Saturday, October 30, 2010

Solitaire Chess (Review)

Do you like logic games? Would you like your child to learn to play chess? Solitaire Chess is a unique mix of both.


The Timberdoodle Company sent us the Solitaire Chess game to try out. The board is a grid of 16 squares.  The game includes 60 puzzles and 10 chess pieces. The chess pieces move according to the usual chess rules, but every move must involve a capture. To play, the pieces are placed as indicated by the game card. The object is to remove all but one piece. The recommended age range is 8 to adult.


Our Thoughts:

1. Our first challenge was simply to remove the game from the box! It took 20 minutes to conquer this task. The cards are conveniently stored in a compartment under the chess board. However, they fit tightly and while they were still wrapped in plastic, were almost impossible to  remove. I wish I’d taken a picture, because it was rather amusing to see us attacking the game with scissors, knife, and screwdriver!

2. Emily (10) really enjoyed the game itself. First, I had to teach her the chess moves for each piece.  Once she had them mastered, she started working through the puzzles. The first few puzzles were very easy. I appreciated that, because it gave her confidence and experience in how to attack each challenge. The intermediate challenges start becoming trickier and can require considerable logic and trial and error to solve. I’m enjoying figuring out the puzzles too!

3. Emily says Solitaire Chess is “fun, challenging, and helps the mind.”  She thinks she’s ready to start playing “real chess.” It will be interesting to see how well the logic challenge of Solitaire Chess prepares her for the thinking challenge of traditional chess.

Timberdoodle  Co. sells a large variety of family and educational games. We own quite a few of them ourselves!

Timberdoodle Co. is currently running a giveaway every day on their facebook page through next Tuesday.

I received Solitaire Chess from Timberdoodle Co. as part of their . Blogger Review Team. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gulf Coast Exploreum

Emily and I visited the Gulf Coast Exploreum in Mobile a few days ago. They have a special Reptile exhibit going on which was fun to see.






Sunday, October 24, 2010

Google Alerts

Did you know that you can set up Google Alerts to send you an email when your name or business is mentioned anywhere on the internet? I’ve been doing that for a while and it is useful to see when someone blogs about Super Star Speech or mentions it on a message board. It is also interesting to see where else my name is mentioned….

From 3-5 pm enjoy a "From Grits to Phyllo Cooking Class" as gourmet cook Debbie Lott teaches hands-on techniques and shares special recipes at the Hampton .

No, not me! Although I would like to be known as a “gourmet cook!”

Deborah Lott Make Up Artist


SUPER STAR's speech in KAMAL 50. Rating Views: 8987. RAJNI KAANTH,,the one and only super star..who got the largest salary for his film in Asia

And I’m a cowgirl…This was the first time that the Games were held in the US The Cowgirls included Captain Sara Curtis, Linda Benhase, Debbie Lott, Mary Mendoz

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pillsbury Grands Giveaway Winner!

Wow, this may have been my most popular giveaway yet! The winner is:

Comment #102

Linda said...    I follow you on GFC.


I enjoyed reading all the recipe ideas in the comments!

Monday, October 18, 2010

My Mom, by Emily

This is a fun quiz that I read at Pillars in Her Father’s House. Copy this note, ask your child the questions and write them down exactly how they respond. Tag me back if you haven't done this, I'd love to hear the answers.

1. What is something mom always says to you?  "Clean your room!”

2. What makes mom happy?  "When I clean my room.”

3. What makes mom sad?  "When I’m mean to her.”

4. How does your mom make you laugh?  "Tickles me and is funny.

5. What was your mom like as a child?  "good, a good kid.”

6. How old is your mom?  "How old are you, again, 47?”

7. How tall is your mom?  " 44 feet”

8. What is her favorite thing to do?  "cook”

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?  "shout for joy”

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?  "writing books.”

11. What is your mom good at?  "everything”

13. What does your mom do for her job?  "writes speech therapist books”

14. What is your mom's favorite food?  "lasagna”

15. What makes you proud of your mom?  "when she gets a lot of money”

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?  "Oh my goodness, that’s funny! Wanda, from Magic School bus.”

17. What do you and your mom do together?  "schoolwork, play soccer and stuff”

18. How are you and your mom the same?  "We hate too many phone calls.”

19. How are you and your mom different?  "She has different colored hair.”

20. How do you know your mom loves you?  " ‘Cause she tells me.”

21. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?  "Ryan’s”

22. Where is your favorite place to go? “Ryan’s”

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Winner of CSNstores giveaway

The winner of the giveaway is:

Comment #132 

susan1215 said...

follow via GFC

Friday, October 8, 2010

Passport to India

Is your family ready for
the adventure of a lifetime?

Join Mission India and Sonlight Curriculum for My Passport to India, beginning October 5, 2010!

