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A Heart For Home: June 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My First Bike

Do you remember your first real bike? I sure do. It probably helps that I was older when I first learned to ride a bike. My first bike was a used banana yellow, banana-seat bike which makes it pretty hard to forget. While I would love to have that bike now, at the time it was definitely not the in-style bike I longed for.

I specifically remember riding my banana nightmare on the street with my older brother, who by the way, rode so well that I was sure he had learned his skills in infancy. To keep me from jumping off into the grass when I started to wobble, by brother told me to think of the grass as fire and just stay on my bike.

To this day I love to ride a bike, in fact I'm currently trying to find a bike for myself so that I can get out and feel the wind in my face once more.

Emahry is very interested in riding a bike. We've entered the running bike giveaway at 5 Minutes for Mom in hopes of getting her a bike of her own. You can find more details about purchasing a running bike here.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Making Home: The Disciple-Making, World-Changing, Heart-Molding Role of Mother

Please, visit Jess at Making Home to read her entire post. It has really encouraged me to look on my role as a mom through the eyes of God. It's so easy to get sucked into the world's ideas of womanhood and motherhood. I'm so very glad that there are people who encourage me to view my life as a wife and mom as a joyous journey and not with a sense of drudgery.

Here's a section of Jess' post that outlines the unique and wonderful privileges of being a Christ-centered mom.

Mothers...

... have the opportunity to impact lives, day-in, day out-for 18+ years, more time than any professor or doctor or preacher or counselor will ever be able to have in the lives of the people they seek to impact.

... have the privilege to study and know their children so that they can train, counsel, and encourage them as they grow towards adulthood.

... are given the blessing and responsibility of connecting deeply and wonderfully with their children in ways that are virtually impossible with the world at large.

... have the opportunity to love and be loved in a way that is entirely distinct from any other sort of relationship.

... are able to change the world through a mastery of various fields and talents that they themselves do not possess, as they spur on and encourage their children to find their God-given place of service.

... are able to teach and train and sharpen and shape and guide and gear their children in ways that will forever alter human history.

... have the privilege of praying with intimate understanding for the hearts and lives of people from the very beginning of their existence.

... have a purposeful career designed by God Himself, with His assistance and leadership guaranteed throughout.

... have the unique experience of watching the man they love grow into a man who loves in ways that were unseen and unknown before he became a father.

... have a God-given life with sanctification built-in by the requirements of hard work, selflessness, disappointment, perseverance, patience, grace, self-control, and a continual seeking of wisdom from above.

... have the unique opportunity to work hand-in-hand with God Almighty and the husband He has given to mold future adults.

Lord, thank you so much for the wonderful gift of being a wife and a mother. Continue to mold me into the woman you desire, a woman who is striving to please you, leaning on your strength, seeking your wisdom, and drawing the hearts of those I love to you.

If you have any encouragement for Christian moms or have read anything that has challenged and encouraged you, I'd love to hear about it. Please, leave a comment with your insight or link. Thanks!

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Etsy Shop Showcase & Giveaway ~ Little Sapling Toys


Little Sapling Toys is a family business that designs, crafts and tests quality wood toys from their new home in Boise, Idaho. The goals of Little Sapling Toys are to make toys that will be beautiful to look at, fun to play with and cherished for generations.

Little Sapling Toys strives to take care of our environment by using recycled and recyclable materials for the packaging of their toys and by planting a tree for every toys that is sold through their Etsy shop!

Little Sapling Toys crafts beautiful heirloom quality rattles, teethers, and other toys. All of these toys are made from either reclaimed or FSC Certified hardwood. They are then sanded satin-smooth.

Wooden toys, such as those made by Little Sapling Toys are a beautiful and safe alternative to mass-produced plastic toys. These wooden toys do not contain any of the harmful chemicals that are found in plastics and are not finished with chemical paints. Instead, the toys from Little Sapling Toys are safely finished with beeswax or mineral oil. You can even order your toys with no finish at all.

Since we have been trying to find natural teething alternatives for our son Jonathan, we decided that this adorable elephant teether would be a great place to start.

This teether is made out of Maple and is left unfinished. The elephant measures 2.75" from trunk to tail and 2.75" from top to bottom. The 1.25" diameter center hole is the perfect size for little hands to grasp. This safe, quality teething toy is reasonable priced at $12 (plus s & h).

Jonathan's teething toy arrived ready for gift giving, safely nestled in fragrant wood shavings and housed in a 100% recycled (80% post consumer) and recyclable gift box. It was accompanied by a toy information tag.

Jonathan enjoys chomping and slobbering all over this teether. The size seems to be perfect for him and also makes it easy to tote the teether in my purse or the diaper bag when we're out and about.

Here are a few more of our favorite things from Little Sapling Toys (http://www.littlesaplingtoys.etsy.com/).

