Giant Advent Calendar

Making this was a labor of love and I couldn’t have done it without help from my amazing husband. Thank you love!
This idea is inspired by the chocolate advent calendars we get our children each year and came to me about a month ago. There was a lot of thought that had to go into making this. I debated on cutting up cardboard boxes, using canvas or even buying the storage bins made for this size cube shelf but ended up choosing to use foam board as it’s a more sturdy and inexpensive option.
Overall this project took about 2-3 hours to make since we had to trace and cut out all the shapes, wrap them all, then figure out how we wanted them in the shelf, putting the perfect bows on and finally placing them all. Oh and of course filling them!
Below is what you would need to make this for your home! Don’t want to make this for the full 25 days? Why not make a smaller version for the 12 days of Christmas? I also made a video all about this for our first day of Vlogmas! Check it out here!

What you’ll need:

~13 (20″x 30″) Foam Board Pieces
~4-5 Different wrapping paper rolls
~Bag of Bows
~Box Cutter
~Ruler/Measuring Tape
~Whatever you want to fill it with!
~A cube shelf or three! I used the IKEA KALLAX 5×5 cube shelf that can be found here.

How to make it:

~Measure out the size you need (for this shelf you will need them to be 13″x 13″) and cut! Each foam board will get you two squares.
~Wrap six boards in one of the four colors. Wrap the last board in the 5 color.
~Fill your shelves and make a graph of the order you would like them opened.
~Figure out how you want them placed and add bows.
~Place them in the shelf! Be careful not to push too much on them or the wrapping could tear.
~Stand back and Enjoy!

Cost breakdown- Full Price:

~Form Boards $3.49 each (Joann)
~Wrapping paper 3 pack $5.98 (Walmart)
~Wrapping paper single pack $2.48 (Walmart)
~Bag of Bows 40 pack $5 (Target)
~Tape set of three $5.99 (Joann)
Total $67.30

Cost breakdown- What I paid on sales/ with coupons:

~Form Boards $1.19 each (Joann)
~Wrapping paper 3 pack $5.98 (Walmart)
~Wrapping paper single pack $2.48 (Walmart)
~Bag of Bows 40 pack $3 (Target)
~Tape set of three $2.49 (Joann)
Total $29.42!!
Now imagine if you get all the supplies for next year once the season is over! I bet you can get it under $15! Plus you are left with plenty of wrapping paper, bows and tape to finish wrapping all the gifts!


January Healthy Goals Download

Need some ideas on how to stay active? Every month I’m posting some quick ideas for those days you can’t get a full work out in or maybe for those who want to add a little more to their workouts. Download this photo, make it your screen background, print it, or just have it saved on your phone to look at when you need an idea. Follow it however you wish. Want to fill in your own goals? A blank one is provided below! Check back each month for new ideas and inspiration! Follow #stayingactive2020 to see what I’m up too as well as others who are joining in. Post with #stayingactive2020 so I can follow your journey as well!

Jumping Jacks

I’m sure most of us know these but here is a video on proper form. We don’t want to get hurt! Jumping Jacks are a great full body workout that can be done almost anywhere.


New to lunges? Click here to see the proper way to do them! These are amazing as a beginner and have lots of variations to make them fit into any workout.


We all know these! Squats are honestly my favorite thing to do when I’ve been sitting for a while. Just get up and get some done! Remember the tips found in this video.


These are fun! What I love about all of this months exercise ideas is that you don’t need to leave your home or have any equipment to do them yet your still going to get a good workout by adding any of them to your daily life. Here is a quick clip showing you how to get these done!

Calf Raises

Feel the burn with calf raises! You can do these while in line at the grocery store, with your other workouts, or even while watching YouTube. Have you seen my channel yet? Check it out here! And don’t forget to check your form with this clip.

Please check with your doctor before starting any new exercises. Remember to stay hydrated!

All the proper form videos I have linked above are found on YouTube and are not owned by me.

Click on the photos above to save them for your own use. Please use #stayingactive2020 when sharing this post or photos from this post.

This post and photos/downloads have been made by Emma at Of Sparrows & Butterflies.

