The Ultimate Resource Guide to Helping Kids Learn Their Names

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I present today’s post: the ultimate resource guide to helping kids learn their names. There is sure to be something here for everyone! From quick and simple name learning activities to complex ones to messy ones and more!

The Ultimate Resource Guide to Helping Kids Learn Their Names

Those are all free resources above, but down here we have some resources that cost money.

You can also use custom name books! We have a few and the boys love them. Below are the places we have books from. Disclaimer: This section contains an affiliate link. 

  • I won a Lost My Name book for Dominic in a giveaway several months back and he just loves it! The quality and writing are excellent. If you purchase from my link, you will receiver 15% off and if three people purchase we’ll get a free A-Z book with the entire alphabet.
  • Dominic loves the personalized name items we’ve received from Frecklebox (I won a gift card). Shipping is fast and the quality is great. We especially love their puzzles.

So there you have it! All the resources that you could ever want or need for helping your kid(s) learn their names!

Do you have any helpful hints for helping kids learn their names? Did you write a post with some ideas for helping kids learn their names? Leave your thoughts or links below and I’d be glad to include them! 

The Importance of Self-Care

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I'm Learning to Put On My Life Jacket - The Simple Reason I Feel Self Care is Important

Let me paint you a picture.

It’s my sophomore year of college. I am working several jobs, taking a full course load, and involved in several (some of them time-consuming) extracurricular activities. I felt like I had everything going for me . . .

Until I was alone. When I was alone I would just break down. I was so stressed out. I thought I could do it all, but doing it all was killing me.

With the help of some of the wonderful people in my life, I was able to step back. I shifted some of my responsibilities and quit a few of the jobs.

And then I got pregnant. And I don’t know what it was about being a mom and I don’t know if this was made worse by being a stay at home mom, but suddenly I felt the pressure rising again. Suddenly when that awesome little person got here, it became a lot easier not to take care of myself. This was definitely made worse by the parenting style I was then trying to follow.

It took me a while (and a lot of help from Nick and some good friends) to realize that hey, I am a person too. I can take breaks. I can eat food. I can do something that’s purely just for me. These things are okay. No, beyond that, I have the radical notion that these things are necessary.

Do I always do a good job at this? No, I struggle terribly with this. I still feel guilty sometimes if I feel like there’s something else I should be doing.

But you know what? I am a person too.

I am a person too.

I do not know why this notion feels so radical to me. It feels obvious – like duh, I am a person.

But sometimes, I do not treat myself very much like I am a person. I think mean things about myself. I push myself harder than I would ever push anyone else. I expect perfection out of myself even though I don’t expect it from anyone else. I frequently tell myself I am a failure. I would not tell anyone else they are a failure, but for some reason I feel it’s okay to tell myself that about me. I expect that I should keep going all the time without stopping, like I’m the mom version of the energizer bunny. In short, I am not kind to me. I fail to exercise self-care.

Guess what this leads to? More burn out.

But now, with kids, more burnout leads to more crabbiness. To more yelling, even when I don’t want to. To less patience. To less fun. To more stress.

I can not think of a less cliché way to say this, but I had to learn to put on my own life jacket before I put on the life jacket of my family members. Because I can’t do them any good if I’m drowning.

So what does treating myself like a person look like practically?

It means extending grace to myself. To not speaking and thinking so critically of myself. To take time to nourish my body with food and drink. To take time to do something for myself (this blog being one of them). To remind myself daily that I can do this.

Am I perfect at this?

No, no I am far from perfect at this. It is still a struggle. I felt for so long that I could just push away my needs and make them not exist. But instead of making them not exist, I just melted down. Melting down is not good for me. Melting down is not good for my family.

But I’m trying. I’m really, really trying. I believe taking care of myself is important and I’m trying to live like it is. It’s an imperfect journey, but it always will be this side of heaven.

How do you practice self-care? Is this an area you struggle with? 

P.S. If you’re reading this post, you should enter my Skunk Tales giveaway! Super easy to enter and it’s a great family devotional :) 

Skunk Tales Giveaway!

