Giveaway: Layering shell from The Modest Mom

White Kiki Riki Layering Shell

psst…head over to enter a second giveaway on The Modest Mom blog!

ends 8/5/11

The Modest Mom offers cute, fashionable clothing for moms, both maternity and regular.  I had the privilege of reviewing one of Caroline’s skirts in the past, and now I’m the happy owner of her latest discovery, a layering shell.

I never knew I needed one of these until she added it to her shop, and now I wonder why I didn’t already own 2 or 3!  This shell is the perfect solution to the problem of today’s necklines, which are almost universally designed to show off what some of us want to cover: our cleavage.  We live in a very warm climate, so I love being able to layer without adding too much bulky insulation.

The fabric is very lightweight and breathable, and the neckline leaves nothing to chance.  It’s a little higher than I prefer, but I really appreciate that I don’t have to watch my neckline even when I bend down to talk to a little one, or lean over a table.

This shell is going to greatly expand my wardrobe, allowing me to add many cute and trendy tops that I couldn’t consider wearing before!

The Modest Mom is having a July sale now, but like the month of July the sale is ending soon.  Nearly everything in the shop is discounted, so hurry!

For a chance to win your own free layering shell, do any or all of the actions below.  Leave a comment for each entry.

  1. For your first entry, leave a comment here telling what you like about The Modest Mom.  You must do this.
  2. Like The Modest Mom on Facebook.
  3. Like Life in a Shoe on Facebook.
  4. Join our mailing list in the right sidebar or find it here.  You’ll be automatically entered in subscriber-only giveaways, and you’ll be the first to know when we’re expecting.

Best of Vision Forum

Are you placing an order or trying to take advantage of a great promotion?  Need help getting started?  Here is an ongoing list of our favorite Vision Forum products and top recommendations.  The links below are affiliate links, so I’ll get a commission if you enter the VF site through one of my links.

Family Favorites from Vision Forum

If you’ve been here long, you know we are partial to Vision Forum and you also know why.  I’m creating this post as a reference of sorts, for future sales.  This way whenever a broad discount is launched by Vision Forum and I’m encouraging you to use my affiliate link to go shopping, I can just point you toward this page for some ideas on how to use it.

When new products come out that we particularly enjoy and recommend, I’ll try to remember (are you laughing at that phrase?  Me? Remember?) to add them to this page.

Feel free to link to the this page, of course.  And when I say, “Feel free,” what I really mean is, “Please, link to my page!  Tell all your friends about my page!  Mention it on Facebook and your blog!  I made this for you!!!!!

Top recommendations

Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary – Every house needs one on the shelf.

1599 Geneva Bible – Every house needs one of these on the shelf right next to the Webster’s 1828.

Jonathan Park Adventures – Creation science at its best! Tune in to listen to the continuing adventures of the Park and Brenan families. Captivating for listeners of all ages while it teaches the truth of biblical, six-day creation. Each adventure is based on real places and scientific discoveries!

Christian Worldview Training Set (22 CDs) by Greg Bahnsen.  Very important.  We have listened to this as a family several times.

History of the World Megapack – Aptly named.  So much to learn here!


Books for children

Princess Adelina

Ballantyne Christian Adventure Classics – Rich vocabulary, strong gospel message, fast-moving adventures for all.  Favorite individual titles in our house:

Ten P’s in a Pod – The book that inspired us to form the habit of daily Bible reading.

The Birkenhead Drill – a precursor the Titanic tragedy and a good antidote to the modern romanticized version of the Titanic story.  Every boy used to know the story of the sinking of the Birkenhead and the selfless sacrifices of the men on board for the sake of women and children.

[Read more…]

Linky love

Below are some bookmarked posts from my recent reading.  Maybe you’ll enjoy them too.


What’s the best post you have read lately?

4 Moms Q&A: Author of Large Family Logistics answers questions!

4 Moms 35 Kids answer questions about big familiesAbout 4 Moms, including a complete list of all past topics

Here it is, folks!  The first edition in our 5 part series on the book, Large Family Logistics by blogging mom of 10 Kim Brenneman.

This week we have 3 special surprises for you!

First, we usually have a q&a for the 4th Thursday of every month but this time Kim Brenneman is the one answering questions!

Our complete list of Q&A will be divided among not just 4, but 5 blogging moms of many – Kim Brenneman is joining us for this event!

Here are 3 questions to kick things off:

Question: What’s your best advice for a mom of many with teens?

