Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Summer News

It's summertime!!!! So I won't be posting very often. All of my children are home for the summer and I plan on enjoying it to the fullest. I will post reviews and family updates (and anything else that crosses my mind) throughout the summer but it won't be very often. But school starts back July 30 (with my baby going to Pre-K) and I will be back in full force. Have a wonderful summer of fun!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

"Moms' Night Out" {a review}

By now you have probably heard about the movie "Moms' Night Out". (I really, really want to see it. But this mom can't seem to get a night out.) Today, I am going to tell you about the novel.

Moms' Night Out by Tricia Goyer is by far the funniest book EVER! Two chapters in and I honestly felt like someone had followed me around for material. But then it got better (and not like my life).

Allyson and her friends are in desperate need of a moms' night out. They arrange for their husband's to keep their kids and (with a little apprehension) head out for dinner. When things don't go as planned things get interesting. Bikes, Tattoo parlors, and a police station visit later they all discover something about themselves that they never would have known before.

Reading this book definitely increased my desire to go see the movie (and I am going to see what I can do about that next week). But it also made me realize even more that I am not alone. I am allowed to fail. AND I am the mother that God wanted for my children.

Every mom needs this book. Just for the laugh factor alone but also because they will see themselves in the pages of this book.

And hey- go see the movie!!!!!

You can also enter to win a $200 Visa giftcard by clicking below.

Moms Night Out Tricia Goyer Kerri Pomarolli

**I was given a copy of "Moms' Night Out" in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.**

Monday, May 19, 2014

When Encouragement Becomes a Superpower

Photo credit: www.incourage.me
In the fall of 2012, I became a stay at home mom who homeschooled 3 of my 4 children. I really felt alone and needed some major encouragement. One day, I received an email from (in)Courage with the news that they were starting online (in)Courager groups and a link to go sign up. I hurried over and I found the Marriage and Mommyhood group. Through this group, I have met a very dear friend in California who shares my last name and her husband is even named Jon. And I learned that to encourage another woman, you don't have to be perfect- you have to be real. You can't be scared to share the hard parts, the gross parts, the funny parts, the great parts, and even the sad parts. Because what I have learned over the past 2 years is that woman just want to know that they are not alone. We want to know that there is someone else there who knows how we feel. And if that person is in an online group where you are safe to tell it all and know that you will have 30+ women praying for you and letting you know that you are not alone, then that's where you go.

 This is my 5th time with Marriage and Mommyhood and my 3rd time as one of it's leaders. I can't imagine not being in this group. But I also know that not everyone needs the Marriage and Mommyhood group. Maybe you are a dreamer and need a group for that, maybe you are an empty nester and need a group for that, and maybe you need a group for caregivers- guess what. With 70 groups- there is a group for you. Which means that there is someone who is praying for you today. That you will find the group that is the fit for you and that they will be able to encourage you. Because encouragement- that has become our super power. (in)Courage has given us that as leaders, as participants, and as women.
Photo credit: www.incourage.me


This session will run from May 26 to July 4. I know that the women leading these groups have exciting things planned for everyone. So head over today through Friday and register for your group. You can go to http://www.incourage.me/community/incourager-groups to see all the groups and if you know you want to join the Marriage and Mommyhood group head to http://www.incourage.me/marriage-and-mommyhood and sign on up. Hope to see you there!


It's That Time Again!

It's that time again. A new session of (in)Couragers groups starts next week!
I am once again leading the Marriage and Mommyhood group with my friend Mel from www.barefootmel.com. We are planning on using Lisa Jo Baker's new book "Surprised by Motherhood" in our group this session. So if you would like to join us or find a group that fits your life (there are over 70 groups) head on over to www.incourage.me/community and sign up today!!!!!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Must Have Read For Memorial Day!

Memorial Day is coming up and that means trips to the beach or the lake (or in our case a wedding of 2 great friends). So you need something to read either on the drive or while there. Lucky for you Dee Henderson just released a new book perfect for this weekend.

"Undetected " is the story of submariner Mark Bishop. Mark is the commander of a ballistic missile submarine in the U.S. Navy. He loves his job but wants something to come home to at the end of each tour. When Gina Gray enters the scene Mark brushes her off as a friend's little sister and a good friend herself. But when Gina's research pulls Mark closer to her things get a little dangerous and a whole lot more interesting.