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Disclaimer: Lynn Marie Hurtado provided me with two copies of her book to give away! 

Woohoo! How exciting is this! Lynn Marie has graciously provided me with two more copies of her devotional, Skunk Tales, to give away! In case you don’t remember, I reviewed Skunk Tales a while back – you can read all about it here – and I’m super excited that I am able to give two of you the opportunity to own this excellent devotional as well!

Entering is easy! Do either or both options :) Good luck!

Skunk Tales Giveaway!

Linked up to I Choose Joy, Mila’s Little Things, and This is How We Roll

Moving Forward Even When You’re Scared

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Yesterday, Nick lost his job.

Part of me still can’t process this. Part of me thinks that tomorrow he’s going to wake up and go to work again. Part of me thinks that it can’t possibly be true. Part of me thinks this is only a bad dream.

But it’s not. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared.

Terrified even sometimes.

Because I don’t do well with the unknown. And because, as you know, as a stay at home mom, Nick was our only source of real income. I bring in a bit here and there, but nothing anywhere close to paying even one of our bills.

So to say it’s scary? Yeah, that about sums up my feelings.

I spent a lot of yesterday feeling sorry for myself and crying. And worrying about the kids. Sometimes big questions (How long will this last? Will he be able to find a new job? What about the mortgage/electricity/etc?). Sometimes little questions (Will I still be able to make a special birthday for Allen?) Always questions that have no answer.

Today I woke up with a new resolve.

Am I still scared? Yes. Yes, I am still so scared. This is a scary position that we’ve never been in before.

But I prayed a lot and Nick and I have talked a lot and I have a lot of friends who have been so encouraging about this situation.

And sometimes when you wake up, you just put one foot in front of the other and then another and then another and you keep going even when you feel like, “What’s the point?” Because these two little guys depend on me and they need me to keep being their mom even when I’m scared. Even when I don’t know how to answer Dominic’s questions about whether or not daddy is going to work today. Even when I don’t know what will happen the next day.

Because they still need to be fed. And the dishes still need to be washed. And the laundry still needs to be folded. Because these kids still need me. And I’m still scared, but putting my life on hold accomplishes nothing.

Today I have this resolve. Tomorrow? Who knows. Tomorrow I may not be so positive.

But one day at a time . . .

One foot at a time . . .

One moment at a time . . .

I think I have to find a way to keep moving forward.

I think I have to find a way to cling to my God and to trust that He knows the unknowable.

I think I have to.

I think I have to.

I think I have to.

Even when I don’t always know if I can.

I think I have to.

I think I have to.

I think I have to.

Writing this post for me has been a way to keep moving forward. I wanted at first to say nothing – to pretend like nothing had changed – because even admitting this out loud is scary. But we didn’t ask for this – nobody asks for this – and so in writing this post, I choose to acknowledge it happened, I choose to acknowledge my fear, I choose to acknowledge that I have a choice where I can choose to move forward or choose to let the fear consume me. I hope that I can choose to move forward every day, but I know that it will not be easy to do so every day. 

Also a picture of my boys – for cuteness and because they make me smile.

My two boys - I love these little guys so much.

Guest Post on Ruth at A Pinch of Faith!

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Hey everyone!

Today I’m pleased to say I have a guest post over at A Pinch of Faith! It’s on Ruth and it’s called Love Through Loyalty! I’d appreciate it if you checked it out :)

Love Through Loyalty Guest Post about Ruth on A Pinch of Faith

My Tiny Case of Fear of Missing Out

I have a confession. I have a tiny case of fear of missing out.

In high school and college, I was involved in a lot of activities – Model UN, Mock Trial, Battle of the Books, RHA, and on and on. I also was fortunate enough to travel a lot – most notably the time I spent in South Korea where I made life long friends. And I volunteered – for a domestic violence shelter, at a nursing home, and tutoring immigrants for their citizenship exam among other things.

But now? Now I’m “just” a mom. Most weeks I’m at home 4 days out of the week. And most of the time I’m fine with this. For the most part, I love being at home with my boys – though don’t get me wrong, it definitely has its challenges.

