5 Fun Family Vacation Games

24
Jul
2014

Fun-Family-Games

Our family is enjoying a week away from home on vacation.  Sun, good snacks, swimming, some golf (our new family sport, which I am learning!) and family games.  We picked up a few new ones for our trip this year and I wanted to share with you, as I know everyone loves new games to create fun family time.

Richard Scarry Busy TownRichard-scarry

When I was looking for some new games, especially for my 4 year old, this one caught my attention.  Richard Scarry Busy Town has a rating of 5 stars out of 430 reviews on amazon.  That is awesome!  My little guy also loves watching Busy Town, so this was a must have game.  

It is a little larger game for traveling, but it was super fun.  The theme of the game is cooperation and helping each other get to the finish line, which is not always the main idea behind playing a game.  You spin, move your marker and then wait for someone to draw a GoldBug card so you all can work together to find clues.  Even the bigger kids played along and we had fun.

spot-itSpot It

Spot It was another one we just had to get.  I have seen others post about this fun game and it also had outstanding ratings on amazon –  5 stars out of over 1500 reviews.  

We played a S.L.O.W. version with our 4 year old involved to get the idea of how to play one of the matching games, and I can see that even though it states it is for ages 7 and up, he could play a slower version that would be very helpful for memory and creating quick reactions.  The directions state you can play with 2-8 players, I would say 4-5 players would be the maximum, in my opinion.

Wizardwizard

My older kids had played the Wizard card game before with some family while camping and they said we “had to get it.”  So for just a little over $7 it was a winner. Plus it was compact – perfect for traveling.

This game is certainly for the older kids, but a great family game none the less.  It is a game of bidding, strategizing and learning – fun for everyone.

banana-gramsBananagrams

This was another game I have heard others talk about, so we put it in our list to get.  Even though Bananagrams is too advanced for my 4 year old, he loves playing with the tiles, doing letter recognition and stacking the tiles up.  I can see that this game will be perfect for traveling, as it comes in it’s own zipper case and is very compact.  I also love that you do not need any paper, pencil or board to play.

The instructions say you can play with up to 8 players, I find that to be quite a stretch!  I would say 1-4 is more realistic.  You race against each other to build crossword grids of words – it is recommended for ages 7 and up.

Phase 10 Card Gamephase-10

To be honest, our family has had Phase 10 for years – but it is a great one and we love playing it.  Compact and easy to learn, it makes for perfect family fun while camping, waiting at the airport or sitting around the pool.  

From the makers of UNO Phase 10 is a rummy-type card game with a challenging and exciting twist.  You need to be the first player to complete 10 phase sequences but the twist is that each phase to be completed is specific for each hand dealt.  It is perfect for 2-6 players.

 
What is your favorite family game? 

5 Scriptures to Pray For Your Marriage

10
Jul
2014

Scripture-pray-marriage

Being intentional in marriage is extremely important.  I was reminded of this today as I read Marriage:  A Lifelong Journey (a devotional on the YouVersion Bible APP by Jim Daly.)  This paragraph resonated with me and I wanted to share it:

“Like a canoe, marriages often drift.  There’s no obvious conflict or struggle, just subtle distractions that lull spouse asleep.  Couples hardly notice they’re losing interest in one another until they end up somewhere they never intended to be.”  - Jim Daly

This is so true.  It can be easy to coast along and then before you know it, if you take your marriage for granted, even unintentionally, you are at a place where you do not want to be.  Alone, being room-mates or not engaged they way God created us to be together in marriage.

Being intentional can bring about a lot of “things” to do, but one thing we can do is pray for our marriages.  As I began my second time of reading “Wife After God” by Unveiled Wife, it all came back to me how I can let my marriage run on idle.  This will cause damage, even when I cannot see it.

As I begin an intentional journey of reading, journaling and praying for my marriage – just because, I thought you might want to as well.  My marriage is not in trouble, in fact it is great.  But it is when things are great that we must keep our guard up and be even more intentional.  This is where the enemy likes to wait and bait us.

Here are 5 Scriptures that I will be praying for my marriage – will you join me?

Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.  Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.  Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.   Proverbs 4: 24-27

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  Hebrews 10:23

Be completely humble and gentle; Be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.  Ephesians 4:2-3

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.  Ephesians 4:15

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8

Six Phone Apps That Make My Life Easier

19
Jun
2014

iPhone-Apps-Life-Easier

I thought it would be fun to share what APPS I have on my phone and why.  Normally I am a pretty minimalist kinda gal, so I am not into all the latest and greatest, especially when it comes to APPS.  But there are a few that I find help and can save you time, your sanity and make things just a bit nicer too!

