It’s My Wife’s Birthday – Now What?

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Your wife’s birthday – it happens every year.  A lot of husbands struggle to bring much creativity to this area of their lives, so I hope that this post will help change that.  C’mon guys – we’re problem solvers!  That is what we exist and get paid to do!  So we can tackle this opportunity in exactly the same way as we would approach any other high risk, high reward situation.  This is a day where you can show her that she is valuable, and, more importantly, you value her.  This is a day that she can really feel that you delight in her.  If you can achieve that, your efforts will be worth it.

Holy Birthday To You

It appears that God may have given you marriage to make you holy.  (See here.)  If that is true, consider your wife’s birthday the annual High Holy Day.  This is the number one day for you to serve your wife unselfishly, with nothing expected in return! OK, Mother’s Day could be #1, depending on how many kids you have and how old they are, but your honey’s birthday is at least a close second.  So this is a day where you will be focusing in on who she is and how you can bless her.  Here are some ideas.

The Basics

Make sure you remember her birthday.  Make sure you get her a card.  Most years you probably should at least get a $7 bouquet of flowers from Walmart or the grocery store.  (You’ll be there buying her card anyway!)  : )  It is hard to convince her that you care about her if you mess up the basics because you are a rookie or you have gotten lackadaisical over time.  Start strong!  Continue reading

Ultimate Guide to Purposeful Christmas Lists (Books, Videos, and Games)

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Last week we shared our Ultimate Guide to Purposeful Christmas Lists (Toddlers to Early Elementary).  This week we are adding three important categories:  Books, Videos, and Games.

As you know, our family loves books!  (Just search for ‘Book’ in the search box on the right and you’ll see!)  We believe that books, music, and video (TV and movies) are very important ways that we can shape our kids’ thoughts, attitudes, and values.  We are purposefully filling up their mind with good and useful things.

Games are also important, because it is a way that our family can build relationships with each other and with our friends.  We have listed some of the games that our kids enjoy.

Gifts are a big part of the Christmas tradition, and rather than just spending your normal quota on random things, make sure that you are purposefully investing in your kids.  Sometimes even the little things can make a big impact.

Free Download:  | PDF_Picture   Ultimate Guide to Purposeful Christmas Lists (Books, Videos, and Games)  |  


We want to know – what are your favorite books, videos, and games for your kids?  

The Ultimate Guide to Purposeful Christmas Lists (For Toddlers to Early Elementary Kids)

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Christmas is just around the corner, and I am sure you are all trying to figure out the perfect gifts. We are blessed with very generous family and friends who love to buy things for our four kids. It is also nice that all of them want us to give them lists of things the kids want for their birthdays and for Christmas. Every year we take the kids to Toys R Us and walk up and down the aisles. We allow them to pick out what they would like and write it down. It is really fun to see what kind of things attract their attention, and how their interests change from year to year.  But we don’t stop there.  We of course want to be purposeful with the gifts that our kids get for Christmas.  So, Nate and I go through their ideas and figure out what will actually make the final lists. We do a lot of research and ask a lot of people in an attempt to find the perfect gift for each kid. And since I am type-A I have kept many of our lists from the last couple of years. So today we are going to share with you some of our favorite toys we have received over the years. Hopefully it will give you some ideas for those little ones in your life.

(FYI- Our oldest boy is 5 so we are a little short on boy items for the oldest list.  Please give us suggestions for next year!)

I believe that it is my job to shape my kids’ environment as best as I can to support their development.  It is my job to shape and mold their natural interests and talents, and Christmas gifts are a big way we can do that each year.  Don’t get me wrong, some of the best gifts are ones that we did not ask for and were not on our wish-lists.  Spontaneous and creative gifts from the heart are wonderful.  But if the gift-givers in your life are looking for a list, here are a few that have been checked more than twice! 

Please comment – what would you add to our list???  What are some of your favorites?  

The Ultimate Purposeful Christmas List:  |  PDF_Picture  Toddler to Preschool  |

The Ultimate Purposeful Christmas List: |  PDF_Picture  Preschool to Kindergarten   |

The Ultimate Purposeful Christmas List: |   PDF_Picture  Early Elementary   |


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Green Tea Body Scrub


It is the end of May and that means it is the end of school. Now is the perfect time to let your kids’ teachers know just how much you appreciate them.  We are blessed with great teachers at GCA, and we believe that it is important to honor the people who pour themselves into our kids’ development.

Here is one gift option that I have done in the past: Green Tea Body Scrub. I love this stuff and it is super easy to make. Continue reading

Meaningful Mother’s Day Ideas For Dads of Young Kids

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My current condition as I write this post is that I have been married to Dana for 11 years and we have 4 kids, age 8 and under.  This makes Mother’s Day an important event in our home.