Frozen 2

We went and saw it as a family: the sequel we have all been anxiously waiting for. Anxious because sequels don’t always hold up to their previous counterparts and yet excited because we want more, more of the fun loving, catchy songs that will be sung for years to come. While this movie didn’t disappoint, a warning, don’t go into it expecting anything but to be filled with the awe of magic and wonder that Disney offers.
If you’ve not seen the first one, I’m not sure how you’ve made it this long. Maybe you don’t have kids, don’t have a Disney loving family, or maybe you just simply don’t like joy in your life. I kid, kinda… Whatever your reason I can no longer hold back the spoilers, but lets be honest, if you haven’t seen it by now, you probably won’t. It’s a tale of two sisters who grew up together yet apart out of fear of Elsa’s magical powers hurting Anna. We learn they lost their parents and see Elsa’s powers get stronger, living in fear of them she runs away. Hoping to protect her sister she keeps her struggles to herself. Anna being the fun loving, optimist that she is, follows her sister into the unknown. We see a love story start, fall apart, and another start. Through it all we hear songs that I know you’ve heard even if you haven’t seen it (Let it go anyone?). Through it all we come to a happy ending, one with questions we want answers to but still happy. The story, even though there is a small love story in it, isn’t about romantic love but rather about the importance of family and sibling relationships.
Ok, now that we’ve covered that, lets move into this next movie. The story continues the main theme of family while exploring a little more into the love story of Anna and Kristoff with funny moments of miscommunications and an epic ballad where Kristoff pours out his heart. We get all the answers to the questions we had from the first one (such as what actually happened to their parents and how does Elsa have magic? Where did it come from? And most importantly, why?) While I’m not going to spoil everything for you, there is one part of the movie I really want to tall about.
There is this one song, a point in the movie that is so relevant to our everyday lives. Anna hit rock bottom(quite literally), is in an actual hole as well as an emotional one as EVERYTHING, and I mean EVERYTHING and EVERYONE in her life is gone. Everything she holds close to her heart, everything worth living for, is gone. It’s in this moment, when hope is gone that her song starts. It talks about the dark shes felt before (her parents death) and how this is far worse. The song perfectly shares how depression feels to a lot of us. It reaches out to those in the darkest of moments and just lets you know, you are not alone.
“You are lost, hope is gone
But you must go on
And do the next right thing”

And then it gives a simple yet hard to follow instruction to help bring you (and Anna) though this deep darkness. The next right thing. Whatever that is, whatever it looks like for you, the next right thing is all you have to do. Don’t look to far ahead, don’t look to the past. Maybe in this moment your next right thing is simply to get out of bed or get dressed. Maybe its to just make it to work today. Maybe it’s just to let someone know how you’re actually doing. Do YOUR next right thing.
Unlike Disney movies, life doesn’t always have a happy ending. As I write this, I personally know several people who are struggling to see the light at the end of this tunnel. As I talk about this, I feel ok with myself but I know at any moment the darkness can creep back in. I beg of you, take the next right step right now. It will be hard, it may exhaust you, it may feel like it’s pointless. But all those right steps will add up and start to make a difference. Sure it probably won’t happen as fast as it did for Anna but we can start to add some magic and wonder back to our lives little by little.

You can listen to the full song here.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER!

Have you ever taken a bite of something and just knew you would never have another like it? That’s what happened when I made these cookies. Now, those who know me know that I don’t really enjoy cooking or baking, so trying new recipes bring on anxiety because they very rarely work out for me and I feel like I’ve just wasted time and money on something that was a fail (ok they normally aren’t a complete fail, we can eat it, its just not what I wanted it to be). So when I got the random urge to make some cookies and followed that by wanting to try a new recipe since I really haven’t loved the one I’ve been using, I went for it. Click here to see recipe I tried, I even tried Karen’s trick with the spoons and it really worked! Now I did make a change to the very end. After I did the spoon trick and added a few extra chips to the tops, I put them back in the oven for one and a half minutes. This helped to melt those chips on the top and gave them a better look and made the gooeyness cook up a little better. I cooked up half the batch and put the rest in the freezer for another day. If you try this recipe, let me know how you chose to do them! Sometimes just one little difference is what makes them perfect.



Welcome to Of Sparrows & Butterflies! My name is Emma (wife, mom, military spouse, homeschool teacher, chef, and maid are just some of my titles). With a family and home to care for, my life, as is yours I’m sure, is crazy and fun. Here I write about so many things, but they all have to do with family, friends, home, homeschooling, or the most important, a daily walk with the Lord. I hope you will join me in this wonderful journey called life and find the joy hidden around every corner.

