10 Things that Girls Love to Call Their Own

I wanted more girls, but I have been blessed with only one. My daughter is such an incredible learner, and always happiest when she has tools that will help her learn more about her interest.  It didn't take me long to see that there were several things that she quickly wanted to be able to call her own.

10 Things that Girls Love to Call Their Own | www.joyinthehome.com

10 Things that Girls Love to Call Their Own

  1. Music – This is probably one of the most important things in my daughter's life. We purchased an MP3 player earlier in her teens because she always was singing. Prior to that we were always giving her CDs of her favorite artists, but now we only get her iTune gift cards to keep that love going strong.
  2. Sewing Machine – When our daughter turned 12, we gave her a sewing machine, mostly so she would leave mine alone. She was so happy to make all kinds of things and even help with mending clothes if it was needed. She enjoyed sewing more than I did, so this was a perfect gift for her and now she has something for her own home.
  3. Recipe Book – My daughter hated to help in the kitchen, even though she was an amazing cook. One year, she got a recipe book ‘for her own recipes' and next thing I know she was asking my friends for their recipes and her attitude about helping in the kitchen changed. She only puts the recipes that she likes in there and is creating a wonderful tool for her own home.
  4. Knitting Loop – My daughter loved to have her own knitting loop! She was always making hats for the new babies that were coming into our family or friend's family. This is one things that she thought girls would enjoy to have for themselves, as it adds hours of creative fun with very little to learn.
  5. Calligraphy Kit – My daughter loves to make things pretty. Giving her a calligraphy kit was a great way for her to experiment with creating beautiful letters for one of her favorite things to do… writing.
  6. Stamping Kit – The love of writing was always fun when our daughter was busy at creating her own cards with rubber stamps. She loved to make thank you, thinking of you, get well and congratulation cards, as well as birthday cards. She enjoyed having her own stamps to use and keep in her room, away from her busy brothers that didn't always take care of things properly.
  7. Stationary – Letter writing was a favorite activity for my daughter, and still is in her 20's.  She always loved having her own pretty paper and envelopes to write to her friends. We even would give her a book of stamps for her own.
  8. Pens – This is something that I should have done sooner! I was always losing my favorite pens. When my daughter was busy with making her cards or writing to friends, she wanted to use my colorful pens. She was so happy when we invested in some gel pens that were all for her.
  9. Jewelry – Girls grow to be women, so of course, jewelry is something that would be on the list of what she would desire to call her own. Earrings, necklaces and anklets are all important to her. She loved when we bought her tools to make her own jewelry.
  10. Digital Camera – It doesn't take long for a girl to fall in love with taking photos. Today, with the cell phones, digital photography is easy, however for many girls, they desire to take more professional photos. Our daughter filled out when we purchased her Nikon camera. What a great way to invest in her interest for many years to come, while she became the family photographer, again and again.

If you love this list, you may enjoy seeing my list of 10 Things that Boys Love to Call Their Own

10 Things that Boys Love to Call Their Own | www.joyinthehome.com



10 Things that Boys Love to Call Their Own

We have three boys, all at different ages – 18, 12 and about to turn 5.  One thing that I have learned about boys is that they have certain things they they love to call their own. I find it amazing that these items tend to be things that men cherish and desire to own as well. Kinda proves that boys will be boys and that they should be allow to enjoy hours of outdoor time to work on the skills that men will desire.

