The One Thing That Has Brought Our Family Together: {Review & Giveaway}

UPDATE: The winners of this giveaway are Mrs. R., Colleen B and Erin K.

I have two kids in junior high now, three in school.

And I feel like I owe all parents of kids age 10+up, a big fat apology.

Because. Y’all. We have spent years trying to parent intentionally, slowing down our lives, limiting extracurricular stuff. Then this season started and I’m looking at the calendar in shock. With just one after-school activity each and church stuff, it looks like it’s going to explode.

And I’m so thankful the ignorant, naive Kristen from years past, started one very important habit.

If there has been one thing that has strengthened our family and kept us together, around the table, around a chair, around each other, it’s reading together.

Not only have our kids fallen in love with reading (yes, they are the ones with flashlights under the sheets because they just need to finish the chapter, Mom), they have fallen in love with reading together.

We’ve gone on wild adventures and learned about different cultures together. Books have led us into deeper community with each other. They have urged us to ask hard questions, press into our struggles. They have been a catalyst to richer family life.

We read around the table after dinner regularly. We also read individually with each of our kids. We pat the space next to us and say, “Let’s read, together.”

And as my kids have grown, the books have grown with us. But no matter how old they are, they want to read.

I have to tell you about the latest one that has captured my family, all of us.

My husband reads to our first grader every. night. She loves it and looks disappointed when I step in to substitute. I love that they love this time together. She is reading on her own (you know the sweet first grade KIND OF READING THAT MAKES YOU WANT TO STICK A FORK IN YOUR EYEBALL), but there’s just something about reading a chapter book together that is special.

Plus, it’s a lot quicker.

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Begin, the first book in the Growly Series by Phil and Erin Ulrich started out as their book. It’s an epic adventure about a little bear named Growly and my daughter begs for another chapter every time they finish one. Last night they finished chapter 17. What’s funny is I can tell you every single thing that’s happened in the adventure so far and so can my son. We just couldn’t not listen! It’s wholesome family reading at it’s best and it’s also illustrated beautifully.

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The vivid descriptions make it easy to imagine exactly what’s happening in the story. It’s a great book to read to your 4-7 year old and children 8-11 would enjoy reading it on their own. We can’t wait to read what happens next to Growly! It’s sure to be adventurous.

The other night it was getting late and my hubby was busy with work, so I picked up where they left off. A few paragraphs in, my husband found us cuddled up reading and asked us what had happened so far. I handed over the book and smiled.

I’m not sure who loves Growly more! You can get your own copy here for $8.99

Growly Sig 2

The author Erin, who is also my blog designer and a sweet friend, sent us a copy to read together and today she’s giving away three copies. Hop over and check out the book and the amazing pictures and leave a comment here to be entered.

And please, make time in  your crazy busy lives to read together. You won’t ever regret the adventures it takes you on!

Your Grace Finds Me {Giveaway}

UPDATE:  Juli V., Amy B., and Teresa G. have been selected as the winners of this giveaway.

It was there in the 10th grade when I stood up for what was right.

It was there on the day when I had my first heartbreak in college.

It was there the day my best friend became my husband.

It was there when I spent years longing to become a mother.

It was there when I didn’t know what to do with a crying baby.

It was there when I was a lonely mom and a broken wife.

It was there when I dreamed a God-sized dream.

It was there through life and death, victory and pain: grace

Your grace finds me every step of the way.

I absolutely love Matt Redman’s new album: Your Grace Finds Me. It’s an anthem for me. God has been with me when others weren’t. His grace has been a faithful presence even when I haven’t been.

Matt Redman

His song Mercy is also a personal favorite on the new album. Listening to this beautiful worship CD is like a vehicle–It will drive you into the presence of God.

Today, I’m happy to give away 3 copies of the new album Your Grace Finds Me, which releases today.

 

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Click to read an update on the (in)Mercy Project and meet the faces behind Mercy House.

Showing Off Some Faith, Hope & Love {Giveaway}

UPDATE: Congratulations, Kim Mitchell, you are the winner of this giveaway.

The other day a friend of a friend came over. She was young and heading out of the country to do social work in the sex trafficking arena. We chatted and for a split second I sort of wanted to roll back the clock and live vicariously through her wide-eyed freedom and adventure.

As she started to leave, she said, “I’ve never had a place of my own or had a certain style, but when I do, I want it to look like yours. I think this is my style.”

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Oh, you mean colorful, inspiring hodgepodge? 

“I used to fill my home with stuff. A few years ago, I decided that it had to be meaningful and inspiring to stay,” I said as I pointed out the inspirational art, the pictures of Mercy House girls and babies, the colorful world maps and the missions statement over our fireplace.

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When people walk through my door, I pray my home offers them three things:

Faith-A reminder that God can do anything through anyone

Hope-He redeems our past and transforms our future

Love-I  want warm, infectious love for God and others to be felt

2013-09-13 01.22.59When Show Off Arts, my favorite inspirational art store asked if they could send these gorgeous canvases, I approved. This lovely trio are bright and colorful. They look amazing on my wall!2013-09-13 01.22.39Today, I’m giving away this beautiful set of three canvases. To be entered, please visit Show Off Arts and leave a comment here with your favorite piece.This giveaway ends Thursday.

