21 Things To Do This Summer

  1. Go to the pool.
  2. Go on a picnic.
  3. Go to the park.
  4. Go to a library class.
  5. Play in the sprinklers.
  6. Read together. (Join the summer reading programs at your library.)
  7. Go out for ice-cream.
  8. Have popsicles.
  9. Have a water balloon fight.
  10. Go on a bike ride.
  11. Take a hike.
  12. Have a day at the lake.
  13. Go to the zoo.
  14. Go to a splash pad, or a water park.
  15. Look at the stars together at night.
  16. Go for a walk.
  17. Catch fireflies.
  18. Have a BBQ.
  19. Play in the rain.
  20. Play a game together. (basketball, football, foursquare, hopscotch, soccer, race)
  21. Make a lemonade stand.

25 Ways To Encourage A New Mom

So many of my friends are having babies! And there are even more coming. Today I thought it would be fun to share 25 ways to support and encourage new mommies. I remember how blessed I was when I had Elias and Owen, and would love for more people to feel the same kind of  encouragement.

25 Ways To Encourage A New Mom

  1. Take her a meal.  
  2. Listen to her.
  3. Don’t compare her kids to others.
  4. Fold her laundry.
  5. Tell her what a  great mom she is.
  6. Don’t act like she should have all of the answers. Remind her that where she is weak, Jesus is strong.
  7. Support her in following her husband’s leadership. Each man has different ways of leading his family.
  8. If you feel the need to ask about how much sleep she had last night… ask something like: “Did you get more than a minute of sleep last night?” This will make her feel better about the fact that she only got twenty minutes of sleep all night long.
  9. Babysit for her. Let her take a nap or have a few minutes to shower alone.
  10. Clean her house. Put the dishes away. Vacuum. etc..
  11. Bring her a fun little surprise. Coffee, cupcakes, cookies, candy…what does she like? Bring it to her.
  12. Promise her that she will be able to go to the movies again one day.
  13. Tell her how great she looks for having just had a baby.
  14. Leave when the baby goes down for a nap. She needs a nap too.
  15. Bring a gift for her and the baby.
  16. Promise her that she will get out of the house.
  17. Promise her that she will sleep again.
  18. Don’t tell your stories about how your baby was the perfect sleeper, never fussed, and always cuddled.
  19. Only visit when it is convenient for Momma and baby.
  20. Send her a little card of encouragement.
  21. Call and ask if she needs anything from the store.
  22. Pray for her.
  23. Don’t expect her to fulfil her normal social obligations. She needs a little time to adjust to her new life with a baby.
  24. Make yourself available for her to ask you questions.
  25. Tell her that she is the perfect mother for this baby! God has fully equipped her to care for this little one.  

Plan Your Summer

I’m so excited about summer! I keep thinking about popsicles, playing in the pool, and enjoying the sun with my kiddos.

My parenting idea for today is: Plan Your Summer.

I don’t want to wait until everybody is home to start thinking about how we are going to spend our summer. I want to prepare for them now. I want to schedule fun things for them! I love how God has gone to prepare a place for us. And on a way smaller scale, I want to prepare for my boys. If you’d like to join me in looking ahead a little, I bet you’ll have a fun summer while accomplishing the goals that need to get done.

*Here is how I plan my summer:

1. First, I look at the big picture. In order to schedule our vacations, and bigger trips, I have to look at my summer as a whole. A few of our trips take up whole weeks, so we’ll want to get that on the calender first.

2. Next I schedule my celebrations. This could be holidays, birthdays, weddings, baby showers, fun family days, etc… It is important for me to plan our family day trips, visits to the zoo, etc..in advance to make sure they actually happen.

3. Then, I schedule my weekly activities. For instance church on sunday, friends come over every friday, etc…

4, Finally I look at each day. With Mark taking a few seminary classes, he needs to be able to get his reading done, the boys need a nap, and dinner always needs to be on the table. By looking at each day I make sure the little things get done.