10 Things that Boys Love to Call Their Own | www.joyinthehome.com

10 Things Boys Love to Call Their Own

  1. Pocket Knife – This is the first of all knives for boys and once they have their first one, they will cherish it because it means they are trusted to be more like their daddy and that speaks volumes to their heart. If you family is like ours, the little boys will grow impatient for their first knife and you may want to appease them with their own toy pocket knife.
  2. Hunter Knife – When a boy becomes hunting age (12 in our state), they will want to have their own hunting knife and they should.
  3. BB Gun – A BB gun is much like a pocket knife to boys. It is the one that is first entrusted to them. Learning target practice will be a great skill for the hunting years.
  4. Sling Shot – My sons have always become interested in the sling shot once they learn the story of David and Goliath. They use rocks and marbles to hit targets. This is always the first step before guns for our boys.
  5. Bow and Arrows – If your sons have every read or watched Robin Hood, a bow and arrow is quick on their wish list. Targets attached to hay bundles work for a great target practice or you can buy one, as does cardboard boxes when first learning. My almost 5 year old has a great eye and is getting really close to the bull eyes. Of course, he is supervised and loves it!
  6. Ax – Thanks to the love of Daniel Boone and Davy Crocket, the love of an ax grows quickly for a little boy. We have a rule that when they work to cut down a tree, it must be with supervision and ones that they can hold their hands together while wrapping it around the tree. As their hands grow, so do the options of trees.
  7. Hammer – Daddy is their hero and once they see him swinging his hammer, they are hooked! Hammers are a must for all boys, regardless of the age!
  8. Whittle Set – Creating their own wooden project is something that every boy with a pocket knife things about because they get tired of whittling the ends of sticks. These are a great hobby for them to learn for those longer days of winter.
  9. Airsoft Gun – If you boys are attached to video games, I would recommend some airsoft gear and an open place for boys to be their own game. My oldest son still enjoys this activity even after 5 years. He may never grow out of it.
  10. Binoculars – Once they get into the hunting ages, boys will want to have their own set of binoculars. However, ours have loved doing nature studies and watching for birds.

These have been some of the best things we have done for our boys! Well that and a lot of free afternoons to work on these skills.

If you like this post, you may also enjoy 10 Things that Boys Should Do When They Are Young

10 Things Boys Should Do When They Are Young - The imagination of boys are worth tapping into while they are young. | www.joyinthehome.com



10 Audios Your Family Should Own

When our older children were very young, we started investing in audio books for our family. This has been one of the best investments that we have made in raising our children, as our younger ones are still listening to them today… and loving them.

We have invested in more than 10 audios, but this will be a list of our top ten that I know your family would enjoy as well.

10 Audios Your Family Should Own | www.joyinthehome.com

10 Audios Your Family Should Own


Sugar Creek Gang | www.joyinthehome.com

The Sugar Creek Gang is one of our favorite audio series that includes adventure, suspense and wholesome values for the whole family.

The Sugar Creek Gang audio book series features this well known group of boys who always find a mystery to solve and an adventure to be had. Your boys will love falling asleep listening to these stories, or let the whole family listen on your next long car ride, even mom and dad will like to listen!

There are six audio sets in this series. We love to add a new series every Christmas and is a perfect gift for the family or an item to share with grandparents or other family that love to give gifts for holidays and birthdays.




Jonathan Parks | www.joyinthehome.com

Jonathan Park is amazing! My children learned so much about creation, and why evolution doesn't make sense just from these audios. Our whole family loves them and often will listen to these on long trips. I have even missed a turn to NY, which I know the way like the back of my hand, but I was so into the audio that I wasn't realizing that I missed the exit.

Each adventure is based on real places and scientific discoveries– all designed to build your faith!


Sir Malcolm | www.joyinthehome.com


Sir Malcolm and the Missing Prince is from Lamplighter Publishing, which are one of my favorite kinds of books to read to my children. Their CDs are a new product and AMAZING!

A bold intervention by the King's most trusted knight could prove to be the cure for an unfitting heir to the throne. Far from the walls of the palace, will an unworthy prince learn what it means to be an entrusted king? Dare to join Finnian as he ushers Thomas into the legendary world of Sir Malcolm and the Missing Prince, a place of adventure and undeniable truth. 



Hedge of Thorns | www.joyinthehome.com



The Hedge of Thorns is another Lamplighter Publishing products. The message in this audio is powerful for all ages.

John is determined to find out what is on the other side. And that which is forbidden makes his quest all the more irresistible! Desperate to break through the hedge, he devises a plan that unknowingly places his little sister in perilous danger. In a moment of passion and disregard for his parents' warnings, John does the unthinkable-and learns the hard lesson that there are grave consequences to crossing the boundaries that God has set for him. This unforgettable lesson has left an indelible mark on his life and will leave the same upon those who hear this story!



Charlies Choice | www.joyinthehome.com
Charlie's Choice is from the Lamplighter Publishing collection. One of my favorite books about the importances of good choices.

Hold on to your seat because you are about to take a journey with Charlie, a boy of adventure and risk. Dissatisfied with his lot in life, Charlie dreams of a better future, where money can cure all ills. He dreams of living in luxury and ease, and is determined to make his dreams come true!