But sometimes, I go on Facebook. And while Facebook has done some awesome things in my life, like allowed me to stay in touch with my friends and family and to make new friends, sometimes it’s not all positive.

Sometimes I log on and I feel jealousy.

I feel self-pity.

I scroll through my newsfeed and think to myself “Everyone, absolutely everyone, is doing stuff that is way cooler than me.” They’re off traveling or pursuing their passion or they’re volunteering or they’re just doing things that I perceive to be cooler than what I’m doing.

And those feelings in me bubble up to the surface and they say, “Look at you over here, you sad Melissa. You are only doing boring things and nobody is going to remember them in the future. Blah. Blah. Blah.”

I had a problem. A problem where I felt like I was missing out on all the cool things everyone else was doing.

I felt unimportant, insignificant, and boring.

One of these times that I was scrolling through my feed, feeling like this, I had a moment of realization.

I am doing really cool things. They may not be the same as other people out there, but I enjoy them and my kids’ love them and they are enough for me. I know that someday I’ll travel more with Nick and the kids, that I pursue my passion in this blog and hopefully someday in a book, and that someday I’ll figure out a good fit for me to give back in my community, hopefully even with my kids.

But for a moment today, I want to count my blessings of all the awesome things that I do and not to discount how awesome they are! Sometimes they seem so very ordinary to me, but if I enjoy them, why can’t that be enough? It can. It really can be.

Because . . .

zoo trips

Petting the goats

art museum trips

Dominic at the art museum

the awesome community I’ve found at my church


Dominic painting

this blog

my awesome friends and family

Annalies Painting

these two awesome little guys

Dominic reading to Allen


my wonderful hubby

Dominic and Nick next to the Gorilla family statue

fill my life richly. No matter how ordinary they seem.

Can you relate? Do you ever feel this way? 

Geeky Homeschool Poster #2: We’re Off Schooling with the Doctor!

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Since “Our Other School Room is a TARDIS” was so popular, I’ve created a new one. I hope you enjoy! The link to download is below the picture :)

Off Schooling with the Doctor Geeky Homeschool Poster

Off Schooling with the Doctor (45 downloads)

I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments for other possible posters you’d like to see! 

This post is linked to Mom’s Library, A Little R & R Wednesday, and The Wednesday Showcase

5 Biggest Pregnancy Milestones

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Even though I’m not pregnant, I still have a lot of passion for pregnancy and childbirth. Someday maybe I’ll take a leap of faith and become a childbirth educator, but for now I’ll stick with sharing my knowledge and passion with all of you!

Bringing a new life into the world is a big change, no matter if it’s your first or your fifth! Every baby changes you in ways you didn’t expect. It can be completely terrifying, but there are also a lot of fun things to look forward to! Here are what I consider to be the 5 biggest pregnancy milestones. (Note: In case this isn’t obvious, this is 100 percent my opinion only! Other people may consider different things their 5 biggest pregnancy milestones). 5 Biggest Pregnancy Milestones

Finding out you are pregnant

This is a moment of such anticipation and nerves as you wait for the test to show either positive or negative. And then the test is positive. You may be excited, you may be scared, you may be all of the above, but in that moment, your life is different. That sounds really cliché but it’s true. You’re suddenly aware of a new life growing inside you. If you’re anything like me, your mind starts racing with a million questions about who this little person might be. It’s a big deal and it comes with a mix of emotions, all of which are normal. It’s okay if not every emotion from the instant you find out is a positive one.

Hearing the heartbeat for the first time

In the first trimester, there can be a lot of anxiety about miscarriage, especially if you’ve ever had one before. That makes hearing the heartbeat for the first time all that more special, as once you’ve heard a good heartbeat, your risk of miscarriage drops. Not to mention, it’s an extremely special moment to realize, “Hey! That’s my baby!”