Kim’s Answer: Pray pray pray. Don’t get caught up on the little things. Choose your battles. Stay calm and relaxed. Listen closely. Listen some more. Don’t settle for the quick answers. Draw them out. Remember what it felt like to be that particular age. Pay attention to what is going on in their life.  Keep them busy and focused on developing their particular interests and strengths. Help them see that they can complement each others’ strengths and weaknesses and develop teamwork. Help them create a family business. A good question for teens and adult children that I just learned from an older and wiser friend, “How does _______ fit your worldview?” Everything centers around a person’s worldview. Keep them challenged. Don’t quit now.

Question: Do you regularly dedicate a day to each task every week or do you sometimes just wing it for weeks and months on end?

Kim’s Answer: Life works better when each day has a task. When life is busy we will put tasks off but we can do it with confidence knowing that next week or month we will do that task. Winging it makes for a chaotic situation and everyone in the family is happier and more secure with order. God’s creation is full of order. Every time I teach a child about the multiplication table I am again amazed. Or biology and how cells work. How our bodies work. To wing it is not God’s best and things in life break down when we let busy-ness or ill planned days go on for too long. When we restore order life goes more smoothly for everyone in the house.

Question: How do you find the strength, energy and motivation to keep going when every tasks seems so never ending?

Kim’s Answer: Pray. Read the Bible. Take my vita-pills. Drink water. The work isn’t going anywhere. It just gets deeper. I’d rather clean up a little mess than a big one. And learn to accept that certain things are never done. They will need to eat, wear clothes, and have a bowl to put their oatmeal in.

Visit the other 3 4 Moms to see the rest of the questions and answers!

Large Family Logistics book for moms of many

Second surprise: Kim Brenneman will be visiting our blogs to answer more questions in the comments!  If you have a question you’d like her to answer, leave it here.  Of course Kim can’t promise to answer every single question right away, but she will address as many as she can.

And finally, the third surprise for this week: The 4 Moms have an exclusive promo code to save you 40% on your own copy of Large Family Logistics!

Vision Forum promo code: 4MOMS
exp. Thursday, Aug 4.

Order quickly and you can have your own copy in time to link up when we start blogging through the book next Thursday!

Upcoming topics for 4 Moms:

  • August 4 – Book blogging linky: Large Family Logistics, part 1: foundations and methods
  • August 11 – Book blogging linky: Large Family Logistics, part 2 (chapters 18-27: planning your week)
  • August 18 – Book blogging linky: Large Family Logistics,  part 2b (chapters 28-47: the nitty gritty details)
  • August 25 – Book blogging linky: Large Family Logistics, appendices

    Recent topics:

    About 4 Moms, including a complete list of all past topics


    I know when to fold ’em

    Life on the road with kids is not all sunshine and lollipops.  I’m pretty sure I should have known that already, but I’ve been reminded again.

    We have had wonderful visits with family and friends, old and new over the past 7 days.  I’m so very glad we spent a few extra days in the D/FW area.

    However, our last stop has been cancelled.  We were going to attend a meet-up in Austin with bloggers, readers and various internet personages, but have decided to go straight home instead.

    After 7 days, we are cranky and sleep deprived.  Some of us who were previously toilet trained are back in diapers.  The temps have been over 100 and without working a/c in the van we are probably smelly.  There is a stink in the diaper bag and I can’t seem to locate the source, so the baby’s clean clothes smell very unclean.  We only packed clothes and diapers for a 3 day trip.  Some children are complaining of sore throats, and I have a headache.

    Oh, and I am whiny.

    Anyone who met us for the first time this week would not come away with a good impression.  Sometimes you gotta know when to fold ’em.

    This was my philosophy back when a road trip consisted of hitting 4 grocery stores with 6 children 8yo and under, and it’s my philosophy today.  You just don’t put yourself and your children out there when you know you won’t be a good witness to those around you.  You slink home to repent, recover and recuperate, and venture out another day.

    Texas tour: Hurst & Austin meet-ups

    Remember when I mentioned that we were in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for the weekend to attend a wedding?  I was a little steamed that events beyond our control required Perry and me to drive up separately, eating up more precious gas.  It was no one’s fault, really, but it wasn’t my idea of the way this trip should go.

    As it turned out, the awkward scheduling gave me to extra time before the wedding to visit my friend Smockity!  Wait, you knew that already.  I posted a link to our video on her blog.  You did go see, right?  I didn’t anticipate the enthusiastic response to that video, but now I’m really excited about adding a weekly video (a webisode) to our blog!  I’m going to interview my hubby and children one by one, my mom and any siblings that will cooperate, other friends who blog…can’t wait to start!

