Zirrly Bead Review


*******Clarissa and I have seen some fun bead kits in stores over the past year. But they always need an iron to make the design permanent. We didn’t bring an iron to Korea (because I don’t iron). I even thought about buying an iron just to do these crafts with Clarissa. I was so excited when I found out about this Zirrly review! Clarissa and I get to create without needing an iron. We received the Super Beads Mega Pack because we couldn’t decide which individual projects we wanted to try.


Our pack included beads, four plastic bases, a plastic tool, two water spray bottles, and some design sheets with directions. We were surprised that the beads didn’t come pre-sorted. It wasn’t a huge problem though. We simply got out some bowls and sorted beads into bowls by color. We didn’t do the whole pack, but enough to do a few designs.


Next, Clarissa chose a pattern. She decided to try the apple. We placed the pattern design under the plastic base. We also put a pattern sheet next to our base so we could see the colors better. Then, we started placing the beads on the plastic base. It was pretty easy to do. Clarissa started with the green leaf. I did the outer edge and then we did the white inside together. Her little four year old fingers were big enough to do the job. She didn’t get too tired either.


After we finished, it was time to spray the design with water. The directions say to spray the entire design, but don’t “flood it with water.” Clarissa and I were both spraying, so we must have “flooded” it. This wasn’t a huge problem, except that it took longer to dry. It said it would take 60 minutes or more. Some of the project was dry. But the rest was sticky, so we decided to leave it overnight. It was dry enough in the morning.


While we were waiting for the apple to dry, Clarissa asked to do another one. This time, she chose the elephant. So we put a pattern under another base and started placing beads. She did the tail and then started to get tired. She did the white parts on the pattern and I did the rest.

We repeated our water spray with the elephant. Again, I think we sprayed too much. Clarissa checked on it before she went to bed and some of the beads were still sticky. Part of the tail came off as well as one of the white pieces. It wasn’t a huge problem, the directions say to just put them back on the base and spray again. We did that and in the morning both beaded creations were finished.

In all, we were really pleased with our projects. I am so happy that Zirrly came up with their Super Beads products. Now Clarissa and I can do bead projects without having to worry about an iron. I definitely recommend the Mega Pack that we received. There are also specialized packs you can order as well to make jewelry, 3D animals, or even cars and trucks. Feel free to click through the other reviews to see what others had to say about their individual packs.

Super Beads {Zirrly Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Parenting Made Practical Review


parenting made practical
This review is a little different. Most of the products that I have received to review so far have been for Clarissa to use. This time, Parenting Made Practical sent parenting resources for me. They sent me a DVD called Navigating the Rapids of Parenting and a book titled Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think. Both are great resources.

 Navigating the Rapids of Parenting is a DVD by Joey and Carla Link with two 45 minute sessions. The first session covers birth to middle school. The second session continues with middle school and goes through college age. They were easy to watch together in the same sitting.Navigating the Rapids of Parenting DVD

I appreciated this DVD series because it talked about how to parent children from a developmental standpoint but also used scripture to explain the Biblical perspective. I also liked how it progressed across different ages so that I can see what I should be working on now and what the goal is by the time Clarissa is 18. It provided several discussion points for Tim and I so that we can really talk about what we want Clarissa to learn before she “graduates” from our home as a young adult. I also appreciated how they encouraged parents to anticipate your child’s behavior, rather than just react to it. It takes some planning, but it will make life better for your family.

The main goal of the first phase of development (birth to 5 years old) is discipline. I want Clarissa to obey me and recognize my authority because then she will be able to obey God and recognize His authority. They talked about first time obedience. I want to work on Clarissa stopping what she is doing and coming to us when we call her. Then, we can give her an instruction. We tend to just start talking and get frustrated when she doesn’t do what we ask her to. Sometimes the problem is that she is busy playing and doesn’t hear the instruction. But if she has to stop what she is doing to come to us, she will definitely hear the instruction and be more likely to follow it. After we master this, we can move on to the attitude that she follows the directions. The Links said that at this age, the attitude isn’t as important as the obedience.

The goal of the second phase of development (the elementary school years) is training. This is the time to teach Clarissa our values and character. We should focus on things like the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and stewardship. They talked about how you teach these things in elementary school while they are still young and impressionable. If I wait until Clarissa is a teenager to teach her about modesty, she will have other influences fighting for her attention. But at this age, she is more likely to listen to me. I also need to explain why we believe these things so that she can understand them as well.

