March is Reading Month! {Giveaway}

{March is reading month. Help us celebrate with a giveaway!}
Do you read with your children? Reading aloud to your children at a young age can help encourage them to develop basic word knowledge, a greater imagination and a love for reading as they grow older. My husband and I always make it a point to read at least one book to our kids every night before bed. It has become a bit of a ritual in our house. Each night both of our kids will run into their bedrooms to grab the book they want to have read to them. They will then cuddle into our laps as we take them away to imaginative storybook lands. This time spent as a family is a special memory we will all share for a lifetime. Added bonus: If you have kids that fight going to sleep, reading to them before bed can help them to calm down and get in the mindset of bedtime.

With March being reading month our family wanted to share with you one of our new favorite books to read called Come Back Dear Sun by Geena Bean. Come Back Dear Sun is an adorable book that depicts a world with no sun. In the story the sun decides to move away and find a new place to live where she will be happy. She feels sad that the kids in her town no longer come outside to play with her. The children, who start to miss the sun after she leaves, write a letter asking her to please come back. In the letter the kids promise to start playing with her outside and she returns to once again brighten the skies. The children all decide that playing outside with the sun is much more fun than being indoors all day and promise to play with her everyday from then on.

I decided to ask my kids what they thought of the book to get a child’s perspective. Here is what they said.

Jane (age 5) says “I liked the book. I thought it was nice.”
Mom says “Dick, did you like this book tonight?” Dick (age 2) says “Yeah”

Geena Bean and Raising Dick and Jane want to encourage you to read with your kids and to help you get started are giving away a copy of the book Come Back Dear Sun to one lucky reader. It is a super cute book and I know your family will enjoy reading it together. So sign up to win, its easy.
Enter using the rafflecopter box below.

Be sure to check out Geena Bean’s website for more information and you can also purchase her book on Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
<3 Dick and Jane

Disclosure: Raising Dick and Jane was provided with one book to preview for this post. We were not paid for this post and all thoughts and opinions are our own. Our giveaway is being sponsored by Geena Bean.

The Sad Mommy Who Refuses to Take “Happy Pills”

Have you ever felt depressed? Depression is a totally natural thing. Everyone can feel blue from time to time, but its when that depression becomes a long term disabling feeling that it is cause for concern.
 
 
I don’t really ever recall feeling depressed until I got married and started having my kids. I can imagine that this would be caused by changing hormones, catering to someone elses needs 24/7 instead of your own, and increased stress of child rearing. Not to forget to mention that if you deciding to be a stay at home mom, you are now spending days in a row stuck in your home with a baby who cant talk back to you.  The lack of social interaction is enough to put anyone in a funk. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change my life with my kids for anything, but being a stay at home mom is not all fun and play. It is really hard work, long days and no break.
Lately I have been feeling a bit more blue than normal, but I am sure that this is caused by the weather here in Michigan. It has been a long winter and the snow does not seem to be slowing anytime soon. I am not much of a cold weather person, so I have been spending my days locked inside my house all day, every day. I know that I need to go outside and get active, but with the roads being snow covered and icy it does not make it all that easy. My lack of movement is leaving me feel unenergized, fat and depressed.
 
I recently started reading a book called Spontaneous Happiness by Andrew Weil, MD and it couldn’t have come to me at a better time. The book has been a big help in teaching me how to keep my winter “blues” from developing into something darker. The book begins by laying out reasons why people may get depressed. Understanding why you are feeling the way you do is the first step to learning how to combat these feelings. There are many factors that can contribute to sad feelings, many of which I described above in my own life. There are also medical reasons why someone feels depressed and the book talks about each reason in detail. I also have dealt with medical depression in the past and you can read about it on my previous post, Arggh, Im a Pirate.
 
So, now you know why you are feeling bad, but now what? I loved that this book listed numerous tested techniques that you can easily perform on a daily basis to help increase your mood and deal with the negative thoughts naturally (without medication). It listed techniques such as meditation, helping others, changing your diet and so much more. I would love to list out all of the techniques here on my blog and tell you what you can do to change your mood for the long term, but I cant. I think you would get the most benefit by reading the entire book yourself.  I can tell you though that it is worth your time. I truly enjoyed reading this book and have seen an improvement in my overall mood since I started reading. Now, if I can just get the sun to come out here in Michigan, or find a way to get to Florida, I think I will be alright.
 
Want to know where you can get the book Spontaneous Happiness: A New Path to Emotional Well-Beingso you can kick the mommy blues out of your life? You can currently find Andrew Weil, MD’s publication on sale at Amazon at the following link.
 

 
Be Happy
<3 Dick and Jane
 
Disclosure; I was provided with a free copy of the book featured above with the hopes that I would want to talk about it on my blog. I was not compensated for my post and all thoughts are my own and have not been persuaded positively by the gift of this book.

A Happy Money Marriage – How Do You Get There?

