“Link2Us” Spring 2022 Magazine ~ and a FABULOUS Instagram Giveaway! (ends 5/14/22)

**this is a sponsored post**

Earlier in March, I had the privilege of reading the Link2Us magazine for the first time. It’s a lovely new lifestyle and faith magazine filled with interesting articles about inspiring people, food, creativity, and faith. FrontGate Media sent me the newest Spring 2022 issue, which I loved. And, I have exciting news to share with you! Link2Us is having an incredible giveaway with a prize pack to swoon over!

About this issue

This issue of Link2Us is fantastic. There are amazing recipes and wonderful fashion photos that take notice that, after a long winter, it is finally spring! (There is one gorgeous salad that I plan to make!)

There are interviews with singer/songwriters Dante Bowe and Brooke Ligertwood, who talk about the paths they’ve taken (and that God has taken them on) to becoming well-known artists. I also appreciated an inspiring article with advice from leaders and innovators (I’ve flagged that page so that I can return to it!).

Link2Us, as always, is very conscious that the people of faith who read the magazine are people of many colors. Their photos and interviews reflect that. For example, in this issue we get to know women who’d identify as different races, and how they made an impact in their own fields.

And! Now I can tell you about this incredible giveaway!

Enter to win the Link2Us Instagram Giveaway!

Two winners will receive this incredible prize pack of goodies!

*The Link2Us logo official Tote bag
*2 free Fandango Movie tickets
*A medley of Maddy & Maize fancy flavored gourmet popcorn
*5 Must reads from the Link2Us Book picks for Spring 22′ + a signed copy of INVISIBLE a new book by author by Grace ji-Sun Kim.
*6 A signed CD copy of “SEVEN.” Brooke Ligertwood’s latest album release.
*7 Four travel size Spring fragrances by Replica, Jo Malone, Marc Jacobs and Victor&Rolf.
*8 A digital download of Dante Bowe’s multi-platinum album “Circles.”
*9 A One year digital subscription to Link2Us Magazine.

How to enter to win

Here’s how you can enter to win this amazing prize pack! First, click on the link below:

Link2Us Magazine Instagram Giveaway

Once you’re on the Link2Us Magazine Instagram Giveaway page, you’ll need to do the following things:

  • Follow the Link2Us Instagram account
  • Tag a friend
  • Post the phrase “I love Spring”
  • Invite your friends to do the same in the comment section

Giveaway closes at 2:00PM EST on Saturday, May 14th, 2022. So get on over there and enter!

Where to find Link2Us

You can find Link2Us at Barnes & Noble and you can also visit the Link2Us website.

Best wishes! –Wren

Disclosure: I received a copy of this magazine from the publisher. All opinions are my own and honest.

Do you want to live “A More Beautiful Life”? ~ then this review is just for you!

#sponsor #partner

I was captivated immediately when I saw the cover and title of Whitney English’s lovely book, A More Beautiful Life. FrontGate Media provided a copy for me to read and I am thrilled to share my experience with this book! Keep reading for more plus information on where you can purchase a copy!

About A More Beautiful Life

Whitney English’s remarkable book is subtitled, “A Simple Five-Step Approach to Living Balanced Goals with HEART.” Her lovely book lives up to its subtitle and its gorgeous cover!

Goal-setting can be so challenging. Most of the models we’re familiar with are the business ones that instruct us to picture where we want to be first, then list the steps that will get us to that place. These models don’t take into consideration the goal-setter’s life circumstances, personal challenges, or family responsibilities. Instead, the achievements in the future are the goal and vision focal points. And not that there is anything wrong with that! But…what about when life happens or intrudes upon this lofty professional vision?

Whitney English has been a woman who’s set and achieved incredible and amazing goals. But she has also experienced the challenges that life threw at her, that broke the plans she’d imagined. Those experiences drew her down the path of creating life goals that are based on what individuals actually NEED; as opposed to what they might want or think they should want when they compare themselves to others. This path enabled Whitney to design the most life-giving, encouraging goal-imagining process. And it’s something that, when we have an off day or some bad experiences, we can reset so simply. The process is is based on the acronym HEART:

  • H – Help Yourself
  • E – Empower Yourself
  • A – All Your People
  • R – Resources and Responsibilities
  • T – Trade and Talent

The book breaks down each part of the process and explains it clearly. Each chapter has not only lists of questions that help the reader determine their current challenges and needs, but also ideas for how to formulate what we need and how we can build these, simply, into our lives. Like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (but in reverse), the reader can establish strength and goals area by area, then move on to the next level of need. And at the end of the book, Whitney gives encouragement and ideas for how to start this process as well as what to do when life intrudes. (As it so often can!) Building on the HEART process or progression, readers can envision and develop–and then, keep returning to–the beautiful life we all want to live. (Even though that’s going to look different for each one of us!)

