Book Review- To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

I have deviated from my initial list of 10 books I’ll read in 2018. We took a trip to the Library.. That’s really all that needs said. I read a book for this blind date thing the library is doing. They wrapped up several books in kraft paper, and put a little note on the front with a short synopsis of the story. If you read and review a book, you are entered to win a prize. I got this book. It was really good, but not something I’d typically read.

I also saw that To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before was finally in stock, so I snatched it up. Janssen has recommended it a lot. I mean A LOT. She loves it, and she has never once steered me wrong before. Here is her review.

This book is Young Adult fiction. What I love about young adult chick lit is that it’s typically not trashy. I’m not a fan of romance novels. I’m not a fan of books that make me feel like I need to take a hot shower after to wash away the filth. Just HEARING about 50 shades makes me want to take a shower and cry for anyone who thinks that is romance.

Lara Jean is a teenager whose mother passed away when she was young. She has two sisters, and is the middle child. Her older sister, Margot, goes off to college, which leaves her “in charge” of many of the motherly duties.

She has written letters to every boy she has ever loved over the course of time. They are essentially goodbye letters when she no longer loves them. One day, her letters are mysteriously mailed out to these boys. It makes her life a whole lot more interesting as the boys who receive these letters confront her. Some reveal that they liked her also. Some still do.

I don’t want to give away a lot of the story, because that is where the fun is.

I know a lot of people roll their eyes at teen love stories. Me? I married my high school sweetheart. I found myself literally smiling through much of the book because it made me think of the time spent dating Scott. Lara Jean’s curfew is 1 AM though, and mine was 10 PM. haha!

This really is a delightful story. I finished reading the book in two days. As soon as Scott got home from work, I went to the library to check out the second in the series. I was seriously disappointed when it was already checked out. I grabbed the third one and read it in less than 24 hours. Now, I wait for my hold on P.S. I Still Love You to come in. Though, I really should just buy them all at some point, because I want to read them over and over again!

If you are looking for a fun read, I cannot recommend this book enough.

A move is currently being made, too!! My image of Margot looking like Sadness from Inside Out is going to be ruined..which will be a good thing!

I have read 5 books so far this year. I just started Girl, Wash your Face today and am ready to be blown away with inspiration.

What are some good books that you have read lately?

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Homeschool Update

Happy Thursday!!

I have to start every post that way so that I can remember what day it actually is. I feel like the days have started to just blend together. Harper has been battling some virus that has left her super congested. She had a very croupy cough for a few days, and now the other stuff is just left behind. It makes it difficult for her to sleep well, obviously, so we don’t sleep well either.

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She thought that getting a breathing treatment was super amusing. I’m glad she thinks it’s fun instead of torture.

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As you know, I homeschool the big girls. We use Abeka curriculum this year, and it is my favorite. I’ve tried a different curriculum every year- in a search for one that works best for us. I love Abeka. If you don’t know, there is an actual Abeka academy where they teach classes. It is also the curriculum taught in most Christian schools. They do streaming or DVDs of the classes at the academy that you can purchase for a hefty amount of money. We didn’t purchase these, but they sent an e-mail offering a free 15 day trial of streaming. Sign. Me. Up. We have had stuff going on every weekend, leaving me feeling frazzled and unprepared for the week ahead.

It has been life-changing for this month. The girls have been so excited to watch their classes each day. I fully believe that the excitement will wear off quickly, but for now I am thoroughly enjoying it. Everything is exciting when it’s new. I think we are going to try and save up to buy them next school year.

I have been able to go back and start phonics from the beginning for one of my children that struggles with that area. I’ve observed the teacher’s tricks for teaching the rules, etc. and it will help me teach her a lot better, since I don’t remember ALL of the tricks we learned in school. (Do you?)

img_2940This sneaky stinker finds a way to get into trouble during school. She got sprinkles and had dumped them everywhere. I found her like this in her bedroom. It’s a good thing she is cute.

All of this to say, I think Abeka will be the winner for our homeschool from now on. It was always recommended, but so expensive that I tried to find something else. If you are interested in Abeka, you can e-mail them and ask about a trial of their video streaming. There are also sample videos that you can check out. There are a lot of worksheets with this curriculum, but that really helps to reinforce what is being taught.

This is absolutely not sponsored at all, I just want to share what we love because I have many friends that are thinking about homeschooling their kids. I’m happy to answer any questions that I can, but I am certainly not an expert!

