Today I am delighted to introduce you to a gifted children’s author and fellow mom, Laura Sassi. Laura’s new book, Goodnight, Ark, is a beautifully illustrated and lilting tale of bedtime on Noah’s Ark. Using clever rhymes that practically dance off the page, Laura invites children (and their parents) to imagine the scene in Noah’s sleeping quarters as the animals join him two by two in his bed—because they’re afraid of the storm!
My kids were captivated by this story and its whimsical illustrations by Jane Chapman. They quickly asked me to read the book again (and again, and again). Goodnight, Ark is a fun look at a classic Bible tale, which just might spur your kids to explore more about Noah’s life and times. So now, please welcome Laura with a special message about quality family time, and a chance to WIN a copy of Goodnight, Ark!
Five Things That Float My Family’s Boat (and a GIVEAWAY!)
By Laura Sassi
RUMBLE! BOOM! If your family is anything like mine, life can be stormy, what with the winds of busyness blowing us this way and that. And even if we’re not in the midst of truly stormy times, I find, as a mom, that it’s necessary to be intentional about finding creative, loving ways to stay afloat above the sea of activities and responsibilities of family living. Indeed one of the themes I hope readers (and their parents) will take away from Goodnight, Ark (Zonderkidz, 2014) is that sometimes a little extra TLC is just what’s needed to make things okay, even in the midst of a storm!
Here then, in celebration of the release of Goodnight, Ark are five things that help keep my family afloat (and happy).
1. Morning Hugs—From the moment they came home as babies, we’ve started our mornings with what we now call the “morning hug”. Indeed the first sentence out of my daughter’s mouth each morning is, “Time for my morning hug.” And mine: “Me, too.” My son, age 13, now gives more of a morning shrug, but we still all know that the morning wouldn’t be quite the same without it.
2. Special Breakfasts—These are pretty self-explanatory. I mean isn’t any day extra special if it begins with pancakes and bacon, or warm-out-of-the oven blueberry muffins? The extra, extra special twist is that these breakfasts are often a group effort. Who wants to stir?
3. Family Dinners—Eat together. Talk together. Be together. Need I say more?
4. After Dinner Sillies—This is our family’s favorite time to let loose and be silly. We’ve done foot puppet shows, dance numbers, stand-up comedy, you name it. Anything goes, really, in this delightful post-dinner moment of relaxation before dishes are cleared and the evening routine of finishing up homework, cleaning up after dinner, taking showers etc. resumes.
5. Pillow Ponderings (and Prayers)—There’s something about the cozy comfort of bedtime that brings out a reflective spirit in each of my children. And I love nothing better than talking with my kids about what’s on their mind and then wrapping it all up in prayer, before giving each that last goodnight kiss and turning out the light. Even when I’m tired to the core, like the Noah in my story must have been when he finally settled those animals down, I wouldn’t miss these special bedtime moments.
HAPPY FLOATING, ALL!
Now it’s your turn! What floats your family’s boat? Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing to win your very own copy of Goodnight, Ark! You can also snag additional entries using the handy checklist below. The winner will be announced next week!
For more chances to win, visit another of the blogs on Laura’s Goodnight, Ark tour. Click here for the full schedule.
Laura’s poems, stories, articles and crafts have appeared in many publications including Highlights for Children, Cricket, Ladybug, Spider, Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr., FamilyFun, and Pack-O-Fun. She has a passion for playing with words and rhyming and is delighted to announce that her first picture book, GOODNIGHT, ARK, published by Zonderkidz, a HarperCollins Company, and illustrated by Jane Chapman is out this month. She is represented by Lara Perkins of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
Laura writes from her century-old home in New Jersey where she lives with her awesome husband, two adorable kids, and a black cockapoo named Sophie. You can also find her on her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.
Love the concept of this sweet book. Some things our family enjoys for quality time are:
Family Story Time: After our 5 yr old has finished her “bed time routine” – just after we all pile into her bedroom and read from a story book (often times it’s a short-story book so we can look forward to the story for the next night before closing the book).
Family Dinners & Walks/Bike Rides: We also have family dinners each night and we go for a walk or bike ride just after dinner most nights to burn extra energy and enjoy the outdoors together.
Morning Snuggles: We do this too!
Special Time: I’m all their’s for at least 15 minutes each day to do whatever they’d like. No interruptions, just me and that particular child playing whatever they choose.
I imagine some will stick through the years and others will fade, welcoming others but either way, I hope they’ll look back on them fondly as they grow.
Laura S. says
So many good ideas, JoLynn. We like after dinner bike rides too, although as the days get shorter and colder, we’ll have to perhaps try indoor aerobics? I love that you give each child 15 minutes special mom time. That’s a great floating idea!
GRACE in every shape and form. From the way we speak to our children to the way we love each other, it’s all with grace
Laura S. says
Yes, grace is so important. It’s really God’s love in action, right?
Kelly Lins says
Love the idea of this book! My son gets a little nervous with storms sometimes and we LOVE our nightly reading time! Even though my son is very energetic, reading books was the one thing that calmed him ever since he was born. Let’s see, we love to take walks, read books, family dances to “Happy” and the ending credits to “Wreck It Ralph”, and morning cuddles!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE my morning cuddles!!
Laura S. says
Morning cuddles and bedtime/storytime snuggles – both such great things. My son was very energetic as a little one as well, but story time really did settle him down. He still loves reading to this day and enjoys a little read aloud time still. Treasure those moments.
Lindsay Radle says
We love being silly together, praying together and coming up with new adventures!
Laura S. says
Sounds very floaty to me! =)
Our best family time happens, typically, in the evenings. With two rowdy boys it usually involves wrestling with a good dose of reading mixed in (really!). Then they both bound to the bathtub where they will take a bath together, continue playing while Mommy and Daddy try to avoid the splashing…though we’re not too successful usually. It’s all about the little moments in our house – squeezing in those special times when you can get them.
Laura S. says
Yes! Enjoy the little moments.
Laura S. says
Thanks so much for having me over here today, Becky. I have really enjoyed reading what makes everyone’s families float.
Thank YOU for sharing your wonderful book with us, Laura! I’m excited to pick the lucky winner!
This was a lovely post. I like the vision of your after dinner sillies. Doing things together — whatever it may be — floats my family boat!
We love being together, too – whether we’re out for a bike ride or just lounging in the living room. Family is a huge blessing.
Elizabeth jones says
I love thinking about this question! I’ve felt so rushed lately and that our schedules are overwhelming…I love redirecting our focus on the things that fill our cups as a family. In the evening either while we are reading or if we are watching a show together, my kids still ask to snuggle. I hope that never changes. It usually involves all three of my kids piled around me or on me. 🙂 They each ask for their back to be rubbed-something I’ve done since they were babies!
Lisa Littlewood says
This looks great! I can’t wait to check it out…And I LOVED Laura’s ideas!! Thanks for sharing this great new book/author with us (:
:Donna Marie says
SO sorry I couldn’t stop by ’til now ’cause I missed the giveaway, BUT—LOVED this, Laura! These moments you describe are so sweet and precious. What a happy family you’ve created, and making prayer a part of it is the most important thing 🙂