My thoughts

I can tell you all, I have been a goal-setter from the first time I heard about the concept! I embraced goal-setting quite eagerly and enthusiastically. But while I’ve enjoyed some lovely successes, I’ve also encountered LIFE — not only in its wonder and unexpectedness but also with roadblocks, health issues that sidelined me, and relationship issues that my hopeful rose-colored glasses weren’t prepared to solve. So what happened then, with my goals? In those moments they fell to the wayside.

Whitney English’s HEART process is SO different. First of all, it doesn’t start with the lofty goals that are built on (perhaps) what the media promotes. Instead, it starts with what I, Wren, need TODAY. And every day. I love that HEART’s first process is what my own body needs. I’ll give you a spoiler: it needs water, nutrition, movement, and sleep. Now, I don’t know about you, but that has, in my adult life, generally been the last thing I focused on. Instead, I was serving! Doing! But not really taking care of myself. And I will tell you, that caught up to me in a harsh way. Whitney’s HEART starts with “helping ourselves” because that’s what provides the strength and grace for us to do the next things we “need” to do: taking care of our emotional/mental/spiritual needs; then our needs of belonging, love, acceptance (a.k.a., our families, relationships, friendships); then, caring for our home, vehicles, and finances; and last, our careers, ambitions, and desired accomplishments. That makes SO much sense to me. Instead of starting with “careers” first, and toward “self-care” last, we start with caring for our own human bodies (the only ones we’ll have on this earth). And then we can move forward in our life goals.

I loved reading every single page of this book. It was so physically lovely that I didn’t want to write in it at first. (That lasted as long as the introduction!) I changed my mind very quickly as I read and saw so many concepts I needed. I highlighted, wrote, flagged, and stuck Post-It notes with ideas on so many pages. And, encouraged by Whitney’s closing remarks, I’m going to be working through A More Beautiful Life again; but starting small. Maybe I’ll work first on drinking more water. Then maybe I’ll work on nighttime routines (turns out adults can benefit from those as well!) Then movement. And if I mess up, I can simply reset by going back to what I have done and adding again to that. I’ll be able to keep moving ahead, but in ways that will stick, because I’ll be caring for first things first.

It is a beautiful process. A simple one–and such a life-giving one. I want to continue to create a beautiful life. Whitney English’s book is going to help me do it!

Where you can buy A More Beautiful Life

You can purchase this book on Amazon at the link below. I so encourage you to consider this book! It really can enable us to live that beautiful life of our hopes and dreams.

Buy A More Beautiful Life here

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from FrontGate Media. All opinions expressed here are my own.

“Cake” Cookbook & Cupcake Stickers Giveaway! (CLOSED)

**CONGRATULATIONS to Kathy K, the “Cake” winner!**

Hi everyone!

It’s May! And I have a charming giveaway for you…plus I’m joining in the Come What May Giveaway Hop, hosted by MamatheFox, along with lots of other cool bloggers. Keep reading for more info on how to enter all the giveaways!

To visit the Come What May Giveaway Hop page, where you’ll find all the giveaways, just click on the blue InLinkz button below (the one with the frog on it). That will take you to the hop’s home page, and you’ll be able to visit all the giveaway blogs, and enter them!

And now, for the FINCHNWREN giveaway!

I’m giving away this darling book, Cake, which is a beautifully illustrated book of delightful food stories combined with cake recipes. It is just a joy to read; the recipes are fun and the drawings are vivid and gorgeous.

I’m also giving away the 12-pack of cupcake stickers, pictured in the banner! Can you see the shadow around the cupcakes? They’re centered on top of sticky squares so you get a bit of a shadowed/elevated effect.