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Holly Jolly Kids Outfits

Holly Jolly Outfits

Santa Hat Dress // polka dot santa dress // striped deer shirt and pants // knitted deer romper // You Serious Clark? // Fair Isle leggings and ruffle shirt // CC beanie // Dinosaur shirt // earflap hat // cloth diaper // Christmas socks // hoodie outfit // bandana bibs //

Hopefully there is something there for everyone. If that Santa hat dress came in my size, I’d wear it all December long.

Someone better put their babe in that YOU SERIOUS CLARK? outfit. Mine are all too big, and it’s too good.

Happy Wednesday!! We are halfway to the weekend!

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday

 

Lego sets up to 30% off

Instant Pot (I’d love to hear what you think if you have one.)

Kindle Fire 7 ONLY $29.99

Kids Kindle Fire  We are buying these headphones

Edifier Headphones (fit kids and adults)

Crazy Vitamix Sale

Nursery Items Sale

TOOLS— the easiest husband gift

Lightning deal on building discs (will run out soon)

Really great deals on Hasbro GAMES and toys

Apple Macbook

Melissa & Doug train set

Micro Mini Scooter

Cars track set

Interlocking builder blocks

 

cybermonday

 

Gathre mats 15% off and free shipping            Code: MONDAY

Free shipping on Nickel and Suede

Lily Jade on sale

Tubby Todd 15% off  SOO good for eczema

CUTEST mugs by Rachel Allene 30% off with code CYBER30

June and January

 

I’ll add more to the list throughout the day if I find more deals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seventh Generation and Earth Month

Since becoming a mother, I have done my research on what chemicals that I bring into my home; from food to cleaning products.

Did you know that the air INSIDE of your home is 2-5X more polluted than the air outside of your home! That’s scary to think about; especially in the winter when you are shut inside of your home for so long. Since this is Earth Month (Earth Day is the 22nd!) I thought it was a great time to share about my favorite brand–

Seventh Generation

Their brand is environmentally responsible and is true to their word.

diapers // wipes // diaper cream // laundry detergent // bathroom cleaner // dishwasher soap // dish soap

You can download an app called Think Dirty if you have a smart phone. It allows you to scan products in the grocery store and find out what they rate. 10 is incredibly toxic, so the lower the number the better. I am so thankful for this app because it allowed me to discover just how bad some of the so-called clean brands really are. Seventh Generation has passed the test!

I joined Seventh Generation’s Generation Good and have enjoyed getting tips on cleaning up my home even more; along with learning more about the importance of doing so. I enjoy being part of a community that has some of the same concerns and passions as I do.

Their diapers are made from sustainably sourced materials, which I think is great. We cloth diaper most of the time, but do use disposables at night, when we are out and about, and when we travel. Their diapers used to just be brown, but they have recently added these fun prints. (You can learn more about WHY here.) Their wipes are so thick and get the job done; every mother’s dream! Plus, they don’t irritate my extremely sensitive daughter’s skin. Win-win!

Their cleaning products actually WORK! For a long time, I was left disappointed by how poorly natural products performed. Then, I tried Seventh Generation and was hooked.

Seventh Generation products are easy to find in stores, but they are also available on Amazon, which I love. If you have prime, you can subscribe and save even more. They don’t even know I exist, aside from being a part of generation good, so this is not paid. I genuinely love the brand and their products. Everything I have linked to is something that I have tried and loved. I would never recommend a product that I don’t absolutely love! 

Have you ever tried Seventh Generation products? If not, what are you waiting for?

 

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Bathtime Favorites

 

Bath time was always one of my favorite times with my kids. They loved to play in the tub. Actually, they still love it. Chloe will stay in the bath the longest just playing away.

There are so many bath toys that it is overwhelming. The problem is that many of these have little holes that allow water to get inside. Then, you know what happens. Mold. Mold everywhere. It’s gross and frustrating. So, I am going to share my favorite bath toys (and other supplies) that have been loved by toddlers-6 year olds.

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Munchkin Bath Caddy: This is so handy to STORE all of the toys. It sits across the tub, so the water drips out and down the drain. When there are two kids in the tub at once, I put it in the center as a dividing line so that no one hogs the tub. Usually, they like to take a bath alone.

Boon Creatures: These are super fun. They are interchangeable, so your little ones can create different sea creatures.

Boon Stacking boats: Boats in the tub. Enough said.