During this 5-week program, you will:

  • See and experience the real India - without ever leaving your neighborhood!
  • Explore India's incredible, diverse culture, people and places
  • Enhance your homeschooling with unique educational resources
  • Meet the people God is using to bring the Gospel to India's 400+ million unreached
  • Discover how you can reach boys and girls in India with the love of Jesus by supporting Children's Bible Clubs!


We watched the first video this morning and I am so excited about this program! The videos and extra materials are very well done. We are studying world cultures this year, so this is PERFECT for us. I rearranged our schedule somewhat so that we will officially begin studying India in mid-October to coincide with the Mission India program.

When we signed up for the program, we were sent a “passport” with questions to answer and stickers for each daily “trip” and a coin collection box. Emily is already doing extra chores to earn money so that Indian children can learn about Jesus. I love that this will not only fit in with our home school studies, but will help to give her a heart for children who don’t have the advantages of American wealth and a Christian family that she does.

Even though the program has already started,  it is not too late to sign up. You’ll be glad you did!

Mission India

Elmer’s CraftBond/ X-Acto Review

Thanks to, Elmers, and X-Acto, I was recently able to try out an assortment of crafting supplies. I’ve used several Elmer’s products for years—white glue, glue sticks, and wood glue, but I didn’t realize until now that they also produced scrapbooking supplies. I received a tape runner, glue spots, glue pen, glue stick, a corner rounder punch and decorative edging scissors.


I headed to the Elmer’s website for some craft ideas and decided to make some note cards.  Note: this site has LOTS of great idea for crafts and gifts---Be sure to check it out!

Emily and I cut and snipped and glued. Here are our finished cards:



I was happy with the quality of the Elmer’s and X-Acto products. One of the pairs of decorative scissors seemed to be jammed closed at first, but after opening and closing them several times, they loosened up and worked fine. I’ve never used glue spots before—I found them easy to use and I liked the 3-dimensional effect they gave to my cards. Emily thought the glue pen was “really cool.” She found it perfect for gluing narrow strips of paper and tiny cut-outs.

Elmer’s CraftBond and X-Acto craft supplies are available in the memory keeping aisle at Walmart. Visit or for more information.

I received these products from BzzAgent and was encouraged to share my opinion about them. I was not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pillsbury Grands! Mini Biscuits Giveaway


I love fresh, hot biscuits for breakfast. Yum! My Blog Spark sent me a prize pack consisting of a coupon for Frozen Pillsbury Grands! Biscuits, a biscuit basket, butter dish and spreader and a $15 gift card to buy additional ingredients. I first bought a package of the Butter Flavored Biscuits, then realized that I was asked to try out the MINI biscuits, so I went back to the store to get them as well. First, I cooked the regular biscuits and made bacon and egg breakfast sandwiches. Yum! I loved how quick and easy it was to just take 2 ready-to-cook biscuits from the freezer and cook them up. We thought they were delicious. Here are some of our “biscuit creations.”

Regular size Grand’s Biscuit Bacon and Egg Sandwich


Mini Grand’s Sandwiches with ham, cheese, egg, lettuce and guacamole


Apple Cobbler made with Mini Grand’s Biscuits


You can get a $1 off coupon  for Frozen Pillsbury Grands! Biscuits here.  Since a package sells for about $2.50, this is a good savings!



My BlogSpark is giving away the same package I received to one of my readers. This Pillsbury® Grands!® Mini Biscuits prize pack  includes a VIP coupon good for a free package of biscuits, a $15 gift card to purchase your recipe creation/experimentation needs, a biscuit basket, a butter dish and spreader!

To enter, tell me how you would use the mini biscuits. (I’m looking for more recipe ideas!) If you are a Google Friend Connect Follower, leave a comment telling me so for a second entry. For a third entry, either leave a comment on my Super Star Speech blog or sign up for the email list at Super Star Speech.

Winner will be chosen by on Oct. 20.

I received this prize pack free from My Blog Spark and Pillsbury. I was not required to blog about it. All opinions are my own.

Vegetable Soup (Recipe)


I was asked to share my vegetable soup recipe, so here it is!

1 lb carrots, diced

4 large potatoes, diced

4-5  29oz cans of tomatoes

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 cabbage, chopped

1 tsp garlic

1 T. basil

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 lb ground beef, cooked

Cook the carrots and potatoes in just enough water to cover them in the pan until they are partially cooked. Add remaining ingredients and cook another 30-60 minutes.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Socks, Suds, and Savings


“Piles of laundry mean that our families have changes of clothes to wear, clean bedding for comfort, and towels for hygiene. That makes us among the richest people in the world!” I like this quote! It’s a great point to remember when I feel overwhelmed with household chores! And it is an excellent introduction to this month’s Molly’s Money Saving Digest.

