Nature Study with Printables!

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What are your summer plans? As this new season begins, so does our wish list of all that we want to experience with our kids. But often, our children are just as smitten by life's simple treasures as they are epic vacations. Enjoying nature together can be one of the simplest things you do this summer and we've got free printables to get you started on Nature Study this month!

Hi sweet moms!

So, summer is coming, and with it, all the ideals of this mama who wants to make this summer the best one yet. I always feel the pressure to give my kids amazing memories of days by the pool, back yard fun, beach combing and an epic vacation. . . you know, nothing major but just all their dreams come true. The thing is though, When I ask my kids what they want to do with the lazy days ahead, they just want the simple stuff. The ice cream cones and firefly catching and lazy days where sometimes dinner is only a pop tart and a run through the sprinklers counts as bath time. They just want a family that is happy to be together. 

In recent years, one way we have added a little structure to care free days and enjoyed the simplicity of the season is with Nature Study.  We can learn naturally as we envelop ourselves under the treetops, dip our toes in the pond, search for worms or lady bugs, and generally get pretty dirty. 

There is something so beautiful about spending time out of doors together as a family, our imaginations seem to take off and we each, in our own way, feel so connected to God and all He has created for us to enjoy- The Earth is full ofHis glory and we are able to experience him in a different way, see his handiwork, and praise him anew.  

I have always loved studying and exploring nature with my children, but as wonderful as it is, I think it can be a little mysterious to most moms!  In our family, we spend an afternoon a week outdoors with notebooks, watercolors or colored pencils, a field guide, our magnifying glass and a big blanket as our home base. The children all collect treasures that I keep near me in a small basket. They take turns exploring our surroundings and drawing the landscape at large, or perhaps a particular plant or animal, rock or shell. We look up what they have discovered in our field guide (We use The Handbook of Nature Study- my favorite!) and learn about the name of our finds and some tidbit about it. 

Sometimes we go looking for something in particular that we are studying- trees and roots or wildflowers, birds or a type of rock. The wonder of it all really lies in the adventuring together and the beauty of discovery.

Summer is a great time of year to get outside with your own crew! To encourage you, I've put together a Nature Notebook for you full of printables to help you explore!! It includes: 

-Journaling pages and questions to ask about your surroundings

-A June Calendar with beautiful cut-outs to track the weather

-Graphics to study the parts of a flower

-A poem for June, and a place for your child to collect June adjectives and create a poem of their very own.

You can view and download the entire Nature Notebook as a free PDF by clicking the link below. For those of you who are reading via email, you may have to click over to the site to download the PDF. 

Happy June friends,

Kristen

 

Nature Notebook

Kristen Kill

Kristen is a Northwest native who grew up surrounded by family, books, alpine peaks and lots of green. She never thought she’d leave. And when she did, she landed in a lot of concrete in a city that shapes the world’s culture. Now she's figuring out a life that she longs to have marked by gratitude and grace, good food and conversation; beauty, art and homeschooling all squeezed into a Manhattan apartment. She writes about living with intention as a wife and mother of four in the midst of a city that makes her heart beat just a little bit faster every time she walks outside at Hope With Feathers. She also relishes in her role as the Editor of The Better Mom and loves sharing snippets of her life on Instagram.

All Natural Skin Care for Younger Looking Skin

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Moms, we are tired, often running on little sleep and still dreaming of being able to look our best. It sometimes feels impossible. Take a little time for yourself by trying one of our beauty expert's favorite products that are all natural and proven to make skin feel amazing!

While I jokingly refer to my bangs as my "natural botox," the truth is I am borderline obsessed (in a totally healthy way, I promise) with finding as many options for "natural botox" as I possibly can when it comes to skin care products. The more I research, the more excited I get, and the more my vanity of goodies grows. 