As we are coming to a close on our Valentines themed posts, I thought that the advice in this post would come in handy for those of us who are already married and trying to keep happiness alive.  Did you know that money causes 70% of divorces each year. Whether or not you believe me, money is at the root of every relationship. It is a part of our everyday life. When we are first married we dream about how our life is going to be. We dream about our house, our kids and our retirement. What do we need to make these dreams come true? Money. And when our dreams are shattered because we cant afford to make them a reality, who do we blame? Yep, the one sitting beside us. Our spouse.
Everyone handles and views money differently. Some think about money all the time and want to save as much as it as possible, while others never think about money. They buy what they want and assume it will always be there. When you pair up two people who see money differently there is bound to be conflict brewing.
I recently read a book titled The 5 Money Personalities By Scott Palmer and Bethany Palmer. This book talked about how each person sees and handles money differently. It helped me to understand why I feel the way I do about our funds and why my husband feels like he is on a totally different planet. While the book was a bit repetitive, it did have a lot of good advice to offer. It does not focus on how to fix your budget but how to change your relationship to work together to create the life you desire. Once you are on the same page or at least know how to respect your partners view on money you can find a way to budget your funds. However if you continue to fight over money you will never accomplish the goals you set.

Several years ago my husband and I hit a hard place. He lost his job, we lost our house and every last penny we had. Instead of allowing it to get us down, we worked together and found a way to rebuild our lives. There are a few things that we did that I think helped out a lot. Some may work for you and others may not. Decide as a couple what you think you can implement and then work together to make it happen.

1. Be transparent about your money with your spouse. NEVER open credit cards, bank account, etc without them knowing. When they find out, they will feel betrayed.
2. Open a savings account to accompany your checking account. Set up pre-authorized transfers each week into your savings. Pretend the savings does not exist! Don’t use the funds unless it is an emergency. No, a new phone is not an emergency.
3. Cut back on spending. You do not need a TV in every room of the house. You do not need new clothes. If you don’t have it, don’t spend it!
4. Food and Shelter should be your main focus.
5. If you want something, save for it first. Buy it with cash, not credit.
These things are just my rules and have helped me get to where I am today. Every situation is different, but working as a couple to decide whats best for you is important. Also, read the book. It has some really great input on how to come together as a couple when tackling a budget. It may help save your marriage.
“Money does not equal happiness, but it does play a role in whether our dreams turn into a reality or not”
– The 5 Money Personalities
<3 Dick and Jane

Disclosure: I recieved this book Free for review purposes from booksneeze.com. All opinions are my own.

Home Gardening Help from the book Backyard Gardening

Two years ago I dug up a large section of my backyard to plant a garden.  I wanted to produce fresh food for my family that is free from GMOS, pesticides, and would also help save our family money so we could eat better. That year, I ended up pregnant and my garden fell to shambles. I did not have the energy to tend to it as it needed. The spiders and bugs took over the plants to such an extreme that I was scared to go near the garden. Some plants wouldn’t take root and died off. Overall it was just a disaster.  So last year I attempted to do a smaller container garden that I could easily tend to with my two young children, and it worked out pretty well. However the yield was not great enough to feed my family, only to occasionally supplement a meal.  So this year I am going to try the large garden again, but I am not going into it uneducated!

I have recently started reading the book Backyard Farming in hopes to gain the knowledge about farming that I have never been taught and definitely does not come naturally to me.  I was both excited and astounded by the knowledge this book packs. It covers everything you would need to know to start a garden such as how to  check the soil to see if it is good growing soil. If you find that it is not  good soil the book shows you how to naturally change the balance to produce greater yields and allow your plants to survive. The book also covers tips and tricks on how to keep the pests at bay naturally in your garden so it doesn’t get taken over by bugs like mine did.  I also learned more about the plants I wanted to grow and how to preserve my bounty to feed my family through non growing times, such as winter in Michigan. The book also opened my eyes to new gardening options that I have not yet tried, such as raising chickens!

 
Since reading this book my excitement to get started on my new garden has risen.  I just cannot wait to get out into my backyard and start growing!  I have already began drawing a diagram with help from the Backyard Farming book and deciding where I am going to start digging in the spring. This is a photo of my backyard now. Just wait until spring and I will show you what this is going to become!
 
 
As you can see I have a large space in my yard that is unused. I also have this great fence which I have learned from the book is an excellent spot to grow vegetables vertically! (Yes, it shows you how to do this too!)
 
I hope that you will follow along with me as I turn this ordinary backyard into a healthy go-to grocery store right outside my back door. Can you feel my excitement??
Here is even more to be excited about! Since this book is being newly released there are a lot of opportunities to get involved and get free items.

Ways to gain free bonuses:

Want to buy this book and join me in a gardening adventure this spring?
 
Thanks for joining us today! Want to share a photo of your garden with the other readers? Submit your photos to be featured in the Reader Gallery to Raisingdickandjane@yahoo.com
 
<3 Dick and Jane
Disclosure: I was provided with a book to review free of charge with hopes that I would post about it on my blog. All opinions in this post are my own.