By starting with the big picture, I make sure we have a few weeks marked out for vacation. Then by looking at each month, I ensure that we’ll be ready for our holidays and celebrations. Lastly by looking at each week and individual day, I make sure the necessary, work, fun, and activities are in place.

Enjoy your summer! Remember to take a few days off and get some rest. Enjoy your vacations, and time with family!



*How I schedule my summer was inspired by Heather’s article.

*Photo taken by Aimee Gilleran.

Ball Pit Fun And A Link Up Party

Today I want share how to make your own ball pit. All you need is a pack.n.play and some balls. It is so easy to make, and it will entertain the little guys for a long time. If you don’t have balls, you can buy them at Wal-Mart for really cheap.

We set up the pack.n.play.

We gathered all of the balls.

And it was time to play. Owen looked like he was swimming in balls.

 Elias joined in on the fun!

This is how he felt about the ball pit. I love that smile.

At one point Elias asked to get in the pack.n.play with Owen so I let him. He then proceeded to stick balls in Owen’s mouth. Of course Owen thought that was hilarious. Here is a little video.

And there you have it- a quick, easy, and fun activity.


A Spoonful Of Insight Link Up Party
The goal of this link up party is to have a place where people can come each week and simply link back to posts with different parenting stories, tips, ideas, or encouragement.
  • Please link up to your specific blog post, not to your blog’s main page.
  • Make this an interactive link up party by visiting a few other blogs while you’re here. Don’t forget to comment on other people’s blogs. : )
  • I’d love it if you would Grab a button from the sidebar or link back to this post so that your blog readers can come and join the fun, too!
  • Thanks for stopping by!


A Call

I love to write about parenting, because I am right in the middle of it. With two small boys, I am in the thick of learning how to parent. And God is faithfully teaching me.

Today’s parenting tip: Pray for your children.

So often it is easy for me to simply teach my boys to be good, a.k.a. morality. However, parenting is not just about having morally reformed children with good manners. Our parenting is meant to lead our children to be transformed by Jesus. Parenting is about ushering our children to the feet of Jesus, because He is the only one who can take their cold, hard heart and make them soft. Jesus is the only one who can appropriately deal with their sin.

Fitzpatrick and Thompson in their book, Give Them Grace, agree, “instead of transmitting the gloriously liberating and life-changing truths of the gospel, we have taught our children that what God wants from them is their morality. We have told them that being good (at least outwardly) is the be-all and end-all of their faith. This isn’t the gospel” (19).

If morality isn’t the Gospel, what is the Gospel?

The gospel is basically God glorifying himself by looking down through the hallways of time, and deciding to love his people. At just the right time, Jesus was sent down from the Father to become a human just like you and me. As a baby, Jesus entered the world, and then grew up to be a man. It was thirty years before Jesus stepped into ministry, and began to show people that He was God. Soon He did miracles, healed people, and taught the people. He showed people their sin and need for God. He instructed them on what God required.

As He taught, Jesus claimed to be God and because He did this, the religious leaders of his day sought to kill him. And in the end they sentenced him to death even though he had done nothing wrong. Jesus was put on trial. He was beaten, scorned and then disgracefully executed. Unjustly they killed him.

As Jesus hung on the cross all hope seemed lost, but what people didn’t know was that this was God’s plan. Even though it looked like Jesus had failed, God was accomplishing salvation for mankind.

Shortly after his death, Jesus bloodied and beaten body was laid in a tomb. For three days his body remained there. But on the third day as people came to care for his remains, they found that God was not dead. He had risen. He was alive. And after forty days, in physical form, Jesus was taken up into heaven. He told his followers he would come back in the same way that he had left.

In order to present the Gospel to our children we must know that they “need more significant help than you or any other merely human person could ever supply” (195). But this knowledge should not leave us hopeless, because Jesus is the person who can supply every need that they have. This is the Gospel.