YouVersion Bible APP

I have shared this one several times before, but I always have new moms stumble into my community so could not pass this one by.  YouVersion is a FREE Bible on your phone, iPad or Tablet, but honestly – it is way more than that!

You can access an entire bible in many different formats just with the touch of a finger, but you also have access to hundreds of devotionals, videos and more.  This is what I currently have for my morning quiet time. I am able to do several different devotions and it keeps track of my reading, making it very easy!

Website:  youversion.com

The Bible APP for Kids

This is a creative Bible story APP that is perfect for kids age 6-8, although my four year old loves it.  There are stories from the Bible read and activities they can do along the way.   There are stars to collect through the reading and this makes kids eager to keep reading.

Website: bible.com/kidsscreen568x568

Letter School

This is one for the kids!  Voted the best Younger Children’s APP 2013 – KAPI Award, you will see why.  It is a great handwriting APP for both numbers and letters right on your phone or iPad.  Perfect for little fingers to get the idea of how to maneuver their fingers to make letters and also fun in the process.

It is great for using while waiting for an appointment or driving in the car.  I am not a huge screen user in the car, but it does come in handy for sure – plus they are learning something useful with letters and numbers.  That I like!

iTunes:  LetterSchool

Period Tracker LITE

I admit, I am not the best at keeping track of my monthly cycle.  I know, probably lame.  But this APP I’ve been using for over a year has made it so much easier to keep track of where I am in my cycle, helps me understand any moodiness which may come on (which honestly has been really diminished with the use of Young Living’s Progessence Plus Serum) as well as quickly being able to see when my period is due to arrive, especially if I am traveling out of town.  They also have a version for $1.99 which has a few more options, but the free version is great for me.

iTunes:  Period Tracker LITE4067c5_3cff470ce0c249cf8af8763f1205a9e1.png_srz_237_445_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_png_srz

EveryDay Spirit

My newest APP purchase and so worth $1.99!  Every Day Spirit is a collection of 180 beautiful, hand-crafted iPhone wallpapers designed to be a daily reminder of goodness, joy and light.  I love being able to change the face of my phone with a scripture or other inspirational quote.

You can choose from Kindness, Gratitude, Joy, Faith, Love, Prayers, Peace and more.   Funny enough, the shot from their site is exactly the first one I chose for my phone!   It’s $1.99, but in my opinion, well worth the Joy it will put in my day when I glance at my phone sixteen trillion times!

Website:  Everyday Spirit

Pro HDR

I learned about this APP from my friend Myra {My Blessed Life}  while we were in Hawaii together.  She kept taking stunning sunset photos and when I asked her how, she spilled the beans!  She was using this APP.  I am not a blogger who does a lot of photography, but lately it has come in handy to have an APP that really takes great photos – food, family, outdoor shots, sunsets, beach scenes and more.

I love it and so does my hubby who also downloaded it.  If you are looking for an APP to help you take higher quality photos, this is the one!

iTunes:  Pro HDR

Now go download Pro HDR and take some fabulous summer photos!! 

Sharing about “Our Girls”

12
Jun
2014

Making-a-Difference-Compassion

If you could make a difference in a child’s life you may not even ever meet, would you?

Would you sacrifice $1 a day and 30 minutes of your time a month?  What if it cost you $1.25 a day and an hour of your time a month?  

A few months ago I was given a truly divine idea while sitting at the Hearts at Home Conference watching a video of Jill Savage visiting her Compassion sponsored child.  I felt led for my blog to sponsor a child – not just me, but all of us.  I wasn’t sure exactly what it would look like, but shortly after I picked an adorable 8 year old girl, aptly named Shine – it came to me.  I shared this idea a few months back and it has been great!

But for those who may not read my newsletter – I wanted to update you that we are now sponsoring three girls all from the same village!  Yep – my idea to have you all use my amazon link to make your purchases has exceeded my expectations.  I told you if we consistently were able to exceed to amount needed to sponsor one child, I would ask for more.  I called last month to ask for two more girls in the same village.  

I nearly fell off my stool when the gentleman on the other end of the phone said he only had TWO girls left in that village to sponsor.  I said, “Well, we’ll take them!”

