Kiwi Crate – Fun Crafts for Kids!

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*I was sent a Kiwi Crate to review, and was compensated for this review. All thoughts are my own however and I am not paid to write a positive review.*

This Kiwi Crate could not have come at a better time. In the middle of morning sickness and fatigue, crafts or any fun activieis is the last thing on my list to be doing now. In fact the box sat on my dresser for at least a week before I summoned the energy to let my children open it.

Opening up their first Kiwi Crate Box! I originally thought this would be just for my 6 and 4 year old girls, but after opening it up we gave one activity to the boys (this was done reluctantly, as they really wanted to do both but we shared!).

Discovering what is in the Kiwi Crate box! Obviously Olivia was having a crazy hair day! They were pretty excited to actually open the box up and see two craft kits in it! Included in the box was a city skyscraper to color and build, and a car to build with road tape to play with. I was impressed with how nicely everything was packaged, and all the little extras that the children appreciated. Cardstock actives to cut out, and a nice pair of children’s scissors was included, even though you don’t need them for the actual craft kits.

Building a car from Kiwi CrateThe instructions given are very easy to follow, and even if a child can’t read there are clear pictures given. None of the children had trouble following the instructions. Even though I think the boys were slightly older then the boxes are intended for (10 and 8), they loved putting together the car. A cardboard car shape that you put stickers on, with wooden wheels that roll.

The finished Kiwi Crate Car! The finished car on the track they set up with the tape that was included!

So what exactly is Kiwi Crate? In case it’s not obvious yet, it’s craft sets that are mailed each month to your house! Every month it will be a different set of crafts that are included. I think the crafts are really good for the 4-7 age range, but there are exceptions, like the car above. :) Skill wise it wasn’t for a 10 year old, he just thought it would be fun to put a car together.

These kits are perfect for the busy mom who does not have time to constantly be coming up with new crafts for the children to do. While I can’t fit a monthly subscription into my budget right now, I think this is a perfect gift idea for grandparents to give! And I know there are a lot of families who set the money aside, to give their child something fun and educational to look forward to each month.

The subscription prices are from $16.95-$19.95 (free shipping), depending on how many months you sign up for.  Or you can try just one month, and see what you think!

Use code BTS25 for 25% off  your 1st month subscription to Kiwi Crate. New subscribers also receive free shipping PLUS a bonus welcome kit. 

You can follow Kiwi Crate on their social media platforms!

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Ipsy Bag For August 2014!

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Ipsy Bag for August!

I’ve seen so many people trying out Ipsy and Birchbox, that I finally decided to take the plunge and join for awhile to see if I liked it. I thought it would be a fun monthly blog post to share what I got, and what I liked out of it!

If you don’t know what Ipsy is, it’s a monthly subscription you sign up for $10.00 a month (includes shipping prices), and they send you out a new bag each month with sample size or full size products! When you join you enter information on your coloring, preferences as to what you use the most, and what kind of products you lean towards (I put natural).

Here is what I got for August.

Products I received from my Ipsy bag for August!

Out of all the products I was the most excited about the Lip conditioner (it’s organic and feels so silky smooth!), and the eye shadow. I was totally out of my L’BRI eye shadow in this lighter color, and I love the light shimmer that is included in this eye shadow.

I’m going to try the dry shampoo, as some days I go longer then I want without a shower because I’m so tired. Perfect timing on that one.

The Sheer Glo lotion is intriguing. You mix it with your foundation, or just apply it on your face after you put your foundation on. I did it today (very quickly) and didn’t notice a huge difference but I’m going to try it gain.

The Urban Decay eye pencil went in the trash. :) I’m not big on eye pencils and this one was purple. I knew I wouldn’t use it.

I’m going to try Ipsy for a few months, and then maybe try Birchbox to compare and see if I want to stick with either one. It is really fun to get some new products in to try for a month! I’ve read that Birchbox leans towards the skincare/ body care side of products, and Ipsy is more about makeup. They are both $10.00 a month, so price doesn’t make a decision on which company to stick with.

Have you ever tried either company?

The Ultimate Book List For Boys!

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The Ultimate Booklist for Boys! |

I’ve been asked several times about what I recommend for children to read. Since it’s summer and a perfect time for children to read while school is out, I’ve compiled the ultimate book list for boys! Don’t let the title scare you away if you have girls though, most of these books are perfect for them also. My oldest two are boys, so my experience with proficient readers are boys. :)

I’m so blessed to have boys that love to read. They will sit on the couch and read for hours if I let them! We closely monitor their reading list, so this is a pretty conservative book list. On top of this list, we also go to the library and check out huge piles of books (my checkout limit is 200 books and we have come close a few times!). My oldest son absolutely loves anything to do with weather! We come home with stacks of books on tornadoes and hurricanes. I encourage him in that, as he is learning so much on his own time and enjoys it! My 8 year old son loves history, and anything to do with firefighters, police officers and the army. :)

For Younger Boys (2-6)

Bible Stories for Early Readers

Bible Stories for Early Readers Series - These are my favorite beginner readers for children. Our 6 year old daughter is reading through them right now. The pictures are wonderful, and really keep the child’s interest to see what happens next. I’m working on collecting the whole set.

