Review/ Giveaway: Noah’s Noisy Zoo: A Fit-Together Shapes Book


Today I’m happy to share a Review and Giveaway of Noah’s Noisy Zoo: A Feel-and-Fit Shapes Book,
illustrated by stuart Lynch and published by Tommy Mommy.

Tommy Mommy book: Noah's Noisy Zoo

As you can see from the pictures this is a very cute and colorful board book for babies and toddlers.  The shapes of some of the animals are cut into the page and others protrude out, which is why they call it a fit-together shapes book.  These are fun for babies and toddlers to touch, giving them a more sensory experience with the book.

Tommy Mommy book: Noah's Noisy Zoo

The “story” is of the animals who are coming to Noah’s ark: monkeys, owls, snakes, bears, birds, dogs, lions, and frogs.

The only thing I don’t like about the book is the last page which shows a teeny-weeny ark, which is quite opposite of the true size and helps promote the belief to people today that Noah’s ark wasn’t real.

Tommy Mommy book: Noah's Noisy Zoo

I did enjoy reading this book to my 3-year-old and am happy to have a copy to give away.

Enter on the Rafflecopter app below.  The winner will be chosen on Wednesday, July 8 and will have 24 hours to respond to my email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to write this honest review. This post also contains affiliate links.)

Giveaway: Margaux and May Organic Swaddle Blankets (8 winners!)


Welcome to the Margaux and May organic swaddle blanket giveaway!

Organic muslin blanket 3 copyMargaux and May, is a baby product company who is steering away from the cliché baby animals, blues and pinks you generally see when you think “newborn”. Instead, they are putting Mom first, with more “grown up” designs leaning towards style and sophistication. And, you can see that, with the bold print on the twin-set of the organic swaddle blankets we are giving away to our readers.

These blankets are incredibly soft and generously sized at 120cm x 120 cm/47″ x 47″, which are certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) as being made from 100% organic cotton. Not to mention, they are hand-woven by experienced artisans; with a practice dating back to the Bangladesh of Medieval Times.

The swaddles are also vegan, meaning no animal products are used in the making of these blankets.Organic muslin blanket 7

Likewise, Margaux and May, have our seal of approval on the natural and recycled packaging they use to deliver these luxurious blankets to the world in.

And, we know you also want to try them out for yourself!

Giveaway Time

We are giving away, to 8 lucky readers, an organic twin swaddle set retailed at $29.99 each. Perfect for the arrival of a beautiful bambino, or as a gift to a friend or family member.

This giveaway starts at 6PM EST on Sunday February the 15th, and ends at 6PM on Wednesday the 25th of February at 6PM EST. It is open to the USA and Canada only.

However, if outside of these countries you can still purchase 100% Organic Muslin Swaddle Blankets from Amazon. Confidently, Margaux and May, offer a no questions asked money back guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied with the product you will receive a full refund.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Willy B Mum and I Choose Joy! are not responsible for fulfilling sponsored prize obligations; prizes will be shipped directly from the brand. If you are a winner you must respond to your notification email within 48 hours or we will choose another winner.

Review/Giveaway of “God Bless You & Good Night” by Hannah C. Hall

God Bless You & Good Night Picmonkey

What a sweet, precious book I have to share with you today: God Bless You & Good Night by Hannah C. Hall.

It’s a perfect book to read before bedtime. The board book is 20 pages long and features 10 different animals who are in various stages of getting ready for bed. The illustrations are precious.




You can check out several pages on the Flipbook.

If you have a baby or toddler in your life, be sure to enter the giveaway below. The winner will be chosen on October 1, 2013.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to write this honest review. Post contains affiliate links.)

From House to Home {Link Party}: Vacation Tip–Toddler Sleep Time

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Vacation Toddler Sleep Tip


As you may have noticed I’ve been posting about our recent vacation to Colorado (Post #1 Omaha, Post #2 Colorado Springs) and have a tip to share with you today about helping your toddler sleep better!  If your babies are like mine, they don’t sleep very well in the car, so nap times (rare on vacation) and night-time sleeping is extremely important.

Here  is my tip:

Use a pack-n-play with a sheet; otherwise the bottom is too cold and scratchy for the child.  Cover it with a heavy blanket (I used my handy Picnic Quilt) to block out light and to keep them from being distracted from all the other people in the room.  Then, turn on a little fan to add some white noise and block out some of the strange sounds they’ll be hearing.  I got this little box fan at Walgreens.

ABC book 31 Gifts Piano 005



ABC book 31 Gifts Piano 006


ABC book 31 Gifts Piano 007

It’s time for our Link Up Party: From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page. (If you don’t link back, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!