How to enter the FINCHNWREN giveaway

To enter, just click on the “Enter here!” link below. That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you’ll be able to enter to win in a variety of ways. Giveaway closes 5/15/21. One winner will be selected to win both the Cake cookbook and the cupcake stickers. Best wishes!

Enter here!

Enjoy! –Wren

Disclosure:

MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

Motivated Moms–the best home organization app and program (plus sale, thru 1/9/21!)

#affiliate

Are you a natural home organizer and keeper? Or are you like me, someone who struggles with staying on top of all the chores that needed to be completed to keep a home orderly and beautiful?

I can happily tell you the tool which enables me to do this! Motivated Moms is a home organization tool that’s available in both app form (iOS) and print form. It is simply the best home and chore organization and schedule program I have ever used. It’s readily available to be used by all members of the family. Best yet, it’s on sale now through January 9, 2021, at Motivated Moms!

 

How Motivated Moms works

Motivated Moms has an incredible set of printables with a calendared plan for EACH DAY OF THE YEAR with chores and home keeping tasks. These are also available in the iOS app, if you’re someone who works better with a digital calendar. I am a paper to-do list person myself, so I take advantage of the printables. When you purchase your membership, you have access to 38 different types of printables in a variety of formats (in your choice of b&w or color), such as:

  • Full Size Color Tasks List
  • Half Size Black and White Tasks List
  • Menu Planners
  • Appointments List
  • Clean My House Tasks List
  • Tasks List/Daily Appointments/Planner pages

There really is something for everyone, and these are fantastic for families and individuals alike.

There is also a fantastic “Getting Started Guide” to use so that you don’t get overwhelmed starting out on this new plan. Ideally, the Motivated Moms lists enable users to begin to build habits of homekeeping over time so that, in the end, homes become peaceful, orderly, and clean. The whole family can join in as well, and these sheets are fantastic for teaching children how to do home chores.

Once you purchase your membership, you select which type of printables you’d like to work with. (You can view them before you download.) Next, you’ll save it to your computer. Then, print! If you’re just starting out, I recommend the “Getting Started Guide” so that you can begin your home keeping journey in an easy and stress-free manner. Once you’ve got a few of the tasks mastered, you can add more each week. As you do so, you’ll be building your home keeping routine (for yourself or your family). It truly is the easiest home keeping plan I’ve ever used. We love it!

 

 

My favorite Motivated Moms pages

I love using the Full Size Color pages which start on Sunday. They contain a daily list with check-off boxes on the left side of the page (in portrait format) and then, lists of tasks to complete on each day of the week, from Sunday to Saturday. I’ve used these for some time and they just fit with the way I see and organize tasks the best. They’re easy to print out and save in a binder or folder. I prefer to keep a stack of the pages (6-8 weeks’ worth) on a clipboard. Then I leave the clipboard out in a high-traffic area of our home, and we can view and select chores to do at different times of the day.

The “Daily Chores” section on the side never changes. But the chores rotate through on the right-hand, weekly side of the list. You’ll begin to recognize the difference between chores. For example, you won’t need to change your furnace filters weekly, so that won’t be on the list regularly. Other chores that you need to do monthly or quarterly will show up during those times, such as cleaning various shelves of the refrigerator or vacuuming the baseboards. Others, that you’ll do more regularly, will show up weekly.

 

How to purchase and what you’ll save now during the January Motivated Moms sale!

Normally, a year’s subscription to Motivated Moms is $19.99. This gives you access to 38 different types of cleaning/home care/appointment pages with a calendar year’s worth of weekly and daily plans!

During this sale, however, the code 5CLEAN will take $5 off your membership costs, making your subscription only $14.99. It is an incredible deal.

If you’re an Apple user and think you’d prefer the iOS version, click on Motivated Moms app, for the discounted digital version of this wonderful tool. You can use the same code, 5CLEAN, for the discount, but you’ll have to use it via this link for the discount rather than through the App Store.

Click over to Motivated Moms and check out this sale. Remember, it ends on January 9, 2021. I love my Motivated Moms home planner, and I truly believe you will as well!

Motivated Moms is also offering a freebie in 2021. When you sign up for Motivated Moms Free, you can get a different version of the Motivated Moms planner free! Now you can get the January and February planners free by clicking on Motivated Moms Free. Cool way to see all the amazing tools and tips I’ve been telling you about!