Click on the photos to view the listing or just browse through the entire shop. There are many beautiful toys to choose from.





If you make a purchase, please let Little Sapling Toys know that you found out about the shop at A Heart For Home.

Now for the Giveaway!

Little Sapling Toys has generously offered one of our readers one wooden teething toy of their choice. This would make a great addition to any baby toy collection and would be a wonderful baby shower gift!
There are 14 different animals and 3 different shapes to choose from.

To Enter This Giveaway ~ Leave a SEPARATE Comment for Each

1. Head over to Little Sapling Toys and browse through the shop. Then come back here and leave a comment telling us which teether you'd choose if you won this giveaway.

2. Gain an additional entry by placing our button on your blog (include the link in your comment). ~Simply copy the code under the button and paste it into the text box for an Html Gadget on your blog's layout.

3. Subscribe to A Heart For Home (let us know if you've already subscribed).

4. Follow Our Blog (let us know if you already follow).

5. Post about and link to this giveaway on your blog or tweet about this giveaway (leave us the link in your comment).

Please leave a separate comment for each entry! That's one with the teething toy you'd like to win, one telling us our button is on your blog (with the link), one telling us you've subscribed, one telling us you've signed up to follow our blog, & one with the link to your blog's advertisement or tweet of this giveaway.

The giveaway will end Monday, July 6th, at 12 Midnight EST. We will pick the winner through random generator. Make sure you leave a way for us to contact you.
This teether works for me!

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Safe Teething Toys

Since Jonathan began teething a few months ago we've been tackling the toy situation in our home.

While we've always stuck to the "no battery operated toys" rule and tried to limit the amount of toys in our home, we have recently been more convinced that we should eliminate harmful plastics from our children's toy collection.

Therefore, we are trying to phase out plastic toys in our home, especially toys that Jonathan can chew on. This is mainly due to the harmful chemicals that leach from many plastics, but also because we are drawn to the beauty of natural and handmade toys. We've been exploring the options for teething toys and will continue to look into plastic alternatives for our little ones.

So far, we've been blessed with a couple of beautiful wooden teething toys from Little Sapling Toys and Pinkhouse Handworks. We'll be reviewing these toys over the next few weeks and will also be offering a couple of heirloom quality wooden toy giveaways.

These toys would make a great addition to your home and would also be highly appreciated as baby shower or birthday gifts for those special babies and children in your life. If you have not already done so, please subscribe to our blog so that you don't miss out on these great giveaways.

If your child has a favorite non-plastic teething toy or other toy, we'd love to hear about it.

If you make safe teething toys or toys for small children and would like for us to feature your toy and business with a review, please let us know.


We're very excited to help spread the word about toys that are safe for our precious little ones.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Janey Mac Gift Certificate Winner

Congratulations Sarah Robbins from Our Cozy Robbins Nest! You should be receiving an email from us shortly.

Didn't win, but you're still interested in a vinyl decal to decorate your space? Visit Janey Mac for lots of inspiration and to order your own decal.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Free Recycled Crafts Ebook

Are you looking for ways to creatively recycle and reuse materials you have on hand? Do you like to create unique crafts? Download a free copy of the Recycling Crafts Ebook here. This Ebook contains 42 different crafts made from recycled paper, metal, plastic, glass, clothing, and more.

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Jonathan's First Solid Food

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Etsy Shop Showcase & Giveaway ~ Janey Mac

Janey Mac is a mother & daughter design team that offers a wide range of vinyl decals - one of the hottest trends in home decor. Their decals include decals for babies and children, foliage, birds, expressions, swirls & demasks, sports, monograms and more.

Janey Mac vinyl can be used on wall, windows, glass, furniture, almost any smooth surface or semi smooth surface. You can even apply it to surfaces with grooves, like beadboard. Janey Mac also offers a unique customer service feature. If you would like to see what a decal will look like in your space, you can email them a picture and they will email you a file of what your space will look like with the decal!

Vinyl decals are a great way to decorate your home. They can be applied in very little time and look as though you spent hours painting your wall. These are also wonderful for anyone who wants a quick fix to plain, boring walls. Another benefit is that the decals can be removed without damaging your walls.

We received this Dancing Ballerina decal for our friends' little girl. This entire graphic, measuring approximately 14" x 12", comes as one complete, ready-to-stick decal. What a great way to add a little whimsy to a girly bedroom. This decal, which retails for $12 (plus shipping & handling), is available in 25 colors.

Janey Mac provides quick and safe shipment on all of their decals. Our decal arrived safely nestled in a cardboard envelope. Inside, along with the decal were detailed instructions for installing our new decal and a small decal to practice with.

Here are a few more of my favorite decals from Janey Mac(http://www.janeymacpress.etsy.com/).

