This week we will celebrate 15 years of marriage. We met at 32, married at 35, had our son at 36 and our daughter at 39. Hmmm, that makes me a midlife Mom.
Time with my best friend has gone by way too fast. I can’t believe our son is entering Freshman year of high school and our daughter is entering 7th grade in the Fall. I still remember cuddling my babies.
When I tell folks that Randy and I have been together for 17 1/2 years, some ask, “How do you stay together or how do you make it work?” The answer is unequivocally our faith in God keeps our relationship pressing through life’s ups and downs. Our core belief helps us invest in the three C’s of our relationship.
- Caring – Both of us genuinely care for each other which promotes healthy love, respect and trust. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
- Communication – We talk to each other about anything and everything which promotes a healthy friendship. – Luke 24:14
- Commitment – We’re both in it for the long haul, because we know God has a plan and a purpose for each one of us. – Jeremiah 29:11
As a way of celebrating our anniversary, I’m giving away select children’s ebooks now through June 7-9, 2016. Simply click on my name below and it will link you to Amazon. Enjoy!
How long have you been married and what are your secrets to success?
I wanted to share with you a fellow author’s children s book blast.
BeachBoundBooks is pleased to be coordinating a Book Blast for two charming books by Lisa Marie Schinski, That’th what I thaid! & The Sore Prickly Bear. The blast will run March 28-30, 2016.
About the Books
Title: The Sore Prickly Bear
Author: Lisa Marie Schinski
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Number of Pages: 30
Summary: Fuzzy has a very bad day that keeps getting worse. He is faced with many challenges and doesn’t understand why these things are happening to him. Everyone has had a bad day, week, month or even years. He will make you laugh because everyone can relate to Fuzzy in some way. Things always have a way of working out in the end and sometimes even better than it was before!
Title: That’th what I thaid!: R’s and S’s
Author: Lisa Marie Schinski
Illustrator: Lauren Panco
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Number of Pages: 32
Summary: Stitchie is a happy bunny that is having a hard time saying her R’s and S’s. She thinks her friends are making fun of her but they just laugh because they think it sounds funny. They love Stitchie, and in the end, Stitchie practices and meets the best teacher who helps her says her R’s and S’s perfectly. She runs into the woods to share with her friends how far she has come!!
About the Author: Lisa Marie Schinski
I was born and raised in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. I currently reside in King of Prussia. I wrote the story about the Sore Prickly Bear when I was 8 years old. My teacher, Mrs. Ulrich encouraged me to write and also gave me the young author’s award. I found this book after my mom passed away last year. I had a great childhood but when I wrote this book, my parents got divorced, we moved and I changed schools. A lot of changes for an 8 year old. So I guess I felt like Fuzzy.
Around October 2015, I took the book into work to show my friends because this past year and a half has been very hard for me and my family. I knew when I showed my friends, they would laugh and cry because my life was again Fuzzy’s. My friends, Denice, Dee, Candace, Rick, Gina, Tara, Nancy, Tamara and Gina encouraged me to publish this book. So here I am!
I am now 46 years old. I have a great job, great friends, and great family. But there are still days that feel very bad and very unfair.
My goal for publishing this book is to help children understand that bad things happen and bad days happen. But when we have friends and family in our life to help us laugh at ourselves, we can heal and move forward. Everyone has a bad day, week, month or even years. My dream is to share this story for children to know they are not alone and everyone has a bad day.
I am so grateful for my family and friends.
“That’th what I thaid” was published in February 2016. Lauren Panco inspired me to write this story. It is for children who have a hard time with their R’s and S’s. I think many of us have! I want children to know it’s ok to sound different and with practice, it changes. Don’t let anyone make fun of you. We are all perfect the way we are!
Disclaimer: No compensation was received for this book blast. Just passing along good reads.
Jesus Helps Me by Callie Grant offers four levels of exploration: a quoted Bible passage (John 12:44-47), supporting captions that relate the passage to a child’s life, thinking questions to personalize the experience, and colorful, full-page photographs. Also included is a tip section for parents on how to use the book with a baby, toddler, and child. Jesus Helps Me is a Learn book in the well-received Learn, Absorb & Praise™ Collection, which makes personal Bible studies accessible to young children.