 

Enjoy! –Wren

 

DISCLOSURE:

In accordance with FTC regulations, we are providing this Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in our posts are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we may receive an affiliate commission, which will never cost you anything. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will add value to our readers.

From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog.  We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews.  We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products.  We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

“Stepparenting with Grace” Book Launch & Giveaway (Ends 8/20/18)

Are you a stepparent?  Or, if not, did you perhaps grow up in a blended family?

If you can answer “yes” to either of those questions, you’ll be interested in this brand-new book, Stepparenting with Grace:  A Devotional for Blended Families” by Gayla Grace.  I am privileged to have been able to serve on the launch team for this devotional.  I’d love to share more about Stepparenting with Grace with you…and I even have a copy to give away to one special reader!  (Giveaway details will be at the end of the post.)

 

 

So what is Stepparenting with Grace?

Stepparenting with Grace is a book born out of both the experiences and the ministry of Gayla Grace.  She cofounded a nonprofit, Sisterhood of Stepmoms, to provide community and retreat opportunities for stepmothers.  She founded the website Stepparenting with Grace ten years ago to support stepfamilies with coaching, encouragement, and other resources.  She also has completed a master’s in psychology and counseling.  And as a writer, she brings all these experiences to the reader in a voice that is at once practical, supportive, and hopeful from a Christian perspective.

The book itself is a collection of 90 different two-page devotionals on a wide variety of topics that speak to stepparents.  Each one includes a Thought for the Day, then an exploration of a topic or life experiences.  Gayla uses clear thinking, wisdom, Scripture, and sound counseling techniques to convey hope and practical helps to stepparents who are struggling with all the different challenges of combining two families into one.  The reader can either start at the beginning and read right through, or browse through the titles listed in the table of contents for topical help.  Here are some examples of what you’ll find there:

  • Live Fearlessly
  • Your Efforts Matter!
  • Let God Heal Your Hurt
  • Change Requires Adjustment
  • Maturity Required
  • Trusting God
  • The Price of Forgiveness
  • Coping with Difficult People
  • and more!

Topics that I haven’t seen addressed much in books (other than fiction, maybe) are lovingly unpacked and explored, with calm confidence and grace.  Each entry is short yet full of worthwhile material, so the reader who’s short on time won’t ever feel overwhelmed.

 

What I thought of Stepparenting with Grace

 

I am not personally a stepparent.  Yet, I did grow up as a stepchild or, to be more specific, a stepdaughter.  Combining two families to attempt to create one new family is just a whole different, and often difficult, proposition.  But how can a stepparent approach this enormous challenge with grace, with love, and with wisdom?  We’re all working out the issues of life as we journey along, and many different things shape us as individuals, including the families we grew up in.  So, when I received the opportunity to serve on the launch team for Stepparenting with Grace, my attention and my heart were captivated.  And I can’t tell you how very thankful I am to have had the opportunity to read this book.

 

 

I decided to begin at the beginning of the book and simply read through, as part of my quiet time in the mornings.  It has been a wonderful experience.  Some mornings I did the book version of binge watching and just read chapters upon chapters, one after the other.  Other days, I’d just focus on one.  I have to tell you, the words were just so rich, often so healing, and they spoke to me on a profound level.  I looked forward to reading it each time, and I always came away with something to think about, or something to put into practice.  Other times, I found something that deeply encouraged me.  In fact, I recopied many quotes or passages in my journal so that I could refer to them again and again.  Here are some ideas that particularly resounded with me:

  • “If you’re trudging through difficult days in your stepfamily, don’t give up.  Rely on God’s strength and power to sustain you—He will see you through to better days ahead.”
  • “Accept God’s unconditional love and move past your failure.”
  • “Allow His presence to heal your hurt.  And remind yourself of the magnitude of His love every day.”
  • “We’ll find contentment when we stop focusing on our expectations and trust God to give us strength for our present reality.”
  • “But God provides the tools we need for a sure and steady walk.  “The secret,” Elisabeth Elliott says, “is Christ in me—not me in a different set of circumstances.””

