Educational Apps for Preschool and Elementary School Ages

I reached a point recently where I decided to evaluate the iPad. My girls love the iPad but I don't believe we have been intentional about the apps that are loaded for them to use. I am all about an occasional dress up game- but that was all my girls were doing on there. I started doing research on the best- FUN- educational apps and we found so many good ones! We have had them loaded up for a couple of weeks and I have been extremely impressed by the things the kids have learned and how much they love the new "games". I find that they choose these new educational games more often than the Barbie or Fancy Nancy apps- which is awesome! It was well worth the small investment- I wish I had done this sooner...before Kindergarten!

First, we do have guidelines for the iPad and I thought I would share them with you:
1. The iPad does not dine with us. On an extreme rare occasion I will throw it in the bag if I know we are attending a meal where they will be expected to sit longer than is fair to them.
2. They do not have free rein of OUR iPad, we choose to let them use it and it can be taken away at any time.
3. It does not belong in bedrooms, it is to be used in "public" space.
4. It is to be shared or not used- no fighting over the iPad.
5. The "parent" apps are off limits- in case you don't know about the restrictions- go to "settings" "restrictions" and you can set it up accordingly.

 OK...Here are our new fabulous finds!

FUN and EDUCATIONAL APPS for Preschool and Elementary School

{Bugs and Numbers: this is the favorite, thy learn math without knowing that they are learning math!}

{Stack the States: this requires parental assistance for kids before they can read- but I love playing this with the girls and they LOVE it!}

{22 Learn Sight Words Game: I wish I would have had this before Kindergarten!}

{Teach Me: Kindergarten - they also have Toddler, 1st grade, 2nd grade, etc.. again, I wish I had this BEFORE Kindergarten!  Ellie's teacher actually told me about this one!}

{Kids Maps: great for all ages}

{Preschool and Kindergarten Learning Games- dont be fooled, it is not free- but worth the $$)}

{The ABC's of God- this is good for my 4 year old- learning to write letters}

I would LOVE to know what your favorites are! I am getting ready for a solo flight with the 3 girls and need a few surprises in the bag! 


Repost: The best Pancakes!!!

I thought I would repost an oldie but goodie today- my girls had these for breakfast today and it reminded me how much we love them! Enjoy! 

Cakes For Dinner: 
There is usually one night a week that I get in the, "Im not in the mood for food" mode. Im not in the mood to make the girls eat, Im not in the mood to clean up all of the dishes, Im not in the mood to run to the groc. for one ingredient that I need..I am simply not in the mood! I usually like to cook healthy meals at home, but when it is just the "birds" (the girls eat like birds) and I, there is no sense in making a big mess and cooking an entire meal, for me! So, we have Pancake night- the girls think it is special and I just have to dump a few ingredients in a bowl and it is over! When I was at the lake (of all places) a few summers ago, I discovered amazing boxed pancake mix- Kodiak Cakes Flapjack and Waffle Mix. I love it because it only has a few ingredients: Ingredients: 100% whole grain wheat flour, 100% whole grain oat flour, non-fat dry milk, dry honey (honey, wheat starch), leavening (sodium bicarbonate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate), egg whites, salt. Just add water. No white flour, no white sugar, no high fructose corn syrup, no hydrogenated oils...and the best part...they are SO good! I add a scoop of ground flaxseed to the mix and they are delicious (you could "sneak" all sorts of good stuff in these if you wanted to). I usually substitute milk for the suggested water (so easy, 1 cup of mix and 1 cup of water (or milk) is all you need)- I actually substitute milk in every packaged mix I make- just FYI. I also add nuts and/or blueberries to these and serve with fruit and REAL Maple Syrup (just a touch). I like the real stuff (maple syrup) because it is natural (the ingredients in pancake syrup are nasty) made from the sap of maple trees- it’s unrefined and contains valuable minerals (an excellent source of manganese and a good source of zinc) (read more at Maple Syrup). One last tool that makes this an easy dinner is the Pancake Maker- perfect every time! The way I see it, they are getting vitamins, minerals, whole grains & protein- perfection! (for recipes, ordering and more yummy products go to http://www.kodiakcakes.com/ or Amazon has them as well). Of course, you could also serve these for breakfast, but pancake dinner is SO exciting! {NOTE: our Target has them for sale- not all grocery stores have them, there is also a Buttermilk option, but we like the whole wheat!)