Once a child reaches middle school he starts to form his own belief system and question the authority of his parents. Carla and Joey recommend having your child read Growing Up Christian during this time to make them think through their beliefs. They also stressed that when a child enters middle and high school, youth group does not become a substitute for parenting. We should still be very involved with our children.

The goal of the third phase of development (high school/college) is coaching. This is a time for asking Clarissa questions instead of just teaching. We can have great discussions about what she is learning in church or her own quiet time. It may also be beneficial to be serving somewhere as a family or doing a mission trip together instead of just sending her on the youth group mission trip. This is a time to find ways for Clarissa to serve in ways that she is naturally gifted in. Some kids will exit this stage after high school. Some will be in it longer.

The Links said that once you become friends with your child, you have lost your authority. Don’t move them to friendship level with you until they can support themselves financially.

Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think Book

I started Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think by Joey and Carla Link on the flight home from Hong Kong. I realized on the plane that I do lecture Clarissa a lot and she does tune me out. So I was eager to read this book. I actually really enjoyed it and finished it the evening after we returned.

One main point of the book was to ask kids questions about his thoughts and behavior instead of just giving a lecture because it gets to the heart of why a child is doing a particular behavior. Another point was that giving an actual consequence (like taking away a privilege) instead of a lecture was more effective at changing behavior. The book also stressed modeling so that a child would know exactly what was expected of him.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • “Pointing out what your kids did wrong makes them feel like failures, and they lose their confidence in their ability to do anything right” (19).
  • “Teaching your kids to do what is right is one thing. To hold them accountable is quite another… Giving your kids consequences is holding them accountable for their actions” (28-29).
  • “Trying to talk kids into the right thing doesn’t work because your words aren’t going to motivate them to change. Lectures aren’t consequences” (88).
  • “Ask God to remove our blinders where our kids’ weaknesses are concerned and help us see the areas we need to work on… Plan to proactively teach your children how to turn a weakness into a strength” (91).
  • “Reminding your kids to get their stuff done is the flip side of lecturing” (137).

Some of the specific ideas in the book are geared toward older kids (age 8 and above), so I won’t be able to use all of these ideas yet. But I plan to try a few. The book also referenced another of their books Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave? so I may need to read that one next as it is geared toward younger kids like Clarissa.

In previous reviews, everyone on the review crew has reviewed the same item. This time, are many products available for review from Parenting Made Practical so I would recommend checking out some of the other posts so that you can see all of the resources that they offer.

Parenting Made Practical {Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

She is Yours


I have a stack of books in my room waiting to be read. My priorities this year were mainly to focus on God, Tim, and Clarissa. She is Yours: Trusting God as You Raise the Girl He Gave You by Jonathan and Wynter Pitts fit well into two of those categories.

The whole premise of the book is that our daughters really belong to God more than they belong to us. We get to raise them and participate in their lives. But ultimately, we have to trust that God will do His best for each of their lives.

The book has three parts: Her relationship with God, Her relationship with you, and Her relationship with the world around her. Each part is broken up into several chapters with things to focus on, scripture verses, and a prayer for reflection. It was easy to finish this book in about a month by reading a short chapter each day.

In her relationship with God, Jonathan and Wynter Pitts mention “Knowledge of God and knowing God can lead to very different life experiences” (35). That was very sobering for me. It is one thing for me to teach Clarissa about God. She has some head knowledge at this point. But it is entirely another for her to have a vibrant, growing relationship with Jesus. Ultimately, that is what will matter in her life. It doesn’t matter how many boundaries and rules I set up for her. She will miss out completely on God’s best if she doesn’t know God herself. At the same time, it was comforting to read, “drawing hearts to His presence is the Lord’s job, and that His call is just that–His call” (38). They discussed ways that they did family devotions in their home, family service projects, and sending their daughters to Christian summer camps.

I read the section on her relationship with me twice. The first time, I was really convicted that Clarissa needed more attention from me. Yes, we are home together most days, but how are we spending our time together? I decided to reread this section before moving on. “If you don’t take a step back to enjoy life with her, you can quickly get lost in a world of expectations and obligations–losing the happiness that rests in the joy of raising her” (101). They also talk about how if you have a relationship with your daughter, she is more likely to listen to your counsel as she grows. I like that idea that God gave Clarissa to me on purpose, that Tim and I are the ones who are most equipped to raise her. This section of the book also reminded me that Clarissa wants to spend time with me, not just because she needs my help. They also give several suggestions on how to be intentional about spending time with your daughter.