 

 

Sometimes as parents…and, I’d imagine, as stepparents as well, we desperately need someone wise to speak into our circumstances.  To tell us, “Yes, you’re doing this well.”  Or, “Have you considered trying this instead?”  Or simply, “I see you.  God sees you.  And He is with you and you will get through this.”  Gayla Grace, in Stepparenting with Grace, can do that for you.  Her words of wisdom are calm and kind, yet possess the kind of depth that only a person who’s been through the struggles—and come out successfully on the other side—can bring.  As a Christian, she also is convinced of God’s partnership for us as we parent.  I appreciate that as well.

I can, and do, recommend this book wholeheartedly to any stepparent who’s looking for a devotional to help them along on their stepfamily’s journey.  (And obviously, these ideas will resound with any parent, I’d believe, as they have with me!)  Check out Gayla Grace’s Stepparenting with Grace.  You will be lifted up and encouraged as you read her wise counsel.

 

And now, your opportunity to win your own copy!

I’m so pleased that Worthy Publishing is providing a copy of Stepparenting with Grace for one FINCHNWREN reader to win.  Simply click on the pink link below that says, “Enter here.”  That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form, where you’ll be able to enter in a variety of ways.  Giveaway closes 8/20/18.  Best wishes!

Enter here!

 

 

Enjoy!  –Wren

 

Disclosure:  From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinions, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations

A Stress Relief Set Giveaway for the End of the School Year! (Ends 5/23/17)

Good morning, friends!

I can’t tell you how happy we are that it’s May.  NOT that we don’t love the school year.  But we also love finishing a school year, checking off our to-do lists, and (we’re hoping) taking a bit of a break!  This week is pretty full for us.  We have Teacher Appreciation Week at our coop (which we adore celebrating) and I’m preparing my students’ art display for the semester Art Show.  Plus regular school, plus regular coop, plus some other things…so I think it’s the perfect time for a giveaway that helps with stress relief!

 

 

I do love popping into Bath & Body Works every now and then to enjoy their newest scents in lotions, candles, and body spray.  This week, the finchnwren blog is giving away Bath & Body Works’ aromatherapy duo, Stress Relief.  It’s a eucalyptus spearmint set powered by essential oils.  This set contains a full-sized Body Lotion and Body Wash/Foam Bath.

We’ll be blessing one special reader with this set!

 

To enter:

Simply click on the pink “Enter here!” link below.  That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form where you’ll have several different ways to enter.  One winner will be selected to win, and giveaway closes on May 23, 2017.

 

Enter here!

 

Best wishes!

Enjoy!  –Wren

My amazing Old Navy deals!

I got SUCH deals the other day!

 

 

And I was so excited about them.  I had to share them with you!

 

So, the story:

…was that I had to return a baseball shirt that I’d gotten Jackson that was too small for him.  While he and hubs did some shopping at a tech store, they dropped me off at Old Navy to do the return.

And of COURSE I did a little browsing after I’d returned the shirt, since they weren’t back yet….

Plus, I had a $10 off coupon.

 

And the deals!

Everything in the picture above was already on sale…some for gasp-worthy prices.  And after they applied my coupon, here’s the listing of what I spent:

  • Leopard cardigan sweater:  $5.82
  • Flannel pajama pants:  $2.70
  • Leopard fleece infinity scarf:  $0.77
  • 3-pack ankle socks:  $1.94
  • Stevie camel sueded pants:  $4.25

And my grand total:  $15.48!  (Clearly there is a kitty theme going on here, I realize that!)

 

Finch’s and my mom is usually the one who finds deals like this.  But this was so exciting, I had to share them with you!

Have a great weekend, friends.

Enjoy!  –Wren

The Family Honor Plate…A Fun New Way to Connect with Your Family (A Review)

Are you looking for enjoyable, meaningful ways to connect with your children and family…in a manner that will impact them positively?  I know that family life can get so busy with life, school, activities, and chores that chances to connect on a deeper, personal level can sweep by.  FlyBy/Propeller Promotions and the Family Honor Plate company were kind enough to send us the Family Honor Plate and Table Thyme Discussion Cards to review.  We’ve had a wonderful experience using these…and they truly have provided some neat new ways for our family to connect with each other!