Let's Take a Vote!!!

Hi friends! DMS is getting a makeover- so excited about it! I have been looking at Design Seeds- which is a delightful website- to pick a new "palate". There are over 300 pages of ideas and I have narrowed it to 10! SO, I thought I would ask you- who are precious enough to look at this site- to vote! You can just comment below and let me know which option (1-10) you like the best! I am excited to hear what you think and even more excited to get rolling on the makeover (it wont be completed until May/June, so don't get too excited!)! Thank you for your help!  {voting ends Wednesday 2/27/13}












Romans 8 (The Message)

I was recently reminded how much I love Romans 8- but I don't think I have ever read it from "The Message". I loved this version so much I thought I would share it with you. I do love the NET version of verse 16-17 "The spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God's children, and if children, then heirs (namely heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ)- if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him." (Romans 8:16-17 NET) Does that just blow your mind? I was so choked up when I read that again- we are heirs with JESUS CHRIST!!! Brothers and Sisters with JESUS CHRIST? It is just humbling and exciting and motivating and filled with hope and freedom and blessings......Here is the whole chapter for you! In case you don't use Biblegateway.com I really love it- you can put in any verse and look up every translation, you can also search for any word and it pulls up all of the scripture including that word. I use it all of the time! Have a great day!! 

Romans 8

The Message (MSG)

The Solution Is Life on God’s Terms

1-2 With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.
3-4 God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.
The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.
5-8 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.
9-11 But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!
12-14 So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!
15-17 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!
18-21 That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.
22-25 All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
26-28 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
29-30 God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.
31-39 So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:
They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.


Books That Encourage Kids to Focus on God!

We have discovered some great books that really help the girls focus on the Lord- thought I would share them with you!

{What Happens When I Talk to God- this book is a bit long for younger kids- maybe take a few pages at a time!!}

{If Jesus Lived Inside My Heart- this is a FAVORITE!!!! }

{Of course I have to mention PrayerWithPurpose- I love going through these journals with my girls and discussing all of virtues and scriptures with them and I loved going through the unborn book with my older two when praying for Milly!}


Sunday Recap

What a week! Here is a little recap!

{On Tuesday we took cookie cake in for Ellie's birthday at school- she loved having us there!}

{Here is her cake and table set up- she made the balloons on it!}

{On Tuesday night we went to an open house at Ellie's school- they had a lot of stuff on the walls for us to see. This is one of them- "What breaks your heart" most kids said "when my brother hits me" Ellie said "When my dad has to leave the house" Ripped Dave's heart out!}

{This girl......Love her!}

{My man did good this year! My Anniversary/Valentine's Day gift- Isn't she lovely?!}

{Dave asked the girls to put on fancy dresses (which they loved) and he took us all to dinner on Valentine's Day!}

{Ellie got to design her Birthday cake- that was a big deal for me to release control (I of course had a delightful little design in mind) but she did a great job!}

{Friday night we had our family party- Uncle Matt and Aunt Emmy came with the kids}

 {Cici and Pops spoiled her- they went on a date to breakfast and then she got to pick out a "Just Like Me" American Girl doll- she is in heaven!}

{My chix!}

{Dave and his girls!}

 {Ellie had her friend party (that is right, this is party #3 of the week, sheesh!) She wanted chips, Gatorade, cupcakes and ice cream. We had the party at the rec. center and did gymnastics. Her whole class was invited and we had literally 5 minutes to set up- so this is the mess of the table- kind of nice not to be able to "go all out"!}

{the cupcakes I made for the party}

 {The party!}

{So grateful Cici and Pops came to play with Milly and party!}

{We played "Freeze Dance" they LOVED it}

{Gymnastics was fun!}

{LOVE this girl- cant believe she is 6!}

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