Independent Play


X is going through a phase where he wants my attention  It’s exhausting. Even when I tell him that I can’t/won’t play right then, he’s under foot, begging me to change my mind. From sun up, to sun down.  It’s one of the primary reasons I haven’t been blogging. I just can’t find 15 minutes of peace! Obviously, that’s not healthy for either of us.

Today, I’m trying something new. I’m making “play by yourself time” a part of our regular schedule, instead of just implementing it when I’m on the verge of losing my mind. :)

After breakfast and “school” (we’ve started doing pre-k stuff, most mornings), it is PLAY BY YOURSELF time!  Instead of telling him to find something to do, I set him up with blocks and all his construction trucks; and gave him the task of building a tower. I set a timer and told him that I’ll join him when it goes off. I’m aiming for a half hour. We’ll see how we do!  I’m planning on doing the same thing, for a half hour this afternoon.  Hopefully this will get easier, as it becomes part of our routine.

Any tips/tricks to share?

Truth in the Tinsel


If you follow me on facebook or instagram, you know that Xander and I have been having a BLAST learning about the Christmas story and doing our daily projects. I’d love to say that I came up with all of it myself. But that wouldn’t be the truth. We’ve been using the amazing advent devotional, Truth in the Tinsel, by Amanda White.  Each day has a section of scripture, a short devotion, and a craft. Yay for projects that keep little hands busy on snowy days!

Even though Christmas is only 10 days away, you can still use Truth in the Tinsel with your kids!

1. Go through the book and pick out 10 projects, one for each day.

2. If you have more than one child, have them do different projects and then have them tell each other what their project represents.

3. If your child(ren) race through projects like mine does, you can use the printable ornaments and have plenty of time to get them done before Christmas Eve!

And looking ahead to next year, I’m going to keep a copy of the supply list handy throughout the year. I’ll collect an extra set of materials so that, next Christmas, I can buy a copy of the book for another mama and give her a kit with everything she needs.

Xander has learned so much about the Christmas story and the true reason we celebrate. I can’t wait to use Truth in the Tinsel again next year!


Bent Low

Does anything teach us more about the heart of Jesus, than motherhood?

When most of our day is spent, bent low.


When we are about the washing and clothing and protecting and guiding and disciplining of one we love so much more than we love ourselves.

When we drink our coffee while sprawled on the floor, building block towers and racing cars.

When we get down near the ground, to admire a bug or stick or flower or a particularly special rock.

When we crouch down to eye level, to make sure that discipline is given in love.

Or bend to hear a whispered secret.

When we give up the comfort of our beds to spend the night watching over one who is sick or scared.

When we realize that our life is not our own.

Do we glimpse Jesus – when we answer the same question for the thousandth time, and realize that our daily prayers are exactly that?  The same questions a thousand times.

Or when we kneel down, in the middle of a mess, and say, “Don’t worry. We’ll clean it up.”   And we can’t help but think of all the times that Jesus has done that very thing for us.

When we pour ourselves out, day after day.

Precious Jesus, help us to always draw close to our Father and help us to mother with a heart like yours.

Another Kid-Friendly Cooking Project


I might start doing this every week. Lord knows, I spend enough time looking for kid-friendly recipes. I might as well share them with you, right?!!

Here’s my latest find: Healthy Toddler-Friendly Banana Cookies from Healthy Hostess. Click the link for the recipe. Only 2 ingredients, the raw batter is safe to eat and there are no steps that can’t be done by little hands. Perfect!!

If you have tried and true kid-friendly recipes, I’d love to check them out.

Happy Monday!!

Frugal Friday: Go outside. It’s free!

fridaysAre you looking for a free/frugal family day?  Take your kids outside!!  Ok, maybe not today. Here in the northeast, we’re covered in a sheet of ice. Nothing about the view from my window inspires me to go outside. But it’s that time of year when there are (thankfully) more warm days than cold days. And that means it’s the perfect time for outdoor adventures.

I know not everyone lives in an area where they can just go out their door and run around in the yard. While we’re staying with my inlaws, we are blessed to have that option. But we also like a change of scenery. So we’ve been doing a lot of exploring at local parks, hiking trails, and nature centers. You might have seen my post from the beginning of the week, with photos from our outdoor adventures. We ran around in a different place, 5 days in a row. And none of them cost us a thing.


If you live near a river or a lake, go throw rocks in it. If you’re surrounded by concrete, grab some chalk or make your own sidewalk paint. Blow bubbles. Ride bikes at the park. Search the sky for airplanes.  Have a picnic. Seriously. Go outside!  Your kids will sleep great and you’ll all be happier once you soak in some fresh air and vitamin D.  Time to shake off that winter dust!