 

 

The Family Honor Plate…

was created by Michelle Weber.  As a mom herself, she realized that she wanted to focus on blessing her family and modeling a positive attitude and spirit with her children.  She developed the Family Honor Plate and the Table Thyme Discussion Cards to provide opportunities and jumping-off points for moms and dads to use with their children…to recognize them, encourage them, and talk about topics and ideas that might not come up in normal conversation but are keys to understanding our kids and how they think and feel.  First, the plate is a cool craft that parents and kids can create and design together.  Then, both the plate and discussion cards (more on those in a bit!) can be used at meals in ways that will bless the whole family.

Weber’s thought process on developing this neat family activity is threefold:

  1.  That Mom and Dad are the examples their children follow and we’re to be their role models
  2.  We can notice when your kids and spouse do amazing things, and link them back to great character traits
  3.  Third, that we can celebrate them by serving a meal on the Family Honor Plate.  And we don’t just stop there, we can use the moments to talk about why their behavior was amazing and how it made others feel.

 

What we received…

was everything we needed to decorate and make our own Family Honor Plate.  The kit includes:

  • A white Family Honor Plate, which has the fruit of the Spirit qualities printed around the inside rim (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control)
  • A paint palette to mix colors on
  • A plate stand for displaying the plate in a special place in the home
  • 3 paintbrushes (and they’re wonderful, high-quality ones)
  • A paint set of 8 colors to decorate and personalize the plate
  • Simple instructions to follow
  • We also received the Table Thyme Discussion Cards, which are set up like a perpetual calendar and provide an interesting conversation starter on each page

 

Creating our own family plate

Jackson and I love doing art together.  Yet as he has gotten older–in high school–it seems like we have more to do in homeschool and less time for art in a day’s work!  So we both really valued and appreciated the opportunity to a) paint together and b) create such a wonderful tool that we can use as a family in our home.  We selected a design (you could paint ANYthing, really, but we chose one that was pictured in the company photos) and began to paint.

The paint colors are rich and the plate itself is a great canvas for them.  The paintbrushes are soft and apply color beautifully.  They were so fun to paint with!  And when we were finished painting, we followed the instructions to bake the plate in a conventional oven to set the paint.  It worked perfectly.  I’m hand-washing the plate just to keep the paint on and the plate in stellar condition, but the paint seems perfectly applied and set.

 

 

 

Table Thyme Discussion Cards

I’m sure we’ve all read the statistics on how good it is for families to eat dinner (and/or other meals) together on a regular basis.  Here are some of the reasons that underline how important meals together can be.  Children and teens who eat together with their parents are more likely to:

  • Eat more healthily overall
  • Be less likely to skip school (yes, there really is a meals together/truancy connection!)
  • Have higher GPAs
  • Have better vocabularies (really!)
  • Helps kids (both younger and older) feel closer to their family
  • and more!

 

Both the Family Honor Plate and the Table Thyme Discussion Cards can provide more ways for parents and kids to connect with each other at mealtimes.  Using the plate to recognize and honor different family members is one way.  But what if you’re looking for some interesting conversation starters?  Table Thyme to the rescue!

This perpetual calendar-ish set of cards (meaning that you can flip the cards over one at a time and get tons of ideas for questions to ask your kids…then flip the whole set over and start again) has questions that are fun, meaningful, and guaranteed to generate interesting conversations.  Here are just a few of the 170+ questions or directions you’ll find there:

  • Look at someone at the table and say something nice about them.
  • Describe a time when you were scared.
  • What is something that made you laugh recently?  Why?
  • If you could create your dream pet, what would it be like?

Tons of great–and sometimes deep–conversation starters!

Using the plate and the cards at mealtimes

We had an opportunity right away to use our plate to bless and encourage a member of our family.  Our son, Jackson, just had his wisdom teeth out so as you can imagine, his mouth is on the sore and swollen side just a couple of days after surgery.  So here is a shot of his breakfast this morning on the Family Honor Plate; poached eggs (nice and soft!).  He isn’t feeling great overall but loved having his breakfast on this special plate.

 

 

But, you don’t have to wait to use the plate for someone who’s ill or just had surgery!  Pull the plate out when someone has done something amazing that you want to recognize.  Or has exemplified some excellent character qualities or done something kind, or is living out the fruit of the Spirit that is written on the center of the Family Honor Plate.