Once again, Dee Henderson has delivered a book full of excitement and romance without all of the "racy stuff". She proves that you can have a great book while leaving it out. She has an absolute gift with story telling that will draw a reader in and keep them interested and also coming back for more in her next book. She weaves connections between characters that will leave readers of her books eager to know how previous characters are doing in her later books and for new readers to want to dive into older books to learn about these characters. My favorite part of this book was the respect these characters showed each other. They needed each other equally and they found a love based on friendship and respect for each other.

Pick up this book before this weekend so you have the best read for your day!

**I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.**

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Visit Gatlinburg, TN

I love Tennessee! We would move in a heartbeat if it was a possibility. Instead, we just visit a lot. (Not as much as we wish we could.) We took the boys to Tennessee a couple of weeks ago and drove over to Gatlinburg while we were there. We haven't been there as a family since 2007. It is a bit of a drive from where we stay in Athens, TN so we normally leave it alone. But if you are looking to get away this summer and the beach just isn't your thing, then staying in Gatlinburg would be a great option.

While we were there we visited Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokeys. One good thing that I would highly suggest is that you go ahead and buy combo tickets for all the Ripley's attractions in town. You don't have to use them all the same day and you really do save a lot of money. All of my children loved the aquarium. There is a shark tunnel, lots of different fish, penguins, and a hands on area.



One of the other Ripley's attractions is the Ripley's Odditurium. And if you have a Transformers fan in your house, you will want to stop by just to see Optimus Prime. I didn't take a whole lot of pictures in Ripley's Odditurium. I will be honest in saying that if you have ever been to a Odditurium somewhere else, stop in the lobby and see Optimus and go through (especially if you do the combo pack) but there isn't really anything different from this Odditurium and the one in Panama City, FL. The kids really liked it but John and I were kind of bored from the sameness of it. 

There is also a Guiness Book of World Records, a Cooter's Garage for all of the Dukes of Hazzard fans, a Hollywood Car Museum, and a lot more attractions if Ripley's aren't your thing. You are also a short drive from Pigeon Forge where you can visit Dixie Stampede and Dollywood.

So head to the mountains if the beach just isn't for you.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fernbank Science Museum

Are you looking for something to do this summer and live in Georgia? I would recommend visiting the Fernbank Science Museum. Right now they have a giant display on Whales. They also have a History of GA area, a sensory fun area, a huge "play" area that is a tree house, and several other cool exhibits. We went on a field trip but I know that it would be fun to take my boys back and visit with all of them. This is on my summer to-do list for this year with my family. I know it is included with the Atlanta City Pass as well. Then you can plan a weekend visit and go to the Georgia Aquarium, Zoo Atlanta, Fernbank, World of Coke, and another attraction on the list.




Monday, May 12, 2014

Nightcrawlers

Last week, I went on a great field trip with my second grader to Zoo Atlanta. The program is called Nightcrawlers. As the name indicates, you spend the night at the zoo and learn all about the behind the scenes information. This is the second time I have been on this particular trip and I enjoyed it much more this time.

When you get to the zoo you are taken to your sleeping quarters. You have to sleep on a floor and there are no showers. You don't stay there long though because you are quickly taken into orientation and introduced to your instructor. I will go ahead and tell you, your instructor makes a HUGE difference in how much you enjoy this trip. This go round we had an instructor named Suzanne. She was amazing. She was firm but in a great way. She was very knowledgeable, especially about reptiles. And she took the time to answer every question our kids (and adults) had. It was great.

On Wednesday night, we had animal encounters, a short class about different animal facts, a behind the scenes tour of the reptile house, and a behind the scenes tour of the building where all the feed is kept and the food is prepared. Then we went to sleep. On Thursday, we got up and went to breakfast and then on a great behind the scenes tour of the zoo animals. Josh and I really enjoyed ourselves and the one-on-one time that we were able to have.

This is one of the animal encounters we had. This is a bearded dragon. 

This is the food prep area.

Getting up close and personal with a Ring Tailed Lemur.


I would definitely recommend asking your school about this field trip and if you do go, requesting Suzanne as an instructor. Fun, educational, and interesting field trip!