    Over the weekend we also had 2 wonderful evenings with precious friends who used to worship with us in San Antonio, made even better by the fact that they had family visiting.  Their relatives were just as delightful as they were, so there was just that much more fellowship to go ’round.

    What I also didn’t anticipate was that Perry and I would decide that most of the kids and I should stay up here for a couple extra days while he hurried back to work.  I miss my hunney, but this is fun stuff!  The kids and I are back with Smockity tonight, staying up late flippin’ our lips with one of her real-life friends (hi, Melissa!)

    Look: it’s after midnight and I’m blogging side by side with my bloggy friend!  I don’t know how she writes thoughtful stuff like this while she talks, but I bow to her superior multitasking skills.

    Monday: McDonalds in Colleyville from 12:30-2:00

    Tomorrow the kids and I are having lunch with any local friends and readers that we can rustle up!  Will you be there?

    On Tuesday we’re having lunch with more friends (location: top secret), then heading down to Waco to visit my brother and his wife and baby.  Yay for baby nephews!  We’ll spend the night with them, and then on to Austin for another lunchtime meet-up!

    The Austin event wasn’t my idea and it’s not about us, but I was invited by another blogging friend (Sprittibee) who is coordinating it, and I’m excited about joining in – can’t wait to get the details!

    I feel like I’m on a campaign trail, but I don’t know what office I’m running for.  I also feel like there should be a really funny answer to that question, but my brain just isn’t cooperating.  Maybe because it’s 2 AM?  Maybe you have the answer I’m looking for?

    Calling all D/FW readers!

    I’m in the mid-cities with most of my children until Tuesday and would love to get together with some bloggy friends!
    Can anyone suggest a McD with a nice big indoor Playland or another cool place to meet for lunch on Monday?
    And would anyone come hang out with us?

    edited to add:
    Here’s the place!
    Mc Donald’s 1 (817) 656-4100 5609 Colleyville Boulevard, Colleyville, TX 76034-6022

    We’re planning to be there Monday from 12:30 – 2:00. Who will we see?!

    Changes for Life in a Shoe on facebook

    Please tell me you understand, because I have a terrible case of ovarian guilt over what I’m going to tell you.

    KimC is going to unfriend all her bloggy facebook friends very soon.

    She’s doing this for many reasons, but one is that she just can’t find the updates of all her siblings and children and real-life friends among the updates of her bloggy friends. She knows that facebook has filters to accomplish this, but they don’t seem to work on her phone where she does most of her facebooking.

    Another reason is that she thinks some updates may be more appropriate for one group or the other, and not both.

    Don’t think badly of her.  It’s not that she doesn’t like you.  She loves you, but she is rather shy  and is really hoping that you’ll choose to follow her much more gregarious alter ego, Life in a Shoe.  Life in a Shoe is going to do her best to lure you into following her on Facebook by adding extra photos and updates, and proving how much more cool and fun and friendly she is than KimC.  There may even be giveaways exclusively for Facebook fans!

    So all of this is really a request that you will become a fan of Life in a Shoe on facebook very soon, and please don’t be offended if and when the Great Unfriending happens.  I still consider you a friend and a guest, and I’m only asking you to come with me, not to leave.

    Video with Smockity

    I’m in the Fort Worth area this week and am sittin’ in the real live Smockity Frocks Living Room blogging on my little netbook.

    Don’t be jealous.  Just pop over to her blog and watch the little webisode we did last night.  Smockity tells me webisodes are the New Thing In Blogging, and you know how trendy we mommy bloggers are so I pretended to know what she was talking about and we hopped right on board.

    What do you think?  Would you like to see videos like this from Life in a Shoe too?  I could interview my own children and husband for starters.  That would keep us busy a good long while.  Then we could hurry up and have more children so we could interview them. Just kidding.  I wanted to see if you were paying attention.

    But really: should I give it a try?  Do you click through to watch videos on blogs?  Would you watch one on our blog?

    4 Moms: 3 smoothie recipes and lunch linky

    About 4 Moms, including a complete list of all past topics

    Well, God is teaching me patience today.4 Moms 35 Kids answer questions about big families

    Did you see last week at the bottom of my 4 Moms post, where I said that this week we would talk about patience?

    First, I lost a half-completed post on patience.  I understood that God was teaching me the very lesson at hand and acquiesced willingly to His supreme sense of Humor and Irony.  What else could I do?

