Preschool Curriculum by Rod and Staff {Giveaway}

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Preschool Curriculum by Rod and Staff

Milestone Books has provided me a free PreK ABC series in exchange for this honest review. 

Preschool is such a great stage in many ways. Young children are free to explore and learn from play. While I have come across overly complicated (and very expensive) preschool curriculums, I really love how Rod and Staff’s preschool curriculum sticks to the basics.

When my eldest, now 11, was at the end of her third year, I started her on this preschool series. She enjoyed it so much, she worked through the entire series in just 6 weeks! That’s not to say it was over simplified, but because she enjoyed it.

PreK Series

Now, my youngest who is three, is thoroughly enjoying that very same series.

PreK Curriculum


The ABC Series focuses on teaching colors, shapes, coloring, cutting and pasting, stories, following directions, and neatness.

The feature that sticks out to me the most that I appreciate, is teaching the children to focus on doing their work neatly and carefully. It is too easy to forget to train our children to work carefully when they are preschoolers, because, well, they are preschoolers. But trying to undo habits later is a lot harder than simply teaching it right the first time.

Cutting - PreK Curriculum

Pasting - PreK Curriculum

Pasting 2 - PreK Series

The instructions also put an emphasis on proper pencil holding. Again, something easy to miss or overlook. Holding a pencil the proper way helps to control and form letters neatly and easily.

Pencil Grip in Preschoolers

In the grand scheme of complicated preschool curricula, the little things can tend to be overlooked, such as forming circles in the right direction (counterclockwise), so letters such as lowercase a, d, g, and q aren’t written backwards or with great challenge.

The pace of work can be left up to the parents. I tend to work with my son about 2-3 days a week, as he shows interest. So far, he has greatly enjoyed his lessons and usually asks me to do it.

I also love how affordable this series is.


Milestone Books is giving one reader a complete set of the ABC Series. It designed for children ages 4-5 but can be modified for younger or older children, if needed.

Books in the series include:

  • Adventures with Books: Instill a love for reading early on. Teach your children to use their imagination and learn matching skills, cutting & pasting and following simple directions.
  • Counting with Numbers: Easy-to-follow directions and clear black-and-white pictures help your child focus on leaning early counting skills.
  • Do it Carefully: Help your child learn to follow basic directions by teaching them shapes, sounds, and matching skills. Practice word meanings, such as left/right and big/little.
  • Everywhere We Go: More colors, shapes and sounds. Learning initial consonant sounds.
  • Finding the Answers: Teach rhyming, carefulness and personal responsibility.

To Enter Giveaway: 

Simply leave a comment sharing your favorite thing about your preschool child/children.

Be sure to visit Milestone Books for this PreK series and more!

Giveaway ends Tuesday at 11:59pm EST.

U.S. Residents only please. Winner will be chosen and notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. 

Link Up Your Twitter {Moms in the Word}

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Life has been busy in our household as we spent the last week moving, so things have been a bit quiet on the blog. However, I am doing my best to keep up with our schedule to connect for Moms in the Word.

Moms in the Word on Twitter

So far, the winning study is Philippians – a packed book for sure! I look forward to digging in! If you haven’t voted yet, you can vote here.

If you’re new and want to learn more about Moms in the Word, you can read more here.

Follow me on Twitter here:

Let’s link up those Twitter accounts, and always use the #momsintheword hashtag so we can easily find each other and encourage one another!

Link-Up Your Instagram {Moms in the Word}

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Happy Tuesday Moms!

Moms in the Word on Instagram.png

If you’re just popping in, find out about Moms in the Word here.

Today, in order to connect with each other via Instagram so we can share our day-to-day time in the Word via photos, we are linking up our Instagram accounts.

All you need to do is add the link to the link up below by filling in three areas: Name, email, and Instagram permalink. Your Instagram permalink is simply your username at the end of the Instagram url like so:

That’s it! Then anyone can click it and follow you: Click here to follow me on Instagram –>

Remember to use hashtag #momsintheword so we can easily find each other through search!