However, over the last few months, I feel as though I have stumbled upon some true Holy Grail, Ride or Die, age defying gems. I have been one those lucky gals that not only is aging with fine lines and wrinkles BUT have also been battling breakouts like I'm still 13. Not too sure what that's about, and I'm pretty certain it's not fair...but then again, like I tell my kids...What is fair, right?

But, that's okay, because like I said, these products (more specifically, the key ingredients) are changing my life, my fine lines and even my breakouts, and I can't wait to share them all with you!

Acure Argan Unscented Facial Cleansing Wipes: We waste a TON of water washing our faces, and here in California, we simply don't have the water to waste. So I begin my facial routine with the best natural makeup removing wipes I've ever used! Not only are these free from all the toxic junk ingredients but they also are amazing at removing makeup, even stubborn mascara! I take just a few seconds (if I'm wearing makeup, which let's be honest, with 4 kids isn't as often as it used to be), to do a little pre-cleaning before the master cleanse.

Andalou Natural Brightening Cleanser: I'm pretty certain I will never love another cleanser as much as I love this one. Every time I've strayed to test out another, my skin gets mad and life won't settle until I bring this one back into the routine. This cleanser is definitely not boyfriend material, it's marriage material...for life. With meyer lemon, vitamin c and manuka honey, (all holy grail ingredients I die for), this cleanser is the ultimate for brightening, clarity, tone and texture. It's even amazing at keeping breakouts at bay! (manuka honey is incredibly helpful with acne!) I use one pump, day and night, and take my time massaging it into my skin so that I do my best to truly get the most out of the cleansers benefits.

Beauty Shelf Konjac Sponge: After I've cleansed and rinsed, I bring in the finishing cleansing touch. This little facial cleansing sponge is going to be your new BFF, as I honestly don't know how I ever lived without it. Gently exfoliate, detoxify and balance your skin each time you wash and watch your acne, blackheads, rosacea, excema, dermatitis & psoriasis become a thing of the past! {20% coupon: Use the code "KSPONGES'} Plus, they're hearts. How cute is that?

Andalou Natural Brightening Toner: This toner is awesome because it targets hyperpigmentation and UV damage, balances proper Ph levels & removes any last traces of cleanser or makeup.

Andalou Naturals Brightening Serum: Now that I'm cleansed and toned, my skin is primed and ready to soak in the benefits of a vitamin infused serum. This serum, which is a skin care must have, has Vitamin C & Tumeric which work together to tighten, brighten and lighten the skin, making you look younger with every application! While you can use this day or night, I just apply each morning before moisturizer since I have other goodies to play with it night!

Andalou Naturals Daily Defense Day Moisturizer: Perfect for sensitive skin, this lightweight moisturizer has quickly become one of my ultimates. Not only does it battle UV and environmental damage, but it works against fine lines and wrinkles as well. (The sensitive rose line as also to die for!)

Derma Roller (Collagen Induction Therapy): After cleansing at night, about 2 times a week, I have a little session with the Derma Roller. Okay, I'll be honest, this little contraption freaked me out a little when my sister first began telling me about it. But, because we're in the anti-aging obsession together, I knew I needed to give it at least one good shot. Even my husband, when he took one look at all the little needles, immediately followed me to the bathroom to supervise my little research project. But, oh my word. Let me just tell you, one session with the my derma roller, and I was hooked. It absolutely did NOT hurt, and while it does make your skin appear as though you spent all day in the sun, I have been amazed at how it has worked to fade my sun spots and acne scars in such a short time. This scary looking device is a must have because it reduces and eliminates wrinkles, scars, fine lines, cellulite, stretch marks, and hyper-pigmentation. Plus, it works to increase natural collagen production and skin elasticity, which if you can't tell by now, is exactly what I'm working to do. The experts suggest this practice a few times a week, making sure after each session, you ONLY follow up with products that don't contain parabens or other carcinogenics in the ingredients. (See the next three products for good suggestions!)