    Second, while I was composing a post on patience for the second time in the same day, Bethany pooped everywhere.  Well, not everywhere.  I think she missed one or two spots inside the house and one or two people.  Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but my poop-o-meter has a very low tolerance (like, ZERO) and the alarm was going off like crazy.  Remember the scene in Daddy Daycare, when a little kid comes out of the bathroom and Eddie Murphy is looking at the aftermath?  Like all the best horror movies, you don’t actually see anything, but Psycho music is playing as he surveys the toilet, walls and ceiling.  That’s how I felt.  There was a lot of poo in a lot of places, and I was not very patient at all.  I read my post a few more times over the next hour and resolved to do better at practicing what I preached.

    Third, I learned that the other 3 moms are not, in fact, blogging about patience today.  Since we’re a team, I reluctantly decided that it was my duty to go along with them.  I was not as cheerful as when God preempted my post earlier today.  Now I have to write about lunch and try to sound like a fun, creative mom when all I really want to do is throw my plate on the floor and jump up and down on it, wailing like a spoiled 2yo.  “BUT THIS ISN’T WHAT  I WANTED!!!”

    Fourth, I can’t take solace in the fact that I am a week ahead on my 4 Moms post, because I’m not.  Since we already have big plans for the next 5 weeks, there is not a snowball’s chance in Texas that my patience post will see the light of day before September.

    God is really working on me this week.

    [cracks knuckles]

    Think like a fun mom.  Be a fun mom.  Be fun patient mom.  Deep breath.

    We live in Texas.  It’s summer, and it’s hot.  Lunch time comes in the middle of the day, when it’s hotter than hot.  What is our lunch of choice?


    Since we have these almost daily, we try to make them varied and healthy.  I can rationalize a koolaid slushy for lunch once in a great while, but my rationalization muscles get tired easily and I like it that way.  I’ll get worried if my rationalization muscles get big and buff.

    My go-to summertime smoothie lunch is Peanut Butter Banana.  If you grew up on peanut butter banana sandwiches, you understand.  If not, maybe you’re looking at me like I’m crazy.  I assure you, it’s good.  If you ask around, some of your friends will back me up and tell you I’m not making this up.  Others will shake their head at the weird blogs you read and ask why you were surprised.

    Peanut butter/banana smoothie
    • 3 bananas (I peel ripe ones and pop them in the freezer in a gallon sized bag)
    • 1/3 cup peanut butter (you’re not actually going to measure that, are you?)
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 1 tray ice cubes
    • milk or kefir to fill blender pitcher

    Blend til smooth and holler for the troops.

    It usually takes 2-3 blender pitchers to feed the kids and me, so we often switch to fruit smoothies for the next round.

    Fruit smoothie
    • 3 bananas (add natural sweetness)
    • 1 cup of other fruit – frozen strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, or anything else that sounds good.  A few tablespoons of very fruity jam is nice too.
    • 1-2 trays of ice cubes
    • milk or kefir to fill blender pitcher (the tang of kefir is much nicer than milk in fruit smoothies, even if your kids claim they don’t like kefir; do a blind taste test and you’ll prove them wrong)

    Blend til smooth.  Since this is the second round, you won’t even have to call them.  They’ll all be at your elbow begging to push the buttons on the blender.

    Later in the afternoon, while the little ones are napping, we sometimes have something a little more grown-up:

    Starbucks-style frapps
    • 1.5-2 trays ice cubes
    • 1-2 Tbs. instant coffee
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup cream if you have it on hand  🙂
    • milk to fill blender pitcher
    • 1/4 cup chocolate chips, opt.

    Give it a shot. I make mine decaf, but you might be man enough for the real stuff.  Vary the amount of coffee or try brewing extra strong coffee instead of the instant.  Freeze in an ice tray and use in place of regular ice in the recipe.  Add more sugar if you like it as sweet as the ones you buy.  However you make it, you’ll never pay $5 for a cold-froo-froo coffee drink again.

    Want to share your favorite lunch recipe or tradition?  Link up with us!  When you join the linky at one of the 4 Mom’s, your link will show up on all 4!

    Please remember the linky rules:

    1. You must link to a specific relevant post on your blog.
    2. Your post must include a link to at least one of the 4 Moms.
    3. The post you link to must be completely family friendly.

    If your link is deleted, you probably didn’t follow one of the rules above. Please feel free to add your link again once you have fixed the problem. If you don’t know why your link was deleted, please ask.

    Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets — Easy-Linky widget will appear right here!
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    The other moms are talking about lunch too:

    Upcoming topics for 4 Moms:

    Recent topics:

    About 4 Moms, including a complete list of all past topics