Link up below! Reading in email? Click here to link up!

Moms in the Word Study – Poll

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Let's Study the Bible

Today you’re going to vote on a Bible study. Before you vote, please understand…Moms in the Word is meant for us to dig straight into the Word of God. I am totally open to doing a book study (several great ones were suggested), but this space is simply meant for digging into the Bible. Several expressed a desire to learn to be a better mom, wife, and homemaker and all of those things are super important. But first, we need to take care of ourselves spiritually so Christ can overflow in those places.

I know for me, if I am neglecting my time with the Lord yet trying to pursue being better at anything, I only find myself frustrated because I fail every time. Why? Because I’ve neglected the Spirit and am not walking in Him. I am trying to do it in my own strength. That’s why it’s important to really focus on our spiritual walks above anything else.

We will talk about a book club/study in a few weeks. ;)

Alright ladies, let’s vote! Here are the most popular suggestions by you. Let’s narrow it down from here.

Click here to take the poll.

Come Join “Moms in the Word”!

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Moms in the Word You're Invited

As a mother, I can often struggle with getting into the Word on a daily basis, yet the last thing I want is for it to become something just to check off my to do list. Can you relate?

Meeting with God because I need Him is the only way I’ll be changed by His word. This is not meant to be a legalistic attempt at making myself look good on the outside. It’s because I’m dead on the inside without Jesus and I need to live like it. Apart from Him, I can do nothing {John 15:5).

So, what is Moms in the Word? It’s a group of women (moms, or not) coming together to make reading God’s word a priority in their lives. We can read the same study or book of the Bible, or we can choose to study different things. But we are still united by reading His Word.

Not only is this important as a follower of Jesus, but as a mother. We need His guidance and wisdom daily and our children need to see how much we need Him. We’re called to set an example, just as Jesus set an example for us.

Now, understand, meeting God in His Word and through prayer isn’t going to necessarily make our problems go away. However, this allows us an opportunity to be strengthened and receive wisdom.

But, we can longer get by with excuses on why we don’t have time for God. I have no excuse. If He is truly the most important thing in my life — or is my life– I need to live like it.

So, here’s what’s going to happen:

On Tuesday, April 1st, I will run a poll on my blog so we can choose a study together. I would love to just get to know you all on a deeper level and I want you also to know my heart.

In April, I will be having four link up’s so I can connect with you. So, here’s the schedule:

Tuesday, April 1st, Choose Your Study Poll (closing April 22nd so vote today!)

Tuesday, April 8th, Link Up your Instagram

Tuesday, April 15th, Link Up your Twitter

Tuesday, April 22, Link Up your Facebook and/or Google+

Tuesday, April 29 Link Up your blog

If you do not have any of these, don’t worry! You can still connect with us right here on my blog,  or on my Facebook page.

Our study will officially begin Tuesday, May 6th. However, the goal is to get in the Word everyday. Not just once per week. We are merely meeting once per week to share what we learned and what prayer needs we have. That’s why we are connecting through social media via the link ups; so we can stay in touch throughout the week.

Our hashtag to find each other is #MomsInTheWord - which can be used on all social media platforms.

I don’t know about you, but I am really looking forward to what the Lord is going to do in the coming weeks and months — in us and in our families through us.

I look forward to taking the journey with YOU.

An Open Letter to My Readers

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An Open Letter to My Readers

Life is a lot different now than when I first started blogging.

My purpose in starting Joyful Mothering, was in hopes of really helping myself by thinking I could help others. But these days, I’m feeling more desperate than ever for help. As a result, I have no help to offer. Because of this, my blog is running dry of value. Sure, I have some awesome products to recommend, but that’s not all I want Joyful Mothering to be.