The Captive | www.joyinthehome.com


The Captive another of the wonderful collections from Lamplighter Publishing is one with suspense and adventure, with a lesson tucked inside.

Kidnapped by Algerian pirates, our recent graduate Anselmo finds himself on a merciless slave ship heading to the auction block in a foreign country. Having escaped the cruelty of his first master and the death grip of the desert, Anselmo is taken captive by a new master, where he finds mercy as well as condemnation.






The Pilgrims Progress | www.joyinthehome.com The Pilgrim's Progress is a timeless book full of Biblical allegories. This audio is a dramatization of the unabridged book. Your entire family will love how this book will come to life and bring them into the story. Truly, one of my favorite!

I have amazing memories of this playing on a trip and seeing my husband's tears run down his face from the moving story that symbolizes our perilous journey.  Then my children wanting their daddy to reenact some of their favorite parts, at one of our local playground.






The Pilgrim's Progress: Part Two Christiana | www.joyinthehome.comThe Pilgrim's Progress: Part Two Christiana is a must listen to after your family listens to the first part. My children needed to know what happen to Christian's family and we all loved it!

The journey is full of adventure and suspense with victories to celebrate.






Hinds' Feet on High Places | www.joyinthehome.comHinds' Feet on High Places is similar to the Pilgrim's Progress, as it is written in allegory format.

“Oh, if only I could escape from his Valley of Humiliation altogether and go to the High Places.” It is with this cry that Much-Afraid, crippled and disfigured, begins her journey, leaving her Fearing relatives behind, and pressing on the Realm of Love. As the Chief Shepherd explains, no Fears can live in this realm, because “perfect love casts out fears and everything that torments.”





Living Principles of America | www.joyinthehome.comLiving Principles of America is a one of a kind CD series consisting of 36 CDs that are dramatized to share our American history from Columbus through some of our most famous inventors like Edison and Ford.

This has been one investment that we will be making for a second time, since our first ones were cassettes and they are growing tired and worn from the hours of enjoyment that our family has received from this series.



7 Ways to Bless Your Pastor

7 Ways to Bless Your Pastor | www.joyinthehome.com

Who doesn't love their pastor? Often times, pastors are just taken for granted because they are called to service for the church. I would love to encourage you, as a church goer, to bless your pastor.

Pastors are human and get discouraged, stressed and overwhelmed. They need more than just our prayers and finances. They need us, as much as we need them.

7 Ways to Bless Your Pastor

  1. Invite them to Dinner – Serve your pastor a cooked meal at your home or take them out after church on a whim. The time around the table is so personal and the conversation can be incredibly encouraging to everyone. Laugh together! Our pastor is one of the funniest people I know and he loves to laugh. Laughter is the best medicine and most pastors won't share with their congregation when they are sick or needing some encourage.
  2. Send them a Card – If God has placed a scripture or word on your heart for your pastor, send it to him in a card. We all love getting cards with personal notes in them and our pastors are no different!  Even if you don't have some purpose in writing a card, just a ‘thinking of you' card can be the very thing your pastor may need to be joyful in his never ending duties.
  3. Raise Money for a Vacation – Pastors are some of the most frugal people I know and their vacations are often connect with visiting family or even a mission trip of some sort. Going around privately to the members of your church for a donation to send your pastor and his wife on a surprise get away just for themselves to be refreshed, I would encouraged you to do so. Even Jesus went away for his own refreshment!
  4. Do a Work Day at His House – This can be something you schedule with him or just show up. Landscaping or pressure washing the outside of the house or painting some shutters isn't invading on what is going on inside and will be a quick way to let his neighbors know that good people live in that house and will uplift the spirits of the family inside.
  5. Drop a Gift Card in His Bible – Gift cards are a great way to express your love and allow them to have a time with their family at one of their favorite restaurants, fill up their car with fuel or buy the tool of his choice.  The gifting without being seen is one of the best ways to encourage a servant of the Lord!
  6. Throw a Church Wide Appreciation Dinner – Get everyone involved in celebrating the pastors of your church by coming together with an appreciation dinner. Special music, a powerpoint presentation highlighting their lives and sacrifices to His kingdom and even a table for thoughtful gifts can be a few elements to give your pastors a time of appreciation and love as a whole congregation.
  7. Inspiration Item to Use Often – I love to give a coffee cup with an encouraging scripture or a plater with a strong message that when it is used will remind my pastors how much they mean to our family time and time again.

