{review & giveaway} ESV Illuminated Bible

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It’s so important that mothers show their children that God’s Word is important. So how do we, as mothers, fit that into our days? Find tools that make studying and reading God’s Word accessible, enjoyable, and rejuvenating.

Yes, God’s Word is all of those things on it’s own. But when it’s so easy to access the Bible on our phones, it’s important to use our time in God’s Word to pause and focus. And it’s been proven that one of the most effective ways to relieve stress is to color or draw. So which Bible makes all of this easy for busy moms? The ESV Illuminated Bible.

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My Favorite Things: Podcasts

myfavoritethingsThis topic came up recently in a discussion with some friends. Podcasts. I am a podcast junkie. There are others that I listen to but I narrowed it down to four and will listen them here. First, what are podcasts? The official definition:

1.a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.

Basically they are recordings of sermons, interviews or just discussions that are available online through an app on a smartphone or directly from a website. How do you find them? Well, I’m a dedicated iPhone user so I cannot help you if you use a different type of smartphone. On my iPhone, there is a podcast app that comes preloaded into the phone. It’s purple. You click on it. Then you tap the search icon. And then you search. It’s complicated, I know. 😉

When do I listen to podcasts? When I’m walking, in the car, when I’m working, when I’m cooking – any time I can pop in a pair of earbuds for a few minutes. I don’t always get to listen to one podcast from start to finish all at once. And sometimes I have to listen to one a couple of times before I really feel like I’ve grasped everything. Podcasts help keep me thinking about good topics and challenge my slowly-melting mommy brain. I like listening to something that makes me think. So what are my favorites, you ask? Here they are!

1. Homeschooling In Real Life by Andy (aka Fletch) and Kendra Fletcher. Fletch and Kendra are very funny, very transparent and very encouraging. I don’t think this podcast is just for homeschoolers either. They talk about a variety of topics including coffee, apples, keeping control of our mouths, andcurrent events as well as homeschooling.

2. The God Centered Mom by Heather MacFadyen. This one is a bit new to me but I’ve been binge-listening to it for a few days now. SO good. There are a couple of great episodes for parents with strong-willed children, hand raised, and I like that Heather is completely honest about her struggles. Heather is not a homeschooler and has four boys – pretty much a total opposite of me – but I love her podcast.

3. Inspired To Action by Kat Lee. I’ve subscribed and unsubscribed to this podcast a few times. It’s not one that I listen to every single episode but I do find a lot of Kat’s topics interesting. These podcasts are usually ones I have to listen to twice, because they are often loaded with great information.

4. The Wired Homeschool by John Wilkerson. I first heard about this podcast through Homeschooling In Real Life. I love that the episodes are fairly short and very helpful. The social media series is awesome. If you have a child with access to the internet or a smartphone, you should listen to it.

You can also find a plethora of sermons through podcasts. I’ve listened to a series from The Village Church called A Beautiful Design more than once. The podcasts on women are amazing. I have also enjoyed podcasts by Nancy Leigh-Demoss.

Am I missing one? What’s your favorite podcast? Share it with me! Maybe you’ve never listened to podcasts… I hope this helps you find something you’ll enjoy and find encouraging. Let me know what you’ve listened to!

My Favorite Things: Kitchen Items

I love cooking and baking. So when I was thinking about what I could do for another round of My Favorite Things – Kitchen Items were an easy choice.



The first thing that comes to mind is my Kitchenaid Stand Mixer. I loooove it. I’ve heard lots of debate that a Bosch is better and perhaps it is. But I just cannot get past the classic look of a Kitchenaid. I use it regularly for everything from whipping mashed potatoes to mixing dough. Mine is black to match my appliances but someday I’d like to get a funky colored Kirchenaid.

Next is a fairly recent purchase but I don’t know how I managed without it. I bought myself a dish drying mat. Sound so unexciting right? But seriously, now I don’t have to use my dish towels when I wash pots and pans. It absorbs all the excess water and fold neatly to be stored under the sink. Simple, cheap and very practical.

I mentioned on Facebook that I bought an immersion blender. This is another one of those purchases that I don’t know how I functioned before having it. It’s nothing fancy but I really enjoy having smoothies for breakfast now. Even though I didn’t like it at first, peanut butter-banana-berry is my favorite, sometimes with spinach or flax seeds. What do you put in your smoothies?

For Christmas, my parents bought me a red cast iron enamel dutch oven. I’ve used this for everything under the sun. It looks so nice on the stove and heats so evenly. It looks like this:


Now if all cast iron enamel pots could please go on sale for 99 % off, I would buy more. Until then, I’ll be content with my one pretty red pot.

What are your favorite kitchen items? What do I need to check out next? I love kitchen gadgets!

My Favorite Things: Girly Stuff

As much as coffee was the perfect intro to this new series, Girly Stuff is the most unlikely follow-up. I’m not very girly. I don’t really like make-up and I am now confident that God gave me curly hair because He knew I would never have the desire to do a thing with it. Wash and go is all I can handle. So here are a few of my favorite girly things for this ungirly girl:



CoverGirl Exact Eyelights eye shadow. I love this and apparently it’s now discontinued. That demonstrates how often I buy makeup. But this product is great for me because it helped me pick shades that would look better with my eye color and gave me hints on how to apply it. I’ll be looking for a replacement soon so I’m glad there is at least a similar product out there.




Okay, that’s all I’ve got for makeup. My next favorite thing is a daily necessity for me, especially in cold weather. Carmex cherry moisturizing lip balm is my all time favorite and the only thing that has ever really helped with chapped lips.


Toriginal_deep_cleansing_cream768x8681he only thing I’ve ever loved for removing makeup is the same thing I’ve used since I was a teenager. Noxzema just smells clean to me. And each night before I go to bed, I put CocoabutterHBL-webcocoa butter lotion on my face and hands. No expensive moisturizers here. Maybe I’ll regret that in 20 years but it’s working right now.


As for my favorite hair products, it’s varied over the years. OnSty6_4_pack-shotce I buy something, I will usually use it until it’s gone even if I hate it. But I really like the one I recently purchased and love that I don’t hve to go to the beauty supply shop to get it. Because extra time is not something I have! L’Oreal Curve It curl taming cream doesn’t make my hair crunchy but definitely gives it a bit more bounce. I like that the smell is light also.

And the last thing is new to me. I’ve never been a perfume wearer. I never wanted my pBBW1-19431723v850babies to smell like my perfume rather than their babylilcious smell of goodness. But for Christmas my mom gave me a gift pack from Bath and Body Works for Christmas. A Thousand Wishes spray and lotion were a part of the set. It’s light but just perfumy enough that I feel like a grownup. Ha! I don’t wear it every day and even when I do wear it, I don’t cover myself in it so maybe I’m the only one that ever smells it.

So there you have it! My favorite girly things. What would you recommend to me? Anything on this list that should go? What’s your most favorite girly thing?