An Honest Journey
Winter Favorites

Winter Favorites

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. -John Steinbeck

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. -Ecclesiastes 3:1


Winter Favorites

It’s the middle of winter, and who couldn’t use some pick-me-ups with some winter favorites? Hot cocoa, fuzzy socks, a good book…gotta appreciate the little things!

I love when I come across a blog post or a YouTube video where someone shares their favorite things for the month or season. It’s a nice surprise to come across some new products, places, activities, books, technology, etc. that might be fun to try.


My favorites for the season include…

  • A great book for parents who have children in athletics
  • The wonderful FREE activities offered at the local library
  • A YouTuber who is so creative and helpful in her hair tips
  • An adorable video taken of a Snow Day at the Oregon Zoo


Some of my favorites are not specifically winter related, but they have definitely uplifted my spirits during these cold winter months. So, without further ado, here are my current favorites for the season…


Book: Overplayed: A Guide to Sanity in the World of Youth Sports by David King and Margot Starbuck

Oh, my goodness, as a coach and a mom I was thrilled to not only hear about this book through Focus on the Family, but to have the opportunity to read it.

No, my child is not quite at the age where we are engaged in youth sports (On a side note, baby swim lessons are adorable), but youth sports have been and still are a big part of my life thanks to being a swim coach.

Since the young age of six, competitive swimming has been a part of my life. As a competitive swimmer, I had many ups and downs in my swimming career. There were both physical and emotional highs and lows in the sport. But I continued through college, and loved the challenge that it brought to my life every day.

And I now have the privilege of being on the pool deck, on the other side of the sport, as a coach.

It’s such a rewarding job, where I get to help develop not only the swimmers’ strokes in the pool, but more importantly, I’m helping teach valuable life lessons and character skills that will hopefully endure throughout my swimmers’ lives.


What I really enjoy about Overplayed is that it breaks down the myths that we (parents, coaches, well-meaning adults), often believe about what’s best for a child in athletics. It looks at what our culture is telling us about athletics, and how parents and children can easily lose sight of what sports and activities are really all about.

The book gives common sense answers and questions for families to consider when discussing what’s best for the child and for the family before signing up for that travel league, high-profile sports team, or shelling out the money for all that equipment.

One chapter that I enjoyed reading, breaks down the myth that “Good Parents Attend All Their Children’s Games”.  It discusses the mindset behind this thought, and how this idea is interpreted by the athlete and other family members.

One of my favorite quotes from this chapter is as follows,

When parents attend every game, family time is redefined because it becomes centered on the athlete. Children experience security when they know that the adults are the glue that holds the family together. A family that begins to revolve around an athlete, especially when there are other siblings, becomes lopsided. While we love our children, they should not rule our lives. Yes, we need to give them unconditional love and the time they deserve, but we are also responsible to take care of ourselves. It’s well known that during the child-rearing years, parents often focus their relationship on their children instead of each other. And in this season of life, when parents can’t afford to forsake their relationship, practices and games actually offer built-in time to nurture it! Skipping a practice or even a game to have coffee, go shopping, or visit a museum with your spouse will likely be more beneficial to your entire family than getting tense on the sidelines.



Another chapter I really enjoyed reading discussed the myth “My Child Should Specialize in One Sport”. A quote from this chapter that really impacted me and that I could identify with from seeing friends specialize in a sport early on in life is as follows:


Mark Messier (NHL alum and winner of 6 Stanley Cups) notes that .007 percent of kids who play hockey make it to the NHL. “If your kid is in hockey to become an NHL player, you’re missing what sports is really about. Sports is about the mental and physical and emotional well-being of the kids.” He adds, “Youth sports have got to be about the life lessons that you’re learning, the camaraderie… and the way you become good teammates.” Messier recognizes that early specialization is robbing children of what sports should be about. Age seven, he claims is not an appropriate age to begin one sport year-round. Nor is ten. He even claims that age twelve is “young”. Messier suggests age fourteen, offering, “At fourteen they’re old enough to realize themselves exactly where they want to go.”



Some of the other myths discussed in this book include, but are not limited to Because We Owe Our Children Every Opportunity, We Can’t Say No to Youth Sports, There’s No Harm in Participating in Youth Sports, and possibly my favorite, The Money We Are Investing into Youth Sports Will Pay Off.

The best part about this book is its emphasis on knowing your child. Each child is different and not every child thrives in an environment of competitive sports, leagues and tournaments where tons of money is being thrown into equipment, travel, etc.

This book emphasizes the importance of family and Christian values that should shape the decisions we make when putting our children in youth sports.

Do you have to be a Christian to read this book and find it beneficial? Absolutely not. I would find this information helpful to anyone looking at putting their child in youth sports or who have a child in youth sports.


Place: Our Local Library

The winter months definitely bring lots of challenges when it comes to finding things for a toddler to do, other than hang around the house.

Between my dog getting stir-crazy and my son getting fussy going through the house and playing with the same toys over and over again, this mom gets to a point of needing to leave the house for a bit!

Earlier in the summer, I had the opportunity to try out a wonderful KinderMusik class near our home. If you haven’t heard of KinderMusik, it’s a wonderful experience for children to get involved with music, song, and dance, and meet other babies, toddlers, and children, while in the process.

We had a wonderful experience. The instructor was great, and her education background was in teaching music. The other parents and their babies were wonderful as well, but the one problem I had with the class was the expense and the distance for us. The class takes place about forty minutes, one way, from our house. And that’s a lot of driving just for a little guy. Sorry, son, momma has other things to do.

The expense was also not too appealing. I love the idea of my son being around singing, dancing, and instruments, but I knew there had to be some other options.

Thankfully, we quickly discovered the Wee Read program through our local library. It’s free (well, I mean we pay taxes, so yes, I guess we do pay something), but I was surprisingly shocked with how similar it was to the KinderMusik class that cost so much.

Our librarian reads the babies and toddlers a book (please note, the babies and toddlers were welcome to move around during this time- yes, not that many sat still, unless they weren’t mobile yet). The librarian then offers a music and dance time for the kids with scarves and bubbles. And the class came to a close with a sensory-toy play time.

Each class is about thirty minutes in length, so it’s the perfect amount of time for the little ones to have some fun and wear themselves out a bit before a nap.

My little guy has gone several times, and I have to say it’s been a great opportunity to get out of the house, and for my toddler to enjoy some socialization time, and for mom to have some adult conversation.

The local library is such a great place, and I’m very thankful for librarians and the work they put into the children’s programs.


YouTuber: Kayley Melissa

I’ve briefly talked about Kayley Melissa in a previous blog post from the summer. I love watching her hair tutorials, even though it’s hard for this mom to find time to do her hair. But, I still enjoy seeing her creativity, positivity, and great ideas year-round.

Recently, Kayley posted a great video about taking care of your hair during the winter months. Did you know silk pillows help your hair have less static? Did you know a dryer sheet in a hair brush will help quickly get rid of static in your hair? Yep, neither did I.

Feel free to watch her winter hair tips video here.


Oregon Zoo Snow Day!

If you made it this far, congratulations! Sorry, there’s no prize, but there is a cute video.

Who doesn’t love a good snow day? At least, when we were kids, right? Check out this cute video taken at the Oregon Zoo of the animals enjoying the snow. Who knew animals could have so much fun in the snow.


Those are my four favorites of the season. Do you have any favorites that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about them!

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