Do you ever feel exhausted from failure? That’s where I’m at.  I have no words of wisdom to offer and nothing magical to share about what I’m doing as a mom. And I have no real excuse. I’m not pregnant. I’m not waking up with a baby in the middle of the night. I’m just lost. And maybe part of this drain is the long journey of uncertainty and waiting on our adoption. Our hearts have been knit to two girls across the ocean for more than 16 months, and the ache of them missing from our family has really begun to be felt. It gets stronger with every passing day.

I know no one expects me to have it all together. But these days I feel like I have nothing together. I feel like I don’t know the path God has for me regarding my children. Yes, raise them in the Lord, but what does that look like? Is it having all my children arranged at the kitchen table doing devotions every morning? Does it look like going to church every week? Or is crying out to God everyday that I need Him desperately? What does it look like? Because some things seem so artificial while others are very real.

I desire to be a better mom. But right now I’m struggling to even know what that looks like.

And I’ve been making the mistake of not meeting with God regularly, you know, in prayer and in His Word, thinking that somehow I can do this thing on my own. Perhaps that is my problem right there. I lack strength and wisdom in motherhood because I have failed to seek Him purposely for that. Not fleetingly, but purposely.

I do not feel like a qualified leader for mothers. At all. You know, if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into a ditch? And sometimes leaders are made, whether they want to be or not. Apparently that is what I have become and it scares me to death. And I admit, I have been more focused on matters of the heart than practical motherhood. Everything sounds good in theory, but the real work is living it out. I want to do more living out than running my mouth.

So, what does this mean for Joyful Mothering?

Simply this. I am inviting moms to join me on a journey to make God’s Word and prayer a real priority in my life. Not just a theory.  Not something I talk about or wish I could do. But something I am doing and will be sharing in this space for anyone else who may need it, and also to keep me accountable.

In addition, I am going to be breaking some of the blogging rules on a more regular basis, because I feel like they are suffocating what God wants to do in me and in this space. I cannot continue to put God in a box and expect to be changed or write well. I think writing should be freeing, not confined. And living for Christ, that’s a choice I’ve made, not because it’s easy, but because He has freed me, I am free to live for Him.

Finally, I want you to know, this isn’t just a blogging gig for me. Making money is a perk and it helps pay for my hosting and adoption expenses. So when the time came that I needed more income to help with moving, rather than compromise my content, I opened my virtual assistant services up again.

You all are my community. And I have been so frustrated with Facebook because there, I try connecting with you throughout the day, and hardly any of you see it anymore. Facebook continues to change and I can’t do a thing about it. I want to share little tidbits with you throughout my days – a quote, a verse, a picture of Legos all over the floor so you can see just how real this mothering thing is for me. I don’t have it all together – and I never will.

But I am not happy to stay where I’m at either. I am called, as every Christian is, to practice righteousness and love more deeply than is humanly possible (why we need Him daily!). This is where it begins, though. I must understand how much I need Him every day of my life, and live accordingly. That means meeting with Him every day to be filled by His Spirit. I can’t speak for how you might be filled, but for me, once my day begins, I am too distracted to spend real, focused time with God. But I’ve allowed myself excuse after excuse and it’s cost me. I can’t afford to live without Him. And it’s not that I ignore Him or forget that I am His, but I do forget how much I need Him daily. Ann Voskamp once wrote that, how we live our days is how we live our lives. How true that is! Motherhood has been the biggest challenge of my life. I don’t want to waste it.

I really want to connect with you throughout the days, so I invite you to follow me in other places you may be: InstagramTwitterPinterest, or Google+. I am still on Facebook, but you have to go to my page, “Like” if you haven’t yet, then hover over the “Like” button and either add my page to an interest list or click “Get Notifications” in order to see my stuff. I do not post every couple of hours, but 3-4 times a day, maybe.

Will you continue this new chapter of motherhood with me? I am looking forward to sharing more of God’s word together, in community, through Moms in the Word. Those details are coming soon, first, to those already subscribed to Joyful Mothering. Then, they will be announced on the blog.