Little Jewel books for younger readers

Little Jewel Books by Rod and Staff – When our oldest was a child we had the Lost Milk Jar story almost memorized, he loved it so much! These are sweet little story books with simple illustrations of mennonite families.  These books are best read out loud to young children, they were not written to be readers for young children.

Billy and Blaze Series

Billy and Blaze Series – Oh the memories I have of reading these to my boys! They are really past the age of reading them now, but I think every boy should have these read to them!! A sweet series of books about a boy and his horse.

My First Little House On the Prairie Books

Little House on the Prairie (My First Little House Series) – As you can tell these books are well loved at our house. All of our children like these books, even Deborah (age 2) loves to have these read to her. The perfect way to introduce a classic story to your children. They have a Winter on the Farm story that boys will especially like!

For the Middle Years (7-10)

Dan Frontier Series – This is one of my boys favorite series when they were learning to read. The first book could be read by a 6 year old that was learning how to read, but I think the end of the series is more for a seven year olds level. Every child is different though. These are out of print, but my boys have devoured these books and read them even now! A story about Dan Frontier, and his adventures on the prairie. I found my copies on Amazon, and Ebay. If you have a son struggling to read, these might be what he needs to encourage him that reading is fun. :)

Tales of the RAF series – My boys like this series, but my 8 year old especially likes them. Stories about real RAF Royal Air Force Pilots during World War 2. Full of colorful pictures (which is why I think the younger age will like them a little more).

Child's History of America Series

A Child’s History of America Series – These books are told in one-syllable words, but I wouldn’t give them to an early reader. My boys started reading them after they were pretty solid in reading. They really enjoy them now. The set has books on George Washington, Christopher Columbus, Naval Heroes, and more.

Pocahontas and the Strangers – This is a fiction book that has some history woven into it. It’s an easy read for my boys.

Squanto Friend of the Pilgrims – Our book is well loved and I see them reading it over and over again (especially my 8 year old) so they must really like this book. :)

David and Susan at Wild Rose Cottage- Very sweet stories about siblings that have to stay with their grandparents while their father is sick at the hospital. We read this book out loud when the boys were younger. They also have a sequel to this. Published by Rod and Staff.

Tattletale Sparkie and Other Stories – Another sweet story about a family and their everyday life. The books from Rod and Staff do a good job of teaching good character qualities in children.

Cornfield Baby and other Nature Surprises - Another Rod and Staff classic, these are sweet nature stories that teach about God and family.

Don and Joyce discover a hive of busy bees – My oldest son wanted to make sure this made it on the list. I haven’t personally read it, but he really enjoys it. My mom gave this book and it’s sequel to my boys before she passed away so it’s special to me that they like them.

Little House on the Prairie

Little House on the Prairie Series – I have read this series out loud to my children (I still need to finish the last two books for them!). I read these books over and over again when I was a child, and my boys do the same. The rule is that they can’t read one of the books until I have read it out loud, so they still don’t know the end of the story. Major mom failure moment! We need to finish these before school starts.

The Farm Mystery Series – If you are not into mystery books, don’t let the name scare you away. These sweet books are written about a conservative christian family and upholds principles such as parental authority, courtship, siblings getting along, and more. Both of my boys love this set.

The Missionary Adventures of Bob & Arty – This is another series of books that has some excitement to it, but they are written with christian family values. My 10 year old loves to read this series over and over again.

Treasures of the Snow – All the books by Patricia St. John are good for children to read. Excellent books that point children back to the Lord. If you want a good deal on these books here is a Kindle set.

History books that will inspire your boys!

Men of Faith Series – Excellent stories of men who have served the Lord through various ways. They also have a Women of Faith series.

Ten Boys Who Made A Difference – This is a whole set of stories on the lives of famous boys who have impacted the world.

Childhood of Famous Americans – If you have boys who love history, these are a must! I read these books when I was young and I’m excited my boys are enjoying them just as much as I did! Each book goes through the childhood of someone well known, and the last chapter goes through their adult life, highlighting their most famous moments.

Christian Heroes: Then & Now – Stories of missionaries from more modern times to inspire your children!

The Sower Series – Another great history series (yes, my boys love history!). These books will keep your children’s attention as they read about the lives of men and women in history.

