Friday, July 30, 2010

Sign Language with Babies

Did you use sign language with your baby? I wrote about this at my Super Star Speech blog. I’d love to hear about your experiences with sign language at this post or that one!

Teaching Sign Language to Your Baby

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Molly’s Summer Fun!


“This issue of my Digest is dedicated to helping every family enjoy this season of picnics and parks, bare feet and simple backyard pleasures. I want to help you build memories this month, not debt and bills.”

I love this quote from the latest issue of Molly’s Digest. Because, really, isn’t that what we all want from this parenting journey—to create memories?

The theme of the  July Molly’s Digest is “Summer Fun.” This issue packed with summer (or anytime) fun for kids ideas from A to Z…recipes for oobleck and playdough,  crafts, backyard and local fun and some travel ideas.

My favorite feature, though, was “Something Old, Something New.” This article explained how to make daypacks from plastic bags. Sounds tacky, doesn’t it? It’s not. These amazingly cute and colorful and sturdy bags are made by ironing plastic grocery bags together to form a sturdy plastic material. I had no idea you could do that! What a wonderful use of something we all have laying around!


If you’d like to read about these money saving and inexpensive fun tips, Molly’s Digest sells for $4.95 at the Schoolhouse store. Molly’s Membership, which includes the Digest and MORE sells for $3.95 a month. And be sure to check out the Econobusters blog for even more thrifty ideas.

I received a free copy of Molly’s Digest in order to write this review. I am also an affiliate of The Schoolhouse Store.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bark-Off and Crazy Critters Review and Giveaway

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Giveaway ended. Winner is missrantsypants.

I hate it when my dog barks. We’ve tried various measures over the years to curtail her barking. We’ve had good luck with a shock collar and that works well.  Unfortunately, she seldom wears the collar because the “compassionate” members of my family feel sorry for her and keep taking off the collar!  But even worse, she is a howler, and the collar doesn’t respond to that. When she is outside for just a few minutes, she’ll start howling. Honestly, I think she does it for her own entertainment! I know the neighbors hate us! I was anxious to try out the BarkOff  ultrasonic training aid to see if it would help our dilemma. BarkOff  sits on a table or mounts on a wall, covering a distance of 20 feet. When the dog barks, it emits a high pitched sound that is inaudible to humans to discourage the dog from barking.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t see any effect from the BarkOff. It could be that it didn’t bother or distract my dog. Or perhaps it didn’t work at all—since it is an ultrasonic sound, how would I know if it were working? It’s a great idea and I hope it works better for others.

I also received a Crazy Critters dog toy to review. Crazy Critters are absolutely adorable. They have no stuffing, making them safer for pets. They have squeakers at each end of the toy.  Because they are long and thin, they are great for fetching or for playing tug-of-war. Did I mention how cute this little fox is? My dog is not a chewer, so I can’t comment on this toy’s durability. She does like the squeakers, though.
Crazy Critters and BarkOff sell for $10 each.
Giveaway: Telebrands is giving away a Crazy Critter and BarkOff to one of my readers.  (US and Canada only.) To enter, leave a comment about one of these product.   Giveaway ends on Aug. 7. Winner will be chosen by
Additional entries: (Leave a separate comment for each.)
1 Follow Debbie’s Homeschool Corner on Google Friend Connect.
2.  Blog about this giveaway. (2 entries—leave a separate comment for each entry and a link to your post.)
3. Visit Super Star Speech and sign up for the email list.
4.  Leave a comment on my Super Star Speech blog.
 This is a Mama Buzz review. I received a BarkOff  Ultrasonic Training Aid and a Crazy Critters toy for review purposes from Telebrands. No other compensation was provided and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Back to School Giveaways


The Back 2 School Blog Bash Hop begins on August 1. I’m excited about all the fun products I get to tell you about and give away. Lunchboxes to labels to notebooks to curriculum and more….

The other blogs who will be participating the Blog Bash are:  

If you put this button on your blog, it will gain you an extra entry into every giveaway on my blog during the month of August.


