Thursday, October 25, 2012

1000 Gifts: #31-40

31. Youtube. Seriously. My washing machine was acting funny and now I know how to fix it.
32. Facebook. Seriously. Almost all of my relatives can watch my girls grow!
33. Random 75+ degree days in late October.
34. Getting fed (in more ways than one) at MOPS every other week.
35. The amazing Moppet workers who take care of my kids, even when all Abby wanted to do was sit with me or go home...
36. Safety when a turkey decided to fly in front of my car...

37. Sunglasses, to protect my eyes and help me see when driving on a sunny day.
38. Abby's laughing at Ellie's cooing.
39. Bluebirds who come and sit outside my window, even though it's been months since I put any food out for them.
40. Super-amazingly-awesome friends and family who are willing to take our girls this weekend, so Rocky and I can focus on music and ministry at the high school youth group retreat!

Click here for more of my gratitude...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Beginner's Bible App for iPad

When Rocky finished his master's program last spring, we decided to get an iPad for him as a congratulations-you-survived-2+-years-of-papers-and-stress-while-teaching-and-having-a-kid  gift. It was the week after the iPad 3 came out, so we got a great deal on an iPad 2. :)

We've really enjoyed the iPad. So many free apps are available -- in fact, I don't think we've bought a single one yet. Abby enjoys it too, from a few cartoons in the morning to games perfect for her age.

The Beginners Bible by Zonderkidz was the best selling kids Bible while I worked at Family Christian Stores. When I heard Zondervan was creating a free iPad app based on this Bible, I thought it was a great opportunity to see what Abby thought of it!

The "Read" section includes 6 stories, with a voice reading the pages and highlighting words alongside an interactive picture page. Abby was more interested in playing with the pictures than hearing the story... but I guess that's to be expected from a 2.5 year old! (the app is geared toward ages 2-6)

The "Play" section includes 3 coloring pages, 2 puzzles, and 1 game that correspond to the 6 Bible stories. I have to admit, I found the background "music" pretty annoying. But that's easily fixed with the volume button on the iPad. ;-) I didn't see any settings to "turn off music". Abby is really into puzzles right now, so those were fun. Maybe as she gets a little older she'll do more than just scribble on the coloring pages...

What I didn't realize initially was that the free app only includes 6 of the 94 Bible stories, and 3 coloring pages, 2 puzzles, and 1 game. Additional 6-story packs are $1.99 each.

Overall, I'd say the Beginners Bible app isn't too bad for a free app, and $1.99 seems reasonable for additional story packs (although we're going to keep to our only-getting-free-apps goal). The graphics are great, but the music is slightly annoying. I think this would be a great supplement to the actual Beginners Bible book -- if your child is already familiar with that Bible, seeing and playing with the same pictures and stories would be fun.

I was asked to submit a review of the Beginners Bible app for Handlebar Marketing. I was not required to write a positive review, all opinions are my own. I may receive a copy of The Beginners Bible for my review. 

1000 Gifts: #21-30

21. Chilly fall rides on the pontoon boat
22. Bright sun glaring off the lake
23. Sunglasses
24. Friends who cook extra food "just because" and give you some leftovers for dinner
25. Cars to get you from point A to point B
26. The ability to hear music
27. The ability to see colors
28. The ability to taste sweet and savory flavors
29. The ability to smell said flavors
30. The ability to feel the touch of someone's hand

Click here for more of my gratitude...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

1000 Gifts: #11-20

11. Little noises in the night so I know my 2-month old is still alive :)
12. A few quiet minutes at the end of the day before heading to bed
13. A full-size bed to sleep in, and someone to share it with
14. A soft feather pillow
15. The smell and taste of a fresh cup of coffee (with cream and sugar of course!)
16. Playing hide-and-seek with a 2-year-old

17. Smiling at a baby and having her smile right back
18. A washing machine so I don't have to scrub laundry by hand
19. Medicine to help ease the pain of a sore shoulder
20. Books and the ability to read

Click here for more of my gratitude...

Monday, October 15, 2012

1000 Gifts

"A dare to live fully, right where you are."

I've heard of the book and seen posts about One Thousand Gifts floating around the last few years. Last week at MOPS the speaker talked about living in a spirit of eucharestio -- gratitude and thankfulness -- and referenced the book. I haven't read it yet, but I'm going to start recording the gifts I'm thankful for, and see if  I can get how long it takes me to get to 1000! Want to join me?

1. A husband who has a steady teaching job.
2. A 2-year-old and a 2-month-old who sleep well.
3. The bright, bold colors of the fall.
4. Cats who cuddle with me while I nap.
5. Running water to do laundry and dishes.
6. The ability to nurse Ellie when I had such trouble with Abby.
7. A church where we can use our gifts and talents.
8. Ellie's baptism yesterday.
9. Puzzles for Abby to stretch her mind and motor skills
10. A digital camera to capture childhood.

Click here for more of my gratitude...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Simple fall porch decorating

I can't believe how BRIGHT the fall colors have been here in Michigan this week! Especially driving down the road wearing my yellow-tinted sunglasses. :) But even when I lifted up my glasses to see the trees with just my own eyes, I was in awe of how beautiful everything looks this year!

I wanted to post the little update I made to my front porch. This is one of the very few times of the year that I actually decorate out there. And this year I did it completely with stuff I had on hand, plus a few pumpkins I bought.

I brought all of my random fall-colored stuff up from the basement:

Including this cute little guy that I got from my secret pal at church a few years ago:

Then I took a basket and started throwing things together... and after about 10 minutes of arranging and rearranging, this is what I came up with:

Then I took the leftover flowers and grasses and put them in another basket along with some little pumpkins:

Abby helped me played with sidewalk chalk while I put the decorations outside.

I felt like something was missing with the basket on the door, so I looked one more time through my fall stuff and came across a yellow ribbon:

It's nothing much, but it makes me smile when I come home. :)  I hope to carve a couple pumpkins for Abby and Ellie a week or two before Halloween. Now it's time to start planning their costumes...

Do you have beautiful fall colors where you live?

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