Click on the photos to view the listing or just browse through the entire shop. There are a lot of great designs to choose from.





If you make a purchase, please let Janey Mac know that you found out about the shop at A Heart For Home.


Now for the Giveaway!

Janey Mac has generously offered one of our readers a $20 Gift Certificate to purchase or put towards the purchase of their very own vinyl decal.

To Enter This Giveaway ~ Leave a SEPARATE Comment for Each

1. Head over to Janey Mac and browse through the shop. Then come back here and leave a comment telling us which decal you'd order if you won this giveaway.

2. Gain an additional entry by placing our button on your blog (include the link in your comment). ~Simply copy the code under the button and paste it into the text box for an Html Gadget on your blog's layout.

3. Subscribe to A Heart For Home (let us know if you've already subscribed).

4. Follow Our Blog (let us know if you already follow).

5. Post about and link to this giveaway on your blog or tweet about this giveaway (leave us the link in your comment).

6. Follow Janey Mac's Blog.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry! That's one with the decal you'd like to order, one telling us our button is on your blog (with the link), one telling us you've subscribed, one telling us you've signed up to follow our blog, one with the link to your blog's advertisement or tweet of this giveaway, & one telling us that you follow Janey Mac's blog.

The giveaway will end Tuesday, June 16th, at 12 Midnight EST. We will pick the winner through random generator. Make sure you leave a way for us to contact you.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables Challenge

Fruits and veggies have so many health benefits, but sometimes it's difficult to get them into our diets on a daily basis. Well, today we're joining in on Laura's Challenge by sharing some of the ways we eat more fruits and veggies at our house.


Fruit & Veggie Smoothies
Smoothies are a daily occurrence in our home. All of us love Green Smoothies, but we also like to experiment with different fruit concoctions. We also enjoy Peanut Butter Banana Smoothies on occasion. We usually stock up on bananas when they are on sale and keep frozen banana slices in the fridge. The frozen fruit bananas really give smoothies a creamy consistency. We also have been freezing strawberries from our garden this year.


Salads
We're trying to eat a main dish salad every day this summer. Right now, we're probably averaging 4 or 5 main dish salads every week. We'd like to increase this to at least one salad every day. You can join in on the fun and find some great salad recipes at our A Slew of Summer Salads Carnival.

Two of our favorite salads are the Fresh Asian Noodle Salad and the Grilled Margarita Chicken Salad. We've eaten these salad numerous times and have served them to guests who have also greatly enjoyed them.


Homemade Pizza
By making our our pizza we can increase the amount of vegetable we eat while enjoying a meal that everyone likes. You can easily include pureed carrots in the pizza sauce, add finely chopped vegetables under the cheese, or load the top with vegetables of your choice. We recently tried a Tropical Pizza that we enjoyed.


Soups
We're hoping to get enough yellow squash out of the garden this year to make a couple large batches of Summer Squash Soup which includes a variety of vegetables. This soup is great served with BLTs or your favorite crusty bread.


Healthy Sides
Emahry and I love these Sweet Potato Fries although Tim isn't a huge fan. I only wish I knew how to get them crispy without frying them. We also love this quick and easy Chunky Crock-Pot Applesauce. I'm not sure how it would freeze because we've always cleaned out the entire crock-pot with two days.

We hope you enjoy these ideas and that they will help you add more fruits and veggies to your diet.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Squeaky Clean

Trying to get them both to smile and look at the camera at the same time. "Mama, she's squeezing too hard."
"Are you sure you can see me in there?"
Visit 5 Minutes for Mom to view more Wordless Wednesday posts.

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Frozen Fruit Cocktail ~ A Refreshing Summer Treat

We're always on the look out for ways to stay cool during the hot months of summer. Here's one of our favorite cool treat to make. My Grandma first made this recipe when she saw it in Ladies Home Journal probably back in the '50s. My mom has made this cool treat for all kinds of occassions over the years. Now Tim and I are introducing another generation to this deliciously refreshing summer treat.

Frozen Fruit Cocktail

3 - 29 oz. cans of Fruit Cocktail, drained
1 - 10 oz. jar of Marachino Cherries, undrained
3 1/2 to 4 cups of Ginger Ale (1/3 to 1/2 of a two liter bottle)

Combine drained Fruit Cocktail, undrained Cherries,and Ginger Ale in a glass bowl or dish. Stir to evenly distribute cherries.

Cover bowl or dish with foil and place in freezer for 8-12 hours or overnight, stirring occassionally during the first 1 to 1 1/2 hours of freezing.

Remove from the freezer about an hour before serving. Break into chunks with an ice pick or sturdy butter knife.

The fruit should still be partially frozen when you eat it.


What cool treats does your family like during the summer?

This Post Contributed To:
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday

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