Books to help build your son's faith!

Concord Cunningham Series – A unique way to get your boys in their bible! Read through the mystery and find the answer in the bible.

Prudence and the Millers – This whole series is written about the Miller family and their adventures.

Little Pilgrims Progress - A classic story told in a child’s version. The perfect way to introduce this wonderful book to children!

The Moody Series – Summer with The Moodys is the first book in the series, but you will want all of them after your child gets attached to the Moody family! This is a fiction series about a homeschooling family, and my boys can’t get enough of them. They were so happy when a new one came out recently!

Stuart Little - My oldest was literally laughing so hard he had tears in his eyes as he read this book. A funny story about a mouse!

Good books for boys!

Reading to Learn Series – These are used for school with the Christian Light Series, but my boys read these stories over and over again!

Tiger and Tom and Other Stories for Boys - Stories from the late 1800′s reprinted for boys today to learn the same stories boys from 100 years ago needed to learn.

Boyhood and Beyond - This is not a book that my boys read on their own, but we have read it together and I have picked out chapters for them to read on their own for personal devotion time. All the books by Bob Schultz I highly recommend!

Audio Books for Boys

My boys also love listening to stories or books read out loud on CD’s. Here are some of our favorites.

History Cd's for boys

History Stories by William Potter – Now that Vision Forum is no longer around these are harder to find, but my boys really enjoy listening to all of these history stories. I can’t tell you how many facts from history they have told me after listening to these CD’s.

Uncle Rick Audios – Wonderful stories told in a relaxed way, almost as if the child was sitting with Uncle Rick in the same room! I love knowing these are true history stories that are inspiring my boys. They also have proverbs and Psalms on CD that is read out loud while Uncle Rick explains it.

Audio Stories of Women in the Past

The Frontier Adventures of Elinore Stewart – While this story (and the others) might have a woman on the cover, these stories will interest boys and girls! I was even caught up into this story, and sat in the van once we got home from running errands to finish listening to it. :) They also like The Letterbook of Eliza Lucas Pinckney,  A Bride Goes West, An English Family in the American Wilderness, and Abigail Adams: Her Letters.  These stories are on sale through Friday, June 27th! Lovely for lazy summer afternoons when it’s hot outside. 

I hope you enjoyed the list and found something useful on it! I could have added quite a few more books, but had to stop somewhere. :)

My Summer Reading Book List For Mom!

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I wanted to share with you what is on my reading list right now. I should also be upfront and say probably half of these I will browse through and not read the entire book. Because that’s just how I am. :) So don’t let the stack look overwhelming!

I’m trying to get back into reading encouraging books on a regular basis. I find that I stay more focused and encouraged as a wife and mother if I am reading a book on the topic.

Here is my lofty summer reading book list for this summer:

Gentle Babies: Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for Pregnancy, Childbirth, Infants and Young Children by Debra Raybern. I really want to be more knowledgable on what oils I can safely use on my children. I bought this book at our homeschool convention after hearing how excellent it is from friends. I love using my Young Living Oils on myself and my children!

Gentle Babies

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine. Anyone who follows this blog knows our family has been in survival mode for the past few years! It’s time to get out out of that slump, so I’m looking forward to reading this book and going along with the book study over at Young Wife’s Guide.

Mitten Strings For God: Reflections For Mothers In A Hurry by Katrina Kenison. I want to read this because I always feel like I’m in a hurry!

The Organized Home Schooler by Vicki Caruana. This is one book I’m just browsing through to get ideas for our new school year.

Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight: 52 Amazing Ways to Master the Art of Personal Change by Karen Scalf Linamen. I haven’t personally heard of anyone suggesting this book, I just picked it up at the library and thought it looked interesting.

Red Hot Monogamy: Making Your Marriage Sizzle by Bill and Pam Farrel. Who doesn’t want their marriage to sizzle?! What I’ve read so far has been really good.

What a husband needs from his wife

What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood. I’ve been enjoying this book, she has some good reminders on how to be a supportive wife.

The Good Life for Less: Giving Your Family Great Meals, Good Times, and a Happy Home on a Budget by Amy Allen Clark. This is another book I’m going to browse through for ideas.

Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader’s Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line by Abby Johnson. This looked like an interesting story on how a director of a Planned Parenthood clinic walked away from her old life and now is a huge advocate for saving babies lives.

Radical Womanhood

Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World by Carolyn McCulley. I saw this suggested by a few other bloggers and thought it looked like something I would enjoy reading.

A Wife After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George. This author has such a gentle way of encouraging you, I find her refreshing and easy to read.

EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey. Finally, a book to encourage the business owner in me. :)

I’d love to hear what you are reading, or hope to read!