See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.

Collage Friday–1st Birthday!

E 1st Birthday Collage

I can’t believe she’s one!


Linked to Homegrown Learners

From House to Home {Link Party}: Fleece Baby Sheet

Welcome to our third week of From House to Home!  What have you been doing lately at your house?  We’re gearing up for dress rehearsal/performance week for my eldest’s musical Aladdin!  We also had performances of 3 kids in drama class, speeches presented at our public speaking class, and a band concert this week.  Needless to say, I haven’t had much time for “extras” lately, like my goals of growing triops and ordering ants for the ant farm for science.  Or doing our fun art project about Jonah and the whale.  Or making my daughter’s quilt (winter’s almost over!) or Easter dresses for my 4 girls.  And crochet?  I haven’t done any this year!

Well, I did push myself to finish one project this week.  I’ve only had the materials for 4 months!  :). I sewed a fleece sheet for my baby’s bed.  I’ve always felt bad about laying a sleeping baby down on a cold sheet, so I thought this would be a great idea!  I found the directions and inspiration at The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking.  I bought the Fold Over Elastic at Amazon and fleece at, and this great
Breathable Mesh Crib Bumper 
is from One Step Ahead.

Here is the finished project!

Spotlight, fleece crib sheet 004

She was not thrilled about being put into her crib to be a model with the sheet!

Spotlight, fleece crib sheet 007

It’s time for our Link Up Party:  From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1.  Link up family-friendly posts about making your house to a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God!

2.  Link back to my site with the button below or a text link.  Thanks!

I Choose Joy!
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Six Months Old!

Today our sweet baby E turned 6 months old!  She has been such a fun baby.  All her brothers and sisters love her so much.  She is never lacking in attention!  Here are a few pictures to see how she’s grown.

By the way, I’ve never mentioned that she was born with a hemangioma birthmark on her right arm and hand.  You can see somewhat in the pictures how it has changed in the last 6 months.  It has already started to fade and should be completely gone by the time she is 10 years old, if not sooner.  It doesn’t hurt her at all.

Also, she started out with brown hair.  It all fell out, and is now growing in blonde!

















Collage Friday- Father Son Camp and Fall Crafts


Last weekend was my sons’ favorite weekend of the year!  The Father Son Camp.  There they experience camping in the cold (we bought some better sleeping bags this year), zipline, archery, shooting guns, and the all-time favorite Paintball!  The upper right picture is one of my eldest with an orange paintball mark on his head.  They also had great speakers this year.  The theme was integrity, and there were opportunities for the fathers to have some good talks with their sons on the topic.  The guest speaker was Ken Bevel, one of the actors in Courageous and Fireproof.


While the boys were off camping the rest of us had some fun as well.  We went to the library and picked out some movies for Friday and Saturday nights.  We also went out to breakfast with Mumsy (grandma), and the kids were very well behaved.  I took the girls to their soccer games on Saturday morning, and it was freezing!  30 degrees.  Too cold for me–so I stayed in the van with the baby and finished my crochet bag.  (See it in the collage.). I’ll share more about it tomorrow if I get a chance.  The younger kids also did some fall crafts this week.  The lower left picture is of a tree with colored leaves.  Directions on how to make it are at Sidetracked Sarah.  Also, they collected leaves and did some leaf rubbings.  The top picture says “Best Mom Ever.  I love you.”  My oldest daughter keeps putting these sweet, encouraging notes all over the house!  She’s a dear.  :)

My sweet 4-month-old baby is now sleeping in her own bed at night.  I realized that the reason I had kept her in my bed for so long was because I’m having a hard time letting go of these last baby milestones.  It’s so sad to think that I’ll never have another newborn sleeping in my bed with me again.  So, as I explained to my husband I’m just going to have to mourn these moments as they come, but I can’t postpone them, especially at the expense of my or my baby’s well-being.  She’s slept in her bed every night since Tuesday, and has only woken up once each night to nurse (as opposed to every 1-2 hours when she was in my bed).  I’m still very tired, but another week or two of this will surely help!  It’s safer for her, too, since she now wants to roll over and sleep on her tummy.

Exercise update:  The only day I have exercised so far this week was Wednesday at the T-Tapp clinic in Milwaukee.  I was going to yesterday, but I was too sore!  However, I plan to exercise today and at least once this weekend.

What God is teaching me:  Trust.  I need to trust Him more.  I have a long way to go.

In case you missed it, I posted a review of the two newest Imagination Station books.  There is a giveaway of them, which ends Sunday.   Enter now!