Fort Magic {Giveaway!}

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Fort Magic Giveaway

This is a paid review. I was given Fort Magic free in exchange for my my honest review – and you have a chance to win the giveaway. Woot! {Keep reading!}

My children are always making forts somewhere in the house. Whether over the bunk beds or using the couch, this is a regular form of play for my children. Imagine their delight when I told them Fort Magic was going to be delivered to our doorstep!

Fort Magic Rocket Ship

My kids absolutely love Fort Magic and I was quite impressed by it myself!

Fort Magic Box

Fort Magic Submarine


It comes with lots of pieces – 382 to be exact. And they are high quality. They can take the pressure of children or adults working them into the connectors (which does prove to be a bit easier for adults than children to get them in all the way).

Fort Magic Contents

Fort Magic Supplies

It also comes with a very durable and convenient storage bag.

Fort Magic Storage Bag

Construction and Imaginative Play

My children impressed me by being able to build the forts they wanted all on their own. They followed the instructions offered in the book which accompanies the kit (and you can also view it on their website). Which really only consisted of a 3-dimensional picture of each fort and the pieces needed to build it.

Fort Magic Pirates


Fort Magic Castle

My children have enjoyed building their own creations that suit what they are learning in school as well.

Once we move into our new house (just a few short weeks!), they will build a fort suitable for sleeping in on a main floor bedroom. These creations make some pretty large forts! I was amazed at the size of them. We are looking forward to many more hours of building and play.

See what other moms are saying about Fort Magic.

Some Fort Magic Specifics:

The “Magic” of the Fort Magic kit is in the large number and variety of sticks and connectors.  It is this unique combination that allows kids to build any design they can think of with a single Fort Magic kit.

Every Fort Magic kit includes 382 Pieces:

•  165 Straight and Curved Sticks in seven different sizes!
•  87 Connector pieces in five varieties of shapes and sizes!
•  130 easy to use fabric and accessory Clips! Securely fasten sheets or fabric to ANY shape design your child invents!
•  A full color Instruction Manual with over 20 designs to build!
•  A high quality Storage Bag that securely holds all of the Fort Magic pieces – so clean up is quick and easy every time!
•  A 30-day Money Back Guarantee!
•  Fabric Covers Are Not Included.

You can purchase Fort Magic here.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Moms in the Word {Sneak Peek}

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Moms in the Word.png


We don’t need to do this alone. And we moms? We need to represent.

More details to come.

If you are subscribed to Joyful Mothering, watch for a special announcement, detailing this new feature. I will be sharing the inside scoop with you before releasing anything public.

If you are not subscribed, you can subscribe by entering your email in the box below. (If you’re reading this in your email or through a reader, you are already subscribed).

Can you do me a favor, too? Can you use the share buttons at the bottom and share with your friends and fellow moms? There may be someone you know who could really use this. (Honestly, who couldn’t use daily time in the Word — and get help in the process?!)

For His Glory

5 Things to Pack for a Homeschool Convention

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This post is sponsored by Great Homeschool Conventions and contains affiliate links. 

It’s not unusual when you head to a conference or convention for the first time to wonder what some of the most important things are you’ll need to pack.

5 Things to Pack for a Homeschool Convention.png

I’ve learned after attending conferences, there are definitely some “must have’s” on a trip like that. This, of course, will vary if you’re bringing along a baby or the entire family. But for now, let’s just stick with what to pack for yourself. I’ll offer a few bonus items for anyone who would need to bring their baby along.