The book is a Learn book in the well-received Learn, Absorb & Praise™ Collection, which makes personal Bible studies accessible to young children. Alongside adults, the series helps kids build a foundation for faith and a lifelong friendship with Jesus.
The release of Jesus Helps Me coincides with launch of the re-designed of the Knowing My God series, which now features an updated look and expanded content. Additional products supporting the line will follow, including Jesus Inspires Me: An Enriching Activity & Coloring Book (May 2, 2016) and the Knowing My God Series Gift Set, a slipcased set featuring all four current series titles (Oct. 1, 2016).
Graham Blanchard Inc. is passionate about providing the highest quality books and resources to promote a love of learning about God, in addition to supporting families with prayer and the shared experiences of other parents.Their books are distributed by Ingram/Spring Arbor, STL and Anchor Distributors. For more information please visit www.grahamblanchard.com.
I read it upon receipt and it is a delightful board book for young children. It’s pictures pop with color. I love that it is chalked full of scripture you can instill in your kids and grandkids.
Disclaimer: No compensation was received for this book review; just passing on a Good Read.
When Callie Grant had her daughter, she struggled to find books for her that shared the heart and mind of Jesus, while still keeping her little one excited about the story. Grant, with an extensive background in writing and educational publishing, decided to make the books she wanted her child to read – books about who God is and how we are made to be with him. To do so, Grant founded Graham Blanchard Inc., a publishing company that creates books and resources to support the spiritual development of children and their families.
Graham Blanchard books have been well received by trade publications and more than 100 websites and blogs written by Christian parents. In spring 2017 Graham Blanchard is launching its first program for grownups, The Newborn Promise Project. This will be a book and class offered to expecting and new parents through churches and small groups, to prepare parents for spiritually nurturing their new child. The program follows the May 2015 release of an e-book for parents, Spiritual Parenting in the First Five Years: God’s Plan for Early Childhood Christian Discipleship.
Prior to founding Graham Blanchard, Grant worked as a consultant in marketing, public relations and educational publishing for clients like DK, Scholastic, and Ask Jeeves. Grant has a degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee with minors in business and political science. A job with GTE’s defense division took her from Washington D.C. to Silicon Valley, where she lived for two decades working in political, nonprofit, and corporate sectors before transitioning full time into the educational publishing industry.
Grant began working on a masters in theology, but was happily detoured when she discovered she was expecting a child. Callie, her husband Michael and their 12-year-old daughter now live in Austin, Texas. Grant is active in her church and community and loves experiencing Austin’s beautiful outdoors, but her favorite place to be is curled up next to her daughter reading books together. Grant hopes the books Graham Blanchard produces will inspire other families to get cozy and read together about the love of Christ. Their books are distributed by Ingram/Spring Arbor, STL and Anchor Distributors.
Now it’s your turn to read Jesus Helps Me as we’re giving away one FREE copy. We’d love to hear from other Moms and Dads seeking to raise their sons and daughters with godly character. Simply tell us about how Jesus helps you or your little ones. Your name will then be placed in our drawing.
On March 21, 2016, we will randomly select a winner. The winner must live in the continental US and supply his/her mailing address to us no later than March 28, 2016. Onecopy will then be shipped directly to the winner’s address provided.
I’d like to introduce Eileen Turay. She has a Masters of Science in Counseling with a school specialization. She’s worked with children with Autism for a few years using ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis), and taught at both preschool and elementary levels. She’s married, has a three-year-old daughter, two dogs, and they live in South Florida.
She shares some great free and cheap ideas to do with children. Please welcome Eileen Turay!
Our top 8 fave FREE and CHEAP things to do with Kids
Since I currently work full time, I am always looking for new fun things for Olivia and I to do on the weekends. Though going to get Bagels and Starbucks are among our top two faves, they get old quickly; so, I thought I would make a list of some of our favorite inexpensive and free things that Olivia and I like to do together.
1. Make breakfast together. Pancakes are not only pretty simple to make, they are easy for a three-year-old to help make. Liv loves nothing more than to stir up the batter. I know, it can get messy, but it is worth it. When she feels helpful, it makes us both happy. Then we sit on the couch in our jammies and yell at the dogs together for trying to eat our food.
