I have a very busy toddler!  She is a mixed bag as I am able to keep her occupied, but I need to have plenty of tricks to pull out of my hat.  I am always on the lookout for activities to keep her busy, especially during school time.  I often scope out Goodwills and second hand stores because she gets tired of things so quickly, I don't feel bad passing them on when she loses interest this way.  Here is a list of some of her favorite activities!!!  
This is a cheap and easy activity!  I bought the buttons, the elastic and little basket at The Dollar Tree all for $1 a piece.  A total of $3 and it keeps her pretty entertained!!!  
I found this cute little Teddy Bear puzzle at a Goodwill for $1.99.  You can dress the bear in different outfits right on the lid of the box!  Audree loves it and it was cheap and easy to store away!!!
Little workbooks are always a hit!  I think this is because she watches her older sisters and she wants to be like them during school!  A lot of times, she just scribbles but every now and then she does some tracing and picture finding!  I know it is advancing her learning even if it doesn't appear to be!
I bought these little learning popsicles on Amazon for Audree's birthday!  They are meant for letter recognition, however, she LOVES to play with them in her play kitchen.  I think it's great because she is playing make believe with them and receiving letter recognition at the same time.  It is also a fun matching game!!
This was another awesome Goodwill find!!  This is a Melissa and Dough letter puzzle that retails for about $15.00 brand new!  I got it for $1.99 and it is in excellent condition!!!  She loves it and when she gets tired of it, I can simply pass it along to someone else or put it in the church Kid's room!  
This is another Melissa and Doug game I bought YEARS ago when Camden was Audree's age!  So it has been around for about 13 years!!  I am not sure if they still have them, but all of my kids have loved this!  You place a picture mat on top of the wooden peg board and match the right color pegs to the picture!  You can also flip the card over and it is blank, so they can use their imagination!  I believe I only paid around $15 for this one as well!
Lastly, little workbooks are cheap and always a hit around here!  This one helps them learn to trace and cut and it is totally fine to let them scribble when you only paid $1 for it!  Audree things this is her "school book!"  

I pray this gives your toddler some fun and you a few moments of peace!!!!

Peace and Blessings
Your Friend
Missy
 
 
I am being a multitasking reader right now and am currently reading two different books!!  

It really works out well because they kind of coincide.  I am finishing up my Understanding Purpose, Women of Faith study, which has been extremely enlightening; and am also reading Desperate, For the Mother Who Needs to Breath.  This book is written by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson and is simply wonderful!

I wandered into the Christian book store in kind of a stooper one day, searching for a book to feed my mothering soul.  I know I am not the only mama who has been there.  I looked around and though many of the books looked awesome, this book kind of jumped off the shelf into my hands, yelling,,, READ ME!  I had read another book by Sally Clarkson many years ago, called The Ministry of Motherhood and loved it.  I was pretty sure I would love this one too!

I highly suggest this book for any mama who feels she is trudging through the trenches OR even if you just want some inspiration.  It is a soul touching book that really helps you understand I have learned thus far.  

The younger mom, Sarah, was reaching out to the older mom, Sally.  Sarah was asking Sally how to deal with the frustrations of her children "just not getting it."  She was feeling overwhelmed at the constant lessons she feels she is teaching her children and they simply aren't getting or not caring.  

You know those lessons well.... cleaning their room, picking up their toys, putting their dishes in the dishwasher, putting their dirty clothes IN the laundry basket, talking respectively, not rolling their eyes!!  You get it!!  

Sarah shared she was feeling defeated as she felt she spent most days nagging and feeling frustrated with her children's behaviors.

The answer Sally gave Sarah was both convicting and eye opening.  Sally told Sarah that when she was going through a similar season with her four children, whom are now all adults, she will never forget what her husband said to her.  

She was worn out and complaining about her children's behaviors and lack of diligence and was asking her husband the same question Sarah was asking Sally..... "when will they ever just get it and do what I ask?" And this was her husband's response....

"Sally they will quit being sinners, when you quit being a sinner."

FLASH!!!  

And the light turns on!
The short explanation.... I will never, ever quit being a sinner.  Never.  I can diligently seek God I can decrease my sin and repent for the sins I do commit, I can fall as the feet of Christ and seek and accept His help and forgiveness but I will never, ever stop sinning.  That was the consequence of the fall of man. 

Therefore, neither will my children.  

What do I want more than anything from God when I sin; and what does He lovingly give me every time I sin and repent?

Grace.  Grace abundant.  Grace I do NOT deserve.  

Are there consequences to my sin?  Often, yes.  Does God use my sin to teach my valuable lessons?  Absolutely.  Does God's grace and forgiveness give me permission to keep sinning?  Absolutely NOT.  

BUT... God sees my heart.  He knows what He created me to do and He knows I am capable of all things He has called me to, but I will never accomplish them with a completely sinless life. 

Jesus remains and will remain the ONLY sinless man that walked this earth. 

Though I need to expect obedience from my children and train them accordingly, they will continuously struggle at times, because they too, like me, are sinners.  While training them and teaching them, I also need to show them grace and love, just as I so greatly need from my Heavenly Father.  

I cannot place them in a life of condemnation.  That is counterproductive and will not reap the harvest God longs for us to reap with our children.  

My Poppy had it right.  He always taught me...
"Missy.... people need the most love when they deserve it the least."  Though this is often very hard to live out, my Poppy lived it out amazingly!  I pray that though I may stumble, I learn to do the same.  

I pray this for you as well my friends!

Peace and Blessings
Your Friend 
Missy