Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Decorating for Christmas

We put most of our Christmas decorations up over Thanksgiving weekend. I love Christmas and Christmas d├ęcor so much that I like to put it all up early and leave it up into January! Allison and Katie were home for Thanksgiving weekend, so I took advantage of their help. All went smoothly except for a bit of conflict over hanging the outdoor wreathes. (The guilty parties will be left unnamed!)

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We didn’t get to the tree over the weekend, so Emily and I decorated it last night and had a lovely time doing so. I love all our ornaments and the memories they bring back, from heirloom glass balls inherited from my grandmother to the cross stitched and other ornaments that I crafted the first year Chris and I were married to the sweet decorations the children made when they were small.

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I usually put up lights around our front porch area, but may skip that this year. That’s one task no one else volunteers to help with and it’s a hassle to turn the lights on and off every night (or to fiddle with the timer when it frequently malfunctions). Since finances are tight right now, I think the energy savings would be wise as well. The kids used to love the outdoor lights (and want more), but I don’t think anyone but me cares any more.

The house is feeling so warm and homey now. One of my favorite holiday activities  in the evenings when the house is quiet  is to sit in the living room in the dark except for the tree lights. Just a quiet time to pray, think, and relax after a busy day.

Welch’s Healthy Start Juice (Review)

imageAs a BzzAgent, I was able to try out a free carton of the new Welch’s Healthy Start 100% juice, which comes in three varieties: Concord Grape, White Grape Orange Mango, and Blueberry Pomegranate. The store I shopped at only carried the first two varieties. Emily chose the Concord Grape.

I usually only buy 100% juice because I don’t want to serve my family added sugar and artificial flavorings. 95% of the time, I buy orange juice because I think it is the most nutritious choice. So I am glad to learn about the Welch’s Healthy Start juices that contain twice the vitamin C of orange juice and are a good source of calcium. One 8 oz glass of juice equals 2 servings of fruit!

The Concord Grape was a big hit at our house and my three girls finished up the carton quickly. Fortunately, I got to try one glass for myself. I look forward to trying the other varieties soon.

As a BzzAgent, I received a coupon for a free carton of Welch’s Healthy Start juice and was encouraged to talk about the product. I was not required to give a positive review.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Super Star Speech Sale

Do you have concerns about your child’s articulation skills? Do you have a friend or family member who might like a book that would help their child’s speech skills for Christmas?

I am offering free shipping on any Super Star Speech sale from now until Dec. 16. In addition, if you use Google Checkout, you will receive an additional $5.00 off any order of $30 or more.

All of the Super Star Speech books are also available from Currclick in e-book form for about 30% off.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Old Schoolhouse Black Friday Sale

I have found The Old Schoolhouse to be a great source of encouragement and resources in my homeschooling. The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is a thick, meaty magazine, full of teaching tips and personal inspiration. The Old Schoolhouse Store carries not only products from a wide variety of publishers (and shipping is always free!), but many products  published by The Old Schoolhouse itself. Some of my favorites are the Molly’s Money-Saving Digest and the Download and Go Studies—fun one-week studies on a  variety of topics that combine on-line resources, fun graphics, and lapbooking and notebooking activities. I am eager to try out the brand new Curiosity Files series next.

The Old Schoolhouse store is running a Black Friday sale —Doorbuster specials plus $100 or more of free gifts with an order of only $30!

Here are the official details for the magazine offer:

The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is extending an extraordinary subscription offer to homeschool families. U.S. and Canadian residents can receive a one-year print subscription and a FREE Homeschooling with Heat tote bag, FREE Schoolhouse Planner of your choice, and FREE E-Book: Cranberry Christmas for just $19.95. One-year subscriptions start with the winter issue. It makes a perfect gift for yourself and a friend. There are a limited number of tote bags available from November 24 through midnight on November 29-once they're gone, they're gone! Hurry and grab this tremendous value today! It's over $80 in free gifts--one of them the gorgeous Cranberries & Cream tote bag.

TOS has a FREE Holiday Supplement available too that is PACKED with great ideas for gifts, cooking and decorating for the holidays.

I am an affiliate for The Old Schoolhouse, so I may benefit if you click on a link and make a purchase.