Eating breakfast together. parenting fun
2. Go to a new park. HYPE IT UP! When I ask if Olivia wants to go to the park, I never know what she is going to say; but if I ask her if she wants to try a BRAND NEW AMAZING SUPER AWESOME park, she is IN! Google parks in a 30 mile radius from your house. If you see graffiti, gang signs, and broken glass you may want to try another one… but that’s the fun in the adventure right?
Fun at the Park
3. Festivals. Greek, music, dog, school, asparagus (yep.. that’s a real one in Stockton, CA lol) Look them up and go!! You may have to argue with your child a bit about why $5 a ticket for the bounce house is not happening… but you can probably distract her with a sweet swag bag compliments of the local Bank Branch booth.
Fun and Free Festivals
4. FORTS. I cannot stress how amazing forts are. From ages 2-34 (my husband as proof), forts can be lots of fun. You have to be willing to just say goodbye to any chance of having decent couch cushions ever again; but honestly, if you have a three-year-old, you’ve already had the sofa funeral.
Fort Fun. Making a Mess
5. Anything wet. If you have the space for it, a tiny pool or water table. If you live in an apartment like us, find the nearest spray ground/beach/lake/pool. This one is a given. Olivia almost always says she doesn’t want to go; then she always has a blast. Here is the trick: you need to get wet too. I don’t know why I am sharing this or why it is such a stand out memory to me: but as a child, my mom never wanted to swim with us. We swam at my grandparents’ pool all the time and she NEVER got into a bathing suit to swim with us. Dad? always down… but mom was never a fan of water/swimming. I STILL remember like yesterday when one of the other adults pushed her into the pool one time with all of us with all her clothes on. I know she was mad at first but she ended up laughing. I thought it was the MOST FUN swim day we ever had as kids. It is such a simple thing, but your kid does NOT care what you look like in a bathing suit. She just wants you to be part of the fun. So be a part of it. She will remember. I still do.
Free and Fun Things to do, Water Fountain
6. Picnics. Eating a PBJ in your house=lame. Eating a PBJ on a blanket or picnic table anywhere else=awesome. For some reason, doing things like eating sandwiches at novel locations always seems to be a good time.
Fun, Free Picnic.
7. Crafting. We live in FL so we are not short of Coconuts to paint. If you live somewhere where pinecones or large rocks inhabit, paint those. If big leaves are all you have to work with, use those. Its innate in children to pick up/collect/borderline hoard things they find in nature every day. If I had a rock for every time Olivia collected a stick…. oh yah, I do… and there are a lot. If you don’t want to buy paint, use what you have. Glue and ripped paper is a great time 🙂
8. READ. People are amazed at Olivia’s vocabulary everywhere we go. I can honestly say that her intelligence is highly attributed to the amount of books we read together. We have read to her at night time since she was a tiny baby. She barely sat still for the longest time. At some point, however, she began to go from “fidgety toddler who barely made it through one story” to “mommy you skipped a page” (I swear I didn’t mean to… ok I did… but now she catches me so I had to stop). If you don’t always remember to read to your child, it’s ok! If you don’t have the time to do it at night, make it. I promise you, the bonding that comes from routine reading time is immeasurable. It is one of our favorite things to do.
Reading to your Kids
Spend time not money.
Visit our website at www.livandleen.com for more parenting tips and tricks, and learn from my mistakes before you make your own.
A special thanks to Rebecca for letting us into your community. It’s always better when we Liv and Leen totegher J
Here are some other ideas for fun stuff to do with your kids: Fun Stuff
PS. Benjamin Bunnie’s Big Adventure is now available in paperback!
Free Kindle ebook version of Benjamin Bunnie’s Big Adventure on Saturday, July 4, 2015 only!
Happy Independence Day!
I watched the nurse serve my then twenty-two-month-old son a purple solution. His body slowly slumped in her arms, and she whisked him to the Operating Room. Fear crept in my head as I waited patiently. I understood hernia surgeries to be common place, however, hospital statistics did nothing to calm my nerves. This is my precious boy; my firstborn.
My husband put his arm around me, “Austin will be fine. He’s in good hands.”
I squeezed him, “I know. I just love our boy so much, and it pains me to see our toddler undergo surgery. I wish I could take his place.”
While I paced, I reflected on my understanding of love. After all, I married my best friend just three short years earlier. I enjoy watching our wedding video. It never fails, a lump forms in my throat each time I see Randy wipe a single tear off my cheek during our nuptials. Yet, this time, the love I felt differed. I ached.