I made one of these carseat canopies which I have really enjoyed using, but here’s a coupon code (ENBABY) to get a free one–just pay shipping!  Would make a great gift for a new mom!

They also have baby carriers and nursing covers–free, just pay shipping, same code ENBABY.

Linked to Homegrown Learnersfriday favorite things | finding joy
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Special Offers and “Risk” Winners

Congratulations to the winners of “Risk”– Sheri, Lissette, and Jenni!  Be sure to check back next week for a review and giveaway of the newest Imagination Station books!

For now, I wanted to share some great deals below.  If you sign up for a contest, magazine subscription, print a coupon, or purchase an item, I get a small amount of money for it.  I use the money for 3 things:  to invest back into my blog, for homeschooling, and to help others.  Right now we’re are preparing to pack our shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, so you can help us out with that!  See below!  Oh, and most of these have a deadline or a cap, so please do it soon!


I have one of these nursing covers and use it ALL the time!  Order one for a baby shower gift if you don’t need one yourself.  It’s free–just pay shipping!

Uddercovers wants to give you a promo code for a free patterned breastfeeding cover (a $35 value) — promo code is ENBABY.   Select any cover you would like.  This promo code will take off 100% of the nursing cover purchase, and all you are required to pay are the shipping fees. You can use the code more than once – you just have to open a new browser window to do so.  Due to its nature, this offer can’t last long so please order soon!


Free digital magazine download.


Enjoy the November issue of Ladies’ Home Journal. No strings attached. You’ll never receive a bill. This free issue is yours, compliments of Ladies’ Home Journal has an all-new look and an all-new format that helps bring out your best with a blend of expert advice and personal stories from real women–just like you. It’s your story. Be a part of the conversation.  Your digital issue will be available immediately.



Enter the Sweepstakes for Rosetta Stone.




Use FALLFF2012 or print your coupon to shop in-store, 10/24/12 through 10/28/12.



Enjoy a free 6 issue subscription to Working Mother magazine. No strings attached. You’ll never receive a bill. This subscription is yours, compliments of Working Mother is the only national magazine that helps moms with careers balance their personal and professional lives.


Personalized Christmas stockings–Cute!


Watch your children’s eyes widen with excitement after seeing their name on their own red plush Vistaprint stocking hanging from your mantel. After all, children and adults alike are sure to love having this memorable holiday keepsake every holiday season. Christmas stockings are easy to customize, fun to show off, and always add the perfect personal element to gift giving.

Simply choose a name and font to begin creating a holiday gift that you’ll enjoy for years to come and that’s as unique as you.

And for only $7.99 plus FREE shipping, now you can shop once and deliver cheer to everyone on your holiday list. Just one of the many reasons to shop at Vistaprint this season.

Shipping: Free


Here’s an easy one–just print this coupon!


“Like” Chili’s, fill out the form, click go to app, then get a Free Appetizer or Dessert Coupon.

Use Code: 146

Expires November 1st

Shipping starts at $1.99


I’ve already signed up for this one!  Who wouldn’t want to win a cruise?


All Aboard! Craftsy’s first-ever Quilt Cruise will be leaving the dock on March 23, 2013, for a week-long Caribbean vacation full of your favorite pastime. Join instructors Carol Ann Waugh, Weeks Ringle, Pam Holland, and Sue Bouchard on the high seas to learn new techniques, fun spins on traditional methods, and a variety of projects. Immerse yourself in the Craftsy quilting community as you craft alongside fellow enthusiasts! Hop off board when the ship docks in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and Mexico for fun excursions before you reboard for more quilting adventures. Craftsy is even giving away one pair of tickets every month, so you and a guest can get away for an incredible quilting experience and Caribbean vacation!

View the complete itinerary, learn all about ship amenities, and enter now for a chance to win!


Free issue!


Enjoy the December issue of Midwest Living. No strings attached. You’ll never receive a bill. This free issue is yours, compliments of Midwest Living provides region-specific information on travel and events, food and dining and home and garden.  Your digital issue will be available immediately.


Another great idea for a baby gift!


Seven Slings wants to give you a promo code for a free baby carrier (a $48 value). The promo code is ENBABY.  Select any baby carrier you would like. Be sure to go to the sizing page so that you can get the right size carrier for you. This promo code will take 100% off of the baby carrier purchase and all you are required to pay are the shipping fees. You can use the code more than once- simply open a new browser window to do so. Due to it’s nature, this offer can’t last long , so order soon!


All of the above special offers come through Escalate Media Affiliate Network.  If you blog, be sure to sign up!