Boon Pipes: I do not actually own these, so I cannot speak about how well they work. Boon quality is amazing, so I have no doubts. I definitely want to get them for my kids. They look so fun. The water bugs and fishing pole look fun also!

Shae Moisture baby wash: This is my favorite baby wash. A friend recommended it to me and I LOVE it. It smells so good, and is super clean (no harmful ingredients). If you have big kids, their shampoo and conditioner are great as well. I use the baby wash for Harper and as a body wash for the big girls. The big girls use the shampoo and conditioner.

Tubby Todd lotion: I have every cream/lotion that they make. Addi and Harper have eczema, and this is the only thing that has helped keep it away. I have their dream cream, all over ointment, and lotion. It’s all great and smells amazing. As long as I stay on top of it, I only need the lotion daily and use the others to spot treat if it flares. The weather changes typically cause a flare.

Whale Rinser: Rinsing hair.. I hate it. With three girls, I rinse a lot of hair! This whale has been a life saver for the past several years. It forms to your child’s forehead, so there is less chance of getting soapy water in their eyes. I say less chance because my kids always move as soon as I start dumping water.

Bath Mat: I like the stability that this mat offers. The dots are raised a little bit, and help stop your child from slipping even more than a regular bath mat.

 

Do you have anything that you would add to this list? Have you tried anything from this list? I’d love to hear your opinions!

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This post contains affiliate links, but was not sponsored in any way.

5 Sustainable Baby/Toddler Options

My passion for sustainability started at a strange time. After Scott and I first got married, I was taking Interior Design classes at Missouri State University. (HIGHLY recommend them, if that is your passion.) I remember a professor saying that part of being a designer was being responsibility. Re-using furniture and decor whenever possible; or repurposing it. Another thing she mentioned was starting off using things that were made to last. It really struck a chord with me, and I was hooked.

For some reason, you tend to get laughed out of town for being a “tree hugger”. As a Christian, did God not call us to be good stewards? Wouldn’t that include this beautiful earth that he created for us to care for and enjoy? (Here is a good list to help answer that.)

If we make wise decisions from the beginning, we will waste so much less money and resources.

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Pura Insulated Bottle– These bottles are so great!! They are made from stainless steel, so you don’t have to worry about the chemicals in plastic. It does have a hefty price tag, but you can replace the nipple with a soft sippy tip, a straw, and a flip top. It lasts FOREVER and grows with your child. If you have multiples, or just want some extra padding, you can purchase silicone sleeves to customize your bottle/cup some more.

Re-Play Recyled– This brand has EVERYTHING! Sippy cups, plates, bowls, flatware, you name it. There is even more than I realized! I have these snack containers and love them. It’s nice to stack a snack for each girl when we all go out, or just have individual snacks during the rare one on one outing. You can read more about their company here.

Cloth Diapers– Cloth diapering is not only earth friendly, but SO budget friendly. I was really intimidated by the idea of cloth diapering, but now I wish I had done it sooner. Don’t let it be intimidating. I love my bum-genius diapers the most, but I also have Alva baby and really like them also. (Babies R Us usually has coupons for Bum Genius.) You can check out my pinterest board if you need some information to help you get started, because it can certainly be overwhelming in the beginning. (My younger sister even made her own wipes, so you can even go as far as that!)

Green Toys– I love this brand! Everything is so cute and well-made. The toys are made from 100% recycled plastic, which is awesome. (Image source) You can see more about how they make their products here.

Refillable Baby Food Pouches– These are amazing! I own a different brand, but the zipper is extremely difficult to zip. These have really good reviews, plus there are lots of others out there. I loved making my own baby food. I knew exactly what was going into it, it was a huge money saver, and I could make a wider variety for my babies to try. I still fill these pouches with applesauce for outings, and they come in very handy when a stomach bug has invaded your home and no one has the strength to sit up.

Another great tip is to buy quality. I have said this before, so I may sound like a broken record. Buy items that will last. Check re-sale shops and B/S/T pages on Facebook and you can find quality items at a much lower price. You don’t HAVE TO pay full price. Check for deals! Amazon sometimes has products that have been opened before for significantly cheaper, even though they are still in perfect condition. That is how we got our high chair for such a steal!!

I have loved this journey of finding sustainability; especially as a family of five. If we can reduce our footprint, even by a fraction, then I will be pleased.

What are some things that I could add to this list?