let them go crazy cleaning the inside of the car. They loved every minute, they wiped down the seats (front and back), the door handles, the console- you name it, everything is squeaky clean! They were so busy cleaning that Izz didnt even notice the vacuum. The best part is that we all had so much fun- they loved crawling around the car getting everything wiped down and I love my clean car! As I was leaving I noticed a mom with middle school aged children who were wiping down their car- so I realize I might be the last person with this idea- but I am sure glad we did it today, it revolutionized the car wash experience for us!


Dry Erase Crayons!

Crayola 8ct Dry Erase Crayons Large Size
I was at my friend Amy's house yesterday and she told me about these Dry Erase Crayons. I get really frustrated with markers because they dry out and they get all over the girls hands. I am excited to get these and ditch the markers! Baby wipes work great to clean it off- they work great to clean everything! While I am at it, we have loved the Melissa and Doug Easel . One side is the chalk board and one side is dry erase with the option for the Easel paper and it has a great tray to hold all of the goods! Definitely one of the best gifts my girls have received!
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