Here is the html code:

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="blog bash button" /></a>

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday’s Fave Five


What were the highlights of your week? Here are some of my memorable moments:

1. A wonderful visit from a good friend from out of town. Julie and I were college friends and then roommates before we got married. Since she lives 700 miles away, we only get to see each other about once a year. She is in town visiting family this week and spent yesterday afternoon and evening here. And while she was here…

2. Lots of excitement…



Gas started streaming from the fill hole of Katie’s gas tank. It poured out for a good 15 minutes and was close to a gallon of gas between  what I caught in a bucket and what spilled on the ground. The fire dept. dispatcher seemed concerned enough to send a truck out, although the spilled gasoline didn’t seem to concern the firemen. They seemed confident that it was caused by expanding gas vapors in the hot car in the 100 degree heat. I a m hoping this is a one-time freak occurrence.  And I’m thankful that no one was hurt and that my car doesn’t seem to need an expensive repair!

3. I had a couple of nice talks with Chris (dh who lives in Korea) this week. We haven’t had much contact lately and I’ve missed talking to him.

4. Fresh garden produce—my sister’s kids are keeping us supplied with lots of tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and blueberries. Yum!

5. I’m thankful for my a/c! Our downstairs unit isn’t working, but the upstairs unit is doing a decent job of cooling the house in 95 degree heat. I can’t imagine living without it!

Friday’s Fave Five is hosted by Living to Tell the Story.

Sunmate giveaway winner!

The winner of the Sunmate giveaway is Blessedmom’s Simple Home.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Back 2 School Blog Bash!


In August, I will be participating with 4 other bloggers in a “Back 2 School Blog Bash.” There will be giveaways every day of the month—homeschool curriculum, notebooks and art supplies, and some fun stuff for moms and teens—some will be on all 5 blogs and some will just be on one blog and linked to by the others. I have eleven great products to review and give away. Watch for more details coming soon!

If you put this button on your blog, it will gain you an extra entry into every giveaway on my blog during the month of August.


Here is the html code:

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="blog bash button" /></a>

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Types of Speech and Language Disorders

When you think of a speech/language disorder, what comes to your mind? A child who stutters? One who says, “wabbit” for “rabbit?”  An autistic child who has only a few words in his spoken vocabulary?

There are many types of speech and language disorders.  Learn more on my latest Super Star Speech blog post.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pocket Purifier and SunMate (Giveaway)

Purely Products sent me two very unique items to review: the Pocket Purifier and the SunMate.


The Pocket Purifier ($29.95)  is a small hand-held device that uses UV-C rays to sterilize items. The packaging tells me that the Pocket Purifier “uses built in 4 watt germicidal ultraviolet light—the same UV technology used in hospitals to sterilize surgical equipment.” It can be used to kill 99.9% of all germs on any hard surface—phones, pacifiers, computer keyboards, doorknobs, and so on. It sounded like a great idea, but I was a bit skeptical, so we decided to do a little experiment…..

We set up 2 petri dishes with agar growing medium and divided each dish into four sections. We used cotton swabs to apply germs from four surfaces:

1. tongue

2. telephone

3. computer keyboard

4. the dog’s nose (Emily’s suggestion!)

Each petri dish was infected with the same four “germy places.” Then we held the Pocket Purifier over one dish for 15 seconds.


In 2 days, this is what we saw:








The sterilized samples had significantly less bacterial growth. The sample from the computer keyboard was the only one with significant growth.

Then, we re-sterilized dish 2 and waited two more days.  There was less growth in the sterilized dish, but there was still quite a bit of bacterial growth in three of the four sections. (Isn’t this “pretty”?)  Part of the sterilized dish turned brown—I guess the UV-C light burned whatever was growing there.








We devised one more experiment to test the effectiveness of the Pocket Purifier. This time, I took our sample from the bathroom doorknob. This time, we swabbed the surface and infected the first dish. Then we sterilized the doorknob, swabbed it, and infected the second dish. This time, I made my own growing medium from gelatin, sugar, and bouillon. As you can see, again, there was some growth in both samples, but much less growth from the sterilized doorknob.  DSC08236






  I’m not guaranteeing the scientific method in my home test, but it was fun to do and help to assure me that there was some validity to UV light sterilization with a pocket-sized device.