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Collage Friday: Birthday, Legos




Here’s our Wrap-up of the week.  We’ve been so busy with birthdays lately.  My husband’s 50th birthday party is on Sunday, so as soon as I post this I’m focusing on getting ready for that for the rest of the weekend.  See you next Monday!

1.  We give each child a Bible on their 6th birthday.

2.  My daughter turned 9 this week and got a sewing machine!  She’s going on a special trip to the fabric store today to get some supplies.

3.  This Pinterest-inspired cake turned out well.

4.  This one didn’t!  I’ve never pretended to be a master cake decorator.  And here’s the proof.  (Here’s another for the fail file.)  Don’t know what it is?  It’s supposed to be a treasure chest.

5.  The 2 birthday kids painting their presents.

6.  Melissa and Doug Decorate-Your-Own Piggy Bank

7 and 8.  Pictures of my precious.  Oh, I love her so much!

9.  All the kids, and seven of them actually smiling!




A second collage this week of my son’s new Lego Table (another Pinterest-inspired project).  I’ll be sharing during the first week of November how we made this great Lego table.  Follow my blog (see sidebar) so you won’t miss it!

At the top is a sea turtle going onto the beach to lay her eggs (our science lesson this week).  He used Model Magic (we love that stuff!) to create it.Assorted Colors Crayola Model Magic ClasspackI’ll share more science fun in an upcoming post.

Exercise update:  I’ve done T-Tapp at least every other day this week.  I found out about a seminar coming close to me in a week and a half and I’m so excited to go and get my form “tweaked”!  I’ll share more about that on Monday’s Fitness Challenge post.

Oh, and there’s a great sale this weekend for those of you who love CurrClick!

Linked to

Homegrown Learners

Holy Spirit-Led Homeschooling
friday favorite things | finding joyFavorite Resource This WeekSam's Noggin

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Collage Friday 10/12/12: Birthday, Anniversary, Baby


1.  We spent last weekend at the Grandparents’ Lake House in Wisconsin.  My husband’s brother and family were also there, and we celebrated 3 kids’ birthdays!  It was a nice relaxing time.  But I came down with a cold (which I still have) and it was freezing!  Snowed on Saturday.

2.  Yesterday we did a science experiment to understand how blubber keeps arctic animals warm in the frigid water.  The kids stuck their fingers in icy water and could only keep them in there for a maximum of 30 seconds.  Then they donned rubber gloves which I covered with petroleum jelly and a plastic bag.  They could then stay underwater for 5 minutes (maybe longer, but they got bored).

3.  Enjoying the beautiful fall colors in the Chicagoland area.

4.  Our sweetie pie turned 4 months yesterday.  I’m so sad that she won’t be a little baby much longer.  I tear up every time I think about it.  I know I need to move her into her crib soon–she’s rolling a lot now–but I’m having a hard time letting go of her sleeping in our bed!

5.  My husband and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary this week.

6.  Baby girl is so happy all the time.  Perhaps it’s because she’s never lacking for attention?

7.  We have a new 6-year-old boy in the house.  Pictures of his birthday will be coming next week.


Linked to

Holy Spirit-Led Homeschooling

Homegrown Learners

Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Free Nursing Covers and Baby Slings

I decided to do a whole post just about these because they are a great deal!  I ordered a nursing cover a few years ago from them and use it all the time.  You do have to pay shipping, but the covers and slings are free.  The code  is ENBABY.  Be sure to order soon before this deal ends.  These are wonderful gifts for baby showers!

Seven Slings wants to give you a promo code for a free baby carrier (a $48 value). The promo code is “ENBABY”.  Click on picture below , click on ‘Shop Now”, select any baby carrier you would like.   Be sure to go to the sizing page so that you can get the right size carrier for you.  Once you have selected your size, you will automatically be directed to the “shopping bag” where you can enter the promo code “ENBABY “ .  This promo code will take 100% off of the baby carrier purchase and all you are required to pay are the shipping fees. You can use the code more than once- simply open a new browser window to do so.

Uddercovers wants to give you a promo code for a free patterned breastfeeding cover (a $35 value).  The promo code is “ENBABY”.  Click the picture below, click “Shop Now”, and select any cover you would like. You will automatically be directed to the “shopping bag” where you can enter the promo code “ENBABY” .  This promo code will take off 100% of the nursing cover purchase, and all you are required to pay are the shipping fees.  You can use the code more than once – you just have to open a new browser window to do so.


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Smiling and getting chubby

I’ve been truly enjoying holding my new baby as much as possible this summer! She’s such a joy!