That’s my public service announcement for today.  :)

Have a great weekend!!

Children’s Book Exchange

A friend sent me the best chain letter EVER. Actually, I don’t know if it counts as a chain letter, since she asked me before she sent it. I can’t remember the official chain letter rules. It’s been so long.

Anyway, I digress (as usual).

Here’s the first paragraph of the letter: This is a book exchange. That’s right, a book exchange! Send one new or lightly used book to the child listed as #1 below. Then send a copy of this letter to 6 friends. Move my child’s name to the #1 spot and list your child as #2 on your letter. Be sure to include your child’s age or the reading age of books you want to receive if you have already more than enough for the age they are now. This is a fun and inexpensive way to stock your children’s library with books!

Ok, did you get all that?  In addition to a chain letter, it’s also kind of a pyramid scheme.  Send 1 book and 6 letters, get 36 books.

We LOVE books!!  No one ever helps our family move more than once – because the majority of our boxes are filled with books. We’ve been reading to X since before he was born. He loves to be read to and loves to “read” to himself. He has books in his bed, books in the car, books in his bag. He rarely goes anywhere without a book. So I jumped at this chance to get some new-to-us books for him.


I got my letter today. I’ll send a book off to the person listed in the #1 spot. And now I’m on the hunt for 6 people to send the letter to. I actually already have one friend that wants to participate so I have 5 spots left to fill.

Who wants in?  It doesn’t matter where you are in the US because it’s all done by mail.

Let me know!!

Ultimate Blog Party 2013

Ultimate Blog Party 2013

I’m pumped that it’s time for the Ultimate Blog Party again!!  I can’t wait to look through the lists and find some new blogs to follow!

This is my little corner of the blogosphere. I write about faith, marriage, motherhood, whole foods, running, frugal living … a little bit of everything.

In the sidebar, you can subscribe via rss or email, find my facebook page, find me on instagram, and follow me on pinterest.

If you visit the $50-$99 UBP13 prize page, you’ll find me. I’m giving away a couple of graphic design packages for bloggers!

EvanchickS_LZ122-ISJ7R8E_10Be sure to stop by next week for tips on cooking with toddlers, ideas for frugal family fun, probably some pictures of my little one (because I just can’t resist), and my new playlist for running.

Party on, mamas!

Weekend Round-Up #6


It’s the weekend! I hope you have plans to relax and recharge before Monday comes ’round again!

These are some of my favorites things on the web this week. Enjoy!!


Lisa-Jo Baker: The tired mother’s creed.
Even better than the post (which is awesome) is the fact that she made it into a printable, that you can post in your home … for those days.  I think number 8 is my favorite.
8. I shall remind myself that perfect is simply a street sign at the intersection of impossible and frustration in Never Never land.

Kristen McLane’s Blog Takeover
Check out my friend Kristen’s posts about her upcoming trip to Cambodia with Steps of Justice. She’s raising money for her trip, while running a half marathon. Maybe you could sponsor a mile for her!

Smashing Magazine: Free Desktop Backgrounds for March
If your desktop needs a little freshening up, check out these great background images. There are some with calendars on them, and some without.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend!!



A Simple Way to Keep Your Toddler Busy

We are SNOWED IN!  Yesterday, it was sunny and 40 degrees.

Today, it looks like this.


So, I thought it was a good day to share one of the things I use to keep Xander busy, when we’re stuck inside. It’s so cheap, its ridiculous. In fact, you probably have these things laying around your house right now.

Grab an empty wipes container and a deck of playing cards.

It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Stay warm, friends!

The birthday boy!

The birthday weekend is over. My poor little guy has been sick since Friday, so we kept things pretty low-key. Saturday night, his fever spiked around midnight and my hero-husband ended up sleeping in his room, which meant that I got 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

As soon as they came down in the morning, X spotted his first present: the ‘busy box’ his daddy made for him. I’ll post more pictures on how it was made, later this week.

It was tough, but we finally tore him away, long enough to eat some pancakes.

And then we let him open the rest of his presents.

He checked out all his presents, and then went back to his busy box.

After lunch, we brought out his cake.

And his grandma and grandpa had a few more toys for him!

The tools worked great on … you guessed it … the busy box. :)

Oh, I almost forgot. On Saturday, we let him open one of his gifts – mostly so that he would have something play with while he ‘took it easy.’  It was a whole bag of little plastic dinosaurs and animals, to add to his collection.

We finish like the day, like we finish every day: with stories before bed.

Welcome to the world of “two,” precious boy. You’re not a baby anymore.


I must have blinked.