Using the discussion cards are interesting, fun, and just plain wonderful.  Imagine the creativity that could be initiated from these—or learning cool stuff about your kiddos that they didn’t know!  We’re big storytellers in our house, meaning that we love to share details about favorite experiences.  Honestly, though, there were so many questions in Table Thyme that I’d never even thought of asking my child.  And I was captivated to discover his (and my husband’s) answers!

Some of the interesting questions we discussed recently were, 1) Which of your friends are you the most grateful for? and 2) Which Halloween costume that you’ve worn over the years was your favorite?  I loved hearing Jackson’s answers and thoughts on that.  (I can only remember a couple of my own childhood costumes!)

 

So who would enjoy the Family Honor Plate?

And the Table Thyme Discussion Cards?  People who’d like to…

  • bless their kids
  • hear more about their thoughts and ideas
  • create fun mealtimes
  • model great character qualities
  • help their families get even closer

If any of these sounds amazing to you, visit Family Honor Plate and learn more!

Enjoy!  –Wren

Social Corner for Family Honor Plate

Family Honor Plate website

More about Michelle, owner of the Family Honor Plate

Buy the Family Honor Plate kit here

 

 

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this product.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 

Brand New Magic Stix & Kwik Stix to Up Your Art Game! (And Giveaway!)

We have been fans of The Pencil Grip, Inc. for several years, ever since we tried out their amazing Kwik Stix tempera paint sticks. So when we discovered that they’d created a brand new marker–the Magic Stix–we couldn’t wait to get our hands on it! The Pencil Grip, Inc. sent us a set of the Magic Stix 12PK and the Kwik Stix Metalix 6PK to review and share with you. (Plus at the end of the post, you’ll find a giveaway to enter to win your own Kwik Stix Metalix 6PK!)

 

 

What are Kwik Stix?

Kwik Stix are amazing little tempera paint sticks that work a lot like glue sticks.  They are in a plastic capped container and you can roll the paint sticks up and down.  The colors are vivid and marvelous and work on tons of different media; everything from canvas, to paper, to cardboard, to wood, to rocks, and more…just pick an art surface and the Kwik Stix will probably work beautifully on it!

Kwik Stix are ideal for any artist (whether child or adult) and are safe for little ones aged 3 and up.  The tempera paint sticks are non-toxic, dry in 90 seconds (no more getting paint on the side of your hand as you work on your art!), and there is no need for water cups or paintbrushes (or paint shirts).  They’re even ideal for travel since they are so mess-free.  All you need are Kwik Stix and paper!

The Kwik Stix originally came in chubby 3 1/2″ long tubes (and they still do), 3/4″ wide.  Later, The Pencil Grip, Inc. developed Thin Stix, which are basically the same tempera paint sticks in a longer and thinner version (5 1/2″ long and 1/2″ wide).  We love both of these.  The Kwik Stix are available in assorted colors as well as in Neon and Metalix color palettes.  (You can see the Metalix paint sticks that The Pencil Grip, Inc. sent us to try out above!)

They are just a joy to work with.  They impart gorgeous, vivid colors, they are absolutely mess-free, and they don’t have any odor at all!  We have used them in fine art, in fun art, in free drawing, and we come back to our Kwik Stix collection over and over again because of the ease, enjoyment, and results of these amazing paint sticks.

 

What are Magic Stix?

The Pencil Grip, Inc. has created some fabulous new products for people who love to make art.  Now, they’ve introduced their own beautiful color markers, which come in 12- and 24-packs.  The 12-pack we received contained the following colors; red, orange, pink, yellow, light green, green, dark blue, light blue, violet, purple, brown, and black.  They’re housed in a sturdy, clear plastic slipcase.  And have you ever had a marker dry out because someone forgot to put the cap back on?  You’ll never have that problem again with Magic Stix 12PK…because they are guaranteed NOT to dry out for up to 7 days with the cap off!  Isn’t that amazing?  Like their Kwik Stix cousins, they’re also non-toxic and have no odor.  They’re also washable, so you don’t have to worry about colors not washing out of clothes.

 

All the art we did with them!

And now…the fun with Kwik Stix!

We already knew that we’d be able to use our Kwik Stix paint sticks for fine art, art journals and Bible journaling, and art study in our homeschool.  But, with the holidays approaching, we thought we’d also try them out on Christmas ornaments and decorations.

