I’m in a sharing mood. Which also happens to be a promotional mood. (I still think I could be a rockstar at PR if the opportunity afforded itself.) Reading blogs and surfing the web allows me to happen upon a million new places I didn’t even know existed. And I’m not even on Pinterest – I refuse. Anyway, here are a few of my favorites and bests: things I’ve been using, listening to, reading, enjoying lately. 

Best new gadget:
The iPad – yes, I finally got one. It’s the 2 so don’t think I’m all elitist or anything. The babe will get the Kindle – last year’s Christmas gift to me  – regifted. He doesn’t know yet, but something tells me it won’t surprise him much.

Fave new app:
Flipboard – this iPad-friendly (and iPhone too, I think) app funnels your social media through some mystical beautifying system and makes reading through Twitter, Facebook and other news a far more aesthetically pleasing experience. 

Best band:
The Blackbird Revue. We’re all sad about the Civil Wars and their internal conflict leading to tour cancellation and a bunch of other fallout. But if you’re in love with that hauntingly lovely, folksy sound, you’re going to just dig the freakishly talented, musical storytelling duo of the Blackbird Revue. They’re local to the Midwest so you can catch them playing at venues around KC on a regular basis. And when you decide you can’t get enough of their work, you can buy all their albums. Like you should. 

Best Jesus music for kids:
Little Songbirds. This light-hearted, spunky music is performed by the whole Fa’agutu family of singers, including the children. With almost a reggae feel to the sound, you and the kids are sure to be bouncing and singing along in no time.  

Best play and education ideas for moms:
NurtureStore. I’m telling you, the Brits know how to raise children. Or at least, this particular one, Cathy, does. When you subscribe via email, you can get the super helpful Weekly Play Planner which is, for the most part, stuff you could and would actually do. Or at least it gets your brain going for new ideas. Play and learning projects for all ages abound. Yes, even babies and toddlers. Since we’re all thankful this time of year, I’m so thankful for this site. It’s been helping me relax and helping me remember to include John in my daily tasks and reminding me of his developmental stage. 

Fave Toddler Schedule:
Montessori’s Toddler Schedule. Over the holidays I found myself grasping for activities for John to do to engage and educate him, but also keep him busy. It occurred to me that the combination of our ever-changing routine with Josh’s job and mine, the fact that he stays home with a working parent without peer interaction, plus the added switcheroo of holiday travel, was probably not helpful to a little tike. So onward with the newest idea: get John on a schedule. I had no clue where to start. What kinds of activities should be included in his day? I’m sure many moms, especially SAH moms, need these kinds of ideas. I thought this schedule was one of the most intriguing and helpful I found. 

Best inspiration for writers
Jeff Goins. His blog and weekly newsletter are chockfull of tips on writing, inspiration to get your bum off the couch and your fingers to the keyboard. He’s connected with the leadership and writing spheres around the web-o-sphere so he offers freebies and discounts on lots of resources. He loves to motivate and share. Follow him on Twitter, subscribe to his newsletter and fall in love with writing again. 

Favorite thing I did this week: 
Gave the message at church. We’re in the middle of a series on Controversy in our culture where we polled the “audience” to see what people are talking about, struggling with and what they really wish someone would answer. We’ve tackled big topics such as LGBT issues and the church, the end times, Christians and tolerance, and today I had the privilege of addressing the pop belief that there are many paths to God. Which of course is illogical, but that’s not the point at the moment. I will post the podcast later in the week once it’s up, but it was really enjoyable to share the thoughts and research I’ve had in my brain for the past 13 years. 

Favorite book I’m reading
Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year by Anne Lamott. So painfully, hilariously, breathe-a-sigh-of-relief-you’re-not-crazy honest about parenting the first year. And really, the truth of it lasts through all the years of parenting, from what I can tell. Anne always makes me laugh so hard I cry, which I find delightful, and these daily musings on mommyhood don’t disappoint. In one entry, she recalls loving and adoring her sleeping baby one moment, only to fall asleep and wake to his cry, furious and resentful that he is awake and keeping her from precious sleep. If you’re a mom or thinking about being one, this book will help you give yourself a bit more wiggle room on the perfection scale. Thanks, Anne.