School in the park? Why not?

One of the many benefits to homeschooling is that we don’t have to do school in a classroom setting, we can do it on the couch, on our beds, at the kitchen table, in a designated homeschool room, on the computer, or even out and about! Some places we have found that make school fun is the park, the zoo, and the car!
 We take a few pages or books with us and play on the playground to get some of the energy out and have fun. Then we take a snack /drink break and work on the school pages or books we brought with us. Being outside doing it feels great and since the kids are eager to get back to playing they focus on the school and get it done faster.




 Find a spot to eat lunch and pull out a book or some activity pages they need to get done for a break from walking and a time to regroup our minds. Again being outside is great!

 This year we have lots of driving we are doing every week and they are good chunks of time not just ten minutes here and there. With this in mind I decided to do the big chunk of our history in the car. We will be using “Story of the World” this year and instead of reading the book I got it on CD so we can listen to the stories as we drive and we will do the activity book at home. This will help make the load of stuff we need to do every day easier and help the drive time go by faster and not feel like a waste of time.  A few other things we will be listening to in the car include “The Narnia Series”, Awana CD’s, Chinese language learning CD’s, history facts, and math facts.

Where are some places you like to do school with the kids? (Trampolines make for great math fact reviews and exercise!)

Hearts for Home Blog Hop

Isaiah 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Dry-Erase Learning Book Review and Giveaway!

Today I am giving a simple review of “Dry-Erase Learning Book” by The Board Dudes!

*This photo was taken from*

This dry-erase learning book has been perfect for Goober to use for practicing his letters, numbers, shapes, and learning basic math as well as having a nice space to draw without using up all of mommy’s printer paper! The 6 pages are very colorful each with a theme that makes each page fun to look at and do. We started using this in preschool for fun then in Kindergarten it became an everyday quiet time activity. Now that Goober is in first grade it is mostly used for the doodle section and sometimes he will just go do the other pages for fun. When we need a review of a letter or two we go back to this. It has held up very well but I have had to replace the marker once as it did end up drying out. But you can use any dry-erase marker so that wasn’t an issue. If using a paper towel or cloth to erase the marker, I would do that within the first hour as after that it seemed to need to be scrubbed off. I go to the the point that Goober, once finished with his page, will dry it off right away. 
Overall this is a product I would highly recommend for anyone with a preschooler or Kindergartner. 

***I was not asked to do this review nor was I given this product either for myself or for the giveaway. I do not make any money from you reading this post, however if you follow the Amazon link and buy this product I will make a little as an Amazon Affiliate. Thank you for your support.***
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Isaiah 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Fun with Wacky Lab

The other day we pulled this off the shelf (finally) and got busy digging for rocks. The kids loved it and I thought it was a great kit. But there are some things that I didn’t really think through that made this harder then it needed to be. Mommy’s thinking cap was not working right that day :). 

These are the fun tools that came with the kit. Goober loved them so much that he was trying to break bricks with them… I sent him to do it to the Lego sets instead and that worked so much better!

So by this point you should be able to see two things I should have done differently…. one, DO IT OUTSIDE!!!! And two, don’t use a brown bag or even the newspaper they suggest. Use what I was going to use in the first place, either a box or a disposable aluminum foil baking pan. Not sure why I didn’t go with my gut on this….

And then the third BIG mistake I made… I answered a business phone call…. 

…and came back to this….

…all over the table, floor, couch, and even footprints in the kitchen…

Thankfully it was all easy to clean up, it just took as long to do as it did for them to do the whole thing…. Someone told me after doing their kit that it took their child 4 hours. It took mine about one hour and took that long to clean it all up. 

But then we had a lesson in mopping!

And then we played outside while the floor was drying. Overall, I would do this kit again as the kids loved it and it really was a fun one. But I would take note of the things I would have done differently so that it would be more enjoyable next time. 

Kids love their rocks they found!

I found this kit and many more we hope to do soon at Toys’R’Us. 

Joy Dare Blog<
Isaiah 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Last days in our home…. Saying goodby.

                 Blue sky
            We have been going nonstop so I let them sleep whenever I can. 
          Yay! Another mess to clean up! 
             View from our yard. 
                     Amazing sunset! 
 Last photo of my amazing tree! Going to miss it. 
                     Goodby house!