Radha Rosehip Seed Oil: In the evening, after I've cleansed and toned, it's time for the most amazing Rosehip Oil. This oil, you guys, is a true gift from Jesus. We all NEED this oil in our lives (along with a good Vitamin C serum), to really see BIG changes in our skin. This non greasy, super light "dry" oil works to make fine lines visibly reduced and will make your skin immediately look brighter and more radiant. This miracle oil is amazing for wrinkles, scars, rashes, acne scars, dry skin, dermatitis, age spots, psoriasis, eczema, hyper-pigmentation, and sun damage, just to name a few. I seriously want to BATHE in this oil.

Palmetto Collagen Booster or Pura D'or Vitamin C: As we age, collagen production slows, which basically just means we get saggier and duller and older looking. No bueno. But that's where Vitamin C literally saves the day. By applying topical Vitamin C serums, we can once again stimulate collagen bringing back the light and bright and plump (the good kind) back into our skin. According to Dr. Oz, we can drop a decade (off our skin, not our life...sorry girls) by simply introducing this serum into our skin care routine.

Beenigma: This cream, which is all the rage among beauty YouTubers, lifts, plumps, and reduces fines lines (are we noticing a theme here with these products???). Beenigma is infused with bee venom (so don't use if you're allergic to bees!), manuka honey and shea butter which will not only transform your skin but will also fight our breakouts as well! And with this product, my routine is done, and I can sleep peacefully knowing that I've done everything I can, short of the real botox, to keep my skin younger (in the non breakout way), firmer, and well cared for.

Okay, so these are my life changing skin care essentials, what are yours? Get involved!!!

Blessings,

Summer

Summer Saldana

Summer is one of those women who certainly isn’t trying to hide anything — except maybe what is behind her beloved bangs. She is refreshingly open about her mommy meltdowns (she has 2 children, but one is strong willed, so it’s more like 4), her faith, and her obsession with bargain shopping and makeup/skincare hauls. But, whether it’s through writing, speaking, or the missions work her & her family do, Summer’s greatest passion is connecting with others. And she does this by being open and honest, all while trying to find the humor and lesson in it all.

The Wife I Want To Be

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Dear Husband,

I want to be her. The woman you deserve. The one who greets you at the door with a smile and a hug and who thanks you for working hard and who offers you a plate of cookies. Who's got supper in the oven and the kids playing nicely and the house clean and tidy. Who asks you about your day, helps you with your coat and listens intently to everything you say. Because you deserve that.

She wouldn't thrust her newborn into your arms and beg you to entertain the boys, the house, disheveled like her hair because she hasn't had time to run a comb let alone wash it, and supper is a frozen pizza, again, because somehow she lost time between trying to do some laundry and soothing a colicky baby and begging the boys to get along, please, while Mommy slowly loses her mind.

I am her. That woman with the disheveled hair. And I wonder if I'll ever wear a shirt that doesn't have spit-up on it again. If I'll ever not have a headache again. If I'll ever have time to pour over recipe books or bake you cookies or keep the house clean and tidy for you. If I'll ever greet you at the door with the kind of energy and enthusiasm I used to feel. If I'll ever show you the kind of respect you've earned. 

Because I want to.

And you tell me that's enough.

You tell me this as you take our screaming baby and tell me to go for a run, to get out of the house because "You need some sunshine, Em," you say, and the boys wrap their arms around you as I walk out the door.

And when I get back, you've got the pizza cooked and the table's set and you pull me into your arms and you smell so good, like wood smoke, and you kiss me like I don't have spit-up on my shirt. And you listen to me tell you about my day, you listen like you care, like we haven't been married 12 years and like I didn't forget to ask you about YOUR day. You listen, and you pour me a glass of wine and hand me a plate of pizza.

Maybe it was our rough start. Maybe it was the three years of anorexia and sleepless nights and you wondering if I'd ever eat again and me wondering if I'd ever be full again, but somehow I love you more now than I ever did and I'm full. I'm so very full. 

You're not perfect, and I'm not either, but together we make a broken whole, together we can do it--this life filled with colic and mismatched socks and parents who have cancer and prayers that go unanswered. We can do it, because we need each other. And that's the glue.