Friday, November 19, 2010

God’s Mighty Acts in Creation (Review)

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God’s Mighty Acts in Creation, by Starr Meade, is a devotional book for children based on each of the six creation days. For each topic, the author strives to convey not only the wonder of God’s creation, but how each element of creation is used and discussed elsewhere in scripture and even times when the God’s rules for that creation are suspended miraculously.

Chapters 2 through 12 focus on light and water. Various devotions address—the woman at the well, God causing an axe head to float on water for Elijah, Jesus as the “light of the world,” the sprinkling of water to cleanse us from our sins, the magnificent power of the oceans that are still under God’s command, and the plague of darkness over Egypt. Personal anecdotes, lessons from the world around us, and Bible passages all reinforce the concepts.

For example, Chapter 9 discusses God’s control over light and darkness and how He suspended natural laws to send the plague of darkness over Egypt. The author explains how this plague particularly mocked Pharaoh because Pharaoh was considered to be one with the sun god, Ra and how the three days of darkness showed his lack of power. Verses from the book of Job are also included that emphasize  God’s power over light and darkness.

Emily and I are currently working through another devotional book together, so I gave her this one to read independently. She says, “I love it because it’s more serious than the other devotions I’ve read. This one gives you Bible verses to look up and explains points better. It teaches me more about God. I also like the questions and activities. I wish it were thicker!”

I am impressed with how “meaty” this book is. Although written for children and families, it contains solid theology and is thought-provoking and meaningful for me as well. For families and young people that are serious about growing in knowledge and faith, this book is an excellent choice!

I received this book free through Crossway’s Book Review program. All opinions are my own.

Perfect Fit Button

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Do you have a favorite pair of pants that are just a bit too tight? Or maybe the waistband is just a bit too big? Personally, I have several pairs of pants that I always have to wear a belt with because the waist is too big. Sometimes I take in the waistband, but that always leaves an uncomfortable lump. I have one pair of jeans that I sewed an extra button on, allowing me to tighten the waist to a perfect fit. Or, on a “fat day,” to use the original button. Well, someone has marketed that idea….

I was recently given the opportunity to try out the Perfect Fit Button.  Each button set comes with 8 buttons in four different colors—silver, khaki, brown, and black. The buttons are a bit like tie-tacks. You just poke the point through the fabric, then attach the back on the inside of the waistband.  Easy to put on; easy to take off to reposition.  The company suggests removing the buttons when washing.

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Initially, I had a very hard time removing the back from the button. You have to pinch the button inward back while pulling. It was rather frustrating, but I think it will get easier with practice. Trust me-once the buttons are attached, they will stay attached until you intentionally take them off!

The buttons are standard jeans-sized buttons. I had one pair of pants that had a smaller button, so the Perfect Fit button was too big for the button hole. I think they are a great size for most pants, though. The Perfect Fit button would work well for replacing missing buttons as well.

The Perfect Fit Button set retails for $9.99 and can be ordered online at http://www.perfectfitbutton.com.

I received a free set of Perfect Fit buttons for review purposes. No other compensation was provided and all opinions are my own.

Monday, November 15, 2010

What’s in the Bible? Winner!

The winner of the “What’s in the Bible” giveaway is comment # 7—Linda!

Disney trip

P1000154 We concluded our 3 1/2 week Florida trip with 3 days at Disney World. 4 parks in two (14 hour) days, with a day of rest in between! We camped at Fort Wilderness and enjoyed riding our bikes around the resort.  It was a bit different being at Disney without the other four members of our family—just me and Emily and my friend, Becky, but we had a wonderful time.

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Osborne lights at Disney-Hollywood Studios

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Adventures in Odyssey—Cause and Effect

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Emily is a huge Adventures in Odyssey fan, so I was excited to have the opportunity to review  the newest cd set, “Cause and Effect.”  Emily loves to listen to Adventures in Odyssey when she is in bed at night and in the car. I am very happy that Focus on the Family and Tyndale House are producing such wholesome entertainment for families.

This 4 cd set is number 52 in the Adventures in Odyssey series. We’ve been traveling a lot lately and have been listening to the set as we drive. Several of the episodes are mysteries and we found them especially fun to listen to. Emily loves the stories and I have enjoyed them too. It’s nice to find something that appeals to adults as well as kids. Some episodes are just silly, while others give the listener something to think about, such as the effect that one small action can have on others for years to come.