It began two months prior, Randy called me into Austin’s bedroom. “Come here Hon, there’s a bump popping out his stomach when he pushes. Look!”
I gasped, “What’s that?”
“I’m not sure. Pack his bag. We’re taking him to the ER!”
I kept calm as to not scare our little guy, dressed him and rushed to the hospital. Upon our arrival, the staff immediately wheeled him into an examination room. The doctor asked us some routine questions, and pressed on his bulge. He explained, “Austin has a hernia. It’s typical for children his age. I’ll have my nurse schedule a simple surgical procedure repair the hole. The wait is approximately three months out. Don’t worry. We perform over 400 surgeries per year.” What, his intestines are popping out and of his muscle lining and we have to wait three months! He continued, “If the hernia doesn’t retract for some reason, then return for emergency surgery.”
I looked at Randy, “Why doesn’t the parenting handbook cover these issues for first time parents?”
He chuckled and pulled me close, “We’ll learn together.”
Ninety days passed, and his surgery day arrived.
Approximately an hour later, Austin’s surgeon entered the waiting room, “The operation was a success, and Austin is fine.”
Inexplicable joy filled me. I exhaled, “Thank you doctor. When can I see him?”
His nurse escorted me to my son’s recovery room. I glanced at my baby rattling the crib rails with all his might, and jumping up and down. His red, sweaty face screamed, “Mommy! I want my Mommy!” I felt as if someone had opened my chest cavity, and ripped my heart out. I believe Austin waking up in an unfamiliar environment with strange people, tubes taped to him, and the absence of his parents frightened him.
I gathered him in my arms, and held him tight. I sunk into a rocking chair, kissed him, and whispered, “It’s okay Austin. Mommy is here.” He buried his little head between my neck and shoulder, and fell asleep. At that moment, I knew unconditional love. It’s a sacrificial compassion for someone other than me, and it’s even sweeter when reciprocated. As I recount this incident, I’m reminded that Austin’s surgery hurt me more than it did him. I don’t understand why so many boys and girls must undergo hernias, but I’ve certainly developed more awareness and empathy for sick children.
Coincidentally, that same summer my father’s was diagnosed with a similar hernia; only it took my dad six months to heal due to his surgery being more evasive.
On our ride home, I watched Austin slumber, and I realized the bond between a mother and her child is very strong. It’s truly unconditional love! I believe it’s one of life’s beautiful mysteries.
Have you ever experienced Aha moment of unconditional love? If so, I’d love to hear about it.
PS I joined Top 25 Mommy Blogs! If you have enjoyed our blogs, please vote for me by clicking their emblem on my home page. Thank you!
Introducing my new book, Benjamin Bunnie’s Big Adventure! Now available at Amazon.com.
Free Kindle ebook version of I Like Bugs on Sunday, June 21, 2015 only!
Free Kindle ebook version of I Like To Eat Fruit on Saturday, June 13, 2015 only!
The Ultrasound Technicians slowly moved her wand through the warm gel along my lower abdomen. I watched her face desperately searching for a ray of hope. She turned off the equipment, “I’m sorry Mrs. Krusee, but your baby’s heart is no longer beating.” Water filled my eyes, What! This can’t be happening…I’m only five weeks along!
On my ride home, my mind rehearsed the devastating report. I reflected on the fact we married later in life at age 35, had our son Austin at 36, and tried for over a year to conceive this baby at age 39. My heart sunk!
I shared the crushing news with my husband Randy. We cried, knelt at our bedside and prayed for God to heal our broken hearts, and to bless us with another child.
My doctor suggested I rest my body for 30 days before trying again. I did, and to our surprise the following month, we discovered we were pregnant!
Nine months later, we welcomed our precious daughter Alicia.
Recently, a friend taught me the baby following a miscarriage is called a “Rainbow Child.” I like that analogy of something beautiful following a storm, because she definitely fills our lives with color. Also, I have hope and look forward to meeting our baby in Heaven some day.
For those of you who have also suffered the loss of a child or struggle with fertility, I want to extend my sympathy to you. I empathize with your inexplicable pain, and pray you find comfort in the loving arms of God during your difficult time.
Now available in paperback!