First, Jackson painted a Christmas ornament with the Kwik Stix Metalix blue stick.  You can see it has sort of a “Starry Night” feel to it.  That would be an incredible art lesson, by the way; reproducing famous artworks on Christmas ornaments.  The ornament took the paint well, but we recommend that if you try  this project at home that you use either ceramic, glass, or plastic ornaments that are designed for painting.

 

I found some darling wooden wall hangings at Hobby Lobby and painted them fun girly colors (for the girly corner of my husband’s and my bedroom).  The Kwik Stix Metalix laid down beautifully on the wood; I started with the Metalix fuschia polka dots, then used our older (yet still amazing) Neon green for the background.

 

I used the Metalix fuschia again for “Blessed” and the Metalix gold for “Thankful.” I love the finished product!

 

 

Last, we found some fun ceramic snowman ornaments.

 

 

We colored one with the Metalix blue with a silver overlay (choosing Hanukkah theme colors), and used the regular Kwik Stix colors on the other.  Both the Kwik Stix Metalix 6PK and the Magic Stix applied nicely onto the ornaments, but we decided to go with the Kwik Stix.  They go on so smoothly, they’re just a pleasure to use!

 

And…the brand-new Magic Stix!

Jackson and I LOVE the Magic Stix.  They produce great color on lots of different materials.  Just like their Kwik Stix cousins, the Magic Stix apply beautifully on canvas.  Jackson used them on canvas to paint one of his all-time faves; the LEGO Minifigure.

 

Are you, or your kiddos, people who like to color?  I personally love the adult coloring books that are so popular right now.  I have several, including a Pusheen Coloring Book that has huge, full drawings to color in.  Look how vivid and colorful everything looks with the Magic Stix!

 

 

Jackson and I also decided to try out the Magic Stix on serving plates.  Have you ever made or painted a plate or serving tray?  It is so easy to do.  We simply got some white plates at the dollar store.  Jackson used one to paint the logo of one of his favorite games:

 

Together, he and I free-handed a Hanukkiah (Hanukkah menorah) on a second plate.  We baked both of these in the oven to set the paint and it worked beautifully!  Just be aware that the vivid colors do lighten up a bit, so if you want darker colors you might want to go over them a second time.

 

 

So…what ideas do YOU have to create with Kwik Stix Metalix 6PK and Magic Stix?  They are just amazing.  If you’ve never tried them before, we so recommend them.  Non-toxic, beautiful colors, easy to apply…and wonderfully safe for kids 3 and up.  You’ll run out of Kwik Stix before you run out of ideas of art projects with them!

 

You could even win a set!

The Pencil Grip, Inc. is going to bless one of our readers with a set of Kwik Stix Metalix 6PK paint sticks!  All you have to do is click on the pink “Enter Here” link below.  That will take you to the Giveaway Tools entry form.  Giveaway closes on December 10, 2017.  Best wishes!

Enter here!

 

Enjoy!  –Wren

 

DISCLAIMER:  From time to time, finchnwren may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

 

Traceables for Bible Journaling…from Kelly O’Dell Stanley

Y’all might remember that I am a fan of both the creativity of Bible journaling and Kelly O’Dell Stanley’s fabulous Designed to Pray prayer journal.  (You can see my review of Designed to Pray by clicking on the book title.)

 

 

I do love Bible journaling.  In fact, as you can see in the image above, I actually even have a Bible journal with extra-wide margins made just for drawing, painting, and journaling.

Sometimes, though, I have a hard time coming up with what to do with those journals.  Sometimes the creativity is brimming over and sometimes the well is dry.

However, my favorite author on prayer, Kelly O’Dell Stanley (see my Designed to Pray review *smiley face*), published a really neat printable on her blog to jump-start Bible journaling creativity.  And it’s free for anyone to download at Kelly O’Dell Stanley.

Here’s just a sampling of three cool pages you can get:

With these, you just place the rectangle underneath your page in your journaling Bible, trace, and then you color or paint!  So fun–and they’re all Bible truths straight from God’s Word.  Paired with lovely images!

You can get these free from Kelly O’Dell Stanley’s blog.  Just click on Free Bible Journal Traceables to print or download your own.

Enjoy!  –Wren