The third and final section was about how Clarissa will interact with people and places outside of our home. This part challenged me to really ask Clarissa about what she is thinking and feeling or why she did something instead of just responding to what I think is happening. I am reminded that in the times I have done that in the past, I usually understand why she did something that may not have been my favorite way for her to respond. Chapter 16 talks about dealing with fear in parents. It was really good. There is even a chapter about praying for your daughter’s husband.

The authors quote Tim Kimmel and say, “God has not called us to raise safe kids; He’s called us to raise strong ones. He hasn’t called us to raise popular kids; He’s called us to raise spiritually potent ones.” We don’t have to raise Clarissa the way that everyone around us is raising their kids. Actually, we’re not supposed to. God has a plan for each individual child, so raising her to be who God created her to be, will certainly look different for each girl. As Clarissa grows, I want to find ways for us to serve together as a family. She loves babies so I would not be surprised if we end up volunteering in the church nursery at some point. I also want my home to be a place that she can bring her friends to.

It was such a great book. I predict that I will reread it periodically, if not yearly. The prayers were great and specific for each chapter so I can go back if there is something in particular that I need to focus on.

2018 Goals


So in the fall, I realized that a lot of my friends sell something as a source of income. Oils, Beachbody, make-up, an etsy shop, whatever. Podcasters and bloggers have been talking about their word for the year and how they make money on their platform all the time. I, however, just stay home with my daugher, run my household, and blog when I feel like it.

Sometime in late November or early December, Pastor Al was teaching about purpose and conviction. I decided that I really wanted to be intentional about how I spent my time in 2018 and figure out what God really had for me to do this year. So I set it up with Tim that I would go spend some time at Starbucks one afternoon and plan my year. I brought my Bible, a calendar, some books, and a notebook. I was all set to think about how productive my year would be.

I wanted to spend some time in prayer and really hear from God, you know? So as I sat there and prayed and waited for Him to tell me what big things He wanted me to accomplish this year, this is what He said…

“Your priorities this year are spending time with ME, Tim, and Clarissa, and I also want you to focus on your health.”

Really, God? That’s what you want me to do this year?! Nothing big and fancy. Just my family and my health. Okay. I can do that.

I enjoyed my soy hot chocolate and quiet time. I thought about a few action steps for how I wanted to spend time with God and my family. The things I thought I could focus on in the health department. I brainstormed books that I already have on my Kindle or on my bookshelf that I have been meaning to read that fit in with those things.

I wrote a few things into my December and January calendars so that I could finish a Bible study I had already started and read a new book on my list. But it wasn’t anything major. Just a few things to do each week. And miraculously, I actually did them. Only having a few things on my to do list made it way easier to accomplish than having several goals to work towards.

I feel like I am already making more time for things that matter. The extra things that everyone else volunteers for or works for, aren’t a huge deal. I am just over here enjoying my mornings with God and making sure I have special times with Tim and Clarissa everyday. And I have already been to the Korean hospital to check off one of my health things for the year.

Tim and I also decided on a few financial goals to focus on this year that we are excited to work toward.

What are you going to focus on in 2018?

2017 Year in Review


I feel like 2017 flew by. It was quite an eventful year for us with plenty of changes, adventures, and blessings.

In January, Tim was TDY in Hawaii for a week. The army paid for his plane ticket, hotel, and gave him per diem for food. Even though Hawaii was not on our original bucket list for while we live in Korea, we decided that Clarissa and I should join him anyway. The two of us had a wonderful vacation while he worked. I was able to catch up with two friends from home who were living there. Clarissa made new friends and either went to the pool or the beach each day of our trip.

After our trip, Clarissa decided that she finally wanted to wear panties and be potty trained. That changed my backpack contents significantly.

In February, Clarissa and I went home for the first time in two years. We got to catch up with family and friends in Virginia. I was also able to attend my favorite women’s conference while we were there. We also went to see Tim’s family in Pennsylvania where we both had our first sledding experience.

In April, we moved from Daegu to Pyeongtaek for Tim’s new job. Our lifestyle is very different in our new city. In Daegu, we never found a church home but Clarissa and I regularly attended PWOC and the library storytime. In Pyeongtaek, we have a church home but we don’t attend PWOC or storytime.

In June, we spent a week exploring Seoul. We decided that we should stick to spring and fall vacations as it was very hot during our vacation so we spent a lot of time indoors enjoying air conditioning.

Clarissa and I attended Vacation Bible School on post in July. It was so different just showing up and being a small group leader than being director of the whole thing. I enjoyed it so much more. Clarissa had fun as well and made a new friend. There was also a preschool program specifically for her that made it less overwhelming than being with all of the big kids.