Since Emily is our resident Odyssey “expert,” I asked her to give her opinions. This is what she said:

I love this cd set except Mr. Whittiger sounds different. It teaches me more about God. And now because of Mr. Whittiger,  I am learning about fasting! It also teaches me about friends. I like that Adventures in Odyssey encourages people to love and to spread God’s Word. I enjoy that in “Stage Fright,” Emily is so eager to use the brain God gave her to solve a mystery! And in “Opposite Day,” it teaches people how important friendship is. I really love this Adventure in Odyssey and I hope they make more!

This Adventures in Odyssey cd set sells for $24.99. Keep up with the latest Adventures in Odyssey news on Facebook!

I received a free review copy of Adventures in Odyssey: Cause and Effect from Tyndale House. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sea World

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We had a lot of fun watching the penguins.
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Just having fun….Emily and my friend, Becky.







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Fun on the Beach

Emily and I are spending a few weeks visiting friends in Florida. We’ve enjoyed walking on the beach and have found some really interesting things washed up on shore…

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Coral

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What’s in the Bible: Battle for the Promised Land (Giveaway)

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Episode #4 of the new “What’s in the Bible” series takes the viewer through the books of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth. This highly entertaining DVD series was created by Phil Vischer (the creator of the Veggie Tales series). The songs, puppets, and humor make these videos both fun and educational for the whole family. We reviewed Episode 3 a few months ago and were delighted to have the opportunity to view the next episode as well.

What’s in the Bible: Battle for the Holy Land begins with Joshua and the Israelites entering the Holy Land and follows them through hardships, battles, and rebellion against God. The viewer will learn why God ordered the Israelites to wipe out the other nations in the Promised Land, what the role of the judges was, and why the story of Ruth is in the Bible.

I think the “What’s in the Bible” series is  great family entertainment that is enjoyable for all ages. I appreciate that it does more than simply tells the stories of the Bible. It does a very good job of introducing theology to children, including difficult subjects like sin and redemption, God’s covenant, and the cycle of apostasy (and yes, it does use and define difficult words like “apostasy.”)

Emily says, “I think that it’s really entertaining and makes you want to come back for more and read more of the Bible. I like the jungle guys and the pirate. I think they are hilarious.” 

Even I chuckled at the antics of the church ladies,  the pirate, and other characters and at the silly but memorable songs. I’m looking forward to viewing more of this series.

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I received a free review copy of What’s in the Bible, Battle for the Promised Land from Tyndale House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.

Giveaway!

Would you like to win your own copy of What’s in the Bible, Battle for the Promised Land? I have a coupon for a free DVD to send to one of my readers. To enter, just leave a comment telling me why you think your family would enjoy this series. The winner will be chosen on Nov. 14 by random.org.

Additional entries:

1. Follow this blog on Google Friend Connect.

2. Visit Super Star Speech and tell me something you learned or sign up for the email list.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween

We were visiting some good friends in Florida over Halloween weekend, so Emily enjoyed some holiday fun with her friend, Trey.

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Assessing the candy stash!

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Navigator’s Topical Memory System (Review)

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I have put effort into memorizing scripture off and on throughout the years. I have a hard time memorizing, though, and I now know bits, pieces, and paraphrases of many verses. I’m glad that I do, and it has been beneficial to me to have God’s word in my heart, but I have always wished for a more consistent method to commit verses to memory.

When I saw the Topical Memory System, I was eager to try it. Although the Topical Memory System has been around for a number of years, it was new to me.

The core of the system is a set of 60 memory verses printed on cards. I especially like that each of these 60 verses is printed in six different Bible translations, enabling the user to choose his or her preferred translation. I like the NIV, so that is what I am using. There is also a book that explains the system and meditation guides for each of the 60 verses and a vinyl holder for the cards being studied.

The verses are ordered and arranged by topic. For example, the first two verses are under the topic, “Christ the Center.”  The next topic is “Obedience to Christ.” It is suggested that two verses be memorized each week, with four days devoted to memorizing the topic, reference, and verses and three days devoted to meditation on the verses and studying them in context.

So far, I am enjoying using the Topical Memory system and am finding it effective. I’ve learned six verses so far and am moving onward. It actually has seemed rather effortless! I’m looking forward to continuing the system and am hopeful that I will eventually make it through all 60 verses.

I received this item free from NavPress in exchange for my honest review.