Romans 5:6-8 says, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die– but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Christ died for us. He can transform us.

We are saved when we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Rom. 10:9-13).

Knowing the Gospel will launch us into prayer as parents, because we cannot do this for our children. Only Jesus can save our children. Here is a call to pray. I am so encouraged by James. He says, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (5:16b).

Pray parents. God is faithful.

He is the one who can accomplish salvation for your child.


A Spoonful Of Insight Link Up Party
The goal of this link up party is to have a place where people can come each week and simply link back to posts with different parenting stories, tips, ideas, or encouragement.
  • Please link up to your specific blog post, not to your blog’s main page.
  • Make this an interactive link up party by visiting a few other blogs while you’re here. Don’t forget to comment on other people’s blogs. : )
  • Grab a button from the sidebar or link back to this post so that your blog readers can come and join the fun, too!
  • Thanks for stopping by!


Fruit Loop Necklace

Today I thought I would share a fun little snack Elias had- a Fruit Loop Necklace. It is so easy to make! All you have to do is gather your supplies (string, scissors, and cereal), then cut the string to your desired length. Have your child string the cereal into a necklace. And then let your child wear their fun necklace and eat it. It is so simple yet so fun!

I hope this makes for a fun snack time at your house. I know when we did it Elias was one happy boy.

Baby Baker Love

Today I want to introduce you to a new blog friend of mine- Mrs. Baker. No, I did not write my own guest post. This is a different Mrs. Baker. She is a new mom to a precious little boy. I have asked her to share a little bit about her blog and what it is really like being a new mommy. I hope you are encouraged by her blog, and enjoy meeting a new friend.

Hello Pencilled Daydream-ers!

Mrs. Baker here from Baby Baker Love!

I’m a new mommy to the coolest little guy on the planet! Am I biased?…nah! I started my blog while I was pregnant with my baby boy and have had so much fun chronicling our life events and the craziness that is motherhood! I’m usually blogging about new mommy mishaps and such, but I like to throw in other random ramblings. Here’s a sneak peek into a day in the life of a new mommy:

4:53 a.m. my little arm clock, aka baby Ry, sounds that it’s time to eat. I groggily sit up in bed and prop myself up on the pillows while Mr. Baker brings the little man to me where I’ll spend the next 20 minutes or so trying to keep my eyes open while Ry eats to his heart’s content. I then change baby boy’s diaper and am back in bed by 5:30 a.m.

8:51 a.m. my tiny human alarm clock sounds again, “Rise and shine-you look beautiful momma! I’m hungry!”. Although his cries aren’t this charming or cute, however, I will give it to you bubba your cries are definitely a lot sweeter and more tolerable than most.

9:15 a.m. it’s time to change a diaper!

9:20 a.m. I hurriedly scramble to make myself look halfway presentable (i.e. change my clothes, throw my hair in a messy ponytail and brush my teeth) before having to shoo the pups to the living room to let them outside to potty. By 9:30 a.m. baby, pups, and all necessary items for daily survival-paci, boppy, chapstick, etc. are moved to the living room.

9:40 a.m. I’m reading my Bible and praying for just a few quiet moments in the Word.

9:55 a.m. Ry and I do some talking and playing.

10:05 a.m. baby boy has passed out so I do a little reading.

10:50 a.m. Ry is stirring himself awake so I lay with him for a bit. He goes back to sleep as I hold him and check the internet on my phone.

11:35 a.m. he’s fussy!

11:45 a.m. feed Ry.

12:05 p.m. done feeding Ry, but have to let him marinade for a bit before changing his diaper. If you’re a mom you understand!

12:30 p.m. change Ry’s diaper.

12:45-1:00 p.m. I get to eat lunch! I also start getting something ready for dinner.

1:05 p.m. change Ry’s diaper. again. Now it’s bath time!

1:20 p.m. I’m bundling my clean little guy and rocking him back to sleep. Then I do a little more reading while I hold him.