Feeling your baby move

As you get close to the time when you’re able to feel your baby move there’s a lot of questions. Is that my baby? Is it gas? Am I just imagining things? But when you feel the baby move for the first time that you’re sure of it, it’s a moment like “Woah, that’s my baby.” It’s a bit weird, but it won’t be long before they’re strong enough that their kicks sometimes even hurt and you can see your belly moving from the outside. Now that is a really weird experience, but fun at the same time. By the way, don’t be worried if you don’t feel them consistently in the beginning – they’re still small with a lot of room to move around. But towards the end, if you have a significant change in fetal movement, please contact your care provider for guidance.

Anatomy scan

While you may or may not have an early ultrasound, the large majority of women have an ultrasound around 20-ish weeks, also known as the anatomy scan. This is probably my favorite part of the whole pregnancy because it’s so much fun to see your little one up there on the screen. This is also the time that most people who want to find out if they are having a boy or girl are able to do so. This is also the time when you found out if everything is progressing well and there are no issues with baby or placenta. Hopefully there aren’t, but if there are, this gives you time to prepare and plan with your care provider.


Babies enter the world every day in a million different ways. No two birth stories are alike! No matter how your baby arrives, birth changes you. And seeing and holding your baby for the first time? There’s absolutely nothing like it. It’s time to buckle up and enjoy the ride because this is it – your baby is here! And they’ll keep on changing your life for the rest of their lives.

Which one of these pregnancy milestones do you look forward to the most? What are some other pregnancy milestones that you celebrate? 

This post is linked to Busy Monday, Manic Mondays, and Monday Madness

Very Improvised Po’ Boy – 100 Must-Eat American Foods Challenge

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As you may know, I’m presently working my way through the 100 Must-Eat American foods and attempting to eat them all. I’m at 39/100 and the Po’ Boy is next on my list.

I do have to say that it is quite tricky making food that you really don’t know what it tastes like or is supposed to taste like. This version ended up very improvised, but I’m still glad I tried. This was also my first time really frying anything in oil, so that was a really new experience for me. I’ve been previously afraid to, but also I didn’t have the right kind of pan for it, but Nick recently got me a new pan for my upcoming birthday and it’s the perfect size. It was so much easier than I expected it to be. I followed this recipe from Simply Recipes and I used her hack to spread mustard on one side and mayo on the other instead of making the remoulade simply because I wasn’t sure how spicy it would turn out to be and I wasn’t sure if I could get Dominic to eat it if it was really spicy. I had some really awesome bread I was going to use with it, but then when I pulled it out it had gone bad past the point of no return. So I improvised and used hamburger buns instead because I had just fried all that shrimp, I was not about to let it go to waste!

Shrimp Frying Fried Shrimp Improvised Po' Boy

Verdict: It was a good sandwich! I had to improvise a lot so I think I only got a glimmer of what the real thing would be like, so it wasn’t 100 percent authentic, but it’s close enough for my goals of trying new things. And it was enough to say that I would try this in person given the chance. Allen had a deconstructed sandwich and loved it. Dominic did not like the original Po’ Boy sandwich I made, but then he ate one with just shrimp and mayo and he loved that.

Have you ever tried a Po’ Boy? What do you think of them? 

Easy Paint Palettes for Kids

So I know you can buy paint palettes for kids, but I thought, there has to be a different way to do it. I’m not sure that buying something just for that purpose is warranted.

So I started thinking about whether or not there was something I could reuse. And sometimes, I use small Tupperware containers, but if you have a lot of different colors, then you may have like six or seven containers to wash. And while we have a dishwasher, that takes up a lot of space.

Then one day it hit me. Lids! We eat a lot of sour cream, cottage cheese, butter, etc and those things come with lids! They are easily washed and they are the perfect size to put a few different colors of paint on, plus if they get wrecked or otherwise trashed (hasn’t happened yet), I can easily get rid of them without feeling guilty. Bonus, it can also be great for color mixing!

Reusing Lids as Paint Palettes

I’ve also used egg cartons in the past as well, though those are obviously not as easily or often washed, but they can have their time and place to be used. Plus, you can cut them into the different number of cups you need.

What creative things have you re-used? 

This post is linked up to Titus 2 Tuesday, Hip Homeschool Hop, and Laugh + Learn – Homeschool & Parenting Link Up

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