That, and lots of forgiveness and bouquets of brightly colored daisies. 

Thank you for loving me.

Here's to the next 12 years--and forever.

Love, Em.

A Fun Summer Bible Study for Kids (& MOMS!)

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Over two years ago my husband launched an incredible resource for families to teach children the Bible. With literally thousands of children going through The Dig: Luke we are so thrilled to FINALLY announce The Dig: Proverbs

And it couldn't of reached completion at a better time! Summer is the perfect time to grab a new study for your child to dig into the Bible. 

Parents and children, join your experienced tour guide Doc on a journey through different books of the Bible!! Our most recent trip is through the book of Proverbs!

The Dig: Proverbs Launch Special

Special Launch Prices for 72 hours only!!! (ends Thursday 11:59pm EST)

Click to purchase The Dig: Proverbs on Kindle for $.99 ($4.99 value)!

 Click to purchase The Dig: Proverbs on Nook for $.99 ($4.99 value)! 

Click to purchase The Dig: Proverbs in paperback for only $7.99 w/free prime shipping ($12.99 value)! 

A typical Dig lesson consists of the following four components:

1. The Map: The Map tells you and your child where you’ll be going in each lesson. It is a short summary of the study ahead.

2. The Dig: The Dig is the main passage you will be studying. Following each passage will be several questions designed to help conversation and understanding. They are meant to be a guide. You can use them or tweak them to help you talk with your children.

3. The Treasure: The Treasure is the big idea of each lesson. In a short statement, it is what you want your child to remember from the passage you studied.

4. The Display: When an archaeologist finds a treasure, they will clean it up and put it on display for everyone to see. This is the basic idea of the Display. It is the application of the Treasure you have found!

Now....

I am even more pumped to announce that I am partnering with my friend Courtney over at Women Living Well, as she takes her community of women through the book of Proverbs!

Here is a pic of me and Courtney this past March at the Hearts at Home conference.

Soooo....MOMS there is something for you too!! Yay!!!

Being in God's word daily will change the entire course of our lives.  

Good Morning Girls provide free weekly resources including the weekly Bible reading plans, discussion and reflection questions, a meditation and memory verse of the week and more!

Their study through the book of Proverbs begins – Monday, June 15th!

Good Morning Girls will provide the accountability you need to soak in God's word daily, grow in your walk with God and live well!

GMG is now launching their brand new resource to accompany the study: The Book of Proverbs: Journal.

Inside this journal you will find:

*An explanation of how to use the signature SOAK method of the GMG's

*The GMG Coloring Chart

* The verse of the day each day

* Blank space for S.O.A.K.ing each chapter of the Book of Proverbs

At Good Morning Girls - you are never alone.  Looking for more details?  Visit Courtney over at GoodMorningGirls.org

CLICK here to purchase The Book of Proverbs: Journal and get started!

So won't you and your children join us this summer through the book of Proverbs??

We are so excited!!!

Want all the info on The Dig?? Click here to read all about The Dig for Kids.

Blessings, 

 

 

Ruth Schwenk

Ruth Schwenk is the creator of The Better Mom, and along with her husband, the creator of For the Family. She is a pastor’s wife, mom of four energetic kids, a lover of coffee, and dreamer of big dreams. She loves leading, speaking, and blogging. Ruth is the co-author of two forthcoming books with Zondervan. A graduate of The Moody Bible Institute, Ruth and her husband have been serving in local church ministry for nearly fifteen years.

Remembering Memorial Day... When You Almost Forgot

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It's Memorial Day and no matter what you already have planned, it's never too late to honor the men and women who have sacrificed for our country. Teach your children what they can do to encourage our military all year long starting with these seven practical ideas!

Maybe you are reading this on Monday morning and you didn't really plan ahead for Memorial Day...