  1. A Handbag. This is important to carry around the convention so you can store a notebook, snacks, mints or gum, convention and vendor literature as well as have the ability to carry things back to your room from the vendors if needed. If you’re looking for something durable, I highly recommend the bags from Freeset (which also help keep women in India out of the sex slave industry because they are employed by making these fantastic bags.)
  2. A Binder. While not totally necessary, some people keep organized using a small binder  for note taking, jotting down email addresses from people met along the way, vendor websites to look up later, etc.
  3. A Cardigan Sweater (that matches all the outfits you pack). I cannot tell you how many times I’ve attended sessions when I was freezing! It’s really  hard to concentrate when you’re shivering, so be sure to pack something universal and warm enough if a room is chilly.
  4. Laptop or iPad (or Smartphone at the very least). It’s great to be able to look up prices to compare while you’re shopping for curriculum. It will also help keep you connected with those who couldn’t make it or don’t understand what’s so great about a homeschool convention. You can share in pictures!
  5. Comfortable Shoes. Yes, this is important. While the idea of dressing fancy (even in a nice pair of boots with heals) is nice, comfort should probably take precedence in this case. Because you’ll be doing a lot of mingling and be out and about, and a long way from home (typically). You’ll want to bring shoes you can last the weekend in!

Great Homeschool Conventions in Greenville, South Carolina actually begins TODAY starting at 2:00pm EST and tickets can be purchased at the door.

Other convention locations include Cinncinnati, OH – April 24-26 and Ontario, CA – June 12-14. It’s not too late to register online for those two locations!
Homeschool Convention Locations, Dates and Speakers

GHC is planning some blogger meet ups for SC and OH. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and/or Twitter for updates!

Related Posts:

3 Reasons You Want to Hear Ben Carson Speak

5 Ways to Attend a Homeschool Convention

4 Reasons to Attend Great Homeschool Conventions

Trim Healthy Mama {Life: Simplified}

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One of my goals to simplify in 2014 includes my diet. Simplifying the foods that I eat so I can live out my days with optimal energy.

Right now, that is my biggest offender: I always feel tired. I am a big carb loader and a junk food junkie. Sugar has become so much a part of my diet that I don’t even realize all the things I eat that contain sugar. But what I didn’t realize? All those carbs that I load up on? They break down into sugar and after a while, I have a sugar crash.

Fighting Fatigue with Real Food

I struggle to get out of bed in the morning and I frequently crash in the afternoons.

After reading some rather interesting information in the Trim Healthy Mama book, it makes complete sense why I am always tired and having crashes throughout the day.

While I am continue my journey of eating real foods, I remind myself that perfection isn’t the goal here. I am not aiming to never eat a lick of sugar again. Maybe someday I’ll get to that point, but right now, that’s not the goal. After feeding my body {pretty much} toxins for much of it’s existence, shifting that is going to take time.

So, right now my goal isn’t to cut out everything toxic, but rather to include more whole foods. Including more whole foods will automatically push out some of the toxic foods I’ve been accustomed to.

What I am loving about Trim Healthy Mama is that, though this plan has you eat certain foods together, it doesn’t force me to eliminate some of my favorite foods (such as potatoes!). It just has me eat them coupled with the right kinds of foods for optimal performance, and of course in the right portions.

Because I eat so many carbs (carbohydrates), and carbs break down into sugars, I was overloading my system with excess insulin, causing me to crash and store fat.

I am not completely cutting out carbs, I am merely controlling my portions. That’s a start. Last night, I created a meal already part of our regular menu that closely fit the Trim Healthy Mama plan. I will continue to use what I have on hand as I purchase new items to include in the THM plan as I go.

Lemon Pepper Chicken and Jasmine Rice

(Quick recipe: Lemon Pepper Chicken – Take chicken breasts and cook in butter, sprinkle with Lemon Pepper seasoning, splash fresh lemon juice on top! Asparagus – Cook in frying pan with butter and season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cook until tender, but not mushy.)

My ultimate goal isn’t weight loss, though I’m sure that will be a lovely perk to this continuous change. No, my overall goal is to have more energy and mental power for my family and myself. I don’t expect any plan will be perfect, but this one seems to deal with some of my personal eating habits.

Each month I will share an aspect of what I’m learning and how my habits have changed as well as the results of those changes. I will also share some new recipes and tidbits from Trim Healthy Mama.

What about you? Are you on a real food journey? What plan are you using?

Follow my Life: Simplified Pinterest board for more resources on simplifying your life.

Follow my new Trim Healthy Mama Pinterest board for all resources Trim Healthy Mama related!