We also experienced our first monsoon season this summer. It rained a lot most days, which was a blessing since Korea had been in a drought the past three years. Humidity was high as usual, but it didn’t seem horrible as long as the past two summers here.

By summertime, Clarissa and I had established a routine of going to the farmer’s market for produce. In Daegu, we mostly shopped at the commissary. But here, there is a farmer’s market within walking distance twice a week, so we go there often.

This fall, a friend started a playground playgroup at our apartment complex. So we spent a lot of time playing outside with friends. There are four playgrounds in our complex. Clarissa’s favorite has a trampoline. Her second favorite has plenty of sand.

We also started officially homeschooling this year. Clarissa and I are working through the God’s Little Explorers preschool curriculum together and really enjoying it.

In November, we went on vacation to Okinawa. The 85 degree days felt so hot after the 50 degree fall days in Korea. But we still enjoyed our week of exploration. Clarissa even got to play in the water at the beach three times. I got to mark dressing like a geisha girl and exploring a cave off my bucket list.

Holidays were also different for us this year. Clarissa and I completed Truth in the Tinsel as usual. But we had more traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas meals with our church family. We took the train into Seoul for some exploring on both Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Made to Crave


It seems like accountability groups have become popular over the past couple of years. Especially in the online world. I was in an out of a few for a while about diet and exercise. But I would eventually get to the point where I was only worried about numbers and not health. So I would stop for a while and then decide I needed a change and get back into it. I needed something different.

This fall, a friend started an online book club for Lysa Terkeurst’s book Made to Crave. I am really glad that I decided to join. I feel like I have a lot more freedom in the area of health and wellness, even though I haven’t really lost any weight. This book has really helped to shift the way that I think about food being fuel and the way I see my body.

In the book, Lysa talks about her struggles with food in a way that most women probably understand. If I crave something not good for me, I can use it as a prompt to pray. The idea is that you can see your food cravings as something that can bring you closer to the Lord instead of a curse.

There were a few Bible verses and phrases that she kept coming back to that really spoke to me:

  • “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial…” 1 Cor. 6:10
  • “This feels good now, but how will I feel about it in the morning?”
  • “The ultimate goal of this journey isn’t about making me a smaller size, but rather making me crave Jesus and His truth as the ultimate filler of my heart. I am a Jesus girl who can step on the scale and see the numbers as an indication of how much my body weighs and not as an indication of my worth.”

Reading this book in a small group was helpful in trying to keep to a certain schedule in the reading. But I think that you can learn a lot by doing the book on your own as well. There are personal reflections for each of the 19 chapters. Everyone will get something different out of the book because we each have different experiences.

Truth in the Tinsel Take 4


Clarissa and I do a lot of holiday type things in December.

My mom usually sends us a gingerbread house kit for our anniversary. This year, it was a village. And we couldn’t get it to stay together. So we just had fun decorating the pieces. We ate some icing and candy, and then Tim ate some of the gingerbread.

We also make and decorate cookies. Though I will say, this year, Clarissa was way more conservative with the sprinkles than in years past.

When we made cookies for the second time, she decided to skip the sprinkles and try some icing. We had fun figuring that part out together.

But my favorite activity that we do in December is Truth in the Tinsel. Every year the experience is a little different.

The first year was really all for me. I enjoyed reading the Christmas story everyday. I feel like I learned a lot about Mary and Joseph as parents. The second year Clarissa was so excited to use scissors and cut out the ornaments. Last year, we were consistent at reading Bible stories and attempting crafts.

This year was all about the conversations. We took December off from her normal preschool curriculum in order to focus on Truth in the Tinsel. Clarissa was used to reading Bible stories several times per week so that wasn’t a big change for her. She even looked forward to crafts several days.

Some days we didn’t do crafts and had wonderful conversations about the stories.

The day we learned about Jesus’s name, I told her about how when she was still in my tummy, God told me she would be a little girl with great faith. So we named her Clarissa Faith which means “brilliant faith.” Now when she plays house, she says that God told her that her doll baby would have faith so she named her Clarissa.

Another day we talked about when Jesus went to the temple to be dedicated to the Lord. So we got out our photo albums and looked at the pictures from her dedication. We talked about how the pastor and our families prayed for Mommy and Daddy to be good parents and for Clarissa to love God.

The last lesson is about the cross. We celebrate Christmas because Jesus could not have died on the cross for our sins if He was never born. So we had this great conversation about how she used to just like God and not Jesus but now she is friends with Jesus too. (The reason she didn’t like Jesus is because she thought He didn’t listen to her because He wasn’t answering her prayers…)