Anchored in Life {The Vintage Pearl Giveaway}

UPDATE: Katherine (comment #306) and Sara (comment #128) have been randomly selected as winners of this giveaway.

Our family went to the beach more this summer than any other I can remember.

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The closest beach is Galveston, so clearly, we aren’t picky about crystal clear waters or seaweed.

We took our visiting nephews a couple of times, had a little summer staycation with the kids exploring the island. Then in early August, Terrell and I did this:

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What God didn’t give Galveston, he bestowed to Maui times a thousand.

In the past, the beach has been a hot, sandy place that I could take or leave, but that’s changed for me. It holds precious memories with family and a once-in-a-lifetime escape with my husband of almost 19 years.

anchor of hope

It also served a brief respite from a very difficult year so far. We’ve had a lot of loss and the time together served as an anchor for us, a place to be refreshed and renewed.

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I’ve used all my trial-sized Mango shampoos and coconut lotion and all I have left of the summer and the beach is what I can remember. That’s why I ordered this new necklace from The Vintage Pearl. This little seahorse represents strength, strength for the hard days behind me and the ones ahead.little silver seahorse

I love the new pieces from The Vintage Pearl (like these cute sports charms and these GORGEOUS new vintage lockets), to these beautiful beach ones that make me want to pause and breath deep and not forget the treasure of summer I want to always remember:

seashell treasure

Today, I’m giving away TWO $75 gift certificates–winner’s choice! Please hop over to my favorite silver shop and leave a comment on this post with your favorite piece.

This giveaway ends Thursday.

Back to School in Style with Osh Kosh {Sponsored Giveaway}

School starts in 13 days. It’s hard to believe how quickly the summer has passed! We are soaking up every last bit.

When Oshkosh B’gosh asked me to do a sponsored post and host a giveaway for their fun back-to-school clothes, I was excited because I’ve always been a fan. Plus, I have a teenager in the house now, so only two of my kids still let me dress them.

And I do a pretty good job, huh? Check out the cute items I got with the gift card OshKosh B’gosh sent me:

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OshKosh B’gosh has your kids covered for Back to School styles! Dress them for success in OshKosh Original Graphic Tees for only $7 & $8 online and in-stores. The one-of-a-kind graphic tees are made with 100% cotton and are perfect for layering and transitioning from warm to cold weather. Each original tee design is hand-drawn and created by OshKosh designers. They come in a variety of colors and fun styles. OshKosh Originals are available in multiple sizes, including 3M-24M in the form of bodysuits for babies.
4Plus OshKosh B’gosh has the Back to School staple for your kids: Denim! At the lowest price of the season for a limited time, get the latest denim styles and washes that have extended sizes to make a perfect fit. I love their jeans because  they have adjustable waists. B’gosh Blue Jeans are made for fun and built to last.

My little girl has been begging for a denim jacket like her big sis. It looks darling with her sequin school bus t-shirt and denim skirt:

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For Girls:

  • She’ll greet everyone in style in sparkly tees including princess, jeweled up animals, and shopping graphics.
  • Walk the halls in style with “varsity group” girls tees that say she loves to cheer!
  • Find slogan tees like, “My Aunt Loves Me,” “Big Sister,” “I heart Mom & Dad,” and more that the whole family will adore.

1For Boys:

  • The “woodlands group” boys tees that feature owls, camping trees and more are a great addition to his tee selection.
  • From football to hockey, he will kick off in style with OshKosh tees from the fall sports collection.
  • Tees like, “Mom’s Daredevil,” “MVB – Most Valuable Brother,” “Tough Like Dad,” are must-have slogan tees for all his favorite outfits. 

My son loves this shirt with jeans and boots:

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 “Like” OshKosh B’gosh on Facebook, mention  @OshKoshBgosh on Twitter and follow them on Pinterest for outfitting ideas, vintage ads, deals and special events! Check to see if there’s a store near you.

Today, I’m giving away $100 to OshKosh to a lucky reader. Please tell me what your favorite tee is in the Back to School collection?  If you’d like to earn an extra entry you can do the following (please leave an extra comment for each that you do):

  • (1 extra entry) Tweet the link to this post @wearethatfamily with hashtag #OshkoshB2S
  • (1 extra entry) Share this post on Facebook using hashtag @OshkoshB2S
  • (1 extra entry) Pin one of the above pictures on Pinterest with hashtag #OshkoshB2S

 

Disclosure Statement 
OshKosh B’gosh partnered with bloggers such as me to help promote Back to School Tees.  As part of the program, I received product or gift cards.  OshKosh B’gosh believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words, and therefore did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products I used. OshKosh B’gosh policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations. The winner of any giveaway in this program will be randomly chosen and gift card fulfillment will be handled by a third party.