Mother’s Day is a perfect opportunity to show your wife how much you love her by helping the kids to express how much they love her.  Men, this will require some creativity, some courage, some patience, and some humor!   It probably also means that you need to start planning today!  Remember that you only have 4 days to get this done.  Here is the game plan: Continue reading

It’s May, So What Is Coming Up??

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MOTHER’s Day!  And for our family, Mimi and Grandma’s Birthday. That’s right we get doubly hit in May. I love getting gifts for our moms but trying to come up with 4 great gifts in one month, without much help from one mom especially 😉 can get a little hard.

So I thought I would share some of my ideas in hopes that you will share some of your ideas. Maybe together we can come up with amazing gifts for the ones we love.

Mother’s rings have been popular over the years. I have always wanted one but haven’t quite found the perfect one. Recently I have come across two great alternatives to the Mother’s ring.

The first is Continue reading

Double Baby Blanket and Burp Cloth

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I gave this gift to a mom who had a 2 year old girl so I made a matching one for her babies :-)

Yesterday I explained how to make a single blanket. Today I will explain how to make a double. The pictures are actually a burp cloth and not a double blanket, but they are made the same exact way and are much smaller and easier to photograph. I make my blankets out a snuggle flannel fabric from JoAnn’s. I made the burp cloths out of two different types of fabric. One side was a snuggle flannel that matched the blankets and the other side was a more absorbent fabric like terry cloth.

Continue reading

Baby Blankets

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Cousins :-)

This past weekend I got to spend some time with my sister and her new baby. I was quickly reminded about all that you have to do to take care of an infant. The most obvious thing you have to do is laundry, constant laundry! I remember those days when you could go through multiple outfits a day – and not only outfits for the baby but also for you. Thankfully my little newphew is not a spitter so that has cut down on the amount of laundry she possibly could do. It also reminded me of the amazing blankets I used with my boys. When I had Luke I was given a homemade receiving blanket as a gift and I was sold. The store bought ones are actually worthless once the baby hits their first growth spurt. These homemade blankets however can be used well into toddlerhood. The single blankets allow you to swaddle the baby securely and completely. The double blankets are versatile and can be used as a blanket, a cover for a car seat or a floor blanket for them to wiggle on. Since being exposed to these wonders I haven’t turned back. They are a regular in my list of items to give moms who have just had babies. I buy my fabric at JoAnn’s when the snuggle flannel is $2.99 a yard. This typically happens the day after Thanksgiving and a few times throughout the year. When it goes this cheap I stock up on different boy and girl fabrics. I typically will make 1 single blanket and 1 matching double blanket per gift unless you are my cute nephew and I can’t stop myself 🙂

I am no sewing expert, but I can get the job done. Here are the directions on how I make these wonderful, big blankets. Continue reading

Moving: Kind Gestures That Make A Difference!

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Let me just say that we are blessed! We have had an outpouring of help, gifts and words of encouragement as we have gone through this moving process. It has almost brought me to tears of gratefulness multiple times this past month. We have been blessed by so many family members, friends and neighbors. They have done such a great job, I thought I would share some of the things that really helped this move go so well so that you can bless someone in your life.
How can you help a friend or family member who is moving?  Continue reading

Review: Kids’ Games


For Christmas we got some new games. Our family loves games, and since it has been bitterly cold we have played a lot of them in the last few weeks.

One of our new favorites is HedBanz! The kids have loved playing it and you can make it more or less challenging depending on the age of the kid. I also love that my three big kids can play it together and all have fun.  With Luke we give him clues to what picture is on his head. With Hannah we make her ask yes and no questions to try to figure out her picture.  Luke and his friend played it by themselves the other day and did a pretty good job of giving clues.  I think this is a great way to challenge your kids’ brains and make them think of a clue that would best describe the picture. They also have a version that you can act out the clues. We might have to put that on our list for next Christmas. This is a fun game for kids aged 4 and up.  (This type of game is the latest craze! Adults and kids can also play it on their iPhones and iPads using an app like Heads Up Charades. We played it at our Bible study’s New Year’s party and had a blast.)



The next game that we love is UNO. It is an oldie but a goodie. Luke learned this game thanks to Mr. Chuck. When he told me one day that he could play the game, I did not believe him. I decided to play Luke and see if he really did. After he won 3 out of 5 games, I was convinced he knew what he was doing!



When I deal the cards, he begs me to give him the “fun ones” so that he can win. He has no problem handing you the Draw 2 cards and celebrates drawing the WILD cards! 🙂 Luke is four and can play this game and understand a little bit of the strategy needed to play your cards right. This is a great game for kids 4 and up.


A Fun One!

It has been a lot of fun playing games with the kids this winter. And I am so glad that we can expand our horizons past Memory! We did learn however that our kids are unable to handle the game of Sorry! There was many tears shed during this game because our kids are too nice and felt horrible sending someone back to Home. They knew what they were doing to their opponent and couldn’t handle it. Might have to wait to play this again until the boys are older and ready to conquer the game!

What is your favorite family game and what ages is the game geared towards?