If you are looking for a quick, easy, and non-toxic way to kill germs, then you may want to consider the Pocket Purifier. I think this would be especially helpful for surfaces like a computer keyboard that would be hard to wipe down. It’s also small enough to carry in a purse or diaper bag to sterilize restaurant tables, public bathroom doorknobs, or other yucky places.

The SunMate  ($19.95) is a device that “measures the sun’s ultraviolet strength intensity instantly.” By holding the device in the sun and pressing  a button for a few seconds, a  1-5 rating results, indicating low danger up to extreme risk. The National Weather Service creates a UV index forcast map. The SunMate provides a similar function.


Sunmate was quick and easy to use. I like to wear sunscreen, and have my kids wear sunscreen any time they are out in the direct sun anyway, but it was interesting to see the UV measurement from the Sunmate.

By following this link, you can receive a  25% discount on your entire order from Purely Products until August 5.  A portion of Purely Products sales supports DiaperLove, a non-profit, providing diapers to children in need.

Giveaway! (US and Canada) Now, for the fun part! Purely Products is giving away a SunMate to one of my readers. To enter, leave a comment telling me how you would use one of these products. Winner will be chosen by on July 22.

Additional entries: (Please leave a comment for each.)

1. Follow me on Google Friend Connect.

2. Follow Purely Products on Facebook.

3. Follow Purely Products on Twitter.

4.Visit the Super Star Speech website or follow Super Star Speech on Facebook.

This is a Mama Buzz review. These items were provided to me free by Purely Products. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My New Homeschooling Toy!

Last year, my “fun” homeschooling purchase was my laminator. My friends on the TOS Crew talked about how much they used and enjoyed their laminators. I purchased an inexpensive one and it has, indeed, gotten a lot of use.

A few weeks ago, I became aware of something else I “had” to have! Tristan at Our Busy Homeschool blogged about her ProClick  P50 spiral punch that enables her to spiral bind her documents, books, stories that her kids write, etc. at home. She even showed pictures of her beautifully bound TOS Planner.

I started thinking about all things I would like to spiral bind if I had the opportunity. Generally, when I print out ebooks, and workbooks, I put them in a 3 ring binder. That works fine except that the binders take up too much room on the bookshelf, and I am out of space! Emily likes to write little books, and would love them to be bound and look “real.” I could bind index cards with vocabulary words or Bible verses on them.  So….I scouted out ebay and found a good deal. Then I searched the internet for the best deal on coils and covers.  ( has a limited selection, but great prices.)

Here are my supplies:



And my first finished projects!

DSC08251 The funny thing is, one day after I ordered my ProClick and supplies, Katie came to me and told me she needed some (music) scores bound. I said, “Sure, I can do that--at the end of the week, when my ProClick gets here.”  She was quite surprised to hear that I could bind documents at home….and I was surprised that she made the request without knowing that I had just ordered the punch!  What timing!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Catching Fireflies

Emily and I went outside last night to catch some fireflies. Being the lazy mom that I am, I usually stay in the house when she does this, but last night, I joined in the fun. After we caught a jarful, I pulled out our Handbook of Nature Study (Comstock) and we snuggled on the couch with the firefly jar and learned about them.




She told me, “Mom, this was the best night ever!” 

Unburdened, by Chris Tiegreen (Review)


“How would your life look different if you trusted God to take care of your problems? What would happen if you took the concerns that grip you, that keep you awake at night, that clench your stomach in knots…and truly handed them over to his keeping?”

 Unburdened, by Chris Tiegreen, addresses the burdens that we all carry. Finances, relationship troubles, health concerns….we all have burdens that weigh us down. God’s Word tells us to give our burdens over to God; to take His yoke that is easy and His burden that is light. So why are most of us consumed with worry? Why can’t we really trust God to care for us?

I confess….I keep turning over my concerns to God. It feels good. Life is easier. Then I take them right back again and my stress levels shoot back up. This book addresses the reasons that cause us to mistrust God and want to “do it all ourselves.” Then it explains the traits and behaviors that we need to develop in our lives that will make giving our burdens to God a more natural and easier thing to do.