Or maybe it's Monday night or later in the week and the weekend was packed full of camping, barbecues, friends, family, good food, and you had a great time, but are realizing that you never really honored Memorial Day in the way that you'd intended.

Just know that it's never too late to pause and reflect.
To give thanks both in word and deed.

To remember the men and women who have given so much for--

“God, principle and love of country.”

honor those

7 Ways that You Can Show Support for Those in Our Military Any Day of the Year:

1. Take time to read about the history of Memorial Day.

2. Write a letter of thanks to a local veteran in your church, neighborhood, or community or visit a local VA Hospital with flowers and cards of appreciation.

3.  Make a trip to visit a National Cemetery and place flowers or a flag on the grave of a fallen hero. On this list of national cemeteries you can find your state, choose a cemetery and under it, there should be a list for notable persons with a list of the names of Medal of Honor Recipients.

4. Bring a meal to a family who has a member that is currently deployed or offer to watch children for a husband or wife whose spouse is in active service.

5. Learn about (and then teach your children) proper flag etiquette and why it's important.

6. Send a care package to a soldier, marine, airman, coastguardsman, or sailor through the organization anysoldier.com. 

7. Spend some time praying for the men and women in our military and for their families.

It's never too late to pause--
And remember.

Lest we forget...

Lest we forget

“I don’t have to tell you how fragile this precious gift of freedom is. Every time we hear, watch, or read the news, we are reminded that liberty is a rare commodity in this world.” – President Ronald Reagan

With Love,
Kara

Kara Chupp

Kara is 18-years-married to her husband Jason, one of the funniest and most generous people she knows. They have 5 kiddos, 4 here and 1 in Heaven. They also have a muppet-like-mess-of-a-dog Penny, non-breeding Madagascar Hissers (who have had over 100 babies), chickens, fish, and a bearded dragon named William Wallace. Kara writes mostly about family adventures, adoption, grief, Heaven, education, books, and most importantly, clinging to God in everyday life.

Bi-Weekly Whole Food Meal Plan May 24–June 6

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Welcome to The Better Mom Whole Food Meal Plan.

Celebrate this holiday Weekend with our easy and delicious Memorial Day menu that will allow you to spend more time with your friends and family and less time in the kitchen!

Celebrate this holiday Weekend with our easy and delicious Memorial Day menu that will allow you to spend more time with your friends and family and less time in the kitchen!

Our free bi-weekly GF menus open into a convenient pdf that includes links to each of the gluten-free recipes featured making it easy to access them with just a simple click.

Once you click on the graphics below, you can easily save these gluten-free menus to your computer for easy access anytime you need them. Then, simply click on the links within the meal plan pdf to gain instant access to each of the recipes. (Please note: Many mobile devices and tablets are not able to open links within a pdf document. So be sure to save the meal plans to your computer first.)

May 24–30 GF Whole Food Meal Plan

Bi-Weekly Whole Food GF Meal Plan for May 24–30: (To print the meal plan provided below, simply click on the graphic or click here and it will open a pdf into a new window for easier saving and printing. Remember, many mobile devices and tablets are not able to open links within a pdf. So save the meal plan to your computer first.)

May 31–June 6 GF Whole Food Meal Plan

Bi-Weekly Whole Food GF Meal Plan for May 31–June 6: (To print the meal plan provided below, simply click on the graphic or click here and it will open a pdf into a new window for easier saving and printing. Remember, many mobile devices and tablets are not able to open links within a pdf. So save the meal plan to your computer first.)

In addition to the gluten-free meal plans above, we're pleased to provide you with a free meal planning template perfect for creating your own custom meal plans:
• Meal plan template PDF 

To learn more about meal planning, please check out my FREE Video Course: Mastering Meal Planning. My hope is that this will be a great resource and encouragement for you whether you’re just getting started with meal planning, or are a seasoned expert.

Always a treat to share healthy meals with you! Let’s give thanks to the Lord for providing us the opportunity to nourish our families in this way!

Joyfully Serving HIM, Kelly at The Nourishing Home