2:30 p.m. I do a light cleaning around the house.

3:05 p.m. relax for a moment.

3:15 p.m. baby boy’s hungry!

3:40 p.m. change that smelly diaper and hang out til’ daddy gets home! Sometimes I like to leave the last diaper just for daddy-he really appreciates it! 😉

4:20 p.m. daddy’s home! I get to shower-yay! We spend the rest of the night doing dinner, hanging out and giving the rest of the poopy diapers to daddy! 😉

And repeat 🙂

Being a mommy is seriously the best thing ever. I could have never imagined that I would love it this much (dirty diapers included ;). Here’s what I use to think of mommyhood! God has truly blessed me with my little one’s life. There are always challenges when you’re doing something new and I have been learning a lot. Raising a little life takes great patience and understanding that you can’t be perfect is a must. There are highs, like the first time I held my baby boy in my arms, and lows (HERE + HERE) along the way, but I’m trying my best and trusting in God to help me daily!

Hope you stop by!

Train Up A Child

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. -Proverbs 22:6



p.s. Don’t forget to vote for Pencilled Daydream on the Top 25 funny moms for 2012. Click the icon below. Once on their site, scroll down until you see Owen’s picture, and then click the thumbs up button to vote. You can vote once a day and no registration is required. The contest ends in 2 days. Thank you for voting!!!

The Day I Fell In Love

As a tall framed man with wet hair walked into a people filled cafeteria, I sat eating my lunch. I munched on a ham and cheese sandwich when my eyes locked onto him. My world suddenly began to move in slow motion. The voices that echoed off the walls just seconds before suddenly seemed muted as my eyes became fixated on the man entering.

I doubt if anyone else noticed the slender man in the midst of hundreds of others, but I did. My gaze couldn’t be broken. I watched as he made small talk with the grey haired cafeteria worker. He seemed to be one of the few people to notice her. His kindness was evident to me even through their small encounter.

Placing himself in line for lunch, He stood perfectly still until he picked up a tray. When he began to dish some food onto his plate, I snapped out of my daydream and at last confessed to myself, “I love that man.”

I finally let myself go there. For months I had suppressed my growing feelings for him, but on that fateful day I finally admitted it to myself, I loved him.

I am glad I was sitting down when I was hit with the realization of love for him, because love has a funny effect on people. I mean I probably would have tripped, started stuttering if asked to speak, or become so breathless that I would have passed out.

Instead I sat smiling like an idiot, as I realized I was perfectly and happily in love. With an eyebrow raised, I saw Mark Baker framed as one who was set apart for me. Amusement lined my eyes as I nearly giggled at this new found revelation. I had to suppress a laugh that nearly bubbled up. I wanted to giggle until I was breathless, but that would have drawn undo attention to myself so I held back. That was the beginning of my love for Mark Baker and since that day my love for him has only grown.

Since then a lot has changed in our lives. We got married and had a beautiful wedding. We graduated from college, bought a house, and had two boys. And the reason I wanted to share the beginning of our little love story is because the love we have for our spouses greatly effects our parenting. Author Gary Ezzo says, “Keeping this relationship a priority is your starting point for successful parenting.” Today’s parenting encouragement is simple: Invest in your marriage.

Some practical ways you can do this is by…

  1. Dating your spouse. Set aside a night each week to be together.
  2. Spend fifteen minutes talking on the couch about the day’s events.
  3. Continue to show your spouse love in the ways you did before baby came along.

p.s. I’ve been entered into the circle of Mom’s top 25 funny moms for 2012. If you’d like to vote for Pencilled Daydream you can click the icon below. Once on their site, scroll down until you see Owen’s picture, and then click the thumbs up button to vote. You can vote once a day and no registration is required. The contest ends in two weeks.

Thanks to everyone who has already voted! That totally makes my day.

*On Becoming Baby Wise, Page 21, 26