So, we have three beautiful girls all from the same village:

Shine Eirene Andrap – 8   (middle photo)

Hannah Esther Christy – 10  (left photo)

Gold Jayishiha –  9  (right photo)

290x250TCM-sponsorchild1

I just recently received my first letter from Shine and am anxiously awaiting letters from the other two.  So fun!  One thing that has made corresponding so easy is that I can write my letters to the girls online!!  It is awesome and so easy.

Compassion-child-Shine

 

We are making a difference, in the lives of three girls half-way across the world!!  A few cents at a time add up!  If we continue to exceed the monthly amount of $38 per child, I will ask for more children to sponsor! 

What can you do?

If you can please remember to take the extra step to my website, click through on the graphic of the girls (like the one pictured above) on the bottom right hand corner you will then be directed to amazon.  

When you order, using my affiliate link, I get a small referral fee – which does not cost you anymore on your purchase,  amazon pays that to me, which is what I use to pay the sponsor fee each month.  It takes a few minutes of your time to click through, but makes a world of difference to three little girls!

Perhaps your family would like to sponsor a Compassion Child on your own? 

It is very easy to get started and something you can do right online.  Hop over to the Compassion website and you can scroll through waiting children, pick one and get started.  Your tax-deductible contribution of just $38 a month connects your child with a loving, church-based Child Sponsorship Program.  

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for making this journey of sponsoring these girls an incredible success so far!  I will share with you when I receive letters so we can rejoice together on how God is using this space and all of us together to make a difference.

Becoming a Life-Giving Mom

3
Jun
2014

 Life Giving Moms

This chapter is the one that deeply spoke to me and convicted me to dig into this book deeper, which then brought it to be our next book study.  

Sue’s story about the house fire was scary, I cannot even imagine how I would feel in that situation – but I can imagine and know how it feels to need help as a mom – and be desperate.

Every Mom Needs Help

I do try to be transparent by sharing that I certainly do not have things all together, although I may have strengths in some areas you may be weak in, and vice-versa.  I may struggle with issues that you do not and you struggle with things I have no idea about.  But God knows.

Week-0ne-1

I was reminded very CLEARLY here in chapter One, how important it is for me to get my energy, my power and my value from Him.  The one who created me to be just who I am – even in all my flaws.  I struggle every single day, but I must remember something very important, and today I was conveniently reminded of what God thinks of me when I listened to a recorded workshop by Dr. Kathy Koch from the 2014 Hearts at Home Conference:

“I am a unique, one-of-a-kind, created-in-the-image-of-God miracle.”  - Dr. Kathy Koch

I need to be reminded of that on those days when I feel like a complete failure as a mom, wife and/or friend.  I get just discouraged.  Do you feel like that too?  I needed to hear this today for me…..

I ran my half-marathon Sunday, I had been training for a few months – it was my fourth race.  I always love the challenge of beating previous race times and it is certainly a motivator.  But a little over two weeks ago I strained a muscle in my hip and had to quit my training.  I decided to push ahead and still run this weekend since it was part of a get-away weekend with my husband, who was also running the race.

Well, I barely finished the race, I was in so much pain at about mile 9 and finally by mile 11.5 I had to walk to finish, which was at 13.1 miles.  It was extremely discouraging for me and honestly, depressing.  I was crying once I crossed the finish line.

I realize this may seem silly to many.  This little ‘competition’ I had with myself is really not that big of a thing in the BIG picture.  And I would say you are right.  It really is not.  But I was invested in this desire.  Just like I am in so many other things where I can become discouraged and easily overcome.

As I walked the last portion of my race, in pain and frustration…..I whispered under my breath…. “Jesus….Jesus….Jesus”  I couldn’t say anything else, but that was powerful enough to get me across.

I was brought back to the firm reality of who my source is and who I need to continue to turn towards each and every day.

I need fresh perspective, a new look into some of those areas in my life which I’ve managed to put on idle.  Are you with me?

“A Life-Giving Mom replaced life-destroying habits with life-sustaining habits.  You have the power or choice.  The choices you make today will determine your destiny tomorrow.  You have before you choices that bring life and choices that bring death.  Choose life.”

What resonates for you in that quote from Sue’s book?  For me, I know I have power through HIM!  Each day is new and each day I can make choices better than the day before.

Start your day off by praying the Prayer to be a Life-Giving Mom.  If you have not printed those off yet, you can do so here.  Each day this week pray that – several times a day if you need to!

Here I am after my race, barely keeping the tears away.  Even in our struggles and pain HE rejoices over us.  :-)

Spokane-half-marathon