This is a very good book. I underlined passages all the way through it. Even as I read through  Unburdened, I felt my understanding of God and His ways and my trust increase. I began to feel lighter and less burdened. I really do want to live that way. This book left me with a lot to “chew on.”

Here are a few of the “nuggets” I especially liked:

“Just because someone expects us to do something doesn’t mean we have to. We are obligated to serve God and serve others the way he leads us to—not the way they tell us to.”

“The only way to live an unburdened life is to actually let go of what we’ve been carrying and pick up a singular passion for God…We let go and focus on the ‘one thing.’”

“It is possible to lighten our loads by changing the way we view them.”  Perspective changes the way you look at life.

“Thankful people are never depressed and depressed people are never thankful.”

A free review copy of this book was provided to me by Tyndale House Publishers in order to write this review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What’s in the Bible? (Review)

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What’s in the Bible is a new DVD series from VeggieTales creator, Phil Vischer, designed to walk kids and families through the entire Bible. The third DVD of the 13 DVD series has just been released. This episode covers Leviticus through Deuteronomy and focuses on God’s rules (What are they and why are they there? Do they apply to us today?) and Israel’s 40 year “time out.”


My family has always been a big fan of VeggieTales, so we were eager to take a look at this new series. I am happy to report that the videos are very entertaining. Even I laughed my way through them. Like VeggieTales, they are entertaining for the whole family. The fast-paced presentation covers facts about the Bible—Where did it come from? Who wrote it? How old is it? It also quickly covers the stories of the Bible—not in great detail, but in summary fashion, enabling the viewer to see how it all fits together. And most importantly, it covers the theology of the Bible—What is sin? What is grace? What is repentance? The viewer will understand that the Bible is not just a bunch of unrelated stories, but one large story telling of God’s plan and His grace.

I am considering how to make this series part of our homeschool curriculum. We studied the New Testament this year. I think that next year, we will start reading and studying the Old Testament while watching these DVDs to deepen Emily’s understanding.

I highly recommend this series and will be watching for future DVDs in the series to come out over the next months.image

Phil Vischer continues to pursue innovative new ways to integrate faith and storytelling through his new company, Jellyfish Labs. His projects include Jelly Telly, which provides faith-based daily programming via the internet at  

Free review copies of the first three “What’s in the Bible” DVDs were provided to me by Tyndale House Publishers in order to write this review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Win a Free Stay at Hampton Inn!

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Hampton Hotels. All opinions are 100% mine.


The summer is half over and I really want to take a vacation. The closest we’ve had to a trip is to visit my oldest daughter in Mobile for a long weekend. But, finances are tight and the older kids have jobs and/or school, making it hard to get away. But still, I am dreaming about going somewhere. I’d really love to make a trip to Disney World. Or maybe a weekend in Atlanta or in the Smokey Mountains, both of which are half a day’s drive away. I definitely need to make some plans for a weekend getaway soon. It would be a lot of fun to take some of my friends just to “escape” for a while. Or to vacation with another family. I have promised to take Emily camping, so that is definitely in the works…probably at the state park just outside our city.

Have you heard about the Hampton Chain of Friends Sweepstakes? Hampton Inn is running a huge contest this summer. The grand prize is a weekend stay at a Hampton Inn for 100 people! 100 first prizes of a weekend stay for the winner and 3 friends are being given away. One giveaway every day this summer!  All you have to do is to hop over to the website to enter. I already have! And I see that there is a Hampton Inn at Pigeon Forge…

This would be so fun to have a paid-for weekend somewhere. Not just for us, but for a couple of other families as well.

Click HereVisit my sponsor: Win a free Weekend Stay

Monday, July 5, 2010

Does Your Child Have Apraxia?

You may have heard of  “apraxia,” but are unsure exactly what it is. Perhaps you have wondered whether your child’s speech problem falls under this category. I posted about this topic on my Super Star Speech blog.

Disney Fireworks


This week’s Destination Disney topic is “Disney Fireworks.”  If you have never seen fireworks at Disney World, you have missed some amazing shows. Local firework displays pale in comparison. This is a picture I took at Epcot a few years ago. I don’t have a fancy camera, but I thought it came out nicely.

Link up at Destination Disney to share your fireworks memories!