Moms Night Out - Host a Church Movie | www.joyinthehome.com

7 Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Photos

7 Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Photos www.joyinthehome.com
I remember the day when my daughter gave me a personalized calendar for my birthday.  I think I cried!  Okay, I did cry, but it is because I'm the romantic, sentimental kind of women. Since then, this has become an anticipated gift and one that I cannot wait ti receive.

My mom is turning 70 this year and I'm going to bless her with some of these good things that I know will have her reaching for her tissues, because the apple doesn't fall from the tree.

What I love about these gift ideas for your favorite photos is that you can do them for anytime of the year and they will be cherished forever.

Here is my list of 7 gifts ideas:

My own calendar gift www.joyinthehome.com

  1. Calendars – You will need about 20-50 good quality photos to make your calendar amazing.  My children and husband write a special note to me on the month that their birthday falls in and my husband adds another one in the month of our anniversary.  Tear jerkers for sure and yet, the cherry on top!  Although most people think of calendars for January through December, you can also create them for teachers for September through August or for birthday gifts starting in the month they were born.  I love it when my daughter adds scriptures or quotes pertaining to that month.  Treasures and keepsakes!How to Turn Homeschool Field Trips into Keep Sakes www.joyinthehome.com
  2. Photo Books – I absolutely love my photo books and have done different themes to organize my photos, vacations and even homeschooling items. Just like a calendar, you would want to have a minimum of 20-50 good quality photos.  You can personalize these with notes, scriptures, quotes, poems, old letters and more. You really can be incredibly creative with these and make a personal gift that will be cherished forever and always.
  3. Mugs – If you have a coffee, tea or hot beverage lover in your life, this is the perfect gift to add a favorite photo to and knock the socks off them at the same time. Knowing my mom is 400 miles away from us, this is one gift that I know she will enjoy when her heart is really missing us and it could use a little warming! (Not to mention a calendar and even a photo book… remember she is turning 70!)
  4. Planners – If you are a homeschooling mommy, this will make your list for sure, but this is a gift idea to give to others.  So, why not personalize this planner for a love one, adding birthday dates for the whole extended family.  You could add inspirational thoughts for your love one to enjoy as they enter things that are important for them to plan and organize.My personal mouse pad www.joyinthehome.com
  5. Mouse Pads – Again, I remember the time that I was blessed with my own mouse pad with my beautiful family on it.  Yep, I cried with this one, too!  It sits nicely on my desk and I often think of the times when these photos were taken and making me remember to take time to enjoy those that I love dearly.
  6. iPad Cases – You know how important it is to protect your electronics, so this gift idea just makes it so special to have one of your favorite photos displayed on the case, allowing you to take that moment with you.  Anyone would be so excited to get one of these for any special day of the year… or just to say, “I love you!”
  7. Playing Cards – Our family loves games and cards is just one of the things that we love to play. These make a great stocking stuffer or a gift for others who love to play cards.


Tiny Prints Holiday Card Collection

A Gift Guide for Toddlers

There is so much wonder in toddlers that many times the box is more interesting than what comes inside.  I just love this age!  This gift guide for toddlers consists of age appropriate gifts that will grow with the child, and will bring wonder and excitement to them, even after the box has made its way to be recycled.  I know because they have worked for mine!

A Gift Guide for Toddlers - Gift ideas that will grow with your child. | www.joyinthehome.com

A Gift Guide for Toddlers

These gift suggestions are ones that will encourage the toddler to create, imagine and explore, while providing hours of fun.


MEASURE UP!® Cups by Discovery Toys

MEASURE UP!® POTS and SPOONS by Discovery Toys

Melissa & Doug Geometric Stacker

Melissa & Doug Lace and Trace Pets

Melissa & Doug Primary Lacing Beads


Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Safari Chunky Puzzle

Plan Toy Geometric Sorting Board

Fisher-Price Little People Noah's Ark

Fisher Price Little People Nativity, Wise Men & Shepherds Playsets (3)