Babies Don’t Keep

I’m reading a new book called Be the Mom by Tracey Eyster, for which I’ll have a review up in a couple of weeks.  She had one very convicting chapter for me which reminded me of the following poem.  My little one is already 6 weeks old!  This is going to be my focus for the next year, and I’m NOT going to feel guilty about it!


Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

by Ruth Hulbert Hamilton



New Quilt for the New Baby

My husband’s aunt has made a beautiful, unique quilt for each of our babies.  And this one is no exception!
You can see the underneath, minkee material, in the next picture.



Be sure to click through to see pictures of the other quilts!

Review of Busy Mom’s Guide to Parenting Young Children

I’m happy to give a review of a very timely book! It’s called the Busy Mom’s Guide to Parenting Young Children by Paul C. Reisser, M.D., published by Tyndale House.

What’s wonderful about the book is that is so comprehensive, but at the same time being a book that a busy mom can pick up and read about babies through 4-year-olds.  After having 8 children I have read lots of books and articles through the years.  I can’t think of a topic that I’ve needed that this book doesn’t cover!

Here are a few of the things you’ll find addressed in this book:

Finding good healthcare, breastfeeding, getting a baby to sleep better, colic, solid foods, safety, speech development, stranger anxiety, vaccines, weaning, disciplining a toddler, tantrums, teeth care, potty training, night terrors, friends, spiritual development, and lots more!

I also love that the book is written from a Christian perspective.  Here is one quote I loved:

“The question to ask Him isn’t ‘Why did You give me such a fussy baby?!’ but ‘What do You want me to learn about myself and life in general through this experience?’  You may be surprised at the answer.”

So, especially if you you’re a new mom or pregnant with your first baby, I would recommend you pick up a copy.  You’ll feel so much more confident as you enter this stage of your life!


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Happy Father’s Day

A dad of 4 sons and 4 daughters–truly blessed!





Announcing our New Blessing!

I’m happy to share some pictures of our little blessing.  She arrived last Monday, June 11, at 2 a.m.











Getting Ready for Baby

Things have been focused on getting ready for the baby around here lately.  I’ve been nesting–and one thing we did was get the windows cleaned!  I had a Groupon for it, so it was a really good deal to get them cleaned inside and out (and the screens).  We’ve lived here for 11 years and never had them cleaned before!

I’ve washed all the baby clothes, bought tiny newborn diapers, and fixed my nursing cover (it had shrunk, so I added some material to the sides).  I bought a new carseat (not everything lasts from previous babies) and made a cover for it.  I’ve also been practicing my breathing, relaxation, imagery, and verses for labor.

Yesterday I finished packing my suitcase and brought up the co-sleeper from the storage room.  I still need to make another nursing cover.  I need to buy some batteries for the hat I wear for nursing and changing diapers during the night and for the baby swings.  And I think I’ll pack an emergency bag for having the baby in the car (pray that won’t happen!)  I want to clean out under my bed and vacuum it really well.

I’m still hoping to get some sewing projects done before she’s born, because those will probably be laid on the back burner for quite a while:

* Finish “I Spy” bags for a busy bag swap, due next Wednesday

* Make picnic quilt (already cut out)

* Make my daughter’s rag quilt for her bed

The quilts will only get done if I have a major spurt of energy in the next few weeks.

Recently, I’ve been thinking that I really wish I knew more about my sewing machine. I know nothing about changing the tension and have never used any of the fancy stiches.  I got a walking foot for quiliting but have never figured out how to use it correctly.  Then, I found out about this FREE online sewing machine class! I’m not sure the timing is right for me at the moment :), but I definitely want to do this!

Become a Sewing Machine Master for Free!  Learn how to handle your sewing machine with the brand new, free, online Craftsy class, Sewing Machine 911, taught by Claudia Miller, sewing machine MD.  In this class, learn how to diagnose your machine’s symptoms and how to easily fix the most common issues, including jammed machines, top thread breaks, needle breaks, and more.  Claudia also explains the basic parts and functions of every machine.  Whether your machine is still in the box, you’re working on a hand-me-down, or even if you’re an experienced sewist who still struggles with tension, this is the class for you!  Plus, it’s free, so there’s nothing to lose.  Sign up for Sewing Machine 911 now!


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Car Seat Cover–Pinterest Challenge

I’m so excited that I was able to get this cute carseat cover made!  I love the sweet summery fabric with butterfiles and bees.  It will be perfect for covering up our little girl when we’re outside this summer. I found the tutorial for the cover here.





I’m linked up to Pinterest Challenge.

I'm Topsy Turvy


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