The Molly’s Digest theme for October is “socks, suds, and savings.”  Molly provides lots of tips for making the laundry chore easier, more efficient, and less expensive. From making your own detergent, to buying a new washer and dryer to hanging clothes to dry to save energy, there is sure to be a tip for everyone. The kid’s feature is a laundry tutorial just for them. I plan to have Emily read this and I think she’ll be excited to learn how to take over some of the laundry duties (at least for a little while!)

The recipes seem extra-yummy this month. “In the Kitchen With Molly” features “Cook once, serve twice” recipes—creating meals, then using the leftovers to create an entirely different dish for later in the week. We tried the delicious Apple Cobbler recipe tonight and I look forward to trying out the Grilled Chicken, Chicken Alfredo Pasta and the Chicken Tortilla Soup recipes as well.

As always, Molly’s Digest includes frugal craft and decorating ideas, personal stories, and organizing forms. It can be purchased at the Old Schoolhouse Story for $4.95. A Molly’s membership is only $3.95 a month and includes additional free resources.

I received a free copy of Molly’s Digest in order to write this review. All opinions are my own.

The Pursuit of Holiness (Review)


“Run in such a way as to get the prize.” 1 Cor. 9:24—This verse is on the cover of The Pursuit of Holiness, by Jerry Bridges. Indeed, I think that captures the essence of the pursuit of holiness in our lives.  God calls us to live holy lives. But what does that mean? What does “holy” mean? How can anyone other than God be holy? How does the concept of being made holy through Jesus contrast with personal holiness? How can we begin to break our habits of sin?

 The Pursuit of Holiness addresses these topics and more. I felt that the book was both theologically sound and effective in inspiring me to holiness in my personal life. I found that each chapter left me with thoughts and concepts to “chew on.” I think that this book would serve well as a daily devotional. Each 6-10 page chapter begins with a verse that would be good for either meditation or memorization and addresses a different aspect of holiness. This is a book that I will be sure to keep and re-read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, October 4, 2010

Blog Award


Thank you to Amy at Complete Knowledge for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award. I’m so excited—my first ever blogger award!

To accept the Versatile Blogger Award the rules are:
•Thank and link back to who gave you the award.
•Share 7 things about yourself.
•Pass it along to 15 blogs you've recently discovered and enjoy
•Leave your recipients a note, telling them about the award

Now 7 things about me:

1. I sing in our church’s praise band.

2. I lead children’s choir at church.

3. Contrary to what you might thing from reading my blog, I have four children! 2 are in college and 1 is in med. school, so they aren’t home much.

4. I love sweets, especially ice cream, cheesecake, and dark chocolate.

5. I’ve been married for 25 years and my husband now lives in Korea.

6. Emily was adopted from Guatemala. (Not sure that’s really about me, but it’s part of my life!)

7. I love to read. My favorite author is Karen Kingsbury.

So far, I have passed the Versatile Blogger award to these blogs. I will try to add to the list later…

1. The Rambling Adventures of a S.A.H.M chronicles the preschool adventures of her adorable children.

2.Live the Adventure until recently traveled the US in an RV with her teens. How fun! She has recently settled in my city and is full of fun field trip ideas.

3. Mrs. White at The Legacy of Home has a delightful blog that will inspire you toward a peaceful old-fashioned life.

4.Tristan at Our Busy Homeschool chronicles the homeschooling adventures of her 5 (almost 6) kids.

5. Heidi at Reviews and Reflections focuses on curriculum reviews and hosts  the Destination Disney meme.

6. Laura, at Outnumbered Mom, writes about her busy life raising 4 boys. She has a brand-new, just published book on the subject, too!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

CSNstores Giveaway

Giveaway closed.
 Are you ready to get started on your Christmas shopping? That’s something I need to be thinking about soon. If you are interested in one stop shopping, or are looking for something unique, check out I am really impressed with the vast selection at their 200+ stores. Most items ship free as well. I love that! Last year, I ordered a Thames and Kosmos DNA/Genetics kit and Emily loved it. I have my eye on one of the physics kits next.
Would you like to win a $35 gift certificate to start your Christmas shopping? To enter, leave a comment telling me an item you might buy from CSNstores.  I will choose the winner using on October 16.
For additional entries:
1. Follow Debbie’s Homeschool Corner on Google Friend Connect.
2. Leave a comment on my Super Star Speech blog.
Good luck!
I was not compensated to write this post, but is providing a gift card for one of my readers.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Tour of Columbus Ships


Historically accurate replicas of Columbus’s ships, the Nina and the Pinta were docked in a nearby marina, so Emily and I took a tour yesterday. These ships will be traveling through the river systems, then down into the Caribbean for the winter and up the East coast and into the Great Lakes next year. They are staffed by volunteers who live on the ships.  Pretty cool!

We have seen similar ships before—at Plimouth (the Mayflower) and at Jamestown. I am always surprised at just how small these ocean-crossing ships are!